On February 11, Links Incorporated hosted an HBCUs Professional Networking Series, where many black business owners and people of high positions gave tips and answered questions on careers in business, finance, and entrepreneurship. Throughout this event, the panelists gave the building blocks to becoming an entrepreneur. At some point in life, everyone has thought of starting a business, whether it be big or small. The best business to have is one that you are enthusiastic about. From there, your hobby can become your main source of income.

To become an entrepreneur, one must adopt a certain mentality. Fear of failure is what stops many people from pursuing their dream and leaving them with regrets. Jon Renthrope, the CEO of Cajun Fire Brewing Company, states “You got to be ready to take a risk.” The real question is are you in a position to take that risk. If you are willing to take the risk, you have to take the time to prepare and plan on what you will do amidst your limited resources.

Another aspect that is needed when being an entrepreneur is having the proper finances. Few people are fortunate to have a family for support or to lend them money to start. For those that are not in a financial position to start a business, they must take out a loan. Unfortunately, bankers just cannot take your word and believe in your dream to say yes to a loan. You must have a reasonable plan to get the money.

To become successful, you are going to be rejected. “Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be afraid of rejection,” says David Ellis, the President, and CEO of Entergy in New Orleans. From other entrepreneurs having the drive to continue after a rejection is what will help you achieve your dream. In today’s business world most rejections come from the gender and race of a person. A common example of this is a woman in a male dominated environment. Mia James, the Business Manager for DDG Destroyer Program at Huntington Ingalls, says “You cannot be less than what life called you to become.”

The next aspect of having your own business is to take advantage of your resources and get knowledge of any business. If you are in college look for guidance, join programs, and apply for internships. Malaika Moran, marketing and business strategy consultant of SocialStep Consulting says, “Better to start off in corporate America.” Through this method, it starts you on the path to building relationships with people. In the business world, you never know when you are going to need them and vice versa. You must expand your experience because you can be gaining knowledge and information you could use in the future. As well you may even discover that you like other interests and want to invest your time in that.

The last aspect you want to keep in mind is to be confident that what you do is going to keep you going. People are going to challenge you because of skin color, hometown, alumnus, and so on. The answers won’t come easily, but that’s life. You must be mentally and financially ready to manage the unexpected in the entrepreneurial game.

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