Where Innovation and Funding Meet – Buzz from the 2015 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit

The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit is always a great place for networking and an important moment to invigorate as an entrepreneur. This year’s event held in Atlanta was buzzing with topics, tips and tools for small business owners new and seasoned.

Here are a few highlights on my Storify story. http://sfy.co/f0bvK

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22 Tips to My 22 Year-Old Self

I was excited last week to see LinkedIn presenting a series with professionals sharing stories about what they wish they knew at 22 so I joined in on the fun. 11 years today, I graduated from college and I’d just turned 22 years old a month or so prior to crossing the stage.

#IfIWere22, I’d give myself these 22 wise pieces of advice.

  1. Entrepreneurship can put you in a personal deficit. You often give more than you get. Do not forget to take care of yourself.
  2. A relationship/marriage is a partnership. Choose a man who is loyal, spiritually grounded and focused on building a future that includes you.
  3. Passion leads to purpose. What you are passionate about today can change tomorrow. Search for your God-given purpose instead.
  4. Wake up early enough to pray, meditate and have some quiet thinking time before the day gets started.
  5. The countless happy hours, late nights and industry parties can add bags to your eyes and pounds to your thighs. Be easy.
  6. There will be many things in the world that will make you sad, angry and confused. Instead of letting them discourage you, find the courage to advocate for them.
  7. Not everything needs to be announced. Thanks, social media. Let folks see what you did, not what you’re doing.
  8. The right people and right situations always occur in your life at the right time. Respect and cherish them. Don’t force anything, chase anyone or mourn over lost time or missed opportunities. Whoever/whatever is meant to be, will be.
  9. Write yourself a reality check, boo – money does not grow on trees! Appreciate what you have. Eat at home. Shop less. Save something. Make a budget and stick to it.
  10. You are enough. You don’t need anyone to co-sign for you.
  11. Careful welcoming people into your space who make you question yourself or second-guess your ability. Many people will come into your life, push their own insecurities onto you, then walk away leaving you to heal in places where you were never broken.
  12. Make a to-do list everyday. Cross off as much as you can by the end of the day. If anything is left, no worries. Put it on tomorrow’s list.
  13. Those quirky things about you are totally fine. You’re weird sometimes and that’s okay.
  14. Women sometimes get the short end of the stick, especially black women. Don’t let that fact hinder your progress.
  15. No matter how sweet or humble or smart you are, people will be intimidated by your strength and your confidence. That’s not your fault. They’ll just have to get over it. Do you.
  16. Time is money. You’re either moving toward making it or getting closer to losing it. Period.
  17. A failure is often a set-up for a win. You will drop the ball sometimes and that’s okay. Pick it up and keep it moving.
  18. Your “hustle” or your “grind” is not badge of honor. In fact, it can be your own worst enemy. Focus on the quality of the outcomes instead of the amount of hours you clocked. Your success is not on deadline.
  19. You shouldn’t always be the smartest person at the table. You should have people around who are sharper than you. Keep them close and let them rub off. Iron sharpens iron. Your network is your net worth.
  20. Forget about work-life balance. You’ll never master it. Attempt to achieve balance from within.
  21. You are not a slave your phone or email. Stop sending and responding to work messages or calls past bedtime. The perception conveys that you have no boundaries and no life. Refresh, power off, unplug.
  22. Chill. God is in control and life is good so enjoy it.

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Photo: College graduation day, May 2004, Age 22. My mom giving me a diamond tennis bracelet as a graduation gift. I sold it a month later to invest in the launch my first company. #IfIWere22 today, I would probably do it again.

#BizChats: Excel as an Entrepreneur

I had fun participating in #Bizchats hosted by Mashable Business on yesterday. In observation of National Small Business Week, Mashable and several experts participated in a Twitter chat to discuss what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, I can tell you there’s no one path to success so I certainly enjoyed contributing to the chat and seeing what wisdom other entrepreneurs shared about their experiences.

Click below to hear the full discussion via Storify. I’m sure you’ll see my two cents in the mix!

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Be Your Own Boss: Young Professional’s Guide to Entreprene​urship – Memphis Urban League

Leadership Memphis Aerial Ellis Entreprenuership PanelI love working in my hometown of Memphis!

It was a special opportunity for me to serve as a panelist at the April General Body Meeting for the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals (MULYP)

We talked about how to start a business, how prime yourself for entrepreneurship, challenges in being a young business owner, and a variety of other topics. Other panelists included Phillip Rix, Jacque BoNey, Edward Bogard and Nikki Smith-Brown.

Memphis Urban League Young Professionals

Chapter President Cynthia Daniels has done an excellent job growing the chapter. It is one of the city’s largest networks of young leaders; it is recognized throughout the community for their member’s accomplishments.
MULYP is working to fill a void in the Memphis community by attracting, assisting and supporting the next generation of Memphis leadership to create positive change. The YP’s are a collection of Memphis area professionals that believe in improving the lives of others. Our members are doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, students, public administrators, financiers, entrepreneurs and more!
As a native of Memphis, I am so pleased to see this spark of energy spreading throughout city among young professionals in the African American community.