For close to 10 years, Cheree Warrick helped companies raise millions of dollars as a business plan writer. The most successful fundraisers already had a network of high net worth individuals and could raise millions within a few weeks of Cheree completing their business plan. Her black clients (most of whom had great ideas but didn’t have these relationships) would struggle to receive funding. Cheree has a solution to this massive problem. She's building the largest community of black small-dollar investors who want to help fund black businesses.
- CEO Hack: Power walking, 30 to 40 minutes a day
- CEO Nugget: Quote by Henry Ford; whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you are right!
- CEO Defined: Control, equity and owning your mistake as well as successes
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello. Hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. Cheree Warrick of the 10K project. Cheree, It's awesome to have you on the show.
Cheree Warrick 0:37
Thank you so much, Gresham.
Gresham Harkless 0:39
No problem. Super excited to have you on and before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Cheree. So you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing it For close to 10 years, Cheree Warrick helped companies raise millions of dollars as a business plan writer. The most successful fundraisers already had a network of high net worth individuals and could raise millions within a few weeks of Cheree completing their business plan. Her black clients (most of whom had great ideas but didn’t have these relationships) would struggle to receive funding. Cheree has a solution to this massive problem. She’s building the largest community of black small-dollar investors who want to help fund black businesses. Cheree, are you ready to speak to the iamceo community?
Cheree Warrick 1:15
I am so ready. Thanks for having me.
Gresham Harkless 1:17
No problem. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to kind of rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more about what led you to start your CEO story.
Cheree Warrick 1:25
Sure. So my trusty little story started with a very controversial now person who is Robert Kiyosaki, unfortunately, and Rich Dad Poor Dad. So I was on track to become the CFO for a Fortune 500 company. That's what I thought I wanted to do when I was in college, right. And when I went to my first job, one of my co-workers gave me a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad. And that totally changed my perspective. So I started off like most people do doing things part-time, I, you know, went out and flipped real estate for a little bit. And I got into other businesses and was really just trying to find myself and ended up about 15 years ago, my mother actually is more like 1819 years ago now. My mother started a bookkeeping business. And I ended up joining her full time with her bookkeeping business, helping her grow it, I started off as her marketing person, and I was so good at marketing, I was bringing in clients. And then she said, Well, you know, you brought these clients, and now you have to service them. And that wasn't in my plan. However, I worked with her diligently I service clients, I did their bookkeeping, their accounting for them. And one of the interesting things is I got to see the patterns of the most successful business owners and those who weren't successful, and they couldn't lie to me because I saw their numbers, you know, so. So it was interesting that I got to see that inside look at them.
Gresham Harkless 3:00
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's extremely powerful. And I've always thought that was one of the best things to learn. Because I think they say like, if you're able to look at the the numbers, so to speak, and read the book, read the books and understand the books that kind of tells the story of the business. And I can't imagine getting that opportunity to kind of work with probably different types of business owners at different stages and see all that it's probably a really great foundation.
Cheree Warrick 3:19
Yes, it was it was and I will give everybody a hint right now, because you are the I am CEO podcast, the most successful people that at least were in our business, they sat down with my mother every single month without fail and review their numbers, how much money where they making, how much money where they're spending, what were their goals, and because of that, I kind of kind of liken it to your weight. You know, if you say, Okay, I want to be x pounds. And you know, if you get within five pounds of that range, you know, you know, you got to rope it in and you got to cut out the sweets or whatever. Those are usually the most successful people with their health. Well, it's the same thing with with your money and with your business success as well.
Gresham Harkless 4:03
Yeah, that makes so much sense. I'm glad you gave that kind of analogy as well too. Because I think anytime as you said you know the people that are the healthiest, so to speak or reach those goals. A lot of times they're on the scale every day or every week and understand exactly where they are, what they need to do or what they don't need to do. And so many times we forget that about our business is like how important those finances are and ignoring them or looking at them maybe once a year doesn't cut it for those businesses that are truly going to be the most successful ones.
Cheree Warrick 4:28
Right and let me add on to that some businesses is not necessarily about dollars a lot of times your your finances is like the outcome. Some businesses it's how many customer complaints are you getting? How many refunds are you doing to people, you know how many times you have to go back and explain things to certain people. There are usually they're like lead factors and lagging factors. I'm sure your clientele and your your listeners know about this, but looking at the numbers that we gave really Were like the after effect to how people were effectively managing those leading factors within their businesses as well. And being able to say, Okay, if I want to do better, I need to tweak these things on the front end. So, yeah, I mean, there's there's so much to, I don't believe in people having a lot of different things that they're looking at. But usually, I would say three metrics within any business. If you if you get those correct, then usually a lot falls into line.
Gresham Harkless 5:30
Yeah, well, that's extremely powerful to know. And especially as you said, you, you've been able to kind of work and see those successful businesses and be able to kind of see those trends, as you kind of spoke to as well. And I know when I read your bio, kind of touched on a little bit about what came about from seeing success and how it contributes to your venture now. So could you take us through your head, take a project and tell exactly what you're doing with the clients you work with?
Cheree Warrick 5:51
You're sure. So actually, the 10k project started out because of my mother's bookkeeping business. So at one point in my mom's bookkeeping business, she decided that she wanted to get a bank loan in order to get a book, she just thought she wanted a bank loan, let me just say that and part of the bank loan, you know, is you have to write a business plan. And I've written one for school, but I've never written one for a company to actually go and get alone, right? Or get any kind of funding. And I just thought, Oh, my goodness, if I screw this up, what, what is Thanksgiving going to look like? Right? So what do you do? The first thing you do is usually go to Google, right? Like how to write a business plan. And then I started asking, Well, what are they really looking for? What do they make their decisions on? And long story short, I wrote this business plan for my mom, I gave it to a gentleman that had about 30 years of experience helping companies raise funding, he said, You did a great job, make these few tweaks and give it to the bank. And the bank said it was one of the best business plans I've ever read. So at that point, my mother starts bragging. My daughter wrote this business plan, and the bank said, you know, and her friends and her client started asking me, what can you write my business plan? forward to 10 years later? This is where we are. So I'm writing business plans for people and people, some people still aren't getting funding. And I asked him Well, why what is happening with people who are getting funding from the ones who aren't, and people from other ethnicities usually would have someone that they could take that business plan, too. And say, this is you know, this is a plan is what we're going to do. And literally my clients were getting $50,000, checks, $100,000 checks, $150,000 checks, based on the strength of the team, they put together in the business plan that I put together, I would have innovative, hard working great black entrepreneurs, but they didn't have those individuals in their lives only had actually one who did, right. And she got the check, right, based on the business plan that I wrote. So I also saw that there was the research and if we buy black movement, right, and I started thinking that people will bind black, maybe they would invest black too. And for three years, I was saying this, you know, 10,000 of us got together, we put in $100 each, that's a million dollars, we could start funding our own businesses, but I'm telling you, Gresham, I was trying to get somebody else to do it. I'm like somebody, please, please take it. And finally, one day in a meeting, one of my co founders said to me, I'm going to do something about that. And I think that's important to CEOs. You're saying something for so long, you'd have a great idea. You're saying you're bragging somebody else to do it, right. And what I was making good money as a business plan writer, but I wasn't having the impact that I knew I could have. And everything aligned where the right person said it to me, the right group of co founders came in with me, they put money in, I put money in as well. So we were all committed, we all had our time commitment, our money commitment. And this was pre you know, all the social unrest, pre COVID, all of that. But I just kind of felt like the time was right. And that that's the long story of how we got here today.
Gresham Harkless 9:16
would you would you consider that to be what I call it like your secret sauce, the thing you feel kind of sets you apart or the organization apart and makes it unique or even for yourself Do you feel is that ability to be able to see kind of maybe the forest for the trees to be able to see all those different aspects, ingredients that lead to success and be able to set that up in your organization?
Cheree Warrick 9:33
Yes. So I'm so glad that you started off the interview the way that you did, because I'm 44 now so when I was 2223, I was introduced to Robert Kiyosaki. And that's what 20 years of experience of making money of losing money of risking of starting businesses, you know, some businesses failed, some businesses were successful and really difficult. offering some of the formulas to investing as well as investing in private equity. Let me say that in private businesses, right, investing as well as, as entrepreneurship, and being able to say, again, what can we do that that one of the venture capitalists that we spoke with with in the 10 k project said that, you know, everyone says that, you know, one out of 10 businesses fail, why are we accepting that, as you know, as Okay, what can we do to make it that six out of businesses, six out of 10 businesses make it, I wanted to switch gears a little bit,
Gresham Harkless 10:39
I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.
Cheree Warrick 10:47
Three years ago, I hired a business coach to help me. And one of the things she had me start doing was working out regularly. And now I'm at a point where if I don't work out two days in a row, like I need to get my power walk in. So I'm going to say power, walking 30 to 40 minutes a day, I use that time sometimes to listen to a podcast, or listen to a piece of information that I need for my business. And then sometimes I don't have anything on and I'm just walking and praying, I'm letting my thoughts kind of come to me. So that that, for me is a very powerful hack that I use, that's effective.
Gresham Harkless 11:24
Now, I would ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, it might be somebody that you would give advice to within the ecosystem, or it might be something you would tell your younger business self.
Cheree Warrick 11:35
Well, the one that I have at the top of my head right now is a quote by Henry Ford. And it's whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. And what he meant by that is, if you think you can't do something, then you can't do it.
Gresham Harkless 11:52
Now, I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So should we What does being a CEO mean to you?
Cheree Warrick 12:00
Oh, goodness, being a CEO means I'm going to say control, control, equity, and owning your mistakes, as well as your successes. So that CEO, so you know, I like control. I do. I'll admit it, I like control, I get to control my time, I get to control the people that I've worked with the people that I surround myself with. However, just as much control as I have, this is also control, I don't have as well, because, you know, you. For example, if I had a job, I could be there Monday through Friday, nine to five, no one's bothering me in a weekend and no one's bothering me at night. And I'm not staying up at night tossing and turning to solve problems, but I like that as well. And then, you know, I like the equity. I like the ownership. I like knowing there's a guy named t harv, eker? Who did I have something called speed wealth back in the 90s, you can still find it on YouTube. And he said that for entrepreneurs, the biggest asset you'll have is the business itself that you can sell. So years ago, I did some calculations. And I said, Okay, if I want to have something that I could live off the interest, I would need to build a business where I could get $3 million, right? Where are you going to get that from a job, you know, it's going to be hard to do that not impossible, but hard. However, if you're an investor, or if you're an entrepreneur, the chances of that are, are much easier. So, you know, that's what being a CEO means to me.
Gresham Harkless 13:47
Nice. I definitely appreciate that and appreciate that information and knowledge because I think when you start to understand and you see those things, and as you kind of even said, as well, from the beginning to even where we are now about how we're able to read and to learn and to to understand how exactly people develop wealth to develop equity. Now is that be that happens, that mindset that goes into that you start to make those shifts and start to invest, you start to see the power that you have, with the dollars that sometimes we have as well, too. So I appreciate that definition and appreciate that perspective. And appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.
Cheree Warrick 14:27
Sure, sure. So I just want to invite everyone to come and join our community. It is free to sign up for our email list and get our ebook. It is the10kproject.com, the10kproject.com. So we're built the nation's largest community of black investors who want to fund black businesses for as little as $100 per investment. So you can come we have a ton of free webinars that are coming up. You'll also get access to some of the previous free webinars that we've had before. Because we do believe in financial literacy and then building black wealth, and then when you're ready, we would love for you to become a member. And what happens is when you become a member, you will get access to our Knowledge Center for members, either the investor Knowledge Center or the entrepreneur Knowledge Center, depending on which one you choose. And you'll have an opportunity to hear all the pitches on the platform, and invest in any and all businesses on the platform. So that is what membership gets you. And you know, please just consider becoming a part of our ecosystem.
Gresham Harkless 15:39
Nice, I definitely appreciate that Sheree, and all those will have the links and information in the show notes. And I definitely appreciate you for all you're doing. And obviously the time that you provided today, I think being able to have those opportunities to build that equity is so important. So I appreciate you for writing that. And also the knowledge within the ecosystem. And those opportunities as well, too, is maybe even more important because I think, as we kind of talked about that mindset piece and understanding exactly what you can or cannot accomplish is often based in your head and the things that you think about and things that you see. So I appreciate you providing all that positivity and actions in order to do that. So I appreciate you so much and hope you have a phenomenal day.
Cheree Warrick 16:16
Thank you so much Gresham. Thank you everybody for listening to me.
Gresham Harkless 16:20
All right, and I'll cut it off here.
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