I’ve been thinking a lot about Black fatherhood lately.

Aside from my own, I have had the honor to be in the company of some remarkable fathers and father figures while working on the school project in Arkansas.

As I have planned and executed a series of family engagement events, I have had to assemble a team of diverse and dynamic vendors to pull everything together.

Many on the team are Black fathers.

One of the events in which I have had the pleasure to work alongside some amazing fathers and father figures.

It is not lost on me that many of the children who will attend these two schools are just like I was when I was their age…

I dreamed of becoming a preacher when I was six years old.

I thought the ministry would suit me well. In my six-year-old logic, becoming a member of the clergy meant that I would get to talk to people all of the time and help them with their problems, people would be excited to see me and hear me speak, and I would get to eat chicken (my favorite) each and every Sunday.

Luckily for me, I had a grandmother who taught me to believe in the power of my dreams and instilled in me the courage to doggedly pursue…

We’ve all heard it before.

What’s that?

You know, the old adage, “April showers bring May flowers.”

Well, it just hit me — TODAY — how true that is. And I have Facebook’s ‘On this Day’ feature to thank for it. The rain (or snow if you’re in the southeastern part of the United States) surely brings flowers. The key is to endure the rain.

But, of course, this is not about Mother Nature. Rather, this is about the seasons of my life.

Up until very recently, I’ve been living in a lifetime of April.

It seems April is a…

I LOVE red velvet cupcakes.

I especially love the red velvet cupcakes from the Cupcake Collection in Nashville.

So, imagine my surprise when Mignon Francois, owner and CEO of the Cupcake Collection, offered me free red velvet cupcakes and I did not take her up on the offer.

Here’s what happened:

I was a panelist at the Nashville Small Business Expo. Immediately after the panel, a luncheon was held featuring Ms. Francois and other prominent leaders.

When it was her time to speak she said, “Everyone always asks me if I have free cupcakes in my purse. Today I remembered…

I am the type of person that always has my head in the clouds.

I am always thinking internally, thinking aloud, daydreaming, and thinking of the end of things before I begin them. I’m the type of person who starts something with a very specific end in mind. I’m a person who doesn’t move unless I feel inspired and who doesn’t speak unless I can do so with authority (my family is probably reading this thinking that I must be an authority in almost everything, because I basically talk nonstop when I’m around them). …

I found myself in such a predicament because I had been so singularly focused on being good at my service that I had neglected to actually build a business and position it for success. Nearly three years in and I was only a service provider — not an entrepreneur. Not a real business owner. I had to make the leap.

When the day came for me to become a full time entrepreneur, I thought I was ready.

I had an amazing resume, great work experience, client success stories and awesome recommendations. People knew me. People knew I worked hard. Potential clients would choose me because I am good at what I do — I thought. I even…

The Positioning Pyramid is a pretty powerful concept that has helped many people in the Business Owner Tribe make the transition from zero to 100 in a relatively short period of time. Everyone starts at the bottom of the pyramid, but to get to the top takes extra, special effort. Most of the effort should be developing a laser-like focus on doing one thing — and only one thing — exceptionally well.

I am going to let you in on a little secret.

If you are in business, you are operating within the context of a pyramid scheme.

I am not talking about the multi-level marketing or pyramid business models that…

During the first few years of my business, I found myself (and my business) at the bottom one-fourth of what I like to call The Positioning Pyramid. The Positioning Pyramid is a triangle divided into four quandrants that I use to describe the different levels of business ownership.

You’ve heard the song by hip-hop icon, Drake, right?

The one whose lyrics go, “Started from the bottom, now we’re here. … Started from the bottom, now the whole world is watching”?

No? Yes?

Either way, I think those lyrics capture a truth about entrepreneurship.

During the first few years of my business, I found myself (and my business) at the…

As a person who is fully committed to the idea of LIVING MY BRAND — you know, walking my talk in a way that is authentic and connects me with my audience — I found it troubling to learn that some of the people whom I admired from afar were actually something different from the reality they portrayed.

It was a watershed moment.

I was having a deliciously juicy conversation with one of my dearest friends and fellow entrepreneurs about business when she dropped a bombshell on me: one of the people I admired most was not living up to the hype. Moreover, a few…

In the mix of all the excitement, encouragement and ‘value’ sharing, there are scores upon scores upon scores of newbies clearly imitating one or more of the Internet rock stars they admire; others who have just quit their jobs and admittedly do not have a plan of action; some who confess to spending thousands on courses and/or businesses coaches who did not live up to their promises; others who confess their pursuit of entrepreneurship is causing their relationships to crumble; and countless more who seem to be taking the ‘fake-it-until-you-make-it’ route. What a group.

I have a confession.

When I spend time in certain…

Ashley Northington

Marketing Communications Strategist. Agency Director + Founder @DENORPR. Learn more at http://ashleynorthington.com | http://denorbrands.com

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