IAM1750 – Business Plan Writer Helps Black Businesses Receive Funding

Podcast Interview with Cheree Warrick

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In episode IAM776 of the I AM CEO podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Cheree Warrick, the founder of The 10K Project, which is a community of black small-dollar investors who want to help fund black businesses.

Cheree has been a business plan writer for close to 10 years, helping companies raise millions of dollars. She noticed that her black clients, who had great ideas, struggled to receive funding because they didn't have a network of high-net-worth individuals. To solve this problem, Cheree started The 10K Project, which aims to build the largest community of black small-dollar investors.
In the interview, Cheree discusses her journey as an entrepreneur, the importance of financial management, and the challenges faced by black entrepreneurs in accessing funding. She also shares her CEO hacks, nuggets, and defines what being a CEO means to her.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights into the struggles faced by black entrepreneurs and the solutions being developed to support them.

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Cheree Warrick Teaser 00:00

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 wanna do better, I need to tweak these things on the front end.

Intro 00:17

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 00:44

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you were listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories or topics or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on our greatest asset- talent management and hiring. Think from great resignation to the great renovation and if you disagree with me, maybe these episodes might be especially for you. Life and especially business has changed. It is has forced those that are within organizations to look differently at talent, and how it's being managed.

When we talk about change, think about it, we have to realize that business as usual is no longer here. That's evident in attracting and retaining clients, but also in setting up people within organizations to succeed. Think onboarding, think DEI- diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, how it is working from home and even going back into the office.

Things are different in this month. We are going to explore these topics by featuring CEO hacks and CEO nuggets, but also interviews that focus on these changes and how organizations can make sure they care for and attract the most valuable asset- their people. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Cheree Warrick of the 10K Project. Cheree, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Cheree Warrick 02:13

Thank you so much, Gresham.

Gresham Harkless 02:15

No problem. Super excited to have you on, and before we jumped in, I wanted to read a little bit more about Cheree so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

For close to 10 years, Cheree 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 for this massive problem. She's building the largest community of black, small-dollar investors who can help fund black businesses.

Cheree, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

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Cheree Warrick 02:50

I am so ready. Thank you for having me.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:52

No problem. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more about what led you to get started in your CEO story.

Cheree Warrick 02:59

Sure. So my true CEO story started with a very controversial person who is Robert Kiyosaki 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.

When I went to my first job, one of my coworkers gave me a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and that totally changed my perspective. So, I started off like most people doing things part-time. I, went out and flipped real estate for a little bit and I'd got into other businesses and I was really just trying to find myself. About  18, 19 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 you brought these clients and now you have to service them. That wasn't in my plan. However, I worked with her diligently. I serviced clients, I did their bookkeeping, their accounting for them. One of the interesting things is I got to see the patterns of the most successful business owners and those who weren't successful.

They couldn't lie to me because I saw their numbers. So, it was interesting that I got to see that insight look, admin.

Gresham Harkless 04:25

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 if you're able to look at the numbers so to speak and read the books, and understand the books, it tells the story of the business.

I can't imagine getting that opportunity to work with probably different types of business owners at different stages and see all that. It's probably a really great foundation.

Cheree Warrick 04:42

Yes, 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, sat down with my mother every single month without fail and reviewed their numbers.

How much money were they making? How much money were they spending? What were their goals? And because of that linking it to your weight. If you say, okay, I wanna be X pounds, and if you get within five pounds of that range, 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. It's the same thing, with your money and with your business success as well.

Gresham Harkless 05:20

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, 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. They understand exactly where they are, what they need to do, or what they don't need to do.

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 gonna be the most successful ones.

Cheree Warrick 05:45

Let me add on to that. Some businesses are not necessarily about dollars. A lot of times your finances are like the outcome. For some businesses, it's how many customer complaints are you getting? How many refunds are you getting to people? You know how many times you have to go back and explain things to certain people.

They are usually like lead factors and lagging factors. I'm sure your clientele and your listeners know about this, but looking, at the numbers that we gave really was like the effect to how people were effectively managing those leading Factors within their businesses as well and being able to say, okay, if I wanna do better, I need to tweak these things on the front end.

So yeah, I mean 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 get those correct, then usually a lot falls into line.

Gresham Harkless 06:40

Yeah. That's extremely powerful. So could you take us through your 10 K project and tell us exactly what you're doing with the clients you work with?

Cheree Warrick 06:46

Sure, sure. So actually the 10 K 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. She just thought she wanted to get a bank loan. Let me just say that. Part of the bank loan, is you have to write a business plan. I had written one for school, but I had never written one for a company to actually go and get a loan, or get any kind of funding. And I just thought, oh my goodness, if I threw this up, what is Thanksgiving gonna look like? So what do you do? The first thing you do is usually you go to Google, right?

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Like, how to write a business plan. Then I started asking what are they really looking for? What do they make their decisions on? 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 them to the bank. The bank said it was one of the best business plans they'd ever read. At that point, my mother starts bragging, my daughter wrote this business plan. The bank, her friends and her clients started asking me can you write my business plan?

Forward to 10 years later, this is where we are. So I'm writing business plans for people. Some people still aren't getting funding, and I asking why? What is happening with the 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 and say, this is a plan. This is what we're gonna do.

Literally, my clients were getting $50,000 checks, a hundred thousand dollars checks, $150,000 checks based on the strength of the team they had put together and the business plan that I had put together. I would have innovative, hardworking, great black entrepreneurs, but they didn't have those individuals in their lives. I only had actually one who did. She got the check right, based on the business plan that I wrote.

I also saw that there was a resurgence of we buy black movement, right? And I started thinking if people were buying black, maybe they would invest in black too. And for three years I was saying this, 10,000 of us got together, and we put in a hundred dollars 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 take this idea. Please take it.

Finally, one day in a meeting one of my co-founders said to me you gonna do something about that? And I think that's important as CEOs. You're saying something for so long, you have a great idea, you're saying it, and you are bragging somebody else to do it. I was making good money as a business plan writer, but I wasn't having the impact that I knew I could have. Everything aligned where the right person, 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 social unrest, pre COVID, all of that. But I just felt like the time was right and that's the long story of how we got here today.

Gresham Harkless 09:56

Would you consider that to be what I call like your secret sauce, the thing you feel sets you apart or the organization apart and makes it unique or even for yourself?

Do you feel it's that ability to be able to see 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 10:12

Yeah. So, I'm glad that you started off the interview the way that you did because I'm 44 now. When I was 22, 23, 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. Some businesses failed, and some businesses were successful. Really discovering some of the formulas for investing as well as investing in private equity. Let me say that in private businesses, right? Investing as well as entrepreneurship and being able to say again, what can we do?

That one of the venture capitalists that we spoke with in the 10 K project said that, everyone says that, 1 out of 10 businesses fail. Why are we accepting that as okay? What can we do to make it that six out of 10 businesses make it?

Gresham Harkless 11:08

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Cheree Warrick 11:18

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. Now I'm at a point where if I don't work out two days in a row, I'm like, ah, I need to get my power walk-in.

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So, I'm gonna 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. Sometimes I don't have anything on, and I'm just walking and praying and letting my thoughts come to me.

So that for me is a very powerful hack that I use that's effective.

Gresham Harkless 11:52

Now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. This could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something that you would give advice to within the ecosystem, or it might be something you would tell your younger business self.

Cheree Warrick 12:03

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. What he meant by that is if you think you can't do something, then you can't do it.

Gresham Harkless 12:18

Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO.  We're hoping to have different quote CEOs on this show. So Cheree, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Cheree Warrick 12:27

Oh, goodness. Being a CEO means, I'm gonna say control. Control equity and owning your mistakes as well as your successes. So that's CEO. So, 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 work with, the people that I surround myself with. However, just as much control as I have, that's also control I don't have as well, because, for example, if I had a job, I could be there, Monday through Friday, nine to five, no one's bothering me on a weekend and no one's bothering me at night and I'm not staying up at night, tossing and turning trying to solve problems, but I like that as well.

I like the equity. I like the ownership. I like knowing there's a guy named T. Harv Eker who did something called Speed Wealth back in the nineties. You can still find it on YouTube. He said that for entrepreneurs, the biggest asset that 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 dollars. Where are you gonna get that from a job, it's gonna 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 much easier. So you know, that's what being a CEO means to me.

Gresham Harkless 13:59

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, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Cheree Warrick 14:12

Sure, sure. So I just wanna invite everyone to come and join our community. It is free to sign up for our email list and get our E-book. It is So we're building 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 because we do believe in financial literacy and in building black wealth. Then when you're ready, we would love for you to become a member.

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. You'll have an opportunity to hear all the pitches on the platform and invest in any and all the businesses on the platform. So that is what membership gets you. Please just consider becoming a part of our ecosystem.

Gresham Harkless 15:21

Nice. I definitely appreciate that Cheree. What we'll do is we'll have the links and information in the show notes, and I appreciate you so much and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 15:30

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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