Coming to the table too

I have been on a journey to uncover my family’s genealogy and I recently had my DNA test taken by AncestryDNA.

I anticipated finding out what my ancestral countries of origin were in Africa and hopefully the tribes my ancestors belonged to. The good ole “this” percent African and “that” percent what-I-thought-was-Native American.

Well, I didn’t find a single trace of Native American DNA. But I did find 28% European.

AncestryDNA provided a three person genetic match with a man named Gustavus Boone Robertson and his wife Isabella (Gentry) Robertson.

On my father’s side, my paternal great grandmother is Gladys Gentry. I know nothing about when she was born or when she died. I have her husband’s name, Henry Jackson 1874 – 1967. What I do have from her is her blood. Her memory. A suggestion of a tragic memory from her family’s past as enslaved Africans.

What I ended up finding was DNA traced to a genealogist that suggests we are 3rd – 5th cousins with a three-times great grandfather in common, Elijah Gentry Jr.

After trading many emails, running DNA into two different systems, and analyzing the data, my cousin Judy G. Russell wrote this blog post that brought me to tears and gave me goosebumps.

It gave me something I never anticipated finding, and brought two people from different worlds together who may never have met if it wasn’t for advancements in technology.

The confirmation of pains of a traumatic ancestral past as the descendant of enslaved African ancestors and also the hope for a future built on knowledge and acknowledgement as well as love.

“But as she and I are turning to that paper trail now … we do so with an eye on a dream. It’s a dream articulated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his speech at the Washington Monument on August 28th, 1963. It’s a dream, he said he had, “that one day… the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”So maybe it won’t be the sons, Dr. King.Maybe this time it’s going to be the daughters who will sit together.”
Read the blog post for yourself.
 
Contemporary African Ethnic Groups

Contemporary African Ethnic Groups

This article provides a list of the ethnicities that today’s American descendants of African ancestry are genetically connected with.

Looking at my own DNA summary, this is what 70% of my genetics break down to:


According to my genetic breakdown, I have 32% Nigerian and 6% Benin/Togo and 2% Cameroon/Congo in my ancestry.

The article describing the ethnicities, originally posted by TheRoot.com, provides a list of ethnicities that I have been able to compare to my DNA break down.

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Comparing these ethnicities to my DNA break down, it appears that I have Ibibio and Yoruba ethnicities. If I did not have Benin/Togo or Cameroon/Congo in my DNA, I would have narrowed down my ethnicities to several of the ethnicities under the country of Nigeria. Because of the trace amounts of Benin/Togo and Cameroon/Congo, I can confidently narrow down my ethnicities to Ibibio and Yoruba. This finding is exciting!

To confirm the ethnicities, I will have to get further DNA testing done, as I plan to do through AfricanAncestry.com.

Why you should work and own a business at the same time

Top 5 Jobs To Help Make Ends Meet While Growing Your Business

“I didn’t have anybody, really, no foundation in life, so I had to make my own way. Always, from the start. I had to go out in the world and become strong, to discover my mission in life.” Tina Turner

ID-10093150I have had challenging times in my business where I felt like I was recreating the wheel and was unable to make ends meet.

Bills got behind, my ego was bruised, and I made the decision to apply for jobs and work to recover from being financially unstable.

Have you had times like this?

Going back to work is not quitting.

Sometimes, in order to carry your plans forward, you need a sustainable strategy to help you meet certain goals.

Going back to work provides you with the opportunity to come up with funds that you did not have an option to create for your business otherwise.

After a while, I was able to create a sustainable income from my business and was able to leave my job to run my business full-time again.

There have been other times where it was necessary to take on a part-time job in order to create funds to help me bridge a financial gap that my business wasn’t meeting.

Soon, my business covered those expenses too, and I was able to let go the part-time job as well.

Some jobs you may consider taking on to make ends meet are: 

1. Breastfeeding Peer Counselor – If you’ve had children and you have experience breastfeeding, your local Women Infants and Children (W.I.C.) program may be looking to fill these positions.The pay is decent, around $13 – $15 per hour, and will help you to make ends meet. This position is M – F and is usually part-time, up to 29 hours per week.  Prepare to look for childcare to cover your M – F schedule with this job and you will need car insurance and proper tags to drive to different W.I.C. clinics to meet the needs of breastfeeding mothers.

2. Career Placement Jobs – If you have experience writing resumes, running workshops, and helping others to meet career goals, this position may be for you.  It may require you to drive to different locations once or twice per month, so having car insurance and proper tags is necessary. The pay is decent, around $13 – $15 per hour, and will help you to make ends meet. This position is M – F and is usually part-time, up to 29 hours per week.

3. Janitorial – If you are interested in work where you can punch in, work without much interaction with others, and punch out, janitorial work may be just what you were looking for. The pay can be anywhere from $8 – $10 an hour, but it may also be around 4 hours per night with more hours on the weekends.

4. Home Care – Many home care positions do not require a certification such as Certified Nursing Assistant or any other type of certification and are entry level. If you are compassionate, have a good work ethic and arrive to work on time, you can find a good home care position to take on hours in the evenings or on weekends to make ends meet.

5. Tutoring – If you want to make your own schedule, you can look for a tutoring position where you can schedule students at your convenience usually twice per week. Tutoring can pay very well, up to $15 per hour or more depending upon whether you have degree or certifications of your own. Certified teachers make more when tutoring than non-certified teachers, but you can still create a decent income.

What kinds of jobs did you take on while building your business? What were you able to accomplish when you did take on that job?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Black Women Are Afraid of Success

How to overcome fear and start living fearless in your business

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Something similar can be true about feeling fearful. 

It’s not the fear that breaks you down, it’s your reaction to your fear.

Successful black women entrepreneurs aren’t fearless.

It is normal to be afraid.

Heroes are afraid, just like victims are.

But what a victim does when they’re afraid and what a hero does when she’s afraid is what defines who they are.

The victim may curl up into a ball and believe that all is lost, whereas the hero may see an opportunity to act, or to show compassion, or to fight back, or any number of scenarios.

I used to be afraid of the phone ringing

I was raised in a home where my mother was afraid of Child Protective Services taking us away.

We were home educated and she did not use a curriculum and it made her afraid.

We were given explicit instructions not to answer the door or the phone or else we, “would be taken away.”

My mother’s paralyzing fear became her children’s paralyzing fears.

I grew up afraid of the telephone ringing, believing it was someone calling to take me away.

When someone came to the door, my siblings and I would hide in fear until the knocking stopped.

Becoming an entrepreneur and needing to make phone calls to make my business run, I faced an incredible challenge.

If I don’t answer the phone or make phone calls, I won’t be able to support my family.

I had to learn how to turn my fear into motivation to act.

Change doesn’t feel comfortable.

It is often preceded by fear and uncertainty at what is to come. At how the change will make life different.

Look at fear as an indicator of positive change

When you begin to look at the phone and feel the fear of rejection, of uncertainty, of inadequacy – that is your cue to make the phone calls at all costs.

Your life changing in a positive direction depends on your ability to make all of the calls on your list.

Acknowledge your feelings of fear by recognizing that they are the indicators of change and to do what you set out to do at all costs in order to welcome that change to you.

Pick up the phone. Dial the numbers. Speak to the person on the other end, and accomplish your goal.

When I began to do this, I saw my life change. I traded in my fear for positive change and before I knew it, I became successful out of persistence.

I was still afraid, but the fear meant something different to me than what it used to mean.

Fear no longer means, “I can’t,” it means, “keeping going!”

What fears do you have about your business or its daily operations that need converting? What can you use your fear to remind you of?

Black Women – The Ultimate Procrastinator

3 Ways Fear of Success Doesn’t Look Like Other Types of Fear 

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” Oprah Winfrey

Beauty_black_girlEveryone who has sought success has had defining moments.

There are defining moments that tell you when you’re afraid of success and when you’re really ready for success in your life.

The focus of this post is “how to overcome fear of success” because we all become afraid of how bright our light will shine.

Usually our fear comes from the ideas of success reflected by the people we are surrounded by.

  • Have you ever had someone ask you why you’re working so hard on your business or your dream?
  • Has anyone asked you if you ever get tired or working on your business?
  • Have you ever been asked if you will ever stop being persistent/ ambitious/ excited about your dream?

Those people mean well, but they see what you’re doing and they become afraid of their own dreams.

If you’re achieving and reaching high above where you are, then it gives others who complain and make excuses no leeway.

Sometimes we become afraid of change. This fear creeps up just as we are becoming sure of the direction we want to take.

Is there a way to know if an entrepreneur business is what you really want?

There are 3 telling signs of the fear of success. I will help you recognize what they are and give you ways to combat them.

There are 3 ways that the fear of success doesn’t look like other types of fear.

1. When success gets close… you get distracted.

I began seeking how to overcome fear of success when I realized I was spending vital time that I could have been working on my business talking on the phone or cleaning business-333934_640my house.

I was looking for activities that would effectively help me to avoid working my business by giving me an easy way not to focus on it. This usually happened when I felt like I was getting close to a breakthrough.

You see something working. You start building a network. You see money coming through. Dots begin connecting. And then you become overwhelmed and afraid. Something in you tells you to stop, or to delay, or not to act on your followup… and you listen.

I had started to believe that all of my efforts should turn into failure instead of expecting success because failure seemed to happen so often.

2. When things begin to shift, everyone around you knows it.

I began learning how to overcome fear of success by understanding that failure is not the same as quitting. I can learn from my failures and still become successful, but if I quit, I will never know what success is like.

3 Ways Failure is Better Than Quitting

  1. You can start again if you fail. Have you heard the saying, “Back to the drawing board?” When you fail, use it as an opportunity to study your failure and then start again. Quitting means that you will no longer start over.
  2. Every failure is a lesson. When you make mistakes, you can learn from them to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Quitting means that you’ve decided not to grow and learn from your mistakes anymore.
  3. Failure makes success better. To achieve success after a failure is the best feeling in the world. The ability to recover from failure and make your dreams come true is the ultimate test of having learned from the mistakes you made. If you quit, you will never know what it is like to see your plan through to the end.

The only lesson you learn from quitting is that you are a quitter.

3 Character Traits My Persistence Has Given Me

  1. My ability to keep going allows others to find a way to keep going. One of my close friends recently said that my ability to keep going when things are tough was motivating and encouraging for him. He has his own entrepreneur business in tutoring and education and has had some major setbacks.
  2. The action I take encourages her to leave the drawing board and take effective action on projects she has always wanted to start. Another dear friend of mine told me that I take action on my ideas. She spends a lot of time creating and organizing her plans which sometimes are challenging to put into action.
  3. I left my job to focus on my business full-time. Yet another friend told me that she was going to step out of faith and start a business baking because she was motivated and encouraged by my leaving my job to focus on my business full-time.

People do not become inspired by you because they see you as a failure. They become inspired by you because your persistence, what you do after you fail, reminds them of success.

3. Fear is caused by a lack of confidence.

Fear of success often happens when you don’t feel prepared.

The best way to prepare yourself for success is by determining where your weaknesses are and increasing your confidence by either becoming stronger where you are weak or finding someone who is strong in the area of your weakness.

I grew up believing that I was bad at math because my mother always told me that I was. 

My mother wasn’t the most patient person in the world and when I needed help with math she tended to yell at me over seeking a way where we could both listen and find common ground so that she could help me.

Telling me I wasn’t good at math allowed her an out so that she wouldn’t have to help me study – because in her mind, no matter what she did, I couldn’t learn.  This was easier for her to cope with than believing that she just wasn’t a good tutor for me.

I carried the belief that I wasn’t good at math into college and got Cs and Ds. I then asked myself what I was most afraid of with math that I believed didn’t allow me to become successful.

I couldn’t remember the formulas and rules and I had a lot of questions. So I resolved that I would strengthen my memory and help myself learn how to memorize better and that I would raise my hand even if I was uncomfortable and embarrassed. 

My next two math classes I got As because I knew how to bridge the gap between my own strengths and weaknesses and increase my confidence. I began tutoring math after that.

In summary, you can defeat your fear of success with these three reminders: 

  1. Stay focused and avoid distractions – distractions repel your success and make you procrastinate.
  2. Listen to what people say about your persistence and ambition – These are the keys to success. The persistent will always achieve what they conceive and believe.
  3. Increase your confidence by making your weaknesses your strengths – Either improve yourself where you are weak or delegate takes to a virtual assistant who can support you where you are weak with their own strengths.

happy black womanWhere do you lack confidence? What weaknesses do you have that contribute to your lack of confidence?

Young, Black and At Home

How To Create A Game Changer To Leave Your Job

“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.” Toni Morrison

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Entrepreneurship courses through my blood.

The black woman, through her struggle, has learned how to make her natural talents the gateway to her mainstay.

The opportunity to care for her home and to help provide lies in her ability to provide services from her talents for hire.

From making food and selling plates, to styling hair, sewing dresses and making wigs, cleaning, organizing, you name it, the black woman has capitalized on the ability to hustle and make things happen for herself and her family.

My hustle is super-budgeting, identity theft recovery, credit development toward specific goals, and quick plans to get back on financial track! I could do all of this blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back! But how do I focus on your talents and dreams when you have mouths to feed?

There are 3 things a black woman entrepreneur can do to make her dreams come true and make her business her full-time focus:

1. To make my business my focus, I “did” the numbers.

When you “do the numbers” you look at your job income compared to your job expenses and what you actually get to take home and put in your pocket to cover other needs.

Many of us end up in debt because the deficit between what we make at a job and the job expenses is too substantial. It just isn’t enough to sustain working and our other expenses at the same time.

Gas, child care, food, maintenance on our car, any work related expenses that we may or may not get reimbursed for, our ability to clock the amount of hours needed for that job etc. can really add up!

If my job is 29 hours per week, but the majority of the time I am clocking 25 hours, that reduces my job income.

We end up living on the brink of disaster because we don’t appropriately scale this deficit.

When I was working, I was in debt with my childcare over $500 because my childcare expenses were about 2/3 of what I brought in – and that was with adjustments to make it “affordable.”

I didn’t qualify for childcare assistance because I made too much money on my job and I wasn’t in school. I finished my masters degree in 2013 and wasn’t about to do that again.

Was this really the best way I could support my family?

My payments for childcare were always late because I was paid biweekly and naturally couldn’t pay for care on weeks I wasn’t getting paid.

To get ahead, I would have to pay them what was past due, currently due and two weeks ahead – an entire check from my job.

I also had to find a way to cover gas, maintenance for my old car that had oil leaks, food for while I was at work, and I was also expected to pay for and get reimbursed for events.  The problem with getting reimbursements is that you have to have money to pay out in order to get reimbursed!

What was I to do? Get another job?  I barely saw my children as it was.

I asked myself, “Is staying at this job really doing as great a job for me as I thought?” 

I wrote down the following formula to determine if my job expenses were really helping me out as much as I thought:


Job Income/Job Expense Deficit Formula

 $/mo = Job Income
– childcare expenses

-gas 

 

-lunch

-funds to reimburse 


 

My first expense looked like this:

$1,600.00/mo – Job income

Then I added up the $200 per week from the childcare that I had to pay. 

$200.00 X 4.3 weeks in a month = $860

Plus $25 per my older two children, let’s say 4 days per month to account for any holiday or day that they can’t be in school (my children had excellent attendance in school, by the way)

$860 + $100 = $960

Wow, what I was paying out was already more than half of what I made in a month and didn’t include late fees, pizza on thursdays, field trips, or any other weekly expenses!

Before I knew it, my costs for childcare alone had added up to $1,100 per month! 

2. Recognize the problem.

The numbers either make sense or they don’t.

What would it take for you to leave your job and work the business you have been hammering away at full-time?

I know I certainly had a decision to make once I saw the numbers on paper, but I wasn’t bringing in that $1,600.00 from anywhere else.

When you do things wrong for a long time, it feels comfortable, and although it isn’t the best plan, it’s the sure plan.

The possibility of having nothing was scary, but I didn’t realize I was really functioning with nothing as it was.  After all was said and done, I only brought in about $50 per month of actual profit and a whole lot of debt. I was always struggling to get ahead, robbing Peter to pay Paul!

I still borrowed money to make ends meet and I would often put off paying something else, like my energy bill, for something else that was past due, like the money I borrowed for gas. Bad debt makes you feel like you’re functioning even though you’re functioning badly.

3. Create financial goals for your business and solve the problem.

I had to look at my business in a new way. How many clients would I need to have each month to equal what I was bringing in from the job on a monthly basis?

I could work my business from home, so the $1,100 for childcare would be a distant memory. I may have occasional meetings, but no more 40+ hour work weeks! No gas expenses to and from work. No long commutes. I could conduct business by video and conference call.

images (2)Entrepreneurs are people who would rather put hard work in on their own dreams and goals than work for someone else. So ultimately, I needed to put that full-time investment in myself.

It doesn’t mean that working a job is bad or negative – it is just different from the mindset that person has who works for themselves.

Going back to work was a huge decision for me in the first place.

You don’t just decide to go back to work, you also have to decide to let strangers watch your children. To drive for long hours. To have a commute that requires more resources such as more gas. You agree to increase your burden for the hope that the money you bring home will balance out your trouble.

I was looking forward to going back to my family. I just needed the right justification to do it.

Then something happened, a game changer, that made it all clear.

I received a royalty payment

I went to an out-of-town conference for my job and something happened that changed my life.

My book, Better Than Credit Repair: The Handbook of Credit Mastery became a best-seller earlier in the year on Amazon, and my first substantial royalty payment hit my account while I was at the conference.

Amazon notifies you that the payment is on the way, and it gives you a date that it should hit your bank account, but because I had become accustomed to disappointment, I wasn’t expecting the date to be accurate.

As entrepreneurs, we get used to some level of disappointment, so I found some peace knowing it was on its way, but not knowing when it would arrive.

I was trying to figure out if I should spend the few dollars I had allotted for bills on dinner while I was out, or if I should just wait until I went home to eat which was about 6 hours away…

…when the payment came through the morning I was supposed to head home.

It was half of what my check would be from work.

Suddenly, the decision was clear.

I had subconsciously created a solution for my problem before I realized how big my problem actually was.

I had made money, and I could do other things while the money was being made.

Sure, it took some hard work in the beginning, but I had a strategy and a plan. After the hard work was done, I had established a method that would make money for me without my having to attend to it.

I put in my two weeks notice to resign from my job the following week after coming back from the conference. It was time to continue to invest in myself.

“Do” the numbers. What kind of game changer do you need to create for yourself? What game changers do you have in place now?