By Ludmila Leiva
Melissa Kimble was building a business on the side when she got swept up in a media layoff in 2017.
Suddenly without a job, Kimble found herself thrown into entrepreneurship, putting all of her time and efforts towards scaling and monetizing that side passion project: #BlkCreatives, a digital collective for Black professionals and creatives. “Being laid off forced me into entrepreneurship, it wasn’t necessarily a jump I wanted to make,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh I need to eat today, or pay my rent — how’s that gonna happen?’”
Though not all entrepreneurs are thrust into starting a business in this way, it doesn’t mean that they are prepared for what it means to be a founder. Soon after starting her business, Kimble was faced with the financial uncertainty that came along with being a solo and first-time entrepreneur. “I wasn’t eating; I was obsessively working out to release some steam and was overdoing it,” Kimble tells Supermaker. “I was driving myself crazy.”
As a first generation business owner raised by working class parents, Kimble says she initially buckled under the pressure of sustaining herself and her business. “I [didn’t] necessarily have the privilege of going to someone in my family and saying ‘Can I borrow X amount of money until this happens?’” Kimble says, echoing common discussions of what it’s like to raise capital as a founder who isn’t white and male. “[It’s] is a really tough thing.”
“Being laid off forced me into entrepreneurship, it wasn’t necessarily a jump I wanted to make.”
Though Kimble’s circumstances are unique, she certainly isn’t the first entrepreneur to find themselves facing mental health challenges. Given the extreme financial and social pressures that come with starting a business, you would think there would be more discussion around what to do about it. And yet, the conversation around how challenging entrepreneurship can be is still relatively hushed.