Meet Business Owner Nguyet “Vikki” Howard & Business Advisor Tina Ham
While Women’s History Month is ending, LfitFund’s commitment and passion to elevate women entrepreneurs is strengthened with each day thanks to clients like Nguyet “Vikki” Howard, owner of Skillful Touch Massage, and team members like our business advisor Tina Ham who are committed to elevating women entrepreneurs to success.
Vikki had a strong foundation of working in chiropractic clinics, long-term care facilities and other community organizations providing healing through massage therapy. After graduating with her social work degree, she decided to open her own massage business to continue helping people dealing with physical and mental pain while having her own space and the freedom to set her own schedule.
The demand for her services rapidly increased, and then the pandemic hit. Like many others in the service industry, her business was immediately impacted. “This pandemic has hit women the hardest, especially those in the service industry. My business had an immediate client drop off and was closed for a few months due to safety and uncertainty concerns,” shared Vikki.
Eventually, Vikki’s clients started reaching out to her again as they knew she was very careful and kept her space clean and orderly. She also researched and developed a cleaning regimen by moving fabric chairs and rugs out of rooms, using biodegradable sanitizing products, masks and gloves, and allowing more time between clients.
Through a grant program administered by LiftFund, Vikki received relief funding to make pivots and reopen her business. “LiftFund has allowed me to have a sense of security in a world where COVID-19 upended so many lives. With the grant from LiftFund, I had access to capital to invest in equipment, tools and more clinical massage training and marketing courses to help me be more successful,” reflected Vikki.
At LiftFund we are proud to stand side-by-side with our clients, like Vikki. Our team members are invested in our clients’ success. In the words of our business advisor, Tina Ham: “I am passionate about being kind to others and always lending a helping hand. What I enjoy the most about working at LiftFund is the fact that I get to interact and work with small business owners one-on-one to overcome any challenges they may face in running their business.”
When asked about her advice to women entrepreneurs, Tina shared: “I know women are resilient and are stronger than they think and can accomplish anything they put their minds to. I would advise them to do their research, gather as much knowledge as they can and do not be afraid to ask for help. Be confident in who they are and do not be afraid to show the world what they have to offer.”
Similarly, Vikki’s words of encouragement for her peers are to “learn to toot your own horn. Speak up and ask for business to let people know you exist. Providing value to our clients is what counts and keeps us going. We have a gift and need to share that gift with others and be glad that we have the opportunity to do so.”
At LiftFund, we are proud of women entrepreneurs, their innovation, problem-solving nature and endless drive. We offer a variety of options to connect and learn from fellow sheprenuers and business experts: attend an event, connect with a team member or join one of business accelerators and programs. You can also join our movement to remove barriers and level the playing field for women entrepreneurs by supporting LiftFund. Together we can propel the women business owners and their impact.