How this Black- and female-owned production company leverages a strong financial foundation to showcase Black stories and promote young talent.
Seven Hillz Productions is a business with a dual purpose. Breion Moses founded this Black- and female-owned production company in 2019. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she and her team are dedicated to showcasing Black people in a positive light. One feature film is about Black men and their children, while another is a documentary highlighting people in the entertainment world, from their struggles to their successes. A comedy feature film is also in the works.
Via the company’s nonprofit arm, Seven Hillz Foundation, Moses carries out her other mission, which is to support students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Seven Hillz hosts film summits, a platform that gives students the chance to promote their movie-making talents.
Moses has a long history in the industry. She started at age 12, appearing in music videos and commercials. “My mother and father told me I could be that girl you see, so I was often in front of the camera,” she says. “Once I graduated high school, I took a break and went to college. Then, I worked for various production companies, taking on a lot of different roles, and was in two feature films. But I enjoyed being behind the camera more, which was a male-dominated space. I wasn’t fulfilled. The money was great, so I saved it and left to start my own company. Everyone was in full support, from friends to Hollywood executives. People have welcomed me with open arms. It’s been amazing.”Now, Seven Hillz Productions has five employees for the for-profit division and 15 in the nonprofit subsidiary. Here is how Moses does it all, with the help of a few star credit cards.
Was getting the company off the ground difficult in any way?
No, actually. I prayed for everything and asked God to show me the way and to give me the opportunity when I’m ready. And that’s what happened. Since then, everything has been running smoothly. I work with integrity and am a good person. I work with professional, wonderful people. It all comes together.
How have you been handling the financial aspects of the business?
I saved and saved and saved for four years and invested my own money into this. I knew that there’s a cost for everything, but I also knew how to keep those costs down. For example, I didn’t have to use an attorney to file the trademark, which would have been between $3,000 and $5,000. I did it myself for $275! Of course, you have to deal with lawyers, but there really is a lot you can do on your own.
Because I have a background in the industry, I had a good idea about what the business would cost me to run. I was prepared. Insurance is expensive for production and employees, and so are business licenses and taxes. There are enormous costs for different productions, as well as the office space and supplies to keep everything going.
And you’ve been using credit cards for the business?
Very much I do! We have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. With both, we can keep a record of our expenses, which is helpful, but the points are amazing. This business requires a lot of high spending. We charge office supplies, dinners and lunches for business meetings, streaming and online services. We use them for travel and for paying for all the different productions we’re involved with. The points accumulate fast.
Oh, we also have a Target REDcard, and we’ll use it when we need something quick, like something to throw on a set. We run over to Target and get 5% back on the purchase. It’s a great deal.
How are you spending all those rewards?
What I love to do is redeem the points to pay back the balance on the cards. You get more bang for your buck this way. The credit card companies are paying me to spend money, so it’s a win-win situation!
Are you usually leveraged?
After we use the points to pay for at least part of the balance before the end of the billing cycle, we pay the rest of the bill when the statement comes in. This way, we stay free of any credit card debt.
To make it easy, I have a CPA, who I love. I’ve known her for a very long time and we talk about money daily. We look at everything that goes into our budgets, and she’ll tell me if there’s a cheaper way to do something. She looks out for me, so I make the best financial decision. She has access to the accounts, but I sign the checks. Everything filters through me. I learned that from Oprah: be attentive to your money. That stuck with me forever.
Is building and keeping good credit important to you?
Absolutely. It’s your story. Your credit history tells lenders if you’re going to pay them back. Good credit goes a long way. It helps us build our business, enables us to get the things we need, and ensures we get the lowest interest rates on loans. It even helps us increase the amount we’re eligible to borrow. I learned all this from my mom.
What are the future plans for Seven Hillz Productions?
We are partnering with other minority businesses and HBCUs to help college students get internships, jobs, mentorships and scholarships. I was a student in their shoes, and many people helped me, so I’m doing that now. The response is amazing, and it’s so important for mental health. I want to help as many people as I can and use the Biblical approach of, “If I can help somebody as I travel along my journey, let my living not be in vain.”
Do you have any regrets?
No, none. I had a burning desire to do this work and that’s what I did. I would do everything the same from college onward.
Any words of wisdom for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Being an entrepreneur is not easy. You will want to give up, but continue to trust yourself. Have people in your corner who believe in your dream. Find your tribe. That requires networking. And do things for others without expecting anything in return. Don’t give just to get; give from your heart. I’m blessed with everything from a “thank you” but also because I want to see you win.
Finally, can you share your best credit card advice?
Save as much as you can and use your money, then the creditors’ money if you have to. Only charge what you need and then try to borrow even less than that. Also, pay attention to the interest rates. If the APR is over 20% and you owe a lot, you can be in debt almost forever. God forbid you run into hard times and can’t make the payments.
In short, don’t charge too much!