Being an entrepreneur means that you’ll often blaze your own trail: No career guides, counselors or maps will guide you from one step to the next: You’ll have to make it up as you go. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole adult life and it’s the only career I’ve ever known. In a way, that makes me lucky: I’ve become not only comfortable with, but actually good at, forging ahead into unchartered territory.
However, like everyone else, I’ve faced moments of doubt and uncertainty and plenty of sleepless nights. As I look back at the steps that led me from my first sale — standing next to my grandfather Joe at a folk festival when I was just a young kid — to my assorted entrepreneurial ventures today, some common themes emerge.
1. Keep the big vision in sight.
A big vision will take you far. I put this tip first because when things go wrong on the path to your success, and they will, keeping the big vision in mind will enable you to steer your way back to a successful course. It may not always be the course you imagined, but your big vision becomes your north star, which in turn helps you navigate and orient yourself through the darkness. I believe in this so much, I even co-wrote a book on the subject with my brother. Your vision is your foundation, compass and celestial beacon, lighting the way forward.
2. Fuel your vision with perseverance.
What should go hand-in-hand with a big vision is the perseverance you’ll need to keep moving forward. If you’re a Game of Thrones watcher, there was a great line in a recent episode when Stannis Baratheon was being advised about the lack of wisdom in starting a battle in the snow. He responded: “We march to victory or we march to defeat, but we go forward, only forward.”
Sometimes, when things get challenging on your path as an entrepreneur, you have to commit yourself to moving forward, regardless of the discomfort and fear surrounding the next steps. When you fuel your big vision with perseverance and the spirit of “only forward,” you eventually meet your success.
3. Make a plan, but be flexible.
You need a few sets of plans, even if each is only a few pages. A business plan, with an accompanying marketing outline, are important blueprints for success. They help you map out the major landmarks of the road ahead, define your success and break the journey into important metrics you can track your progress against.
I’m not one for a giant, robust plan nobody will access, but I do advocate a more modest go-to plan that can act as your basic instruction manual and hold you accountable to specific numbers. The reason I don’t support highly detailed plans is that I believe you need the flexibility to alter the course as necessary. Sometimes, large changes to the plan will be necessary.
4. Embrace your expertise.
If you’re already innately good at something, or have a skillset, embrace it. Don’t try to be all things for all aspects of your business. Hire out or sign contracts with agencies for the things you can’t do, and focus on your strengths as quickly and often as possible. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.
5. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
What is already working in other people’s business models, in your industry, in software applications and other business operations that you can emulate instead of re-create? Don’t waste your time trying to set up systems when you can simply purchase and install one, saving precious time and spending little money. I always keep my burn rate in mind and run as lean as possible. But sometimes the best decision is to take on the expense of some good systems so you don’t have to waste time and make mistakes building your own.
6. Don’t burn out.
This isn’t just a stale piece of advice: Your health is literally the most important thing in your life. When your body gives out, you’re done. Your heart doesn’t care how good a business you have; your circulatory system isn’t all that impressed with your money or accomplishments. . . you get the point. Personally, I try to eat really good food, get good sleep and take as much time as I can manage day by day to laugh with my kids and see my wife.
You will burn out if you sacrifice your physical and mental health on the altar of your business. So, take care of yourself.
7. Leverage everything.
Life hacks may seem like just viral fodder on the internet, but they can teach an important mini-lesson in leverage. When you use leverage to your advantage in every aspect of your life, you go further, faster. Leverage outsourced help to streamline tasks and gain traffic time for important phone calls. Leverage down time waiting anywhere (the doctor’s office, your kid’s school, your mechanic’s waiting room, your airline flight) to get stuff done.
8. Keep your sense of humor.
If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re missing out. I was almost asleep the other night when I thought of a funny event that had happened earlier that day, and I suddenly found myself erupting with laughter so loud I woke the dog.
Laughing is a good cure to diffuse stress, infuse some lightheartedness into life and get some perspective on the fact that, hey, this is only life after all — you don’t have to take it so seriously.
So, try to laugh more and stress a little less. It strengthens your emotional and mental well-being, keeps other people from getting under your skin and keeps you cool and collected, plus a lot more fun to be around.
Written by Matthew Toren, Entrepreneur.com
When Does It Stop by Suless Burton
Hyde Park, Chicago, IL- Located at the Harper Theatre, nestled in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, premieres an independent film, created and directed by a brilliant Black woman named Suless Burton.
Graced by an almost all Black cast, When Does It Stop gives the viewer sharp insight of the daily lives of Black Chicagoans. While speaking with the stars of the movie, Durrell Parchman, playing the role of Drew in the film, discussed the relevance of this story line and how it relates to the Black Chicago community’s tragic experiences with gun violence. Mentioning his late brother, slain earlier this summer by gun violence, Durrell emphasized the importance of this film and the impact it will make for the future. Actors KeAnte Smith (Terrence) and Xavier Lofton (Eric) also mentioned the importance of impact they have contributed via this film and have positive hopes that gun violence in Black Communities abroad will cease.
When Does It Stop
After losing his mother to the streets and father institutionalized for life, Terrance is sent to live with his sister Camille on the south side of Chicago. Terrance’s friends Ronnie, Eric, and Drew, are all living the life of crime and violence. With the help of his sister and supportive girlfriend Nina, Terrance finally plans to leave Chicago after a series of neighborhood gang incidents and increasingly tragic events. After receiving life-changing news, Terrance realizes that moving away may not be such a bad idea after all. But, is it too late?
About the Author
For years Suless Burton had this dream to do this movie but something always detoured her from doing it. The time became serious when her oldest son Andre Francis Jr. started his company called Beast Productions then her and him said they were gonna take over the world but tragedy came. Her son died from in asthma attack in 2018. A year later after suffering from severe depression she decided it was time to jump out on faith but then COVID 19 hit. Five months later with the help of social distancing and face mask Suless finally filmed When Does it Stop and dedicated it to her son Andre James Francis Jr and a couple more cast family members who were killed in chicago in the making this film.
KeAnte Smith plays Terrance
Durrell Parchman plays Drew
Johnell Pommier plays Ronnie
Xavier Lofton plays Eric
Suless Burton plays Camille
When Does It Stop will be available soon on Netflix. You can follow this film on Facebook @WhenDoesItStop and on Instagram @WhenDoesItStop2021 for the latest updates.
5 Lessons Jay-Z and Beyoncé Have Taught Entrepreneurs on Negotiating a Deal
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are masters at making power moves when negotiating business deals. According to Forbes, the power couple’s combined net worth is estimated at $1.4 billion. In the age of technology, streaming, and digital downloads, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have not only been able to adapt to the way the world buys music, but they’ve also skillfully used their influence to create lucrative business deals. Their business savvy speaks volumes and their net worth is proof. Here are some points behind some of the duo’s business deals:
Don’t Overlook Second Best
Jay-Z has a thing for partnering with companies that are extremely well-known, but don’t quite hold the number one position in their respective fields. For example, in 2003, Jay-Z made history with a Reebok deal. His signature shoe, the “S. Cater,” collection ended up being the fastest-selling shoe in Reebok history. He also promoted his autobiography, “Decode,” via Bing in 2010. Then in 2013, Jay-Z released his 12th studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, through a $5 million deal with Samsung mobile.
Equity is King
Beyoncé’s Uber deal was a chess move as she was thinking long-term and it paid off. In 2015, Uber offered Beyoncé $6 million to perform at a Las Vegas event, according to Refinery29. She reportedly turned down the cash in exchange to be paid in equity/stocks. Fours years later the rejected $6 million is now worth about $9 million in stocks.
Project Your Rights
Clearly Beyoncé is not interested in playing checkers. Her forward-thinking paid off big in her deal negotiation with Coachella. Refinery29 reports that settling for $4 million for her performance, plus rights to her show allowed Queen Bey to land a $60 million deal with Netflix, which streamed “Homecoming” on their platform.
Use Your Influence
Jay-Z’s success came with his influence that he uses as leverage to negotiate business deals he would otherwise not be privy to. In 2008, he launched Roc Nation, an entertainment company that works with artists, producers, athletes, and songwriters. Later in 2013, Roc Nation Sports was founded as a way to support and advocate for athletes similar to the way they do for artists in the music industry. Their roster includes, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, Kyrie Irving, and more that could be found listed on the company’s site.
Jay-Z has a knack for investing in startups that show potential. By investing early in a promising company, the payout can be life-changing in just a few short years. For example, take his investment in Uber. In 2011, the billionaire was involved in Uber’s Seed B funding round when the company had a value of $300 million, according to TechCrunch. The company has since boomed and is now valued at over $60 billion.
Editorial Note: As sources from this piece have since updated their numbers, we have also updated and revised this piece to match our editorial standards.
This article was originally posted on Afro Tech’s website
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