368: How Khadijah Polly Perfected Popcorn And Philanthropy With Her Side Hustles

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368: How Khadijah Polly Perfected Popcorn And Philanthropy With Her Side Hustles

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This week I invited back Khadijah “Kay” Polly, who I first spoke to in 2019. Khadijah is the owner of Kay’s Kettle Corn, a gourmet popcorn company in Houston. In addition to her popcorn company, Khadijah is the founder of Ankara Beauty, a social enterprise that sources fair trade all natural ingredients for beauty products from women owned cooperatives and solo entrepreneurs in African countries.

 In this episode she shares:

  • How she scaled her popcorn side hustle large enough to fund other ventures
  • Why she prioritizes living a life of ease and how she does it while running multiple enterprises 
  • How supporting women entrepreneurs in African countries has wildly grown her business 

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Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:00

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Hey friends, welcome welcome back to the show. Today in the guest chair. I have an update episode with Khadijah Polly. She's a graduate of Grambling State University and is the owner of Kay's Kettle Corn, a gourmet popcorn company based in Houston, Texas. She is also a speaker as well as a specialty foods business coach. In addition to her popcorn company. Khadijah is a passionate travel and social impact enthusiast. She is the founder of Ankara beauty, a social enterprise that sources Fairtrade all natural ingredients for beauty products from women owned cooperatives and solo entrepreneurs in African countries. I can't wait for you to hear this update all about why Khadija decided to start a whole other business, how she was able to fund it, how she approaches it and so much more. Let's get right into it.

Khadijah, welcome welcome back to the guest here. I'm so happy to have you here.

Khadijah Polly 2:15

Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to to be here. And it's been three years.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 2:22

More than that, has it been? Well, okay, at least three years, no, for going on for 2019. Like, it's so hard to count these days, because the years were just so crazy. But when he reached out, I was so happy. And I didn't even know that you had started this whole other business. So to catch you guys up, you know, Khadija was in the guest chair already, we'll link to the episode with her business case, kettle corn. Amazing story at the time, you side hustled, while you were working in recruitment, and ultimately grew it to the point where you were like, I have to go full time. So let's pick up from there. What happened with case kettle corn from that point.

Khadijah Polly 3:03

So 2019 was like one of my biggest years, I started the company in 2013, officially, right? And so I was like, I need to do this full time and was just grinding it out. Just that silent work in the background, I ended up with some really big contracts. And I just it's like, wow, I literally started from my kitchen, right into the warehouse, and then I'm in stores. And then I'm like, okay, business, the business is where it should go. And then we went from $500 a month to literally like months where we have $30,000. And so I'm like, okay, so what do I do with this and being able to work with family has been amazing. And because my mom's retired, her sister's retired, so I was so fortunate to have that support. And I think that's a really big part of why I'm successful in the way that I am. And so 2019, which was my biggest year, and then the next year was a pandemic. So it's like, well, what are we doing now? Right? Because right, my companies were business to business, everyone was working from home. So I had to pivot. So I went back to what I was doing. When I first started direct to customer, you know, I'm literally doing delivery on my own Uber Eats basically right, and I saw wave delivering on Wednesdays, See more at home, they're watching movies, you know, ordering. And so I focused on Houston a lot, because nobody knew what was going to happen, right? And so in 2020 You know the world shut down. So I'm like, Okay, what am I gonna do and I was on the verge of buying like this equipment that was like $100,000 because I had to scale up my business. September I literally was in Vegas for PAC Expo.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:52

You see me my mouth is open. Y'all gotta check this out on YouTube. You said that and my mouth stayed open because I want to know what was $100,000 equipment going to help you do.

Khadijah Polly 5:02

It was going to help me scale up. So we're still doing everything by hand. So except for poppin. So I was able to scale up to get bigger popcorn machines, but it's like, okay, the longest time takes to bag the popcorn. And so it's like, Okay, how are we going to increase business? Because I'm the face of my business. I'm out here, we're getting orders. How are we going? What's the next step? And the next step for me was doing the research going to the pack expos a huge event in Vegas. And I was like, Okay, I'm gonna be able to finance this machine next year, next year rolls around, and I want to spin in that Monday night, you know, because so many unknown. And so I just, like I said, I went back to what I was doing when I first started, you know, straight to the customer, because nobody knew what was going to happen.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:52

Were you doing any shipping at that point? Or just delivery? I was shipping. But

Khadijah Polly 5:57

if we remember, I don't like to get into much politics. But it was like so much going on with the post office. Right? Remember that time a lot of small businesses felt that that thing? So then I had to, you know, look at other options. So I had to change up a lot of stuff with the unknown of what's going to happen. Right. But yeah, shipping was part of it. And then it was just that, and thankfully, I get it, depending on how you look at it. I lived in Texas, so it was a little bit looser. You know, we were right. No.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 6:39

That is so interesting, because I didn't realize you had pivoted so much to business to business, and then had to scale back. Did you have any business clients hang on at all like to surprise and delight their workers by sending them popcorn?

Khadijah Polly 6:52

Yeah, so what we did exactly what it was, you know, they wanted to keep that a little piece of, you know, Employee Appreciation going. So we were sending straight to their customers to take straight to their employees, which was a big deal, because now we go from delivering, you know, 100 boxes to an office to having to ship to multiple addresses. Yeah, more work, more work, more work. But it was all it was all good. It was all good. It was a learning curve. But it was all good. And the biggest client that I had stayed on. And so they again, it was an event, but partly because it's Texas, you know, they're not Texas, so we're very entrepreneur friendly here.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:42

Well, right. I'm happy for that for you. I'm happy for that, you know, because I want your business to survive and thrive and all of that good stuff. And I'm curious, having a perishable product as well. How did that play into your shipping costs? Well, we've always said, Well, I meant that so far as with the delays, so you had to factor it, okay, if this doesn't get to them, you know, how long have a shelf life does it have before we have to reship them something if it if it gets delayed

Khadijah Polly 8:15

too long. So fortunately, it's a three week shelf life, it's a little bit longer, but I prefer to tell my customers three weeks because that's when it's the most fresh. And that's when I know you know your product when it starts to taste different. But the baggie, and the packaging is really what makes a difference. So you have bags that are specific for snack food, you have a long shelf.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:38

So now coming out, okay, so as the pandemic tapered off, what changed? What did you hang on to? In terms of your business? What did you stick with? And what did you say, Okay, I don't have to do that no more. I'm not gonna do that.

Khadijah Polly 8:51

While I love my direct customers, like I'll do, especially by my alumni who have been there since day one. It's funny, everyone who calls me that has been referred to here. So they're like, oh, they'd been down since black labels. So lets people down black labels, I will always forever do events with them. I just prefer the one customer the one check the corporate, you don't have Yes, 200 pagans, you don't have your like, and they're getting it free from work, so they don't care. So as long as the person writing the check or placing the order is happy. That's who I'm focused on.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 9:31

Understand, listen, I understand how do you gain those clients?

Khadijah Polly 9:36

So because I've been in a I am in a sorority, and at the age that we are our big age where, you know, we're leaders, we're managers, so we're still have those corporate cards that we're spending right? I focus on event planners, again, the people who can get me directly to the most customers. My Event Planner is my one customer but you know, they're ordering for their events. So my thing is Decision makers who are the HR managers before employee appreciation? Or the event planners?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:07

And do you have a certain number of clients you aim to keep on your roster? So you can make a certain projected amount each year?

Khadijah Polly 10:15

Yes, I, my big clients who do the 20,000 bucks orders those people, I always try to keep happy. And I always follow up with a backup, I tried to ask for two people on an email, because people change, you know, jobs often. But because I built that reputation and the employees who have been there the longest, don't don't request it, you know, for their events. So I try to keep you know, the big contracts, for sure. And my event planners who are super busy, event planners don't stray away from the people that they know, if they know you make great cakes, they're gonna stick to their cake lady there, if you didn't know you were, they need Papa. So those are the people that I make sure that I keep on my roster.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:00

And I love the fact that you have such a tasty product that does half the work for you in terms of, oh, once they taste that they're hooked. They're coming back, their employees are gonna keep asking What about what Nevertheless, he gave us that popcorn. So that is part of it as well. Now, what made you want to start another business?

Khadijah Polly 11:25

You know, so again, the pandemic, it was so many unknowns, and it was so much going on. And it was just heavy, like the US felt heavy. Especially, it was my family in California where they were like on lockdown. And then Texas. You know, and so we're living in two different worlds. You know, I live in Houston. So, you know, people pay potential a bit more, but it was just like the bumping of the head, like, should we wear masks or not, and it was just too much. And then that's when we had the racial injustice came to a head with George ployment. The US just felt heavy. And I was like, I gotta get out of here. Like, what am I gonna do? Where can I go? That I can do? Am I allowed to go? Where am I allowed to go? Where can I afford to go? Where am I gonna have a direct flight, you know, and so I just kept coming back to Ghana. So in 2019 When I started, that was my second trip to Ghana. When I talked to you, it was my very first trip. So 2019 I kind of started Ankara beauty because when I left, you know people like Oh, bring me something bag, bring me shea butter, bring me shea butter, and like shea butter is heavy. It's like, you know, we're only a lot of 50 pounds. And so I was growing Instagram, you know, I've used social media in a way that has really benefited in a positive way. Because, you know, there's a lot of stuff you can do on social media. But I ended up finding a woman on cooperatives in Northern Ghana that produces the shea butter. And so I was she, I was just following her and she posted something about a school build that they were doing was for whatever reason, I just emailed inbox her and I was like, How can I help? You know? And so she was just like, oh, well, you know, they need shoes. And so I reached out to my friends, and I add shoes, and then I got school supplies. And then it just it just turned from there from me buying the shea butter from her, and then supporting her cause as well. And then my friends want to support them through me. And so I'm just literally the vessel.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 13:36

So tell us a little bit more about what exactly Ankara beauty does and how you started it.

Khadijah Polly 13:42

Okay, so Ankara beauty, we're a social enterprise, that sources, all natural beauty products from women on cooperatives, and African countries and social entrepreneurs as well. And so we use primarily import shea butter from Northern Ghana in a village called Saba lagoon. And so with that the proceeds we were helping smelling along, build this school, those are going to be for the children whose mothers make shea butter. And so in 2020, I went up there to actually see the process. And I'm in a very curious person, and a storyteller. So immediately, I wanted to figure out how to tell these women's stories because I've been using shea butter since I was a child and didn't really know how it was made. And so, for me the best medium that I could use to not only get more customers for myself, which is more customers from them, put it in a story form, and then that's where the social impact part came. Every year. I'm literally bringing shoes were given a lady's money, and it just it just spiraled from there. And so since I go to Ghana, every year for the past five years, I would Do my schedule to do a layover in another African country. And then I would find a woman uncooperative there, or are solo entrepreneurs there to buy items from because what happened was like, say, for instance, this necklace, I'll just be talking like, oh, yeah, I mean, you know, gonna be like, where did you get that? I don't want that, you know, because again, we're at home, they're living vicariously through me. And so I'm like, Okay, well, I gotta go find how can I get 50 of these, right, and so I'm out there. And then I turned into the uncarved Beauty Box, which is they're beautiful items that are handmade items, from women owned cooperatives and solo entrepreneurs throughout the country that I put in a box. And you'll have something from Kenya, just depending on where I have. So you'll always have a shea butter, you'll always have the rose water from Morocco, you'll always have the clay from Morocco, you'll always have the argan oil, those are the staple products that are always going to be in the box. But when I stopped on to these other countries, I'm picking up like, the purse from Togo, that we had to do several reorders for because people just love it. And you know, there'll be people buy from who they like, and it's the story behind.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:23

Okay, I have two questions. First, when you say you wanted to share these stories, how are you sharing them now? Okay,

Khadijah Polly 16:31

so right now, i OS via social media and through the Ankara beauty box. So when you first open the beauty box there is I was very intentional about this. And it's something that is probably one of the most things that I'm so proud of, in addition to purchasing the product. But I just had an idea because it's a handmade product. And I wanted the ladies to sign their names on this paper so that every box, when you open the box, this is there, right. And it didn't occur to me that some of the women have never signed their name of their like older. They don't that because of disparities in education. And so all of this came to a head right there when I'm just literally asking them to sign their name. And so they're just they either their husbands have always signed their name, or they've had no reason to sign your name. And these are women that have been from the ages of 20 years old to 70 years old. And some people have literally never signed their name. So and they have a marking that they'll do on like a lot of their and this is the specifically in the village of South LuBu, which is Northern Ghana, it's about a 12 hour drive from Accra, which is a trick, it's a bit remote. That's how I'm telling their stories by literally bringing their hand written, even if they cannot travel to the US or travel to wherever I'm sending this back. And their stories are in that box.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:02

And speaking of this box, so that's my second question. So when you tell me Oh, you happen across these products, my mind is racing, I'm thinking, what scale? Are you doing these boxes at? So are you physically in Kenya? Like give me you know, 50 of those necklaces? Yeah. Or do you make a relationship and have the you know, work out the shipping? So you get even more? Because you can't bring everything back yourself? Or can you? So it's both

Khadijah Polly 18:30

it's so bold, when I'm there telling the stories on social media, like it's almost like a vlog, you know? And I'm like, Oh, I'm here. And I literally are like, how can I get enough sitting there and literally negotiating on camera or like negotiating? Like just telling the stories like how people try it. And if I had to get over the negotiating part, like they negotiate, that's just what is what it is. They're not trying to get up there without you we have the foreign tax, but that's kind of a it's just part of it, right? And so I need 100 of these and I tried to stick to like smaller items that don't weigh a lot. So it's a lot of the jewelry or if it's if it's the person's their light, and I can stuff stuff inside of them. And I traveled with some stuff. And yeah, like I've literally bring some chairs back from Rwanda, like I stuck my clothes in the box. It's just been an amazing journey to meet the women's stories and I do buy from some men as well. But in particular, I focus on the women just because of the like working with the women in Ghana. The story is pretty similar to other women in other African countries.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 19:43

And how often are the boxes released and where are they produced?

Khadijah Polly 19:47

So I bring everything back here and we package everything here like shea butter, I just literally repackaged it shea butter I do get shipped here and we also it started a bigger collection of the of the shea butter collective were other shea butter owners were like in here splitting up the cost of this so that we can get the benefit. Because, you know, I know I gotta basically have the plug and so that gets shipped here the stuff from Morocco gets shipped here like the drums of argan oil and rosewater, but everything else is literally am I sick because I'm a backpack traveler, so I don't really need a lot of room for clothes. So that's how

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:29

so then the actual physical boxes, there's something where you order those online and then they come to you and you put them together with all the products that you receive.

Khadijah Polly 20:37

Yes, and then we ship it out that way.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:43

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So as far as startup costs, what what did it really cost to get this business started? And what's been your experience with losing versus making money versus breaking even.

Khadijah Polly 21:37

So fortunately, I'm able to do pre order. So say for instance, since I've been going to go to every year in December, you kind of know that this box was gonna come when she gets back, and they pre ordered two months in advance. And once it's sold out and sold out, I have like a number in mind. And once they're gone, they're gone. And then I do have make connections. So you have the boxes at a certain number. Yeah, I kept the boxes at a certain amount. Like I figure out how much we're going to donate for this project like, Okay, right now we desk. Next we need wiring. Next we need, you know, that's how we do

Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:10

so is this completely like for this is a complete nonprofit social impact enterprise that you're running.

Khadijah Polly 22:18

No is a social enterprise, which means I do make a profit on it. But a portion of the proceeds do go. So right now we're helping build the school, which is the exact same thing that the shea butter collective does there. So a portion of their proceeds go towards that and then towards building the school. But we do have social impact projects that are separate, which is drilling of the borehole that we're currently doing that all of those funds specifically go for the building of the school specifically go for the drilling of the borehole. Yeah. So that the oncology Social Impact Fund,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:55

and how big is the team now for Ankara? Beauty overall, both the fund and all the different facets of it.

Khadijah Polly 23:01

It's my niece and myself. And so I try not to overcomplicate things. And because it's there's drops, right. And so I don't do it all year, but it's a big impact when I do it. So over the past five years, we've done six boxes, but that's just from the boxes. The Shea butter is ongoing, continuing.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 23:24

You know what I love about you is you you do have that that mindset of let's not overcomplicate this, people want popcorn, let's give it to them, let's find the best bags, let's find the best formula. And boom, let's let's go out there and give it to the people they want this and overcomplicating and thinking too much about what you need to do, can stop a lot of us in our tracks. So you know, what's your secret to not getting caught up in the weeds and overcomplicated and stuff before you take steps?

Khadijah Polly 23:55

Oh, I don't want to say lazy because I'm absolutely not lazy. But I value my time. Like once I got laid off before and it's just like, I was doing a lot of stuff. Right? And this is like, I'm glad that my foundation is here. You know, I'm able to do certain things. But he's like, man, I've been on the sidelines, era for a minute like

Nicaila Matthews Okome 24:23

Right, right, right. And Easylife to starts with deciding what kind of life you want to live and how much is that gonna cost? So a lot of people are in the rat race because they are mistakenly feeling like I just need millions and millions and millions and millions. And when you come down to it, like when you really come down to it. What do you want in your life, like, what do you really want? And what does it take to get that and that's where that soft life comes in.

Khadijah Polly 24:51

Right? And it looks different for everyone to be able to go down for two months. Yes. And so that's what it looks like for Me, right?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:01

I want to pick up and go anywhere I want to go anytime I want, right, you know that that, to me is priority above everything else, right? But at the same time you do run a business. So how do you balance what you're doing and the traveling you need to do with case kettle corn?

Khadijah Polly 25:18

And this kind of goes back to your earlier question is like, what do I keep? And what do I lose after the pandemic? When did I go away? I like to schedule so because I work with, you know, bigger companies with bigger orders, they have to plan months out. So I really know what my big orders are going to be everything else my team can take care of. Right? And then for Ankara beauty, I know that I'm going to be in Africa, I'm gonna stop in Egypt, I'll do some shopping in Egypt, you know, enjoy Egypt. When I get back, this is how many boxes I have to ship out that Luke and I don't mean to make it sound so simple, but it's that simple.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:59

I work on I guess you're making it sound simple. I'm not even sound simple. I'm glad you are illustrating how simple it can be. So I think it gets complicated when if you were to just be in this to I wanted to overextend yourself to maximize money, right to maximize and you can say, alright, as many people who want to order, I'll take it, and I'll figure out how I'm filling these boxes later. Right. But you kept it. So that is a huge decision to make as an entrepreneur, why do you make that decision?

Khadijah Polly 26:33

Um, honestly, because mental health illness runs deep in my family, right. And so I'm always conscious of that. I'm not stressing myself out for blank for, like, my mental health is my main priority. enjoy my time. And I like the impact that I can make the small impact that I'm making, it helps so much, because me even just doing popcorn, I literally brought my worldly pot, the pot that I started with here, I took that to garland pack. And the popcorn. Because you know we have a lot in the diaspora my friends there who followed me for years, you know, and they're like, when you got to bring us popcorn. And I'm like, Well, I don't just remember the PA and I live with their making popcorn. So kind of connections and I was able to teach the ladies How to Make popcorn. For the time things don't have shea butter orders because popcorn is big there as well as the kernels are different. You know, I was working with different even YouTubers who reached out to me, Ivan prosper reached out to me to help mentor a young college student there who wanted to start a popcorn company. So we met up and I show them how to do it and I'm not still connect with him to this day. So those are the types of impacts that I'm making that I'm just like, I'm on the right track. Now in the event a huge order will come in, I still will do pre orders is the gym basically a lot of people do drops. I'm not the first person to do a drop, you know. And so you can plan up until this when it's gone. It's gone.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:22

And how did you start marketing the business? Now I know you're always talking about the the sorority the deltas, I know you can't just keep hitting up the national like, Hey, I got a new business. Shout out to t nine. So how did you go about launching this one and marketing? It was

Khadijah Polly 28:41

77 of my life? Well, no, but because because I've been the face of my company on social media, just building those followers and then they'll see like, what are you up to now? Like how she and they're inquisitive. Like how are you able to be in Africa? Oh, well, this is how you know. So social media has been huge for that even though it's a popcorn I kind of like have been my own brand in a way because like I'm like super random and people like they're not shocked by anything that I do right now.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 29:18

When you talk about social media you talking about your personal account, or on Kirby's account on my personal account and I'm like hey go Yeah, cuz you don't have an Instagram for them right?

Khadijah Polly 29:29

It's wrong Harvey is not as big as mine outscoring account but I do have one. So now I am my own personal brand. And so I post both content on the same page. Because Okay, and then I'm like, you know,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 29:46

right. And that just reminds me to a lot of people will ask me about this and okay, there's some nuance to it, right? Personal Brand, business, all this other stuff. The short answer is it's not a Easy yes or no, because it's gonna be different for everybody, whether you post stuff, personal stuff on your personal brand page or whatever, it really depends on the business, your personality, if it makes sense and all that good stuff. So I'm glad you bring that up because it's really a case by case kind of thing. But the overall thing I want to stress is, which is the theme of you know, cuz he just life in this episode is, don't overthink and don't stress, if it's stressing you out to think about it, just do what is the least stressful for you right now, if that's posting both cool post both, and then as your business grows, and you see the need to branch out, and let's do that, but do not let this stress yourself out. Because it's just social media guys.

Khadijah Polly 30:47

It's just social media. And I do understand because I have a marketing background. But I understand the need for you know, the separation, but also depends on how you launch as well. If people don't know that you're doing it, you're gonna have to pay for ads, you're gonna add something.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:06

And in the beginning, you have to keep driving people to your page when you're building it up, you know, if you do a separate brand page anyway, you have to keep talking about it on your page, to drive people to it. Yeah, so I get it, I get it completely, you know, having that, that marketing lens, but I think we stress ourselves too much. And I don't know who made up these rules. But I like that saying the rules are fake. Because we keep living by these mythical rules that we think exists that we don't really know who made them. Sometimes they're in a book, but it's like, who made those people the authority because they might not even be alive no more. Or they're not living in the time where you know, threads and spilled just came out, like talk to me about that marketing professor. Oh, you can't then I can't listen to your rules. Okay. Keep us going too fast. You cannot just keep going by like books that were written decades ago. So I digress. Thank you all for following that tangent. Now, let's bring it back a little bit. So how big is the case cattle quarantine right now? And how big do you want it to get?

Khadijah Polly 32:13

When we have our huge orders? It's five of us on a team, my aunt and my mom's who are retired my niece and nephews myself. They can run that in their sleep, we've been doing it and then for Ankara beauty, I bring people in so a lot of this stuff is contract. How big do I want to get? You know, I My mom always speaks it into like, or more I read Bakker like creators. Numbers. Right? And for me, I It's sometimes it can get a little daunting, right? Because I don't want to overcomplicate stuff. Oh no, I kind of am liking how it's going right now. And it's like, I tell this to people all the time. People because you are entrepreneur does not mean you have to out the gate. million dollars or nothing. Right? It's like we have people who literally will work a job for 20 years and retire at 75,000. So and there's nothing wrong with that. Why is it because I have to be I'm an entrepreneur, I'm expected to be a millionaire. It doesn't have to be that I would absolutely love that. And I feel like that's absolutely the direction that I'm going towards. But I want to be able to do it on my path on my terms within reach within Oh, wait ways to make money. And again, my time is so valuable to me. And once I realized that I'm not sacrificing the beginning. I'm just not empowered. It's fun learning with shea butter, I get to travel the world

Nicaila Matthews Okome 33:52

preach, preach. Let's talk about this because yes, you're so right. I never thought about it like that. But you're so right when you're working a job like nobody's checking your pockets in the same way like you, you better be a millionaire by the time you retire. But all of a sudden, you start a business and it's like, you know, seven figure this seven figure back in two years, or one year and I might be part of the problem too. But anyway with some of the entrepreneurs that have been on here, but it is inspirational, but at the same time first of all, you might be a millionaire in Ghana right like you you you might be a millionaire somewhere else in the quality of life you want you take what you have you go there and you will be thriving like we just had my guest, Laurie Tharp's talking about moving to Spain and she's how she's thriving and her son is going to school, his college costs $2,000 a year, like money is different in different places. So happiness looks different for different people too. And I hope from this show, we can start to change that a little bit if it's gone down that path and I'm going to switch it up a little bit. It makes sure you understand that money is not the only goal. And being a millionaire is not the only goal because happiness looks different for everyone. And it doesn't mean you're shortchanging yourself, but that there's a thin line as well. Because I always want to make sure people are aiming for the stars and not thinking, Oh, like that could never be me. Because that's something that afflicts our community sometimes to like, oh, that's, you know, that's them. That's Kim Kardashian, who could start a billion dollar business. That can't be me, but it can be us.

Khadijah Polly 35:31

But you know, it's interesting that you say that, because I still sometimes have imposter syndrome. Right? And listening, when I listened to your podcast, I'm like, Oh, my God, that sounds so great. You know, so like, those are like, 30 grand a month is nothing to sneeze at what I you know, salutely like, your first orders are nothing to sneeze at. Like, this is what I'm setting up the tables to, you know, my name is Buchan and these rooms, too. And I'm like, Oh, they're talking about me. And so And oftentimes, I feel like I have to keep doing something like, Okay, what's my next project? What's my next project? And I'll slow down with that. Now, that's the biggest thing that I learned during the pandemic was like, you can go back to this episode like this. I did this episode in 2019. When I get those Jan's, I'm kind of on a tangent here. But I do know that you are doing in its there, right? That was 2019. From popcorn, the amount of people even if it was just an idea for them, for them to listen to your podcast, and reach out. And the first thing they always tell me is it was so relatable, and I didn't, it wasn't some far fetched idea,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 36:46

right? It's so simple. It's so simple. And every day people start things that are simple, that are needed in society. And I think we forget that because nowadays, we use it so much that we don't think about it, we don't think about Kleenex, we don't think about band aids, we don't think about, like all these simple things that pencils, or you know, as a mom, everyone, I still don't know, I need to look it up the person who made those blankets, that every single infant gets wrapped in, in the household things, simple things are needed in life. And so I that's why I love talking to you and other black women entrepreneurs. And that's always been my goal with this show, is to make entrepreneurship relatable and not this really complex thing. It's not just about this sort, that one picture we always see Silicon Valley, Vc, Vc VC, like that's it. Like that's the only way to be an entrepreneur. And it's just not it's just not

Khadijah Polly 37:44

the pre orders are huge. pre orders, pre orders, pre orders. That's how I find Dr. worried

Nicaila Matthews Okome 37:50

though, does it get challenging? Do you ever worry like, what if I can't fulfill this pre order? Right?

Khadijah Polly 37:57

Well, so for me with specifically with Ankara visa, I won't buy. So I'm not going in the hall, I'm already on vacation, I was going anyway. For popcorn, that's a little different, because that's my money, right? It's like, when the border slow down, especially now they're actually looking back again, they're slowing because people are getting laid off. So not only are they not working from the office, they're not working at all. And so that's been busy. So I'm having to look to see, like, Okay, what am I going to do now? But okay, I'm leaning on the philanthropy part, like the social impact part because that brings me joy. So it'll come back around. And if it doesn't, I'll figure something else out. I'll get a job. Right. Not the end of the world.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 38:44

Yeah. And did the popcorn business help to fund your philanthropy with Ankara beauty?

Khadijah Polly 38:50

Yes. Specifically, specifically, that's the only way I was able to go to Ghana for two months. Because, okay, my biggest orders are in November, October in July, right. And so I was able to pay for housing all of that and just not worry about it because I didn't miss a beat because of how my schedule is. Right? So the only thing that would have changed is if I stayed which I've thought about several times

Nicaila Matthews Okome 39:18

back and forth. I see you moving eventually, like i don't know i don't i don't see your US soil forever. Speaking of that, you're such as free spirit. Well, I see you as a free spirit but also about your business and you know, your ducks are in a row. So how do you at this stage deal with the more serious aspects of running a business such as you know, paying yourself an official salary, paying your employees deciding how much to take from the business because you know, that's taxed and all that good stuff. How do you approach that? Are you taking a salad I'm

Khadijah Polly 39:53

so glad you said that because initially it was just like, Okay. I will, you know, have your business count and then you've transferred to your personal account, outsource the stuff you don't want to do. There are so many programs and apps and companies now outsource that stuff that you don't want to do. I thought it's a lot of stuff to do that I know I want to be. I only send invoices, I don't want to outsource the stuff that you if you're in a position now it's a little less expensive than a lot less expensive. Actually, no, what I hear

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:29

a lot of companies popping up. So do you have that competition factor that helps with the cost? But like, what did you find? Are you working with like an app or a company that does your

Khadijah Polly 40:39

bookkeeping? I saw a woman entrepreneur hear that. She's an accountant. And you know, they're they're doing bookkeeping services, tech services, look into your network or listen to your podcast, there's so many ways to do it, and I got caught up on that. And you also are stuck. You don't want to

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:00

find a Lancer outsource, okay,

Khadijah Polly 41:03

spend the money. You can.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:06

I'm in the midst of it right now. And I'll update you guys as I navigate this process of just really outsourcing it all because outdoor seating requires this responsibility of getting your stuff together to show somebody right. So it can be a little bit daunting in that sense, too. But once you do it one time, you're good. You're set up and moving forward. You know,

Khadijah Polly 41:27

and again, because we have the x and the best thing that ever happened to me was when you swipe your card and they're like email receipt or printer that's like the best thing I wish I would do that. That's my preferred like order stuff online because then I could just search the company thankfully use certain like for major companies that literally it for popcorn oil sugar, like that's it. Oh, good. I can sort easily to find it. But before

Nicaila Matthews Okome 41:57

Yeah, I don't know how people did it when they literally had to hold on to every paper receipt. Oh my gosh. All right. So before we jump into the lightning round, I'm curious to know how you want to move forward with case kettle corn and Ankara beauty and how you envision your life as an entrepreneur looking.

Khadijah Polly 42:16

So I definitely want to keep ks kettle corn. I do want to branch out into beverage, like lemonade and teas love lemonade and teas. And that's another part of like showing on social media mean making drinks and people like Oh, can you make that for me that viscous tea and you know the cell below those things like that, and it goes with the popcorn. So that's an extra case kettle corn. As far as Ankara beauty I'm really going to focus on the social impact part. Like I said, I'm once we get this drill, this borehole drilled, I'm doing that every year, once. But I'm taking a trip a group of people in February to go so I'm going to do small tours on the agriculture side, the shea butters towards to the village because a lot of people just don't know how it's made. And it's so interesting for me, I'm just like said I'm a curious person. So that's what's next for on harpy continuing like I just want to is such a need for water in in Ghana. And so just drilling those boreholes. It's something that has really spoke to me. So I have to figure it out, figure out how to find it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:22

Figure it out. I love that you mentioned curiosity piece. I think that is the core of side hustling. And I want us all to always keep that very, very close. Because if you're wondering what side hustle should I do, or you know, where should I start? Go back to what you're curious about. Go back to what you're curious about. And that helps to narrow it down to you know, you do that Venn diagram of what am I good at? What do people ask me for what I really enjoy doing? And what I really enjoy doing is going to help you narrow that down and it comes back to your curiosity. So exploring that and you learn through the process of actually going after it if it's something you want to stick with. But if you if you've never ever listened to that curiosity that's just brewing inside of you, you are sowing the seeds of discontent because there's there's something you want to explore you don't know if it's gonna work or not. I can't tell you if it's gonna work or not, but that curiosity is there for a reason. So now, let's jump to the lightning round. You know the deal, just answer the first thing that comes to mind. All right, number one, what is a resource that has helped you in your business that you can share with the side hustle pro audience?

Khadijah Polly 44:39

Okay, so a resource has been zooms and podcasts and the reason I say podcast and I tell this to all of my coaching clients, and I them not only because it came to me through you listen to the podcast, even if it doesn't have to do with your specific industry, because you will pick up have so many gyms because especially new entrepreneurs, we're excited, we're talking, there's things it's not so much gatekeeping when they first started out, so if you want to listen to like your favorite, your favorite influencer or your favorite entrepreneur, go back to some of their earlier interviews. And

Nicaila Matthews Okome 45:25

they let those secrets out. I like that. Number two, who is a black woman entrepreneur, who you would want to switch places for a day and why

Khadijah Polly 45:36

angel, the spicy, just how she started out, like sourcing her spices around the world. And it's similar in a way to what I'm doing, like sourcing the products and going to different places. And with Ankara beauty, there's a Ankara cafe I want to do because of the teas. Specifically in African countries, teas are really big, and I'm a tea drinker. And so I want to do that. And so I'm just expired, how she gets back to her community that that impact parts like she has her own style. I've listened to an interview where she put that note on the door like I'm close, I gotta go to my kids, you know, she do that way. Right? Operational and the money will come, the money will come. People will speak your name, so she's fine, too.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:23

Yeah, she's flashy the way she bills. All right. So number three, what is a non negotiable part of your day?

Khadijah Polly 46:31

Again, tea the reason I say teas, there's so many different benefits, like in the morning, like I don't really drink caffeine. And so it just become a routine that when I'm pouring the teas and it steeping, I find myself thinking of things that I have to do or want to do. For whatever reason, that little piece brings me joy. And my friends Give me tea pots and different tea. So it's a moment of joy that I'm just like, okay, and then I get started. But teas. Yes,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:01

I love tea as well. I really need to learn how to do all the stupid stuff because I'm very lazy. I'm like, give me the tea bag. But I want to you know, up my game this year, maybe next year, next year. All right. Number four, what's a personal habit that has helped you significantly in business?

Khadijah Polly 47:18

Pushing, pause and reevaluate? Why am I doing this? Why am I doing this? Do I might have done this because I want the publicity. Am I doing this? Because I need the money. Am I doing this? Because they asked me and I felt bad and don't want to say now. Like, why am I doing this and pushing Pause, pause for taking a rest and push pause and evaluate. Why am I doing it?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:45

I love it. I needed that one. Oh, that hit me right now. That really hit me. All right. And finally, I love my own lightning. I love the lightning round. All right, number five. What is your parting advice this time around for fellow Black women entrepreneurs who want to be their own boss but are worried about losing that stability.

Khadijah Polly 48:04

Figure out this I'm gonna give some real advice, figure out how much it costs to live the life that you want to live. Figure out what it costs for you to get rid of some stuff. Right? And what can you live without because sometimes that's the biggest thing we don't know what we're going to lose. And so that's scary. And it might not cost you as much because that's the real real part. Like okay, yeah, quit my job. We still gotta eat. How much is it gonna cost like, if not this fictitious number put it down what does it cost? What can I live without for a moment to get to where I want to go? And guess what if it doesn't work, you can do something else. You can do something else you can do multiple things. I literally have popcorn shea butter to random things right? do multiple things that that's what I'm gonna share. Yeah, you do multiple things.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 48:58

I love that reminder. What can you live without temporarily I need to hear that too. Because whenever I hear live without I'm like, I can't live with that before real before you can live without it temporarily. So thank you so much, Khadija for coming back into the guest chair always so inspired by you love what you do your approach to life, your approach to business. So where can people connect with you after this episode?

Khadijah Polly 49:25

Okay. You can go to Ankara beauty G H on Instagram, Ankara up.com to find out when the next drop is there shea butter all the social impact projects in case kettle corn.com okay if kettle corn on social media I'm on threads now so can you get a corner Oh

Nicaila Matthews Okome 49:45

guys, yes. We all on threads we all doing the things

Khadijah Polly 49:50

you're the first person to be on on thread. Oh.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 49:57

So happy because I'm so happy to hear Have that automatic feature. So, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I'm like that's the that's the best thing you ever did for me because no one has time to be going through like, oh wait, what's this person? And so yes, of course follow. Okay, follow Khadija learn all the things because she is amazing. She's brilliant. And you guys that's it for this week. I will talk to you guys next week. Thank you so much. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets for me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again, that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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