A combination of bad credit, criminal background, and a lack of assets can hold back any black entrepreneur.
Getting introspective on your birthday seems like a right of passage as an older adult. Thinking about the fact I wanted to start a black entrepreneur platform in 2014 and now two years later, I’m actually ready. This might be your first time engaging with me so I’ll be transparent and let you know how I got here. Thank you for your time in advance.
After an uphill climb to support my family I decided to start my own web design and marketing business. After all I went to school for marketing. It took some errors on my background check to make me unfit for most mainstream companies. It’s weird because I could get the job on 2 out of every 5 interviews. So you like me enough when I talk to you but because of something unrelated to the business, I’m no longer good enough? After a while you get frustrated with the process. The opening scene in the under discussed First Sunday features Ice Cube looking for jobs only to get turned away because of that background issue. It’s real out here especially if you’re qualified.
Watch about 30 seconds to get the point
You can never move up. I saw a path where if it was going to be all on me then I had to figure out a way. The problem with starting a business from scratch it the fact that you have to build everything yourself to the point money generates from your work. So what do you do in the meantime? As it goes you work a job and build this on the side, get a loan with a great business plan, or raise money from friends and family. So what if all three of these things are not an option? What if you couldn’t move back home with your parents because you yourself have a family of five, parents are divorced and both living 500+ miles away and no space for you anyway? What if the people you know don’t have much to give in the first place? How do you qualify for a business loan with no assets, previous revenue, and bad credit? If you have all these issues in the way of a business how do you get going? You don’t. Most of the time you find yourself working a job that sucks your soul, makes you hate yourself, and dictates your entire life. To the point if you want to overcome these odds, it takes some upper level intelligence, savvy business sense, a thirst for new knowledge, and a whole lot of prayer. If your plans are to be legit any of the fringe activities that generate money are tempting but must be passed on.
“My presentation had to be the equivalent of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video at the VMAs”
When I started my company, my focus was building websites and doing marketing for small businesses. It was good work because with so many business popping up everyday, it was just a matter of getting in front of people with the right message. It a while to get my pitches more concise and get rid of nerves that came with asking people for a $1000 for something that I was 100% responsible for. I had a lot of strikeouts and there were some things I could do to get things going but they required money. No surprise but it was my main source of income since the job thing wasn’t going well. Every penny had to go toward bills and never could it go back into the company as I had envisioned. Should I invest in my business or somewhere to sleep tomorrow? With this constant battle I had find new ways to get the money faster.
I read Tim Ferriss’ “The 4 Hour Work Week” and it changed my perspective on a lot things I was doing. From my point of view, it shows you how to make money in your sleep. Automating and
delegating wherever possible increase your abilities to create. Something I noticed. The strategy was made for someone with resources they could afford to gamble with. For example, one part suggest testing book names with Google Adword campaigns. It great to spend that $20 on a day if you don’t have to divide it up for gas and food. I have yet to hear about many of the stories of mid-life from nothing stories. When I see most of the people who have thrived in the digital age, most of them seem to have a college grad in the family, life as a single person with no kids, parents that can get refuge from, or haven’t had to overcome a criminal background. Not saying that these cases don’t exist but as a person who lives it, when I look for the path it leads to rappers, athletes or shortage on short black men in Hollywood.
Truth is I want into the app game and start a few content marketing initiatives. As much as helping one business at a time is great and rewarding, I would love to do it on a larger scale that would be more lucrative for myself and others. I looked into getting an idea for an app made that I thought had some real potential. The basic version of the app would cost me $10,000 from a reputable company. It completely streamlined the process.
Thing about that is it still wouldn’t have all the features I wanted. I would also need to pay for awareness, maintenance, legal paperwork, continued development, and keep the lights on at home while the app doesn’t make any money for the first six months. With tightest business plan, you still need a pitch deck, some proof people want it, and a minimum viable product. Yeah those things cost as well. I recently had my first session with a mentor with the good folks at SCORE. After I explained my situation, he basically said my presentation had to be the equivalent of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video at the VMAs. It would make you say the Kanye line involuntarily. I’m in the process of making my plan more granular and getting some materials together to present it to some investors. Good thing I can produce music, edit videos, pictures, write marketing copy, have a clear vision, am a Google ninja, a thirst for knowledge, and have a praying mother. I might have a chance.