As if National Author’s Day and my born day weren’t enough…did you know, President Obama proclaimed that November is National Entrepreneurship Month, a time when “we celebrate the remarkable and everyday successes of our entrepreneurs and innovators, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our economy remains the engine and the envy of the world.” Wow, how I love MEE some President Obama.
An entrepreneur, I decided to dedicate this blog to all the budding and bold entrepreneurs, the movers, and shakers, the creatHERs, and those that have answered their calling. Furthermore, I understand the possible benefits of sharing my entrepreneurial journey, as many business owners have few role models and fewer tools to guide their success. Hence, below you will find several things I wish I knew before starting my business. Listed are my top ten, and I even went a step further by dividing them into three categories, as three is the magic number. It’s my hope that these ten touchpoints offer insight, a deeper awareness of self, financial growth, and lead you closer to the reigniting of your dreams.
1. I wish I had known being a single mother, divorcee and entrepreneur would overshadow my dating life. As it was already difficult enough navigating the space of being responsible for another life. Then trying to date and explain why I was comfortable with not having dating/marriage as the top priority.
2. I wish I knew and understood the notion of “CollabHERation as the new competition.” This perspective would have welcomed playing well with others and stopped MEE from waiting to get picked. I used to think it was incumbent for those around MEE to recognize my brilliance and hold the door open. Had I possessed an abundant mindset, I would have made my intentions known, and leveraging my credentials would have come effortlessly. As a result, I would have picked my damn self and only pushed on open doors!
3. I wish I knew the difference between a tax preparer and a Certified Public Accountant. The knowledge and information a tax preparer has versus a certified public accountant is vastly unalike. A CPA is privy to certain laws, tax breaks and highlights why having a DBA versus an LLC or S-Corp is more beneficial financially. Some CPAs are aware of services offered through the Small Business Administration and specialty loans geared towards smaller companies.
4. I wish I had better clarity on how impactful my business ventures would be and the many ways in which I could offer empowerment to my ideal constituents. I would say in the beginning I suffered from shortsightedness and didn’t defer judgment.
5. I wish I knew to embrace the brevity of trusting my process as its own unique entity. At times, I compared my process and growth to those that were doing similar things. To read more on this subject matter, check out my blog, Stay in Your Own Lane. This had MEE rethinking and unfortunately second-guessing my path. And this is not my wish for you, leverage my lessons—please.
6. I wish I knew how to balance being honest rather than nice, especially as a businesswoman, who happily stands at the intersection of HER Blackness, cis-gender, and singleness to name a few. All too often women get a bad rap for being too warm and fuzzy. We’re at times afraid to share our opinions for fear of offending others, to then contend with the backlash of an insecure and ego-driven colleague. Forcing us to contort, code-switch, or say fuck-it, as the clean-up on aisle 7 isn’t worth the hassle. So, we overcompensate to avoid being called mean, unapproachable, belligerent, angry, and yes, a Bitch. However, crucial conversations are tethered to all forms of business, and necessary especially for those who are a part of a marginalized group. Therefore, I had to abandon the nice girl act and began G-checking anyone who trespassed against MEE or questioned my seat at the table.
7. I really wish I knew the difference between a mentor and a sponsor. Both are valuable resources but play significantly different roles. Mentors suggest ways to approach business, they offer good books to read and take you to a few networking functions or lunch. Now, a sponsor, on the other hand, is that person that not only shows you where the door is but also grants you access inside. They play interference for you to stretch out, test the waters and most importantly fail. Y’all know failure is my joint!
8. I wish I knew the power of my own spiritual journey. Often I’m asked “how did you do it? What’s your elixir or secret sauce? Or, what worked for you?” If I had the foresight to decipher my plight, I would have captured my experiences instead of minimizing them. I would have stood in the enormity of my pain, while paralyzed by the idea of what’s here for MEE? I wouldn’t have allowed the valley of despair to play MEE off my position. As I was so consumed with getting through the storm; I never considered that the universe sent the rain for my growth. Therefore, I missed a lot of great content!
9. I wish I knew the protection of my mind, body, and soul would be just as important as protecting our environment. I made sure Jontay, and I recycled, we didn’t print unless it was necessary, and we stopped running the water long before getting into the shower. Being cognizant of what I put inside my body goes hand in hand with the way I treat Mother-earth. Therefore, I eat more plant-based foods, thanks to my spiritual coach, who shares recipes. I have increased my daily water intake; I exercise at least twice a week, connect to my Mula Bandha throughout the day, and I prepare my mind for bed by listening to white noise. A strategy used by many and some new mothers to create an iconic environment for relaxing their babies at bedtime. Here is the link to one of my favorites if you want to try it out.
10. I wish I knew how powerful the universe is and how it’s always in proper alignment. The universe is a source of great energy that grants us what we ask for if we’re active participants in our own growth and success. I am often reminded of Steve Jobs, creativity, and Artisan Journey, and the wonderful ways they help us better understand that we are more than the eye can see. Check out this great article that offers ways for us to honor our wholeness and the frequency within.
If you aren’t yet falling in love with November, I need you to check your pulse. Nah, just kidding. But on a more serious note, since this is the month to celebrate entrepreneurs as encouraged by President Obama. Small Business Saturday is on the 27th, and I implore you to support at least one small business this month. Can’t find one to patronize, no worries I got you. NBC News created a list of 200 Black-owned businesses to support in 2021. Check out these dope businesses here and don’t forget to be a supportHER.
I’m not certain if you noticed…but November is kicking ass.
In love and libHERation,