Katherine Frink-Hamlett: Redefining Entrepreneurship Beyond Labels and Presumptions

"Challenges come with the territory, and there are so many amazing unsung heroes who have paved the way for me and others to stay focused and on the grind."

What does being a Black Female Entrepreneur mean to you?

I don’t think that I’ve ever thought of myself as a “Black Female Entrepreneur”.  Yes, I am Black. Yes, I am a woman. And, yes, I am an entrepreneur. Specifically, the President and Founder of Frink-Hamlett Legal Solutions (www.frinkhamlett.com), a company that has sourced and placed legal and compliance professionals for twenty years. 

However, while I don’t immediately think of myself as a Black Female Entrepreneur, I am not naïve and fully recognize that others will most likely see me as such.  I also recognize that the description may be mired in a myriad of presumptions, many of which may be misguided or otherwise misinformed. 

So, for me, rather than focusing on labels, occupying this space simply requires that my team and  I focus on delivering our services with excellence in all respects and at all times.

When the atmosphere becomes challenging, what drives you to keep going?   

I am inspired by the legions of women, particularly Black women, now and who came years before me, who monetized their skills, frequently with no formal education or degrees.   Madam C.J. Walker, the haircare mogul, immediately comes to mind, but there’s another woman, near and dear to my heart, who is equally inspiring:  my own mother, Ann Frink (nee Olgesbee).

My mother was a domestic worker and barely had a middle school education.  Yet, she took the one thing she knew how to do, for which there was a market, and created a clientele that included classical luminaries like Jessye Norman and Pinchas Zuckerman. 

Growing up in the projects of Harlem, I remember other women who brought their skills to market and generated revenue: seamstresses, hair braiders, etc.  Each an entrepreneur in her own right and a manifestation of the American Dream.

So, when I am faced with challenges, I remain undaunted. Challenges come with the territory, and there are so many amazing unsung heroes who have paved the way for me and others to stay focused and on the grind.

What advice do you have for Black Women who may be considering entrepreneurship?

Know your “why?”  Fully understanding the “why” will enable you to define your platform and purpose.  It will get you through those daunting moments of doubt. Maintain a solid advisory board of supporters and stay away from toxicity in all of its forms, especially humankind. Know that there is a fundamental difference between delivering a service and/or product and operating a business. 

Most emerging entrepreneurs know their product or service but may be less dialed into the logistics of running an enterprise.  Logistically, there’s the usual advice:  draft a comprehensive business plan; form a business entity, ideally in consultation with an attorney and tax professional; educate yourself about your market and competition; create your social media platform; engage in continual professional development, hire a bookkeeper for invoicing and financial management; maintain documentation for all essential aspects of the business;  embrace HR compliance and most of all, soar and enjoy the ride – it will get bumpy but it can be so incredibly rewarding.

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