With the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out and some communities entering some semblance of normalcy, events are slowly starting to pick up around the nation. Accordingly, businesses have been trying to leverage on the renewed confidence people have to put their businesses out there and regain what they lost during the pandemic’s height. Leading the way for hundreds of small businesses is Hustlers Expo Events Inc., a pop-up shop event company that’s bringing many small businesses back to life.
The whole idea began when entrepreneur and “hustler” LaShonda Johnson started bringing together small groups of business owners in her area to sell, market, network, and collaborate through small pop-up shops and events. As a minority business owner, she knows the difficulties of running a small business in America.
Studies have shown a significant gap in the support given to African American entrepreneurs, especially during the pandemic. Refusing to go by quietly, LaShonda took it upon herself to do something about it. “As a small business owner, we don’t have the start-up cost, credit line, or loan approval to just jump into a storefront or office space, so I provided a temporary setting no contract, no rent, or utilities,” shares LaShonda Johnson. “We don’t require an LLC as some business owners like to test the market or product before committing to it.”
The Hustlers Expo founder and CEO began her entrepreneurial journey several years back. Her first business venture was a hair company called 360impressionz LLC. While LaShonda had the vision and passion, her lack of experience caused the business to flop, and she had to park it for the meantime. But what life packaged as a failure, the businesswoman saw as a learning opportunity. One of the most important things she learned through the process was the importance of mentorship and collaboration.
Jumping off her first venture with a renewed sense of hope, she launched Ask Shonda, a business coaching and consultancy brand that would help business owners on the vision and clarity side of entrepreneurship and empower aspiring business owners by providing encouragement, hope, and coaching both online and offline. The company would later branch out and provide graphic design services such as logo design, website development, and branding consultancy. LaShonda is also a certified credit specialist.
Overall, LaShonda has embodied a hustling dream chaser’s life and started Hustlers Expo to create a network of like-minded people. By doing this, she hopes to reach new levels of impact and influence, providing others with the opportunities she was void of initially. Consequently, up to 40 business owners at a time have participated in her many pop-up shop events. What started as a solution to a problem, events would start moving around to other neighboring cities in the area.
Today, LaShonda and her team at Hustlers Expo put their eyes on more incredible prizes as they gear up to launch many more events in the next few months, including a Young Entrepreneur Seminar, which will feature a line-up of seasoned entrepreneurs who will share their tips and secrets to launching successful businesses. LaShonda looks forward to the day where she will be able to launch events with up to five hundred exhibitors at a time.