Black-Owned Businesses My Opinion 

Minding My Own Business

This morning, I was about to reach out to a major platform to pitch a written series, the first installment of which you’re reading now. 

My aim? To show what happens when a less-than-optimally-successful self-employed person hunkers down and consistently follows specific pieces of advice he or she ain’t heeded since the inception of the person’s business.

More often than not, the general public learns about folks tasting all 31 flavors of success or those who’ve gone belly up, but what about the small business owners, self-employed folks, or freelancers caught in the middle – not because they don’t know what to do; they do know what to do. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, they just don’t do it, so that whole goin’ belly up thing seems ever on the horizon.

I’m one such person, and I’d like us all to take a look at a self-employed person’s journey from near-bustedness to solid, substantial growth and stability in business – not for the sake of evoking sympathy but for the sake of proving, in real time, that the advice works (or doesn’t).

Luckily, I’ve gotten a glimpse into what life is like when some of business’ immutable truths are followed by action. Over the past two years, I’ve enjoyed small bits of unexpected success that have come on the tail end of my willingness to follow some of the directions given me in business-related courses. To be clear, there’s one course I took when I first started. To my knowledge, I’ve followed almost all of the advice given. To be honest, some of the advice was just terrible, but a lot of good came out of taking that course, too. Still, I think my overarching problem is that I’m not nearly as consistent as I should be, and I spend too much time pokin’ my nose into other folks’ businesses and letting it linger too long, as is evidenced by the (erratic but still time consuming) maintenance of this blog. 

The Algae Row was started as a way for me to do my part to help make sure more money passes through the hands of folks who look like me, which seems to be the norm in other racial groups (even if they don’t know it or won’t acknowledge it), which–in part–is why they don’t seem to stumble as hard and often as folks of Black African descent. Even though I don’t post regularly, being here robs me of time building the business that pays me. I don’t post to The Algae Row nearly as often as I hunt down and patronize black-owned businesses, but the effort it takes me to do any of this is effort that should be put into steadily growing English, Math, and More (yes, with a serial comma after the second serial item). Shooting, editing, and posting videos: I should be doin’ that for my own business. Making sure folks understand what my experiences are like as a customer and why other folks would probably benefit from and enjoy patronizing businesses: that should be done for my own business. Writing blog posts like this one: you guessed it – that should be done for my own business, too.
What’s sadder? As far as I know, only two of the entities I’ve reviewed have ever promoted me. (Remember: that’s as far as I know. I could be wrong.)

Am I mad? No. Why? Well, because those folks are not responsible for my wellbeing. They understand the assignment, and bolstering my tutoring service is not it. They’re doing what they need to do, which is MINDING THEIR OWN BUSINESSES! Plus, there are folks (not business-owners) who’ve offered to help me. Usually, I refuse (the reason(s) for which might be fodder for a different post).

To be clear and fair, some of these folks cooperate with other businesses or organizations, but they don’t seem to be superfluously occupied with the wellbeing of other businesses. They know how to compartmentalize. Even if they didn’t focus on working with other entities, that’d still be okay because they’re doin’ what they’re supposed to be doing. For the most part, it may be difficult for them to exist if they’re focused on promoting me, you, the mail carrier’s cousin–anybody or anything else that prevents them from holding steady or, better yet, freakin’ thriving. 

You pickin’ up what I’m putin’ down? 

I don’t plan to do away with The Algae Row–no, no, no. What I do plan to do is redirect my energies toward English, Math, and More (yes, again, with the serial comma). There are reviews I have lined up for this promotional space for black-owned businesses, but they can’t take precedence over my own service. Again, I need to properly and consistently invest my resources into the thing that pays me. I need to keep my nose on my own face.

So, let me sweep around my own front door.

Let me remove the plank from my own eye.

Let me stop worrying so much about other folks (which is really an excuse for me to avoid taking care of my own stuff).

Let me get in here, get it together, and start systematically mind my own business–for real, for real.

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