Ayauna Goodwin is a confidence builder, and through her company, Absolutely Not, she is sharing that love with her fellow Black women.
In 2022, several of her friends completed Entrepreneur Rising Academy, a 10-week business-building bootcamp powered by Launch Dayton partner Parallax. At their encouragement, she jumped in herself, graduating with the 2022 fall cohort. We recently caught up with Ayauna to learn more about her business and her entrepreneurial journey.
Launch Dayton: Introduce yourself — who are you and what is your company?
Hi! My name is Ayauna L. Goodwin and I am a Self Confidence Coach. I help others to explore and progress their self worth through various exercises and workshops, one being a Confidence Clinic (Dance Workshop). Absolutely Not is a lifestyle brand and safe space community that promotes holistic awareness, growth, and connectedness through intentional experiences for black women in business.
How did your company start?
My company started to come into fruition about a year post-grad. I realized being an entrepreneur that it was a difficult journey within itself and I needed to be surrounded with other like-minded individuals. Women that would not only understand the journey, but benefit mentally and emotionally from the social aspect.
Why this idea?
Why not? Absolutely Not is an all-in-one career-oriented, social, personal development, women-focused brand that commits itself to the betterment of the black woman. 80% of Black women identify with the SBW Schema, Strong Black Woman. We are often forcefully positioned to be independent and seen as such strong individuals for what we endure. Yet, who said we wanted to be? I created a space where Black women in business could co-create, network, AND receive “therapy” through similar experiences shared. This is the perfect atmosphere for a woman wanting to create generational wealth all the while breaking generational curses.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I am not sure. In high school, while everyone else knew what they wanted to go to college for, I didn’t. I assumed business, but didn’t care for the collegiate learning environment, so I changed my major about 3-4 times and settled on something very broad, Liberal Studies. I appreciate it though. If I had not changed my major my senior year, I wouldn’t have received a certificate in diversity and social inequality, making me an advocate for inclusive environments.
What identities or life experiences do you bring to entrepreneurship that helped prepare you for this lifestyle?
I am the eldest daughter on both sides of my family, making me an authentic leader and caretaker. In Black households, the first-born daughter typically becomes independent at a young age. We learn to take care of our siblings and to think with a mind of our own. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve always found myself in leadership positions all the way through my schooling career. Also, having seen my mom work hard for us and to provide for the household, I ran toward the first sight of getting my own job. I wanted to alleviate at least one thing/human that my mom would have to take care of. I wanted her to see that she didn’t have to worry about me.
What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced on your entrepreneur journey?
My biggest barrier has been the lack of knowledge & support. Being that I am the first entrepreneur in my family, there is much knowledge that I’ve had to learn on my own, more than likely through mistakes. As I grew within my journey, I quickly realized that networking with wise individuals would get me far. I would like to say that I am doing well. It has gotten me this far!
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because I love to be a resource. I believe I am doing God’s work. As I learn along my journey, I am clearing the path for other individuals. I am gaining knowledge that I will be able to provide to the next entrepreneurs and any individual that needs it.
What advice would you offer fellow or aspiring entrepreneurs?
May seem cliché, but no matter what, keep going. If you believe, you shall receive. When the tunnel is dark, remember that the light MUST come.