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November 14, 2023 27 mins

Ep. 140 It is not uncommon or irregular for someone stop me at some point during my day, at least once a week, with a request for advice on a business concept or even a business move. I’m ok with that. This episode isn’t about making your first million. This episode isn’t about how to scale and sell your thing to people all over the world. Neither is it about how to raise money.

This episode is about how to start.

I hope you gain a lot of insights and inspiration from it!

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
I got a really dope episode on the way for you.
Be First, let's get this started with some afro Tech news.
Rick Ross says he's one year away from becoming the
next hip hop billionaire. We just walking up. Just what
that's audio? Friend Ricky Rose. Last week in Austin at

afro Tech, he performed Tortoise Stays Down. He's got investments
in real estate, cannabis, rest arounds, healthcare, and more, and
nearly thirty Wingstop locations. Each location reportedly earns him an
estimated two hundred thousand dollars annually. That's what to give him,
and it allows him to provide jobs. And he says

with Wingstop, we're bringing in the food I like and
adding jobs to the community. It's a double win. Shout
out to Ricky Rose and hope you touch a billy
TikTok announ See. It's pulling the plug on this one
billion dollar creative fund. Now this is important the outlet
know that before shutting down the creative fund, TikTok influencers

and content creators voiced earning low payouts, sometimes just a
few dollars, for millions of views, making it impossible to
earn a living through the Creator Fund alone a lot
of discontent there, it's previously reported by Afrotech in March
twenty twenty three. Earlier this year, Sean Kim, former head

of product for TikTok's US operations, said the quiet thing
out loud, claiming that TikTok didn't create the fund to
help creators monetize their content, but rather to help with
user retention for their metrics. For TikTok's metrics, he says,
when we launched the creator the TikTok Creator Fund, we
didn't launch it to help creators monetize. To south by Southwest,

I mean, that's what we said everywhere publicly. We're doing
this to help create us monetize. That's not why we
launched it. We launched it as a reactive measure against
other platforms launching their creator funds. We thought to ourselves,
what happens if these creators then go monetize or create
content on these other platforms. It hurts our metrics, our dau,

our retention. That's the reason why the Creative Fund was launched.
I appreciate the honesty dau of stately active users, by
the way, but I appreciate that kind of honesty. But
I hit up Isaac Hayes, who's founder at the growing
fan Base app, and asked what he thought about this.
I think TikTok canceling their creator fund further proves that

you can't pay creators and run advertising at the same time.
It's impossible to serve an audience of advertisers but also
try to make it possible for creators to earn millions
of dollars when you suppress their content and having to
do that by running advertising. And the future of this

is really subscrib and that rev share and subscription models
are the ways that creators are going to earn the
most money in the future, which is what we've been
doing at fan Base from day one. So it's unfortunate
and I feel for the creator community, but I think
they have to start thinking differently about ways to monetize

other than revenue from creator funds or small pieces of
pennies per thousands of views that really can lead to
a sustainable, thriving and growing business. So it's unfortunate, but
I think it points to the future that subscriptions are coming.

Afrotech report last week the fan base just hit another
milestone and Isaac an important one becoming the first black
person to raise ten million dollars in crowdfunding, which means
a whole lot of people, people who look like you
and I who otherwise wouldn't be able to get a
piece of equity in owing startup. Now hold stocking one

that's your AFRO technos. I'm with Lucas is black, tach,
Green Money, and I appreciate all the feedback and comments
I've been getting on these solo episodes, and I was
thinking about this one. I'm gonna talk to you about today.

As always, if you get something out of this, I
hope you will share it with somebody. You can even
comment sign me a DM. I just want to know
what you're thinking about this type of content. I've been
getting asked for a long time to do these solo episodes,
and I'm doing them, but to keep doing them, I
just want to hear from you, so at Will Lucas
on IG I'm on fan base too. By the way,

at Will Lucas on fan Base, it is not uncommon
or irregular for someone to stop me at some point
during my day at least once a week with the
request for advice on a business concept or even a
business move. Now I've made it clear to me and
a few folks who have shown interest, like my twenty

year plan. I have a plan that I wrote at
the beginning of twenty nineteen. It is detailing a twenty
year run and everything I wanted to do, everything I
wanted to work on, why I was working on it,
the people I needed to connect with to be able
to find success with it. Now it's my personal mission,

and it's a very detailed mission. I might even do
an episode on that one of these days if you're interested.
But my mission is to create both content and opportunities
that help black people realize entrepreneurial success beyond their wildest streams.
So everything I do has to be aligned with that. Now,

there are some things on the periphery that I know
how they tie in, but everything that I'm actively involved
with in some way helps me to, you know, achieve
that particular mission. So I suppose that wavelength of intention
attracts people who have ideas and need information, and I'm

okay with that. What I've learned to do is scale
that kind of support for people, because what happens is
when you're in a position to help the questions you
get the questions you get asked a lot are a
lot of the same questions, or even if they're not,
to say, they're very similar and may only vary with

you know, a little bit of nuance that makes the
questions specific to that person. But by and large, what
I get asked about mostly is how to take a
business from idea to a tangible thing. That's what I
get asked about the most from budding entrepreneurs or would
be entrepreneurs, or would or early founders. People come to

me with their ideas a lot or very early concepts
of their products. That could be for variety of different reasons.
But being somebody like who is constantly trying to feed
on resources like me, like and like I imagine you are,
I'm looking for things that help me get from point

A to a different point. And I'm sure you're trying
to always look for things that help you get from
point A to point B. Now, whether the point A
is the id and point B is making money from
that idea, there's a lot of resources out there that are,
in my view, insufficient to helping small business owners, startup founders,
early ambitious entrepreneurs get the motor running. You know because

too often the episode. Now, this episode is not about
how to make your first million. There's a lot of
episodes of the why, variety of podcasts, why, variety of books,
a lot of wide variety of resources that help you
find success in that area. This episode isn't about how
to scale or how to sell your thing to people
all over the world, and it's not about how to

raise money. This episode is about how to start, and
how to start in such a way that you improve
your chances of success. Now we're going to talk about
scale and we're going to talk about raising money, but
in a way that helps you think about them properly
at the stage at because too many of us aren't

clear on those topics as they relate to ideas that
we've ideated, because we tend to be more beholden to
ideas when there ares and we don't think about them
as clearly. Often not everybody, but we don't always think
about them as clearly as we should. And so this
episode is about just that, how to start, And in

order to start, you got to write it down. It
needs to be clear in your mind what you are
trying to do, and you won't even know how many
questions that will need to be answered until you start
to write it down. When your idea only exists in

your head, you can't get specific or gain an actionable
view on the steps you're going to need to take
to make that idea exist in the world. So I
highly recommend there's some really good journals out there I use.
I used to use this Full Focused Journal by Michael Hyatt.

I no longer use that one because I didn't need
necessarily the prompts that it gave me anymore. I'd kind
of just like to take notes in a different way.
But if you need prompts to help you start to
structure your idea, the Full Focus Journal by Michael Hyatt
is a really, really good one. I've moved on personally

to like just regular mold skins, so I carry one
of those in my bag. I just need some place
to just jot down ideas. Often I'm just jotting down
ideas in my notes app on my iPhone because it's
always readily available, and I also very often I will

carry a small little It's kind of like, what do
you call those things? Little tiny journals? Somebody knows what
I'm talking about. One of the field notes, so I
will just have one like in my back pocket. Very
often I will have those with me because I like
to just write down, like it'll be like one word,

you know, reminders of things that I'm going to need
to transfer to a larger effort later. So I will
often do that because it's just helpful for me. So
I recommend you do whatever works for you, but definitely
start to write down not just the idea, but what
are the steps that are required to actually making that
idea happen. Now, in the previous episode, I want to

say it was two three weeks ago. It's an episode
I put out the best Apps and Tech for Small
business Owners. That is a really good episode if you
want some more resources and things like that, things that
I recommend you do to help structure yourself and structure
yourself with success. So I'm going to reference that episode
a couple of times, but that is a really, really

great episode if you want more depth about actual tools
that you can use in your how to start a journey. Now,
I would also recommend you start getting really good at
AI applications, and I shouldn't even say really good, just
to get proficient at using an AI like a chat
gpt it is not too late. As a matter of fact,

most people in the world are still unaware of what's
even happening in the conversation of GTPs GPTs, and even
before we discuss how to use them. Just get familiar
with how you could apply that sort of a resource.
And so whether you want to spend time. I could

spend a whole episode on my love hate relationship with
business plans like writing out thirty forty page business plans,
which a lot of places if you go to support,
you know, like kind of like local supports like chambers
of commerce and et cetera, they'll have you, you know,
start to work on these long business plans. We can
talk a whole episode about that. I'm not gonna do that,

but forget about putting your questions in like the Google
search bar. You know, AI is supercharging your ability to
get these things done quickly and well, and so you
can simply ask questions to the intelligence, you know, even
super specific ones based on your demographical information. If you're

trying to figure out what your demographics should be. Should
you manufacture you know, in house or should you outsource
your manufacturing? What country should you have your manufacturing in
like all of these superspecif if it questions that it
is harder to get answered on the traditional search and navigation,
you can do that with something like a chat GPT.

So I highly encourage you to start learning about writing
prompts for GPTs. And what I mean by that is
structuring your questions in such a way to get the
responses that you need that will believe. I believe that
that will be one of the most valuable skills inside

the next five years is how to write prompts. And
this is not a technical thing. It is a way
of thinking, a way of thinking about how to write
questions such that you get responses that are actually helpful
to you getting what you need done. And so what

I did I went to chad GPT, I said, all right,
what I write? I wrote, how can I best write
prompts to get the best answers from chat GPT? And
so it gave me a couple prompts I could use
to get the best answers from it. This is something
you can do with an AI like chat GPT. So

number one it said, be clear and specific, Clearly articulate
your question or request, ambiguous or vague prompts may lead
to unclear off topic responses. Provide as much detail as
necessary for the context you're seeking. That is something you
can't do with like a traditional navigation a search bar,
being super specific, giving a bunch of detail it can't find.

It's harder to find the answers you need when you're
that specific and so. But with the chat GPT or
another GPT, it's saying be specific because it can handle
that much information. Actually, it works best if you give
it more information. The next thing you said was ask
one thing at a time, and it says, break down
complex queries into simpler, more focused questions. This helps the

model understand your intent better and provides more precise answers.
This is what's so important about writing things down, because
we don't always necessarily have enough clarity and what it
takes to get to the next level. If the ideas
are in our head, but if we need to write
it down and provide instructions, then you get to You

get an idea of what is unclear to you as
the entrepreneur, as the founder. But if you don't take
the time, if clearly think through point A to the
next point, you're not gonna know what you don't have
clarity about, all right, So that's a couple of things

that there's like four or five more. I won't go
into those, so I don't want to spend this whole
episode on writing prompts. But these are the types of
things that if you get at least reasonably good at AI,
you will be so much further than most people. So
I have a few more at These are just a
couple of points, and loogain, I want to start shit.

I should have started here, but I'm gonna say midway
through this episode, these are not These are not everything
that you're gonna need to know about how to start.
These are I'm speaking to the specific things that stop
the people who come to speak to me, the things
that they find challenging. So I'm using those people as

a focused group because I believe they represent more entrepreneurs,
and so most people get stuck on certain things. So
the things I'm gonna speak to in this episode are
the things that I believe will help you get past
those specific hurdles. The next one is I would stop
spending money on stupid stuff, and so it is super
important even I do it. So I will go to

my credit card statement every month, my bank statements every month,
and just look through them. I would just look through
them and just see what is on here that I
didn't even know I was being charged for anymore, Things
on here that I'm not even using anymore. And So,
because you're gonna need to be your first investor, it

is your job to invest in yourself before you start
to even think about asking somebody else to invest in you.
You should have the belief that I am willing to
put my own money up if you believe in the idea.
If you're not willing to put your own money up
in the beginning, come on, I would be hanging around

the right people. And I'm not gonna get into a
munch like very rudimentary stuff. But what we miscalculate about
finding success in entrepreneurship, business, startups, and etc. Is this
not like these there's these rocket science level challenges. These
are doing basic things over and over well, doing well,

doing well again today and well again the next day.
Do the stuff well, the simple stuff, really well, and
you will find outsized success because most people don't do
the simple stuff well. One of those things is the
people to hang around you cannot grow with the people
you're hanging around with aren't growing. I'm gona leave that there.

I'm not gonna go further than that one. This is one.
This next one, I'm gonna just tell you what it is,
then I'll talk about it. I would get as unromantic
as possible about my ideas. And there will be things
that you want to do that do not mean you

should do them. I'm gonna say it again a different way.
Just because you want to do something doesn't mean the
world wants that from you. As much as you love
the thing, as much as your passion about the thing,
as much as you believe. Man, if I could just
do this, you know I would love to do this

every day for the rest of my life. That does
not mean people will pay you for it. And so
you've got to be taking an honest assessment of yourself.
A lot of people cannot do this. This is entrepreneurial
success requires a very strong ability to look at yourself,

see where you're deficient, see where you excel, and then
match yourself with something that the world will pay you for.
That is not an easy thing to do for most people.
Because we are passionate about specific things, and your passionate
about specific things is helpful in determining what you should

be spending your energy on. But it does not mean
that other people are as passionate to pay you to
do it. And so that takes some honest self reflection
that most people are not prepared for. So I would
ask myself a few questions. What is the market need

at such a level that people are willing to pay
you for your solution? What does the market need so
much that people are willing to pay you to do
the thing to solve their problem? What pains do people
have that they're willing to pay you an appropriate amount,

an amount that works for you to have that pain alleviated.
Just because people have a pain, and just because people
have a need doesn't mean that they're willing to pay
to pull out their wallet to scan their card, to
you know, touch their Apple watch to the pay you
know device at such a rate that it makes sense

for you to do it. There's a lot of people
who are willing to pay for things, but they're not
willing to pay enough to make it a valuable business proposition.
It's not worth it. Can your service or your product
provide a solution? At a price consumers are willing to
pay that still leaves enough money for you to grow

and reinvest into the business. Here's the thing that I
found most people will not do. And I've done this
a gazillion times to my own pain, because I love
to do things that I've done. If nobody cares that
you stopped doing it, if you were to start a

business and you stopped doing it, would anybody say ouch?
Would anybody say where's the thing that you were doing yesterday?
I need more? Why are you not? Why would you
not give me more? Why are you Why are you

depriving me of your product? Why are you not letting
me have your service? If nobody does that. If your
website has been down for three weeks and nobody's emailing
you saying, yo, I need your website. I came here
every day for you know, my information, and it's been

down for three weeks. What's going on if nobody's doing that.
If you are, you know, the fashion designer of your
community and you don't release a new fall line and
nobody says, hey, when's the new drop coming, that you

got to think about whether you really got a thing.
If nobody cares that you stopped, you probably shouldn't have
been doing it in the first place. That is hard
to swallow. If nobody cares, nobody raised the flag and
said foul because Gene over here, stop doing donuts. I

the men Gene keeps doing donuts. I need those donuts.
If nobody's doing that at some level, obviously I'm exaggerating,
But if nobody's asking where is the product? Where is
the service that you used to provide? You really got
to think whether you've been force feeding and trying to

trying to get people who just love you and just
want to support you, versus actually building a market. Because
people will support you, and you get confused about whether
it's just support because they's cute and they want to
see me, you know, do my thing, or are you
actually building a business. That is a hard thing to swallow.

You got to define who's your target audience, who's your consumer?
Your product. I don't care what it is. It is
not for everybody, It is for a specific group people.
Number One, you don't have enough money to reach everybody
with your marketing and your branding efforts and your communication efforts.
So you've got to define who is best suited for

who is the low hanging fruit? Who is this thing
designed for? And then there may be other people later
who you know, come and join the bandwagon who see
themselves in your thing too. But if you're building a brand,
who are you building it for and super serve that audience?
Nothing is for everybody. There may be specific vertical, specific

things inside of a vertical that's this one's for that group,
this one's for that group, and they self select, but
nothing is for everybody. Some people like this version of
a thing, whether it's white bread. Some people like this
version of the white bread, the one that uses this
type of flower. Other people love the one that look
that's in brown packaging. So you've got to determine who

is it for? Who are you talking to when you
present your offering to the world. This is about all
I'm gonna get into. I told you I will get
into scale and raising money, and I'm gonna just touch
on it because I'm gonna get out of here, and
because I've been laboring these points. It is while so
often many of us are not ready for capital or

to even scale, but behave you should always be behaving
like you will be And how do you do that?
Your systems will be important. How can How good are
you are you at documenting your operation? You cannot do
this as a hustle. This has to be a business.
How can you I can't invest in your hustle, but

I can invest in your business. So your business is
made up of operations. I need to see some documentation.
I want to see, you know, metrics over time. How
are you tracking your things? How are you working to
get your costs down? How are you how are you
working to you know, widen the gap between your costs
and your reverge? Like all these things, document your business accounts.

Those things have to be in order. Stop doing this
stuff on your personal credit card. I'm not going to
get into that today, but we'll talk about that at
another time. You know, use the use the systems that
are designed to help you grow your business. Are you
using quick books? Is it integrated with your bank account?
Is it integrated with your credit card? Are those things
tied together so you don't even have to go in
and you know, connect every manual, you know transaction. It

happens automatically. But at the end of the day, this
is what's important about this entire episode. I can encapsulate
it in one statement. The whole concept of how to
start implies that you are serious about going, that you
are serious about finding success. And I'm going to encapsulate

how to start with this one statement. You can fool
a lot of people, but please don't fool yourself. You
can fool me into thinking he's serious, she's serious. But
only you know how early you got up and how
hard you went after it. Only you know how late

you stayed up, and how much dedication and sleepless nights
you put into doing the thing. Only you know the
sacrifices you were going through to get better, not to
just do the thing, but to get better at doing
the thing. Only you know the stuff that nobody else
is going to see. That's where you fool yourself versus

fooling everybody else. Because you're not on stage. You can
fool a lot of people by what you show them
and what you wave in their face, but don't fool
yourself by thinking the stuff that you're waving in our
face is actually moving the ball forward.
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