My brother is moving to Maryland and it sucks kind of good

I love my older brother to death.  So much so, I named my first and only child after him. 

We've been lucky enough to live close to each other for about 4 years now in our late 30's, and it's been a ton of fun being no more than a few hours from my bald-headed sibling. 

But after 3 tours overseas, one thing has been crystal clear during the time he's been lucky enough to spend that time on Texas soil, is that he's a soldier. 

And soldiers go when the call comes. And this time he's going to Maryland. 

But it's not Iraq or Afghanistan.

I'll miss him. 

But, I'll take it. 

It still sucks tho.

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Even after 30+ years, he still teaches me a lot about life. I watch his choices and how his life unfolds closely. I guess that's what younger siblings do. 

Recently, him and I went into business together. We both own our own essential services franchise and we act as one another's accountability partner. It may seem cheesy as fuck, but that shit makes me proud. Who better to hold me accountable than a war veteran, and who better to hold him accountable than his little brother. 

Lately, he's been driving down to Austin as he and his wife transition to Maryland. Another proud soldier, she left weeks ahead of him leaving my older broham to his thoughts in an empty house. The furniture was picked up over a week ago. The last time he was here we spent a lot of time looking over the 360 Bridge. We saw the moon rise over the hills illuminating the river. We talked about his move. We talked about nothing. We talked about our childhood.

We discussed adulthood and marriage. We discussed the future and our businesses. We discussed how simple things really are. We discussed what holding another person accountable really means, and what it means to us personally. We discussed having two growing businesses simultaneously in the different parts of the country and how exciting the future is going to be.

Talked about Bolo Yeung and Jean Claude Van Damme, because Bloodsport is the best thing ever - obviously.

We talked about how much his nephew is going to miss him.

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I'm going to miss his ass, but I'm excited for him and his wife. 

But no one can stay away from Texas too long, and I expect we'll be neighbors again before we know it. Life is about how lucky we are to be able to intentionally shape our opportunities. I'm holding him accountable to it. 

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How I'm Building Generational Wealth for My Family

This post is part of Generation One Blog Tour which I am excited to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and to join us as we tell the world how we are creating generational wealth, CLICK HERE!   Why Wealthy? 

50 Cent told you years ago he was going to "Get Rich or Die Trying." Years later and it looks like Fiddy ain't never lied. 

Black people in America and money.

In spite of what Rihanna's new video said, people haven't had our money for generations - and have been clearly getting away with it.

Today, we have more rich black Americans than ever before in history, yet our income gap is higher than ever. Your favorite athlete probably has your highest paid job that can still get traded like a bad poker hand. All that money, and no control. Your favorite athlete is probably rich, but the odds are he or she is not wealthy. 

Wealth is the individual writing the checks to feed the rich. 

Wealth pays for your lifetime, Memphis Bleek's life, and all of your children's lives.

A person can save enough for riches, but a person must earn their way to wealth. 

At least the first generation does. Because from there wealth can be inherited. And as much us we love to celebrate the bootstrapping lifestyle, it's only because we had to. There was no other option. Millions of us would gladly leave our children the option to be unburdened with money. 

Wealth generation is why I lose sleep at night. Through no choice of our own, most of us live in a country and in a time where the opportunity of true wealth generation is a reality for most of us. We simply have to recognize the abundance around us, find our path that leads to our goals, and walk those steps every single day until we get there, or die trying. 

I can only think a few more worthy things to live for than the freedom and financial security for my kids; and by teaching others how to do the same for their kids.

Through wealth, you can own your own time. What is of greater value?

How am I getting wealthy?

By shifting my hoarding mentality to an earning mentality. 

People don't spend a certain amount of their money per month. People spend a percentage of their paycheck per month. We're taught to save first, but the truth is most of us pay our bills and essential services (phone, electricity, etc.) first, food next, rents, mortgages, and if God has blessed you with anything after those expenses, you're almost guaranteed to get a flat tire this month. Life comes at you fast. 

You can't hoard enough for intergenerational wealth. 

You have to earn your way there. My paycheck is simply a part of my monthly earnings.

I have created companies to reposition my controlling interests into streams of income already flowing in our economy. I do that by sales and adding value to the marketplace. 

But what am I doing specifically? 

Direct sales and network marketing is a simple example. 

One of my companies owns a network marketing franchise. Through the contracts set up with this company, I am able to broker those same essential services people cannot live their lives without (energy, gas, phone, internet access) and more with national, regional, and local providers. 

I add value by providing services people and businesses must have in order to function in modern society, and many times by lowering a consistent expense in all of our lives - our bills. And as I build lasting relationships with my customers and clients, with enough referrals, my clients are able to earn their services at no cost to the them. A life free from a cell phone bill coming every month is value added no matter where you're from.

As my customers, both residential and commercial, pay their bills every month as responsible members of society, my company is paid every single month. It's as simple as that.

We also own and partner with other not for profit organizations to give back a portion of our revenue as we grow. We embed it into our culture. The goal at the end of day is helping as many as we can. 

 

How does that make you wealthy? 

Two ways:

1) It puts myself and my company in a position of earning. Earning new customers - new revenue - new billing - new accounts - new receivables. Every single month. Please name a better business to be a part of than bills for continual passive, leverage, or residual income streams? Every time I want more revenue, I need to make another sale. An entrepreneur gives raises to themselves through closing.

2) It allows me to hand pick my business partners and duplicate the model. Our organization's business model is built on duplication, support, and the success of your distribution team - as any decent franchise would be. I can grow an organization of dozens or thousands. Through the success of my team, only then am I able to scale to wealthy heights. 

We invite the motivated. We teach the skill. We build together.

I can sell my way to riches. 

I have to build others in order for true wealth to follow. 

In my company, we partner with the motivated, and teach the necessary skill. I can teach skill. I can't teach someone how to be motivated.

Is that all I do for wealth? 

No. Like many of us, I have many interests, and wealth generation is simply a single one.

The world is full of opportunity if you're looking in the right spots, and the sheer fact you're still reading this is a testament to your search. 

Will it work? 

I don't know. I could get into a horrific auto accident tomorrow and never have a chance to lay eyes on my son again, let alone make another sale, so who knows. Life is rarely fair.

I do know math however. 

I do know if I can make one sale, I can make two. I do know if I can increase my passive income by $10,000 in one year, I can increase it by $20,000 in two by remaining consistent and challenging myself. I do know if I can land a $1,000,000 single contract, I can land a $3,000,0000 one. I do know if I can mentor one person to earn enough to tell his boss exactly where to put those quarterly result numbers, I can mentor five people how to do the same. I quoted Jay Z and Kanye West in my resignation letter. I want to read the letter quoting Kendrick Lamar. 

Each one teach a dozen. 

This is the land of opportunity. Find your people. Lock arms together. March into your desired life. 

But regardless of what you choose, I've made my choice. And we're going to get it, or die trying. 

For the simple fact that regardless of my struggles, I'm blessed with the option. 

What are you going to choose? 

Lamar and Ronnie Tyler are co-founders of BlackAmdMarriedWithKids.com. They wrote and directed Generation One to give African American families the tools and strategies they need to begin building wealth for their families TODAY. The Tylers know this film has the power to change lives. You can grab your copy HERE.

Want to know more about my team and whether you may qualify to be a part of our growing community of earners go HERE.

[BOSS] Christine St. Vil of MOMS ‘N Charge From Self Evolvement to Business Entity

How did you get to become a MOM ‘N Charge? In 2011, I was seven months pregnant with my third child when I left my corporate Human Resources position. I was not happy; stress began to take a toll on my mental and physical health. I needed to make sure I was doing what I could to have a healthy baby. Although my husband and I didn’t have any plans in place for me to leave my job at the time, we knew it was something to do. I stepped out on faith seven months pregnant. After leaving in that environment that’s not where I wanted to be, but I didn’t know what I was suppose to be doing next.

After the baby I realized I needed to start taking better care of myself. I connected with moms online through social media and blogs. I realized a lot of moms were not able to pursue their goals, put on hold, because of their children. I wanted to be able to tell my kids you can be and do whatever you want when you grow up but at the same time I need to make sure that example for them.

Your self-discovery led to your business venture:

MOMS ‘N Charge: Helping Moms Feel Good Without Feeling Guilty

A lot of times moms want to do things, but feel guilty because we’re taking away from our children and spouses. I had to learn how to put myself back on top of the priority list. MOMS ‘N Charge is about empowering women and moms to go after whatever it is they’re trying to go after. You don’t have to choose between your goals, dreams, and being a good mom. You can do both. You have to get some systems in place, a support system and being clear about what it is you want.

Purpose Driven Media is the name of my company; everything I do has a purpose. It’s about understanding, discovering, pursuing your purpose in life so you can be successful and happy.

Since entrepreneurship is a learning process, tell us about one of your "AHA!" moments.

I always knew I had the entrepreneurial spirit in me, but I just needed to find that thing. I remember when I was pregnant with my third child I went to an event called Dare to Live Your Dreams. The speaker stated “God will put you in holy discontent to get you out of certain situations." I’m trying to wait for all these changes at work and what God is trying to tell me is you need to get out of this situation. At the event I realized nothing is going to get better until I make the decision to make a change.

What's the biggest misconception about what your business and what you do? 

Since I started with blogging people think that’s all I do. I went into blogging with a business mindset because I knew I wanted to start a business. I knew blogging would give me a platform and audience to share that business when I decided to launch. I started offering services a year after I started blogging.

Why is business ownership so important today for mothers?

Nothing is guaranteed. I like to be proactive. I can create a life and income for my family regardless of the economy, what jobs are available and it gives me a lot of flexibility.

What type of memories are you hoping to create for your kids? 

Entrepreneurship provides flexibility. I wanted to be available to my kids as much as possible. I wanted to show my kids we could create a life for them that is rich and fulfilling. I want to be an example to them. I tell my kids what I’m doing all the time as it encourages them. I want to leave a legacy and show them what it is they can do.

You and your sister Julian B. Kiganda co-wrote Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be, what are some key elements the audience will receive?

One of the things we decided when we wrote this book was to not just talk about the obstacles and challenges and how we got to the success today. It was really important for us to incorporate our culture, our heritage. We are originally from Uganda. I am one of seven with me and my brother being born in the states. A lot of times we were straddling two continents because we wanted to fit in school, but we didn’t look like any of our classmates. We had a lot of different cultures. A part of

Whose Shoes Are You Wearing is part of a movement for women to embrace all of who they are regardless of their background, culture, or heritage. To embrace it, own and use that as a stepping stool to do whatever you’re looking for in life.

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What was your biggest takeaway from working with Steve Harvey and his Success Academy? 

Do things afraid. No matter what opportunity you go after there is going to be a level of fear involved.

At the time I was working with my business coach and she decided to create an online institute for entrepreneurs and personal development classes. She asked me if I would be interested in teaching courses on blogging and social media. I put together 10 weeks worth of content that we were going to teach live. She released it in 2014 and within six months of launch she partnered with Steve Harvey. The program was rebranded and the inaugural Success Conference happened in March. I was honored to be a breakout session speaker. People can get live tutorials online with direct feedback and coaching from the instructors.

I see you have had the opportunity to participate in a White House press conference, how was that experience? 

I’ve been invited to the White House a few times. The first time I was invited to do a press conference with BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com found by Lamar Tyler. First Lady, Michelle Obama, does a youth humanitarian award and I was invited to cover that the last couple of years.

This year I was excited as I was invited to cover the social event for the State of the Union Address. They reached out to some social media influencers asked us to come watch the State of the Union live from the White House where we were able to tweet, share and do live interviews with the Huffington Post that was broadcasted. It was an amazing opportunity.

Very impressive! How did you get to that point?

It goes back to being consistent. It’s about sharing useful information and engaging. Share great content consistently. Be intentional with what you are posting. Go after new opportunities so that people can see you.

One of the things that has elevated my success in such a short period of time I continue to do things afraid and I step out of my comfort zone. Figure out something that will make you a little bit uncomfortable but it will put you a little bit further to reaching your goals.

Let’s have some fun. If you could take your family away for 3 months anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you treat the to? 

Uganda, that is where my family is from. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to travel there. My husband is from Haiti and we were planning a trip in 2008 before the earthquake hit.

For more of Christine St. Vil visit her on http://momsncharge.com and pick up the book Whose Shoes Are You Wearing: 12 Steps to Becoming the Woman You Really Want to Be.

To hear the entire interview listen to the podcast Networking With Michelle available on iTunes.

[BOSS] - Laquitta DeMerchant of Fuzion Apps on her largest hurdles, women in technology, and definition of success

[BOSS] highlights women and couple entrepreneurs making an impact in their fields, their own lives, and the lives of people they are fortunate enough to serve With the rise of technology startups and the popularity of apps Laquitta DeMerchant, founder of Fuzion Apps, Inc., has been able to outshine her counterparts with the education and career management app Aequitas. The app allows individuals to find data on requirements on skills, salary and negotiation tips. In 2013, DeMerchant, was recognized by Obama and the White Houses Equal Pay Event for Aequitas.

How did you get started in the technology space?

Since I was 14, I knew I wanted to have my own software development company. I earned a B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems from the University of Houston Downtown. I earned a M.B.A. from University of Houston Victoria. My jobs along the journey include system analyst, sales engineer and consulting manager. These jobs gave me the skills to start my tech company Fuzion Apps, Inc.

What is Aequitas?

Aequitas is an education and career management app. Users may create or upload a resume, view and apply jobs, set and track career goals. Aequitas is available on iTunes as a freemium. There is a paid version that is more advanced. 

What is the biggest hurdle that you had to overcome?

The biggest hurdle I had to overcome is designing, developing, testing and marketing an app without funding. I knew it would prove a challenge to anyone to raise funds, but less than 0.5% of all VC funding goes to women of color.

How were you able to fund the development of your app?

I always maintained good credit because there are times when you will need to charge some things and you want to make sure you have really low interest rates. Second, I was frugal. I only bought what was needed. Third, I always try to network and have contacts with people that would support things that I was trying to solve.

What problems are you trying to solve?

I’m passionate about ending the wage gap and the lack of diversity and leadership opportunities. 

What has been your most significant success?

By far my most significant success is the winner of the U.S. Department of Labor Equal Pay competition. We won the grand prize award for Women Innovation in Mobile Award.

The competition was 8 weeks in duration, but I found out a week late. I had to write the requirements, design the solution, locate data, and handoff requirements to my developer to complete the product, test, and load to iTunes.

What are your thoughts on the landscape of technology among women and Houston?

With technology there is more to information technology than just a programmer. There are tons of positions outside of being programmer such as a system analyst, network administrator and project managers. For example, if you love to draw and love art you can become a User Interface Designer. If you want to make lifestyle changing money within a year there is no quicker way to do it than going into tech. Start with the free stuff, internships, develop a small app and keep practicing. We have such demand for technical positions. You can add value just as much as anyone else.

On Women in Technology: 

Digital Undivided led by Kathryn Finney, helped me tremendously from a best practices perspective and support system. It is the most diverse tech conference in the globe. The group specifically targets women of color and tech entrepreneurs. Digital Undivided has decision makers at the event. Anyone interested in technology can benefit from this organization. 

Tech in Houston?

Houston has always been on the technology scene from Texas Instruments, BMC Software, Compaq to name a few. We have had a strong technology presence before Austin. 

How do you define success? 

Personal satisfaction in happiness regardless of the circumstances.

What’s next for Fuzion Apps?

We plan on releasing an Android and Microsoft Surface version of the app. We recently invested in a Surface tablet and it is the laptop of tomorrow today. It is the best thing out there.

Laquitta DeMerchant can be reached at www.fuzionapps.com on Twitter @FuzionApps. Aequitas can be downloaded on iTunes.

Self doubt blows - From doubt, to coaching, to honest conversations and greatness to come

A few weeks ago, the little person was sick with a fever yet again and the hubs and I were once again faced with the decision as to who would miss work this time.  While his job allows for slightly more flexibility, it does require more of him than mine, so it was my turn I decided. After a trip to the doctor and finally a diagnosis (it was a sinus infection and the first pediatrician was clueless) we knew he couldn’t return to school until he was fever free.  While we toiled with who would keep him the next day, the desire to run my own business had never been stronger.  I don’t want to keep choosing between the care of my child and simply a job.  Not a career, but a JOB.  Even though I have a hard time showing it at times, my family is very important to me and they are part of the reason I left my previous position as a personal trainer.  While the hours in my current position are a lot more family friendly, my coworkers and boss are great and the job is a breeze, my time at the end of the day is still owned by someone else.

 

You know I’ve talked of owning a business of my own for many years and have come up with a lot of ideas but have yet to truly bring any of them to life.  I’ve remained stuck in the same cycle of formulating an idea, somewhat planning and even going so far as making it official by acquiring a legal business entity buuuuuuut never quite following through.  Like EVER.  Ok, I’ll take that back.  I kind of started a small handmade jewelry company but I only sold a few pieces (3 to be exact to some friends).  I never did a lot to promote myself and basically allowed self doubt and the constant comparison to other businesses stifle my ability to ever really get it off the ground.  So while, I’m not a complete failure, although to have failed you had to at least have given it the old college try, I haven’t been the ideal entrepreneur.  I would say for the most part, I’m still a wholllllllle lot of talk and no real action.  Lets just be real here.  I would be lying to myself if I didn’t say so and I’m pretty sure a lot of you have been feeling the same way but you’re just afraid to admit it.  That’s ok. I’ll let you have your moment…….feel that pressure release?  Good!  With all of this swirling around in my head I knew I had to finally get my life and take action.  Not just speak about it.  But be about it!

 

Soooo…..I knew I had to do something.  Like immediately.  But I knew I needed a little guidance.  Besides the self doubt and the self sabotage from comparison, I’m also multipassionate which meeeaansss I want to do way too much because I enjoy and see myself doing so many things.  But we all know you can’t truly build an empire if your focus is being pulled in 5 different directions, not including your family and/or significant other AND a day job.  Having most recently, wanting to be a blogger, jewelry designer, skin care product creator, a health and wellness coach with a strong concentration on fitness, all at the same damn time, I knew none of them would thrive if I tried to achieve all of them at once.  After several conversations with the hubs and a friend and a few Jesus take the wheel moments, I decided to enroll in Marie Forleo’s B-school.  In a nutshell b-school helps you identify, conceive, plan and launch a business you love so you can live a life of which you've only dreamed. I know it may sound far fetched to some of you but check it out here for more detailed explanation.  Now the decision was not easy, particularly because of the cost but I felt at peace with it.  Unlike my decision I’d made to enroll in a personal training program.  I had felt this nagging sensation that this was NOT something I should be pursuing. But instead I chalked it up to nerves and the fact I was taking a leap financially while my husband was pursuing a business of his own sans a full time income.  Lo and behold, those feelings weren’t all for naught.  As I transitioned into a full time position as a personal trainer after our move to Austin, the excitement wore off and it hit me. hard. I didn’t want do it anymore.  Not because it was probably the most difficult position I’d ever held. it was, but I simply didn’t find joy in it.  I hated the repetitive nature of it.  Not to mention the used car salesman feel I felt each time when trying to sell training or a product to a client definitely did not give me the warm and fuzzies.  But the biggest drawback, the time taken away from my family, was the final straw.  I knew this wasn’t for me and I had to get out.  I was becoming angrier, gaining weight (ironic isn’t it) and all around unhappy.  

Why can't every day simply have more bed?

Now fast forward about 4 months.  I'm in the last week of marie forleo's b-school and I’m no where close to even being finished (having to start over and sheer tiredness). Although the modules are released weekly, its self paced thankfully.  While I can’t say its been the best money I’ve spent yet on helping me to solidify my next stage in life, it hasn’t been a waste either.  I went into it with somewhat of an idea (and peace with my decision to enroll) of what I wanted to do but could never make a connection to my why with a how.  Then after two separate conversations, first one with the hubs and then with a former and current student of B-school enrollee (you have lifelong access) and success story Krystle Rowry of Krissdidit, I had a revelation. Okay more like a duh moment and THEN a revelation. How could I teach and guide someone to actualize goals they’ve only talked about when I haven’t done it myself? Yeahhhhhhh….I totally missed that connection. And you’re wondering how right?  Well because I was only thinking about the skills I do possess and how someone could find them useful.  Given that moment of clarity, I knew what my next steps entailed.  

 

First, I knew I had to start B-school over.  Thankfully, I hadn’t gotten too deep because its pretty intensive.  Second, I knew I had to launch a totally different business. One that I was passionate about, I believed I could make successful, low start up costs (we live on tight budget) but also be a stepping stone to what I truly wanted to do.  And I have one, a natural skin care line. Its been right under my nose the entire time.  Over the years, I’ve concocted many a recipe for a hair butter for my dry, natural hair and only began to add in one for the body while pregnant with my son.  I wanted a more natural way to take care of my skin as well as his after his birth because the natural baby lotions just weren’t cutting it!  Even with my husband being my biggest supporter and tester, I simply looked at it as just something I did for myself and family.  But after creating my best recipe to date, a test of some of the competition, my sheer enjoyment from getting in the kitchen and creating (I get excited ya’ll when I’m waiting for my supplies to arrive) and positive feedback from friends and of course my little revelation, I knew this was it.  I could do this.  I am going to do this.  And you get to watch.  With a front row seat I might add, my successes, my failures and my aha moments along the way.  But I don’t want you to just be a spectator. I want you to be a participant as well.  I’ll be creating guides, worksheets and challenges just for you. Two are already in the works which means I’m for reals people.  I don’t want to continue to put my family or my mental head space on the back burner.  So, if you’ve read this far, thank you. If you’re planning on joining in, woohoo!!!  

Now let’s go be great!!!!!!