Want more money? Tips for creating a successful side hustle

LinkedIn
woman small business owner

Millions of Americans have a ‘side hustle’ to supplement their income. How does one supplement their income? Some are turning to ‘side hustles’ to get some extra cash while simultaneously pursuing their passions.

In an effort to boost their income level as well as pursue their passions, research shows millions of Americans are turning to “side hustles.”

A study of 2,000 full-time employees showed 27 percent of them turned their hobby into a side business, while 55 percent of them said they dreamed of finding a side hustle themselves.

The average income for these side hustles, according to the research commissioned by Vistaprint, was more than $14,000 annually post-tax.

“America’s side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfillment that may not be present in their main job,” Simon Braier, Vistaprint’s customer strategy and insights director, said.

Of the most common side businesses, beauty and wellness was a clear favorite, which includes professions like dieticians, personal trainers and hairdressers. Arts and entertainment was another popular choice, including being an artist, a DJ or a designer.

While a majority of people took on a side hustle to earn some extra cash, 41 percent did it to spend more time going something they enjoy.

“While many side hustles are born out of a personal interest or hobby, they don’t have to stay small,” Braier said. “Side business owners can test their venture’s long-term viability, growth and marketing opportunities in a safer setting, helping them to ease the transition into full-time entrepreneurship and spend more time doing what they love.”

Most of the people surveyed said they work on their side hustle in between the hours of 5 p.m and 9 p.m., but nearly half of them work their side job on the weekends. Those polled said they typically work up to 16 hours a week, but 34 percent of them said they spend more than 20 hours on their side hustle.

Continue on to Fox Business News to read the complete article.

MBEs: Get Certified Today

LinkedIn
diverse business group walking and talking

Why certify? Businesses that are certified as minority owned are subject to different laws and regulations than other businesses and as such are very different entities from typical enterprises. Unlike a standard business license or registration, a minority-owned business enterprise certification is not required to run a minority-owned business, although certification can provide many benefits for a company—especially in regards to government contracting.

Below are some of the certification processes your company can expect to navigate when seeking minority-owned business enterprise certification. Also listed are the requirements that must be met by businesses that are seeking certification.

  • Manufacturers – Maximum number of employees must not surpass 500 or 1500, depending on the product being manufactured.
  • Wholesalers – Maximum number of employees must not surpass 100 or 500, depending on the product being provided.
  • Service providers – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $2.5 or $21.5 million, depending on the service being provided.
  • Retailers – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $5.0 or $21.0 million, depending on the product being provided.
  • General and Heavy Construction businesses – Annual sales receipts must not exceed $13.5 or $17 million, depending on the type of construction the company is engaged in.
  • Special Trade Construction businesses – Annual receipts must not be higher than $7 million.
  • Agricultural businesses – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $0.5 to $9.0 million, depending on the agricultural product being produced.

Business Requirements

1) The company applying for certification must have a racial minority owner who owns at least 51 percent of the company.

2) The same owner must hold the highest position in the company.

3) The company must pay a fee based on company annual gross sales and also file an application that details basic company information, such as what year the business was founded.

4) The company’s primary business locations must be available for site visits.

Getting Bids

Build Relationships. When it comes to winning bids in the government contracting marketplace, contacts are everything. Business owners are advised to take the time to make connections, build relationships and network extensively. The contacts a business develops are often the key to furthering their success in government contracting. Proactively networking with larger companies, agencies and even competitors can lead to subcontracting opportunities while also showing agencies that you are a trustworthy and reliable business partner.

Subcontract. Building a reputation as a professional enterprise is crucial to the success of any business. Winning a government bid isn’t only about the monetary aspects involved with a contract; other factors are evaluated, too. An agency will often look at company financials, work history and reputation before selecting a winning organization. It helps to have contacts who can vouch for your company and the work that you do. By subcontracting, you build your reputation and gain valuable experience.

You never know when the contacts you develop will come in handy. Therefore, you should make each and every relationship meaningful because in the long run, these are the relationships that will further your company’s success.

Government RFPs are a great way for minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) to win spot and term contracts. Every year, the U.S. federal government spends more than $200 billion on goods and services, all of which are provided by private companies and many of which are minority-owned businesses. From federal to state, local and special districts, all levels of government have programs in place to increase their involvement with certified minority-owned business enterprises. Only companies who have gone through the MBE certification process are eligible for the money that is made available through such programs.

Source: BidNet

Former Memphis Firefighter Launches New Career With America’s Top-Rated Home Inspection Company

LinkedIn
Former firefighter Byron Matthews in his Pillar to Post uniform

When Byron Matthews says he has a thorough understanding of building structure, he is not exaggerating. Recently, the 46-year-old Matthews became a franchise owner with the No. 1 home inspection company in North America, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®. Matthews serves clients throughout Shelby County and west Tennessee.

But prior to joining Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, Matthews spent 15 years as a firefighter and EMT for the city of Memphis. A Memphis resident, Matthews says his prior career gave him the perfect foundation for his new one. “Being a firefighter for 15 years and having an understanding of home structures, foundations and fire inspections make a great fit for being a home inspector,” Matthews said.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for over 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors has ranked on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise 500® for 23 years in a row, and the past 8 years they landed the top spot in their category.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service.

“I always wanted to be a business owner, so this was a great match for me,” Matthews said. “My goal is to expand my business and be a role model in my community.”

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are more than 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has ranked in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® for 23 years in a row, the past 8 years as No.1 in Category. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit www.pillartopost.com. To inquire about a franchise, go to www.pillartopostfranchise.com.

The No. 1 job of 2019 pays $140,000 — and its hiring growth has exploded 74%

LinkedIn
human hand touching robotic hand

Career and job site LinkedIn released its annual “Emerging Jobs” list, which identifies the roles that have seen the largest rate of hiring growth from 2015 through 2019. No. 1 on the list: Artificial Intelligence Specialist — typically an engineer, researcher or other specialty that focuses on machine learning and artificial intelligence, figuring out things like where it makes sense to implement AI or building AI systems. Hiring for this role has been tremendous, growing 74% annually in the past 4 years alone.

Hiring for this role has been tremendous, growing 74% annually in the past 4 years alone. “AI has infiltrated every industry, and right now the demand for people skilled in AI is outpacing the supply for it,” Guy Berger, the principal economist at LinkedIn, tells MarketWatch. “This is the third year in a row a role related to machine learning or artificial intelligence has topped the list, and we can only expect demand to increase.”

The pay is impressive too, with AI roles often commanding six figures. Jobs site Indeed notes that artificial intelligence engineers in San Francisco, for example, rake in $120,000 to upwards of $160,000. Sometimes AI roles can garner pay of $250,000 or more.

LinkedIn isn’t the only company to highlight an AI specialty role as a job to watch. Indeed’s annual list of the “25 best jobs of 2019” named machine learning engineer as No. 1, citing a 344% increase in job postings in the past few years and an annual base salaries of $146,000, among other perks.

So what’s behind this rapid growth in AI jobs? Berger says that “almost everyone” is hiring for these roles from the obvious (tech and automotive) to the more surprising (higher education and sports).

And these offer a real opportunity even for people who aren’t currently in AI: “We’re in an extremely tight labor market so companies are really looking to hire whoever can get the job done,” says Berger — who notes that learning skills like TensorFlow and Python, as well as diving into machine learning and natural language processing, could help you land the role. You can often take these kinds of classes as certificate programs from local universities, coding schools and more.

Rounding out the top 5 jobs on LinkedIn’s emerging jobs report are robotics engineers (40% annual hiring growth), data scientist (37%), full stack engineer (35%) and site reliability engineer (34%). “While many of these jobs are tech roles, they’re not necessarily in the tech industry. Every company has had to embrace tech at some level and we’re seeing that reflected in these high-growth jobs,” adds Berger.

But interestingly, there are also a number of client-facing roles that are experiencing rapid hiring growth, such as customer success specialist and sales development representative. Many roles like this “are heavily reliant on relationships, so being skilled in things like communication, problem-solving and collaboration are key,” Berger notes, adding that for these kinds of gigs companies “will rely on people skills that can’t be automated, successfully complementing new technologies.”

LinkedIn’s Top 10 Emerging Jobs
1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
2. Robotics Engineer
3. Data Scientist
4. Full Stack Engineer
5. Site Reliability Engineer
6. Customer Success Specialist
7. Sales Development Representative
8. Data Engineer
9. Behavioral Health Technician
10. Cyber Security Specialist

Continue on to MarketWatch to read the complete article.

Miss Jamaica Crowned 2019 Miss World, Becomes the 5th Black Woman This Year to Win a Major Pageant

LinkedIn
miss jamaica miss world toni ann singh wears her sash on stage with her crown

Yet another Black woman has won a prestigious international beauty pageant. Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh was recently crowned Miss World 2019 becoming the fifth Black woman this year to win a major pageant.

“To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world – please believe in yourself. Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE,” Singh wrote on Twitter after the pageant.

Singh, who is 23-years old, was a native of St. Thomas, Jamaica. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in psychology and women studies. She also planned to attend medical school before the pageant.

During the pageant, Singh wowed the audience with her own rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” on the talent portion and with her answers on the Q&A round.

“I think I represent something special, a generation of women that are pushing forward to change the world,” Singh answered the question of British journalist Piers Morgan.

Singh is the fourth representative from Jamaica that brought home the Miss World crown since it started in 1959. Jamaica has previously won the title in 1963, 1976, and 1993.

Singh’s win came after the historic win of Black women in most prestigious beauty pageants — 2019 Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, and 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin.

Continue on to Black News to read the complete article.

Black girl magic: 4 women are redefining beauty after reigning in major beauty pageants

LinkedIn
Black women beauth pageant winners seated together with their sashes on

When Zozibini Tunzi was crowned the winner of Miss Universe 2019, it wasn’t just a personal victory for the 26-year-old from South Africa — it was history in the making.

For the first time ever, four of the major beauty pageants — Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America — were won by black women.

“I think it’s such a great move forward as … the world and as a society say, ‘Look, women who were in the past never had opportunities to do things like this are now here,’” Tunzi told ABC News’ Linsey Davis in an interview that aired Friday on “Good Morning America.”

In an exclusive interview with three of the four pageant winners, Tunzi, joined by Kaliegh Garris, Miss Teen USA 2019, and Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, spoke about what it means for all of them to represent other black women and pave the way for women of color across the world.

Nia Franklin also won the Miss America pageant last year.

For decades, a moment like this was not possible. In its first 30 years, black women weren’t even allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant.

“I think there are times where I am disappointed, because people will sometimes comment on our social media,” said Kryst. “And they’ll say, ‘Why are we talking about your race? Like, you guys are just four amazing women.’ Like, yes, we’re four amazing women, but there was a time when we literally could not win.”

Continue on to Good Morning America to read the complete article.

Da Lucky Spot: Meet the Charlotte Man Behind Walmart’s First Black-Owned Barbershop

LinkedIn
Entrepreneur Shaun Corbett cuts the ribbon on Da Lucky Spot, Walmart’s first Black-owned barbershop.

The philosopher Seneca said luck is where opportunity meets preparation. For Charlotte, North Carolina, barber Shaun “Lucky” Corbett, his golden opportunity paved the way for what would become Walmart‘s first Black-owned and operated barbershop.

On Sept. 26, Corbett was joined by dozens of community supporters eager to witness the moment he opened the doors of Da Lucky Spot Barbershop at the Walmart on Wilkinson Boulevard. The grand opening festivities were replete with balloons, laughter and plenty of smiles as folks gathered to celebrate the accomplished businessman.

Corbett, 40, has established himself as a leader in the local community over the last several years with his charitable give-back programs. As a licensed barber, he envisioned his shop as a space offering fellowship and suppport, especially for the neighborhood’s youth.

The road hasn’t always been smooth, however, and like most business owners, Corbett relied on his faith to get him through the rough spots.

“How I landed it was never giving up, seeing the vision [and] just working diligently,” he told Atlanta Black Star via phone. “Development is the main thing … understanding and being intentional about conversations I have when I have the opportunity to help.”

Corbett got his start in 2005 after enrolling in the No Grease barber school, the Charlotte Agenda reported. He spent his weekends cutting heads at the barber shop and served up slices at a local pizzeria to cover his hefty tuition — $10,000 to be exact.

By the next year, he was a full-time barber with his own chair. Corbett was eventually able to open his first Lucky Spot shop on North Tyrone Street in 2010.

The space quickly became more than just a barbershop. Corbett hosted a number of community programs, including his handing out of turkeys to families in need each Thanksgiving, after-school tutoring sessions for the kids and a backpack drive for students headed back to school in the fall. The local leader is perhaps best known for his acclaimed Cops & Barbers program, which aims to build trust between police and the communities they serve.

Continue on the Atlanta Black Star to read the complete article.

JAY-Z Is the First Hip-Hop Artist to Become a Billionaire: Inside His Fortune

LinkedIn
JAY-Z in blue suit and white collared suit on stage before performance

When JAY-Z rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” on Kanye West’s 2005 track “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” he really meant it.

According to a new report released by Forbes on Monday, the rapper turned mogul has become the first hip-hop artist to amass a billion-dollar fortune with his impressive investments across liquor, art, real estate and companies like Uber.

Before becoming a musician, JAY-Z, 49, was a drug dealer in his hometown of Brooklyn. In 1996, he started his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. Since then, he has earned 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy wins and a reported $500 million in pretax earnings, according to the outlet.

In order to calculate JAY-Z’s net worth, Forbes says they first looked at his stakes in companies like Armand de Brignac champagne (which he owns 100% of) and applied their customary discount to private firms. They then added up his income and subtracted “a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle.” Additionally, they say they ran the numbers with a roster of outside experts to ensure that the estimates were “fair and conservative.”

Since its launch in 2006 in JAY-Z’s music video for “Show Me What You Got,” Armand de Brignac is estimated by Forbes to now be worth $310 million. JAY-Z’s cognac D’Ussé, which is a joint venture with Bacardi, is estimated to be worth $100 million.

JAY-Z is also estimated to have $220 million in cash and investments, including a stake in ride-share service Uber which is estimated to be worth $70 million itself.

JAY-Z’s music-streaming service Tidal — which launched in 2015 with a number of celebrity investors including his wife, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Calvin Harris — is estimated to be worth $100 million.

Continue on to Yahoo entertainment to read the complete article.

Rosa Parks honored with a statue in Montgomery, Alabama

LinkedIn
Rosa Parks statue unveiling

Rosa Parks was honored with a new statue in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, on Sunday, 64 years to the day she was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a city bus. Sunday marks the second annual Rosa Parks Day in Alabama, after the Legislature approved the honor for the civil rights icon last year.

Events were slated to take place throughout the weekend, including the dedication of a statue Sunday afternoon.

“Today, on the second official Rosa Parks Day, we honor a seamstress and a servant, one whose courage ran counter to her physical stature,” said Mayor Steven Reed, the city’s first African American mayor. “She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us.”

“No person ever stood so tall,” Gov. Kay Ivey said, “as did Rosa Parks when she sat down.”

Parks was on her way home from work on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus for a white man. Her subsequent arrest prompted the 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

A later ruling by the Supreme Court desegregated public transportation in Montgomery, but it wasn’t until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that all public accommodations were desegregated nationwide.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

5 expressions to avoid in formal networking situations

LinkedIn
large group of diverse professionals networking

Networking is a delicate art. While it’s certainly evolved in the past decade, there are still certain situations (and certain industries) where you must abide by a particular set of strict, unspoken rules. Mess one of these up, and you risk missing out on a critical opportunity to advance your career.

When speaking to someone more senior—and business networking usually involves an “ask” for help from senior people—you need to convey respect and recognition of their status.

Remember: People will go out of their way for you if they like you and feel inspired by you. But turn them off, and they’ll tune out.

With that in mind, consider skipping any of the following casual or unprofessional expressions:

1. “Hey, I’m ______”

Introducing yourself casually is fine in most situations. But this language can come across as too casual if you’re introducing yourself to someone older or more senior who might be a good lead for a job.

Saying “Hello” is a better bet. And giving both your first and last names is more professional. You don’t want that other person walking away and thinking, “I met someone named Paul, but I never got his last name.”

2. “I’m VP of sales for company X”

When networking at a business event it’s tempting to rush in with your title. After all, you want your new contact to know you’re a professional with some status. But it will sound arrogant to add this so quickly.

I recently met a young woman at a networking event, and within the first 15 seconds she let me know that she worked for a big Silicon Valley firm and had a good job in IT. She never bothered to ask my name, work situation, or title. I was not interested in speaking to her again because the encounter was one way.

Rather than hurling your job title at a new face, wait until the other person asks for that information. If you ask them about themselves, they will likely raise the same questions about you. It means a lot more when they ask you what you do than when you shout it out to them.

3. “That’s cool”

Once you get into conversation with an executive, your words will define the kind of relationship you want to have with that person. If you’re too casual, you’ll sound like you don’t necessarily aspire to a professional connection.

Suppose you’re in conversation with a vice president who works in a firm you’d like to do business with. You ask, “Who do you hire for your sales training?” When you find out, you might be tempted to say something like “Hey, I know them,” or “Cool.”

Instead, opt for a more polished expression, such as “Yes, I’m familiar with that firm, and I believe we can offer something more.” This positioning will get you further in pursuing a possible business contact.

4. “Can I impose on you to make a call?”

Once you’ve gotten a good conversation going, you may be ready to pitch the other person for a lead. But the “ask” has to be handled with delicacy.

The phrase “can I impose on you” sounds like you haven’t done the groundwork for the “ask.” So go through the steps that will make you feel you are not imposing. This can include a lot of listening and selling yourself. Once you’re convinced you are not imposing, you can confidently say, “I’d love it if you could make a call on my behalf.” Now you’re off and running!

5. “Let me know how it goes”

If someone has been kind enough to speak to someone else on your behalf, be sure you do the follow-up—don’t expect them to get back to you.

Ask your new contact when you should follow up with them. You might also inquire “What is the best way to reach you?” They may give you their business card or phone number or say “Text me at this number.” The point is that you want to close on this networking opportunity, and that means the next step should be very clear.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Embrace Being Remarkable

LinkedIn
Group of employees giving the thumbs up

By Samar Khoury, Managing Editor, Black EOE Journal

There are many fearless individuals out there who, rather than follow the norm, dare to think outside the box and be true to themselves. They don’t worry about being different from the rest. We here at Black EOE Journal like to celebrate those influencers who enjoy taking the road less traveled and pave the way for others to do the same.

We’ve packed this current issue with movers and shakers who every day are upsetting the status quo, have left their mark, or who are aiming to do just that. Our cover star, Gabrielle Union, is one of those people. The America’s Got Talent judge wants people to feel comfortable enough in their own skin to gain the confidence to be who they want to be. “I realized that assimilation can be a path to becoming invisible and complacent,” Union says, “I’d rather be ‘other.’”

Samar Khoury managing Editor Black EOE Journal
Samar Khoury, Managing Editor, Black EOE Journal

Shaking things up isn’t just a good thing—it’s everything. Toni Morrison, who passed away this past August, was a prime example of that. She wrote stories that rang true for so many—even if some didn’t understand or downright didn’t want them published. Morrison flew in the face of that by becoming one of the most iconic writers of our time, as you’ll read more about on page 58.

Take a look at the influencers on page 36 who show that being extraordinary pays off. From the talented, record-breaking Serena Williams to the Duchess of Sussex, these individuals are making history. But that’s just a glimpse of what you’ll see in this issue. Like our jam-packed supplier diversity section. Khalia Collier shows us anything is possible—at just 31 years old, she’s the only black woman in St. Louis to own a pro sports team! And while construction is largely still a male-dominated industry, Cheryl and Deryl McKissack don’t let that stop them. See how these trailblazers are taking the industry by storm.

No matter what you’re looking for, this issue of Black EOE Journal has you covered. Just remember, embrace your uniqueness and keep thinking outside the box. Because no one ever achieved their dreams by being ordinary.

The Best And Worst States For Entrepreneurs In 2020

LinkedIn
black man looking excitedly at his laptop

There might be an ongoing trade war and recession worries, but small businesses in the United States continue to flourish. According to a report by Guidant Financial, 78 percent of small businesses are reporting profits, with both confidence and happiness indices ranking among the highest in recent years. Approval rates for small business loan applications at big banks rose from 26.7 percent in Sept. 2018 to 27.9 percent in Sept. 2019, according to Biz2Credit.

Thus, the overall small business climate looks favorable for an enterprising entrepreneur. However, one fundamental factor that can change business climate is geography. Depending on the state — not to mention the city — where you want to start a business, these overall conducive conditions can change dramatically.

Seek Capital conducted a study of all 50 U.S. states to determine which ones were the best and which ones were the worst for entrepreneurs wanting to start and maintain a successful business. The study analyzed states in terms of 21 factors, ranging from socio-economic factors such as the five-year increase in working-age population, unemployment and labor force participation rates, to factors more specifically focused on entrepreneurial activity, such as the rate of new entrepreneurs, the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs (the percentage of entrepreneurs who said they started their business out of opportunity rather than necessity) and startup survival rates, sourced from the Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship.

There are definitely some geographic patterns that emerged from the results of the study. The list of the top-10 best states are a combo of states located in the U.S. West and South regions, as designated by the Census Bureau. Midwest states are scattered across the middle of the rankings. And among the 10-worst states, the list of states includes those located in the South and the Northeast, the latter being the most unfavorable region in general for starting a business.

Here are the top-10 best states for starting a business:

  1. Utah
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Colorado
  5. California
  6. North Carolina
  7. Idaho
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming

Each of these states saw sizable injections of venture capital into new companies in 2018. California startups received the most money, with 2,869 companies getting $77.3 billion in venture capital funding, for an average of $26.9 million per company. No. 6 North Carolina was no slouch either, with $2.6 billion in venture capital funding going to 173 companies, for an average of $15.1 million per company. Not coincidentally, these 10 states had very active entrepreneurs. Florida has the highest rate of new entrepreneurs with 0.46 percent of its population starting businesses, followed by 0.45 percent in California and Wyoming.

The 10 Worst States for Entrepreneurs in 2020

The states that made up the worst states for entrepreneurs shared several traits. One of them mentioned is geographic: Six out of the 10 worst states are located in the Northeast — Pennsylvania (41st overall), New Hampshire (44th), Maine (47th), New Jersey (48th), Connecticut (49th) and Rhode Island (50th). The remainder of the 10 worst states are located in the South.

Declining working-age populations was shared by all of the 10 worst states with the exception of Arkansas. In absolute terms, Pennsylvania lost the most, suffering a decline of 148,126 working-age people from 2013 to 2018. In percentage terms, Louisiana and Maine lost the most, down 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, over the last five years. Business taxes in these states are also mediocre to outright unfavorable

Here are the bottom-10 worst states to start a business, with No. 1 being the worst:

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. Maine
  5. Alabama
  6. Maryland
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Arkansas
  9. Louisiana
  10. Pennsylvania

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

 

From the Smithsonian to the Kitchen: African American Art is Transforming the Home Decor Business

LinkedIn
Collage of black art

Just a few decades ago, Black art was hard to come by in mainstream markets. Artists were largely only viewed at African American museums and at niche galleries.

In 1995, two young African American males in South Los Angeles set out to bridge the gap between Black art collectors and the everyday consumer. Shades of Color fuses Black art into its product line to celebrate one of America’s most influential cultures on household products including home décor, shower curtains, floor mats and kitchen aprons.

As of 2017, the home decor industry was worth $582 billion, and is projected to increase to $741 billion by 2023, according to PR Newswire. There has been an increase in home ownership which has tremendously impacted the home décor market, as stated on the Allied Market Research website.

While the home décor market is constantly expanding, there are still seldom companies that honor African American art on their products. Shades of Color’s partnership with African American artists is proving to be a solution that brings art into the homes of the consumers that truly appreciate it.

“We work with artists to mass produce their art on products which exponentially increases exposure to their craft,” says President, Adrian Woods. “Our artists are an extension of our family and are relatable from the girlfriends of Cidne Wallace to the strong Black fathers by Frank Morrison to the more contemporary styles of Larry Poncho Brown. Our goal is to highlight these artists and be a driving force in ethnic home décor.”

Black art is a reflection of American culture, and Shades of Color’s community is making that art more accessible. All types of consumers have essentially become art collectors without even knowing it. The company’s direct to consumer website features African American artists, a vast catalog of products and global conversations around culture and current affairs. With its ties to community involvement the company is also supporting its greater network. Schools, churches and community groups have earned well over $2 million through the company’s fifteen year fundraising program that is open to everyone.

What began in the mid-90’s as strictly a calendar company is now a leader in an ethnic niche market selling through mass retailers, organizations, main street gift shops and quaint Afrocentric stores across the country. The flagship calendar line preserves history and brings facts, accomplishments and current milestones to light in a time when typical classrooms across the country are still neglecting to include Black history. The entire product line is infused with positive aspirations and imagery that embody this very important aspect of Americana.

“It is touching to hear the reactions,” says Production Manager and Marketing Director, Janine Robinson. “Across social media followers comment on what it feels like to walk into their bathroom, for example, and see a reflection of themselves on a 70” x 70” panel that fills the room. It’s not rare to get several comments saying, ‘That’s me!’ Not only does the product fill the room literally, the art and statements fill and ignite the spirit too. That is the part that makes it all worth it.” #UpliftandInspire

About Shades of Color
Founded in 1995, Shades of Color, LLC is a small Black-owned business producing high quality calendars, stationery, kitchenware, home décor, bags and gifts. It licenses and commissions Black art from renowned African American artists. The company manufactures and distributes its own collections to a global audience. Learn more about their products at www.ShadesGifts.com. Learn more about their Home Décor Collection at www.shadescalendars.com/product-category/homedecor

Continue on to Black News to read the complete article.

America's Leading African American Business and Career Magazine