Rachel Rodgers is the founder of the business coaching and membership community, Hello Seven. Her firm helps women entrepreneurs to scale up their business from $100, 000 to $1 million-plus. However, just like many other businesses, particularly Black businesses, her firm was not spared by the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many of her clients were losing revenues and job security, which meant that they were not in a stable financial position to continue with their $3,000 annual membership fee. This compelled Rodgers and her team to reduce their subscription fee from $3000 to $300 in order to stay in business and also mitigate against the pandemic.
“We had to change everything, from how the membership worked to the technology we use on the site,” the 38-year-old told CNBC Make It, “but I’m glad we did it and I’m grateful we’re in this place now offering something that’s more accessible.”
The decision did not only help Rodgers to stay in business but it also increased membership subscription. She reportedly started 2020 with 60 members and ended the year with 1,800 new members. This also helped Rodgers to hit a milestone in June, raking in $1 million in revenue from within a month-long timespan, according to CNBC.
She said, “Some clients were upset we created the new offering. We could have waited around to see what would happen in the next quarter, but then it became clear the pandemic wasn’t going to be a short-term thing. The year required us to change how we deliver our services to serve the audience we wanted to serve. We’ve seen it was the right thing to do.”
“That’s not to say there’s one business model that’s best in the time of Covid-19. What we did was listen to customers. We heard them, saw their actions, and engaged in conversations to learn what they needed given the way the world is right now,” she added.
At the time Rodgers was feeling the effect of the pandemic, she was also among some of the leading advocates against racism and racial injustice in America. Following the killing of George Floyd, she chanced upon online conversations in small business forums she felt were not enough to uncover racism.
She decided to be at the forefront of calling for an end to racism and also calling out what she felt was performative allyship from white businesses, according to CNBC. This led her to launch the Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge to support and help promote Black businesses.
“I’m proud of using my voice to speak out about things that matter to me rather than suffering in silence, which is what I’ve been doing pretty much my whole life,” she said. “Last year I decided to participate in conversations about racism and racial justice in this country, and talk about what I’m experiencing and getting loud about it. This kind of confrontation has to work its way into our daily lives and become something we are willing to do every day.”