From the very beginning of her entrepreneurial journey, Tiphani Montgomery has always handled business on her own terms. When her high school classmates were looking to college to shape their careers, Montgomery, a teen mom at the time, had set her eyes on becoming a best-selling author. When she couldn’t afford to buy books on publishing, she spent hours in Barnes & Nobles studying while her daughter was at school. And when she learned that poetry books are rarely picked by publishers, she self-published her poems and went out into the streets to sell her book on her own. Montgomery is a self-starter in every sense of the term.
“No one pushed me into that way of thinking,” Montgomery explained. “It was me knowing that there was more out there than having a college degree, going to a 9-to-5, settling with very little. I just knew that there was more out there.”
Montgomery never looked back. In 2010, she launched her first online course, a self-improvement program called ‘Get Up and Go Harder’ that served ‘underdogs, drama magnets, and people beaten down by life who want to stand up with unshakeable self worth.’ She set the price at $99 to the shock of even her close friends.
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“I remember somebody very close to me at the time said, ‘You can’t charge $99 for that. You don’t even have a college degree,’” Montgomery recalled. And at first, she shared her friend’s apprehension. “Ten years ago, the thought of a college drop out and teen mom making a hundred dollars an hour seemed crazy. I chose $99 because it was what I could sell without sabotaging myself with a higher number. And then I gave myself a raise every year after.”
As Montgomery’s success grew, so did her revenue. But after she caught herself in a pattern of irresponsible spending and failing to pay herself consistently, Montgomery knew she needed to sharpen her financial literacy and sought the mentorship of six- and seven-figure earners.
“I didn’t come up in a house that talked about money and financial stewardship and managing and multiplying money. I wish I understood the language of money in the beginning. I didn’t understand what an asset or a liability was. I didn’t understand what investments were and why they were important. I didn’t understand what trusts and wills were and the importance of legacy. I think that simple conversations like that in high school or at home would’ve set me up to be more conscious of how I stewarded my money,” Montgomery shared.
With the direction of her mentors, Montgomery learned to go beyond simply saving to multiplying her money and building wealth through investments. It’s something she said she wishes more Black women understood. “Women are multipliers. What you give us we multiply. If we learned the language of money and how to make, manage, and multiply it, we would leave abusive situations faster (or not even get into them), we would pursue our dreams more aggressively, and we would give to those who needed to be impacted the most,” Montgomery explained.
Armed with her improved financial literacy and her fearless entrepreneurial spirit, Montgomery transitioned from teaching her self-help course to a self-publishing program called ‘The Best Sellers Project’ where she taught aspiring authors the process she used to publish her first book. But when she felt called to something bigger, she developed her current signature course, Kingdom Entrepreneur University. Founded in 2015, the program teaches faith-based entrepreneurs how to build thriving online businesses and conquer their money fears. Working with a small team of contractors—a web designer, a web developer, and a tech specialist—Montgomery has supported more than 3000 students from around the world.
The year after founding Kingdom Entrepreneur University, Montgomery created the Millions Conference. Each year, she’s hosted approximately 2000 faith-based entrepreneurs over two days of dynamic speakers and trainings, teaching them how to impact millions as they make millions. Montgomery has brought her scrappy, get-it-done attitude to the conference, pulling it together every year with a small team of friends and family who help her handle everything from event design to AV and tech.
“I work with my family. I don’t work with strangers. There’s only about seven of us that work this 2000-person conference,” Montgomery said.
With such a small team, Montgomery is very careful about planning the conference well ahead of its late-June event date. Typically, she begins strategizing in February. But 2020 was different. In what she describes as a message from God, Montgomery held back on planning an in-person Millions Conference. When it became clear that a live event would be impossible, she moved to the online space. This year’s conference focused on how to pivot through the pandemic.
“There are so many entrepreneurs that are making more money during Covid than they ever made. So, our speakers were encouraging people that even though this year looks like a wash, it’s not, and you can still use all of this for good and receive blessings before the end of this year is out,” Montgomery said.
For female entrepreneurs still trying to find a path to success through the challenges of Covid-19, Montgomery offers this advice:
Get Connected to the Online World Immediately
When Montgomery started her business years ago, she chose an online model for the flexibility. Now, she suggests entrepreneurs master the online space so challenges like a global pandemic don’t disrupt their success. “We live in an online world.” She cautioned. “You’re doing yourself and your business a disservice by staying blind in that area.”
Learn To Be Fluid. Find The Gaps And Fill Them
Montgomery encourages entrepreneurs to be willing to adjust their strategies and offerings. “Look at what you’re good at and what everybody is lacking or needs support in and fill those roles in the area you’re good at,” she said.
Give Value Often and In The Way That Works for You
For Montgomery, live videos are where she’s most comfortable, and she uses it to maximize how she connects with her audience. “In my first month on Periscope [in 2015], I did 78 videos. I barely have to sell because I’ve invested so much time in my digital content and with my online community that they say, ‘Hey, whatever you’re selling, I’m going to buy,’” Montgomery explained.
Face Fear Head On
Montgomery’s journey has been marked by leaping first and learning as she goes. She encourages female entrepreneurs to face their fear with practice. “A lot of women are fearful, and that’s what stops them. But the more consistent you are at something, the better you’re going to get at it,” she noted.
More than anything, Montgomery encourages women to remember how powerful they are and that even the toughest circumstances can present opportunity. And that’s the message she intends to keep sharing. “My brand today represents boldness. It represents freedom. It represents all that possible, especially when the odds are stacked against you,” Montgomery said.