As a Black entrepreneur or Black founder, you’re uniquely positioned to create solutions that other people haven’t even thought of yet. For real, fam, Black professionals are some of the most innovative and creative people you’ll ever meet.
In honour of those successful Black entrepreneurs and founders out there killing the game, we’ll share some much needed wisdom and tips to help others level up. Why? Cause we cool like that.
In this blog post, we give you 9 motivational tips on how you can take your career to the next level as a Black tech founder or entrepreneur, or our fav term, the everyday hustler.
1. Networking is King
“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker, Business woman.
Networking is the KING and the cornerstone of all business relationships, and the tech industry is no different. For real, if you want to break into a new field, meet new people, and find opportunities you don’t know about yet, you have to put yourself out there. In today’s business world, networking is more important than ever. With the rise of the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to connect with people all over the world. However, it can be difficult to know where to start with so many people to choose from. That’s where networking comes in.
The more people you know, the more opportunities you’ll have to learn, grow, and get ahead. Facts! Building your network takes time and effort, but places like Obsidi.com simplify this process and bring the community to your fingertips, so you can make your own opportunities.
2. Take Time to Master Your Craft
“When I was younger, there was something in me. I had passion. I may not have known what I was going to do with that passion, but there was something, and I still feel it. It’s this little engine that roars inside of me, and I just want to keep going and going.” – Sheila Johnson, Co-Founder of BET.
While you’re building your network, don’t forget about yourself! Entrepreneurialism isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. So, take your time, and master your craft.
You’re a person with skills, talents, and passions that make you valuable to your company and the people around you. Find out what makes you unique and explore different ways you can use your skills to take your career to the next level. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? It’s important to know not only your strengths but also your weaknesses. Recognizing your weaknesses is the first step toward improving and mastering your craft. When you’ve mastered your craft, you need to feel like you OWN it, and the confidence will come naturally.
Plus, you become even more valuable to your team and company by mastering your craft. Not gonna lie. You might even discover new opportunities for yourself and find a way to take your career to the next level.
3. Take Risks and Ask For What You Want
“Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.” – Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express Co. CEO
There’s no doubt about it, being a Black entrepreneur can be tough. But the one thing you can’t afford to do is play it safe. You gotta be willing to take risks and ask for what you want. Otherwise, you’ll never get ahead. So go out there and negotiate that offer, start that new business, or pitch your products to that big client. The worst they can say is no. And even if they do say no, you’ll still be one step closer to achieving your goals. Be bold, be brave, and take risks because you’re dope like that.
4. Flex and Own It
“[Don’t] let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur, is something that you shouldn’t do. What often happens is that people who are well-meaning, who really care for us, are afraid for us and talk us out of it.” — Cathy Hughes, Founder, UrbanOne
As a Black tech professional, you may feel that you need to tone down your Blackness. You may want to fit in with your colleagues to be more palatable, and that may mean you need to tone down your Black culture. You may want to act more “professional” and put on a coat and tie to come to work. You may want to talk less about your culture and more about the latest tech trends. When you’re at work, you should be proud of who you are, not shy away from it. Be proud to be Black. It is hella important to be proud of who you are. When people can see your confidence in yourself, it shows through how well they work and present themselves at all times! So, keep that fire burning by being YOU.
5. Negotiate Your Salary
Now chileeee, you should be negotiating your salary before you even start working at your new job. Don’t know where to start when it comes to salary negotiation? We got you covered! Check out our blog on ‘Securing the bag’. You have a say in how much you get paid. If you don’t ask for what you want, you’ll never get it. Negotiating your salary ain’t just for the folks with 20 years of experience, you are a big baller too. You can ask for a higher salary when you start a new job, even if you’re fresh out of college and just entering the career path. Now secure those bags!
6. Cultivate a Culture of Inclusion
When you cultivate a culture of inclusion, you create opportunities for everyone to succeed. It can help you attract and retain top talent. An inclusive culture speaks volumes about your values as a business leader. Inclusion also allows you to tap into a wider range of perspectives and ideas, which can only improve your business. And let’s not forget the impact you can have on the wider community by setting the example of an inclusive business. Studies have shown that a diverse workforce results in increased productivity, better problem-solving, and higher retention rates. You can do this by inviting people to your office events, bringing people together for lunches, and creating discussion groups where people can exchange ideas. Inclusion is more than just bringing people together. It’s about uplifting everyone, creating a comfortable space for all, and making sure every individual is heard.
So, why not create a workplace where everyone can feel comfortable and included? It starts with you as the entrepreneurs.
7. Keep Up With Industry Trends
As a Black entrepreneur, it’s important to stay up to date with industry trends. This way, you can stay ahead of the competition and make sure your business is running smoothly. Stay up to date on the latest trends in the tech industry by reading industry news and books, take online courses, and attend conferences and networking events. Plus, it’s just a vibe to be trendsetting in the entrepreneurial world! Why not plan your next tech summit and come to BFUTR 2022? Get the full deets.
8. Stay Positive and Confident
“Because tomorrow I’m still going to be the same person. I’m still going to do what I want to do.” Rihanna, Founder of Fenty Beauty.
As a Black entrepreneur, it’s important to stay positive and confident. You’re already facing enough challenges and hurdles. The last thing you need is to doubt yourself. So stay positive, stay confident, and keep grinding! Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you. Negativity breeds more negativity, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams and goals. These positive people will provide support and encouragement when times are tough and help keep you motivated to reach your goals.
9. Celebrate Your Wins
Count your wins no matter the size. Count ‘em up, count ‘em up. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the journey! Pursuing any career in tech is work hard, play hard vibes. Embrace the challenges along the way and trust the process of learning and growing as a professional. Take the time to stop, reflect and acknowledge what you have done. If someone has made a great accomplishment at work, recognize them for their hard work! Give that person some credit by recognizing their contributions.
So, if you’re feeling down or like things aren’t going your way, remember that you are not alone. As a Black entrepreneur or founder, you have the ability to create solutions that other people haven’t even thought of yet. And to those successful Black entrepreneurs and founders out there killing the game, we salute you! We hope these motivational tips help push you closer to your career goals and inspire you to be better at what you do! #BlackTech
Hold up! If you’re looking for a tech summit to network with 20,000 Black tech professionals and over 60 corporate partners, then BFUTR Global Tech Summit is the right place for you.