From Single Mom to Successful Entrepreneur: How Ellie Diop Turned Her Stimulus Check Into a Million Dollar Business

Before 28-year-old Ellie Diop used her stimulus checks to create a lucrative business, she was confronted with being laid off and divorced, all while raising two kids with twins on the way. Little did she know the world was also on the brink of the COVID-19 global pandemic that would bring it to its knees.

“I recognized that the only place I could go was up. It was already bad. It couldn’t get much worse than it was and that gave me a little inkling of hope and I just took it and ran with it,” Diop said. “I just had this six-figure job, that’s over. I’m moving back home. I’m 27 years old. But I made a decision once the pandemic was in full effect,” Diop shared. “I fully looked at my kids, my life, and decided that this wasn’t going to be where I stayed permanently. That at some point – a year, two, however long it was going to take – I was going to ascend and look back and just remember that this was that breaking point.

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Mother of 4 Ellie Diop started her online business coaching business with just her stimulus check. (Courtesy of Ellie Diop)

So said, so done. Back in her hometown of Los Angeles, with four kids in tow, Diop came up with a plan.

“I was using my life insurance license to sell independently, so that’s how I was making a little bit of money. And when those stimulus checks came, although it wasn’t a lot of money, I saw it as an opportunity to go after something,” Diop said. She decided to use her checks to start a business and started thinking about what the business would be. “I’ve always been really passionate about helping people start their own businesses. I’ve always been really knowledgeable on financial literacy being that I was in the financial industry,” Diop recalls.

“When I started thinking about what could I come online and start teaching, I started recognizing that there weren’t a lot of business coaches or people helping other people to discover how to start a business that looked like me,” she said. “Not a lot of them were young Black women, not a lot of them were moms, and so to me it looked like an opportunity to fill in a void in the marketplace and share my perspective to share my experience with business and use that to help other people start and scale their own businesses.”

With a niche carved out as a business coach, she invested her stimulus money on two ring lights, a domain name and website, and a Canva graphics design membership. She chose to base her business on her website and market and connect with her audience through Instagram due to its low cost and flexibility. Soon Ellie Talks Money was born.

“I teach people how to build their business credit, because I recognize that a lot of new and existing entrepreneurs didn’t understand how they could leverage business credit and funding to get their business to the next level, I also teach people how to get grants.” Diop said. “The next biggest piece of my business is teaching people how they can scale online.”

Diop’s business model consists of pre-recorded online courses, online personal coaching, digital business resources and a variety of free material and live sessions. Courses and coaching start at about $50 and range to a few hundred dollars. Within 10 months, Diop’s business hit a million dollars, strengthening her conviction that everybody should be an entrepreneur.

“Everyone, even if they have a job, you should always have another element that is your own business or somewhere that you control your income that you own it because if anything happens with that job, you have something to fall back on,” Diop advises. “Especially women who are mothers, we have to have that built in, because we can’t pass down our job to our children — they can’t inherit that from us. But what they can inherit is a business. What they can inherit is the wealth we create from having a business.”

Diop now happily balances her successful business and with mom life, raising her 7-year-old, 4-year-old, and her 2-year-old twins. You can find her on Instagram via @EllieTalksMoney.