By Chris Jones
How many times have you dreamed of quitting your day job to start your own business? The reality of becoming an entrepreneur or small business owner may seem unrealistic for some, but it’s much easier than you think. No, you do not need a college degree to get started in business, but certain fields may require certification such as law firms, dental practice, etc.
To help you get started I created: 7 steps to start a black owned business
1. Write down your vision
Do you know why you’re selling a certain product or providing a certain service? Is there a need for your product or service? These are a couple of questions that should be throughly addressed when writing down your vision. What is the end result? Are you looking for a quick buck or is this something you will be committed to long-term? If you start a business with the intentions of getting a quick buck you won’t be in business for long. Why? It is often said that the first three years of any business is a test of survival. These are your learning years. Task such as filing your first tax return, engaging your first new employee, and moving into a new premises are often handled in the early years and all require experience.
2. Research your market
Although this is one of the most boring steps, it is also one of the most crucial. You must know who you’re selling to. Who is your targeted audience? Is your product or service for children or adults? What are their age ranges? Why would they be interested in your product or service? What can they get from your business that they can’t get from anywhere else? These questions are helpful when identifying your target audience.
3. Invest in branding
Now that you have an idea of where you’re going and who you’re selling to its time to invest in branding. Branding is a combination of your logo, website, and other marketing materials that will give your business its identity. A horrible or cheap looking brand will push potential customers away. Remember, people are not only paying for your product or service but they are paying for the experience as well. A unique brand can leave an everlasting impression so invest wisely!
If you need assistance from a professional designer contact me (Chris) at www.creativefiend.net
4. Meet legal requirements
You can visit your local county clerk office to obtain information about a LLC or apply for DBA. A DBA (Doing Business As) let the public know who the real owner of a business is. The DBA is also called a Fictitious Business Name or Assumed Business Name. Forming a LLC with the state protects your personal assets from business debts and liabilities.
A federal tax identification number, or employer identification number (EIN), acts like a social security number and is required for corporations and LLCs that will have employees. Contact your state’s taxation department to learn if a state tax identification number is required in your state
5. Estimate Profit
Determine how long it will take you to make your first sale. Will it take 6-12 months? If so, try to save a years worth income to live off of. Be careful when budgeting because setting unrealistic goals can lead to stress or even worse, quitting before you seeing progress.
6. Determine how you will market
There are tons of books on marketing available on the web but one of the oldest forms, word of mouth, is still very effective and costs absolutely nothing. Figure out ways to generated hype around your product or service then execute strategies to attract potential customers. Family members, friends, and coworkers are perfect resources to help spread the word.
7. Learn how to sell
Ever wonder how a car salesmen could sell a lemon to an unsuspecting buyer? It’s not what he says but rather how good he listens. Keeping your mouth closed and ears open will let your customers that you care about their needs. Knowledge of the product your selling or service your provide is also crucial when making a sale.
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
By Zack Linly
As reports of police overreach and brutality in the black community become more and more commonplace in mainstream news, many black people are feeling a strange combination of frustration and relief — relief because the shootings of unarmed citizens have become part of a national discussion, but frustration because, time and time again, we hear the same dismissive and deflective responses from white America:
“There must be more to the story.”
“If you people would just do what you’re told.”
“Cops have a hard job.”
“White people get shot too.”
“He was just another thug. Good riddance!”
“Why do you people make everything about race?”
“What about black on black crime?”
“All lives matter.”
I’ve grown too disillusioned to be relieved and too numb to be frustrated. I’m just tired.
I’m tired from sacrificing millions of once healthy brain cells reading through the comment sections of race-based web articles — thread after thread, chock-full of black folks trying to navigate oblivious whiteness. At some point, we really need to ask ourselves: Why even bother?
Why are we losing solid hours out of our day, wearing our fingertips numb on keyboards and touch screens in an attempt to explain to some dense dude-bro why “All lives matter” is a messed up and functionally redundant response to “Black lives matter”?
We’ve spelled it out for white America a hundred different ways that their beloved police forces are full of officers who are simply more volatile, fearful and prone to harassment and abuse of power when dealing with us — and it’s costing us our lives. We’ve laid out all the statistics and all of our millions of personal testimonies. We’ve made it clear that even though the subject of police brutality, as a sensationalized national discussion covered by mainstream media, is a relatively new phenomenon, it is an issue as old as our involuntary occupation of this country. With all of this information readily available and reiterated constantly, it’s beyond ridiculous that the simple words “black lives matter” require any added explanation at all. And yet, here we are coming up with a dozen analogies trying to, even further, simplify it.
“Hey man, you wouldn’t go to a cancer rally shouting ‘All diseases matter,’ would ya?”
“Hey Scottie, ‘Save the rain forest’ doesn’t mean ‘Kill all the other forests.’ ”
“Hey Kip, when a house is burning, you don’t turn the fire hose on some non-burning house because #AllHousesMatter.”
Can we please stop?
We need to stop acting like white people don’t take the same reading comprehension portions of standardized tests all through middle and high school that we do. They know how analogies work. They got it the first time — they just didn’t care.
If they really considered the affirmation of one life mattering to be a denial of the same for all others, then they would consider “Blue Lives Matter” to be just as offensive as “Black Lives Matter.” But they don’t.
Not only are they unoffended by #BlueLivesMatter, but they consider any concession or policy change aimed at countering black vulnerability to be unearned special treatment — while they actively advocate giving police officers protected class status, oblivious to the fact that they already have it.
Only, I’m not sure they’re legitimately oblivious. They know damn well there isn’t a state, city or county in this country where the penalties for crimes committed against cops aren’t a hell of a lot steeper than they are for civilians. They know they don’t need a protest, riot or hash tag to ensure that thorough investigations will be done to bring cop killers to justice. They’re not worried about dead cops being put on trial for their own murders. They’re not worried about a not guilty verdict for the murderers of police officers or even a reluctance to bring charges. No one’s looking into a dead cop’s record, fishing for reasons to justify his or her demise. They know that cops have the delusional admiration of the vast majority of (white) America in their corner.
So how could anyone possibly believe that we, as a society and as a system, don’t already do everything in our collective powers to ensure that value be placed on police lives?
Could it be that white people actually aren’t as concerned with supporting the police as they are in maintaining a counter-narrative to black complaints about racist police misconduct? Could it be that their counter-narratives to race issues in general are largely disingenuous and, often, just plain spiteful?
Could it be, and I’m just spit-balling here, but could it be that white folks are … completely full of it?
This is why I submit that black people should simply disengage with white America in discussions about race altogether. Let them have their little Klan-esque chats in the Yahoo and USA Today comment sections. We need to stop arguing with them because, in the end, they aren’t invested like we are. They aren’t paying attention to these stories out of fear for their lives and the lives of their children and spouses; they are only tuned in out of black and brown contempt. This is trivial to them, a contest to see who can be the most smug, condescending and dismissive. When black people debate these issues, we do so passionately — not always articulately, and often without a whole lot of depth to our arguments — but we always come from a place of genuine frustration, outrage and fear. When most white people debate the very same issues from an opposing stance, they do so from a place of perpetual obtuseness and indifference. Their arguments always seem to boil down to “If it isn’t my experience, it couldn’t possibly be yours.” Even “well meaning” white folks tend to center themselves in the discussion
(#NotAllWhitePeople #IDontSeeColor). Yes, there are plenty of white people who aren’t racist, who think shouting “Blue Lives Matter” is wrong, who truly do wish things would change. But the fact is, they figuratively and literally have no skin in the game.
I understand that white people are mad. They’ve gone their whole lives being the default for social and cultural normalcy and never really had to think critically about race at all. Now a black first lady addresses the nation, and she talks about slavery. Now social media identifies and challenges their micro-aggressions. They’re getting the tint snatched off of their rose-colored glasses; that “Shining City on the Hill” they know as America is starting to lose some of its gloss. And they ain’t here for that — but we are.
When Beyoncé released the video for “Formation,” featuring a black kid in a hoodie, a “hands up, don’t shoot” banner and a sinking police car — then performed the song while paying homage to the Black Panther Party smack in the face of white America during the Super Bowl halftime show — she provided us with a bottomless open bar of white tears. But instead of getting good and drunk like we should’ve, too many of us were arguing with white folks about why nothing she did was racist, “reverse racist” or anti-cop. We should’ve just taken the win and left the field.
During the Republican National Convention, Melania Trump plagiarized a chunk of a Michelle Obama speech. And a lot of you were out here arguing with Trump supporters and other assorted delusional white folks who had the audacity to claim there was never any plagiarism at all. What you should’ve been doing was joining me, Jesse Williams and our beloved Black Twitter in intentionally misattributing black quotes to Mrs. Trump because it was fun.
I had a field day:
“Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna crumble” – Melania Trump
“When he f— me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cuz I slay” – Melania Trump
If Colin Kaepernik’s decision to stand against social injustice by sitting during the National Anthem has shown us anything else, it’s that much of white America is more bothered by our methods of protest than they ever will be about the injustices we’re protesting. Let’s dispel the notion that if we only protested better, white people will miraculously become more receptive of our message and less scornful of our audacity in speaking out.
The fact is, we can fight systemic racism without white validation. We can continue shutting down bridges and highways every time there’s a new Alton Sterling, Philando Castile or Korryn Gaines in the news and let white folks complain about the intrusion on their lives. We can continue moving our black dollars into black banks and keeping our money in our businesses and communities. We don’t need them to “get it” for us to keep fighting.
And likewise, white people who truly want to be allies can find their path to ally-ship without black validation and without us having to take time out of our days to educate them. They can find their own curriculum and figure out for themselves how they can do their part in fighting the good fight. And they can do it without the promise of black praise. And, I’m not about to keep checking to see if they’re doing that much. Because it’s not my job – and it’s not yours, either.
Black people, it is long past time for us to start practicing self-care. And if that means completely disengaging with white America altogether, then so be it.Post Views: 52
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
AFRICANGLOBE – Larry Fellows III didn’t vote in the Missouri primary and may skip the general election, too. He believes his government has failed him at every level—starting with his home community of St. Louis County, where a grand jury declined in 2014 to indict the police officer who murdered Michael Brown.
After his Twitter feed was inundated with images of Brown’s lifeless body lying in the street, Fellows was one of the first people to join the protests in Ferguson. He eventually quit his job, accumulating debt and even losing his apartment, to protest full-time. He hoped his activism would pressure local authorities into indicting thug cop, Darren Wilson.
When that didn’t happen, Fellows’ confidence in the system eroded to the point that he refused to vote for anyone.
“I don’t know if I want to continuously partake in a system that oppresses so many people,” Fellows, 30, said. “Not to say that voting doesn’t change anything, because I think it does influence change. But I also think a huge part of change happens outside of the system as well.”
Even as Black turnout has steadily climbed over the past generation, a number of Black people feel so disaffected by the electoral process that they refuse to take part. For them, sitting out is a political choice in itself.
Their logic is that there is no point engaging a political process that will not benefit Black people, no matter who the candidate is. For example, some of the cities in which the most infamous examples of abusive police tactics have occurred—Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia—are run by Democrats, the party that is supposed to have Black Americans’ interests at heart.
It’s one of the reasons that Quincy Johnson, 40, a truck driver who lives in Denver, has voted only three times in his life (2004, 2008 and 2014) and has no plans to vote this year.
“Hillary and Bernie are trying extra hard to get that Black vote,” he said. “Sure, they’ll talk to you now to get your vote. But I can guarantee you, once the election is over, try getting a word in then. It’s probably not going to happen.”
“I can’t have faith in my oppressor to not oppress me.
There are a lot of reasons Black people feel that voting in what is essentially a two-party system is pointless. Unemployment for Black Americans has been roughly twice that of white Americans since 1963, the year of the March on Washington. Though Black women overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, their representation in national and local office is minuscule. And Black people continue to be shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates while the cops who kill them are rarely prosecuted.
As far as Rhone Fraser is concerned, both parties are complicit, so neither deserves his vote.
“The Democratic and the Republican parties work together to cause the problems we as a people are experiencing in terms of militarism, mass incarceration, and austerity,” said Rhone, 36, a lecturer at Howard University who lives in Philadelphia. “That is why I advocate boycotting those parties.”
He voted for Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein in 2012 and voted in a local election last year, but is sitting 2016 out.
“I can’t have faith in my oppressor to not oppress me.”
Elisabeth Epps, 36, a legal analyst in Denver, is a big advocate of not voting but says she will cast a ballot this year for Stein, who is running again. “Some people would say voting for a third party candidate is equivalent to wasting your vote, but it’s quite the opposite,” she said. “I feel very strongly that my vote is too important to waste it on a party that doesn’t respect my beliefs.”
The last time Autumn Marie, 33, remembers wanting to be part of the presidential political process was 2000, when George W. Bush and Al Gore were vying for the White House. Bush’s eventual victory convinced her that the election was rigged. Not even the historic campaign of then-Sen. Barack Obama eight years later persuaded her to change her mind.
“I didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, Obama is going to be my savior,’” she said. “I also wondered, ‘Will Black people be complacent and feel like everything is good because we have a Black president?’ Eight years later, Black children are “looking at everybody their age being killed by police.”
You might assume that Rhone, Marie, Epps, Fellows, and Johnson are simply apathetic, but that isn’t the case. Fellows devoted months of his life to protesting in Ferguson, and Rhone is active in a Democratic club in Philadelphia. Marie is active in Black Lives Matter. Epps has volunteered and worked on campaigns in local and presidential elections.
“People tend to read Black folks not voting as a sign of apathy, but, in fact, it is often an indication of a lack of faith in the political process that speaks to the conditions of the Black community,” said Eddie Glaude, a professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University. “In some ways, it’s protesting the two-party system. The two-party system seems to force the belief that our only choices are right in front of us. Some people reject those two choices and choose not to chose between them.”
For all the Black people who have given up on voting, many more are going to the polls. Black voter turnout has significantly increased over the last seven presidential cycles. In 1988, when Jesse Jackson ran for president, the turnout rate was 46.8 percent. It reached an all-time high in 2008 at 69.1 percent before dipping to 67.4 percent in 2012.
For many minorities, the stakes in this year’s presidential race could not be higher. Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, has referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “killers,” and proposed banning Muslims from entering the U.S. His attitude toward the Black Lives Matter movement has been confrontational. He referred to activists protesting the death of Freddie Gray as “thugs.” Trump antagonized Black protesters at one of his rallies by saying that “all lives matter,” a refrain with anti-Black undertones. Accusations of racism against him date to 1973, when the Justice Department sued his real-estate company, alleging discrimination against Black people who wanted to rent his apartments.
In many Black circles, if you say you aren’t voting, you’ll be met with a side-eye or accusations of being irresponsible. One common refrain is that “our people died for the right to vote,” so why dishonor them by not exercising the franchise?
Fellows, who is gay, balks at such thinking. “I also have the right to marry, so that means I should go find a husband?” he asks. “Shaming me is not going to make me go to the polls.”
Since before the Emancipation Proclamation, Black Americans have had a tumultuous relationship with American electoral politics. Black suffrage expanded during Reconstruction, but for the next century, until the 1965 Voting Rights Act, voting laws across the South severely restricted the Black vote. Even today, Republican-led state legislatures are passing laws that critics believe are designed to discourage minorities from voting.
This Election Day, 17 states will have new voting restrictions on the books, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. These include strict photo ID requirements, cutbacks in registration, and limits on mail-in ballots. A study by the University of California, San Diego, found that voter ID laws not only disproportionately target minorities but “skew democracy toward those on the political right.”
In 1956, W.E.B Dubois wrote in The Nation that he refused to vote because “democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no ‘two evils’ exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say.” Even as Black Americans began voting for Democrats in large numbers during the 1960s because of the party’s support for strong civil rights legislation, Malcolm X referred to them as “political chumps.” His argument was that Democrats had waited years to address racist policies when they could have dealt with them immediately.
That some Black people would feel disillusioned with voting and the two-party system should not be surprising, said Minkah Makalani, an assistant professor of African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas in Austin.
“This is a response Black people have had to the political system well before Dubois,” he said. “You see this in the nineteen-teens, 1920s, during the Harlem Renaissance, where the argument at that time was, ‘We aren’t getting what we want from either party. But the socialist or the communist parties are being more responsive to our concerns, so that’s who I’m voting for.”
In 2016, activism is central to the election as organized protests and actions have pressed candidates to address police violence and economic inequality. Throughout this vast movement of organizers and activists are diverse views about how to engage the political process.
Joan Fadayiro, 25, a member of BYP100, a Black millennial organization in Chicago that trains activists and focuses on social justice, told reporters that her organization provides a wide range of ways to engage the political process. For example, critics believed that Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez helped suppress dashcam video of an officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. In response, BYP100 organized #ByeAnita. The action included protests, but it also focused on phone-banking that encouraged Chicagoans to vote Alvarez out of office during Illinois’ March primary. The millennial group’s efforts helped Alvarez’s challenger, Kim Foxx, cruise to victory with 62 percent of the vote in a three-way Democratic primary race.
During the #ByeAnita action, some members participated in voter outreach, others protested on the streets, and some did a little of both. While the point of the action was to get people to the polls, BYP100 did not pressure its members to do so.
“The most important thing in our communities when we think about liberation and self-determination is that we don’t all have to do the same thing,” Fadayiro said. “People should have the freedom to engage however they want to engage.”
Ifeoma Ike, co-founder of Black and Brown People Vote, encourages BYP100’s multi-pronged approach to political engagement, saying voting is an essential tool for brokering power—even in an imperfect structure.
“What BYP100 did was turn democracy on its head and said, even within a system that doesn’t work for us, we’re going to use these tools to at least get the people who are harming us out of power,” she said.
The challenge behind not casting a ballot is that our current political structure does not recognize the non-vote as power-brokering, said Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religion and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I understand perfectly their right to say that these people do not have our best interests in mind, so I can’t vote for them,” she said. “But the other part of the problem is how are you going to influence anything. So the kinds of interests you might have, you can’t affect changes that you want because you aren’t part of the process. You don’t have anything to hold against them.”
Marie doesn’t see it like that. She believes her activism is, in fact, enough to hold politicians accountable. And she believes that the political system is too crooked for voting to really change it. There are exceptions, she said: The election of the late Chokwe Lumumba as mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, in June 2013 was an indication that Black people could vote for candidates who challenged American imperialism and white supremacy, Marie said.
But such candidates are rare, she said. Asked whether she would consider ever voting again, Marie said she there was no chance.
“I have no faith in this system when it comes to delivering freedom for me and my people,” she said. “I can’t have faith in a system that was built by people to oppress us and protect their interests. I can’t have faith in my oppressor to not oppress me.”
By: Terrell Jermaine Starr
There are options:
“One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors” (OMCBV&C)
PLEASE JOIN http://www.iamoneofthemillion.com/Post Views: 51
By Elliot Booker — 1 year agoBy
The post-hurricane devastation facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the lack of attention being paid by the federal government to necessary relief efforts. The lack of media attention to the death and destruction facing these U.S. citizens — who are not white and many of whom are of African descent — speaks to their second-class citizenship rooted in white supremacy and systemic racial discrimination.
With nearly half of Americans not realizing Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens — and even Donald Trump apparently not realizing the people of America’s island territories are citizens, or that he is the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands — these Black and Brown territories are American colonies and possessions of conquest in every manner.
The reason why the island territories — not only the Caribbean islands, but also Pacific islands such as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands — are subjected to separate and unequal treatment, and are not states, is because of the Insular Cases, a series of racist Supreme Court decisions, of which the first were written by the same court that gave us the endorsement of racial segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson. These cases established the racist framework governing nonwhite territories of the United States. The island territories, inhabited by so-called alien races, were designed to give the United States control over the seas but second-class citizenship to their inhabitants. These cases are why these Black and Brown territories — as opposed to former white-controlled territories turned states — are subjected to the control of Congress, and no territory has become a state since Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.
At the time, Alaska and Hawaii had already been established as sovereign territories incorporated into the United States, with full constitutional safeguards and a pathway to statehood. The American court system rationalized that Alaska was in a different classification from Puerto Rico because it was on the North American continent. Hawaii, which the U.S. annexed in 1898, was a distant island populated by nonwhite people like Puerto Rico, yet Congress quickly granted full citizenship to its residents in 1900. Further, the United States was changing its definition of a territory, as Slate noted, opting for a European model of expansion to rescue the savages — a white supremacist message which presidents such as McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt endorsed. Further, President William Howard Taft — later Supreme Court Chief Justice — had a personal bias against Puerto Rican people which proved decisive in the fate of the territory. Taft believed they were unable to understand institutions of “Anglo-Saxon origin” such as the jury system, and he supported citizenship only if the territory was not granted statehood. The American attitude towards these nonwhite possessions reflected both the racism of the day, but also a desire to economically exploit these islands and establish military bases on them.
In one of the Insular Cases, DeLima v. Bidwell, the high court found that Puerto Rico was not a foreign country within the context of tariff laws. In Downes v. Bidwell, the court ruled that Puerto Rico was an unincorporated territory under the control of Congress, but without the full protection of the U.S. Constitution. “If those possessions are inhabited by alien races, differing from us in religion, customs, laws, methods of taxation, and modes of thought, the administration of government and justice according to Anglo-Saxon principles may for a time be impossible, and the question at once arises whether large concessions ought not to be made for a time, that ultimately our own theories may be carried out and the blessings of a free government under the Constitution extended to them. We decline to hold that there is anything in the Constitution to forbid such action,” the court wrote in its opinion.
In Gonzales v. Williams, the Supreme Court said that a woman from Puerto Rico who moved to New York was not an “alien immigrant,” but rather a “noncitizen national.” In 1917, Congress granted citizenship to people in Puerto Rico.
Formerly the Danish West Indies, the U.S. Virgin Islands became a United States territory in 1917, when the islands were transferred from Denmark for $25 million. Residents of the islands were granted full citizenship rights in 1932 through an act of Congress. Before that time, U.S. courts regarded the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands not as citizens but as “nationals,” which in U.S. colonial policy referred to “inhabitants of colonies to whom the rights of U.S. citizenship were not conferred.”
Although the inhabitants of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico received U.S. citizenship, the racist policies which undergirded America’s treatment of its colonial territories have persisted. This is why people from these islands, who are truly American, often are not regarded as such, particularly after a natural disaster.
Meanwhile, the PR crisis has the potential to change Southern politics, particularly in Florida, potentially giving Democrats an advantage. The states with the greatest influx of Puerto Ricans between 2007 and 2009 were, from highest to lowest, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.
More than 1 million people of Puerto Rican descent live in Florida, doubling their number since 2001 as a result of a weak economy back home, and as many as 100,000 more are expected to relocate to the state as victims of Hurricane Maria. Leaning heavily Democratic and voting in large numbers, Puerto Rican voters in the mainland voted for Hillary Clinton by a 3-to-1 margin. The Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida and elsewhere, angered by Trump’s inaction in addressing the needs of the storm-ravaged island, and displaying a perceived insensitivity to their plight when he threw paper towels to a crowd during his visit, could galvanize and make a difference in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Although treated not unlike second-class citizens back home, where they cannot vote in national elections, Puerto Ricans on the mainland can register to vote anywhere and participate in races for the Senate, Congress and President, in what may prove the ultimate revenge.
This revenge is against Republicans and Trump — who ignores their plight post-Hurricane Maria and exhibits the racial bias of white U.S. leaders and policymakers a century ago. But this opportunity for payback by Puerto Rican voters also reflects an ability to impact politics on the mainland, after years of political exclusion and marginalization back home, and a colonial limbo status denying them statehood on the one hand, and independence and self-determination on the other.Post Views: 71