In Conversation with Jimanekia Eborn of Tending The Garden
Describe your business in a few words?
Tending The Garden is a non profit that is focused on helping predominately marginalized sexual assault survivors.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I have worked in mental health facilities for years. What I saw wasn’t helpful, I saw more harm than good. I saw folks going in with different struggles and coming out worse. I wanted to create a space for healing where folks could find healing. As well as finding community I believe is really important to find others that understand you. And honestly I got tired of working for other people, that I continued to put hope into. That would just continue to fail me and do the same thing over and over again.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
My background is in mental health. I started going to school for criminal justice, after a lot of unfortunate events. Depression, anxiety, and I was raped. It kinda changed it all, and that is okay. I took time off and created my first business, a vintage clothing store online. And then I decided to go back to school for psychology that is when I started working in mental health facilities. I thought I had to be a therapist to do the work that I wanted to do with folks. I worked in a group home with juvenile sex offenders, a teen residential facility, eating disorders, all women’s facilities, and an intense trauma focused facility. While navigating towards the end and wanting to focus more that is when I decided I wanted to do sexuality education. Which led me to going back to school for my masters in Health Psychology
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes and no. Working for folks I always had ideas and wanted to be expansive. As I would recommend things to folks they would never take it into account. So I knew I had to do it myself or I would never see it. And no because, sometimes the imposter syndrome is the loudest voice in the room.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Honestly I did not have a plan. But, overall because of the times that we are in. I leaned and still do heavily on social media. I think what I have changed is my approach and focus.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Honestly, it was allowing too many folks to “pick my brain” for free. I was giving away tons of information and sharing my knowledge. And while yes that is okay in the right situations and circumstances. Folks were going and utilizing my ideas, my exact words and capitalizing off of me. With no recognition at all towards me.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Getting the retreat off the ground in a sense, having people believe in me is a big accomplishment. I know lots of folks jump into this and have no support, I had immense overwhelming support.
And I think it’s an accomplishment because oftentimes entrepreneurs get into our own heads, and in our own way sometimes. And I have been able to get over that hump and silence that voice.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I like to ask folks what they want to do in the future, as well as what their passions are. I think you have to have alignment in the work. I am hiring people for work and jobs.
Finding folks that have actual alignment with your overall goal and mission. They will show up differently. They will show up with purpose rather than just trying to get a check. It will show up in their work.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We were supposed to have our first in person retreat in April 2020, which of course we had to schedule which was a lot. On top of that the retreat center Imiloia refused to give us our money back. We had multiple lawyers going back and forth. But could not afford to any longer, so we lost $30,000 in fundraised and donated money.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We are looking to be expansive, when Covid allows me to do in person retreats. each retreat focused on a different marginalized identity within sexual assault. We are going to be doing only events such as a summit we are doing in April 2021. We are looking to do more educational things, and support as well. And so much more, that I cannot share yet. But, I am super excited and looking forward to being able to help more folks.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
That it is okay to ask for help and let people help you.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I mean everything right? But, I wish I had known more about what it takes and the different things that you need to know such as taxes, contracts, finances.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I have been really big into using my “NO”. If I do not think that what I am doing is going to serve me and or do not feel like doing it. I just say no.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I do, honestly we can’t function to our best capacity if we do not have balance. Give yourself permission to say no to things and take breaks.If you need to schedule them in, do it. Have at least 1-2 days where you are not working. AND ACTUALLY DO NO WORK on those days.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
Haha I always love questions like this. I am a HUGE Pro wrestling fan.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Use a calendar.
- Schedule breaks.
- Step away from your computer for a bit.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means having constant gratitude for where I have been, where I am at and where I am going.