The beauty of being a professional speaker is the opportunity to meet and interview great people. I recently spoke with Don Jackson, founder, chairman and CEO of a 42 year old Central City Productions, Inc, a national television production, sales and syndication company based in Chicago , IL .
I had no idea that I would speak with him and I was honored to do so. I always say it is better to be prepared for an opportunity, than have an opportunity and not be prepared. Therefore, I was ready to seize the moment and speak with him.
We spoke about the state of the television today. Although there is nothing wrong with reality television, it has taken over in the worst way. Most people defend reality television by saying it is for the entertainment value. What a paradox of words entertainment and value? I have blogged about this before. In most cases, reality television has given us degrading, pretentious, irresponsible, unrealistic, cat-fighting individuals who are only concerned with high ratings and sensationalism. However, Central City Productions focuses on inspiring and uplifting programming. Wow, how unusual and relieving! If you want to see a different quality of shows on national channels, Mr. Jackson gave me coveted advice that I must share.
Until we take the reigns and demand changes, Central City Productions will continue to have responsible programming, like The Black College Quiz that will air the end of January to the first week of February 2013. The ripple effect of the Black College Quiz is a positive example of African American college educated students that attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities competing in a “Jeopardy” like show for the chance to win tuition dollars. Now that is positive! Watch the show and be apart of positive television.
We are usually less than grateful, not because we are ungrateful individuals but creatures of habit. A habit is a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired by frequent repetition. Create a pattern of behavior of gratefulness.
Let’s look a typical day… You wake up in a slumber or late, stub toe and blurt out some choice words. After getting dressed you can’t find your keys. Late for work you have more choice words. You decide to take your morning coffee with you, which you spill on your crisp white shirt. You begin to imagine the day being terrible. What else could go wrong?
The effort comes in when you instead take a deep breath, be thankful for waking up, being in your right mind, having a job to go to, having the ability to pour coffee or drive. Let’s look at this day differently.
1. Waking up. We take waking up for granted. It’s no guarantee, no age requirement, no particular race or income qualification. Being able to wake up is a privilege denied to many.
2. Your Mind. Be Grateful for your mental capacity. Have you experienced a loved one with dementia? I can only imagine that is difficult to know that you don’t know.
3. Having a job. Do you know someone looking for a job, needing a job or wanting a job change?
4. Having the ability to pour coffee or drive, means you have the physical capabilities. Be thankful for your limbs. Have you had back pain, chest pain or the flu? Those went away with medicine or a visit to the chiropractor. Well what if that pain you experience for a short term was all the permanent?
How many times does your heart beat in a day? How many times do your eyes blink? They happen without any conscious effort on your part. It’s all been taken care of for you! Life is short lived and so are your bad days, obstacles, and issues and heartaches. THEY ARE ALL TEMPORARY. Learn to adopt an attitude of gratitude today! What are you grateful for?
Below is a list of more than 75 reality shows! The majority of these shows have drama, fighting, emotional breakdowns, pretentious lifestyles and more drama. I know it makes for good TV for some, but I think reality shows are contributing to our demise in at least two ways. First, it is adding to our laziness and secondly our insatiable nature. Let me address the first issue of laziness. We have a generation of lazy people. As an employer always looking to hire, we have such a problem with people that do not want to work for ANYTHING. We get folks that want to work for a couple of hours for a full days pay. Really?!?! Furthermore, I speak to business owners across the country and I hear the same regardless of the industry or the business. Second is our insatiability. The cliché we want what we want when we want it and always wanting more sums it up. The reality shows makes wealth accumulation easy – no work needed! Most will privately admit feelings of failure for not reaching the epitome of success with a closet full of designer items, luxury cars, jewels, and expensive trips. It is becoming harder to stay the course and live below our means when reality shows are penetrating in our minds the standard of success.
Browse the list and count how many shows you watch and if I have “stepped on your toes” – good, because emotions spark change. Don’t let reality shows dictate your reality!
Snooky & J Wild
The Paulie D Project
Tia & Tamera
Toddlers & Tiaras’
Bad Girls Club
TI & Tiny “The Family Hustle”
The Real Housewives (Orange County, Beverly Hills, New Delhi, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York, Miami, DC)
Sixteen & Pregnant
Tanisha Gets Married
Adrian & Julissa
Love & Hip Hop
Keeping up with the Kardashians
Love & Hip Hop…Atlanta, New York
Say Yes to the Dress
The Family Crews
House Husbands of Hollywood
I Love Money
Rob & Big
Rob Derek & Fantasy Factory
Keisha Cole “The Way It Is”
Evelyn & Ocho
Ice & Coco
Salt & Pepa
Love & the Wild
Rock of Love
Tela & Tequila
Tamar & Joe
Lorie Ann Gibson
Teen Moms II
For the Love of Money
Courtney & Kim “Take New York”
Courtney & Khloe “Take Miami”
Styles by June
Tiny & Toya’s
Toya Family Affair
Flavor of Love
Real Chance of Love
I Love New York
The Ultimate Catch
For the Love of Ray J
Brandy & Ray J “A Family Business”
Hogan Knows Best
The Surreal Life
Newlyweds “Nick & Jessica”
Making the Band
Ashley Simpson Show
The Jacksons “A Family Dynasty”
From G’s to Gents
Lala’s Full Court Life
What Chili Wants
Black Enterprise magazine has always been a favorite read. I read it from cover to cover. I have always wanted to be featured and eventually I will! OK, back to the subject at hand, Black Enterprise has done a monthly feature for some time that I love. Each month a family is selected showing a financial snapshot and looks at the 10 Wealth For Life Principles. The original wealth principles are bold and next to it is from the Book of B.Free:
1. I Will Live Within My Means – I agree wholeheartedly
2. I Will Maximize My Income Potential Through Education and Training – Again agree
3. I Will Effectively Manage My Budget, Credit, Debt, and Tax Obligations – Don’t manage, get rid of credit and have no tax obligations.
4. I Will Save At Least 10% of My Income – A must.
5. I Will Use Homeownership as a Foundation for Building Wealth – Not necessarily. Owning a home frees up cash to do other things, but in a real estate market that is just beginning to rebound, I hope folks aren’t using their home as an equity builder, not happening!
7. I Will Ensure That My Entire Family Adheres To Sensible Money Management Principles – Devise a spending plan, reduce expenses and teach money management to your kids. I always say if you can’t explain it, then you don’t understand it.
8. I Will Support the Creation and Growth of Minority-Owned Businesses – Also very important; pay it forward in all aspects of your life.
9. I Will Guarantee My Wealth Is Passed On To Future Generations Through Proper Insurance And Estate Planning – Most of us have a long way to go to get to this goal, but it does not have to be. Make an appointment to talk with an advisor, financial coach or attend a seminar to learn. Remember to learn is the grow.
10. I Will Strengthen My Community Through Philanthropy – This means be a giver. A giver of your time, tithes & talent to bless others.
I have owned a business that did not survive. I can vividly remember when I was desperately looking for customers. The experience allowed me to understand what some business owner’s experience. I love to assist to start and ways to grow and stay in business.
Knowledge is power so let me drop some knowledge on you. There are many certifications that will help you not only survive, but thrive in business.
The Small Business Administration provides a wealth of information, including helping you find resources. There are small business development centers located around the region. Contact www.sba.gov to find a local office to help you find local resources, like finding women’s business centers and help maneuver through the certification process.
Find support and a knowledgeable resource called SCORE. It is a non- profit organization that provides mentoring and counseling organization made up of retired executives with a broad range of experience who donate time to assist business owners. Go to www.score.org for more information.
There are contracts and monies awarded to businesses with particular certifications which are a great growth opportunity. Certifications such as…
- MBE – Minority Business Enterprises means a business that is at least 51% owned and operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more minority.
- WBE- Women’s Business Enterprise means 51% or more is women- owned, managed and controlled. The business must be open for at least six months.
- 8A (Disadvantaged Business) is a certification for a small business which is owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantage who are of good character and citizens of the United States.
- SBD (Small Disadvantaged Business) or DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) means your business must be owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged persons.
- HUB Zone (Historically Underutilized Business Zones) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.
I hope these will be used as an opportunity to grow your business. B.FREE to grow!
Before I give you some ideas to create additional income or replace your income, here is a suggestion if you are thinking of a career change. Volunteer or work in that field before your career move. For example, if you are thinking of owning a daycare, go work in a daycare. There used to be a show on HGTV called Radical Sabbatical. I LOVED it because persons were allowed to live out their dream for a few weeks. Guests could “test” the waters in a field to determine if that’s really a field of interest.
Here are a few suggestions for the tips to replace your income. Get a traditional second job, but make a vow to yourself to use the earnings for the intended purpose and that purpose only, to pay off debt, save for a vacation. Watch your monies accumulate or see the debt go down to motivate you to continue working towards the end result. Consult your attorney on the possible tax ramifications and withholding questions.
Become a consultant. If you have a full time job, you are probably pretty good at what it. Take that skill set and become a consultant. Be sure your consulting is not a conflict of interest for your employer. Otherwise, go for it.
Offer your services online, like elance and odesk.com, fiverr.com or Craigslist.com
Earn money with a hobby. Do you have a natural ability or talent that people always say you are good at? That hobby or talent can be a viable business. Keep in mind, since there is no minimum age requirement, kids can start businesses too!
Sell things to make extra money. You know the cliché one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. You can sell your junk and the good stuff you no longer use, want or can fit. Americans spend way too much money for storage units. Go through your closets, attics, basements, garages and storage units to find things to sell. Use sites like eBay and craigslist or the local newspaper to advertise your items. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind. By reducing your clutter, you will feel better and make a little extra money.
Be a virtual assistant. Small businesses are always looking for help with administrative tasks, such as bookkeeping, posting ads, and writing articles. Since these jobs can be done online, businesses frequently hire part-time employees to work from home.
Build a blog following. It’s not expensive to start a blog. As long as you are consistent and provide good content, you can build a following. This does take time and work, but it can be done.
When you start generating income, send me an email. I would love to hear from you!
I came to TOASTMASTERS with no preconceived ideas. For many years I have been invited to attend a meeting, but I didn’t think I “needed” to attend, because I was not afraid to speak in front of others and I was already teaching classes. However, I like to quote Oprah Winfrey when she says that things speak to you, first in a whisper, then an audible voice then a smack to the head. That is how I felt about the experience. Over the years several people mentioned the organization that creates leaders and better speakers. The deciding factor was a mentor who told me I can’t go wrong with improving my speaking abilities and I could receive speaking designations. Since that was the smack in the head, I decide to attend my first TOASTMASTERS meeting.
The organization has been around for many years and it’s amazing how many clubs currently exist. There are over 120,000 clubs in 160 countries. There must be some merit to the phenomena. What I have come to love about TOASTMASTERS are the meetings are timely and organized. I don’t like to go places where there is no agenda and it drags on and on from unnecessary input and conversation. Of course, I am the time and money saving guru, so I don’t like waste valuable time. There was an agenda and time allotted for each item. Also, it is a safe and nurturing environment for constructive critiques on how to improve your speeches, as you are evaluated after each speech given. As I attended more meetings, it became a spiritual awakening as topics discussed at the meeting seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. For example, I was thinking about re-creating a mission statement for an existing business and the meeting for the evening was about vision statements. How timely! Lastly, the reason I love TOASTMASTERS was the cost versus benefit. The benefit outweighed the money it costs to participate. There are many places to get speaking designations, but a session and/or certification could cost thousands and TOASTMASTERS is a nominal fee every six months. Therefore, I already declared this journey is going to change me from being a good speaker to a great speaker and a great speaker to a phenomenal speaker. Watch out world, here I come, but there is room for you. Why don’t you join and attend a meeting.
Happy Mother’s Day! I’m sipping on a small glass of wine and reflecting on the day. I know that I have a wonderful family and support system to include my husband, children, mother and mother in law. Although I am more than grateful and blessed, I am actually upset (a better word for pissed off). I mad about how many moms neglect themselves and get one day a year. One year has 52 weeks, 365 days and 8,766 hours. Can my mother’s get more than 12 hours in a day (I know there are 24 hours, but only 12 waking hours for most).
My charge for women is to become selfish instead of self less. We hear it all the time, take time for you, so you can take care of others. My message is much more than that. Follow the advice of your ancestors who said always put money aside for yourself. Pay yourself first and then everyone else. Learn from your celebrity counterparts who usually save a little nest egg, which tells you that regardless of your status, make it happen. You will feel so differently when you do. Putting money aside can be for no reason at all, but merely that you deserve it.
This is a tough love post, but it is in the effort to get you to a point of empowerment. At the very least you will create a nest egg. At the very most, you will start a business with all of your extra money! You can start small by this Mother’s Day, save money for you! Go to the bank tomorrow and make a deposit with some of your Mother’s Day money.
It may seem easy for me to “suggest” that you think outside the box and live vicariously if I do not follow my own advice. As a result, I have made a conscious effort to do things that I have never done before and tackle things that are fearful to most. I always say that fear is misdirected apprehension, so re-direct your apprehension and conquer your fear.
Last month I went zip lining over the Costa Rican rain forest, I have joined Toastmasters which is a speaking organization to turn good speakers to great speakers and I recently went rock climbing (I have proof – see enclosed picture). All of the above have been invigorating and challenging all at the same time. Each time I try something that I have never done before, I get charged. I challenge you to do something different and daring! Think outside of the box, live outside of the box and live life to the fullest!