A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Christy Felix about her journey. Christy Felix is the CEO of uHustle. A university-based marketplace focused on giving students the tools to sell and market their side hustle. Christy Felix started the uHustle after she realized she was having trouble getting customers for her own hair braiding hustle. After growing the idea in various entrepreneurship classes and speaking with friends and colleagues she founded uHustle October of 2018. Christy Felix has also been awarded the opportunity to represent her university at the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit. A prestigious event only awards to those who are making great strides in their community. It was an honor and pleasure speaking with Christy, listen to her story here at STEAM Boston.

Check out the podcast below!

Transcript:


Kunle: All right in your eyes how has uHustle impacted not just like your school community, but also the community around you.

Christy: Yeah, that’s a good question the idea of Entrepreneurship and even the world’s is people starting these big Ideas like apps or technology or even like websites like mine, but I feel like uHustle showing people in Georgetown and outside of Georgetown that entrepreneurship is not just macro its micro.

entrepreneurship is not just macro its micro.

It’s people who start restaurants beauty salons or have contractor service like something like you know plumbing. I feel like uHustle opens people’s eyes to the kind of seeing that work as real work as well as hard as hustling which is why we use the word hustling.

We want people to see this is people working. Very very hard doing something on the side when they already have a full-time thing going on. So, I think the impact on the Greater Community is opening people’s eyes to what entrepreneurship really is and I just one side of it and also diversifying the images of Entrepreneurship that we have. It is usually white men starting something great. But there are a lot of people saying something great.

Kunle: Yeah, that’s a good segue to my next question being a woman of color in the industry can be very very tough in many different ways. But how was that like, how has that perspective kind of shaped the way you conduct your business around? uHustle?

Christy: That’s a good question. It’s very hard to get funding as a woman of color funding and VC or just even Angel Investors. It’s just very hard to get funding, but I did a lot of pitch competitions at my school and outside of my school that got me exposure and that exposure got me to more pitch competitions and in the span of three months.

I hustled enough to raise $13,000 for my business. And with $13,000 I start generating Revenue that’s never heard of like someone just raising thirteen thousand dollars, which is a very small amount like a might just be one amount for your friends and family round for most people but with $13,000 I started generating Revenue being in this position makes me work twice as hard and it makes you trust work twice as hard, but I’m getting really good results.

I hustled enough to raise $13,000 for my business. And with $13,000 I start generating Revenue that’s never heard of like someone just raising thirteen thousand dollars

This is an affirmation to me that I’m you know, I’m not someone that you can reckon with or walk pass I’m going to do something great because if I think Revenue with $13,000 imagine what I can do to $300,000. The whole point of view hustle is to support entrepreneurship and hustling and get people more exposure.

Christy: I’m not just doing it to get money. I’m doing it to help people. So, I’m using my resources the resources that already have to find ways to help people and that’s teaching me that when I do have the money. Eventually, I can find ways to do it to get more exposure for these Hustlers because I know how to hustle, and I know how to figure things out or work around things like not getting enough funding.

It definitely has shaped my idea of Entrepreneurship because I know a lot of people that look like we have good ideas but are not getting recognized for their good idea or too afraid to take that risk to put the work in for that idea.

They’re like, what’s the point? No one’s going to give me money anyway, I’m not going to get enough funding. My family can’t fund me and Etc. It’s just been hard to see it. I know uHustle has legs because my data shows me that the traction I had. I thought that the money that I would get would show me that as well, but it hasn’t and it’s just people don’t usually see people that look like me creating successful businesses, but I know that I can do it because I did it. I’m generating revenue with only a small amount of funding. Yeah.

Christy: But yeah, it’s it is tough though. There was this one woman I was talking to she is a woman of color and an entrepreneur. She went into this competition and she was speaking about how the competition was about making a product or service that would help women or trans woman and she didn’t win, and the other colored competitor didn’t win either.

You know won? A white man won because he made this product that would remove wrinkles out of clothes easily. It was a spray that would help like remove wrinkles and the judges said that he won because it would save women time in the morning without needing to iron their clothes anymore. They could just head to work and he won, and this is how he’s helping women advanced in their careers like what…

Kunle: But I’m glad you’re showing us like, even women of color in Industry can do it, can make it even with the resistance that they have nowadays it’s possible. It’s possible to do the things that you do if you have put in the work if you are willing to hustle.

Christy: Right. Exactly. Exactly.

Kunle: Let’s move on to the next section of Forbes. Forbes Under 30 Scholar. What is that? What is a Forbes Under 30 scholar? Can you explain that to us in your own words?

Christy: Yeah. So Forbes allows a thousand people in America to like go to the Forum 30 under 30 Summit for free you have to do an application and then you get chosen as the Forbes Under 30 scholars and they have like programming for you when you go to the summit and I think I’m going a week from tomorrow.

So being a Forbes Under 30 Scholars. Is being someone who eventually well, I think most people because I’m in the group chat with all of them. Most of them want to be honored for Forbes 30 Under 30. These are people who are willing to put in the work to network their way to that spot.

Nothing their shortcuts to it. The application asks questions like, why would you be a good fit to come to this summit? And I answered I’m going to be one of the honorees and I want to be able to see how the people that are getting honored made it.

I want to learn from them. I want to learn their successes their pitfalls and I want to learn how to get to that spot. So yeah, Forbes 30 Under 30 they did a really good job giving the students the space to go to like this huge conference. I was trying to go but tickets are like $600.

Yeah, so I’m happy. I’m getting to go for free but Forbes Under 30 Scholars like committee they really are doing a good job getting to go into these spaces. The Scholar application or the scholar program it’s supposed to be for people of underrepresented backgrounds. So mostly it should have been mostly like PO (People of Color) C students in college.

So yeah getting us into those spaces is huge.

Kunle: So it’s kind of a way to expose you to different Industries. What was the application process like? Did you have to apply online or would they come to you?

Christy: Someone sent a link and I just applied.

Kunle: What do you plan on doing there in terms of networking?

Christy: They have a lot of like programs for scholars. So, they have like meetings with people who were either honored before meeting us. We’re having networking events as well course, but also going to the workshops that they have they have a few people talking about how to better your business or how to maximize your Revenue. So, I’m definitely going to do that as well. Also, want to take a picture with Serena Williams

Kunle: Last question here. What kind of message do you want to give to the steam Boston community in terms of like hustling and like trying to balance work? You know, things like that.

Christy: Yeah, the main advice I want to give to people is don’t be scared to share your ideas. I think a lot of people believe that the idea is the biggest thing and if you share it and it goes away someone else starts it then you’re out of potentially a million dollars a billion dollars, but you never get to the next step without networking and talking to the person that’s going to help you.

Yeah, the main advice I want to give to people is don’t be scared to share your ideas.

I have cousins and friends say hey Christy, I have this good idea, but I don’t want to tell anyone because I don’t want to get it stolen. The idea is not the business the work you put into it is the business so you should not be afraid of talking to people you might talk to the right person and they might help you get to the next level and you wouldn’t know unless you talk.

So I like it was not afraid to talk about uHustle to people. One because I thought no one was going to believe in the idea. And then when I came to Georgetown a lot of them were like, okay. Yeah, this idea might work. And then I was like, okay. Can I talk to you about it? I talked to everybody I could from freshman to grad school.

Christy: You could go to, you can be an artist and I’m going to talk to you about it because everyone brings in new ideas that are going to push you to the next level and I put in that work to create the business because of the work is the business. Yeah, so I wasn’t afraid of talking about it. So, my advice to people who have a good idea talk about it to someone, not to your best friend talk to the person walking down the street from you.

There’s a very, I feel like everyone’s seems like it’s going to get stolen but I don’t think that there’s a very low chance of the person you’re going to talk to is willing to take the time out of their day to start an idea that they don’t have passion for. Your business runs on a passion for the first six months not even until you start generating revenue.

So there’s going to be very few people that are going to be passionate about your idea. Yeah, so that’s my main advice. Second, make graduating a priority because you never know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen with uHustle, but I know if it does fail or if I’m not the one to push it to the next level.

At least I have my degree to fall back on in a career that I have but it’s different for everybody. Of course, take the risk to start it if you want to take the risk to you know, not finish. Yeah, that’s fine, too. But for me, I value security and Financial Security since I’ve never had Financial Security, so that’s why I say finished College because it gives you that sense of security, career-wise, professionally, financially. So yeah.

Kunle: All right. That was Christy Felix, the founder, and CEO of uHustle and a Forbes Under 30 scholar, thanks for joining us. Thanks for being here today. Thanks for talking to me. I really appreciate it.


Website Links and relevant details

Visit uHustle: https://www.theuhustle.com

Thank you for listening/reading! This is part two of a two-part series. Be sure to follow STEAM Boston on all platforms for all updates @steamboston.

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