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Roundtable Discussions: Putting your identity into your business

In our third episode of Roundtable Discussions, I was joined by Brandon “Champ” Robinson, Anare Holmes, and Karesha Barnes, three creative entrepreneurs who had very diverse thoughts on what it means to be a Black business owner. 

Check out our first and second episodes of Roundtable Discussions for more. 

During our discussion, we covered ways that small businesses can represent themselves in the best possible way. Champ recommended having a high standard of customer service, Karesha echoed these thoughts while also suggesting that communities have to give our business owners grace while they are still learning. 

We also each shared our individual learning of what it means to be “woke” as a Black person, especially in 2020. Check out our conversations below. 

What I loved most about this Roundtable Discussion was how transparent everyone was about their own entrepreneurial journey. It’s not easy to find a work-life balance, let alone find a balance when you’re the boss of your own company, too. Everyone spoke to the hustle of trying to make it all work and using their own lives as the inspiration and identity for their business. 

Often, out of necessity comes opportunity and for all of the panelists, their businesses were created because they had to hustle. Champ, Anare and Karesha, embraced the word “hustle” because they feel they had no other choice but to hustle. However, each of them are still redefining what the word means to them, and unlearning some of the negative ideas around the concept of “hustle” that they grew up with. They are instead turning the word into something good. We’re all learning to let go of the fear that we have to hustle because life is not going to work out. Rather, we’re thinking of our individual hustle as something to be at ease with, knowing our creativity and work ethic will always make room for us. 

In the end, I learned that most Black people really appreciate seeing authenticity and our diverse culture embedded in a Black-owned business because it makes us feel seen and loved. 

The more you embrace your culture and your identity, the more you will attract your customers, community, and the people who will always support you. 

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