This past weekend I surprised my best friend with things I thought would be helpful in encouraging her on her journey as a massage therapist. While she was away on training for two weeks I planned, schemed and organized a shelf in her apartment filled with things meant to show her that I support the work she is doing as a mother and as a bomb ass massage therapist. Her appreciation for the gesture got me to thinking about the way we “invest” into our loved ones and their ventures.
Speaking life into your entrepreneur can be the difference between them giving up or pushing through. Understand that value and know that it costs you nothing to do it.
We’re always talking about how we should invest in black businesses but are so slow to actually invest in those closest to us attempting to make their dreams a reality. Let’s Talk about it!
For the purpose of this article lets define an entrepreneur in my context:
“local entrepreneur”: Someone in your personal or social circle, including social media, who have started a traditional business, podcasts, blog, or brand for self, service or products geared toward a passion, monetary achievement, or recognition.
In the last few months, several people reached out to me who wanted to learn more about blogging. I was happy to oblige but it was important for me to point out a very hurtful truth; sometimes those closest to you are the last to support. Preparing them for this reality ensures that they don’t get discouraged down the line and give up on their blogging venture. However, the lack of support is true in other aspects as well. Many entrepreneurs I’ve come into contact with said that they found it difficult to garner the support of their immediate circle. This is a problem I wrote about when I first started blogging in Where are Your “Day Ones” on Day Two?.
Strangers shouldn’t see the value in the entrepreneurs in our circle before we do. We should be the first to ask questions, share content and provide insight in an effort to invest in the people we love. So, why don’t we? One reason why could be constantly underestimating what we have to offer or invest. We mistake investing in others with monetary abilities when investment actually takes on many forms. Time, words of encouragement, shoutouts/references, and adding to their vision are all great ways to invest in the entrepreneurs in your life.
An Assortment of Investments
Investing in your surroundings doesn’t really take as much as you might think. Sometimes I randomly go on a rampage attempting to invest time, encouragement, and insight into those who are brave enough to try something as an entrepreneur.
Take the time to actually learn about their business/venture. This will come in handy when you are around others who need the service they provide. My bestie asked if she could give me a massage so I could review her skills for her (spoken like a true professional). She trusted that my honest review would help her improve and/or sustain some things. Not only was I able to give a stellar review ’cause sista got the kinks out my neck;
but I was also able to refer others to her based on my personal experience with her service. Familiarizing yourself with their product/services is also important so when possible buy it/use it/read it/listen to it. The best reference is a thorough, honest one.
Investing words of encouragement.
There will be times when your “local entrepreneur” gets overwhelmed, anxious, or just plain burnt out. Speaking life into your entrepreneur can be the difference between them giving up or pushing through. Understand that value and know that it costs you nothing to do it. Randomly and sporadically speak words of encouragement over your local entrepreneur.
Investing attention and vision.
As a creative mind, I often find myself seeing the possibility of improvements in other people’s vision/business. I use to hate it. Who did I think I was trying to mentally improve someone else’s business when I don’t even know how to fix my own. Yet, it’s when I share my outside ideas with those who asked that they were able to reach levels they hadn’t even seen. If you have a gift for providing wonderful insight that propels the ideas of others forward; use it. Invest your insight. Only when solicited though. Never freely offer your opinion without first feeling out the situation and/or asking first.
I have like 5 Instagram followers. 2 actively interact with me (I’m joking and yet, so serious). I do believe in utilizing social media as an advertising avenue. In the past two months, I have found ways to improve my own image and promote the Let’s Build brand, but once I started writing this topic I realized that there are so many wonderful entrepreneurs in my online circle that I haven’t invested in.
This week Let’s Build will be sharing entrepreneurs to practice exactly what it preaches. Shoutouts and references help to build up businesses by allowing the cycle to continue. When you give an awesome reference and get at least one person to try and they love it; then that person loves it and gives a reference to someone else and on and on like Erykah Badu.
Pay it Forward
Honestly, doing these things are part of a healthy, loving connection with those in your life. But they should especially be a part of interactions within your circle. Investing yourself in small ways into what the entrepreneur in your life finds important communicates that you truly support them. Investing in the ones you love will only circle back to you. Paying it forward means knowing that one day you will need these same investments deposited into your spirit; hopefully, you’ll have someone there ready to cut that check. Everything little thing needs nutrients to grow; so nurture the energy of that “local entrepreneur” and watch them grow like wildflowers.