The New Stereotype (TNS) highlights and celebrates the many diverse layers of black life in America through fashion, photography and film. With each installment, a different part of life is explored through the lens of fashion.
The most recent installment, Bedazzled Crown (BC), is an ode to the old saying, “heavy is the head that wears the crown.” Shot in Washington, D.C. at National Mall, it includes photography by Olushola Bashorun and video direction by Davis Northern. Seven black women share a piece of their life journey and celebrate body diversity, sisterhood, entrepreneurship and beauty through the lens of fashion.
The heavier the crown means there is a greater responsibility. Black women uphold their tenacity and valor, yet do it with poise and grace much like a queen is expected to rule over her thrown.
You can find out additional details surrounding the previously released installments on the creator and project creative director Marquelle Turner’s website. With Roxanne Paul and Bree Wijnaar leading the charge as co-creative director, different heights, shapes and ideas of beauty were celebrated. And the melanin popped severely.
See the pictures and watch the video to peek into how these queens keep their crowns and heads held high…
Sankara Xasha Ture McCain
Project Creator and Creative Director: Marquelle Turner-Gilchrist
Photographer: Olushola Bashorun
Video Director: Davis Northern
Co-Creative Director: Bree Wijnaar
Co-Creative Director: Roxanne Paul
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We spend a lot of time talking about who is biting. Biting is a cardinal sin. Among us, you gotta come original. Nonetheless, people bite. They copy someone's style, jock someone's steez, they sit back in the corner, observe and extract what they need to concoct their elixir of cool. This becomes problematic in the business world, though. And so, there begs the question: How do I protect my steez if my steez is actually a business idea that I'm trying to monetize or already have begun monetizing. It begins (and in many cases, ends) with the knowing the basics:
Lesson #1: Know what qualifies as intellectual property
Intellectual property is defined as "a work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc." So if it's your original idea or creation, it qualities as intellectual property, and you should take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
Lesson #2: Copyright and trademark are not the same thing
(I mean, they shouldn't be because they have different names, right?)
Copyright gives you the exclusive rights to your creation. It should not be confused with getting a patent (an original and physical invention that you have exclusive rights to for a limited time). You copyright a song or a poem or a video, you patent a new kind of vacuum that does something other vacuums have never done. Learn more and actually copyright your stuff here.
A trademark is a word, symbol or image that distinguishes your product from others. You don't trademark your song. You do trademark your logo or your name. Learn more and actually trademark your stuff here.
Lesson #3: Take these steps before you release it to the world
I'll never forget seeing an interview with Birdman, where he laments not having "copywritten" (he actually meant trademarked) the word "bling." Think about every brand that has used the word bling, from clothing lines to jewelry companies. Had Birdman taken the proper legal steps to protect his team's intellectual property, they would be rolling in the dough (well... more than they already are). Even when you upload your song on Soundcloud or upload your photos on Photobucket and the site promises that you will retain all rights to your work, you should take the proper legal steps to make sure that those works are protected. In the short term, it might seem expensive (copyrighting a song is about $40 per song). In the long run, you're avoiding possible long, drawn out litigation or trying to recoup money from someone who decided to "bite."
Lesson #4: Know your business form (and its tax implications)
Are you a sole proprietor? A partnership? Would you like to form an LLC or a corporation? Are you a non-profit organization? These are important things to know. A lot of us start businesses as a side hustle to do what we love or sometimes just to make ends meet. These businesses are casual and frequently inconsistent, but opportunity favors the prepared, right? By knowing your business form, you can plan one, five and even 10 years in advance and set goals to achieve great success. Each business form is also taxed differently, which might affect your decision for how you build your company.
Lesson #5: Write a business plan now
I'll be transparent and say that for the first two years of my business, I had no written business plan. I was rolling by the seat of my pants and calling the necessary audibles along the way. Now, just because I didn't go bankrupt, doesn't mean I shouldn't have written down a business plan. A lot of us use the excuse "it's all up here," while pointing to our heads as a way to avoid writing a business plan. To be frank: There is no excuse.
Writing a business plan helps to synthesize your thoughts into a cohesive, concise document that also includes your vision, your mission statement, the startup costs, why your business is needed in the marketplace, your competitors and why your product or service is better and more. This is an essential part of becoming funded. Many of us miss out on opportunities for funding because we don't have all of our ducks in a row. The business plan is one of the most important ducks. It's also another piece of documentation that proves that this is your original idea, and it can protect you from vultures circling and waiting for a brilliant idea to steal. Don't let it be yours. Does writing it seem daunting to you? It did to me. Look online for example business plans and templates to help you get started.
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In the past few months, we've seen so much #BlackGirlMagic in the world of entrepreneurship and in the workplace. From Valeisha Butterfield being named Head of Black Community Engagement for Google, Candice Morgan as Pinterest's new Head of Diversity, and Channing Dungey as the first Black President of the ABC Entertainment Group, black women everyone are getting into formation.
There are even quite a few Millennials that are sprinkling #BlackGirlMagic everywhere — Jewel Burks is one of them.
Jewel Burks is the CEO and co-founder of Partpic, a startup designed to streamline the process of finding and purchasing maintenance and repair parts using computer-vision technology. Since its launch in 2013, Partpic has helped customers find maintenance part within minutes - improving a process that traditionally took longer than desired. To use Partpic, customers will need to first snap a photo of the maintenance or repair part that they need to replace. In return, Partpic will identify the part and will send back search results that help customers find the part that they need in a more efficient and convenient manner. Once customers find the part that they need, they can purchase the product directly from the app.
For Jewel, starting Partpic wasn’t as easy as she imagined, and she had to work extremely hard to get her business off of the ground. With her background in technology working for Google for years, Jewel was able to apply her tech and business knowledge in creating her startup.
Jewel first interned with Google while in undergrad and continued to work for the tech giant after college in Silicon Valley. A couple of years into working with Google, the Howard alumna became homesick and decided to move closer to the South. She made Atlanta her home and started working in a totally different industry — the industrial supply field. While working there, she got the winning idea of taking her technology and business knowledge and applying it to the multi-million dollar industry of maintenance and repair.
In interviews with Brett Leary and STEMedia, Jewel discussed key things to keep in mind when starting a business that most people don’t think of. Here are my 5 takeaways from her chat in both interviews.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
Jewel Burks is very busy. Besides that fact that she is the CEO of a startup, she is also an Entrepreneur in Residence for Diversity Markets at Google. At Google, she helps business owners attract and engage customers using Google’s business tools. With two jobs, especially one being her own business, heavy planning is crucial for Jewel. Each day, Jewel tells the interviewer that after she wakes up, she checks her emails and writes a to-do list for the day before proceeding to get ready for work, eat breakfast, and work through the items on her to-do list.
Personally, I've adopted the same principle in my 9-5, but not in my personal endeavors. Having a to-do list helps me prioritize, gain focus, and retain my focus. When I fail to create a to-do list for my personal tasks, I always suffer some kind of way. Either something goes undone, something isn’t done correctly, or I don’t realize that I have focused on the wrong thing until it's too late.
Educate yourself - even when you think you know it all
When Jewel first had the idea of Partpic, I’m sure she felt like she had struck gold because she had already worked for Google, so she had the experience and knowledge in technology and in optimizing the web for gaining business. Even more, she had experience working in the industrial field, so she learned so many valuable things that she knew she could apply to her own business. Even though Jewel knew so much about the business that she aspired to launch, she believed in the importance of expanding her knowledge. Before she launched her business, Jewel did extensive research on the field she was venturing out into and even reached out to others for opinions and feedback. By conducting her extended research and talking with others, Jewel learned many things that she was able to apply to her business.
If you have a business idea, do extensive research and talk with industry experts before launching. You never know what you might learn or who you can become connected with.
Lean not unto your own desires, but unto the desires of your target market
Often times, we have this marvelous idea that we think the world desperately needs. We put all of our time and energy into creating a business or product that, quite frankly, nobody needs or desires to have. As Jewel mentioned in her interview, research is crucial. Before you start planning your business, do research and see if your product idea is a necessity or could solve another person’s issues. Figure out if your business idea has potential in becoming a new product trend in the near future. You can figure all of this out by conducting research and customer surveys and by talking to experts in your desired business field.
Anyone can launch a business, but the most successful business owners are those that create products that people truly want or need.
In the interview with Brett Leary, Jewel discussed the value of conversion tracking and metrics in business. As Jewel mentioned, “Site visits are great. You want to get eyes on your site so that you can view those calls to action. But the most important thing is how does this visit correlate to money in my pocket – at least that’s the most important thing to me.”
If you have a product or business, you're in the business of making money, so it's crucial that your site helps you accomplish that goal — especially if you have an e-business. Utilize web analytics like Google Analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not working on your site. Using analytics, you can figure out what’s attracting customers, what’s bringing in money, and what’s really pointless. “Maybe your buy button isn’t big enough," Jewel says, "Or it’s not in the right place. Maybe they can’t find the phone number. Those are some of the things you can track with Google Analytics."
You don’t have to have a mobile app to be successful
90 percent of purchases are made online and mostly take place from our mobile devices. Having an online presence is important, but making sure that your website is mobile-friendly is even more important. Some businesses struggle with whether they should invest in a mobile app or just make their site mobile optimized. According to Jewel, 75 percent of the time, having just a mobile site is fine. As Jewel said in her interview, “The investment of building a mobile app for the average business really isn’t worth it," she says, "It depends on your business. You have to evaluate it for yourself. But typically a really clean, easy-to-use mobile site will serve the purpose for the majority of businesses. What do you want people to be able to do when they land on your mobile site or your app? There’s so much competition as it relates to an app. People use a core of 10 apps typically on their phone. They might have downloaded 100, but the ones that get the daily use are a set 10.”
If you're a business owner, what are some of your keys to success or how do you plan on using Jewel’s advice to jumpstart your business? Share and let us know below!
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What happens when the narrative of blackness that's told by "the media," is different than the life that you, your family and friends live? In 2016, after many years of displeasure, people of color are making necessary ripples in the entertainment industry that are resulting in more diverse depictions of what it means to be black.
The Cosby Show, A Different World and all great '90s sitcoms aside, the 21st century ushered in a drought of positive black television, and it's taking a toll on our youth.
As adults, we can enjoy a movie where the black actor has been cast as a drug dealer who's life aspiration is virtually nothing. However, when you're 13-years-old, consuming this negativity and attending an inner-city school taught by a teacher who likely doesn't believe that you'll ever go anywhere, who do you believe that you are?
More importantly, how do we reverse this damage? Enter, Young Black Successful, LLC., the brain-child of Moises DeLeon, an entrepreneur who got fed up with the narrative that white media was spewing about black youth.
The company's mission is to change the perception of black youth in the media through three initiatives:
Hosting professional development workshops for high school students
Promoting success stories of black leaders, youth, entrepreneurs and activists
Collaborating with black-owned businesses
We spoke with Moises about Young Black Successful (YBS) and the impact that it's made in our community.
Blavity: What exactly is Young Black and Successful and how does it help black youth?
Moises DeLeon: Young Black Successful, LLC., is a company that focuses on building a stronger and more unified black community. We hold workshops for high school students to teach them both business and professional skills that they can use to progress themselves and their careers. We have also held an after school Think Tank program where we had students identify issues affecting their community and then work together to identify solutions. Throughout the program, the students also debate each other on the issues and solutions so that they can know the full scope of every situation.
B: What inspired you to start this company?
MD: I was watching the news one day and The Young Turks highlighted one of the many instances where Bill O’Reilly was slandering the black community. Another story where we were called thugs and criminals and were painted to have no hope of upward mobility in society. I was sick of hearing this narrative. I am still sick of hearing it. I knew plenty of successful and driven black people who were carving out a place for themselves in the world. But why weren’t we hearing their stories? I decided that we needed an outlet to highlight the millions of black people who are both striving for and achieving success every day. We could promote black endeavors and provide more role models for our youth at the same time.
B: Why is this kind of work important?
MD: If we want to fortify our community and move forward as a people, it is imperative that we invest in the next generation. It is necessary for these kids to learn professional soft skills and business skills if we want the black community to start building generational wealth. At the same time, it is necessary that black professionals and entrepreneurs in America take the time to mentor our youth and support initiatives to benefit them.
B: What kind of impact have you seen in students?
MD: For students in our Think Tank program, intellectual discussion and debate are regular activities. They are becoming more engaged with each other and the community every day and have truly been taking shape as leaders.
Our conference also had a strong impact on students. We held workshops in the areas of professional attire, interview etiquette, networking, financial planning, how to become your own boss, how to profit from social media and more. I was ecstatic to see that students were actively engaging with facilitators in every one of them. Students even pulled facilitators to the side for more questions after the workshops ended. When the conference came to a close, we were approached by students who wanted to know how they could get a YBS mentor, or if they could bring an after school program to their high school. It showed me exactly how eager to learn these students are. Rewarding doesn’t even begin to explain how that felt.
B: How is YBS going to evolve in the future?
MD: Our goal is to bring our programs to cities across the country that need our help. In terms of immediate evolution, we are planning a cultural immersion trip in summer of 2017. We will be taking Chicago high school students to Atlanta to tour black businesses, universities, and historic sites. We want these students to have first-hand dialogue with entrepreneurs and college students who look just like them while in a prominent black city in America.
That interaction between black youth and black businesses is an area that we are looking to explore deeply. Definitely stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram pages to see our progress on those fronts and more!
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Picture yourself having to use a kerosene light to be able to see in your home after the sun goes down. This was the reality of entrepreneur George Mtemahanji, and is still that of many others living in Tanzania. In fact, it's the reality of 70% of Tanzanians.
After studying in Italy to become a technician in the renewable energy field, Mtemahanji's company SunSweet Solar Limited solves three major issues at once: (1) bring electricity to people who need it, (2) in areas that are mostly poor and (3) without contributing to climate change.
Mtemahanji, who was birthed with the "light of the moon" at night "in a clinic without electricity," is the co-founder of SunSweet Solar Limited. In 2014, after 11 years of working and studying in Europe, he was able to move back and start a business venture that would change the life of his people.
George and business partner Manuel Rolando are doing this by selling solar kits and installing large-scale solar systems.
"A good business man is not the one that brings cheaper materials, but he is the one that brings good quality materials," said Mtemahanji, "I want to take the good quality materials and also be able to sell to the poor people."
They've found that electricity doesn't only have the ability to light homes; it also brightens the academic potential of students. Since SunSweet's installation at Benignis Girls Secondary School in 2015, exam performance has increased 13% from 81% the year before.
In 2015, SunSweet Solar Limited was awarded the Anzisha Prize, an award that celebrates young African entrepreneurs. Did we mention that Mtemahanji is only 22-years old? He's brightening the lives of Tanzanians and it's truly LIT.
What do you think about SunSweet Solar Limited's efforts? Share with us in the comments below!
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Being an entrepreneur is tough. At times, it down right eats away at your brain (and body if you let it). But if you plan to get through "freshman year" and continue to build something so epic that it makes the invention of the iPod look like the pet rock; then there are some lessons that you better learn before you'rE drenched in night sweats from nightmares you have about overdue bills, missed emails and lack of a social life.
Check out these tips to avoid that Freshman 15 (the weight entrepreneurship places on you in year one).
1. Money follows passion
A big obstacle that many new entrepreneurs face is a lack of sales. They wonder why no one is buying their fresh fashion items or hiring them to speak to in front of rooms full of people. That’s because your audience doesn’t believe you are passionate about what you’re offering. You have to build authority in your products and services, and a lot of that comes from your passion in what it is that you're offering. People know when someone is trying to sell them and when they are being valued. Provide value and your clients will provide their pocketbooks.
2. Ask for help
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road. There are many tasks, deadlines and goals to meet. The issue is, there’s ONLY ONE YOU. Whether you have a team of you and your significant other, or you and a football-team-sized staff, you simply can’t do it all yourself. Ask others to help you out. Some might do it for free and some might ask for compensation (not always money either), but you will need help. An additional helpful tip is to strive to get help that shares the same passion you do about your business.
3. Automate when possible
I always tell people, “I want to be everywhere without have to be anywhere.” Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t engage with your clients and community, but there’s nothing wrong with elements of automation to make entrepreneurship that much easier. Things such as email marketing, social media management, project management tools, bookkeeping software, and the list goes on, are important components for any business. The more you automate early on, the more you can engage with your followers in live settings and extend your reach.
4. Discover hidden talents
You started your business because you are good at something. You sew, blog, speak, design, etc. Your business usually stems from one thing that you do really well. But guess what? You probably do more than one thing really well. Even if not really well, I’m sure you can do more than one thing well enough to leverage those talents. Maybe you made your own website for your business. Start designing websites for extra cash. In developing your blog, you realized you were good at making cover art. Sell your services for graphic design. You learn a lot about your capabilities in your freshman year as an entrepreneur. It’s time to offer them up for extra cash to invest back into your primary business.
5. Periodically zone out
A lot of entrepreneurs say you have to grind all day and night. #TeamNoSleep right? Wrong! There are plenty of days in the year to drink Redbull and coffee until you’re full up to your eyes, but don’t forget to detach yourself from time to time. It’s good to step away, release and reset. Stepping away from the work will not only clear up your business thinking, but your family and friends will love you that much more.
6. Set realistic goals
Remember when I said money follows passion? Well, don’t expect that passion to generate millions of dollars in the first year. Not saying it’s not possible, but the probability is unlikely. But goal setting doesn’t stop with sale conversions. Set business goals, even if it’s a daily goal of writing one blog post. Maybe your weekly goal is to contact at least 5 companies about affiliate marketing. Whatever the goal is, make it realistic. The more you achieve, the more morale you’ll have about your business, making entrepreneurship more fulfilling.
7. Build connections
Just as you need to ask for help and spend time with your family and friends, you should be building connections through your business. Maybe you found someone on Twitter with a common interest, or even a mentor to show you the ropes. The key is to build strong relationships with people and businesses to help you grow as an entrepreneur and as a person.
Keep the above tips in mind during your freshman year when growing your business and you should do just fine. Sophomore slumps are for suckers.
Dr. Eric Patrick is a blogger for Black Market Exchange and DJ for their Money + Music mixtapes. He promotes financial literacy through hip-hop and modern media. He also does his own stunts. Follow him on Twitter @HipHopStockDoc or Instagram @black_market_exchange for the latest theatrics.
What tips do you have for our new entrepreneurs? Share in the comments below!
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Finding makeup for people of color is hard in general. But it's exceptionally hard when you have a darker skin tone. Like many of us, one beauty blogger felt the struggle, but what she did to make a difference is definitely one of a kind. Ofunne Amaka is a prime example of #blackgirlmagic. After being frustrated with the lack of representation in the makeup industry, Amaka took to Instagram to launch @cocoaswatches. The page was designed to show makeup swatches on a variety of skin complexions. With people of color facing this issue every day, the account gained a lot of notice very quickly.
Now Amaka is expanding the Instagram page to an app under the same name, Cocoa Swatches. The app has the same concept and allows for original and user-generated content. Cocoa Swatches is revolutionary. For the first time, people are able to see new products and get an idea of how it would look on their skin. Thank you Amaka, for acknowledging a problem and kickstarting a journey to positive change and inclusion.
Who are your favorite beauty bloggers? Let us know in the comments!
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The "profitable creative" is an organized creative. It's someone who balances their artistic insight, love for design and aesthetics with time and project management.
So, how do you monetize your creative process? Follow these steps:
Identify your weakness
Like Badu said, artists can be sensitive about their sh*t. But to get into new habits you have to get out of your own way. If more than a few people are saying that you lack follow-through or that you're not promoting yourself enough, or properly, it's time to take a self-assessment and be ready to look in the clouded mirror.
Find someone genuine and authentic that's not afraid to tell you like it is. Many musicians hire a publicist because they have an overall vision for their brand. A lot of creatives hire accountability coaches or project managers who help them determine how and where to best utilize their time. Invest in yourself. You think Kanye could have made Graduation if it wasn't for a team of engineers, marketing professionals, graphic artists and a solid management foundation? Do you think Vogue would have made it off the press all of these years if it wasn't for a skilled editorial team? You might not be at Vogue or working on Yeezy's campaign but chances are you are holding on to the grand ideas you have for your business like most creatives do. Find a support team that will hold you accountable for setting those plans in motion. I have friends that come to my house and see walls of Post-it notes and taped index cards. It probably seems crazy to them but it's a way for me to get my thoughts out constructively. That opens a dialogue. The rest is about execution.
All great artists have a routine for figuring out what works and what doesn't and pushing themselves through creative blocks and the mayhem of the thoughts that go through their heads. Profitable creatives understand that at the end of they day your art is a business. Treat it as such. Identify your weaknesses, define them as areas of opportunity and bridge the gap! Step into your greatness.
Build a system
Every great company or project works best by establishing a self-managing "system for success." Everything from engineering to business has its own form of art. It's the domino effect. Have project flow sheets for yourself. Make daunting tasks as easy as possible. I use Google forms now prior to onboarding. It's a great way for me to cut down the time on free consulting and collect all of the information about a client prior to our first phone conversation. It also helps me input data into my sales tracker so I can see where my areas of opportunity lie. Let's say you're a photographer. What does your sales/project timeline look like? How can you cut the time it takes for you to get paid for a shoot? Have a plan of action.
For example, if someone inquires about booking you for a shoot:
Step one: Send your prices
Step two: They pick a date
Step three: Check your availability
Step four: They pay a deposit
Step five: Plan a day to shoot
Step six: Edit the photos
Step seven: Deliver
Step eight: Collect the balance owed
There are other helpful system tools that will allow you to get paid sooner. If someone inquires via text or Facebook you can send them to your website where they can see your prices and book online directly. This means you're not spending your time going back and forth with someone who will never make it past step four of this particular service model. I use Square Appointments to manage my schedule, it means I'm not constantly going back and forth with people and the whole process makes it easy to book.
That system on its own works well because it sends reminders the day of the shoot and keeps the client's payment information on file to ensure rapid payment processing. Using online invoices such as Square or PayPal also ensures that you're not chasing people around. Using DropBox means you can send a link to the photos digitally versus the overhead cost of flash drives and CDs. Remember, this is just an example of good practices in one particular creative industry. Nine times out of 10 there's someone in your field doing what you do well because they utilize a system that eliminates the tedious tasks and allows them to focus on creating. Find that person, research them and don't be afraid to reach out for advice and pointers. The worst thing they can do is say no, but most of the time people appreciate being acknowledged for their hard work and are flattered by your aspiration to reach their level of success.
Make organizing your time and abilities fun. Try a new awesome project journal where you start your day color-coding and sketching out your time. Planner decorations are becoming their own art form. For some creatives, it's a release to take that time to make a mess of a busy schedule into something beautiful.
You can also utilize technology for this. Try some of the cool new apps that allow you to set timers for working on projects. If you know you have 5 hours to edit 500 photos, make it fun by dividing up the time and giving yourself small rewards.
Oftentimes creatives are the kind of people who get overwhelmed and catch the "I don't know where to start" bug. Find the tools that will allow you to push through that feeling. That's when you'll really tap into your greatness. There are weekends where I schedule an hour after each session to edit photos. Sometimes I'll knock out four shoots and get at least 20/30 edits to each person before the day is over.
This is creative Nirvana.
Push yourself to get there, celebrate it when it happens and when things get overwhelming, remind yourself of what it feels like to get things done versus how overwhelming it can be when you're weeks behind on projects and clients come knocking at your door.
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Balancing life and business can be hard, especially if you're focusing on entrepreneurship. Here are the top six lessons I’ve learned along the way.
You’re going to have bad days but that’s totally normal.
Sometimes those days will feel really, really bad. But know this. Bad days are a part of the process. We learn some of our most valuable lessons when sh*t hits the fan. We become better people for it and we reveal the depth of our dedication to pursuing something we really believe in. Expect things to go unexpectedly and accept that this too is a part of being committed to what you do.
People won’t like what you do or even you sometimes and that’s okay.
Not everyone will love every single step of your path. Sometimes people just won’t like you or treat you with the respect you deserve. This could have nothing to do with your work. It could be because you look differently than who they expect to be in the boss’s chair or because of the level of confidence you have in yourself that makes them feel intimidated. Sometimes people are jerks and there’s nothing you can really do about that. Do your best to define your boundaries, let people know when they’re out of line with the most cordial handshake you can muster and remember that those people are little fish who have absolutely nothing to do with your bottom line. Stay true to you and keep walking in happiness and joy with your head up.
You’ll ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing. The answer is yes.
Don’t let yourself scare you into believing that you’re doing the wrong thing. What’s great about our individual journeys is that we write them all ourselves. And like any author who pens a novel or an essay, you don’t always know how it will end — but that doesn’t matter. What really matters is that you put your all into doing what you think is best. Have no regrets. Just go for it and enjoy the moment. Some of the best inventions of our time were really major boo-boos that people just happened to fall into accidentally. Remember that and keep at it.
Before the money starts rolling in, put it in the excel document.
Oh, and it will roll in. Before it does, have a plan for how you will invest it. What is it that you can do today to turn that beginning profit into an even bigger deposit slip? Think about that. Do your research. Ask for advice. Planning has an incredibly positive effect on how we do business every day. When we go so far as to pre-organize money we plan to spend, invest and save, we’re saying to ourselves, “I believe in the future and value of my work and I will do my whatever within my power to make my business work for me.”
Self-care is important, and I’m not talking about watching cat videos.
If you’re anything like me, you have a never-ending love for what you do and could work on it from morning 'til night without doing anything else. It’s good to be consistent in your work ethic but your business needs a healthy you, both in mind and body, to thrive. Take time to yourself. Clean your apartment. Do the dishes. Take non-business-related time to spend with your friends or family. Go the gym. Get away from any and all screens. Turn your phone off. Go for a walk. Talk to your counselor if you have one. Entrepreneurs are all creative people. Think creatively about fitting in time in each week that has nothing to do with being “on” for the business and you’ll be happier for it.
Surround yourself with people that make you go, “Damn.”
We’re talking about the good “damn” here, not the bad one. I've found it to be incredibly helpful to seek out people who are striving to meet goals in their everyday lives. It gives me inspiration to keep going when the going gets tough, while granting me even more space to celebrate with people who I admire who also love what they do. Never underestimate the power of a strong and supportive network. Don’t know people like that now? Look for them. Go to a networking event or a panel discussion or a dance party (entrepreneurs get it in too) and ask meaningful questions of the people that you meet. Ask them questions such as why they get out of bed in the morning, what the most interesting lesson is they’ve learned this year or if they can describe the legacy of their work in one word and what that word would be. Or just go the basic route and ask them where they bought their pants — whatever gets you connecting with dope people. Do that thing. Be you.
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