Happy Birthday Young NOT Foolish! Today YNF, my first business baby becomes four years old. If you've read the "About Us" spiel then you know that YNF was born at a youth service I planned four years ago to the this very date: July 26, 2014. This was the day I became a business owner. It was before I applied for a DBA, before I applied for an EIN, before I registered with the state for sales tax, before I opened up a business bank account, before I had an LLC filing, and before I did a trademark application.
On this day four years ago, I had no idea the road that would be ahead of me, though I always knew I would go into business for myself. I've been asked countless times "What made you become a business owner?" My response is simple "It was always in me." You see my recent business degree -I meant it when I said I wasn't letting it go- did not solidify my calling to be an entrepreneur. There is a quote from Ludwick Marishane that I love which reads: "You can learn some entrepreneurial skills, but the entrepreneurial attitude cannot be taught." That quote speaks to my soul. I say this all the time and I'll say it again, being an employee does not make you less valuable than an entrepreneur. I mean that. People make being a business owner look so glamorous that it has become the new trend. They've made this life into a fad in so many ways. Now, I love the concept of family owned and operated businesses. As a black small business owner I adore the concept of revitalizing Black Wall Street. I love seeing entrepreneurial ventures succeed and I'm not referring to the corrupt giants that are actually running the country but I digress...
Getting back the topic at hand... It's been four years since I jumped off the cliff of faith. I would be lying if I said I did not want to quit more times than I wanted to persevere, even though I always knew business was a part of my path. Frankly, YNF is not what supports me; full disclosure this is a long-term investment.. I of course will not disclose financial information, but in many ways YNF lives off of me. I know someone is probably scratching their heads like "Why have a business if it isn't supporting you?" Well, in the beginning business lives off of you, especially when you don't seek out funding or when you do not have partners. Sole proprietors understand that in their start-up ventures they literally start it all. You have to wear every hat there is in your firm in the beginning. The timeline looks different for every business. I'm in year four but it's almost like year one because I'm shifting some focuses and preparing for year five to be the best year yet. Being a mother of two,-as in owner of two small firms- has been a challenge. I've wanted to throw both of them away. Trying to nurture two toddlers has been insane, but this journey has helped to make me the woman I am today.
At the moments when I wanted to quit the most, a prize was on the other side. When I thought I should shut down YNF's sister firm, Braxton Management LLC, a client came through or a reminder that what I do is necessary that made me want to keep going. When I was disheartened because I spent so much energy, time, and money, none of which I could spare, all on YNF events that people were not showing up to, but then hearing of my friend's daughter brag about the great time she had and how encouraged and enlightened she was at my event. Those moments gave me what money could not. Those moments made pulling all-nighters, setting up events solo, and sacrificing personal funds to finance events and apparel worth it. Now don't get me wrong money is always important in business, but when people and purpose are the focus and not just money, money will come. So Happy Birthday YNF! Thank you for making me an entrepreneur! Thank you for paving the way for your sister, Braxton Management because you made me believe I could do it. I look forward to the day that you and your sister take care of Mommy, your Queen Muva (Mother). Don't worry when I am in position to hire I will not have employees call me that LMBO. I promise.
If no one has shown you today, I love you but God loves you better.