Ellie Diop was having a fledgling career as a corporate executive when she was laid off. For more than a year that she remained unemployed, Diop applied for over 50 jobs but got rejected.
A single mom, Diop decided to become her own boss but she was lacking the capital to kick start her business. When she received her $1,200 stimulus check last year, she decided to use the money as her startup capital.
In 2020, then U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which allowed him to initiate a $2 trillion stimulus package, the biggest in U.S. history.
Under the relief package, qualified American citizens were to receive a one-time cash payment of up to $1,200 plus extra for married couples and children.
With her stimulus funds, Diop invested in good lighting, a website, and graphic design tools. She purchased other materials as well as her domain name and hosting. The 28-year-old then built her own website. In 2020, Diop started an online coaching business — Ellie Talks Money — to help millennials set up businesses, build business credit, and obtain grants. She started her firm because many millennials who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic were looking to understand how to start a business.
She saw a lot of unanswered questions from business coaches. Moreover, these coaches were either men or single or women in a relationship without kids. Diop did not also see answers that could offer her viewpoints and she decided to become that person.
“I saw a lot of unanswered questions,” she told Business Insider. “So many business coaches were either men or single women without kids or women in a relationship without kids. I did not see anyone who could offer my point of view, so I decided to become that person.”
In her previous work, Diop managed her firm’s Instagram account, so she leverages the platform to market her product and services. Today, her account has over 160,000 followers.
“I leveraged my experience in the corporate world to get started,” the business coach said. “I knew I would need good lighting, a website, and a tool to edit my visuals and create my first product.”
To this end, she spent $170 on two ring lights to create appealing photos. She also spent $145 to buy a domain name before building the website for her firm. She also spent an additional $450 to buy the equipment she needed to get started.
After committing $1,200 of her relief package to start her business, Diop’s firm has generated over $1 million, according to the Insider, citing records of the business.