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Marcus Blackwell: Using Music and Creativity to Teach Children Math | 198

Marcus Blackwell: Using Music and Creativity to Teach Children Math | 198

Teachers are blown away because they'll give me the kids that say they hate math and I'm like, yeah, I'll take those. That's what I look for. And from there they'll do more work in my class the first day meeting me than they would have the entire semester. So this is really impactful.

This week's featured trailblazer is Marcus Blackwell.

Marcus Blackwell is the CEO and Founder of Make Music Count, a math curriculum taught through music. He received a B.S in mathematics from Morehouse college and has played professional gospel piano since the age of 16.

Students are not performing well in mathematics. Marcus dedicates his energy to developing creative methods that convince students to embrace mathematics. His company is designed to go into the school systems to work directly with students connecting the mathematical dots where the traditional methods of teaching fall short. Marcus believes that he is able to connect well with students because he also struggled with math growing up and it was music that allowed him to eliminate the intimidation he had towards mathematics.

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you're posting to social, please tag @tbpod and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM

KEY POINTS FROM MARCUS:

  • I've got to say, I’m most grateful for the birth of my baby girl. I'm a new dad. My daughter is eight months, little Victoria Elizabeth Blackwell, and it's just been amazing. She's a fantastic baby. She's already, you know, just, it's amazing. Everything about her is amazing. Something different every week and it's just something that I don't know if you can really prepare for, you know, like you know you're going to be a dad. But when it happens it's just like, Oh my gosh, this is incredible. 
  • Make Music Count is an Ed Tech company that I created where we're all about using creativity to educate children. And so our first product that we created is an app that teaches kids how to get better at math by learning how to play popular songs on the piano. And so, we believe that there's no such thing as a student that cannot do math. It has a really bad stigma attached with it. And so a lot of people think that they can't do math. Well, we just think that it's low confidence. And so what we created was a way for us to introduce cultural relevancy that speaks to actual students in their backgrounds — so music and the music that they listened to at home. And we use that as an incentive and reward for applying their understanding of math concepts. It's almost like an educational guitar hero, but on the piano.  That's what it's like.
  • Make Music Count is honestly like a combination of both my mom's background and my dad's background.
  • I want to be careful with how I talk about like education in Connecticut, cause all teachers aren't like this. But the ones that I had didn't really know how to treat me as someone that wanted to be there. You know, a lot of teachers assume that black students don't want to be in school; they're misbehaving. Well, I did. And so, you know, I wasn't given the extra help needed when I was like, ah, I want to be good at math, but I need some extra help. 
  • Coming from a household of educators — my dad was a Morehouse man, my mom went to community college — they were like, well, there's no bringing home bad grades in this house, so we're gonna need you to find a solution. So what I had to use was playing the piano; and it was really just one day in college realizing that playing the piano means that you understand math, that it gave me the confidence to say, ‘you know what, if I'm this good at playing the piano and it takes math to play the piano, it's got to mean that I'm also good at just math in general.' And so that gave me the confidence to then become a math major and you know, just further investigate how this math and music piece kind of came together. 
  • I lived through a real math phobia, found a solution, and kids can tell that I've been there. And to just use something that was a passion of mine to fix an issue that I had … that's really the core of what Make Music Count is. 
  • I didn't even know what an entrepreneur was. The way that this started was, again, I had to find a solution for my own math phobia. I said, “How can I fix Marcus' issue?” And when I finally made the connection, I just started investigating …
  • I started this out just as a volunteer. It was just something that I thought could help. And so, what ended up happening is that after doing it for free for about six months, other schools found out about my work and began to call me to ask me to come and do it at their school, too. That's how my business got started.
  • It was not, ‘Oh, I have a business idea’ … it just kind of developed along the way of just kind of doing the work. That's what I would say. You got to do it. You just gotta do the work, and things just kind of work themself out. 
  • I was a math major. This math phobia thing was real and you know, at that school they're always pumping us up like, ‘Hey, you can be whatever you want to be.' And I was like, well, there was always one issue I've always had. And that was with math and that's when the discovery started coming like, ‘hey, maybe music can help me do this.'
  • … you're always going to need mentors when it comes to building any type of business.  You’re going to need help. No one can do anything by themselves.
  • Because as an entrepreneur you're wearing all the hats, you know, you're the financial person, you're the content creator, you're the marketer, right? You're the pitch competition participant, like all of that, you know? So my corporate experience definitely helped me develop a work ethic. But then also my math major mind kind of contributed to, okay, if I'm going to teach kids how to play the piano, what are the steps needed to start from the very beginning?  
  • Like we are covering all this math and making it fun, you know? And so teachers are blown away because you know, they'll give me the kids that say they hate math, you know, and I'm like, yeah, I'll take those. That's what I look for. And you know, from there they'll do more work in my class the first day meeting me than they would have the entire semester. Right. So you know, this is really impactful. 
  • … we might as well meet students where they are and use what they're listening to, to get some results in education. And that's really what we were able to accomplish here. 
  • So success for us is seen in many different forms. So number one, we were seeing math performance increase. So math scores, performance going up. So that's one, but in addition, confidence — increase in confidence. That's what we're all about. So the confidence that kids gained from using our app transfers over to the classroom. So, like, kids will, you know, solve algebra equations to produce a song in my app and that confidence will go back to the classroom. Right? So, that's what we're all about here is like confidence is increasing.  
  • And that's really my hope here is that our app that teaches math through music will serve as a spark to other teachers to be creative, to connect the dots between other subjects. Right? Like what we're talking about here is a brand new way to educate kids. Again, cultural relevancy, the connectivity between different subjects. Like that's new, that's new, right? So that would be my hope here, is that we could start a movement where teachers are deliberately being creative and just seeing what will happen.   
  • My end goal is to close the achievement gap, number one. I think that math is presented to minority communities. Now we have a way to fight back and that's going to be through methods like this. So number one, closing the achievement gap.  But number two, eliminating math phobia. You know, like there's no reason for anyone to fear math.  It's no different than any other subjects that you have to learn. And then I would say, third is, I dunno man, just starting this conversation around how to be creative with education.  Like the traditional ways of teaching are not working anymore, and we're seeing the results from that. So, it's time to do something new. So, you know, I would love for this to be the start of a major conversation around changing how we think about education.   
  • When you have an idea, you really are obligated to pursue it, because there's other people that can benefit from your solution.
  • One thing you can guarantee is that somebody else definitely has the same problem that you have, but they may not have the creative solution that you may have. So, if you have an idea, you're really obligated to pursue it, because in my mind, I think that's selfish, if you have an idea and don't help others.
  • We need these creative ideas. So just get out there and try it, man. What's the worst that could happen?

 

ONE ACTION

  • A lot of times we can psyche ourselves out by trying to wait for the perfect opportunity to pursue an idea. It's never going to be a perfect time to do it. So, you just have to get out and do it.

 

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

Maya Elious: Monetize Your Message | 197

Maya Elious: Monetize Your Message | 197

Messaging is so important because it just makes it clear how you add value to your industry, and a lot of people just aren’t clear about that.

Our featured trailblazer is Maya Elious.

Maya Elious is a personal branding strategist that teaches experts how to position themselves as the go-to authority figure in their industry so they can confidently launch their signature offer.

She’s helped hundreds of students and clients get clear on their message, confidently increase their prices, have successful five-figure launches with their masterclasses, webinars, courses, and programs. Her main mission is to help women increase their impact and income with their gifts and expertise.

When she’s not helping her clients build their online empire, she can be found traveling, scrolling through IG, or watching Hulu.

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you're posting to social, please tag @tbpod and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM

KEY POINTS FROM MAYA:

  • I’m most grateful right now for my house.  I’ve been in here for maybe like two months now, and I wake up everyday, and I’m like wow! I can’t believe I’m in a house and not an apartment.  That’s crazy.  So, that’s what I’m most grateful for right now.
  • The main issue when people hire me for websites was that they didn’t know what they wanted on their website.  They just knew they wanted an online presence; they wanted to look cool online — essentially branding and positioning — which I didn’t know those terms back then, but they wanted to look good online; they wanted to make money on the internet.  But they just had no concept of really how to do it — how to market themselves, what words to put on their websites.  And so, I would help a lot of my clients figure those things out, and that’s how I got into like the messaging space and marketing.
  • Starting out a lot of it was just self-taught.  Like, I googled a lot.  I went on YouTube a lot.  That’s how I figured out how to really become a good designer, how to actually make websites, how to, you know market yourself, like what to put on social media — all of that stuff. So, I studied a lot of things just based on what I would find on the internet, and then I would find specific experts that I really liked following.  And I would just subscribe to their newsletters, and I would study like when they did their launches, or how they marketed to me and why they were sending out newsletters on certain days or how they ran their webinars — all of those things. 
  • @MayaElious shares her entrepreneurial start:  I used to follow like experts and bloggers and really just study, you know, their moves, and try to help my clients imitate that, but specifically in their field. 
  • I really loved all that self-study stuff.  I was just really hungry to learn.
  • Being able to take an idea and make it tangible with your knowledge, that’s what was exciting to me.
  • The messaging is so important because it just makes it clear how you add value to your industry, and a lot of people just aren’t clear about that. Like they put out the pretty pictures, and the perfect colours, like they think they know what branding is.  They think that branding is just looking good in the online space, but it’s really like why should people be following you?  What am I doing on your website?  I used to make the analogy that your website is pretty.  People go there because of the invitation.  Maybe the invitation is  pretty but when they go there what is there for them?  What is the substance?  Branding is really the substance of your overall brand and letting people know how you serve them, how you add value to the industry, and how they can pay you.  
  • I think now a lot of people lack confidence because of comparison.  There is so much noise in our spaces and everybody is like “my industry is saturated” because they are seeing people post consistently, and they just feel like they’re going to get lost in the sauce.
  • When I started out there really wasn’t any comparison, and I also didn’t have to do it for money.  Like I was making money, but I wasn’t dependent on my business to pay my bills. I could actually just enjoy it.  And I feel like a lot of people start off with so much pressure to stand out among competitors, and there’s so much pressure to make bills with what they’re doing.  I could simply just enjoy what I was doing.  So there was no reason for me to not be confident in what I was doing because I didn’t have these pressure-based standards against me.  I just had fun.
  • I think the biggest mistake is probably just not playing big enough and just not going for it.  Like waiting longer than necessary to just do what you should be doing.  Because any mistake or losses it’s really just lessons learned.  But you can’t even learn the lessons if you don’t do the work.  So, I would say like any of my big mistakes was just like not charging enough, not being specific enough about who I wanted to work with. And I think that’s something like starting out you’re so thirsty to just work with anybody who is willing to pay you, and then you realize when you work with people who aren’t a good fit, it reflects poorly on you, because you can’t work at your best for them.  And then it’s just a headache;  it makes entrepreneurship not fun. So, I think any biggest mistake is just not being real about what I wanted and going after that; like settling for projects, or settling for my comfort zone, or settling for clients that I really didn’t want to work with. 
  • I spend a lot of my days simply just thinking … how can I get better? Why did I decide to make this decision?  — really understanding myself.  I  feel like self-awareness is so important.
  • I don’t do a lot of things.  Like I try not to do too much at once.  I’m never in more than one program at one time.  And I don’t join programs if I don’t feel like I need them in this season.  Sometimes I feel like we join programs to like justify that we’re doing the work and investing in ourselves, but it’s like you have to know yourself well enough to know like is this the right time for me to join a program to write a book?  Is this the right time for me to join a program to launch my signature offer?  All of those things.  So, really again just knowing yourself — self-awareness.  But it’s always a good time to read for at least 30 minutes and journal for a few minutes a day and just get your brain going. 
  • You have to be confident that you can actually do this, because people can tell whether or not you’re confident; and people are not gonna buy from you, if you’re not confident. 
  • What are you really confident in?  What do you know that you do the absolute best?  This is why I think it’s so important to niche down instead of trying to do all the things.  If you can figure out that thing where you’re like “I’m the absolutely the best” at, you’re going to show up so confidently.
  • Show up confidently.  That’s the first thing.  Because if you’re confident, and you feel that you’re the best then you’re not going to play yourself on pricing, which is what a lot of people do.
  • @MayaElious on important attributes for new entrepreneurs:  Confidence, pricing and then knowing how to package your skillset.  That thing that you’re the best at, how can you deliver that to an ideal client?
  • Figure out what you’re the absolute best at, package it up, put a price point on it; don’t over think it.  Just tell people that this is what you offer; there’s gonna be somebody out there that pays you.
  • Find out more about Maya’s Impact Weekend at BuilttoImpact.com.  The 2.5 day event will focus on your messaging, focus on your marketing, and definitely going to touch on mindset. Because again that’s the best thing, and just make sure that you have the most successful year of your business yet.

 

ONE ACTION

  • Create an environment where you can be more productive.

 

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

Tawan Davis Discusses The Long-Term, Intergenerational Asset Class – Real Estate | 196

Tawan Davis Discusses The Long-Term, Intergenerational Asset Class – Real Estate | 196

I want to create long-term wealth that will last multiple generations and that produces cash; among the different options to invest, real estate is a very, very clear option.

Our featured trailblazer is Tawan Davis.

Tawan Davis is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of The Steinbridge Group, which has structured, executed and invested nearly $1 billion in commercial and residential real estate. Under Mr. Davis’ leadership—which includes managing the investment program and overseeing the day-to-day operations and transaction pipeline—Steinbridge is now investing more than $425 million in the urban single-family home market.

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you're posting to social, please tag @tbpod and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM

KEY POINTS FROM TAWAN:

  • I am, and so many of us are, really a product of our collective context. 
  • In my family’s tree, I am the first person that I know with a four-year college degree. There are people who have started and stopped, but I was the first person to go and stick it out.
  • The conservative, religious context in which my mother raised me has a lot to do with that [my accomplishments]. On the one hand my mom was just a stickler for good behavior and ethical behavior, and so I didn’t get involved with a lot of things that other people got involved in.  
  • I grew up with several cousins who are like brothers to me to this day.  There were five of us, and my great-grandmother would have to take care of all of us while our parents worked.
  • I’m the only guy that finished high school in 4 years and not even to mention having gone on to have the opportunity to get a higher education.  So, it was my mother’s unique focus on personal and ethical discipline.  That, plus the fact that I became very involved in my community and in the church very early, gave me a reason to want to go to school, gave me a reason to want to improve myself, it gave me a reason to want to do more and affirm myself.
  • Because I was involved in my church, I was involved in the youth programs, that led me to be involved in the NAACP at a state and national level.  I was a member of the youth and college committee, the national NAACP.  I served as an interim chairman for half a term.  So all of those things exposed me to a whole new world that growing up in Portland, Oregon would not have exposed me to
  • Growing up there, there was not a lot of exposure to very well educated, very accomplished African-American people, and so there were one or two glimpses of that — one was in the church being surrounded by people who had at least some accomplishment, some aspirations, ministers that were forward looking and the NAACP where I met a guy name Lucius Hicks who was chairman of the Oregon State NAACP, and who was the chairman of the Portland School Board, and who was a pusher of education that let me travel with him to the state, regional and national events of the NAACP where I met Merley Evers at the time who was chairman of the board of the NAACP and all of these remarkably accomplished historic leaders in the African American community and that transformed my vision of what was possible as a young man. 
  • My approach to real estate, broadly, is that real estate is a long-term, intergenerational asset class.
  • Let’s start with where you put your money.  Most of us only have so much money, so you’ve got to make a few, kind of broad decisions:  Do you put it in the bank or do you invest it? Do you spend it? That’s decision #1.
  • Decision #2:  If you’re going to invest it, what do you invest in? Do you buy stocks, bonds, options, private equity or real estate?
  • For me, the answer was that I want to create long-term wealth that will last multiple generations and that produces cash; then, among the different options to invest, real estate is a very, very clear option. Then you have to decide, do you invest in the US or Latin America, United Kingdom or Europe or elsewhere?
  • The United States remains the most lucrative, stable, risk-adjusted investment market in the world.  More money comes here than anywhere else in the world, and the United States still produces better returns over longer period of time, because they're stable returns.  You might make more money investing in Latin America one year, but you could also lose more money in the next year.
  • Over long periods of time, the United States, for the developed economy is the strongest investment profile.
  • My mantra is to build long-term, intergenerational, cash flowing assets. So, the goal, over time is to acquire real estate and then augment or increase the cash flow over time. 
  • In the United States there is a perennial demand, a long-term perpetual demand for good housing and for residences, and so it became clear to me that the opportunity in real estate, for my generation, over the next 10-, 20-, 30- years was really in the housing sector, providing good quality housing for American people. 
  • Most good businesses, in fact, all good businesses identify and strategically solve a particular problem.  Solving a problem is the opportunity.
  • There is a huge housing crisis, and how most investors and real estate developers respond to that housing crisis early on was by building really high-end, really fancy buildings.
  • If you are the average person in the United States, if you are a teacher, or a nurse, or a police officer,  or a firefighter, you cannot afford what the real estate development community delivered as a response to the housing crisis. … It’s the wrong solution for the average American family.
  • There is a humungous housing crisis in every major city in the United States for working people, and we all know that because we all feel rents rising; we all feel and observe the displacement of communities like the one I grew up in, where people have been there for generations but can no longer afford the taxes that are associated with those neighborhoods.
  • The solution is not to build yet another glass tower and charge people 4 or $5,000  for rent. The solution here is to invest in the very same neighborhood where  these people, want to live, these nice neighborhoods, these transitioning neighborhoods, these improving neighborhoods, and provide a product that is affordable.
  • I understand how jarring it is, as an African American person, to experience gentrification, but the most gentrification is actually not even ethnic and racial, it is economic.
  • The most challenging part of our business is the people, and I will admit to you that that is an iterative process.  Any entrepreneur, it they are honest, will tell you they never get the people right the first time.  It is either their problem because they don’t know themselves well enough to attract and retain complements to themselves or they have attracted the wrong people.  But I don’t know a single entrepreneur that has done it right the first time. And that's been our experience.  It has been iterative.  I have gone out built teams and then over time, little by little, you better understand what you need and you have to make adjustments. You add people; you take people away.  And so being okay at the centre of this kind of perpetual dynamic and constant change, as a company grows and matures, is a very important part of being an entrepreneur; being at the centre of the changing landscape of people as the company strengthens and matures is very important. So that’s mindset #1.
  • Mindset #2, I think for me, was to identify and strengthen your core.  So once I was able to really clarify what the company needed and attract those people, I have been able to really strengthen and solidify.  I know who the core of our company is.
  • Lesson #3 … it’s so important to be values.  People have to connect with your values.  I always tell people that come to work with us and for us, “I don’t want you to do what I want you to do .  I want you to do what you want you to do.  I want you to achieve your goals.  I don’t want you to achieve Steinbridge’s goals.  But if it so happens that Steinbridge’s goals overlaps with your goals, then we should work together for awhile, and you should join our team.  And, if on the other hand, Steinbridge’s aspirations, goals, values and ethics don’t overlap with your aspirations, goals, values and ethics, then let’s agree to be friends, but we shouldn’t work together.”  
  • I don’t run a manufacturing plant per se, where I just have to attract people just to play a role.  I actually have to attract people to make a contribution. 
  • I am a man in process.  I am a man on a walk.
  • For an entrepreneurial CEO, which is a very specific skillset — the most important skillset for an entrepreneurial CEO is to consider himself an evangelist. I preach the gospel of Steinbridge. I preach the gospel of development, the gospel of empowerment, the gospel of economic opportunity.  I have to be a constant champion for the cause, and that requires a certain amount of passion, it requires a certain amount of clarity.  It requires irrational conviction. 
  • My path has been to beat down the doors of poverty and economic opportunity by building a company, by building a big business, by building a company that employs people. 
  • So, I am passionate. I am an evangelist for my particular calling and that is the calling of economic development and economic opportunity with Steinbridge as a vehicle for that impact.

 

ONE ACTION

  • Write it down! If you don’t write it down, it doesn’t exist.
  • We have limited time on the earth, and we have limited time to engage in a particular pursuit; and so anything we must do, we must put it on a schedule. It has to be a realistic schedule; it has to be an accomplishable schedule.  But it still needs to be on a schedule because if it’s not on a schedule, it won’t get done.

 

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

Raymond McKenzie: The Journey of an Entrepreneur Never Stops | 195

Raymond McKenzie: The Journey of an Entrepreneur Never Stops | 195

As an entrepreneur and business owner, there is never enough learning that can be done.

Our featured guest is Raymond McKenzie.

Ray McKenzie, founder of Red Beach Advisors, an executive business and product strategy, operations, and process consultant with more than 20 years of experience with public, private, and start-up tech companies specializing in growth and scaling strategies. 

Ray has held various senior executive positions with companies such as Verisign, Neustar, State Farm Insurance, TeleSign, UltraDNS and has served in an advisory role for several start-up companies in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Ray McKenzie completed his studies in Management Information Systems from San Diego State University in 2001 and is a certified AWS Cloud Practitioner (CLF). Mr. McKenzie is also a certified Lean Six Sigma sensei (CLSSS) practitioner from Villanova University, is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from Scrum Alliance. Mr. McKenzie currently sits on the board of directors for non-profit organizations such as My Friend’s House, Inc. based in Los Angeles, CA and Students With Aspiring Goals based in Merced, CA and regularly speaks to groups of children and youth regarding entrepreneurship, leadership, and achievement. Ray is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. 

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you're posting to social, please tag @tbpod and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM

KEY POINTS FROM RAY:

  • I’m grateful for my family. I have my wife who has been extremely supportive of me and my career since I started, and then, obviously, my four kids.  
  • I travel quite a bit for my customers but I also make it home all the time for a lot of things, but there’s an understanding there.  That understanding and support means the most.
  • Ray McKenzie on forging a lane for himself:  “I can make a decision to continue to allow companies or the development of software to guide my career or I can take it into my own hands and start to use some of my skills in terms of talking and interacting with people, clients and customers.”
  • I started to utilize my ability to talk, my ability to interact, and my ability to work with clients and develop good relationships. I made that change, and that’s where my career started to take off for the most part.
  • Ray tells us the result of his pivot to entrepreneurship:  “I was able to work on projects I like to work on; I had a chance to work with people I wanted to work with; I had a chance to dictate my rates in terms of what I wanted to charge for my fee; and then I was also able to control the quality of life that I had.”
  • To build a business and to start a business and make sure it’s successful, it does take a lot of time.
  • To build a business, it’s time intensive; you have to be focused; you have to be dedicated; and you have to not quit. You have to persevere.
  • Relationships take about 12 to 18 months to really foster on a business and professional level.
  • It takes time, effort and showing the delivery to be able to get those contracts.
  • Everything that drove you to want to start your business, or want to be an entrepreneur, or what you wanted to gain, should keep you motivated.
  • Ray McKenzie on being an entrepreneur:  “Quality of life and the power of choice is driving me in the work I’m doing today; the ability to say yes or no to what you want to do in your life.”
  • The ability to turn something from good to great has been the ability to develop not only that professional connection with people, but that personal connection with people.
  • Whatever that internal driver is for them (your clients), or what’s important to them, understand that, be able to relate to it, and build a relationship off of that.
  • In the consulting world it’s all about delivery.  Your brand is based around delivery, and it’s based around trust.
  • You have to bring in great people; you have to understand what their motivations are in their careers, where they want to go, where they want to develop, and try to give them a clear path in terms of how to do that.  And then, if you provide them with projects that help them continuously grow, continuously expand kind of their knowledge.  And then, kind of teach them the business, to a certain extent.  That always gives them motivation to be able to stay onboard and deliver and deliver and deliver. People are paramount to the success of any company that you see.  That’s just how it works. If you have great people, you provide a great culture for them, and then you’ll see that they’ll continuously grow, your company will continuously grow, everybody will be motivated and everybody will be looking and moving in the right direction. [[spp-timestamp time="22:14"] – [spp-timestamp time="22:59"]] 
  • It’s important to make people feel wanted.  It’s important to make sure they’re compensated correctly.  It’s important to make sure that they feel like a valued part of any team; and it’s important to understand what’s important to them. [[spp-timestamp time="23:01"] – [spp-timestamp time="23:18"]] 
  • We have to have good personal relationships all around, not just with clients or customers who cut the biggest cheques, but all of your clients and customers and especially all of your employees and/or consultants that you work with.
  • If you’re not healthy, you’re not good to anybody else.
  • The values of business are that you’ve got to develop something that people want and need. Don’t build something that you want, because you may be the only person that wants it.  Build something that people want to buy.
  • Be as detailed as you can be. Persevere and work through your struggles, and don’t quit.
  • Work ethic is important and showing up and delivering is important.
  • You can’t teach people how to show up on time.  You either get it or you don’t.
  • You can’t teach people how to work hard.  You either have it or you don’t.
  • Everything you need to know is in a book.

 

ONE ACTION

  • Try to call five different people who own businesses and/or CEO’s this week, and not necessarily ask them for business, just ask them how they’re doing.

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.

 

Sherri J: Steps To Build, Transform and Scale Your Business  | 194

Sherri J: Steps To Build, Transform and Scale Your Business | 194

It really takes one step, one leap of faith, to grow something beyond what you ever imagined you could.

Our featured guest is Jeresha “Sherri J” White.

Sherri J is a young black business owner who started her first childcare facility at the age of 23. She opened it because of her passion for education and children. She never imagined becoming a real business guru, opening five more childcare facilities, and starting a business coaching venture. Needless to say, listeners should walk away from this podcast episode knowing that one baby step is still a step, and that one step could be the seed that starts your garden.

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you're posting to social, please tag @tbpod and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM

KEY POINTS FROM SHERRI J:

  • I am most grateful in my life right now for my sanity; being able to process and deal with all of the stuff that I deal with on a daily basis, it has a tendency to drive you borderline insane.  So, I’m just glad that God has granted me the gift of sanity to be able to deal with everything that I deal with in the manner that I do and still be okay and come out on top. A lot of us take our sanity for granted.  Everybody does not have sanity.  There are some people whose minds are totally gone and they have genuinely, literally lost themselves. I’m just glad that mine is still intact and is able to allow me to perform the duties that I do on a daily basis.
  • While I was at my 9 – 5 I was planning. Every year when I got my tax return, instead of going to Walmart to buy new comforter sets, shower curtains and redecorating my home, I saved. For the entire time that I worked there I just was saving.  I wasn’t doing a lot of the stuff that I used to do, because I had a goal in mind. 
  • Sherri J on the challenges of navigating the intersection of being a young, Black, woman, entrepreneur:  “It was horrible! Nobody took me serious.  Everybody that was working for me was older than me, and everybody who was bringing their kids to my daycare was older than me.  The odds were stacked against me in both those areas because everybody that I needed to take me serious isn't taking me serious, more so because I’m so young, I’m attractive and I’m African-American. So, it was like, “where’s the owner?”
  • It was a learning experience for me.  I had to try to pat them on the back and pacify them into trusting me.  That was extremely challenging.
  • My business really didn’t start to grow until I was able to say, “I’m gonna have to do this myself.  The hard part is not over; it’s just begun.” 
  • Critical Step #1:  No matter how good your business is going or looking in the very beginning, don’t walk away from it or look at it thinking I’ve got it to where I want it now. That point is not going to come for a very long time.  
  • Critical Step #2:  Save every dime that comes into your business.  Don’t spend it. Put up a salary for yourself but save anything extra.  You’re learning the flow of your business, so you could have a great year, and then have a horrible two years. But what you did in that great year will set the tone for those horrible two years.  They won’t be so horrible.
  • I felt like I could have gotten through things a lot smoother if I had put my pride aside and asked for help.  Even if people weren’t where I wanted to go, that didn’t mean they didn’t have good advice to give me on my journey along the way.

 

ONE ACTION

  • To the current entrepreneurs, re-interview your entire staff to see if they are still where they were when you initially hired them.  People change and your company and you, as a business owner, you’re not the only person changing and growing.  The people that are working for you are changing — maybe they’re growing; maybe they’re not but that’s something that you’ll always need to know and stay ahead of.  This will allow you to visualize or get an early grip on a person that may not be beneficial to you or your company or a person that may just be going in a different direction that you need them to be.
  • To aspiring entrepreneurs or business professionals, find one person that is where you want to be and take notes on them this week and every week after this.  By the time you’re ready to start your business, go back to those notes, review everything that you wrote down and find a way to implement them into your business, so that you never lose sight of what was motivating you along the way.

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS PODCAST?

If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, help us reach more trailblazers like you by leaving us a 5 star review! Ratings, reviews and subscribes are extremely helpful to expanding our reach within the Apple community.