Life’s Lessons the Music Industry Has Taught Me About Running my Black-Owned Business

I honestly believe that by revealing my positive and negative experiences over three decades of working in the industry, there is a good chance that I can save someone time and create value for their careers or decision-making.

Being incredibly blessed to have my first business succeed in the industry, I feel it is my job to give something back and to be honest about it.

I’ve run Radio Facts for 28 years and recently wrote 7 things that I know for sure about the industry. Then I realized there were many more things that I could share. This story is about the things that the industry has taught me about LIFE.

If I was a statistician, I would honestly say I have had an amazing population and sample populations from that to work with and to have a greater understanding of not only the black business community but the entire industry as well. Enjoy, and feel free to comment …

taught
Photo by Joey Nocotra

Evil Has a Payday

I have been incredibly blessed to have a majority of good experiences working in the industry over the years.

At the same time, there have only been a couple of people who have done me dead wrong. At this juncture of my industry life, I have come to understand the importance of focusing on the positive instead of the negative.

Foolishly, I spent way too much time focused on those negative experiences and those people who were not deserving of my time or efforts. I was not understanding of the Biblical saying is absolute “Vengence is mine, sayeth the Lord.”

In the end, by going after those people, I was attacking my own level of creativity and success, bringing both to a screeching halt. It is not our job to get even as much as it is to let things go.

The universe does not bless evil. It takes notes. I was the one who looked like the person with a problem because while there were others who had the same experiences with those people and they could attest to what I was saying, there were a greater amount of other people whose experiences with those persons were not the same as mines.

While it may seem incredibly unfair and unjust, I have learned It is not our job to get even, but it is our job to keep moving in a positive direction. From this perspective, some of the meanest and most vile people in the industry, I can honestly tell you, PAY THE PRICE.

I’ve witnessed it happening to them. You may not know it or see it but know that they do pay for their evil deeds.

Always Aim Higher

There are times that we get stuck, and we like to blame the world and the circumstances for our inability to progress, but the truth is, like the old adage, the world doesn’t owe us a damn thing. It’s (largely) our fault.

We hold ourselves, prisoners, to shitty situations and stay in them, thinking that the situation will change to our benefit, and that’s just bad math.

Why would you wait for something that you CAN’T control instead of doing you CAN control?  It’s as simple as moving.

If you gamble on someone else creating the life that you want and deserve, you are playing a losing hand. Get your lazy ass up and get it yourself.

I took several jobs where I was promised greater pay after ‘proving myself.’ That’s why it’s rather ironic that radio is now on the opposite end of that spectrum with Millenials and Gen Z’ers who call the shots on THEM.

Many people have a bad perception of Millenials because they don’t dedicate themselves to things that don’t work for them. Please help me to understand what’s wrong with that?

I had one Millennial working for me who I gave an assignment who told me, “I’m not interested in doing that!” I had to laugh because he reminded me of myself and the reason I started my own business. I could appreciate his honesty and hope that he can appreciate that I will not hire him for any more projects any time soon, but I still respect him.

I’d rather have him tell me that than do a shitty job of putting the project together because he has a phone cell bill to pay.

When a job is poorly done, it is evident, and there are a TON of people who only do the job for a check instead of a passion for the project.

I would venture to say Millenials, in their thinking, are right, and WE are wrong. Many of us allowed ourselves to stay in situations for years that we knew the first year wasn’t in our favor. Completely wasted time.

Goals are Like Breakfast

If you have a goal to eat breakfast, you are either going to make it yourself, ask someone to make it for you, or go and eat someplace, but you are going to accomplish that goal this morning.

You’re not going to wait for someone to offer you breakfast or hope someone knocks on your door with breakfast. Why? Because you are hungry, and you’re going to feed that hunger without anyone’s permission.

You have the permission that you need, and you don’t have to ask anybody. Your mother taught you to feed yourself, and you are going to do it.

This is a simple example that speaks volumes for the bigger picture. If you are hungry for something, feed that hunger yourself or wait for someone else to feed it, and there is a good chance you will starve.

Develop a Support System

Go where you are loved and supported, not used and neglected, and a target for someone else’s misery.  Unfortunately, it’s not always going to come from people who only look like you.

There are some great quality people out there from all walks of life who will support you in business. There are also people who will ask you for hookups and, believe it or not, those who tell you that you don’t charge enough for your services.

Which one you keep company with will determine how far you go. They both may believe in you, but only one of them is taking advantage of you. Know who that person is and deal with them accordingly … perhaps from a distance (lol).

Catch the next flight as far away as possible from people who complain and refuse to change. It’s rarely the world. It’s almost always THEM.

You Can Lead a Horse to Water …

Your job is to make sure YOU’RE not thirsty.

Over the years, I have been adamant about helping people who look like me, and unfortunately, there have been times I have been disappointed and have suffered the consequences.

Not always, but more times than I care to remember. Production has been halted for important projects; I paid writers who copied stories from major industry sites to my platforms, then I had to delete ALL their posts when I found out (sometimes up to 100 posts). There was no return on my investment of time and money. 

This is something I told them not to do when they were hired, but they did it anyway. I could have been sued.

I have been the father, mother, preacher, uncle, bank, counselor, chauffeur, you name it to my own people, just to get them to do a job, and I understand our consistent need, but by the same token, this is why many black businesses fail. Hire the Black BEST candidate.

We often have a very poor perception of black-owned businesses and tend to reward white-owned corporations as more valid.

Over the years, I have broken HUGE stories, and like clockwork, it never fails. When I look on social media, people who are on my mailing list and got the story from me first will always post a link to the white publications on their social media pages (lol). I never say anything because I understand structured subliminal programming. it’s just the cooler ice.

Know Your Value

This is THE most important lesson of all. We don’t always come from the best childhoods and circumstances, and we have a lot to contend with coming up.

Racism is inevitable, but the pain is daunting when rejection comes from your own people.

When I was younger, I never understood jealousy because I was never jealous of anyone. I always had great confidence in my own talents, but I didn’t always have the best self-esteem.

I can honestly say that I do now, but contrary to popular belief, self-esteem and confidence are two totally different things: Self-esteem is a belief in who you are, and Confidence is a belief in what you can do.

Your Greatest Asset is Not Money – Currency is Currently

Your most important asset is not money. It’s TIME. Spend it LIKE money, wisely. Invest it properly and know that with time there are rarely do-overs. The industry couldn’t care less about who you were. The emphasis is on who you ARE!!! Value usually diminishes over time unless it’s evergreen, like a great painting but a career? It’s easier to create than to recreate, but it’s not impossible. What can you do NOW? Digital tech has given people over 40 a great gift to keep going if you have great ideas and concepts. When your current life is about the past, you are no longer living in the present or the future and the industry is like a race; the focus is on the finish line, not the sideline.

Know what works and what doesn’t work, and always invest your time in the best way possible. It is the only thing you can never get back.

Latest

Habits for Building Good Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is important for your happiness and overall well-being. Discover habits that can help you cope with low self-esteem and create a healthier you. Feeling good about yourself isn't just something to strive for. It's essential to leading a healthy, fulfilling life. Low self-esteem can lead to poor decision-making, difficulty forming relationships, and an overall sense of dissatisfaction with life. [...]

How to Save Money by KEEPING What You Waste

It is truly amazing when you take the time to look at your bank accounts and go through your statement, how much money you waste and could save each month and each year. ... I’m talking, at times, thousands. Most of it is from subscriptions and services that you don’t use and will never use that automatically goes on your credit card whenever you order something online. [...]

Self-Employed Tips for Greater Success

A Self-Employed Trip Turns into a Greater Education on Business Development In 2017 I took a 1-week trip to help out a few family members. [...]

Capital One Café: The Best Place to Grab Coffee, Tea, and Snacks in 2023

Are you looking for the best place to grab a coffee, tea, handcrafted beverages, snacks, and access to free money coaching programs? [...]
Kevin Ross
Kevin Rosshttps://blogwallet.com
Kevin "KevRoss" Ross is a music and radio industry expert. He is a 20 -plus year entrepreneur with the leading most successful industry trade publication and site Radio Facts (www.radiofacts.com). He has also published various books, magazines, performed marketing and promotions for major corporations and recording artists and he is on the advisory board of several industry organizations. This year Ross introduced his non profit organization LOMARI (Leaders of the Music and Recording Industry) to help teach young minority students how to market and manage their music and products.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Former Head of Yeezy-Adidas Innovation Lab Launches FCTRY LAb with $6 Million Fundraise; Representing One of the Largest Investments in a Black Founder in...

FCTRY LAb Co-Founders Omar Bailey and Abhishek Som FCTRY LAb is a BIPOC-led, LA-based footwear prototyping lab and venture studio aiming to democratize sneaker production and open-source innovation for emerging and established designers and brands of all sizes. [...]

DJ Khaled Collabs with Skin Care Favorite, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula

Major Key Alert: DJ Khaled Collabs with Skin Care Favorite, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula! Snapchat Star to Launch Capsule Collection with Trusted Cocoa Butter Brand      Major Key Alert: DJ Khaled Collabs with Skin Care Favorite, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula! This holiday season, music mogul and "King of Snapchat," DJ Khaled is dropping "another one" of his major keys for his fans. [...]

Entrepreneur and Radio Icon Cathy Hughes Celebrates Lavish Birthday in Vegas (video)

We'd like to wish industry icon, Cathy Hughes, a belated happy birthday. Her party was in Vegas last month and we were just sent the video link by Al B Sure. (thanks, Al). Many happy returns... [...]

Good Idea More Valuable than Profit, Sprint Buys 33% of TIDAL

Sprint buys 33% of Tidal They say you should always start your business based on passion first, this is inevitable if you want to succeed. Nobody knows what you do LIKE you do nor will they have the motivation, drive and skill set to make it happen. Jay Z was brilliant when he did the press conference for TIDAL, reassembling a company that did something no other streaming service did, it made the artists part owners of their own music and returned a greater profit to them than other streaming services. [...]

Tavis Smiley’s KBLA Sounds Great, Hear Black-Owned Talk Station in LA (audio)

Yesterday, I was in the process of listening to Tavis Smiley’s Station KBLA in Los Angeles for a project. I thought I would just be listening for a few minutes but I ended up listening to an entire show with Isaiah Washington. I was pleasantly surprised at how well put together the station is in programs how tight the breaks are and how professional it sounds. This is not to say that I would not expect this from Tavis but this is not what I’m used to when it comes to talk radio. [...]

FIRST PODCAST SITE DEDICATED TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE PREMIERES

FIRST PODCAST SITE DEDICATED TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE PREMIERES Radio Facts’ New Podcast Port Accepting Both Established and New Shows LOS ANGELES, Dec 23, 2016 – The first all-urban podcast site, PODCAST PORT, featuring a range of topics pertinent to African Americans, continues to expand in 2017. The portal gives listeners a choice of broadcasts available from a single platform, and gives producers and hosts an opportunity to expand both their listenership and their production expertise. [...]

Entrepreneur Commits Suicide

As black entrepreneurs, especially BLACK black entrepreneurs we are a unique group of people who are often very misunderstood. People think we sit around and make a ton of money and do nothing but live a life of luxury. While most of us, who are successful, would not have it any other way, it is rare that we get to reap the benefits of our hard work because we often become addicted and married to our businesses and it is not always easy when you have TOO much control. [...]

Tom Joyner Gives Exclusive Interview to Radio Facts about ending the Tom Joyner Morning Show

TOM JOYNER A legend has spoken and we have all listened, and the truth is we have been listening intently for the last 25 years to a true icon. He’s one of the greatest radio personalities of all time. The Tom Joyner Morning Show wraps on December 31, 2019, and radio history has been made. Tom Joyner has not only established himself as one of the most prestigious and recognizable figures in radio, but his legacy transcends the airwaves as a powerful HBCU Foundation advocate and supporter as well as a black community supporter. [...]

Leave a Reply