[EXCLUSIVE] Kandi Burruss Shares Knowledge On Being A Female Entrepreneur

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Kandi Burruss is on her way to becoming the next female mogul. The Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter has successfully expanded her musical background into a reality television career and business ventures in the sex toy, online media, and television and theatrical production industries.  At the age of 38, the Atlanta-native has made major strides, which instantaneously deems her a role model to female entrepreneurs worldwide.

On April 11, 2015, Kandi Burruss will host the Empower Masterclass in Atlanta, GA. The event is for businesswomen looking for prime information on how to start a business, sexism, partnerships and collaboration, ways to overcome business obstacles, and much more. Along with her, Kandi Burruss has invited five amazing female entrepreneurs who has reached outstanding heights with their respective businesses. The seminar will feature international onal motivational speaker Dr. Kimberley Ventus-Darks, television producer Mona Scott-Young, curlBOX founder Myleik Teele, Cami Cakes owner Andra Hall, and real estate consultant Brandi Hunter.

The idea of women in business was once unthinkable. However, this idea has come tenfold with thousands of small businesses being owned and operated by women. Women are building empires from the ground up. Women own businesses that are not only successful financially, but also successful in branding.

To get a sneak peek  on what’s to come in the Empower Masterclass, STACKS Magazine met up with Kandi Burruss at her Kandi Koated Entertainment headquarters. We learned that Kandi takes a no holds barred approach to business. She’s extremely excited about the upcoming seminar and hopes that each attendee gain the knowledge required to make their business a success.

On her most difficult project to date…

When we first set out to do the play [A Mother’s Love], not when we brought the promoter on, but when we did the play ourselves the first time. That was…it wasn’t difficult in a bad way, it was difficult in a good way. It took a lot to do it and get it done, but we got it done in like record time. Basically, from creating it to putting it all together and the time it hit the stage, it only took us like three months. We wrote every song. We wrote the script. We had the set built…everything within three months. Hired the cast, etc.

Most people say it takes a year, two years. So, it was exciting.

Bels: So, even with the issues with the promoter…

That was a separate situation. Basically, when I did it [A Mother’s Love] the first time, we did it here in Atlanta with our own promoters. We put up the money ourselves. We paid for promotions, had the commercials going. We did all of that ourselves. But, we didn’t have the experience to take it across country. So, that’s why we took on a promoter and asked the promoter to be apart of what we was doing. With that situation, the promoter took over everything. They were the ones hiring the promotions team and getting the commercials and stuff like that. Things didn’t really go the way that they were supposed to. But, for me, it was a learning experience.

Whenever I’m hands on with something, I know it’s going to go a certain way. But, the times that I’ve seen things go wrong, it’s when I like let the other person just take total control. And I’m like, “Oh okay, they got it.” And it don’t be like that. It isn’t working.

On the importance of having a secure financial plan before starting a business…

That’s extremely important. Money can pretty much make or break your business. I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make when they first start a business is they only think of enough money to get it going. They don’t think about how you got to continue to reinvest in your business. To continue everything and to make the business keep going, you have to keep reinvesting in yourself. I seen so many people shut down in the first year of business. A lot of times, what happens is, they get the business up. They already in the hole when they started the company. But, a lot of times, most businesses stay in the hole in the first two years of business.

What happens to a lot of people, once they start making a little money, they forget that you just making back what you’ve already spent. Instead of reinvesting back into yourself, to promote it or whatever, they start spending it on themselves. “Oh I’m going to buy me a new car. We made this much this week, so I’m going to buy this.” Then, the next thing you know, you don’t have the money to continue the operation.

On whether or not a person should seek out an investor for the business…

Yes. I mean…it depends on how much control you want to give up. For me, if I’m investing, I want a good little piece of control in that situation. For a lot of people, when it’s your “baby,” your business is your baby. A lot of people don’t want to give up control. I don’t want to give up control of my situation. So, it depends. If you don’t want to give up a lot of control in your situation, it depends on how much money you’re going to get.

Now, an investor can help you take things to the next level. Sometimes, some people may have a good thing going and they just need more money to put into the marketing or into the promotions. The problem that I hate is when people first starting a business, they act like they don’t have nothing to invest. When you have nothing to invest into your idea, that says a lot about you. To me, that says you’re living above your means. To me, that says that you’ll probably mess up my money if I gave it to you. At the end of the day, it’s like okay.

First thing with a business, a lot of times it depends on what type of business it is, but you need to have investment capital. Whether it be you starting off small, first thing, an online business can make you some money. But, you got to have money to invest in a nice website. A lot of people won’t even invest in a good website for themselves. They say they don’t have any money. You don’t have a $1,000 to invest in yourself? Well, that means that you need to downsize your living expenses. If you’re living in Buckhead, you may need to move to East Point or College Park for a little while. That extra couple hundred dollars you’re spending on the rent to stay in that place, you can be putting it to the side for your business. Or maybe that car you got, it’s too much. You need to downsize and stop worrying about this image until you get the amount of money you need to start your business.

On how women can stay clear of sexism in a male-dominated industry…

Well, I mean you’re always going to get approached with certain things no matter what business industry. You are a woman, especially if you are an attractive woman. You’re always going to have some type of, somebody trying to get at you. But, you got to learn how to balance the whole situation. Meaning, never allow somebody to feel so comfortable with you to where they feel like: 1) this going to turn into a sexual relationship; 2) they don’t have to value your opinion as much because you are a woman. That’s a lot of the problem.

I think it’s kind of sad that, in the entertainment industry, if I go to an event where there’s a whole lot of “successful” music veterans, typically it’s only a handful of women in that room. It’s unfortunate, but true. So, for me, it’s always like that balance. You don’t want to be too hard, then they’ll be like “She’s a b*tch, she’s a b*tch.” And then, you don’t want to be too soft to where they feel like they can just try you or get away with stuff because you’re a woman. So, it’s that balance.

On whether it’s difficult for women to be business partners…

I can say that can be a problem at times. Now, with me and my business partner Peaches, she and I have done well together because I let her do what she wants to do. She’s had clothing stores before. And that’s another thing I tell people, if you’re going to go into business, go into it with someone that has some knowledge about that field or whatever you’re trying to go in. Don’t just say I got some money and my cousin, “Oh we about to go start this restaurant together.” No!

I started the business with Peaches because she had done it before. Now, we had been friends a long time and so I think we work well together. I’m not too on top of her. I’m not micro-managing her. But, I’ve seen some bad situations when two women working together. I hate to say this, but me personally I prefer to have male employees more so than women. For me, it’s because women get so sensitive and emotional about every d**n thing.

Now, I know people watch me on the show [“Real Housewives of Atlanta”] and think I’m an emotional person. Let’s be clear, I’m emotional when it comes to my family. I’m emotional when it comes to my close friends or someone who supports me in that way. But, when it comes to business, I am not emotional. I can be harsh and aggressive, which is night and day of how I am with my family. With them, I’m laid back. But when it comes to business, I can be an a**hole at times. So, when it’s like people working for me, I want it done. I want it done now. I don’t want to hear all of that junk you got to say about it. I don’t want to hear you coming back. Just do it…you know.

For instance, I have my friend that’s working for me, she’s a female and it took her a minute to get used to it. When she was just Kandi’s friend, life was hunky dory. But, when she started working for me, it just became like uugh. It’s like I want things a certain way and I don’t want all of those excuses. I don’t want you crying. I don’t want to hear all of that. So, that’s when I think females don’t need to do business.

On what she would like the Empower Masterclass attendees to leave away with…

First, I want to them to leave with the beginning do’s and don’ts. You know, how to get their business jumped off, get going. I hope they learn some things on how to continue to promote and build. I hope they leave with some good connections as well as I.  I hope I connect with some people there. I plan on taking three women from the seminar and hopefully partner with them and their business. So, for some people that’s just getting started or they are early in the game and just need help taking it to the next level, then I’m hoping to partner with three people from the seminar. That’s going to be a major thing because I want to show the growth of what’s happens starting this day to…sort of like “Shark Tank.” As well as people who may not have started their business and just need motivation.


To sign register for Empower Masterclass, please visit www.empowermasterclass.com. Also, stay updated with all things Kandi Burruss at www.kandionline.com and/or on social media @KandiBurruss on Twitter and Instagram.