Updated: May 21, 2020
Many of us are entrepreneurs with businesses functioning as a side-hustle, but let’s face it, we all are not ready to quit our 9- to-5 just yet. At some point, you are going to have to bet on myself and take a risk. It was midnight on a Wednesday, when my friend Angel Washington took hers and sent an email that would change the trajectory of her career and shape the rest of her future. Washington had been working in the medical industry for 20 years when she realized her true value in the industry. After a conversation with her husband, she had the final push she needed to send her boss her resignation email-- effective immediately! By that Friday, Consult2Code was in business and Washington had already secured 3 clients. Today, Consult2Code is providing medical billing and consulting services to hospitals and care centers throughout Cleveland, OH. Like the majority of business owners, Washington is looking for new ways to grow her business this year and after winning 1st place at Collinwood’s Chain Reaction (her second pitch competition win since starting her business) she is read to do just that.
Before she was winning pitch competitions, Angel funded her business by engaging with her network and entering trade shows. Unfortunately, with participating in trade shows, there are a lot of associated costs for founders. Usually, you need to pay for registration, a booth, and marketing swag to give away. At the beginning, Washington’s family was her main financial support system when it came to funding these events. In addition to money, they provided the motivation and support needed to keep her going during those times when she felt burnt out. Along with the financial capital, funding a venture requires people-capital.Founders this is need a community of people that will inspire, educate, and grow with their business.
Along with Collinwood’s Chain Reaction, Angel has also won Jumpstart’s Core City: Cleveland Competition and she does not fail to mention how valuable these two wins were to getting Consult2code to where it is now. In 2020, she is moving out of her co-working space and into her own office unit. This year, she also plans to bring in multiple revenue streams by ramping up her education program for healthcare providers. Additionally, she is creating jobs in Cleveland by hiring new employees to help fulfill all the new initiatives at Consult2Code.
Washington’s story is even more triumphant when you look at the odds she is facing. As a Black woman living in Cleveland, she is living in the worst possible city for her economic outcomes. Yet, Washington tells a different narrative. In her community, she sees Black women starting successful businesses everyday. She does recognize that there are challenges, but argues that the true issue is in the lack of access to knowledge and resources.
“In the beginning [...] you’re just busy trying to get your business off the ground --but you don’t even know how to successfully do that. You don’t know that there are resources that will help you for free. A lot of times people reach out to resources that cost when they don’t have to.”
If you want more information on resources for entrepreneurs in Cleveland, listen to Angel’s interview on the Founders Get Funds podcast! Additionally, Washington is becoming a resource herself. She was recently gifted a Women in Entrepreneurship Certification course at Cornell University from Tory Burch. Like a true leader, she plans to share her knowledge by helping entrepreneurs in her community.