#CEODiary What Qualities Make a Good Business Owner?

Hello fellow future Founders/CEOs! I hope you’ve made another step towards building your company. My goal for November is to have my logo designed, business email, and website finished. 😳😰 Fiverr is a GREAT resource for finding freelance workers to help with tasks like these. I’m currently discussing my logo design with someone on Fiverr and hope to get it done this weekend.

In this journey to becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve noticed qualities that I need to work on in order to be a good business owner: self-determination, consistency, and faith.

Self-Determination

“They ask me what I do and who I do it for…” Why are you choosing to own your own business? Doing things out of love, passion, or a greater purpose than my own benefit have always produced great results. When I think of success, I think of being able to get myself and my mother out of debt, paying for a house for family, helping pay tuition for my cousins, etc. Another major goal of mine is to put together a wealth conference for people of color that will tour every HBCU. I don’t want to just give people money, I want to be able to give everyone around me opportunities to make their dreams come true. I’m also owning my own business because Corporate America hasn’t given me the opportunity to do the type of Finance I want/trained to do, so I’m giving myself that opportunity.

Consistency

Now… this… right here… Le struggle. Consistency is my biggest hurdle. I am a true perfectionist, so if I can’t visualize myself doing something well I don’t do it. I self-sabotage a lot when I feel like I can’t do something. Working through this mental barrier is a must if I want to become a business owner. Self-doubt and the imposture syndrome are ashy bold-faced LIES!!

One way I’m trying to fight self-doubt and become more consistent is by having a strict schedule. I wake up at 4-4:30am every morning, workout from 5:30-6:30am, and (try to) leave for work around 8:15-8:30am. I’ve established a blocked out time (8-10pm) that I will use to work on my company. I’ve already notified some people that I will be away from my phone during that time so I can totally focus on my business. I’m also turning my living room table into my desk (so you’ll have to eat on the couch if you come over).

Faith

The reason why I’ve grown SO much mentally since this time last year is church and therapy. Both give me the tools (or I should say help me discover the tools I already have) to become more confident and willing to step out on faith. You HAVE to believe in yourself. I believe that God will provide a way for me to have the lifestyle I’ve always dreamt of, I just need to figure out how I’m supposed to get there. I know through hard work, self-determination, consistency, and faith in God and myself that I will accomplish my goals.

Comment below and let me know what qualities you think are essential for every business owner.

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#CEODiary Why I Chose To Become An Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship has always had a negative connotation to me…and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because when Martin said he was going to invest money and become a business owner he ended up unsuccessfully selling meatloaf and waffles then selling the restaurant to MC Hammer in the same day (🗣RENT EM SPOONS!). I always thought that being an entrepreneur meant you didn’t want to have a “real job” and didn’t really know what you wanted to do. I never knew successful black business owners while growing up in Jackson, MS. So to say I’m becoming an entrepreneur is a huge risk for me. How did I get here?

Being a triple minority is a company diversity dream but a career advancement nightmare in Corporate America. I graduated with my Finance MBA in December of 2015 thinking, “This is it. I’m going to finally have a good job with great income and live happily ever after.” WRONG! I quickly learned that working for someone else means they “own” you. They decide your lifestyle, your availability, your economic status, etc. The majority of your life for the rest of your life is determined by how much someone else values you. I couldn’t accept that. Knowing my self-worth and potential while accepting far less depressed me…until I realized that I (and God) control my life.

Think about what you do for a living and ask yourself could you offer the same service to many companies while working for yourself? The majority of traditional office jobs could be outsourced or freelanced; therefore, you could decide what you want to offer, set your own price and working hours, and answer to no one but yourself. Sounds ideal right? But why isn’t everyone doing it? It takes hard work, PLANNING, discipline, and self-determination. No fancy degree required; just a willingness to learn and be consistent through hardships. Consistency is where I struggle the most.

In this series of #CEODiary , I will post brief articles about what I’ve learned about building a company as I build my own. All I have is a California registered LLC and domain name, but I firmly believe that one day I will have a multimillion dollar business. So let’s learn and grow together so we can all take ownership of our lives.

What topics about building a company would you like to discuss? Comment below.

Why Kelela’s “Take Me Apart” is One of The Best Albums Since Its Release

I first heard of Kelela on Solange’s classic, Grammy Award winning “A Seat At The Table“. A year later, Kelela dropped her debut album “Take Me Apart”, a classic in its own right. I was not familiar with her sound or lyrics before my first listen, but I unexpectedly fell in love.

First, let’s discuss how almost every album I love is released towards the end of the year, what’s known in the music industry as the fourth quarter. A time when most people have holidays off from work and have free time to pay attention and listen to newly released albums. Also, a great marketing strategy to gain consumer’s disposable income while holiday shopping. Think about some of your favorite albums in the last 10 or so years then Google their release dates. I bet you 9 times out of 10, they were released in the fourth quarter.

“Take Me Apart” was released in October of 2017. Admittedly, I was apprehensive about listening because I didn’t know anything about Kelela or her music, but I constantly saw advertising for the album on social media (mostly via Saint Heron). I finally gave in and was consumed with a passion to learn more. I became obsessed with the album and Kelela.

“Take Me Apart” is a cinematic, chronological, cohesive, well-put-together work of art. It is the perfect description of the end of a relationship cycle and the beginning of another.

  1. Frontline – With a very upbeat typo, this song depicts when you’ve had enough and finally leave, but out of nonsensical anger. Easily a club banger.
  2. Waitin – After some time has passed, you see your ex out and you immediately get a rush of feelings. The pain of missing them overrides the pain they caused to make you leave.
  3. Take Me Apart – The title track is very sensual. You’ve finally got your baby back, but instead of addressing the issues you’ve had, you’re caught up in the passion that’s between you. Rivers are flowing all night…
  4. Enough – As we all know, sex is not enough to sustain a relationship. Once the excitement and passion has died down, you’re left realizing that they haven’t changed and you’ve really reached your breaking point.
  5. Jupiter – Let the raindrops wash your tears away with this track. An interlude that gives you space to grieve the loss of a lover.
  6. Better – The closure we all seek, but sometimes don’t receive. Realizing that you’re just better off as friends.
  7. LMK – Losing a lover is painful, but a woman still has needs. Seeking new lovers for the night. No strings attached please.
  8. Truth Or Dare – One of my favorites. Playful sex with a new lover. Learning bodies and fulfilling fantasies.
  9. S.O.S. – The lover from Truth Or Dare is here to stay. Now you crave them. Wanting slower, more meaningful sex with them. Passion is building. A connection is forming.
  10. Blue Light – My second favorite. You’re jaded from your last heartbreak. You told yourself you’d give yourself time before you got in another relationship, but you really like them. You’re falling in love.
  11. Onanon – New relationship, but old insecurities. Let the petty arguments begin.
  12. Turn To Dust – The petty arguments are becoming too much. You want to leave, but love is there. One look at them and you…
  13. Bluff – MY FAVORITE! Kelela writes from the new lover’s perspective. New bae understands you’ve been through a lot in the past but they aren’t like the others like you think. They are gonna prove you wrong. The “scariness” of this track’s beat ties in perfectly with the scariness of completely trusting someone with your heart.
  14. Altadena – The only track on the album that doesn’t tie into the theme, but still a necessary message. There is nothing you need to say or do to prove you are worthy of what you deserve. A message I have to, unfortunately, remind myself constantly.

I appreciate the hard work it must have taken to put together such a great album. An album I love completely, not piece by piece. The Recording Academy shouldn’t sleep on “Take Me Apart” for 2019’s Grammy Awards. Congrats to Kelela. I’m anticipating hearing more.

Growing Up Gay in Mississippi

I came out to my mother last Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at the age of 29, a week after National Coming Out Day. I wanted to do it in person and knew I’d be in town the following week so I waited. Plus, coming out doesn’t have to be on a certain day, just whenever you feel ready and comfortable doing so. I’ve always said I wouldn’t come out to my mother until I was in a serious relationship and I had to let her know because it would be too hard to hide. I was scared. I dated a woman who told me about her family disowning her after they found out. I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I decided to wait. Although I’m currently not in a relationship, I couldn’t hold this secret in any longer. Continue reading Growing Up Gay in Mississippi

Love yourself. Define yourself. Think for yourself.