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This week's feature entrepreneur is Shaneisha Dodson. She is the founder of Mahogney Ink Publications L.L.C. and Black Girlz Productions L.L.C. Currently residing in Virginia, Shaneisha holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Grambling State University, a master's degree in counseling from Dallas Baptist University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education. Shaneisha was the first person in her family to graduate from college. In showing how important education is to her, every year she gives a $500 scholarship to a deserving student. After college, Shaneisha wrote her first novel. It was like so much by friends and family she was encouraged to continue writing. That eventually led to the start of her publishing and production company. Being an accomplished author herself, today Shaneisha publishes 4 authors, 2 poets and has produced one stage play. Her story is truly one of accomplishment. Find out how Shaneisha started her companies and where her inspiration came from. Enjoy!
1. Tell me your story. What were you doing before you started your own business?
I am a country girl born and raised in Arkansas. I was raised in a matriarchal household. I developed a passion for writing at a young age. I started writing my first book after I graduated from college. Prior to starting my business, my life consisted of school, school, and school. I have been a student my whole life. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grambling State University and a master’s degree in counseling from Dallas Baptist University. Currently, I am pursuing a doctorate degree in education.
2. What made you want to start a business and what is your mission?
I have always had a passion for writing. After graduating from college, I penned my first novel. My family and friends loved it so much they encouraged me to continue writing. Therefore, I decided to take it a step further and started my own publishing company in 2009, Mahogney Ink Publications, LLC. My works have been featured in online magazines, selected as book of the month by numerous organizations, selected as top 25 fiction books of 2009 by Conversations, and earned a spot on an African-American bookstore best sellers list. My first teen book was selected as best book 2011 in literary excellence in the teen self-help category. In addition, I was nominated for a 2011 African-American literary award. My publishing company is home to four authors and two poets. In 2012, I took my love of the writing to the next level and started Black Girlz Productions, LLC. My company’s motto is “Dream BIG or go Home!” My first play recently debuted: Cheating on my Mistress “When One Woman is not Enough”. My mission is to entertain by any means necessary.
3. What inspires you? What keeps you motivated daily to keep growing your business?
Life inspires me. I am passionate about my work. Each day I strive to do better. I believe in taking my time to make sure everything is as close to perfect as possible. Each year, I can clearly see my companies’ growth. We are moving at a steady pace. I am very satisfied because I believe in quality not quantity.
4. Do you have a mentor? Who is it and why? Do you believe it's important to have one?
I used to have a mentor, but we went our separate ways. However, I believe it is important to have a mentor because no one has gotten where they are without the help of someone else. When you choose a mentor, make sure you choose wisely. Mentors are people who are doing what you want to do in life. They should be full of wisdom and knowledge.
5. What would you tell someone who wants to get involved in your line of business but doesn't know how to get started?
Research. Research. Research. If you want to start a business, learn as much as possible about the business. Don’t depend on other people to give you all the answers. The biggest issue I have with the publishing company is finding a good editor. You will come across a lot of people who will make numerous false promises in this type of business. They will offer you an opportunity to be a part of a national tour, claim to be the best editor in the business, and will guarantee that their marketing campaigns will take you to the number one spot on the best sellers list. Be leery. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…
6. What advice would you give to someone with an entrepreneurial spirit?
My advice is to follow your dreams. Don’t be scared to succeed. When you hit a hard spot in the road, keep pushing. Believe in yourself and believe in your abilities.
If you are an up-and-coming author looking to be published, visit Shaniesha's website at Mahogney Ink Publications. For information on her stage play show times and Black Girlz Talk visit Black Girlz Productions. Also follow her on twitter at @blkgirlz I want to thank Shaneisha for sharing her story with us. I hope you have been inspired by her accomplishments.
Be someone’s motivation and tell us your story! To be featured on PeopleWhoProsper.com email Tamara@garrisonprosperitysolutions.com. Put PEOPLEWHOPROSPER in the subject line and share a little about yourself.