Stacking The Deck For Or Against Yourself As A Black Business Owner

Over the years, there are certain recurring themes that keep coming up in the conversations I have with other Black business owners. Let me publicly say something that I’ve repeatedly told other African-American (AA) business owners during private conversations:
If you want to make a living from your various income streams, then you MUST create “White” products for White consumers. And leave that Black and “multicultural” stuff ALONE.

This is what I believe, and I can’t repeat this enough. I believe that if you (as a Black business owner) want to make a living from your business, this means to:
STOP writing any sort of fictional works (novels, screenplays, plays) that feature Black main characters.

STOP writing non-fiction content about AA/Black social issues.
STOP writing non-fiction content about Black cosmetology, Black hair care, or anything else that specifically pertains to Blacks.

STOP creating products specifically for Blacks.
STOP creating “multicultural” anything—that’s a sure tip-off that you’re Black. From what I’ve seen, the winning strategy is to have a “colorless” business. Meaning a business that allows Black, White and other consumers to comfortably assume that you are White.

The above applies if you want to make a living from your business. If you’re conducting your business as a hobby or a social service project and don’t care about making money from it, then keep gearing it toward Black consumers.
I know this is a bitter pill to swallow for many aspiring and beginning Black business owners. But it is what it is. Structuring one’s business around serving Black consumers is a well-worn path to unnecessary hardship and ultimate failure for Black business owners. I hate to see Black businesses fail.

Let me stress that when I say this to other Black business owners, this is NOT some sort of control thing with me (the only things I go "control freak" over are my own projects—everybody else's stuff is everybody else's stuff).

I'm definitely not any sort of guru.  

I'm not trying to persuade anybody to change their mind if they’ve come to different conclusions.

I'm not trying to persuade anybody to follow my suggestions.

I’m giving sincere food for thought for those aspiring and beginning Black business owners who haven’t already come to their own firm conclusions about these issues. My views are based on my own experiences and observations.

I’m not offended by those Black business owners who disagree with my views.

Everybody knows best about their own particular situation. And everybody's mileage varies with these issues.

Here’s part of a real talk comment that I previously made over at Halima’s blog. It might provide some food for thought for aspiring AA entrepreneurs. I explained the reasons why I didn’t want payment in exchange for [the Sojourner’s Passport] blog’s premium content:
I deeply appreciate your call to action, but NO—I DON’T want anybody sending me money for my premium content—please DON’T do that!!!
Here’s the primary reason why:
As a Black business owner, I don’t believe in trying to do serious business with “typical” AAs/Blacks. It never works right for the reasons (I’ve outlined in depth at my blog). I refuse to do business with slaves in that direct fashion. A Black business owner who tries to do direct business with slaves is only setting themselves up to be sabotaged by those slaves.
A reader at my blog previously described the AA slaves’ behavior pattern regarding Black businesses: First the slaves pretend to be excited about the Black business endeavor. Then, they start backbiting it. Then, they work their fingers to the bone to pull it down.
I’m already an online business owner. My side business is totally oriented toward mainstream, NON-Black consumers. I don’t want hateration-type AA slaves to have any possible openings to do any sabotage that could potentially spill over onto my side business.
That’s the primary reason why I don’t mix any direct exchanges for money with my BWE activism. I know that there are legions of DBRBM, disgruntled colored girls, and other trolls who would looove to have an opening to file false complaints to the Better Business Bureau, etc. about me out of spite. If I accepted money for the BWE premium content, doing so would give bad-faith slaves a lever to use to potentially impact/sabotage what I’m doing with my side business.
Keeping the premium content free protects me from the disgruntled colored girls and other Black haters.
I know that I have to protect my side business from MOST of the people in the reading audience. As Halima noted, there’s an undercurrent of resentment toward many BWE bloggers. Even from audience members who aren’t full-blown trolls or haters. That’s why my name is not on my side business. So the haters in the audience will never be able to find it and connect it to me. They can’t sabotage what they can’t find.
For any Black business owner’s self-protection, AA slaves must be kept at arms’ length from one’s business, and only dealt with via 3rd parties like Amazon.com.
That way, when the hateration-AA slaves falsely claim to have a problem or issue about their order, they have to take it up with the 3rd party such as Amazon.com. And the Black business owner is removed from the main “line of fire” from hateration AA slave-consumers.
There are secondary reasons why I don’t want money in exchange for the premium blog posts:
(1) I don’t want folks to be able to dismiss the reciprocity lesson as actually being about “money-grubbing.” I know that this is how AA slaves think; and I want them to genuinely learn what reciprocity means. AND
(2) I’m already a business owner, and my online business is totally oriented toward majority, NON-Black consumers. I want the Sojourner’s Passport social activism blog to pay for its own upkeep (through book sales), but it’s not like I’m trying to use the blog to put food on my table.
Let me emphasize that I don’t feel that there would be anything wrong with accepting donations or making the blog paid-subscription only. Other folks—people who are not African-Americans—understand how it’s often necessary to pay for valuable, life-enhancing information. Sadly, most AAs are simply too primitive and slave-minded for that—they don’t want to pay any other Black person for anything sensible.
It’s an interesting paradox: Most African-Americans are cynical and yet gullible at the same time. We’re quick to interpret any other Black person seeking fair monetary compensation for their life-enhancing work as somehow inappropriate. Yet, we’re simultaneously delighted to throw piles of money to all sorts of useless Black (mostly male) hustlers who are peddling less than useless wares such as Steve Harvey, most AA male pastors/imams, etc.
So, even though it would be perfectly appropriate to charge for the information I provide, I don’t want to do that. In addition to the concerns I mentioned in Part 1 of this comment, I believe charging for premium content would actually work against the reciprocity lesson that I’m trying to teach.
It would make it too easy for indoctrinated AA slave-women to dismiss the reciprocity lesson as just an attempt to “get over.” Which is what they’re inclined to think, because they don’t understand the idea of reciprocity. All they understand is exploitation. Either from the perspective of the user or as the person being used. How very sad . . . and downright savage.
Aspiring AA entrepreneurs: Don’t be naive about the typical AA consumer and their behaviors.


I also talked about this at length during the post If You’re a Black Business Owner Who Wants to Succeed, Leave The African-American Consumer BehindPlease take the time to read that post if you haven’t seen it before. I’m not going to repeat the arguments I made there in support of my views. I’ll just mention a relatively recent example that confirmed my previous observations about AA consumers.
The latest example I saw was when Curly Nikki came out with her book. I saw one self-proclaimed Natural Hair-Wearing Negress after another write in to several BW’s blogs to announce that they were NOT going to buy Curly Nikki’s book. Not that they were boycotting or anything like that.
The bulk of them claimed to like and respect Curly Nikki's work. But they were proud to announce that they just weren't that into hair (despite the fact that many of them are apparently long-term and current participants at Black hair forums), and therefore had no need for her book. Translation = The idea of another AABW making some money makes many of them sick to their stomachs, and so . . . . They. Won't. Stand. For. It.
All while claiming to support other BW.
Here’s the thing: We’re all free agents, and nobody owes anybody anything. AA consumers have NO obligation to support and patronize Black-owned businesses. The flip side of that equation is that those of us who are Black business owners have NO obligation to create anything at all for Black consumers. It takes time, energy and resources to create products and a business. There’s usually a very low return on investment (ROI) for Black business owners who deal with Black consumers. Why be bothered with that when there are much more rewarding opportunities in the mainstream?
Keep in mind I’m referring to folks who want to make a living from their businesses.
If your business is a social service project or hobby, and not something that you’re using to put food on your table, then it doesn’t matter if you get any real ROI. There’s nothing wrong with social service projects. I’ve done social service projects.
My BWE blogging and book are Paying It Forward social service projects. The Sojourner’s Passport book royalty checks that I get from the (non-Amazon) publishing company I used are totally separate from my business activities; and go toward the upkeep of my 2 BWE blogs (hosting fees, etc.).
If you’re a Black business owner who wants to make a living from your business, I would strongly urge you to do what you can to stack the deck in your favor:
Make things easier for yourself by swimming withthe tide in the mainstream. Instead of swimming against it by self-segregating yourself among AA consumers.
Use stealth to reap the abundance of opportunity in the mainstream. Instead of staying within “hunt and peck” scarcity scenarios among AA consumers.
Enjoy the abundant fruit trees in the mainstream forest of White consumers. Instead of gravitating toward (or lingering within) the AA consumer desert that exists for Black business owners.
I’m not exaggerating when I say there’s plenty of fruit in the mainstream forest among White consumers. One problem with many AAs is that we’re so focused on flashy, superstar celebrity “hits” that we don’t notice the multitudes of unknown, unsung folks who are quietly making a living from their income streams.
You don’t need to be on anybody’s bestseller list to make a living from your combined income streams. Small passive income streams add up to a mighty river if you study the market, pick a productive niche, and create “colorless” products for mainstream consumers.
Back when I first decided to focus on creating additional income streams by self-publishing on Amazon Kindle, I decided to experiment with content that was relatively fast and easy to produce: a simple, cookbook ebook on Kindle. By simple, I mean no photographs of food inside the book, only recipes; and no paperback edition of the book. I wanted to see what was possible with that one little income stream.
I knew that I would want a souvenir to help me stay encouraged and motivated. So I made a copy of the first month’s earnings from that one little income stream Kindle ebook before depositing it. I also want you to be encouraged. The opportunities I’m describing are real. They can also be real for you as a Black business owner, if you step out of the AA consumer wasteland and reach for them.

As a Black business owner, why be bothered with chasing after Black consumer crabs-in-a-barrel when you can find opportunity-rich, less-hassle online environments with nonblack consumers? Why not make things easier for yourself?