An Air Force veteran-turned-entrepreneur is aiming for startup glory on season four of the business reality show “The Blox.”
Former airman Dominique Murray is the founder of Make It Happen Sis, an online directory and community platform for female entrepreneurs of color. For seven days in July and August 2022, she lived with more than 50 other entrepreneurs in a mansion near the Kansas City metro area competing in daily entrepreneurship challenges.
The series is run by reality star and entrepreneur Weston Bergmann, a former MTV star on reality shows like “The Real World” and “The Duel.” He called his latest creation “the greatest show on entrepreneurship.” It certainly tested Murray.
“Having these judges and coaches critique you right there, some of the things they would say, it’s like, ‘Wow, that hurt!’” Murray said. “But it was a real learning experience ― this incubator of thoughts and ideas.”
Murray had never seen an episode of “The Blox” when she applied for the show at the beginning of 2022. But a Facebook ad for the show intrigued her, as she had recently had an epiphany after having her second child: she didn’t want to do the normal nine-to-five career grind.
Instead, she wanted to venture out on her own. Maybe this competition for entrepreneurs ― including baby entrepreneurs like her ― was her ticket out?
“I was like, ‘What the heck. Why not jump in and say yes to everything?’” she laughed. “I applied not thinking I would get selected.”
But after a few phone interviews, that’s exactly what happened. Murray traveled from her technical sergeant husband’s current assignment at Robins Air Force Base in Houston County, Georgia, to Kansas City – prepared for not only a little “mom break” but a crash course in business.
“It was a little intimidating, but I thought it would be fun,” she said.
As it turned out, “The Blox” was indeed fun ― and overwhelming. Divided into pods of about 10 contestants each, Murray and the others went to a co-work facility called The Grid each morning.
The first half of each day was spent in business workshops, the second half competing in entrepreneurial challenges. Each person hoped to be wearing a special red jersey signifying their current lead every evening.
Make It Happen Sis is scheduled to launch in April 2023, but Murray was competing against entrepreneurs with already-existing brands, however small. It was intimidating, she said, but worth it.
“It was also amazing, because now I have all these connections, like an online group now where we all still chat, so ‘The Blox’ gave us this community,” Murray said. “It gave me so much knowledge and so [many] resources to tap into.”
Plus, her military experience prepared her for the reality of a business competition. Even after she finished her six years as an airman, Murray worked until recently as a unit program coordinator on Robins AFB. Both positions required a lot of briefing and networking skills, assets she used on “The Blox.”
“Whether I like it or not, the military did a really good job of disciplining me,” she said. “Now I’m very thankful for the work ethic I developed while I was in the Air Force, that self-drive and self-motivation.”
With the first episode released on Oct. 5, Murray has not yet watched her entire season, and is admittedly a little nervous to do so. But she’s proud of what she accomplished and is excited to implement everything she learned with Make It Happen Sis.
“It gave me hope, because there’s really no cookie-cutter way to be an entrepreneur,” she said. “At first it was like, ‘Am I ready for this?’ Then I walked away, and I’m like, ‘Yes, I can do this!’”