Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dear Black Enterprising Women: When "No" Shouldn't Be "No"

There are two questions that I'll almost always say no to:
  1. Random barter requests
  2. An overly-generous amount of complementary products for an event
I will not say no for being paid for my work.

"Who would?!"  Many women in business are replying with that word often, and at one time, that woman was me.  By denying compensated opportunities, I missed out on the resource to sow back into my business, I neglected my purpose, and I risked not having relationships with other enterprising black women.  So why did I say no?  Ugh!  I don't know.  But I did, and had to face it, fight it, and go through to overcome it.  Fear.

Consistently saying no comes from a place of fear, and usually in a form of false objections.

At the core of the vast majority of the black community, lies some form of fear - planted, cultivated, flourished and flourishing.  It is the hinderance that tries to prevent overall growth.  How do we get it?  Oftentimes, it is generational and each individual transfers the haunting feeling through the home, and out the door fear goes to befriend those in the community, locally and remotely.  Be it through  a frightening artistic scene depicted by Dante, heavily spoon-fed into the consciousness of many, who pay or do good deeds to avoid that scene, a seed is planted. Through interpersonal interactions in adult-child relationships, a seed is planted. For example, the other night I was watching Blackish, and my husband and I took note of this scene: Diane, a very expressive, matter-of-fact child, intelligently explained to her grandmother the reasons she (grandmother) was more of a Republican and not a Democrat.  'I will slap the taste out of your mouth', was the retort.  It was laughable, and in many black viewers' homes it was laughable, because it was gravely familiar.  Likewise, through the societal situations many are put into/choose, and the "I'm doing this because I love you" preventive measures that are thrust upon others to comply with "You better not do it!", seeds are planted.  I like how brother Coates speaks on this matter,

     "The crews, the young men who'd transmuted their fear into rage, were the greatest danger.  The crews walked the blocks of their neighborhood, loud, and rude, because it was only through their loud rudeness that they might feel any sense of security and power."  "...And I knew mothers who belted their girls, but the belt could not save these girls from the drug dealers twice their age. ...cracked jokes on the boy whose mother wore him out with a beating in front of his entire fifth-grade class. ...some girl whose mother was known to reach for anything-- cable wires, extension cords, pots, pans. We were laughing, but I know that we were afraid of those who loved us most...." (Ta-Nehisi Coates - Between the World and Me). 
Furthermore, let-downs and the insecurities from rejection generates fear. Fear-nurturing seeds have a way of springing up when least expected, and at times, many of us unknowingly nurtured those seeds, varing in degrees within each of us.  Wheather affected directly or indirectly, a part of the grim flower wants to choke out the growth that has a desire to bloom.

Isolation

A woman entrepreneur who limits her reach by not building business relationships with other women producers, stunts the growth of her business.  When new in business, she has the attention of many consumers, so she might feel quite comfortable and confident in that merchant-customer relationship.  Enters the season of slow business (it comes, and quite often for ALL levels of business, but the micro-producer feels it to the bones), and as a creator, her idle hands causes a feeling of despondency.  She might have never considered that consumers cannot always be counted on.





When "Yes" Left My Mouth

Consider the rich, amber, ooey-gooey sweet treat called honey.  The flowers that call out to the bees are not directly located by the hives, they have to be sought.  The gathered pollen does not miraculously turn into honey, the bees have to put in the work.

During an interview, I was asked, "When did you begin seeing more and better growth in your business?" When I started saying yes. Sure, not every good decision yielded a lucrative outcome, because variances do exist.  But saying no certainly did not make room for my gifts/work either.  Yes made it possible for me to learn how to understand my work's value more, instead of flatly turning down opportunities out of fear, I learned how to negotiate, and I gained understanding of how to say no smartly.  I am gratefully aligned with women producers, and we make money together, to keep our creative endeavors and priorities (family, business, community) in motion.

You can't make it to the sweet-spot without the work.  Success is not found in the comfort-zone of fear.

Why This Post

I recently saw my past reflection in another sister entrepreneur.  I reached out to her proposing a collaboration - offering compensation for her work and a creator's fee.  The proposal was written in detail (questions, etc.), therefore, it required a detailed response.  Although she replied with, "Yes", the details were not filled in.  From my experience and observation of others, an "I changed my mind" was coming.  After asking her if more time was needed to reach a firm decision, and to reply to me by the afternoon to come to an agreement, she answered yes to both.  Well, I heard from her at eleven o'clock PM (LOL), and her answer wasn't a flat out no, it was (what did I mention up top?) a false objection.  I saw it.  I understood it.  So instead of closing the door (we really need to stop counting each other out, and cutting each other off so quickly), I gave her another option (giving her no immediate monetary gain) that would fit better in the comfort-zone.  We are moving forward.  I love you sista.

We are all at different stages, and we are ALL still learning, growing, and healing.

Circulation Of The Almighty BLACK Dollar

The Buy Black and Support Black Business, geared towards black consumers, are very good movements, overall.  However, many black women who are producers are depending solely on the dollar coming in from that direction.  "Well, can't we count on our people?!"  We absolutely can.  A black consumer is a consumer, and consumers consume from everyone - some are more loyal than others, and you can most certainly count on them, but not necessarily when you need them, and black merchants need them pretty much all the time (consider the season(s) of slow business).

"In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good." (King Solomon - Ecclesiastes 11:6)

Connecting with other black women producers, circulating money with other black women  producers, and nurturing other black women producers, will help you, us, and the community thrive.


Discipline the mind to see the big picture of growth within all your endeavors, without fear.


Let me hear you out
I would like to generate dialogue on these posts.  What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below, and/or, check Your Thought below.



Be Whole,
Itiel






Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why I Sent Paula a Visa Gift Card for Her Needs

Update August 7, 2016: ....as we all know Paula Brown passed away on August 1, 2016 due to illness. This money is needed because she had no insurance policy at all. The money will allow me to have a funeral for My Mom... Please click over to help Quincy, Paula's son, raise money, here. Additionally, ALL PROCEEDS from today's orders will be donated to this family. I have already sent out a message to select customers, but if you would like to be a part of it, send email here smellgoods@smellgoodspa.com

At the beginning of 2015, I started Shop.Share.Tag.WIN!. The instructions for that campaign was shipped with all orders. Instructing Smell Gooders to snap a picture of their order, and post it on social media tagging us. Monthly winners received their choice of a Signature Fragrance Oil or Signature Hand-Dipped Incense.

When planning that campaign, I thought: here we are asking shoppers to spend their money with us, help with our brand recognition, influence friends to shop with us, and receive free product they enjoy....but what else can be done...

I went back to my business mission: Our mission is to produce fine, quality products; encourage women consumers to seek healthier options in bath and body care and aromatic home products; be a positive tool in the community through empowerment and philanthropy. 

Fill a need

Right then, it was decided to send a $25 Visa Gift Card to one of the participants. The gift card wasn't subterfuge, but the altruistic duty to be good to those who are good to my business. The majority of the people within my community can use a bit of positive help to fill their needs.







At the end of 2015, the drawing took place. I was so excited with the knowing that someone would have a little extra. It happened to be Paula!

Paula is filling this need (and I love it): 






Message:
Packing up items to give away, at the young age of 8, I said, "Well, I don't want this anymore, so I'll give it away." My grandmother quickly expressed and planted a seed in me that took root... Well you should keep it, because when giving to others, you should not do it because you no longer want it. 

The best intentions are laid out before us when embarking on an entrepreneurial journey. Then... Hard days; Blurred lines; Ideas cast upon rocky ground that was thought as fertile...

Purpose. 

There are daysssssss when business is sloooooooooooooooooow. When I sit with my soul, I ask if I've done everything that I could do within my power. The answer is either yes or no. In either response, I sit, wait, praise, and express gratitude - - the solution is there; a way is being made. It never fails, a call or an email comes through that levels up all that I do. I have been able to fill every need, every single need with what I do with my hands. And it's not just because of my hands (they are my tools), I stay true to the purpose that I nourish my soul with, continually. 

Making money should never be the sole reason for starting any enterprising endeavor. It takes money to operate a business. It takes purpose to succeed in business, a business that should help others fill their needs. 

Your Turn:
Do you sometimes have to pause to recall your purpose? If you can't answer that question, just let me know your thoughts in the comments. Oh yeah, check one of the boxes below, too.



Be whole, 
Itiel





Friday, February 12, 2016

"I've Never Felt More Present In My Life As I Do Right Now."

A couple of weeks back, I reshared this image on Facebook. I googled the quote and learned that Harold B. Lee stated these words. Religion is not a part of my fundamentals; however, these words do fit into my core values.



I expressed to my husband the other night, that I've never felt more present in my life as I do right now. I can't help but think that it is not all about me, but, more so about these young beings behind our four walls.

Message:
The caption I added to the reshare: No matter how much money generated. No matter how many praises received.

If you are a woman entrepreneur raising a family, be good to your family - equally or even more so than the people you serve, because the success within your home pours out into all your endeavors, authentically. Nurture your family as you do your business.

Your Turn:
What do you think about this: I don't want to be a success outside and a mess behind closed doors (I read this somewhere before. Can't remember who said it.). Check one of the boxes below to share what you think about this post.



Be Whole,
Itiel

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How I Stopped Caring About Women to Care About Them

In The 2 Middle Fingers I Get To Put Up: Honor to The 5 Deaths of 2015, I mentioned that the fifth death prepared me to share a perspective on how to support women in their endeavors.

When it comes to the matter of separation due to the penalty of expressing oneself, after believing they were in a safe place to do so, that reality can become a hard pill to swallow. Once swallowed, digested, and passed through, the healing reveals all that you need to see clearly. One day, my healing revealed that I wasn't upset about the actual disengagement, because people leave and detachment isn't something I fear - it was the fact that I made her a priority. Sitting with the question, "Do you regret that?" I lived in my positive truth during the duration of that friendship. So, no regrets on that. None. It just will not happen again and not because of a spiteful spirit, but because I just don't care....



Do I still stand on the platform that women need each other? Absolutely! But here's the lesson that came from my death experience - you cannot make someone a priority who does not want to be one. You cannot move forward with women who do not want to be needed. Not needed in the sense of needy. Needed in the way of knowing their worth and value, and mutually seeing worth and value in other women to do what is right by them. This type of woman does not circumvent, holds herself accountable, and admits bad decisions. This woman is not perfect, but if you are a discerning woman yourself, one who can show mercy when needed, you both can move forward together. But she has to want to be needed. 

Message:
It is one of the best feelings and sense of fulfillment when a woman starts on an enterprising journey. One of the very first actions is showing support towards other women entrepreneurs. And why not? Collaboration is a beautiful thing, supporting women in their endeavors is a beautiful thing. Oftentimes, support is given to gain support. Not a bad deed, but, a person who is just giving support to get it back in return, needs to reaccess. However sincere support does not need to be forced and a woman entrepreneur who wants to be needed will take notice of the sincerity and reciprocate accordingly. If you operate from a place of truthful support, an unproductive collaboration with a woman entrepreneur should not taint (although it sucks) your give to another woman entrepreneur who sees your value. 

I stopped caring about "helping" women. I no longer seek them out to see what needs need fulfilling.  Instead, I care for them by standing in my truth: Being there when they come with a need. Assist and done; Sending information to resources that could be helpful in their endeavor. If they use it great, if they don't...; Maintaining consistency in my business, so that a women who wants to be needed will see her reflection. 

You do not have to CARE to care. 


Your Turn:
I don't have a question for you, but comment if you like. Express yourself. :o) Check one of the boxes below to share what you think about this post. 



Be Whole,
Itiel