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Women Who Disrupt

Marlo Richardson: From 9-5 to Serial Entrepreneur

Since 2020, there has been a reckoning happening among America’s workforce. More people than ever are leaving their jobs and heading out into entrepreneurship’s “great unknown.” It’s a tale as old as time: people forging their own way and creating business ventures. The results can sometimes be mixed. However, former LA World Airport police lieutenant Marlo Richardson has shown how it’s done, and done successfully, several times over. 


Leaving the Strict 9-5 Behind 


After over twenty years in law enforcement, Richardson was embroiled in an infuriating wrongful termination case. Although a department review found that she was terminated without cause and reinstated her, the entire situation lit the flame of self-determination. She left and set out on a path of creating something all her own. 


Starting with real estate investing and working her way into the restaurant business, Richardson showed a fearless and humble willingness to learn new things. Her first restaurant purchase came from simply sparking a conversation with the owner of a restaurant she frequented. 


“You never know what can happen by simply being unafraid to talk to people and ask sometimes difficult questions,” says Richardson. 


Richardson threw herself into learning every aspect of the restaurant business, and eventually built her business portfolio to include several other restaurants and bars. She learned by trial and error and leaning on her initial fearlessness to guide her. 


“The lesson I learned was: I don’t need to know how to do it all. I need to be unafraid to mess it up, and not embarrassed by being corrected,” Richardson says. 


A Regular Disruptor


Richardson has made a name for herself as a regular disruptor interested in a litany of businesses. By following her gut instincts and what may spark her fancy, she’s become a Renaissance woman and a multi-faceted mentor for others looking to build a life as an entrepreneur. 


“For me, being a business owner means freedom,” Richardson says, “Not just in a financial sense, but also the freedom to pass down my knowledge and business to my children and others.” 


There Has to Be a First 


With so many plates spinning at a time, Richardson has grown accustomed to being noticed for her hard work and diverse range of business interests and for being a trailblazer. Often deemed the “First African American Woman to…”, going where others have not gone before does not deter Richardson. 


She “grew” her latest idea from an experience with her mother, who had pain following surgery but was hesitant to use heavy pain killers prescribed by her doctor. Her mother found good results from CBD creams and ointments, and an idea was born. 


Richardson has launched Just Mary, a CBD and cannabis supplier and distributor. Richardson is one of the few license holders to grow and operate a cannabis grow op in California. Additionally, she is one of the only who is licensed as both a supplier and distributor, and one of only a handful of black females to possess such credentials. 


“Let’s just say that less than one percent of those holding licenses to operate in the California Cannabis industry are black and women,” Richardson explains. “Of all the rooms that I’ve been in, I am typically the only woman in my position.”


Showing the Way to Financial Freedom


Richardson grew up solidly working class, and it is not lost on her how her hard work in various industries has gained her financial freedom. Through a passion project called Business Bullish, Richardson teaches others how they can become entrepreneurs and find financial freedom for themselves. 


“It’s a free resource online where I’ve created blogs, vlogs, and a podcast designed to help future entrepreneurs and current entrepreneurs with everything from funding, finance, building teams, and investing,” explains Richardson. 


After finding success early and being inundated with questions about how she made it happen, Richardson is giving back to her community by putting all of her wisdom in one place and giving it out for free. 


Relying on tenacity, grit, and good old social media marketing to grow her variety of business ventures, Richardson has no interest in slowing down or retiring from the hustle and grind of her own making. 


By surrounding herself with the right people and remaining laser-focused on the right opportunities, Richardson is primed to continue being the “First African-American Woman to…..” for years to come. 

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