EDITORIAL: Hope for the Black Entrepreneur … Even Amidst COVID!
By Doni Glover, Publisher
If you are Black and self-employed, this message is for you. I know that there is a lot of concern right now as it relates to the economy. Some argue that a recession is upon us and that the economic forecast is not bright at all. And, in the midst of a Presidential election year, this only adds to what appears to be a dismal future.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is where our faith must be on steroids. We cannot afford to lose heart now, especially after all we’ve done to get here.
Sure, corporate giants are folding. Store locations are being closed across the country. Just like the last time, Wall Street is getting bailed-out while Main Street is being forsaken. Stimulus dollars are going to entities that don’t even need it while ‘Ma and Pa’ shops face a frightening uncertainty.
Fear not! Keep your faith! Keep doing the things that got you to this point, like showing up early – like doing your homework and research – like following up on that phone conversation – like sending that invoice.
It’s not about what we cannot do; it’s about what we can do with what we already have. This is about finding a way to succeed when everyone else has quit.
No one said that this journey would be easy. I do believe, however, that this journey can be rewarding, particularly when we are operating in our God-given gifts and talents. Stick to what you do best, for now is not the time to be guessing. Stay in your lane, however wide or narrow. All you gotta do is focus on the things that you do best!
This is just a reminder that no one is coming to save us. If we are to get to higher ground, then it will be so because we did the work. Although we live in a world where entitlement works for some, be not mistaken that nothing can replace “the grind”.
When I look at the sister who owns Harlem Cycle, Tammeca Rochester, and how she and her team turned on the dime to find a better way to serve clients amidst COVID – I am reminded of the authentic creativity we’ve been blessed with – even in the middle of a storm. When I ponder Melissa Mitchner, another Harlem entrepreneur who owns a pet care boutique in Harlem, The Bark Shoppe – I know that God will provide a way if we just don’t give up.
Change is inevitable. It is bound to happen and sometimes when we least expect it. However, we can make it through the worst of times with some faith, some planning, and some good help. Not only can we survive, we can thrive.
Look at J. Paul Getty and Howard Hughes. Both are noted as people who made fortunes during the Great Depression. And if that isn’t enough, then think about the Black people in Tulsa’s Greenwood Section who built the most magnanimous demonstration of Black self-empowerment this nation has ever seen: Black Wall Street.
Greenwood was so awesome, a mob of jealous White people bombed it from the air and burned it to the ground. This was 8 years shy of the 1929 economic collapse in America.
The point is that just because the times have changed before our very eyes does not mean it is over. If Philip A. Payton, the Father of Harlem, and his wife were able to survive in early 20th century New York City and emerge as a real estate titan, then surely there is hope for us today!
We’ve just got to buckle down, focus on our target, pray, and then brainstorm. In the middle of the quiet, the answers will be revealed.
So, do not give up! Don’t even thing about it! Whatever you do, know that God is and that God still delivers 24-7. If we keep God first, we can do anything but fail. Fall down 7 times, but get up 8! Keep the faith and success is already yours! While it won’t be easy, it is not impossible!
Really and truly, I have always believed that there is a special blessing for the Black entrepreneur. I don’t know why. I just do. When I consider all that our ancestors endured – including domestic terrorism, the KKK, lynchings, rapes and murders – I know that we stand on the shoulders of some of the most powerfully courageous people in the history of mankind. Surely, they did not suffer all that they did for me to quit now!