It's Not Magic
For almost 3 years I was lucky enough to work at a small business. Five days a week worked next to the husband and wife team who started the company. They taught me three valuable lessons:
1) It's not magic. You don't need to be special or smart or even a good person to run a successful business.
2) But you do need to work all. the. time.
3) And the only way to make 'real' money is to build something for yourself.
So about 6 months ago, I started All Very Goods. I'm not going to lie, it was overwhelming and scary. Like, crying myself to sleep scary. The hardest part though was coming to terms with how deeply I'd been convinced that I needed to work for someone else.
I can't think of one time when I was told that I had any other options. There are so many ways that black women are not considered. I don't mean we're overlooked. I mean, we're not even on the list to be deliberately passed over. We're not invited into the room when conversations are being had about what you need to do to start a business. We're not in the frame when investment, resources and encouragement for small business owners are being handed out. Think about it though, nobody works harder than we do. Nobody is as resourceful or has to navigate through as many worlds as we do. And nobody is more determined to succeed than we are.
As scary as it was to get started, I love it! It feels good to invest so much of my energy, talent and training into something that I'm building for myself. I work 16 hours days and eat most of my meals at my computer, but, honestly, I used to do that when I worked for someone else anyway. There are still times when I worry that I don't know what I'm doing. I imagine I'm working for a (very gracious!) boss at All Very Goods and I don't want to disappoint her. Usually that's all I need to push through the insecurity.
I'm not a big fan of the phrase 'black girl magic' Don't get me wrong. I think that we are magical and mystical and beautiful. But it isn't magic that's getting things done. It's the work we put in. We've just got to retrain ourselves to believe we can invest that work in ourselves.