PopCom founder Dawn Dickson is a serial entrepreneur who has redefined what it means to be a successful Black woman in the tech space. Not only is she the first female founder to raise over $1 million through crowdfunding under the JOBS Act, but Dickson has gone onto raise monumental amounts of capital through those same efforts—$6 million to be exact.
“I definitely consider myself to be a problem solver,” Dickson tells The Root. “I literally have a pain point that I’ve experienced personally and realized I have the skill set, the know-how and the resources to solve this problem. I’ve been doing this for 21 years now. I am proud of [my] accomplishments. I don’t believe in being humble but I do believe in staying grounded.”
Local pop-up shops, her latest undertaking under the Popcom umbrella, are a combination of e-commerce and local brick-and-mortar storefronts. Known as the “iPhone of vending machines” they dispense an array of black owned brands, including Dickson’s own Flat Out of Heels. Popshops are located in several states across the country including California, New York, Ohio, Hawaii and North Carolina.
The tech mogul explains that discernment has been a huge reason for her success. “I started my very first company right out of college and over the years I’ve learned that the key is to have a team around you that you need at the time. The team I started with isn’t here anymore,” Dickson shares.
“There’s different times during the business where different people and different skill sets are needed. And it’s really up to the entrepreneur to realize: ‘Who do I need around?’ You have to do what’s best for your business.” Not only is Dickson someone who has keen business acumen, she knows how to utilize—and monetize— all of her talents.
She is an inventor, an author, a podcast host, speaker, wife and mother. Dickson is the physical embodiment of what it means to not place Black women in a box. She explains that she wholeheartedly embraces this complexity:
“I’m just a lot more than a startup founder. I’m not just like a tech startup CEO—I don’t even like being put in that category. What makes me different is that I’m old school in a way that I just go out and start businesses that are going to make sense and make money. I’ve built an RV business. I’ve built a yoga studio, a restaurant, a shoe company, a software company. I’ve invested. I advise, I coach, I have a book coming out. And this shows that we can be free...we can take our future and our companies in our own hands and design the life we want.”
Lastly, Dickson reveals that self-care is vital to maintaining an empire and implores others to engage in fulfilling rituals. “Self-care means literally giving myself whatever I need. It’s like: ‘Do I need a day off? Do I need a nap? Do I need to go for a walk? Do I just sit and turn off my notifications and just be?’ We need to give ourselves whatever that feeling is and remember to listen to our bodies.”