Monique Greenwood, the owner of Awkwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns, is gradually building an empire.
On Tuesday night Greenwood’s reality show Checked Inn debuted on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. The show highlights her work balancing multiple locations, creating memorable experiences for guests and managing her team —that includes her husband, Glenn Pogue and 25-year-old daughter, Glynn.
But her business, which includes four properties on the East Coast in Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Cape May, NJ and Bethany, PA, is no overnight success. Her first location in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn opened up 22 years ago.
“I’m a real proponent of folks finding multiple streams of income,” the former editor-in-chief of ESSENCE Magazine told ESSENCE.
“So when I first started the bed and breakfast, I had a full-time job, and the business was my gig on the side. When I opened the first inn, we actually lived at the inn, and so we made the running of the business kind of work around our lifestyles as nine-to-five employees.”
“Now that the business has grown and there are four locations in four different cities, my role is to really make sure that I have a team of people who buy into the vision, understand the brand and are committed to delivering excellence for the guests.”
Each week viewers will get a front row seat into what it’s like owning a business as a dedicated and passionate entrepreneur —and it isn’t always picture perfect.
“We’re excited because I think it shows us for who we really are, and I think that too often in reality shows, it amps up the messiness. You know?”
Adding, “We’re not trying to hide any conflict or drama, but we’re certainly not trying to play those things up. We just want to be who we really are. I think that it’s going to be refreshing for people to have what I consider to be a real, true depiction of who we are, to be able to see a Black man who stands beside and supports his wife of 27 years, even though he admits that I’m an alpha wife, and that’s real.”
Greenwood hopes that people will be inspired by her story and maybe even make the leap to pursue their professional passions by doing the work.
“A lot of people think that they’re safe having a nine-to-five job,” Greenwood said. “They think that’s stable, and maybe that’s the way life used to be. But rarely that way now. And so I always encourage people to decide what works for them, but to have some diversity in how they live their life and how they support that life financially.”
“When you have the confidence because you’ve done the work, I think you’re unstoppable. You’ve got to go for it, and understand that being an entrepreneur is really being the creator of your own destiny.”
Watch OWN Network’s Checked Inn on Saturdays at 10 p.m. EST.
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