Member Spotlight: Darlisa Diltz
Managing Director of North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training LLC
North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training LLC is established as the first minority-owned Entrepreneur Center in North Texas, NTEETC is an education and training facility designed with early-stage entrepreneurs in mind. We provide entrepreneurs an opportunity to come and establish their business value right out of the gate. As a network of business professionals, we are seasoned in growing and developing aspiring entrepreneurs from many stages in the business cycle.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial background, and I had no family members who knew anything about it. However, I have always enjoyed helping people and learning different things. As a result, I was somewhat pushed into entrepreneurship when I started getting paid for services without fully understanding what it entailed. This prompted me to dive deeply into learning about entrepreneurship. I wanted to offer assistance to individuals like myself who didn’t comprehend entrepreneurship, so I decided to provide a lens to help them. For many years, I worked with the Small Business Development Center, which marked my first step into the entrepreneurial world. During this experience, I recognized a significant gap in resources for individuals starting a business, leading to business failures. Therefore, I sought to bridge this gap and be the foundation that aspiring entrepreneurs needed to comprehend entrepreneurship before they dived headfirst into it. Education, in my opinion, was the best foundation for achieving this goal.
How has your identity impacted your journey so far?
I used to think entrepreneurship was all about white-collar suits and glass buildings, you know, that kind of thing. But since becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve come to realize the tremendous amount of work required, much like in a corporate structure. If you put in the same amount of effort or even a little more, you can achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. The key is putting in the work to get it done.
Can you share any challenges you have faced as a business owner and how you have overcome them?
Our organization is a for-profit entity, while most of my colleagues and industry partners are nonprofit organizations. We were established as the first woman-owned for-profit business service organization by phone in the Dallas area for work. Many people, including organizations and my counterparts, didn’t quite understand why I chose this path. However, my decision to be a for-profit was based on extensive background research and understanding of how these organizations operate. It was crucial for me to prove my theories through a for-profit model. My business is like my own personal case study. Overcoming these challenges required perseverance and sticking to our commitments. I made sure that we delivered what we promised and remained transparent with the entrepreneurs who participated in our programs. I aimed to be an example for them. Although we faced and continue to face challenges, people sometimes struggle to grasp the concept or resort to copying it without fully understanding it. To address this, we consistently strive to be innovative while staying true to our original mission and purpose. Staying true to our initial goals is the key to overcoming many of the obstacles that come our way.
Can you share an example of how the Founders First accelerator program supported you in discovering new avenues for growth?
The Founders First program was so eye-opening for me. Our programs in North Texas Entrepreneurial Education and Training Center are extremely similar to what Founders First does. Overall the program helped me see that there is a market for for what I was trying to do. Being in the program helped me change my mindset about who I was as a founder and leader in the organization prior to joining. Previously, I didn’t seek help because I was the one providing it. It made me wonder how I could ask for help if I was supposed to be the one helping others. However, going through the program made me realize that what I have is valuable, and I need to continue surrounding myself with the right people and reshaping my approach. It was super motivational, and it led me to make some changes within my current structure. Instead of giving up, which I had considered several times, it gave me the extra push to reach that next level.
Can you offer any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting their business journey?
Keep going. The journey is hard, and it’s important to set the expectation from the beginning. This is not something that is easy to do. If it were, as you can see, everybody would try to do it, but the term “only the strong survive” holds true. So, keep going, keep pushing, and when you find yourself at your lowest moment, surround yourself with people who are pursuing the same goal. They can provide you with the momentum to move forward, because the only failure comes when you give up.