Courtney Powell is twenty one with soft, executive looks and a well sponged natural. Michigan born, the entrepreneurial spirit engulfs her like a chemical cloud. She jots goals and ideas on a blank 11 x 13 sketch pad every morning, and works on the mechanics of her blog and business plans in downtown art museums and the MLK library in Washington D.C.

“Inspired by one of my favorite business books, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, I really began to believe that anyone could accomplish any goal.”

She was groomed to be an engineer. A former Howard University student with big plans in the sciences, a twist of fate and monies has her waiting tables to pay debts and majoring in marketing and business at the University of the District of Columbia, a city university rebuilding its image on the prestige front. This is the hustle most of us see and experience in the early stages of our dreams. Nothing is perfect. There are no reality show cameras, or downloads to iTunes. No one gives a hoot about a dream except the dreamer, and all of the press and accolades come much later if at all. Yet, she presses on.

“My definition of success is being able to live a life completely and uniquely tailored to you and your God-given abilities, everyday.” Words to meet each day. It is this kind of positive thinking that oozes throughout her opus-in-the making, Thinkandgrowchick.com where fledgling business owners and bloggers communicate on the nuts and bolts of success in building businesses…and hair. The operation is pure, with real advice and open dialogue on mistakes.

Before Oprah there was Madame CJ Walker, who proved that there is no greater force then a black girl on the grind, pushing to make her mark in a world where rules are few and many. How far would you go? Twist and tell from video vixen to book deal? Turn hot combs into hundred dollar bills? Sling soul food by the church plate or dance stilettos to old school mix tapes? Our notion of success for black women employs a range of varying scales that allow either 80 million reasons to sell out crowds to put a ring on it, or become CEO of Xerox.

So why aren’t you rich?

“I feel most productive in the daytime,” Courtney says. “So I tend to like to work in open, airy, space. It is here where I’ll work on ideas I jotted down during the day, as well as drafting blog posts, answering comments, and talking to my followers on twitter. Also during the afternoon, I typically contact different associates who are supporting me with TGC. I’m blessed to be surrounded by extremely smart, motivated, entrepreneurial friends, so they’ve become my unofficial “board of advisers.”

She wakes up at 6 am to start the day checking blogs and emails. Her classes run consecutively most days until around 2 pm. Then in the evenings she rotates 2-3 non-fiction business books in her reading schedule along with class work and business related to her site and business, thinkandgrowchick.com.

“When I find myself getting sleepy, I pull out my Bible and finish reading wherever I left off from the morning, being careful to note how Scripture relates to my life. By this time, it’s 12:30 a.m. or later, and I go to sleep, ready to get further ahead tomorrow than I did the day before.”

The road to riches in the real world takes grit and perseverance. Shortcuts are few.

“If I’m lucky I will support myself with my business before I get my MBA. Then I want to take my company to the next level on a global scale.”

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