The Problem with Black-Owned Businesses

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Before I begin, I would like to stress that I am a huge supporter of black entrepreneurs and black-owned businesses. I collect artwork from African-American artists, I purchase books from self-published authors of color, i’ve ordered hair care products from black entrepreneurs, and the list goes on.

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Among other reasons, many African-Americans are switching to services and businesses ran by our own due to the mistreatment some receive from non-blacks.

See examples below:

For that reason many are flocking where we’re accepted. However, not everything is peachy with the black-owned business. Yes, we’re accepted, and no, we don’t have to worry about racial profiling, but there’s one issue that black entrepreneurs and freelancers must correct and improve upon:

Customer Service Skills

Customer Service, Service, Headset

9 times out of 10, customer service skills and professionalism are lacking and it’s crucial when dealing with customer complaints or issues. It’s not professional to go from 0 to 100 and to lash out at the people who help fund your business.

For instance, on Facebook, Ive witnessed a start-up black-owned business, specializing in apparel, curtains, and backpacks, block a relative of mine and others after merely commenting their concern of receiving the wrong order or asking questions about an existing order. I even read a comment where someone suggested the entrepreneur who ran the business page, to hire a public relations or customer relations employee because she was turning off potential customers with her attitude and responses to their questions.

However, she’s not the only entrepreneur i’ve witnessed or heard about exhibiting unprofessionalism. ( See article: Black businesses and customer service: Our critical success factor , )

I, too, am also fed up with the lack of customer care. One of the few black graphic designers I hired to create 3 book covers for me, did not deliver within the turnaound time promised. In fact, two of the covers were completed weeks after and the third was never delivered although I had paid for it. When asked for a refund for the third cover (I wasn’t willing to wait another few weeks when other graphic designers deliver within 24 hours), I was always given the runaround about issues her paypal was having with issuing my refund. That was 2017 and I never did receive that refund.

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Within a month, I have done business with two black-owned business that left a bad taste in my mouth. One entrepreneur stopped responding to my calls and messages after filing my taxes after I asked for a copy of my filed taxes, which I somehow never received (Yes, I filed my taxes late this year). The very first time I called, she assured me she would email it right away (I live 4 1/2 hours away and desperately needed it to complete my financial aid). She never sent it. I let 2 days pass and I still hadn’t heard anything so I sent her a text, to which she texted back her business number for me to call. I called the number multiple times and the voicemail would pick up. I left a message on her voicemail and still nothing. I waited a day for her to return my call and did not receive any communication back. Finally I contacted the IRS to have a copy mailed to me. To this day, I still have not heard back from this woman or any of her business partners, nor do I know why she is holding my document hostage. I filed my taxes in June, so it’s not like she’s swamped with other tax customers, although she does have other services she specializes in.

I can’t help wondering do we only treat our own kind this way? Would those same entreprenuers provide a service of such low caliber to non-black customers???

The latest disaster with a BOB, that inspired this rant, is my disappointing encounter with organizers for a popular Atlanta bookfest for black authors. I’ll spare you all the details. Long story short, my books were to be displayed at the bookfest and after paying 80 bucks to have them printed and shipped, the post office emailed me to let me know that the address was wrong and that the box of books were sitting at some post office in GA awaiting pick up. Turns out, the address that was listed on their website was wrong. They admitted it via email, and gave me the correct address. I’m not going to lie, I was very upset. Especially because there was no apology or empathy on their part. When I asked what should I do, since I don’t live in GA and therefore cannot pick up the box, they didn’t reply. I called the number to the post office and was told that they could not change an address on a package. The package would be sent back to sender after 10 days. By then, the bookfest would be over. I emailed the organizer(s) again to ask for a refund on the small fee I had paid to have my books displayed and was promptly emailed 2 sentences back asking for my paypal info and stating that my refund would be issued by the end of the business day. It is now days later and I still have not received a refund nor have I heard anything back. I’m angry because I wasted 80 bucks and they showed absolutely no compassion, regret, or care for their error. Tired of waiting for the refund, I finally contacted my bank to file a dispute. (Update 8/19/19..I received an email after the event stating that my books had been picked up and were on display for the event 🙄)

I also paid a fee for two of my books to be sold on their online African-American bookshop. This is a service I had been receiving numerous emails and DMs on IG about. On July 3rd I finally decided to go on ahead and pay the fee to have my books added. It has yet to be added. When I emailed a couple of days ago to ask about the status, I was told they needed my books’ IBSNs (was anyone every gonna contact me to ask?) I emailed them back within a half an hour with the information and have not heard anything, nor were either of the two books added. They did not provide a turnaround time but their website stated having the products added to their site was quick and simple. I will not file a dispute with my bank for this issue because I have not asked them to cancel the service or asked for a refund. I always try to follow protocol first. I’ve decided to give them a couple of more weeks before asking for a refund if they don’t follow through with their end of the service.

All in all, I couldn’t help feeling like I was a nuisance, instead of a customer with an issue.

THIS IS NOT A CALL TO ACTION TO ABANDON

BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES!

This is a call to action for freelancers and black entrepreneurs to invest in learning customer service skills or hiring customer care professionals! To them I say: i’m sure you don’t accept nor expect anything less when you’re a customer. This has even helped me to open my eyes as a freelance writer myself. Please remember that customers do have a choice as to where and who they spend their hard-earned money with.

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Below, I have a couple of links for anyone who has become exasperated, like I have, with dealing with the below par work ethics. Hopefully, it’ll help convince you to give other black-owned businesses a shot.

Links:

HOW TO COMBAT BLACKS WHO REFUSE TO BUY BLACK

4 half-truths about black-owned businesses — and why you should still buy black

Jess Hilarious’s Viral Video Against Black Businesses Is Problematic AF

I also wanted to add a list of  Black-owned nail salons that I found on social media:

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Do you agree or disagree? Comment below.


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Gratitude 7/15

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As stated in my previous gratitude post, I want to make it habit to take time to acknowledge everything I am grateful for.

Yesterday I thought I was having such a bad weekend. Everything seemed to be going wrong until I saw the below post on Instagram, which immediately brought me to shame and humility:

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I immediately felt ashamed about my frivolous problems and began expressing gratitude for my little problems.

Below is my gratitude list for today. As stated in my previous gratitude posts, I not only list what I currently, but what’s waiting for me in my future (read more about creating your reality here)
I AM GRATEFUL & THANKFUL FOR :

My children

My family

My health

My luxuries

My mother

My employment

My support system(s)

My relationship with my sisters

My loyal friendships

My lavish garden

My cars

My finances

My job

My multiple streams of high profitable income

My memory

My sanity

My creativity

My abilities

My cooking

My life

My daughter’s success

My own success

My spirit guides

My fearlessness

My positive manifestations

My bed

My home

My hair

My fashion sense

The love within

My ability to save and create a fortune

My multimillion dollar business

Thank you💗Thank you 💓Thank you💖


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A Hunger for More…

Do you currently have a hunger, a thirst, a craving for more in life?

A craving so big that you’re willing to do anything and sacrifice anything for more in life?

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One of the best things to do to begin creating your reality is shifting the way you think. Changing the way your mind thinks subconsciously about yourself and what you deserve is key.

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I began doing is affirmations.

It’s simple:1.Stand in front of a mirror,2. Look into your eyes3. Begin your affirmations with “I AM..””I AM beautiful.””I AM healthy””I AM happy””I AM wealthy”ETC.

I Am, Being, Be, Am, Wholeness, Spirit, Full, Spiritual


Another way to feed that hunger for more is to research and look into the people you admire. For example, my inspiration is motivational speaker, Lisa Nichol, who I have blogged about in Spending Diet.

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Not only do I read her books, I try to read all of the books that she has read, that inspired and changed her life. One of the books that I am currently reading, that she has mentioned that impacted her is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: 25th Anniversary Edition

 


I’ve learned that it’s crucial to silence the background noise of doubt and self-loathing in your head repeatedly with affirmations throughout the day and by constinuously reconditioning your mind using meditiation, positive affirmations, and by learning. Instead of wasting valuable time on social media or television, hone your craft, study and learn tips from those who are where you’d like to be, improve your circle, and subscribe to Youtube videos or Instagram pages, or Facebook pages/groups tht align with where and who you’re aspiring to be.

There’s a saying that goes:

Whatever you focus on grows.

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This means, instead of using time you cannot get back lounging the day away, keeping tabs on celeb gossip, watching television, or browsing social media, use that time usefully. Grow daily. Read, learn, study, create, meditate, etc!!! Time is valuable!

Consciousness, Cosmos, God, Universe


Last but certainly not least, know deep within yourself that

you DESERVE this.

You cannot do that without practicing self-love. Loving oneself is a concept that many struggle with. Here is a really great Youtube video that I recommend: 


There are also many instagram pages and facebook pages and audiobooks and other resources that can help. Affirmations and gratitiude also help tremendously. You just have to be consistent. You must practice self-care. A few years ago, I created a workbook just for myself to help with that. You can find that here.

I’ve come to realize that discipline is a must on my journey to creating the reality. Which is the reason I have also transformed my spending habit.( Read Spending Diet )

Because this is something that require alot of focus and effort, my next plan of action is finding more likeminded people to befriend. I am not getting rid of the friends that I have now, but just finding other circles to be a part of that is more in alignment of what I am seeking so that I can stay on track.

People, Hiking, Silhouette

Please comment below if you are also on a journey to creating a bigger better reality.


Independent Woman

My father died when I was eleven and my younger sister was seven. From then, I’ve watched my mother become an independent woman.

Now at thirty-six, I am an independent single mom myself. For years I have learned to struggle and overcome challenges alone. No government assistance or child support. I always figured it was my choices that led me to the struggles, so why ask for help? I also should mention that I no longer qualified for government assistance after my daughter and I moved to Florida when she was five, due to my income. Therefore, when I say I had no help..I also mean no government assistance or child support or emotional assistance. No husband because I never wanted to have to worry about a man living under our roof harming my daughter in any way. (Due to things i’ve experienced growing up.)

It may be the fact that I’m a virgo but I feel it’s a must to organize, plan, and always be a step ahead. It’s scary to feel unprepared when life throws you a wrench. It’s even worse to go through it alone.

I’ve always done my best to be a responsible mother and try to provide a great childhood. It hasn’t always been easy. There has been times where I have cried in the shower or in my room about how hard single motherhood is. I don’t reach out for help or a lending ear.

Sometimes all I need is encouragement and for someone to assure me that everything will be okay, but then I remind myself: my decisions, my problems….my responsibilities. Even if it means I don’t eat so that my daughter can or whatever. I often thank God for my job for providing health insurance. I’m also grateful to be earning a wage so that I can adequately care for my daughter. However, I must say that one of the most stressful times of year for me is my daughter’s birthday. In the past, when I wasn’t earning as much, I’d always have to take out a loan for her birthday. I stopped doing that in 2012,I believe, when I took her to Disney. The interest rates were too high and I’d always end up maxing out all of my credit cards. This year, even though i’m more financially stable than I’ve been, I went about things a little different. I’m not sure what came over me, but I decided to ask for a little help.

I had just paid off all of my credit cards and did not want to max them out again while celebrating my daughter’s birthday. Plus the money I had been saving for her birthday, unexpectedly had to be used.Surprisingly, I received an outpouring of support, no questions asked. In one particular instance, I hadn’t even asked. More surprisingly, I was able to humble myself and accept it. Granted, I felt guilty at first. My friend sent me funds through cashapp without me expecting it. He knew it was my daughter’s birthday and that some unexpected things had come up, causing a financial strain. I felt embarrassed and ashamed and when I offered to send it right back, he refused to take it back. I don’t think many people understand how uncomfortable it is for extremely independent people to allow and accept anything from anyone without that feeling of guilt and unease.

I experienced that feeling again the same week. A friend gifted me something I mentioned that I wanted. It was simple and something I would have very easily gotten myself: a stuffed animal. Lol.

I’m not even gonna lie, even though it was just a stuffed animal, it felt so good to be thought of and to be cared for for once. I also couldn’t help noticing how happy my friend was to do it for me.

I’ve also been venting more to others about what I’m going through and my challenges. I realize I am NOT perfect nor am I expected to be. The worse thing I had been doing throughout the years was fighting my fight alone.

To the independent women out there who are just like I was, I say this : It’s okay to reach out for reassurance, assistance, and encouragement during those dark hours. It’s okay to ask for help. Most importantly, It’s okay to accept help as well.

P.S.-This has been one of the most stress-free birthdays i’ve had to plan for my daughter’s birthday. We drove to Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium.

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Taking a Leap of Faith

Not sure if it’s the virgo in me, but many times I find it difficult to do 3 things:

1)Be spontaneous

2)Throw caution to the wind

3)Take a leap of faith

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a single mother and I know that my days of living for myself are long gone. I have to take account for how every decision I make can possibly affect my child.

As stated before, I’m a virgo. Virgos are planners and feel comfort in organization and routine. Like capricorns, we tend to be very responsible.

With that being said, I think leaping out on faith has been my biggest challenge this year. Worry & fear seem to always be lurking nearby to remind me of everything that could possibly go wrong.Today I have finally decided to step out on faith and offer ghostwriting services on my website. It is something I am uneasy with. What if my customer don’t like my writing style? What if I write their story and everyone think it sucks?I had been asked to ghostwrite two years ago but felt I didnt have enough experience. I have also been asked to write biographies and memoirs for non-writers. I always laughed & shrugged it off but I now see that all of those request may have very well been a path leading here.

Sometimes after being still and meditating, the answers and confirmation you seek will come. Pay attention to signs and synchronicities. When in doubt, just ask aloud what it is you need to know.

The most comforting part of taking a leap of faith is knowing that your steps are guided, if you allow it. That, and also going into planning mode to help further ease any uncertainty.

Bottomline: We are all here to use our gifts to serve, raise consciousness,and help one another. Don’t be afraid to share your gift.


Spending Diet

Not sure if anyone else out there is also an avid fan of Lisa Nichols but I’m a huge fan. I have 2 of her many motivational books and often listen to her many lectures and speeches on YouTube while working at my desk.

Lisa often speaks of the time she lived off welfare and how she once didnt have money for diapers, with only $11 to her name. (Click here to listen to her amazing story on YouTube: https://youtu.be/R_SQhzMSNUg )

Long story short: she scrimped and saved over the course of several years by sacrificing on going without professional mani-pedis..going out to eat..downsizing her home and automobile..and other frivolous spending. She stated that before she knew it..she had saved $62k. Over the years she never looked at her account to check the balance for fear of spending it. She deposited a percentage of her paycheck..increasing the percentage as time went by.

I’ve decided to to follow suite. I have a growing 401k, 4 credit cards, 2 institutions that I bank with, and I use Qapital for my saving needs. For this saving journey..I’ve opted to use Qapital. There are also other banks and investment apps such as Acorn.

A percentage of my paycheck from my morning job will be automatically deposited here as well as my royalties from my books and audiobooks. My royalties had been going to my Qapital account anyway but because I have the app and debit card, my money would be spent just as soon as I seen that it was deposited. (Usually to be re-invested back into my business.) I will be deleting the app on my phone so that I can’t see the amount accumalating and be tempted. I am also THINKING about cutting my card so that I can’t swipe my Qapital card. 😦 #Sacrifice

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However I don’t want to stop there. I read a book a few weeks ago by a young well-to-do Italian-American woman (Wish I remembered her name or the book title). She, too, sacrificed and began living below her means, although she wasn’t poor or struggling. Like Lisa, she stopped eating out, learned to cook, stopped going shopping during her lunch breaks, packed her meal for lunch, stopped buying coffee at Starbucks and retrained her mind to stop impulse buying. Whenever she thought she wanted something, she’d give it a month to decide if she really needed it.

As of July 5th, 2019 I have decided to begin my journey of spending down. I started with cancelling my subscription with Gaia and Audible. I will miss their services, but I’d rather pay ME regularly. I hardly watch Gaia and I will just have to depend on YouTube to get my dose of spiritual documentaries. As far as Audible, I love the service (my audiobooks are sold there) but I have a nice amount of audiobooks in my Audible library to last me awhile. Plus YouTube also has books on audio of all genres. #sacrifice

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The only subscription that I am not yet willing to part with is Netflix. (Don’t judge me. I just can’t part with Netflix’s amazing Orignals, such as, Black Mirror.)

I am thankful for not having a car note. My car is paid off so that’s more money to save in my Qapital account. Every year I bitch to my daughter about buying a BMW but it’s another #sacrifice I’ll have to take. I can wait.

The hardest part of my new spending down journey: Doing my own nails,my own lashes, and no more eating out. Eating out is how I usually bond with my 14 yr old daughter. As well as other activities but mainly discovering a new place to eat at. I’ve substituted bonding at a restuarant with bonding while cooking together. I’ll let you know how that works out in another post.

I just paid off my credit card debt. It feels GREAT to not have that over my head anymore. I won’t lie, my daughter’s birthday is next week. We’re travelling for her birthday and I’m afraid that I’ll swipe my credit cards to pay for expenses. I dont want to rack up debt again. That’s more money I could be putting in my Qapital.

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Another key decision i’ve made is waking up with a positive attitude and a feeling of gratitude since I believe in the Law of Attraction. I also will study, read, and learn about other successful and wealthy people and investments. (I have Investments for Dummies on audio. I’ve had it for awhile and blindly dabbled in investing)My goal is to learn about their positive habits, especially when it comes to money management, as well as the hard work it takes to catch/reach your dreams and goals.

I’ll post an update (God willing) on this spending diet in January.

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Please send positive vibes my way : )


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