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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Being a professional - Being positive

1 Corinthians 16:13-14  Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

"Why try to fit in when you're a stand out." - Joe Budden
My mother always told me that God does not like ugly. Somewhere in the Bible, it states that God knows us through our spirit. He knows who we really are. In his eyes, we are transparent. Thus regardless of our socioeconomic status, clothing, degrees, social status, etc., we cannot disguise ourselves from our Creator. 

That is refreshing to know. However, some people possess ugly attitudes, personalities, and traits. They think negatively, thus they act negatively towards others. This is evident in the work place. There is something about the work place that breeds envy, jealousy, negativity, and pessimism. 

That negativity is shared through human interaction. As company representatives interact with consumers, interactions get ugly. This fact is on display during the busy holiday season as shoppers show their frustration in the process of attempting to save money on various products. 

During this holiday season, it is understandable that workers are emotionally, physically, and mentally drained. Mandatory overtime hours combined with a lack of work-life balance leads to frustration. That frustration boils out in interactions with coworkers, consumers, and relatives. 

However, as we strive towards excellence. The onus is our responsibility to live like no one else. Living like no one else requires responding positively no matter how negative someone is. It requires responding not reacting.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Falling for Christ, I owe it to my brother Corey (part 1)

Corey Scott on the left, me on the right

"When Corey died, my mama called trying to comfort me/ That night I did not sleep/ I sat alone, tears in the dark/ It's been years, still hold a broken heart/ Don't know where to start, just trying to make my brother proud/ He looks down on me high from a sea of clouds..." - My Song Cry on my 2008 hip-hop mixtape Necessary Evilz
 7 years ago... I experienced a typical college day for a student. My morning consisted of several classes at Tennessee State University. After my last class meeting, I stepped outside; the sun illuminated the wet blades of Nashville grass. Here I stood searching for something meaningful in life. 22 years of age, 600-miles away from friends, family, and comfort. Comfort. I can't recall exactly where I heard the following statement. I was reading a book and I came across a powerful truth "With comfort, there cannot be greatness." Thus, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to find something greater, something meaningful. 

That search for greatness was redefined on an October afternoon. At Dillards, I checked my Facebook account and noticed a message from one of my best friends, Robert Croston aka Rob C. As I read his message, I reread the words over and over. My heart dropped to the floor. If this was a nightmare, I was eager to awake. Unfortunately, I wasn't sleeping.

Twenty minutes later, I was leaving Dillards. Speeding down Interstate 65, I didn't have the strength to restrain the tears from pouring down my face. My mind flooded with images of debate competitions, basketball practices, outings at fast food restaurants, SummerFest, Milwaukee Bucks' games, and more. As I entered my apartment, I crawled up the stairs to reach my bedroom. Closing the door behind me, I collapsed to my knees near my bed. In a midst of tears, I cried out to God. I felt anger, confusion, and bitterness. After my nerves calmed, I prayed to God again. This time I thanked God for allowing me to have such a genuine friend in my lifetime. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A dream deferred

A Dream Deferred

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

When the government lowers taxes, they strategically do so for corporations. In turn, those businesses are expected to hire workers. On the contrary, companies tend to proceed cautiously by freezing hiring. Thus, we have 14 percent black unemployment and 12 percent Hispanic unemployment. This is a significant proportion of our society that is not able to improve their financial circumstances or increase their career opportunities. Subsequently, high unemployment causes the economic gap to widen between whites and minorities (not including Asian Americans). According to the Economic Policy Institute, the “top 1 percent” of wealthy Americans are 288 times richer than the rest of the country. How’s that possible? The average median household income is $57,000 versus over $16 million for the “top 1 percent.” For a country self-labeled as the “land of opportunity,” the “American Dream” appears deferred for many Americans. 

Interestingly, the current presidential election unveils the question of economic uncertainty. How much of an impact does the president of the United States or federal government have over unemployment and the creation of jobs?

Another book giveaway of My Flexibility Manifesto, rated five stars via Amazon

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Flexibility Manifesto by Leonard Wilson Jr.

My Flexibility Manifesto

by Leonard Wilson Jr.

Giveaway ends September 26, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to make it in America

America, the home of the rich
"As the proverbial 'American Dream' continues to escape our grasps as a culture, one has to ponder 'What the hell do I do now?'" -- My Flexibility Manifesto: Following Your Passion 2 Success 
Equality in the United States of America is based on equal access to capitalism. The game is capitalism. The rules of the game is the survival of the fittest. You have to be fit to survive. You have the freedom to participate to the best of your skills and ambitions. Thus to the best of your ability, it will allow you to participate in the game. Once you get in the game, you are free to do what you are able to do. Equality is a part of reform Darwinism. It gives you equal opportunity to get in. Survival of the fittest is social Darwinism. It gives you equal opportunity to get in. Survival of the fittest is social Darwinism. There is no real equality but this is the equality we have available in the U.S.A.

If you have ever felt like your back is against the wall and nothing is going right, subscribe to this blog and order My Flexibility Manifesto. It's a powerful, inspirational resource to get you reenergized and refocused. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Book giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Flexibility Manifesto by Leonard Wilson, Jr.

My Flexibility Manifesto

by Leonard Wilson, Jr.

Giveaway ends September 14, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, September 3, 2012

What do you fear? Part 2

"As you discover yourself, you will realize that your old friends do not understand or support your growth and ambition to live life on your own terms." - My Flexibility Manifesto: Following Your Passion 2 Success
In my previous article, I discussed the idea of fear and that most people admit possessing a fear of failure. That fear of failure is socially constructed. Through our interactions with information (social media, news, history, books, podcasts, etc.) and our interactions with people (family, friends, classmates, customers, peers, etc.), we develop perceived expectations of ourself. Those expectations sometimes overwhelm us and define us.

In Chapter 4, "Why Are You Scared?" of my book, I recommend several steps to overcome fear. Examining a few of the steps, I will share one of my fears.

  1. Write down your fears. I fear the possibility of being unloved.
  2. Talk to someone you trust about your fears. I confessed to my wife that I was upset that my family did not make more of an effort to be a part of my life, more importantly that of my daughter's. It has been a year and a half since my family has seen my daughter. During that time, a lot has changed for my family  career-wise and income-wise. Thankfully, amazing opportunities have opened up for us, which, will dramatically improve our economic stability. But during that time of struggle, where has the support been? Outside of my parents, where was the family support for me when I was teaching, starting my own business, earning my master's degree, relocating to Tennessee, relocating from Nashville to Memphis, when I was in between jobs?  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What do you fear? Part 1

Original artwork by Leonard Wilson, Jr.

"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." - M. Williamson

In Chapter 4 of My Flexibility Manifesto: Following Your Passion 2 Success, I discuss fear. In my research, I discovered that most people fear failure.  Digging deeper, I realized that the fear of failure only touches the surface of the problem.  By stating "I fear failure, an individual is confessing the fear of something bigger.  More than likely, fearing failure is a coverup for fearing the possibility of disappointing someone.  

That someone could be yourself, your parents, your friends, your family, your peers, your sorority sisters, etc.  The definition of failure is socially constructed; society created it.  Thus, society through media and interpersonal connections inevitably built pressure on you to achieve certain goals.

It isn't unreasonable to consider that a majority of our goals are socially constructed.  Through our interactions with information and people, each individual is expected to be something (of importance and significance).  No one wants to be a "loser" in the eyes of our social circle and family.  Furthermore, it does not matter if that something that people expect from us is positive or negative.  Unfortunately, some people are expected to fail.  It is dependent on the individual (you) to meet those expectations or reject them altogether.  

Part 2 will discuss how to overcome your fear of failure.  

If you have not had the chance to read my recently published book, I am giving the PDF version via email for FREE.  Simply email me at, with the subject "eBook reviewer."  I only ask for an honest review in return that you would write on Amazon.  If you are interested in the Kindle or paperback version, those are available on Createspace and Amazon.  Thank you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What customers want from all businesses

A satisfied customer shows her satisfaction.

If you plan to be successful in creating a service-based or product-based business, you have to consider the customer's experience in purchasing your product or service.  Here is a list of traits a customer looks for:

  1. Low Price: Pricing ties in directly to public perception of a company and its products or services. For example, Apple offers higher costs products that are of high quality.  Because of the expected higher quality, people are willing to pay top dollar for an Apple product.  However, Apple may lose potential customers because of the products' higher costs.  On the opposite end, more people may buy Dell products than Apple products because of the lower costs.  The lower the costs, the more affordable a product line becomes and reaches more potential customers.  Apple has a different business strategy and focuses on a particular segment of the consumer base.  They prefer more affluent consumers than Dell.  Dell wants to be in everyone's home, thus they charge lower for their technology products. 
  2. High Quality: This speaks for itself.
  3. Top Customer Service: Although Apple is mainly known as a product-based business, they implement a strong customer service philosophy.  Therefore, their goods are known as facilitating goods.  A facilitating good is any physical entity accompanying a transaction that adds value.  The masterminds at Apple are always asking "How can we add value to our customers' lives?"  If you create a business that focuses on this single question, you will stand out in any industry.  Guaranteed.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Guest Post: Andrea Wilson, CEO of DopeAzzHeels

If you didn't know, creativity, entrepreneurship, and rebelliousness runs in my family.  My sister, hence the same last name, designs footwear (samples of her work featured above).  She can take the simplest pair of heels or sneakers and add her magic to them.  Amazingly, she has built contacts and relationships with reality television stars from Bad Girls Club featured on the Oxygen network and various artists.  I asked her to inform my readers how she did it.  Enjoy!  Sis, take it away.

Before I started my own business I attended school full-time and I worked full-time. I remember sitting in class not being happy with where my life was headed and seeing that I have always had a love for fashion and art, I decided to start my own business. Traditionally, as a child you are taught after high school you go to college. Although I did not want to disappoint my parents, I knew I would be happy waking up the rest of my life with a fashion based career. Faith played a huge part in this decision. Society stresses to everyone you must have a college degree. I took the nontraditional route, instead of listening to society I took a leap of faith and God caught me. To everyone following their passions, I just stress to pray and never give up. At that moment you feel yourself giving up could be the moment you hit the big break you have always wanted. When chasing your dreams, you have to give it your all, 100 % dedication and surround yourself with positive people that will push you to the next level and eliminate those that don’t! 

How can people reach you for shoe orders?

My email where people can send custom shoe requests is

Then I have a big cartel site that's under construction at


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to deal with difficult people

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion." - Colossians 3:12
Last night I shared a necessary venting session with my beautiful wife.  Like anything of importance in my life, I need to express myself through writing.  Thus, I am sharing with you a very disturbing event that recently took place recently in my life.  

Some of you may know that I am a graduate student in a MBA program in Memphis, Tennessee.  I attend Union University, a private, Christian-based University.  Thus, the students and professors are expected to behave in Christian-like behavior.  Currently, I am taking an Operations Management course that meets for eight-weeks, one night per week. The scheduled class time is 6:00 P.M. through 10:00 P.M every Tuesday.  This class has been going for four weeks now.  The major complaint that I and some of my classmates have is the excessive story-telling that the professor uses during every meeting.  

On this particular night, the professor had a short chapter to discuss and teach.  The class already read the chapter before class as assigned.  Thus, the only duty of the professor is to add to the chapter and clarify any confusion.  Nonetheless, the material could have been thoroughly covered in about two hours time.  How do I know this?  Well, first, I read the chapter.  Second, I possess a master's degree in teaching.  Third, I taught for two years, which required extensive lesson-planning and quality instruction.  Thus, I understand how to instruct a classroom; I can not say the same for this particular instructor.  He literally wasted two hours of the instructional time with superfluous stories about his professional experiences as a consultant.  

I regress.  I recognize that every graduate student is different.  We have different expectations and toleration for frustrating circumstances and boring material.  For me personally, I felt insulted that this instructor choses to waste valuable class time and our time as adults by telling us stories I personally consider superfluous.  I recognize that not everyone feels the same way.  Moving forward, the cohort MBA class is suppose to have one break for 15-minutes and we would be dismissed 15-minutes early.  This time arraignment came directly from the professor's mouth.  Besides wasting a large portion of our lives with his "old-war" stories in manufacturing and business operations, he waits until the last minute to give us the most important information of class.  Why?  Where is the logic supporting this practice?  As a teacher of working adults taking a long night-class, why would you delay the most valuable information until they are sleeping, hungry, and barely focused?  It makes no sense.

Subsequently, as I anxiously wait for him to discuss the mid-term exam (coming next week) and team presentation (week seven) information, he continues to babble with long, boring, often off-topic stories.  As times elapses, I glance at my watch, it is now 9:45 P.M.  At this time, I am hungry, anxious to see my family, and frustrated at the lack of on-topic information presented.  As he finally discusses the exam, he does not tell us what will be on the exam specifically, but like a high school teacher, he informs us of the actual exam structure such as multiple-choice questions, essay questions, etc (which is already listed in our syllabus and has been previously discuss on the first meeting of class).  As quiet as a mouse, I grab my things and silently move towards the door.  Suddenly I hear, "Where do you think you're going?"  I stop, turn around, and respond "It's 9:45, I have to go."  His response is "We still have to talk about team stuff."  I shake my head, "It's 9:45, I have to go."  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Great information, reasonable price, eBook to help you find or create work you love

My Flexibility Manifesto: Following Your Passion 2 Success is available for purchase.  I promise you will love it.
Add to Cart
Print copy available at  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What is better for solopreneurs? A product-business or service-business?

"If you are true to your authentic self, there is no competition."  -- Shayna Rattler, owner of Success Unlimited, LLC

My entrepreneurial goal is to create a business that allows me to be hands-off.  I want to work on the business, not in the business. To elaborate, when I owned and operated Wilson’s Chem-Dry of Bartlett, a carpet-cleaning franchise, I was working in a business.  I bought myself a full-time job disguised as a business opportunity.  Without any employees to delegate tasks to, I was responsible for marketing, accounting, customer service, carpet cleaning, equipment maintenance, etc.  I loved the autonomy; however, I quickly grew mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.  That exhaustion led to a decrease in motivation, lack of business growth, and feelings of burnout.  Several months later, I was tossing business brochures in the trash.  So as I increase my focus on building my business acumen through graduate studies, business books, podcasts, and workshops, I am currently overwhelmed with several business ideas that focus on products, services, and mixtures of both.  

As a fan of business innovators Chris Guillebeau, Dan Miller, and Tim Ferris and their respective published works, I am leaning towards a product-business.  So, what does a product-business mean?  A product-business produces a tangible good like a cell phone, a laptop or a coffee maker.  When running a product-business, your business has minimal contact with clients.  Because you produce tangible goods, the quality of your business is easy to measure.  Additionally, a product-business relies on equipment-intense production.  

What specifically appeals to me about a product-business that you should consider in your own business pursuits?  As previously stated, I do not want to create a business that requires me to do all the work.  That is too draining for me at the age of 28.  Ideally, I could hire employees, but that requires me to manage those employees, train those employees, and pay those employees.  That is too much of a headache.  I desire a business that generates revenue without the need for employees.  A product-business is not labor intensive and does not require extensive contact with clients.  Perfect.  A business that is automated, runs smoothly, and systems-dependent not owner-dependent is a strategic business built for long-term success.  A strategic business must be properly designed to be able to function without an owner.

Thus, the ultimate business goal for any entrepreneur, specifically a solopreneur, is to design a highly profitable business that runs automatically while you manage it and worth a fortune when you sell it.  A service-based business that depends on you will not be worth much without you.  The probability that anyone would want to buy a service-based business dependent on ownership will not bring you wealth.  

A great example of a produce-business or product-based business is Dan Miller’s 48 Days website.  On this website, Dan has a valuable online store front that features books, compact discs, DVDs, personality profiles, workshops, and more for sale.  Thus, Dan earns profits while he sleeps, blogs, writes books, records his podcast, interacts with clients, etc.  That is a systems-based business that requires very little of the owner.  He has a system in place to sustain his business and to grow it.  Additionally, he has an affiliate program (that I am a part of) that brings in more traffic to his website and products.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

What to do when a company does not want you

In my May article "The Creative Job Search Does Work," I confidently boasted that the creative job search works.  And, I still encourage job-seekers to use it, because it does indeed get your foot in the door.  However, that particular company that I interviewed with has yet to call me back.  And this is after a phone interview, a 90-minute face-to-face interview, and appropriate follow-up including a handwritten thank-you card.  The only thing I have failed to do is to pick up a phone and call them.  But I figure, after sending you a thank-you card and a continued-interest letter in which I specifically state "please let me know either way," that those managers are purposely not contacting me.  Additionally, I was informed I would be contacted within a week and a half after the interview.  That time has surpassed.

So what do you do when you know you did everything right but the company is sitting on its hands until it finds the perfect candidate?  Here a few things I have considered doing:

  • Drive to their location and demand a meeting.
  • Send an additional letter with an emphasis on "please let me know either way."
  • Finally pick up the phone and hope to speak to someone.
  • Move on.
My advice, if you find yourself in this predicament, is to move on.  If you have done everything the company asked for, performed an excellent interview, and followed up appropriately with a letter or card, it is on the company to return the courtesy and professionalism.  The fact that this company did not contact me back after two methods of contact informs me that this is not a company I would work for on a long-term basis.  

Remember, the interviewing process is a two-way process.  It is true that you have to appeal to the company as an applicant.  However, the company has to appeal to you as well.  Early on, this company seemed unique, different, and a good fit.  After not returning contact to simply let me know that the position has already been filled or that the company is looking at other applicants, this company revealed to me that they ignore people and cannot maintain relationships.  

Remember I initially contacted this company for a sales position.  They came to me, based on my resume, with a management position opportunity.  If they were no longer interested, just say so.  That's what exceptional companies do.  As an exceptional professional and human being, I will not work for a company like that.

Thankful for the experience, I am honing my interview techniques to obtain a dream job and to share my expertise with you, my audience.  Remember, your resume, elevator speech, cover letter, online presence, and interview should all tell the same story.  That is the key to finding work you love.  However, if you cannot find it, create it.

Subscribe to my blog via e-mail above or follow me on Twitter.  Thank you.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happiness leads to success

What is holistic success and happiness?

Happiness can be defined as success in four areas of life.

  • Material abundance
  • Love and relationships
  • Health and well being
  • Spirituality (intuition, creativity, connection to a higher power)
Holistic success is important because it improves your:
  • physical health (immunity towards diseases)
  • better relationships (family, friends)
  • self confidence

You can not define your success by income.  If you sacrifice holistic success in those four areas, you may make a lot of money but you will be extremely vulnerable to hypertension, stress, feeling miserable, addictive behaviors, etc.  Being successful does not mean you are happy.  A Harvard study shows that success does not lead to happiness but vice-versa.  Happiness leads to success.  

So how do I reach happiness and holistic success?

  • Pay people attention.  Show them your affection.  Try to find a way to add to someone's life today.  That could be a friend, a family member, a potential customer, etc.  Christian pastor Joel Osteen encourages Christians to treat people with honor regardless of how he or she may be treating you.  As a child of God, we are held to higher standards in how we think and behave.  
  • Define daily worthy goals and achieve them.  It takes small steps to reach ambitious milestones.
  • Exercise, meditate, pray, relax, take a walk, get physically active.
Happiness= set point in the brain (determined in the first four years of your life that determines your emotional intelligence) + conditions of living (if you are extremely poor you are unhappy or if you are extremely rich people obsessed with money you are unhappy) + voluntary choices or actions daily (doing things for pleasure like going to the movies, sex, shopping, expressing creativity, are you doing meaningful work, are you making someone else happy) thus S + C + V = H
  • your emotional intelligence can be improved through therapy, cognitive analysis or meditation
These ideas are credited to Deepak Chopra, a physician and writer.

Follow me on Twitter @BlackScholaronl.  Email me any suggestions, ideas, or questions at  Thank you for reading.  Subscribe via e-mail at top.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Put your money where you mind is

A lot of people claim they want to live better lives.  They pray, encourage others to have faith, and sustain a successful, optimistic persona.  But deep down, they know they still have a lot of work to do.  However, the words they communicate and the actions they take are two different things.  In the words of Barry White, people should "practice what they preach."  

Are you practicing what you preach?  Are you really looking for your dream career or job?  Are you truly focused on success?  More importantly, are you working towards holistic success?  Let me share what I have spent my dollars on recently.

  • Spent $299 on 99Designs to create the book design for my e-book My Flexibility Manifesto:  Following my passion 2 success.  
  • Spent $50 on a networking opportunity for July 20th-July 22nd called Startup Memphis. This event will allow me the opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, young professionals, and creative thinkers.  Additionally, it will allow me to collaborate with others to help develop my own business ideas.  
  • Spent $50 on a membership to Memphis Urban League of Young Professionals.  This is a community service organization in Memphis, Tennessee that enables networking between young professionals.  As a young entrepreneur, freelance writer, professional blogger, and MBA student from Milwaukee, can you see how this is a valuable opportunity for someone like myself?  Remember I spent a majority of my time in Memphis in the classroom as a graduate student and a special education teacher.  As I look to switch industries, I have a lot to learn and could use the valuable advice and companionship of like-minded professionals in the area.  
  • Spent $6 to join the Dollar Shave Club.  This is a time saver as I automatically receive my shaving equipment at the beginning of every month.  It works like clock work.  I can keep a professional look at all times.  And I do not have to rush to the store to buy equipment last minute.  This is the philosophy of Tim Ferris's Four Hour Work Week; automate your life.  
  • Spent $6 to subscribe to the local newspaper's, Commercial Appeal, Sunday only delivery.  The Sunday edition is the largest, and most informative edition than any other day of the newspaper.  From extensive editorials to a larger business section, I generate a lot of ideas and savings from reading the Sunday edition.  This saves me $2.00 a month and this saves me time.  Automation.
  • Spent $14.41 on Eric Ries's The Lean Startup.  I read the first half of the book before I sold it on Amazon.  I actually only paid $4.41.  I used a $10 gift card I received from USA Today for an article contribution.  I sold the book for $10.00.  This book was a dry read for me but it improved my knowledge base.
  • Spent $34.95 on a subscription to Success Magazine.  I usually buy this magazine at my local Barnes and Noble but I wanted to continue to automate my life while saving a lot of money.  More importantly, I am continuing to feed my knowledge base more complex information to grow as a person, professional, writer, Christian, business man, student, etc.  Other magazines I recommend for anyone looking to create their own dream job or to generate multiple streams of income is Fast Company, Inc., Money, Time, and Enterprise.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Introducing yourself, an unique strategy towards work you love

Sample introduction letter; idea credited to Dan Miller of
A useful marketing principle that can be applied to finding work you love is by sending targeted companies an introduction letter.  The introduction letter is created to gain the attention and memory of hiring personnel.  After you identify your three areas of competency, craft your resume, oral story, and cover letter, you need to craft an introduction letter that identifies three things.  Remember, every component of the creative job search process is a part of your story.  Always be true to your story.  For example, my story is that I love writing since I was a child.  My resume, cover letter, and interview individually tell the same story in different ways.  Here are the three things your introduction letter must address:

  1. What is your current situation and goals?  Be specific.
  2. What's special about you?  Be specific.  
  3. What are your next steps?  Let the hiring personnel know that you will be sending a physical copy of your resume within a few days.  How could they not remember you?  Exactly.  That's the point.
Remember to follow this career blog by entering your e-mail above and follow me on Twitter @Blackscholaronl.  Thank you.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Guest post: Building a Legacy, One CAMEO at a Time

To further encourage readers and supporters of this blog, I wanted to expose you to creative income generators and micro-business owners doing work they love.  Know that if you follow the creative job search process or the micro-business model, you too can be doing work you love.  With that said, I would like to introduce you to a friend of mines, and a former client of my writing consultancy business, Tymille Baker.  Tymille is an overall awesome person, beautiful mother of twins, a former teacher, and an entrepreneur.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  She runs an upscale event coordinating and marketing firm, Cameo Ventures, LLC.  She is super talented and dedicated to help others in their event planning and marketing needs.  Follow her on Twitter at @Cameoventures.

I was teaching high school math at my alma mater, Pebblebrook High School, when I decided to step out on Faith and pursue my dream of using my marketing degree and creative blood to build a legacy from my own event planning business.  I was halfway through my 4th year teaching there when a church family member (and the only black member of my school district's school board) lectured me about NOT using my "obvious God-given talent" and going after what I really want despite conventional wisdom.

As a spiritual person--and believer in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, once I realized it was nothing but fear that was keeping me in this "secure" position, I began to pray over it, cry over it, talk over it (with the right people), and listen for His guidance.  It was after a painful and obvious (metaphorical) slap in the face that I realized God had been trying to tell me I had stayed in my post past my season--that I really should not have returned that school year, but I did so despite several reservations.  So as torn as I was to leave my students mid-school year, I resigned with plenty of notice...then called my replacement and team teachers to check in on my students, created a Facebook page to keep in touch with them, and went back to visit just before their finals.  I missed them, they begged me to return; but I couldn't--I have a calling and purpose to walk boldly in, and that is what drives me each day to continue building my legacy to the glory and honor of God--who placed this path before MY feet.
I have several years of event planning experience, both voluntarily and corporately.  Prior to founding CAMEO Ventures, my biggest position/event--and the one that sparked my desire to keep doing events--was Player Coordinating the American Century Championship of 2005... NBC Sports' annual celebrity golf tournament.  Working with the likes of Mike Milthorpe, Dick Ebersol, Kevin Monaghan, Don Cheadle, Jerry Rice, and all those involved was a great joy and experience.  I learned a lot that I could couple with my marketing degree and natural creativity to mark the beginnings of a dream that is now CAMEO Ventures.  But soon after my position there, I became pregnant with twins--a high risk pregnancy that placed me on strict bed-rest and unemployment!  

After recovering and becoming a single mother of two, I bounced back by entering the education field.  I got my first teaching position with no experience and no certification (yet)--something that thing called conventional wisdom would not have advised possible.  But it was nothing but God's favor that lead me in that path as it does now with my purpose of planning events that all will love and none will forget.  So, I stand on God's promise and my dreams.  My faith, my children, my dreams, and our future are what motivate me each day to keep going...even when it gets very tough, and it does!
My advice to anyone wanting to go against the grain and build their own business is to do your research before during and after you originate your company.  Know why you are doing it, don't stray from that purpose despite nay-sayers or genuine difficulties--a movement without purpose will reach a point of permanent stand-still.  Surround yourself with those of not only "like mind", but those who are where you are trying to go!  Be careful who you speak of your dreams to: not everyone is built to handle and support an idea they can't fathom or are too scared to believe in.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Addressing the unemployment and underemployment issue in any city or state

Problem:  You don’t have a job, you hate your current job or you need a new job.  
Goal:  To find or/and create meaningful, profitable work.
I recognize for many young adults even those with college degrees that finding a new job may be difficult.  Companies are taking their sweet time in prolonging the process.  Why?  As people are growing to hate their jobs more and more each day, almost every good paying job vacancy receives thousands of applications and resumes.  Thus, companies take an exceptionally long time to hire someone else other than you.  It is frustrating to receive rejection after rejection especially when you know you can do that prospective job well.  Do not get down on yourself.  You are capable of great things.  I have two solutions derived from two of my favorite books:  The $100 Start Up and 48 Days to Work You Love.  
To starting earning a meaningful living, you can do one of two options or both (I am doing both): Create a micro-business or conduct a creative job process to access the hidden job market (roughly 87 percent of jobs are never advertised).  

If you are creating a micro-business, think convergence.  You are looking for your respective sweet spot.  You want to combine your passion and skill with something valuable to the market.  For example, if you love writing (your passion), possess ostensible writing ability (skill), you need to provide a service (ghost writing, copy writing, speech writing, writing consultancy, research or freelance writing) or product (an e-book, a book, a how-to-guide, a newsletter, a monetized blog, your own line of pens or publishable poetry).  To further elaborate, let’s say you can do hair or cut hair, you need to provide a service (hair design, hair care or hair consultancy) or product (an e-book on building your clientele as a cosmologist, a book about the business side of running your own hair business, a podcast about hair, your own hair care products, uniforms for beauticians, etc.).  
The second strategy besides creating your own micro-business is the creative job search process, a topic I have discussed in detail.  Here is an outline of how to find that 87 percent of available jobs to greatly reduce any competition thus assuring you a highly increased shot at obtaining a position you desire and opportunity to do work you love.
  1. Identify your three strongest areas of competency.  
  2. Revise your resume and cover letter(s) to reflect your three highest, strongest areas of competency that you thoroughly enjoy doing and want to continue.
  3. Create a list of 30-40 companies, organizations, influential people, etc. that you would like to work for or with using your three areas of competency.
  4. Research those companies, organizations, and influential people to gain background information and the name(s) and information of the hiring personnel.  
  5. Contact the hiring personnel via an introduction letter and phone call to schedule an interview.  Do not simply leave a voice mail message.  Be persistent.
  6. Follow up the initial contact with a physical copy of your cover letter and resume.
  7. Continue to contact the hiring personnel until an interview is scheduled.
  8. Research and prepare for the interview.
  9. Kill the interview, impressing your potential partners/employers, and actively assess if this would be a good match for you.
  10. Send a handwritten thank you letter/card post-interview and continue to contact hiring personnel every three to four days until a decision has been rendered.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Why WE cannot be average

The worst thing in the world you can be is average.  In the United States of America, we dream big, but commonly fall very short on to a bed of complacency.  If you value yourself, your intelligence, and your potential, you must diligently work aggressively towards honing your talent, gift, skill, interest, and passion(s).  Without planning, practice, and execution, your dream will never be realized.  Eventually, when you are of old age, you will look back with a surplus of regrets.

As a Milwaukee native, I always loved the Milwaukee Bucks and the Green Bay Packers.  During my adolescence, the Bucks were good for a short number of years under George Karl as Sam Cassell, Ray Allen, Glen "Big Dog" Robinson formed a "big three."  Outside of that brief period of time, the Bucks sucked.  They have flirted with the playoffs a few times since, being bounced out of the first round each season or barely missing the eighth seed.  The organization is average.  They spend a lot of money on players and remain consistently average.  Always in the middle of the pack, where they do not qualify for a top lottery franchise-changing draft pick.  So at the end of every season, they find themselves overpaying for B-level players and trying again, only to fail again.  

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."
On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers produce great results every year including championships (greatness).  From the executive level down to the worker bees, the Green Bay Packers emphasize faith, consistency, and hard work.  They do not overpay free agents to come to Green Bay.  Green Bay is a boring city with low-crime, strong family values, and a die-hard football fan base.  There are no great malls, night clubs, or celebrities in the city.  The Packers attract great talent solely on their history of high expectations and hard work.  The organization demands excellence from individual players.  They focus towards collective goals.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Faith, consistency, & hard work

Besides the vulgarity, SpokenReasons is a very talented comedian and poet.  He injects a breath of societal commentary into each of his entertaining videos.  Within this video, he encourages his viewers to succeed through faith, consistency, and hard work.

  • Faith
    • As I stated in the article How I Know God Exists, you have to have faith if you expect to do anything significant or extraordinary in life.  Without the belief and confidence in something greater than we can visibly see, where does the resilience necessary to overcome continuous obstacles and life challenges come from?  It has to come from a belief in a higher power regardless of particular religion or culture.  By having faith in something bigger than yourself, you are teaching your mind, body, and soul to keep going no matter what this universe throws at us.  Some of the most successful people in the world are advocates of faith.  
    • As evil and cold as this world can be sometimes, it amazes me that people are so cocky and self-assured that they think and assume they are solely responsible for their success.  In order for this world to even exist, there were sacrifices.  For any accomplishment you gain in life, someone besides yourself had to sacrifice.  Whether it was a teacher giving you valuable information to learn a concept or skill or the federal government providing your with finances to attend college, someone made a sacrifice.  People do not make sacrifices without the existence of a God.  
  • Consistency
    • By never giving up, working hard, and staying steadfast towards your goals, you will accomplish your established goals and the doors of opportunity will open for you.  A big part of consistency is to embrace your fears.  Whether it's poverty, fear of failure, fear of lacking the right degree or skills, you have to run towards your weaknesses and fears with the confidence that God is with you always (faith) and that you can make it through anything (resilience). To never be complacent is essential to holistic success.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How much does it take to get you to stop doing work you HATE?

Recently I was watching Arthur with my family on HBO.  The synopsis of the story is about a very wealthy man who never fully matured into a competent working adult or business guru.  His family's business is worth billions and he has an inheritance of $950 million.  I commented to my wife that I would not need that much $ to permanently change our lives or our family's wealth for generations.  My magic number...  $9.5 million, exactly ten percent of Arthur's inheritance.  

"I would still work. I would not spend most of it.  We could live off the interest. What would you do?"  I asked Princess.
"I would do work that I love."  she calmly replied.
Boom.  That is it.  Is the only thing that is keeping you away from doing work you love $9.5 million dollars?  Is it more $?  Is it less?  What's your magic number?  What will it take for you to step away from that dreadful job of yours that pays you barely enough to live on every two weeks?