Launch Plans and First Year Success

To long-time supporters, the Launch phase of the RMMFI journey might seem synonymous with Business Launch Boot Camp. While that remains our flagship program, we’ve expanded our offerings in Launch over time to provide even deeper support as entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

Launch Plans are a new program we introduced last year to help graduates stay connected after boot camp ends. Entrepreneurs continue to work with staff and mentors for 12 months after graduation to set tangible next-step business goals and get the individualized resources they need to ensure a successful business launch.

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the first eight entrepreneurs to complete 12 months of launch planning as they officially transition into RMMFI’s Thrive phase. Below, we’re highlighting three of those business owners who have used Launch Plans to stay focused, confident, and flexible through their first year of business.

Like many business owners, Sarah Iverson had to shift away from in-person events in 2020, but the year also brought unexpected opportunity. Her business, Curious Sunshine, specializes in creative mindfulness for communities of color, and the value of her work gained new recognition following last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. While her first year in business was full of uncertainty, Sarah knew that she had a strong foundation, and she pushed through using what she’s learned with RMMFI. In place of her in-person workshops, Sarah created a YouTube channel and a podcast. She’s continued to promote her Black in Color activity book and is developing an online course that will help people cultivate their own liberation and authenticity through mindfulness and playfulness. As she’s navigated these changes, Launch Plan check-ins have given Sarah a space to talk through what’s going on with her business and create a plan for moving forward. She’s appreciated that the Launch Plan process has given her a clear vision of what she’s working toward. Having survived the past year, Sarah is feeling more confident as a business owner and has learned to trust in her idea. As she now tells other business owners, “It really just comes down to you believing. You’re not going to have it all perfect at once.”

Jon Vasquez started his business, True Image Awning and Sign, to fulfill the potential that he knows he has. While he originally launched his business in 2015, the timing wasn’t right, and he didn’t do much to grow it. A few years later, when he got accepted to RMMFI’s boot camp, “Things just started falling into place.” Jon already had the vision and the skills, but he describes the Launch Plan process over the past year as putting the muscle on the bones. Setting goals through his Launch Plan has helped him get specific about what he’s trying to achieve, and check-ins have helped him focus more on the future and his plan to get there. Even though most of his clients are restaurants and bars, Jon’s business was steady throughout 2020, and he believes goal setting played a big role in that success. Jon is now making plans for expansion. He already got his own shop, and he’s working on hiring so that he can move away from doing everything himself and focus on sales. He’s also passionate about making sure his business plays a positive role in the community. As he continues to plan for the future, Jon is keeping the mindset that once you’ve built momentum and confidence, setbacks become learning moments, not failures.

For Ashley Cooper, owner of Divine Holistic Healing, the mission behind her business is personal. She had seen her son and patients she worked with as a CNA deal with harsh side effects of medications that weren’t making them any better. She wanted to create a business that would offer a more holistic alternative – something that would truly lead to healing. Inspired by her grandmother, who created teas from her garden, Ashley began developing her own natural remedies. When she first learned about RMMFI, she already had a sample product ready and thought, “This is exactly what I need to jump-start my business and take it to the next level.” After graduating from boot camp, Ashley has used launch planning to stay on track with growing the business. She likes things to move quickly, but goal setting has helped her learn not to get discouraged when things don’t work out as expected. It’s a process, and checking in gives her the chance to readjust goals and get connected to the right resources and support. As a mom of 5, launch planning has also helped with accountability when things get busy. Ashley knows she can take her business a lot further, and she’s excited to get her name out there this summer through craft shows and markets.