Give Yourself A Start

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As pioneering entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker said, “I got my start by giving myself a start.”

What opportunity are you sitting on? The daughter of former slaves, Sarah Breedlove was orphaned at the age of seven. Married at 14, she was a widow with a two-year-old daughter by the time she was 20. She went from working the cotton fields of Mississippi to being a washerwoman in St. Louis. Living on $1.50 a day, she managed to save enough money to send her daughter to school. When her hair started to fall out from a scalp condition, she used a product from Annie Turnbo – a Black entrepreneur with a background in chemistry. Sarah’s hair grew back and soon she was a sales agent for Turnbo determined to create her own product. After moving to Denver near family – and apparently because Black women’s hair was dry from the Rocky Mountain air – she married Charles Joseph Walker, changed her name to Madam CJ Walker, and launched a line of hair products including a vegetable shampoo and her Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower. With an initial investment of $1.25 and great tenacity, she relentlessly sold door to door and eventually built a factory, salon and beauty school to train her “hair culturists.” At one point the company trained 40,000 “Walker Agents”. Madam Walker was one of the first African-American women to become a self-made millionaire (Annie Turnbo is credited as the first). Like Madam C. J. Walker, make your own start. If you see a need, fill it. Even if your current circumstances aren’t ideal, look for light and expand upon it. In her words, “Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”

Until next time, remember – it’s your divine life, live it to the fullest. The power is in your hands!

With Purpose & Power,


Written and designed by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy. Read more Dose of Power Living. For information on syndication email

More quotes from Madam C. J. Walker.

Part of the Power Living® Women & Power Series.