This Female Founder Friday I am pleased to introduce you to Xina Eiland. Xina is the woman entrepreneur who founded X+PR. She is a visionary leader and recognized authority in multicultural communications and digital media. She is known for taking on projects that tackle issues of diversity and inclusion and that help reach disenfranchised and under served. Xina is also the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Black Female Founders (BFF), an organization that serves as a convener to provide conversations and solutions for Black female tech founders.
I met Xina during a filming of D.C. women entrepreneurs. We immediately connected on our shared passion for helping female founders and commitment to bolster the D.C. entrepreneur ecosystem. We are also women who have looked for the opportunities in our failures, and flourished as a result. As a result of Xina’s work in the tech and startup space, she is a board member of BEACON, a Washington, D.C. initiative to make D.C. the number one ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.
If you’ve ever turned a tough situation into an opportunity, or are facing a time where you’re considering using your skill set to start your own company, don’t miss Xina’s candid answers to my questions below.
What inspired you to create your company?
When I was laid off in 2005, I went into survival mode. I never thought about striking out on my own until I was forced to start a business. I told everyone I knew that I was freelancing in PR until I could find a job. Well, it worked! Now it’s 2017, and I have never looked back or regretted my decision. Now that entrepreneurship is more acceptable, every day I seek out to hear the stories of other entrepreneurs who defied convention and beat the odds. I’m always reading a book, listening to podcasts or meeting with other entrepreneurs to inspire me.
What was your biggest obstacle and failure in going from idea to business?
Since I didn’t plan to have a startup, I didn’t have time to think much about the obstacles because I was in survival mode. There was no room for failure because all I could think about was paying bills on time. I was not moving back to Detroit as a failure, so I was living in survival mode every day. Today, I wish I had taken the time to learn more about cash flow analysis, scaling, and funding a business. I would be much further ahead than I am now if I had planned better.
In November I fell while running in Georgetown and suffered a terrible ankle sprain. I was forced to sit down for four months at home to think about my future as an entrepreneur. Here are ideas I decided must happen this year:
-Start hosting more PR webinars and workshops for persons who are interested in learning about media outreach and public relations.
-Sign more tech clients to help them with outreach to African-American communities. We are the biggest consumers in tech and I would like to connect companies like Google, Facebook, and Linked In to African-American entrepreneurs to help us learn how to use their tech platforms to promote and grow their businesses.
-Put more effort into raising funding for and profile of #BFF, an organization that I co-founded in 2016. #BFF works to provide awareness, support, resources and a platform for Black female entrepreneurs. It offers female entrepreneurs with resources on networking and business mentoring as well as access to Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors and other forms of funding. Mentoring in business is increasingly useful, as highlighted in this article from Simply woman, and having prominent women in the Black community working in this area is important. We need funding to host more networking events and workshops to help Black female founders scale and grow their businesses. We need to help them to retain and grow the skills of their high-potential staff in a positive way. Of course, putting a HIPPO programme in place would be an ideal way of doing this.
Please share your best piece of advice for aspiring female founders.
Learn from other founders in your field including their successes and failures. Attend financial workshops and seminars so you can know your numbers. And, create a strong, online presence by branding your business.
If you had a theme song what would it be?
“I Will Survive,” by Gloria Gaynor. I just aged myself but this is the first song that popped into my head!