Tiffany James invested in Tesla stock in 2019 after a friend recommended it. When the brand's value skyrocketed in 2020, James' $10,000 investment grew to more than $2 million. She intended to use some of his earnings to launch a candle company. However, she noticed that the online conversations she was having about investments and trading were luring hundreds of Black women.
Modernblkgirl (MBG), the online community James founded on the social app Clubhouse, quickly grew to over 100,000 followers, the majority of whom were women of color looking for some market advice. She realized she was embarking on a new venture and mission.
"Even though I wasn't the most eligible at the time, I knew what I did know worked. I'd studied a trillion times and managed to learn a formula that worked, and I knew I could find like-minded individuals with previous experience to help with the mission and show Black women how to do what I did," James explained.
MBG now generates over $3.5 million in revenue and has thousands of members. She has also increased her personal investments, bringing in $4.3 million during a bear market. She intends to use some of her earnings and her computer science degree to open a full-service AI restaurant in Los Angeles.
A brand founded on experience
James, like many of the women she taught, struggled to break into the world of investing. She first learned about the stock market's earning potential in 2015 while attending a seminar with her mother, but she needed more funds and understanding to make any significant investments.
As she began her career in 2016, she used money from her event and hospitality salary to make small investments. Eager to learn more, James joined online communities in search of guidance and support, but she was frequently met with hostility and harassment, particularly from men.
That void prompted James to begin discussing finance at Clubhouse. As her audience grew, she changed that community into a brand and movement dedicated to teaching Black women the fundamentals of stocks and trading.
She provides free educational content, paid courses, one-on-one training, live events, and community space through MBG, all with the goal of assisting women in gaining financial literacy. MBG also provides qualified financial advisors, cutting-edge finance technology, and artificial intelligence.
MBG has assisted over 225,000 women in entering the market in the two years since its inception. The membership is diverse, with women ranging in age from 16 to 65 and hailing from the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and other parts of the world.
Consistent profits trump flashy investments
James is pleased that members have been able to apply what they have learned at MBG to improve their lives. Members' success stories included professionals who were able to earn enough money from investing in transforming into new careers they were more passionate about, as well as nurses who were able to take time off during COVID-19's traumatic peak.
Some Teen University students were also able to turn the $500 they were given at the start of the program into thousands of dollars, which helped cover their college tuition. Ultimately, many of the MBG women benefited from the financial security and freedom that investing provides.
This type of success story—small, consistent victories with big impacts is what James most desires for her community members. While she has firsthand experience with once-in-a-lifetime stock market wins, she is aware that they are uncommon. James never wants her members to be in a gambling mood. Instead, she focuses on providing them with the tools they need to make consistent progress.
Money is important, but the mission comes first
That mission drives everything James does at MBG. While the brand has been enormously successful, generating millions of dollars in revenue, James has remained focused on impact rather than income. All of her decisions are driven by her desire to make the monetary advantages of trading and investing available to Black women and communities of color.
This approach has made things difficult for James at times. She observes that investors and mentors are typically concerned with revenue first and foremost. But this has continued with James and her team. She and her COO, Sharlea Brookes, chose to avoid taking a salary from MBG in the first year to maintain higher profit margins. Instead, they concentrated on developing a team with the necessary skills to support the organization's growth. She aspires to expand the brand as a movement and a tech company with a broader reach and more effective systems in more countries.
New investors' initial steps
Of course, James extends an invitation to any woman who is ready to start her investment journey. However, she has some excellent advice for those who wish to take their first steps on their own.
"The more you know about investing and trading, the more likely you are to make good decisions. Learning the fundamentals is therefore critical," James advised.
"Open Bloomberg. Keep up with the news by watching CNBC. You're better able to find opportunities in the market once you understand the language and what's going on," James explained.
Find and fine-tune your investment strategy
While many finance courses recommend specific approaches, James cautions that stock market investing is not a one-size-fits-all practice. Your strategy will be influenced by factors such as your risk tolerance, income, and available free time. So, plan your strategy ahead of time.
Don't be deterred by the economic downturn
People are often careful during major historical events that affect the economy, but James believes that these are the best times to invest in companies that are undervalued before the market recovers.
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