What I’ve Learned from the First Six Months of the #2017BlackList

And most importantly, why being a budding entrepreneur isn’t easy

It’s almost been a full six months since I started the #2017BlackList and began highlighting entrepreneurs who look like me while achieving noteworthy success in our community. I’ve truly enjoyed hearing the backstories and learning the many steps it takes to officially launch something that has been in progress for many months or years.

However, some of you may have noticed that my blog took a break in the last two months. I started a new job back in April, and it has been way more hectic than my previous role. It’s safe to say I haven’t been balancing my time well. I haven’t prioritized my blog as I’ve been traveling and completing other side projects while working hard to make a fast impact in my new role and company as a whole.

With that being said, I’m now unsure if I’m ready to be the entrepreneur I’ve been setting my sights on.

See when you’re an entrepreneur you have to make time when there is no time. You have to get up extra early, work through lunch and stay up late to get the job done. You have to stay home on Friday and Saturday nights to meet a deadline. You have to quickly learn from your missteps and turn them into a lesson.

And sometimes you have to realize that you’ve been putting a lot of time into helping other people achieve their dreams and not focusing on yours.

The entrepreneurs I’ve had the pleasure of featuring know all of the above and have worked extra hard to get to the point they are today. Here are a few gems I’ve learned from them:

Use Your Network

Rwenshaun Miller, founder of Eustress, Inc. was recently on Power 105 FM’s world-famous morning show, The Breakfast Club. He had a spectacular segment discussing mental health and his path to founding his company. He credits his appearance on the show to his wealth of mental health knowledge, past experiences, and his vast network who consistently tweeted Charlamagne Tha God and his team until Charlamagne reached out to Rwenshaun about coming on the show.

The bottom line is: Never be afraid to ask your circles to support you. If you find yourself hesitating to ask them for a favor, find another support group. Always remember that it takes a village and you can’t do it alone.

Find Your Inner Peace

It’s impossible to move forward on your goals if you find yourself unhappy. Just ask Amanda Muhammad. As the owner of A Peace of Yoga, she knows that you have to find peace within yourself in order to feel confident on taking the next step.

Since I started following her on Instagram, I’ve found myself really thinking about what is important and what can be brushed off until a later date or indefinitely. Our generation spends a lot of time stressing over things we cannot solve instead of the problems we can immediately fix. When it comes to starting a business, we must remove the blocks and find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Go Harder

Brandon E. Miller is easily one of the hardest working people I’ve come to know. Since I featured him on the #2017BlackList back in January, he’s since teamed up with friends to launch another venture: The 2020 Vue.

When you keep yourself busy on the right things, you stay focused because you realize that you have an audience who is relying on you to inform and/or entertain. Brandon certainly knows how to have fun, but he’s also aware that he has to keep moving in the right direction in an effort to Be Greater than he already is.

The 2020 Vue team. | Photo by Gabe Sheffield of BlackSpadez Media

No Days Off

Naji H. Kelley, founder of BLNDED Media hasn’t been on the #2017BlackList yet, but he’s easily one of the most driven people I’ve come across. His venture focuses on minority founders, and he’s working diligently to show the growing tech community that we still have steps to make in the diversity sphere. Even when he is traveling around the country and not having as much screen time as he would like, he has a plan and a team ready to back him up. As an entrepreneur, he knows you can’t just throw tasks to the side and still expect your outcome to be 100%.

Quit Hesitating & Comparing

Jasmine Chigbu of Minorities to Majorities has taught me that if you keep waiting for things to be perfect, you’ll never get started. We must stop being afraid that our idea won’t take off and wondering if we’re doing the right thing.

Comparison is also the thief of joy. If you see your peers doing something great, congratulate them and keep moving forward. We must stop worrying about whether or not our venture can live up to theirs. Focus on your own path and then link up with your peers when your paths cross.

What have you learned during the first half of 2017?


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