Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Love & Entrepreneurship: Relationship Therapist Misha Granado On How Spouses & Relationships Impact Entrepreneurs


If you have ever been in a relationship with someone who is an entrepreneur, then you know it can have its fair share of ups and downs. Although most relationships do, there is something unique about those ups and downs when it comes to being with an entrepreneur. We were able to catch up with Misha Granado, an alumnae of Florida A&M University and Prairie View A&M University, who is herself and entrepreneur through her company Love Grows, a relationship consulting firm, to discuss what all comes with loving and living a life with an entrepreneur.

A relationship with an entrepreneur is not for everyone, what “warning” label would you put on entrepreneurs for those considering dating or getting into a relationship with one?

As an entrepreneur you are the only one who truly knows yours schedule, goals and needs for both your professional and personal life. It is imperative to be extremely clear on who you are and the characteristics and qualities that compliment and constrict both you and your goals. Reflect on your previous relationships (historical markers) to identify what does and does not work for you. Also, it is important to be honest with yourself about where you are on your journey.

If you are interested in a relationship, ask yourself, “What type of partner complements me?

  • A fellow entrepreneur? If so, what type of entrepreneur? Someone at the beginning stages (idea)? Growing? Established?
  • An entrepreneur who also has a corporate gig?
  • Someone with a demanding corporate career requiring significant time and dedication outside of the house?
  • Someone with a career with a traditional schedule (M-F) but has an active personal life who is self-sufficient?
  • Someone who is artsy and a free spirit who does not require much ‘hand-holding’ from you?
  • Someone with traditional relationship expectations?

Do you have the resources (time, energy, emotional and mental bandwidth) to co-create and co-nurture a relationship or is a social, casual dynamic more feasible? There is no universal right or wrong answer, only the only right for you. Once you are clear on who you are and your needs have honest, unapologetic conversations with potential partners.

All entrepreneurs are not the same, but what are some baseline ways you believe spouses and significant others can be supportive to their entrepreneur partner?

Significant others and spouses can be supportive to their entrepreneur partner by:

  • Holding the vision of the overall goal(s) – Being an entrepreneur is not easy and there will be many moments where the stress, loses, delays, frustration, fear, anger, despair, panic, etc obscure the vision of your entrepreneur spouse. Having the skill and ability to hold the vision for him/her at all times, but especially in these moments are key. Remind them of their why, the reason they embarked on this journey and all of the ways they will succeed.
  • Informative – Are you knowledgeable about their entrepreneurial endeavors? You do not need to be an expert in the field but showing real interest is very supportive. By having a bit of knowledge of the industry, goals, challenges coupled with knowing your spouse you become a wonderful asset because you can help with troubleshooting, be an empathetic ear, strategize and/or provide support. Of course this varies per entrepreneur. However, some entrepreneurs desire a ‘mental break’ from their work and prefer not to speak business with their spouse, which is okay as well. Knowing your s/o and what they need is another way to be informative.
  • Patient – The entrepreneur life does not follow the trajectory of other fields nor does it provide the ‘comfort and safety.’  On this journey income may vary significantly depending on project, climate, acquisition of clients, etc. Traditional hours do not exist. Sacrifices are the norm. Questioning self seems to be scheduled on the calendar daily. Therefore a s/o who is patient is a welcomed reprieve. Patience varies for each couple.

What are some common issues you see that arise between spouses and entrepreneurs in relationships? How do you believe couples can get ahead of them or best deal with them?

One of the most common issues between spouses and entrepreneurs is unspoken expectations. Each partner has expectations in their head for the other but has never articulated it to each other. As a result, needs go unmet and resentment silently builds meanwhile the partner is oblivious. It is similar to your employer setting goals for you without telling you only for you to discover you did not meet these benchmarks during your annual review. Unspoken expectations are a set up for failure. This is unfair.

The best tool for any relationship is transparency, vulnerability and honesty. For both partners to articulate to each other their expectations, needs and areas where they desire more support. If you do not feel emotionally safe to be vulnerable with your significant other, seek therapy to identify the barriers that serve as a hindrance and gain the tools and healing needed to overcome this barrier.

An entrepreneur sees the world in a very different way than most people. What are the ways spouses can impact how an entrepreneur sees the world?

The relationship one has with self, determines and influences all relationships in their life. In a partnership, especially a romantic relationship due to the intimacy of the space, both parties have the ability to impact each other in a negative or positive manner and this can influence the way partners view self and the world. This is such a delicate space because of the direct access to the heart and mind. A spouse who has unmet/unspoken expectations, resentment, frustrations, etc will knowingly or unknowingly begin to engage in behavior (i.e. passive aggressive, argumentative, petty) that constricts both their partner and the relationship. This behavior increases the entrepreneur’s stress level impacting business, creativity, productivity etc. Whereas, a spouse who is happy with self, articulates their needs and wants, feels fulfilled, supported, loved will demonstrate behaviors (i.e. encouragement, support, joy, happiness, consideration, patience, kindness, etc.) that complement the relationship and their partner. The latter has the ability to change perspectives. When we feel seen, heard and validated we feel inspired, energized and creative all of which are excellent for business.

Women entrepreneurs have an even tougher road ahead of them typically. So for the men/women/partners who love them, what advice would you give specifically to the support and love that will be needed?

Whether it is the entrepreneurial, corporate, artistic or the academic route, unfortunately women are not treated equitably. This adds another layer of stress to the already taxing entrepreneur life. As the partner behind the scenes supporting a woman entrepreneur, perhaps the best way you can support her is by knowing her, implementing and executing what she needs when you know she is stressed, excited, hopeful, disappointed, etc. If you do not know what she needs during these various spaces, ask her directly (when she is not in it). For example:

  • How can I support you when you are scared?
  • What can I do when you are stressed?
  • How do you like to celebrate your wins?
  • What would make your daily routine run smoothly?
  • How can I support your business?

When she needs/wants to vent about something before she begins ask: What do you need from me in this moment? A sympathetic ear? To help strategize a solution? To serve as your hype man? Knowing which role she needs from you is important, because she does not always need you to fix it. Sometimes she just needs to vent to effectively move that stagnant energy through her. Other times she just wants you to listen and validate her feelings.

A relationship is not all about the entrepreneur and in that respect reciprocation is important. How can entrepreneurs, who are often demanding a lot of their significant other/spouse, ensure that they themselves are being good partners?

Make your significant other a priority. The business will always be there. There is always something to do. You can always fill each minute with something for the business. Place weekly dates on the calendar and be fully present. Inquire about your significant other and their life and developments. This is a no business/dumping zone, instead it is a place to renew, restore and reciprocate all of the love and support your partner has and continues to give to you. Invest in your partner as well. Show up for your partner and be fully present. If you are attending an event as his/her/their date, be engaging, light, and attentive. Implement a cut off time where you disconnect from gadgets and connect with each other.  This is also applicable if children are involved. Time is one of your most precious commodities; invest it intentionally with your loved ones.

How can relationship counseling help a spouse and entrepreneur keep a happy and loving relationship?

Therapy always begins with the individual even if you are in a partnership. This is because individuals bring everything with them into the relationship (experiences, values, culture, perspective, emotional wounds, isms, insecurities, fears, family dynamics, beliefs, etc.) and all of these influences and determines the quality of the partnership. Now add the stress of an entrepreneurial journey to the equation and there is plenty of material here for therapy *wink*.

The benefit of therapy is having an objective person who provides a safe space for both parties to explore their emotions, identify expectations, stressors, goals and tools to address each. Therapy allows each person to speak, be heard, seen and validated. Also, therapy provides strategies; tools and techniques the couple can implement to help cultivate a relationship that is nurturing for both parties. Additionally, therapy provides different perspectives which are extremely beneficial in those times where a couple cannot agree. This alternative option may be the very catalyst to re-establishing or establishing a healthy relationship baseline.

You can follow and contact Ms. Granado:

www.mishaNgranado.com

Twitter & Instagram: @lovegrows_misha

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two


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Founder of The Boston Beer Company, brewer of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and a key catalyst of the American craft beer revolution, Jim Koch offers his unique perspective when it comes to business, beer, and turning your passion into a successful company or career.

In 1984, it looked like an unwinnable David and Goliath struggle: one guy against the mammoth American beer industry. When others scoffed at Jim Koch’s plan to leave his consulting job and start a brewery that would challenge American palates, he chose a nineteenth-century family recipe and launched Samuel Adams. Now one of America’s leading craft breweries, Samuel Adams has redefined the way Americans think about beer and helped spur a craft beer revolution.

In Quench Your Own Thirst, Koch offers unprecedented insights into the whirlwind ride from scrappy start-up to thriving public company. His innovative business model and refreshingly frank stories offer counterintuitive lessons that you can apply to business and to life.

Koch covers everything from finding your own Yoda to his theory on how a piece of string can teach you the most important lesson you’ll ever learn about business. He also has surprising advice on sales, marketing, hiring, and company culture. Koch’s anecdotes, quirky musings, and bits of wisdom go far beyond brewing. A fun, engaging guide for building a career or launching a successful business based on your passions, Quench Your Own Thirst is the key to the ultimate dream: being successful while doing what you love.

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job


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Choosing between the stability of a traditional career and the upside of entrepreneurship?
Why not have both?

Becoming a full-time entrepreneur can look glamorous from the outside. Who doesn’t want to chase their dreams, be their own boss, and do what they love? But the truth is that entrepreneurship is often a slog, with no regular hours, no job security, and very little pay.

What if there was a way to have the stability of a day job with the excitement of a startup? All of the benefits of entrepreneurship with none of the pitfalls? In The 10% Entrepreneur, Patrick McGinnis shows you how, by investing just 10% of your time and resources, you can become an entrepreneur without losing a steady paycheck.

McGinnis details a step-by-step plan that takes you from identifying your first entrepreneurial project to figuring out the smartest way to commit resources to it. He shows you how to select and engage in projects that will provide you with upside outside the office while making your better at your day job. He also profiles real-world 10% Entrepreneurs such as…
•Luke Holden, a cash-strapped recent college graduate, who started his own lobster-roll empire and oversaw much of its first year of operations, all while working full time in corporate America
•Dipali Patwa, a designer and mom whose side project designing and selling infant clothing is now a sensation.
•A group of friends who met at a 6am Bible study class and went on to start a brewery that now generates millions in sales .

A successful 10% Entrepreneur himself, McGinnis explains the multiple paths you can follow to invest your cash, time, and expertise in a start-up—including as a founder, angel, adviser, or aficionado. Most importantly, you don’t have to have millions in disposable income to become a 10% Entrepreneur. When you put McGinnis’s 10% principles into action, you’ll quickly start racking up small wins, then watch as they snowball into your new (and far more entrepreneurial) life.

The HBCUpreneur Corner – Howard University’s Michiel Perry & Black Southern Belle


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Name: Michiel Perry

Alma Mater: Howard University

Business Name & Description:  Black Southern Belle, Lifestyle Brand Focused on Showcasing Weddings, Fashion, Home Decor, Food and all things Southern!

What year did you found your company? 2015

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career?  Deciding to do Black Southern Belle full time versus part time. I knew this was something that needed a full time role, but I also had a mortgage and a husband. It all worked out, but not without some serious scary days.

What made you want to start your own company? I was planning my wedding in Charleston, SC where I am from and decorating my home in Maryland and looking for lifestyle inspiration that was both African American and Southern. After looking with little success I realized this needed to exist and started Black Southern Belle.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? I had a constitutional law professor who went above and beyond. He let me miss classes for internship interviews and even passed along my information to senior level executives. From him I learned the value of helping people who aren’t even asking.

How do you handle complex problems? As I am a hot head, I often handle complex problems by first relaxing and then reaching out to my mom or husband who are much more calm than I am and often view something very differently than I would.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? To reach out to my personal contacts more. I built a large network from my past careers but was afraid to reach out as to seem like an opportunist, but so many people I reach out to want to help even more than I ever thought they would. If you are genuine about your business and really want to make the relationship mutual most people want to help you row.

Some would say that today’s playing field is more leveled with media companies like yours not having to focus on print and being able to be exclusively digital. Do you think that is true and do you have any plans to do anything with print? I would agree. You can grow your brand digitally pretty quickly, you don’t even need a website at this stage, just a large Facebook or Instagram following can help you grow. Just build an audience and the business will come. I have a tech/digital background. The main print I deal with is stationery. If I did something print it would be a partnership, not just myself. I love paper but not enough to launch a magazine but I appreciate those who fulfill that goal as I have more subscriptions than I like to tell my husband.

Pinterest has had a significant impact on lifestyle sharing and your company is very active there. What do you think has allowed that platform to set itself apart from all others in that respect? I think it grabs your attention and is beautiful. It’s first focus was the beauty and then technology which is rare to see.  Often times tech comes first then aesthetics but Pinterest took a different approach.

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We often talk about the need for African Americans to manufacture more products. Being a lifestyle company affords you all to potentially engage a myriad of products with your own brand attached. Do you think this is something your company will pursue? Or are there other avenues of opportunity that you feel are unexplored by lifestyle companies? I love products and I love supporting small businesses. I currently have a signature product line of select items and would love to grow that business more with partners. I think there are so many opportunities and I am all about partnering to help not only myself but other brands grow.

What do you believe HBCUs can do to spur more innovation and entrepreneurship while their students are in school either as undergraduate or graduate students? I would say they can develop mentoring programs for students who want to be entrepreneurs. Like develop an alum system for entrepreneurs like myself to help current students. I also think adding it to the curriculum is an important thing. We already have the network, just need to utilize it more.

How do you deal with rejection? I have always had roles building partnerships and relationships. Most of the time you hear no. I am very used to it. Often times no is temporary and not because of you but because of other factors. I say no is just for now, not permanent so there is really no true rejection in my opinion just bad timing.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? Antique shopping and watching historical documentaries. I am a serious history buff.

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? Having a Howard Alum find me on the first day of my internship on Capitol Hill. Howard Alum are crazy and will always find you. I do that now and I hope it makes the students feel as special as I did that day.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? Take the risk and do full time if you can. If you can’t, don’t be afraid to outsource some work to keep your business growing. Just because you can’t do it full time doesn’t mean it can’t be done but you should find the resources to move forward.

 

The HBCUpreneur Corner™ – North Carolina A&T’s La’Tisha Price & EducateDancer


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Name: La’Tisha Price

Alma Mater: North Carolina A&T State University

Business Name & Description: EducateDancer Studio, Dance studio and apparel for ages 2-Adult

What year did you found your company? My company was founded June 20, 2014.

What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? The most exciting moment of my HBCUpreneur career has been the opening of my studio. It has been 3 months and God has blessed this studio with amazing things! The most fearful moment would have to again be the opening of my studio. It takes a lot to make sure you stay relevant and constantly growing your clientele as well as challenging your students so that they continue to grow.

What made you want to start your own company? I have always wanted a dance studio. Dance is is something that I love whether I am the performer or behind the scenes. I also love education and the growth and development of people. These two things combined make me the happiest woman on Earth. I believe in having multiple sources of income as well as working for myself. I always knew I would go into business for myself, I just wasn’t sure what it would be.

Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? The most influential people for me throughout college has to be my 3 mentors, Dr. Kenneth Ruff, Ms. Tiffany Brown, and Ms. Akua Matherson. My mother put me in the best hands possible and these three people truly molded me into a wonderful performer and woman. I struggled with balancing school and dance, I struggled with social ridicule from others, and these three kept me focused. They pushed me to my full potential and I am forever grateful for them.

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How do you handle complex problems?  I am faced with complex problems all that time. I first take a second to breathe and think things through. I always keep a positive mindset because negative thinking will limit you. I like to include the thoughts and perspectives of my closest friends so that I can have something to compare my thoughts to and then I make my decision. Honestly, “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” as they say! As long as the ending result is ethical and moral, I make sure I solve the problem so I can move on to the next.

What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? I wish I would have known more of the legal information. I think that is the hardest part to figure out because it’s a lot of phone calls, paperwork, trademarking, it can get hectic. Starting out most business owners don’t have the money for lawyers, accountants, etc. I don’t want to take out any loans because I am still paying student loans. So I had to figure out a lot of information on my own and some stuff I learned late, but better now than never.

How do you see Misty Copeland’s presence on the ballet landscape impacting your business? and African American participation both as participants and viewers in ballet overall? I think every black dancer has an admiration for Misty Copeland. It’s the same with education, our hair, our actresses, our culture! Whenever we see an African American woman accomplishing a major goal we automatically idolize them. Its beautiful! Ballet is French and a lot of African American woman don’t receive the acknowledgement that they should for excelling in the field. I work really hard to make sure that my young dancers are not simply “whipping and hitting the quan”. It’s okay because I appreciate our culture of fun dances, but to be a well-rounded dancer they need training, ballet training!! We have a lot of black dance studio’s that train African American ballet dancers, for example; Debbie Allen has a dance studio that is packed with African American (young) ballet students. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and I am so happy to be a part of the contribution with my own studio.

Being both an instructor and CEO/President of the company has to come with some challenges. What has been your biggest help in managing both roles? The biggest challenge is having time for me. Outside of being the CEO and an instructor, I also have a full-time job as an EC Assistant and Job Coach at a high school. I am also engaged to be married. I have a lot of things going on and sometimes it is overwhelming for me to juggle all of these different things. However, I enjoy being a woman that wears many hats.

What do you believe are some of the biggest headwinds facing the ballet industry as a whole in the coming decade? I’m not sure what some of the biggest issues are facing ballet, I am more invested in HBCU Dance.

Where do you see your company in ten years?  In 10 years, I would like to see about 4-5 EducateDancer Studios around North Carolina with a structured curriculum! I would like to provide dance scholarships and send more dancers and students to HBCU’s.

What do you believe HBCUs can do to spur more innovation and entrepreneurship while their students are in school either as undergraduate or graduate students? It would be great to bring more entrepreneurs to HBCUs to speak, hold conferences, workshops, etc. I have nothing against corporate America and working a 9-5; However, I feel as if that is the ONLY thing you do, you are limiting yourself. Someone is in charge of your paycheck, someone is in control of your promotion. We have so many discrimination issues towards women and race, I don’t even feel comfortable working for someone and honestly believing that I would grow within that company. We should push for more entrepreneurs, even if you do work a 9-5. Have something to call your own.

How do you deal with rejection? I handle rejection very well. I’m a dancer and I am used to criticism and rejection because that happens in this business. I also have a close enough connection with God to know that he will give me what I need and he won’t let me walk into something that is not for me.

When you have down time how do you like to spend it? When I have down time I love to spend it with my fiancé! He is honestly the best person I have ever met in my life! We have so much fun together and I am so in love that I just can’t think of anyone else that I would want to be around. We both love to have fun, so it’s a guaranteed fun time when I’m with him.

What was your most memorable HBCU memory? My most memorable HBCU memory was dancing with Golden Delight throughout my entire college career.

In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs?The best advice that I can give is “Don’t Quit!” I often have to tell myself the same thing. When I had the opening of my studio I asked all my friends that attended to write a special note to me and to put it inside of this little box. Whenever I get sad, or feel like I cant make it anymore I read one of their notes about “how proud they are” or “how this is so amazing for so many little girls” and I keep going. So if anything, DO NOT QUIT!