Several years ago, I was wondering the halls at a music industry event. I walked past a bunch of empty rooms and was stunned to see an industry legend in one of the rooms by herself accessing the room. Sylvia Rhone was about to leave and I had never met her and here was my chance to introduce myself. I introduced myself then told her about my (then) new business (Radio Facts) and how I wanted to grow. She listened intently as I went on and one and then said something to me that I will never forget. She said the nature of a business is to build it then SELL it. How I wished I would have listened to her.
Years later, I’ve come to truly understand the truth behind her statement. Indeed it’s the only way to true wealth. Minority black entrepreneurs believe in keeping a business until either it dies or we do, or both. Chances are our kids don’t want to do what we did so all is lost. All the years of building a brand and wealth … gone.
While being an black entrepreneur is not easy, by any means, many of us will miss the payoff because we are afraid to let it go when we NEED to and HAVE to instead of when we WANT to. Who doesn’t know it’s always better to leave on top instead of being asked to leave. Your greatest level of influence is when you are at the top of your game not on your way down.
Running a business requires a certain amount of passion, dedication, and most important sales. If all of those things are not working in concert on a continuum there may be a problem.
I can honestly tell you, I know of several successful black entrepreneurs who are miserable people. They lead very unhappy lives and their businesses take a toll on their health, and well being. We can always walk away from our businesses but actually doing it is very difficult because raising a business from infancy is truly like raising a child. At some point, you are going to have to let it go into the world and see if all that you have done can continue to succeed but for many of us, that’s a very difficult thing to do so we never do it and we end up missing out on a financial windfall or building a new exciting and even more successful business. Truth be told, it’s time to let it go when one or all of three things happen:
- It’s no longer fun
- Your industry is changing and you refuse to change with it
- Your aging out
The new regime of minority entrpreneuers are firm believers in being serial black entrepreneurs. Unlike many of us in the older black entrepreneur generation, they KNOW their value at the start and they will build a business and learn as they go then let it go when they get bored with it or they want to do something else.
When they get an offer to sell they do it then start another business. Some of them come from very dark backgrounds or homelessness with parents on drugs etc yet still they rise. Considering many older minority black entrepreneurs also have tumultuous or challenging upbringings, it’s a given that perhaps this is a catalyst to our success too.
Let’s explore some of the things that you may be experiencing that allow your business to hold you hostage.
Can’t Leave, Can’t Stay
When you think about it, isn’t this why you stopped working for other people? When you are in this position, you are making JUST enough money to stay but NOT enough money to leave, you are trapped right? But are you?
BEST STRATEGY: Find where you can eliminate payments for something that you don’t need (your credit card statements are full of subscriptions you can cancel etc) and take that money and reinvest in yourself. Could you be taking some of that money and going to a few local seminars on another subject where you have some interests? The key here is to REINVEST your money BACK into yourself and re-motivating yourself.
Many times when you’re in the “Can’t Leave Can’t Stay” zone you’re also depleted of positive energy. You are going to have to motivate yourself BACK to the top of a new game or end up with nothing. None of us can afford to start over.
Watch YouTube Videos
Allow me to tell you I get a TON of inspiration and motivation from YouTube videos. There is MUCH more to the site than silly kids, men in drag with makeup videos and goofy pranks. There are brilliant black entrepreneurs some well known and others not so well known who are more than willing to give great tips on running, starting and selling your business.
One thing that I’ve seen MANY older black entrepreneurs do it stop learning. I will raise my hand here too. This is a HUGE mistake. We NEVER have all the answers and when you stop learning you stop growing and stop living and there is a TON of information out there at your disposal but you have to be willing and able to receive it.
Not Fun Anymore
Do you recall leaping out of bed when you first started your business in anticipation of the day? If you have never experienced this I can tell you, you have always been in the wrong business. it’s the highest high you can ever imagine and I have felt that feeling. You are in control of your own destiny and don’t answer to anyone and someone is willing to pay you for it? Of course, this is before everybody discovers you are making money and try their best to separate you from it.
As the years go on you want to build a business that has a great deal of passive income and not so much work on your behalf, especially if you are not ready to sell it. Are their ways that you can automate your business? Yes, with technology there are many tools. Automating many of your tasks also gives you the time to explore your other options.
Sometimes you may still enjoy what you are doing but part of the black entrepreneur’s job is to be on top of where your industry is headed. Is your industry changing? Even if it doesn’t do you still enjoy doing what you do? Eventually, we will all age out and we have to look at our replacements. You never want to be the dinosaur in the room. Once it’s determined that you are no longer relevant your stock price will tumble fast and it’s hard if not impossible to bring it back up. To add insult to injury, your credibility will also take a hit so your previous clients may not be as willing to support you in your next venture.
The Desire to do Something Else
Are you fantasizing about being in another business and doing something else? This is not a good sign for your current business. If you are stuck in your current business you have to find a way to get out. Quite often we look at business by standing on one foot and afraid to let the other foot (our other desires) touch the ground but we are not keeping very good balance standing on one-foot anyway and we have to understand that it’s better to stand on two feet.
The other shoe is going to drop eventually but it’s up to you HOW it happens, will it be YOUR choice of the universe’s choice? I would suggest you make it YOUR choice. Your feelings not only matter they are an indication of where you need to be and what you need to be doing.
Taxes and Bills
This could be another reason your business is holding you hostage. You have a long line of bills to pay. Well, the bad news is, those bills are not going away so whether you stay or leave you still have a commitment. You can look at it like you’re struggling OR look at a way to double or quadruple your income to kill two birds with one stone and pay the bills quicker.
To That End …
At the end of the day you will have to get your mindset right and understand that no matter what you do, you have to do something before something is done FOR you like the end of your business because it no longer serves your industry or you being exhausted from your futile efforts to rebuild and rebrand something that you no longer believe in.
Consider that if you are not happy in your business, the only escape is to well … escape not to sit idly by and hope something happens to improve your situation. The odds are against you. The key is to invest what you HAVE to get what you WANT so this means taking elements from your current business, from money to experience to contacts to leverage and creating something new. Congrats on your NEW endeavor.