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“Ain’t No Fun If The Homies Can’t Have None”

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

I run a business. Y’all know that, right? Ahahahah of course you do!

But the real tea is: I am a therapist in my heart. This “business thing” landed in my lap because it’s what God wanted for me and what I needed to do. However, when I was in graduate school, I didn’t envision myself as a doctor nor as a business owner. I saw myself doing direct services with children, parents, adults, and families. I didn’t think that I would own and run a business.

But here I am. And, it's actually pretty good.

But, because I didn’t see myself as a business owner, I did not take business classes nor find mentors that owned business. I just did it. And boy, I learned so many lessons…the hard way.

We made a profit each year. We expanded services. We hired more and we learned how to fire too. We made money. We lost money. We did all the things…but I still felt like there was a lot of information that I was missing. A lot.

So, I did a few things:

1. I got a business coach. Dr. Consuelo Grier is my girl. She holds me up and holds me accountable. She asks me business questions that I never knew existed. Yes, I didn’t know the QUESTION existed…hahaha. But she cheers me on and she reminds me of what I am doing because I am no longer a sole therapist. I am a business woman. And she makes me think like that all the time.

2. I got some training. In 2020, I was accepted into the 10K Small Business program with Goldman Sachs. I learned more about budgets, finances, services, pitching, elevator speeches, forecasting, human resources, and exit plans.

3. I joined some associations. The United States Black Chambers have been an amazing resource to me. I get to think about business in ways I never imagined like how to grow a service nationwide and stay connected to a community…how to love what you do as a tradesman but how to pivot it to ensure there’s longevity…and how to be Black in a business world that doesn’t look like you.

And in all of this…this learning, this exposure, this action, this growth, I still felt like I was missing something. I was missing community. Because, what’s the fun if the homies can’t have none–shout out to Snoop!

But, I didn’t know how to do that. I knew that there were Black Women business owners. I knew there were Black women business owners doing similar work. I knew there were Black women business owners doing similar work with similar profits. But, I didn’t know how to talk with them, engage them, learn from them while teaching them too. And, while I can do all of these things, normally, the added factor of “businesswoman” made me feel insecure which meant there were times when I was guarded and defensive too. Yup, me…the therapist was on high alert and defense.

But, at the same time, I KNEW I needed community. I’m an extrovert. I thrive on engagement. I knew I wanted to see and be seen. I NEEDED it.

At the same time I was having these thoughts, The BOW Collective was forming. I didn’t know it and didn’t know who they were but baby…when I learned about them, I knew it was what I, LaNail, needed. Not what Onyx needed. Onyx needed me. It needed me to learn, grow, and show up as a business woman. But I, LaNail, needed community…and community with other Black Women.

So, in April, I was invited to learn more about The BOW. I fell in love because I knew my needs, my growing and changing needs, could be met. So, I applied. Was interviewed. Was accepted. And went to my first conference…and it was mind blowing.

Y’all, I sat in a room with 130 Black Women who are business owners and we talked candidly about being Black, owning businesses, taking care of ourselves and our spirits, loving our families while making mistakes with them…as we focused on business. We talked about travel, diversification, setting vision and having other Black women help you. We grew. I grew. God knew (Yes, I am tearing up now).

So, while The BOW is still in infancy, the power of the intention and the alignment with its action is exactly what I, and the 129 of us, needed to continue the journey of personal growth and business growth.

And, ha, if this blog isn’t clear on the purpose, here you go: To be a business owner–not just a tradesman that is just doing business–you must:

Know what you don’t know.

Accept that you have to learn.

Get a mentor and take a couple courses.

And, get a community.

As humans, we learn best in community….:)

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