Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Samira Abdul Karim, Co-Founder of Hyphens and Spaces, located in Mableton, GA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Hyphens and Spaces is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) firm that is founded by a Black family with a commitment to creating a more just world and unwavering hope in humanity's collective ability to achieve it. We serve small and medium-sized organizations that further social causes and justice. We work globally using evidence-informed measurable interventions. Our specialties include DEI Strategy, Training, and Advising to enable capacity for sustainable, impactful DEI practice.

Tell us about yourself

I had engaged in DEI work before I knew the name of it. After years of working as a consultant implementing check-box solutions for dis-invested companies, I was ready to branch out to work with organizations committed to real transformation. I partnered with my husband, Yusef Ramelize, a Communication, and Branding powerhouse, to build Hyphens and Spaces. We are singularly focused on creating transformation and measurable for DEI. We are motivated by our children. We want them to experience a world where their value is unquestioned, and their voices are celebrated. By implementing sustainable and meaningful DEI change in organizations, we hope to enable others toward that future for their children as well.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Once our clients work with us, they don't need another DEI firm. We have helped every single client achieve measurable improvement in their DEI outcomes. Depending on their starting point, around 50% of our clients return to continue DEI work to tackle new goals on their DEI journies. The other 50% feel enabled enough to continue their journies independently. Because we work with social impact and justice organizations, this means that not only do we help the individuals within the organization improve their work climate and efficacy but also help them better serve vulnerable and marginalized communities. It makes me proud to know that our work has a multiplying effect on achieving a more just and equitable world.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Scaling and building a team, without a doubt! As a practitioner, you come in knowing your expert area. Running a business feels like a brand-new skill set. Knowing when and how to grow responsibly and sustainably remains one of the hardest things to navigate.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Join a community - you will need support and motivation as you move forward. A community of business owners at a similar or more advanced growth stage then you will be helpful, especially at the beginning.
  2. Get a Professional network - When you run a business, you will utilize professionals at different points (e.g., lawyer, accountant, insurance, web design/marketing, fractional COO, etc.). You may not need all of these roles right away, but as you grow in size, volume or complexity, it will be critical. Start early to build that professional network so you can have those professionals when you need them.
  3. Get a coach - Mentorship is critical. You will likely encounter personal blockers you didn't know you had. Running a business can be confronting because you are putting your skills or products out for the world to respond to. A coach will help you remove blockers to keep you on your growth path.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.