To all the aspiring Black Deaf entrepreneurs, don’t miss out on these valuable tips from successful Black Deaf business owners. Their advice is inspiring, providing an invaluable roadmap for launching and growing your own business. Take the time to read through each piece of advice and let their wisdom fill you with confidence and encouragement.
Mimi Battle, Mimi’s Sweet Boutique
Being in business for nine years, I would say my biggest challenge is communicating with my hearing customers. Why? Because of communication issues. My advice or tip for those who want to start their own business is to start with your passion. Align your passion with your core values and nurture your love for it. That will lead to success. Your dream will come true.
Awet Moges, Graphic Novelist
Throughout my journey as a Black Deaf entrepreneur, several lessons emerged:
Initiate Boldly: The fear of starting often holds us back. Overthinking and excessive preparation can paralyze progress, convincing us that our vision is unattainable.
Value Time: Money, though vital, is a renewable resource. We can recover lost finances through various means. Time, on the other hand, is irreplaceable. Once lost, we can never retrieve it.
Pitch Before Producing: This is paramount, especially as a Black Deaf individual. If you cannot sell your idea effectively, then the product stands little chance in the market. Your pitch is your product’s lifeline.
Engage Experts: Recognize your strengths and areas for growth. Delegate tasks outside your proficiency. If English poses a challenge, hire a fluent speaker. In areas like accounting, trust in professionals like CPAs. My personal reluctance towards digital coloring led me to hire talented colorists, and it made all the difference.
Transform Discontent: Allow your dissatisfaction to guide and motivate you. When confronted with concerns or discomfort, pause to reflect. Identify the root cause and strategize with the right team. Change begins with understanding your current state and visualizing where you aspire to be.
Embrace Your Unique Perspective: Your experiences as a Black Deaf individual are invaluable. They not only shape your narrative but also offer a distinctive viewpoint that the world needs.
Connect with Like-minded Individuals: Building a supportive network can be instrumental. Surround yourself with people who understand your journey and can offer guidance, encouragement, and collaboration.
Never Stop Learning: The business world is ever-evolving. Prioritize continuous learning, whether it’s about your trade, market trends, or personal development.
To the future Black Deaf business owners:
Acknowledge Your Worth: As an immigrant, I jumped at opportunities, holding onto an unwavering belief in my value. Regardless of how society treated me due to my skin color or disability, I knew the unmatched value I brought to any role. Never let external perceptions define your worth.
Set and Uphold High Standards: My commitment was to deliver excellence in every facet of my business. I set my own high standards, ensuring that I never felt pressured to meet misaligned expectations of others or bear the weight of representing an entire race.
Think Creatively in Fundraising: Traditional means of raising capital might not always be accessible. Embrace innovative approaches. My collaboration in setting up “Pood Paw Prints” with two white, hearing counterparts was born out of such a need to think differently.
Stay Unfazed by Doubters: It’s alright if others don’t share your vision. I resonate with the philosophy of Katt Williams: if you have ten haters today, aim to have twenty by the end of the month. Let doubts fuel your drive.
Share Your Journey: Every story is unique, and mine brought me closer to the right collaborators and opportunities that aligned with my mission. Sharing can create bridges to invaluable connections.
Delegate and Avoid Bias: As Black individuals, our race often influences perceptions, regardless of our position. By delegating, I reduced encounters with microaggressions or outright disrespect. Navigate around biases that slow you down and focus on your larger mission.
Celebrate All Achievements: Every victory, no matter how small, is a testament to your journey. Rome wasn’t built overnight. Patience and recognizing growth, however incremental, is vital. Celebrate each step, as these moments of joy help anchor us in the present and energize us for the future.
Mari Mclvor, Handmade by Miss Mari
If you ever felt the inequality between the Black and white communities where white-owned businesses seem to be everywhere, and the number of Black-owned businesses is small, don’t feel nervous. Just do it. Follow your heart and your passion! How do you reach your goal and succeed? Start your business now. The possibilities for your business are boundless! You CAN grow your business and succeed!
Jazzy Jones, Auntie Jazz’s Apothecary
My advice for future Black Deaf business owners:
Start small and be realistic about your ability to handle the demands of running a business. Especially if you’re juggling other stuff like a full-time job.
Don’t be like the cheesecake factory and offer too many products + overwhelm your customers.
The price is the price. Set a fair price that covers your expenses and the time you put in creating the product/service. Those that can’t afford your price are not your target customer base and that’s OK.
There’s room for all of us to eat at the table. There may be other businesses that offer the same product or service, but they are not exactly like your business. Don’t let that deter you from offering your own magic.
We all eat. Support other black and deaf owned and keep the ecosystem going.
Justin Perez, Handcubes
For those who recently started a business or plan to in the future, the most important tip that I have for you is to start with confidence! Share your story. Share your passion. Share your vision with people. Think about how you can connect with people. Consider how your passion can impact people. That’s what I highly recommend you think about. Also, make sure you have a back plan or two. If plan A doesn’t work out, then try plan B. If that doesn’t work out either, try plan C. This will help you tremendously on your journey!