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How to Build Black Business Communities Equitably with Gerald Jones

Explore economic resources for black business communities, and the importance of creating a broader community so we can all rise together.

How to Build Great Black Business Communities Equitably

Summary: Black Business Communities

Leader, coach, speaker, and training facilitator Gerald Jones, host of the Buy Black Podcast | The Voice of Black Business, shares how the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile led to his podcast.

We also discussed creating economic resources for black business communities, and the importance of creating a broader community so we can all rise together.

So many insights your head might just explode.

Words of Wisdom

Everything is intersectional. Learn more about building black business communities.

I can’t speak to what it is to be a woman. But in a lot of cases, I just kind of wing it and I substitute misogyny for racism and I substitute woman for black. But I use the exact same words of a thing that happened to me. And the heads start nodding. It’s like, “That happens to me all the time.” And I’m like, “And what do you think?” “Freaking sexism.” I’m like, “Exactly. That’s also how racism works.” Power treats the disadvantaged in very similar ways. We just call it different things.

— Gerald Jones, Coach

Transcript: Black Business Communities

Hello and welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Jen McFarland. Have you ever felt like somebody might just be really cool? Well, when I read Gerald Jones’ podcast guest profile, I got to tell you, he looked pretty cool to me. And then we talked, and it was– mind blown. And I think you’re going to think the same thing after you hear this interview, so please, stay tuned.

[music] Welcome to the podcast, recorded at the Vandal lounge in beautiful southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck up in business shit creek. Management consultant, Jennifer McFarland, is your third paddle, helping you get unstuck.

Did you know that social media was literally designed to be like a slot machine, having us come back and back and back and see how many people like this? How many people are doing that? And if you run a business or are in the business of running a family, you don’t have time for that. So if you’re feeling a little chained to your phone or maybe you’re not getting as much out of email and social media as you’re putting into it, go to and download the Digital Trade-offs e-book today. Start looking at your time and seeing if you can be more effective toward reaching your goals. Thanks a lot.
Gerald Jones is an experienced leader, coach, speaker, and training facilitator with over 18 years of experience, building and mentoring higher-performance teams. He has been producing business-focused audio content since 2017. In addition to his podcast, Buy Black Podcast, the Voice of Black Business, he has been a guest on a variety of other shows. Gerald is a captivating public speaker with a unique ability to explain complex ideas clearly and concisely. He also interviews seasoned business owners in a manner that helps him share their knowledge and experience with the general audience. In February 2018, Gerald was requested to deliver the keynote presentation at the Establishing Sustainable Connections Building Black Wealth Seminar in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In June, he was asked to return as a guest instructor for the Conscious Youth Solutions Youth League Apprenticeship Program. That’s a mouthful, but I will tell you what. Gerald Jones is amazing, and I am so pleased to have him on the show. We’re talking about a variety of amazing topics, so let’s listen to what he has to say.

So let’s talk about you. Can you tell the listeners about your journey with Buy Black Podcast?

I can. So that podcast stared about a year before it started. And everybody knows about this now, right? In July of 2016, July 5th, in fact, Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We all saw the videotape, and then it was even plastered on the front page of newspapers. In the next day, Philando Castile was killed in Minneapolis. And for some reason – I know the reasons – at that time, I was really undergoing a transformation of heart. I’d just finished my bachelor’s degree, and I was kind of going through a period of trying to, I guess, finally find who I am. But those things happened at a time where I was really– they shook me. And things like that happened before, but those two really shook me. And I was free because I finished my degree, and I was looking for my next project. And so those told me whatever I do, it has to be in service to the black community, and I want to change the outlook. I want to change the future. I want things like this to not happen. And then I started trying to process through my head how do I see these things not happening? And so I just spent the next several months trying to figure out how can I use my skills and background to help. And eventually, I started listening to podcasts. I found one called the Black Entrepreneur Blueprint. As I was listening to that show, I listened to an episode that played the speech of Dr. Claude Anderson who has this concept called the five levels of control, that first level being control of economics. And then I was like, “Okay. So if we can figure out a way to take control of the economy, then we can have more people with jobs. We can build more wealth. We can start investing in our communities. Fewer people are going to be out on the streets, which means fewer people are going to be seen as threats, which means the police relationship with the black community will eventually change, if we only just start being able to depend on ourselves economically.” So that was when I started connecting with people who are all about this Buy Black Movement. And the idea came to me for the podcast, and I immediately said, “Somebody’s already doing that. That’s too big a thing that people are talking about for there not to be a Buy Black podcast.” So I went searching, searching, searching. There’s no Buy Black podcast. And I was like, “[inaudible]. Okay.” So maybe a thing. And then I went to a blog, and I found 20 black business owners and their emails for different articles of new businesses that [were out?]. And I literally sent 20 cold emails to people I’ve never heard of before that basically said, “Hey, I’m Gerald. You don’t know me. I’ve got an idea. Would you want to be a part of it?” And 20 cold emails to business owners, I got 10 responses. And of those 10 responses, I got 5 that said, “Yes. Absolutely.” So I’m like, “I don’t know much about marketing but that’s definitely a really high conversion rate. I must be on to something.”

And so I just went full bore and set everything up for the podcast and got the Libsyn hosting and got the cover art made and came up with a structure and everything and then did my first interviews. And I did the interviews a little bit in advance, but I debuted the first episode on July 5th, 2017, specifically because the show was– it was hatched by that event, and I wanted to make sure that I launched the show on the anniversary of that event.

Amazing. I mean, it’s amazing. It’s so sad that it takes the repeated problems in the community to cause action, but it’s so amazing that you’re taking action and making change. And so one of the things that we’ve talked about is kind of how the podcast has changed then subsequent to the launch. Do you want to speak a little bit about that?

Yes. So I launched the podcast, and originally the show name was Buy Black, Build the New Black Wall Street. That was, again, a concept that threw back to the old days where– in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 1900s, there was a community called Greenwood. And that was a segregated black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma that because of segregation, all the black people there had to buy from black-owned businesses. And so, in that community, there were lawyers, there were doctors, there were bus lines, there were hospitals, there were schools. There was so much money flowing through the Greenwood community over and over and over again that there was massive wealth that was built within this small black community because the money came in and then the money just kept turning over and it kept growing. And it became one of the richest communities in the United States. Well, in June– actually, I think it was June 19th, 20th, and 21st of 1921, there was– they called it a riot, but it wasn’t a riot. It was a massacre where one of the things that happens in history is a woman accused a black man of something, and because of that accusation, the community just said, “Well, let’s just go in and kill everybody.” And they burned down the entire community. And so they burned down what was called Black Wall Street at the time. And then, the state of Oklahoma prevented outside institutes from coming in and investing to rebuild it. So the community was burned to the ground, over 300 people were killed, and then the state of Oklahoma prevented it from being able to build back up. So this idea, this terminology of, “We need to build a new Black Wall Street,” is a thing that– again, it’s part of kind of the culture of folks who were trying to empower the black community. And that was how I originally started the show. As I was building the show over the course of the year, I started noticing that the listenership and the folks who engage with the show a lot more were those entrepreneurs and those business owners who either wanted to learn how to better start their business or grow their own business, or who wanted to get to the platform to get a voice for their business. And so I did have a lot of listeners who wanted to support black-owned businesses. But far and wide, the folks who reached out and the folks who were engaging with the show and sharing the show, they were business owners who were just happy to hear the voices of other black business owners like them and who were reaching out to get on the show so they can get their voice heard because it’s so hard for a small business without a whole lot of resources to get earned media.

And so, for free, I was creating a platform that was really growing, that was getting them access to an audience, that didn’t cost them anything. And so it turned out that the show was really more of a voice for black business. And so I changed the name of the show from Buy Black, Build the New Black Wall Street to Buy Black, The Voice of Black Business. And so I’ve been doing that, and here recently, I’ve put the show on hiatus. I ended what we call season one. I’ll be bringing it back this summer on July 5th of 2019. And we’re just going to cut the Buy Black off the front of it, and the show is going to come back just as The Voice of Black Business because that’s really what it has grown into. There are other business podcasts, there’s other black entrepreneurship and business podcasts out there, but I’m really focused on trying to make sure that that black business owner who doesn’t have a name, who doesn’t have a huge brand, who doesn’t have folks beating down their door saying, “Come over here and be my expert,” I want their story to get told. Because I have talked to so many great business owners over the year who never would have been heard, and their stories and their experiences and their knowledge is second to none. Those stories need to get told and that knowledge needs to get out to that community, and a podcast is a great way to capture that for literally decades. I mean, the content is going to be here. The internet’s not going anywhere. So I love the direction the show has grown, and I’m just looking forward to the next iteration of it.

That just sounds so amazing. I mean, there are– you’re right. There are so many people that really– I mean, for all of us, right? It’s hard to get any sort of coverage, period, let alone free coverage. And so to be a platform for people to tell other stories and engage and stand in their powering expertise is really huge. So I appreciate everything about what you said and what you’re doing. And it’s interesting that you mention Black Wall Street. There was a documentary about it. Have you seen it?
I haven’t seen that one, but I know that there’s been a few. It’s hard to find information. I found that there are a lot of folks in the black American community who’ve never heard of Greenwood.

I’d never heard of it. And somebody sent me on Twitter because I send out a message and said, “I’m doing a new segment called Equity Corner. What should I talk about?” And a woman sent me information about it. And I was like, “What’s that?” And she sent me the links to several, I think several different maybe excerpts from the different documentaries. I haven’t watched it yet. I haven’t. It was on Monday. But I had never heard of it. And then you’re describing it more. And it seems to me that that’s what’s happened again and again in the African American community. Because it’s happened here in Portland. If you look up Vanport, it’s a large flood that basically displaced our African American community here. And I know that when we talked before today, we talked about how important it is to build community around African American entrepreneurship. Why do you think that that’s so critical?

It’s critical because the natural tendency of people, of humans, is to gravitate to like-people, right? And that’s not just skin color. I mean even among different ethnic groups who have the same skin color, we have cultural things in common. We have history in common. We’ve been educated in a way that we just get each other. Our vernacular is the same. All of these things are there. And in every other culture in society, and I mean within the United States, there’s a link back to something that draws people together. If you look at every immigration population in the United States, within two generations of that immigrant population coming to the United States, they have completely assimilated. They have completely become a part of the economy even while those populations still have economic sectors and businesses that are tied to their culture. And other people in the United States go to specific places where those people live in order to consume the authentic culture. And businesses within those communities are built up by the people in the community. People support each other in their businesses in those communities. And it happens like that with every immigrant population. And that includes immigrant populations who come from Africa. But the black American community, we don’t have that link. And the links that we have tried to reestablish over decades, for a long time, they kept getting ripped apart. Like you were just saying, Black Wall Street, Vanport, those are just two of literally dozens of examples of the exact same thing. In fact, in the early 1900s, and I don’t mean to go on a history lesson here, but when the Great Migration was going on where black people were leaving the South in droves because all this manufacturing was happening in the north and all of these jobs were available in the north. You mean I can do anything other than being a sharecropper who ends up further in debt at the end of the year, with my family never being able to move up? Oh, we’re packing up. We’re leaving overnight. We’re going.”

And so now you have all of these new black families going into these places and they’re competing for work with poor whites. And now, that’s when labor unions start being developed. Partially it’s developed because the management is not being fair, but a lot of them were developed because, “We need to keep the black people out. We need to make it where we can still get paid without them driving down our wages.” And where that didn’t work, that’s when the violence came in. That’s when, “Oh, this guy over here whistled at me. Okay, we’ll kill all of them.” And it happened over and over again and again. And the longterm outcome of that is that every time that we started building community and wealth and this bridge to the next generation, someone would come in and literally burn it all down.

And then, once we got to the 1960s and the Civil Rights Act was passed and the Voting Rights Act passed and the new– not the New Deal, the Great Society, War on Poverty Laws passed, through immigration, we lost whatever entrepreneurship and business ownership was left. Because now it became a symbol of status to say, “I don’t have to shop in this black-owned business. I can shop where white people shop.” So now, even within the Black Community, there was no sense of, “I need to take care of my neighborhood first. We need to take care of each other first.” For so long, this group of people had been shut out, that it became a psychological and an emotional need to be seen as part of. And that meant, “If I can buy from you, that means that I’m part of you.” Not realizing that they were literally killing all the businesses that were supporting their community.

And so, that’s where we’ve been for the last 50 years. And we have to educate people of just how important it is that the Black Community has that sense of support economically, both within the community and from outside the community as every other group in the United States has. Because you will go– say you live in the Bay Area. You will go to Chinatown so that you can consume authentic Chinese goods. People don’t go into the Black Community to consume authentic Black American goods. They go to other companies who assimilate our culture and then sell it back to us. And they give them the money because they want to look like it, but they don’t want to actually go to where we are and consume it from us.

And so, it’s an internal need to reestablish the importance of community and then it’s an external need to set the precedent of, “This is how you interact with every other group and their goods, services, and authentic culture.” We need to normalize that this is how the Black American community is interacted with as well. Both internally and by everybody else.

Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I think that we need to build community and support one another. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that an African American community, there isn’t that same– I don’t– just the support. Dedication to, “This is my community. I’m going to buy from other people because then it gets better for everyone.” And I think you’re right. I think it has to do with this idea of status and how can we encourage people to see that there’s a lot of status around owning a business? And so buying from each other is helpful.

And there is a lot of– and that understanding of status of being a business owner is there. There’s a lot of people who want to start a business, but on the flip side of it, if you go on the social media and you tell people, “Hey, I got a new job,” loves, likes, hearts. I mean, you’ll get 50,000 comments. “Hey, I just opened a business,” nothing or criticism. It’s a long road. And one of the things that has really helped me, and one of the things that I think that really helps African American people, especially in business, or actually just anywheres, when you have a lot of friends who are African immigrants, and you can sit and listen to them as a black person and how they see us. If they’ll tell you the truth, most of them pity the black American, because we don’t see that we are still connected. That we still have a link. They know that they have that link back to Africa, and they know that if we could open our eyes and see that connection, that we could have that link too. But our mind frame has been so warped through slavery, and then not official slavery, and then [crosstalk]–

Yeah, 400 years of oppression.

Right, it–

400 years of oppression will do that to you.

Right. Generations of it. And so now, we don’t see the connection. And it’s a world of, “I wish they could see what’s right in front of them,” but we have to rebuild it. It’s been gone for generations.

Yeah. Well, something that we talked about leading up to interview was the whole idea that we’re a nation of immigrants, but we’re not, and need to start acknowledging that. That some people were brought here against their will and ripped from their communities. And other people were already here. So there are the African American community who were brought here as slaves against their will and then the Native American community who was already here. And when we start to put everybody in this generalization, I think it does a lot of harm. And it just continues the cycles of oppression by not acknowledging, especially for me as a white person, it’s like not acknowledging different experiences and how that affects generations like you were mentioning. Yeah. I mean, that’s really interesting. I’ve never heard anybody say that Africans pity African Americans. Yeah.


It’s a thing. And what’s interesting is I know– I tell a lot of stories. I was speaking at a Black Economy event up in Sioux Falls South Dakota last year, and then, I got to hang out with some of the folks who were up there. And there’s a large immigrant population up there from all different countries across Africa. So I was hanging out with some folks who had come from Nigeria. And we were having a conversation. I was having a conversation with one of them, and we were having a conversation about ownership. And I started talking about the fact that a lot of the manufacturing that happens in the United States now, even when it’s in the United States, a lot of those companies have already been purchased by Chinese companies. And they own a lot of our manufacturing businesses here in the United States, and we’re basically exporting all of our wealth. And one of the other guys who came over, as he was hearing me talk about this, he was like, “Wait a minute. You know about that?” And I was like, “Well, yeah, I know about this.” He was like, “I haven’t talked to any black American who knows about that.” It’s just common knowledge among a lot of kind of education and smarter African immigrants because they’ve seen that happen a lot across the continent with China there as well. But the things happening behind the scenes, we are really cut out of a lot of that here in the US. And so they come here, and then they see our eyes aren’t open to a lot of what’s going on around us because we’re just not part of the economy like that. We don’t generally see all of these things going on behind the scenes. And without that context, it’s hard to own your economy. It’s hard to be a successful business owner or network when you don’t have the context of what happens away from just the customer-facing side of business.

Yeah, absolutely. And as I started really educating myself a little more around– so it started for me on several fronts, but my most recent, I guess, research around African-American women, in particular, started because I had a really crappy experience as a woman in tech. And then, I started thinking, “Well, how many women are there in tech?” And it’s like 22%. But then as soon as you start looking at women of color, we’re down to like 2%. So it’s a very isolating experience and then you go into a venture capitalist. 8% of all venture capital goes to women-owned businesses. The statistic I saw earlier this week was that 0.000– so three zeroes, 0.0006% goes to black women. And I have yet to figure out so how many businesses get venture capital and then do the math. But basically, black women are cut out of a lot of business entrepreneurship. There aren’t a lot of women founders but then not a lot of black women in particular that are getting access to the money. And when you start to look across the board, you begin to see, I think, real patterns of obstacles that I, as a white person, don’t get. I don’t have those same obstacles in front of me. So what do you see as some of the obstacles to success for black entrepreneurs? And you can speak in general or even what you’ve seen based on gender.

So what I have done a lot over the last year or two is I’ve tried to look at a lot of comparisons between racism and sexism because, obviously, everything is intersectional. Being a woman puts you at a disadvantage. Being of a particular race may put you at a disadvantage. Being a woman of a particular race puts you at a combined disadvantage. It’s like it’s when you take–
It’s a multiplier effect.

–yeah, alcohol and a downer and one plus one plus equals four, right? I remember that [laughter] in chemistry class. This is why you overdose so easily if you do this because you add one to the other, it’s not two. It’s four and that’s how intersectionality works. So when I look things– and a lot of times, when I have conversations especially with white women, I use a lot of these comparisons. And I’ve never been a woman. I can’t speak to what it is to be a woman. But in a lot of cases, I just kind of wing it and I substitute misogyny for racism and I substitute woman for black. But I use the exact same words of a thing that happened to me. And the heads start [nodding?]. It’s like, “That happens to me all the time.” And I’m like, “And what do you think?” “Freaking sexism.” I’m like, “Exactly. That’s also how racism works.” Power treats the disadvantaged in very similar ways. We just call it different things.

And so I think one of the biggest things is just recognizing that when you have a system that was originally built such that only land-owning white males had a say in anything, it’s really hard to– first of all, you have to recognize that every other law and practice and cultural norm underneath that original document is also built towards that. And so it’s hard to take that and over centuries to pull that stuff out. But it also becomes so normal that the people who are within that group, which today would be kind of your white Christian male– the people in that group, it’s impossible for them to see that there’s a disadvantage even to the white Christian woman, right, because they just think it’s normal the way that we do this thing. And then as you go further down the line, the disadvantages stack. And really, the disadvantages just come back to these cognitive tendencies that people have. I would say, by and large, today, most of the people in society that you talk to if you just ask them survey questions and said, “Should things be like this, and should things be like that,” most of them would say it should all be equal, and they would genuinely mean it. There’s only really a few buttholes out there, but [laughter] most of those people also don’t realize that things aren’t that way. They don’t realize when they’re saying or doing something that is shutting a woman out. They don’t realize that the 22% of women in tech are probably more competent than 90% of the men in tech because to be a woman getting into tech, you have to give them no reason that they could possibly discount you. You have to be better because then it’s like, “Well, I see why she’s here because she’s almost as good as me.” No. She’s better than you, way better because otherwise, she wouldn’t have gotten through the door, and like we said for the one plus one equals four, when you are a woman, when you’re a woman of color, when you are a LGBTQ woman or man of color, if we’re talking about trans, then it just stacks and stacks and stacks, and in order to get yourself through that door, you have to walk in more qualified than the person who’s probably leading the entire thing just to get entry level. And the folks who were in charge, they look at them and say, “Oh, well, that person actually met our minimum qualifications,” not realizing that literally the standard that they required of this person is nowhere near the standard that they required of the guy who they just literally looked and said, “He’s got a nice face, and he finished college. Here’s a job [laughter].”

So true. Oh my, God. Yeah. No. And it extends often, not always, to even if a woman is willing to apply. They say women are more likely to be like, “Okay. I qualify for every single bullet point.” And I think that– and men are just like, “Okay. I want to do this.” And I would say that if you are a white dude, you know that you can skate it on some stuff, and then if you’re not [laughter], then–

Yeah. You can have to cross the–
–you know that you have to check every single box. And I think that’s another case where the misogyny and the racism can be flipped. I think that that’s– would you agree with that that’s another issue there?

I do. I agree 100%, and then the next piece of getting in there once you’re in, you have to be perfect. Any one mistake is a reason why “See. We were right. She didn’t belong.” Right?

Right. Or he didn’t belong.

Or he didn’t belong. You have to be perfect. There are no second chances, and so where you have the guy who’s literally just like, “It’s no big deal. I made a mistake. It’s whatever. We all do it,” it really is. From everybody’s perspective, it’s not a big deal. For the woman, for the person of color, it’s like, “This is the end of the world.” And it extends to our children. Sorry, another quick story. Sorry. And I can’t–

Why are you apologizing? Don’t apologize.

I just–

I love stories [laughter]. I love it.

I can’t say for sure this is exactly what this is, but it’s just one of those things. It’s another thing about racism and sexism. There’s that. A lot of times, you suspect it’s there, but you can’t prove it, and so you don’t want to say anything about it because you can’t. But something happened a few weeks ago. My youngest daughter, six years old in the first grade, she came home, and she said that she she got kneed in the stomach by a little boy at recess. And so she was fine. We talked to her. We asked her what happened. We asked her what happened with the teacher. Blah blah blah. And she said she had never had a problem with this kid before. he wasn’t a kid who picked on her. He wasn’t a kid who picked on people. But apparently, he was mad about something. She was the closest person who he just decided to knee her in the stomach. So sent an email to the teacher to ask about this event. She sends an email back saying, “Oh yeah, this happened. I talked to her after. I talked to him after. I made him apologize and then I gave him consequences afterwards.” And I’m like, “Okay if anything like this ever happens again we need to hear it from you before school is out rather than my six-year-old coming home and saying, ‘Hey violence was done to me today.’ and me having heard nothing about it from an adult.”

So we just had our parent-teacher conferences this week and I brought that back up. And I said, “I don’t need to know how this child was disciplined but I do need to know were his parents told what he did. No, because he’s a good kid and we’ve never seen anything like this before. And he’s just such a sweetheart. And we took care of it and so [inaudible]. And I’m like wasn’t a big deal that this kid kneed my kid in the stomach because he’d never done anything like that before. So now there’s no paperwork. His parents don’t know what he did. And if this pattern of behavior continues no one is there to correct it. No one is there to say, “What’s going on in your life that you think this is how you deal with anger.” And because he’s a good kid we don’t say anything to his parents.

Again, I can’t say sexism. I can’t say racism. I can’t go in and say, “If that had been one of my kids you would’ve been trying to kick him out of the school” because I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s just how they deal with all kids who are violent in that school but based on the policies I’ve seen, no. But it’s one of those things where you can’t say if it was my kid you would have done this because I don’t know because [my kid?] wouldn’t have done that. But I know that you should have done something different and I suspect that the reason you didn’t was an unconcious bias towards but he’s just a sweet little boy and he’s never done this before. Those types of things eat at you because if you go and make accusations, you’re the butthole, right? And it’s like that with kids. It’s [like that?] as an adult. It’s like that when you are in your own business and things happen to you. And that is a total– it’s psychologically draining to have to constantly live in that.

I mean it’s like a white man rapes a woman and the woman has to do everything in her power to prove it. And then at the end, they don’t give the white guy much of a sentence because they don’t want to ruin his life.

They don’t want to mess his life up.

You know or Cavanaugh or whatever. And that plays out over and over again. And that’s a way that as a woman that it just perpetuates this. I think you could look at the industrial prison complex and say, “Well they’re not really worried about ruining other people’s lives.” And the black community has been devastated by unfair sentencing and just locking people up. So yeah, I mean it sounds like bias to me. And it sounds like racist to me because I’m assuming the little boy is a little white boy [laughter].

Right. It’s one of those things where all the people involved are good people. We love her teacher but it’s just you don’t realize in your mind the decisions your making are already colored by 400 years of history. It’s just ingrained in us and opening people’s eyes to that, especially when they’re on the privileged side of it, it sparks, usually, a very violent response to that. Nobody wants to be told you’re doing this because of something that you don’t even realize it’s inside of you. Because it hurts to be told that somewhere in you is this predisposition. Because we all want to think we’re good people, and good people have predispositions that were there before they ever even knew that they were picking this up from TV, from parents, from friends of parents, from wherever. It just becomes normalized.

Yeah. And that’s why I love Harvard’s implicit bias where you just– are you familiar with that?

I’m not.

So they did a study of what people’s implicit biases are. And you can actually go and take the test yourself. And then it’s basically a series of faces. And it’ll give you an emotion, like scary, you pick which one and you’re not supposed to think about it, and then at the end, it tells you if you have gender bias, if you have race bias. And it’s pretty like, you know, you see it and you’re like, “Oh my God.” And because it’s just right in front of you and I mean– something that I talked to my friend Cole about is the white fragility, right? So people that look like me don’t like to be told when they’ve done something wrong based on race. But we have to start having those conversations because that’s how it changes.


You have to acknowledge that–

And it has to come from someone in the same group. That’s the thing about it is that it’s always got to be an internal thing for it to work. A man going to tell a woman you’ve done something wrong or a woman going to tell a man you’ve done something wrong is not going to be met the same way as another man or another woman coming and pulling them to the side and saying, “Look. This is what it is.” They still won’t want to hear it, but the reaction won’t be so violent. And they’ll actually go back and reflect. And the reflection is where the change starts happening. Nobody else sees that. But you’ve first got to get them in a place where they’re actually thinking about the thing from a different perspective because you’ve put that seed in their head. That has to come from somebody in the same demographic. We need more people, we need more men going to other men and saying, “That was jacked up. Here’s why you need to change this about yourself.” And being willing to take the backlash at the moment, but staying your ground, and then let that person go on. Because if they’re a human, they will reflect on it and a small change will start happening.

Absolutely. And then all the buttholes that, at a certain point, get weeded out. Because there are people that aren’t going to listen. But we don’t worry about that. We worry about making change where we can. Because I think there’s far more people who want to be a good person. And [crosstalk] they are a good person. And I think it’s absolutely right. As you were talking about being within your same cohort or your same group, I’ve two stories, I won’t bore your interview with.

No, please. Please. I love stories too.

Do you? Okay. So the first one is when my boss, before I started my own business, sat me down for my review and said, “I don’t know if I’m saying this to you because you’re a woman or not.” And basically, I didn’t hear the rest of the review because I was just like, “If you have to ask yourself that and you’re saying it out loud, I think we know the answer.” And a lot of the things that he was saying, I’m like, “You would never say this to a guy.” Like you would never tell a man that they stood up for opinion– they had opinions, or you know. I mean, and my whole job was to be an analyst, right? So like, “Yes. I had opinions. You were asking me. I did all the research.” You know, just because it wasn’t what you you wanted. Like, “Okay.”

Would it make you feel better if I called an assessment next time?

Right. So there’s that, right? And I’m not even saying that the– the review was great overall, but it was like the preface, and then it just discounted everything for me. Because anything, I was just like, “Oh, is that because I’m a woman? Is that because I’m a woman?” And so you’re right. When people aren’t aware of their biases or they aren’t aware of how something like that would be perceived, some of that stuff needs to be delivered woman to woman you know. Because we deal with that a lot. The being too strong or, you know, all of that.

So that’s the first one. The second one is when I did– I was in a four day intensive around equity. It was a huge training. And at the end, we were put into cohorts, right? So all the white folks went into one room and all the people of colour were in another room. And we could hear. The people of colour were telling all kinds of stories, we couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they were having a good time. And in the white cohort, people were crying. Nobody would talk. It was like all of this shame and guilt and fragility. Just this room of probably 20 people. And I think about that quite a bit and how I can change that so that people are able to act. Because what we need is not that. That doesn’t get us anywhere, that doesn’t bring us forward at all for people to be in that place of just crying and not wanting to talk about things. The way that we change things is to say, “Well, that shit’s fucked up. And what are going to do about it?” Because otherwise, it’s all just going to be separate and it’s not going to improve. At least that’s my opinion.

Yeah. I completely agree. There are a few situations that I’ve encountered over and over in my life where these were the people you need to look to if you want to see where the learning begins. White women who have either born or adopted children of colour suddenly recognize racism because they see other people looking at their beautiful babies and young children and young men and they grow up as things that they’re not. As threats, as problems. Or jumping to conclusions about a behaviour here and there that this person has never experienced in their life. Those women, mainly, especially those mothers, they, most of them tend to get it. Right? The ones who were paying attention, they tend to be like, “I see this. And this is wrong.”

And then, another one, and this is very short-lived, but another thing that I pay attention to, and I’ve seen it so many times, is people who have, let’s say, black friends who they hang out with in situations where it’s not like the one black person and then a bunch of white people, but where it’s just maybe a one-to-one where something will happen, especially if something will happen with the police, where they are there and they witness the tone difference, the quickness to violence difference, the fact that this person is in their presence being treated like an animal or a second-class citizen literally just for being there. And they get so mad, and so furious, and ready to fight. And, “We got to do this,” and, “Bro, blah blah blah,” and it’s like, “Chill dude.” “Why are you not pissed about this?”

Because this is my daily.

Because this is literally my every day. If I got pissed about this every time it happened, I would be a time bomb. And I wouldn’t last long. And it’s those situations where you just get a glimpse into it, and it’s unbearable. And then to see the person that you’re next to is like, “That’s a Tuesday afternoon.” Nobody pulled a gun on me and I’m still walking home. It’s a good day. And then [inaudible] is like, “Exactly. How can an entire population of people live like that in this nation and be expected to function as equals when our daily is like, ‘Didn’t get shot. Didn’t get knocked down. Didn’t get taken to jail. It was a good day’”?
Right. Let alone thrive. Function. All of it. No. And you’re right. And the same thing is true in– I can speak for my own family. My family was very conservative until my brother came out as gay. And then all of a sudden, all of those LGBTQ policies matter. And it changes. I was already liberal, but my parents were like, “Whoa. Whoa.”

“Can’t treat my kid like that.”

“Can’t treat my kid like that.” Which is great. I just wish that we could apply it to other things other than just our own experience. And that’s, I guess, what I want to do. And I’m passionate about equity and inclusion. And so my question is, how can white folks like me best support black entrepreneurs and the issues that we’ve discussed today? And then also just making life more livable in general?

Yeah, so specifically black entrepreneurs. The best way to support the huge mass of difference between black business owners and everybody else is that we don’t have access to the resources or the networks or the connections that everybody else has inherently. We’ve been disconnected from those. And I grew up, I was the only black kid in my grade in my Catholic parochial school growing up, all the way up until the ninth grade. And then I was the only kid – maybe there was one or two others in private school – at my church. So I grew up in a situation where I was kind of outcast in both societies. However, going to school every day with kids whose parents were wealthy. I mean wealthy wealthy. They owned stuff. And other people in the family owned stuff. Those kids grew up, and when they got done with college, whatever they wanted to do, there was a family member who they could call out to who would give them access to resources, access to connections, access to suppliers, access to knowledge, “Use what I’ve got, because you’re family.” And there is nothing wrong with that. Nepotism is how wealth grows. There is nothing wrong with that. But knowing that there’s a community that has literally, intentionally been disconnected from all of the sources of wealth generationally, we need access to those resources. We need people who are willing to say, “Oh you need this? Here’s my connection. Here are my resources. Here is the knowledge. Here is how you XYZ and I’m going to walk you through it,” as if we were there own family. Because it’s through those connections that business grows and moves. It’s through those connections that your first one, two, three, four or five clients can come who are paying you money to get you off the ground. In our community, you’re trying it on your own from nothing every time. And it is an uphill battle from the bottom of a very steep hill that most people aren’t starting from that bottom. And I’m not saying because of non-access to personal resources, because there’s individual wealth in the black community, but even if you have the money to start your own business, all of the other things involved with connecting yourself into the economy, you’ve got to get plugged in. And if you’re not starting off with access to all those resources to get you plugged in to the folks who have the answers to questions or the resources you need to succeed or those first clients who need what you’ve got, you’re starting off dead in the water.
Yeah, absolutely. And just understanding that difference and how we can help each other, I think is a really big thing. I think it’s all about communication. And access. It’s like Dr. Claude Anderson, like his steps. We have to start with that economy level. And it’s all the resources. And then you can start to excel to the other places, right?

Yes. Absolutely.

And so we’re all there, and I think that what– I think it’s changing in certain groups, but what I think that people don’t understand is if we help each other, we all rise.

Yes. Indeed. I mean, if you just think about– all right. If there’s three times as much unemployment in the black community as every other community, and I talk to people about this as well sometimes when I’m trying to get them to see a shift in mindset around race relations, right? I show them these statistical disparities, and then I ask the question of, do you believe that there’s something inherently broken about black people that inherently makes us inferior as humans such that we are so self-destructive and incapable? And they’re like, “No.” Okay. So then if you believe that we all come out of the womb equally capable of great things, then there must be some other factor in play that is generationally making this group of people not perform like everybody else. So either you are literally a racist and you think, “Well, it’s just their fault. They’re less capable,” or you have to acknowledge, “No. There is an intervening factor.” We need to find the roots of those intervening factors and we need to start breaking those barriers down so that this group can function the same as every other group. We’ll have our own criminal element like everyone else does, and we’ll have our entrepreneurs, and we’ll have our workers, and we’ll have our– everything else. But if we’re in a world where we would say that statistically based on per capita, we should have about the same average amount of whatever type of thing whether it’s good or bad in the community. If you notice there’s a community that’s not performing the same as everyone else, and you believe that all people start out the same, you have to then logically go to the place of, what are the interventions that are preventing these folks from performing? Let’s find them, let’s get rid of them collectively so that they can perform at the level of everyone else so that our economy can grow, so that we have less unemployment, we have less crime, we have fewer people in prisons, we have a flourishing society, and we are that Ronald Reagan beacon on the hill the rest of the world can look and say, “I want to go there because anybody, including those of us who were either brought here or those of us who were killed and pushed away who are here, anybody can come here and they’re going to be able to succeed with hard work.” That needs to eventually become true, and that requires self-reflection as a nation. What are the barriers that we still have in place that are preventing this from happening?

And it takes more people who look like me to speak out when they see injustice and when the media is being racist, just flat out racist, with what they cover and what they choose not to cover, and when the messaging doesn’t mesh up with reality, which happens a lot. And when all of those pieces, when we all talk to the people who are in power and say, “This isn’t acceptable anymore. I’m not going to buy from you. I’m not going to watch your TV [laughter],” whatever it is. These things all add up. And then also it’s about supporting each other in business, whether it’s with resources, or buying from each other as a small business owner and saying, “Yeah. I believe in what you’re doing here, and I’m going to buy from you, and I’m going to help you in any way that I can, whether it’s taking you to a networking event with me or connecting you with somebody I know in your field or anything.” All of those small steps, they lead to big results. They’re so critical to helping people get what’s theirs.

Yeah. Yeah. The first time we talked, we talked a lot about that privilege, right, and use of it. We haven’t even talked about that [laughter].

Oh yeah [laughter].

But you brought it up, right? The dirty word of privilege, but I think it’s because a lot of folks abuse it and they try to use the word privilege to make people feel guilty rather than to use it as an empowering thing. Privilege means I get access to things other people don’t just simply by being, and recognizing that that’s a reality is the first step. And then the next thing is, now that I know I have access to these things, what am I going to do with that access? Who am I going to serve with my privilege? And we talked about this before. I talk about privilege from the standpoint of myself. I am a black man in the United States. I am 6’3. I used to be a Marine. I have been an athlete my entire life. I am almost 40 and I look great. People like tall people. People like attractive people. I have lighter skin, which means I’m less of a threat. I went to private schools, which means I speak whatever kind of English America believes that I should be speaking, right? None of those things I had control of. I had no control over my genetics. I had no control over the fact that I had parents who sacrificed to put me through private schools. I had no control over any of those particular factors. And yet because of that implicit bias you talked about, when someone sees me, they are more likely to want to engage with me maybe not because of the black part of it, but all those other things are working in my favor. And so I get access to places and things with a lot less work than a lot of other black people do or a lot of women do or even black women do, right? And so when I have that privilege, when I have that access, who am I going to serve? Am I going to go in there, take the knowledge, come back, build my thing, and say, “You all need to figure it out,” or am I going to go in there, grab the knowledge, come back, build a podcast, teach people for free so that they can start building and growing as well? Privilege is power, but you need to have people who recognize first that it exists – it’s not a dirty word – and when you recognize you have it, now you start trying to figure out what places can I get into [laughter]? What can I learn while in there or who can I bring with me? And it almost becomes the scavenger hunt of how can use this today to serve somebody?

Yeah. I mean, I became aware of privilege before it was a word that was used, right, because I was treated different at Peace Corps because I wasn’t Kazakh or Russian. But the place that I start when people get all however they get about privilege, because people do get upset, is that I just look at them especially white people usually [laughter], and I’m like, “How many times every day do you think about your race?” And white people never do. I don’t have to think about my race. I’m a woman. I [inaudible] a joint to make sure that there’s no creepy dudes around, and if I’m going to my car at night I’m checking everything, which is something that a lot of men I don’t think have to do, but I don’t think about my race. I’ve never been tailed in a grocery store because of my color, because people just automatically assume that I’m going to steal. I’ve never had these different experiences. And I think that when you just start with that, like how often do you think about the color of your skin? Because that’s privilege. If you don’t have to think about it, that’s privilege. And you can just look at it from that perspective, and it takes out the, “But I grew up poor and I grew up–” because it’s really about what you have to think about.


What you’re worried about on the daily. And if you don’t have to think about certain things, that’s privilege. And then it’s like, okay, what are you going to do with that? Because you do get access to other things– I’m short, but I’m pretty spunky, so I can typically [laughter] weasel my way into things. But I’m white. And I mean, look at me. Look at [laughter]– I’m sure that you got the request for a podcast guest and you’re like, “What could this person want to talk to me about [laughter]?”

No. No. I actually looked and then I looked at your bio and I said, “I want to talk to her [laughter].”

But I mean, it’s– I’m just saying, it’s unusual, I think, for someone to be as passionate about equity as I am, and it’s because once I saw how bad it sucked, I was like, “I don’t want other people to feel that. That’s terrible.” And then it’s slowly building into speaking out when I see situations, and just having these conversations and reminding other people, “Has that ever happened to you [laughter]?”


And so I’m trying to be that person in my cohort, but, man, it’s– there are a lot of people that don’t really seem to want to listen sometimes, and–


–so you just keep trying.

So it’s funny, when we first talked and you talked about your experience in the Peace Corps, that’s another one of those groups of people, right? You’ve got mothers of children of color, and then you have typically bros who are hanging out with one of their Black bro and they get pissed off when the Black bro gets treated unfairly. But then you have white people, male or female, who have spent time serving the world outside of these borders. And they have seen and experienced life outside these borders. Usually, when I talk to someone who is as passionate about breaking these things down as you are, it’s because they went out and they either experienced from the other side, or they went out and they saw what unbridled racism looks like. And then they come back, and it’s funny, when you’ve seen it without a cover on it and then you come back to the United States, even though there’s a cover on it, you still see it. Because now, you actually you know the lingo. You know the code words. There’s something in the Black community we call code-switching which is, as I’m talking to you right now, [Jenn?], I feel really comfortable with you, but I’m not being completely [Gerald?], right? When I go home to Arkansas and I am with my family and we are sitting around playing dominoes and spades until 2:00 in the morning, this isn’t the voice you get. And it’s not that I’m putting on a show for you, but it’s just ingrained in my being, this is how you engage with the world, and then this is how you get to engage when you just take it all off and relax. And racism works that way, too. America has put a code into our language in the way that we talk about and with other people to where you know this is the real thing behind what I’m saying if you know the code. And if you don’t–


–know the code, you just think this is normally how people talk. But when you’ve gone out and you’ve served the world and you’ve seen racism and you’ve seen it [without?] out the cloak on it, and then you come back to a place where there’s a cloak, but the code is there and you’ve already cracked the code, you’re like, “Man, this is jacked up. I see what’s going on here.” And the person next to you is just like, “There’s nothing going on. What are you talking about?” And [laughter]–


Yeah. No. And it’s so funny. So, yeah, I mean, I’ve had that experience. The other thing that there’s a code for in this country that I didn’t realize until I was out of it for a significant period of time is we like to act like we don’t have a lot of corruption here. And I lived someplace where, I mean, the corruption was just out. I mean–

It’s just there.

It is just there. The police–

Why are we still sitting here? He’s waiting for his bribe.

Yes, exactly [laughter]. We would be like– so we would take vans back and forth to the city, right? And there’d be a police officer and you’d see him and I’m like, “Oh god, he just wants a bribe.” So he waves the guy over and the driver, as he’s slowing down, is grabbing his wallet because he knows that there’s nothing– he just wants money.


And it happened again and again and again. And it was similar to my experiences around equity over there. It was like, at first, I’m shocked, and then I’m mad, and then I have to break down [laughter] why I’m mad and then reverse engineer it to be like, “Oh, yeah, we’ve got all that stuff. It just looks different.” And then you begin to see it and how it plays out in other places. And it’s kind of another part of the privilege, right, is that corruption and [inaudible] that I can get away with it.


And part of that is about having that power and realizing it. I think one of the biggest things that disappoints me about the United States is when I travel, there are so few Americans out there. And I think that people need to get out and they need to see more of the world, and I think that’s a way that we build more understanding back home is when people travel and see things and have experiences. And I mean, almost half the people here don’t even have a passport. And I’m like, “Wow. What are you going to do if something happens [laughter]?”


Got to get out. And so if there’s one thing that people can do, it is travel and have those experiences because it changes your perception.

It does.

It changes your reality. And then it’s also just being awake and seeing things for what they are.

Yeah. The flipside of that in the Black community, there’s a lot of people who are trying to get younger kids and get them more experiences out of the country. Traveling to go experience things because especially as a Black American, getting out of this country shows you that you can. So many people never even leave their neighborhood of the city they’re born in their entire life. And so that’s the only reality you know. One trip out, even a lot of times just to another city in the country, is enough to break somebody out and see there’s more out here for me. And that’s one of the things that’s needed to break that mental block in a lot of young Black people’s minds is it just takes seeing that there’s another opportunity out there than the one that you were born into a lot of times to just trigger the creativity, the passion, the drive. It’s hard to have those things if you’ve never either been told or shown that there’s another way. And I’m not just saying towards either bad or good, but just there’s another way other than just saying, “I’ve got to get a good job and I got to get married and I got to raise my kids in this city that I was born in.” That’s not the only option. Go out [how to?] experience the world and then start thinking about how you can make an impact on it. Travel is so, so very important to young people just to– because that’s when their minds are most malleable. That’s when the best ideas come. And so many people– it’s not just black. It’s all different colors just–


–make it all the way through adulthood without ever having had the chance to dream or to scheme about how they could make an impact [laughter].

And I think that’s a perfect bridge to talking about your work because I think that you do a lot of helping people see those possibilities. I think travel, definitely among kids, opens people’s minds to possibilities. But I think you do that with the people that you work with.

Indeed. So my coaching as a business coach, I’ve launched a coaching program called And DOPE is an acronym, stands for define your strategic objectives, organize your business model around your lifestyle, prioritize your workstreams to automate, delegate, and outsource what you can, and then execute your role as a chief executive of your business. And I started this because of doing a podcast. Over the course of the last year and a half, I’ve interviewed almost 50 business owners. I’ve had emails and then conversations with dozens more. And they’re hungry. They’re passionate. But like a lot of business owners regardless of race or gender, they start a business because they’re passionate about something. They’re really good at something. They want to serve people doing it. And the problem with doing that successfully is that, eventually, you have so many people who want your service that you have to actually run a business. And a lot of them either don’t have a business background or don’t know how to make that transition from self-employed to being a CEO. And that takes structure, that takes building the right pieces in places so that your business can be an entity in and of itself that works whether you’re in the office or not.

And so I started my program specifically to hit those business owners who’ve been doing it for a few years. They’re successful but they’re in the business all the time. They’re missing their kids’ events because they’re on the phone or they just can’t be there. They’re not present on vacations if they take them at all, and family life is suffering. Business might be doing good. But if you can’t step away from it ever, eventually something’s going to break. So I want to see people win. I want to see business owners win. And winning in business eventually means being able to make money without physically having to be at the helm all the time. And that doesn’t start once you have a medium or a full large company. That starts literally with the structure you put in place at the very beginning. So that’s what my program is about. I know it says business plan, but it’s not about the business plan. It’s not about writing some 15-page document you’re never going to use. It’s really about the business model and getting the right structure around the business and then building in the pieces so that I can actually just go enjoy life with my family and it keeps working.

Yes. Yes [laughter]. Absolutely. I think that’s what– even when I started, I was like, “Yeah. I want to be sitting on a beach somewhere just watching the money come in [laughter].” I mean, I think it’s good. Even if you have some service delivery direct with clients, it’s always good to leverage into other places where you don’t have to be there because things happen. Life happens and you do need to be present for your family and your friends.

Well, and a lot of business owners really– within their business model structure, they don’t think about how they make money. Right? They start out just saying, “We just need to serve clients and we need to make money,” and it’s all very transactional. Right? They don’t think about structuring in how do I first move from transactional to recurring, right? And then once I’ve moved from transactional to recurring, how do I move from recurring to passive? And it’s a big thing nowadays, create passive income. Passive, passive, passive income. Right? But passive income doesn’t come day one. Passive income is something that you structure to eventually get to. I’ll use myself as an example because I love transparency. This Dope Business Plan program, I’m focused on the experienced business owner right now because it’s a coaching program and we’re going to get together for group coaching periodically on video conference calls where I record those calls, and as I go through that with my coaching clients and those recordings those are going to eventually become a self-paced course that you can just buy and you can watch the videos on your own time and get the same value and make the changes in your business if you don’t want to spend as much money on group coaching. So you start out by creating a transactional relationship; I coach you one time, you’re better. Hopefully, on the backside of that you see, “Hey, I still need this guy’s advice,” and you put me on a retainer and every month you’re paying me a certain amount of money just so you can call and ask my questions and I make sure that you keep getting better. Right? So transactions are recurring but I’m creating the content as I go along so that on the backside I can put it all together in a course and just say, “Come to this site, this is what you need. It is proven. Buy it from me. Here’s the money, here’s the course. I have nothing to do with that.” And that’s passive income. But you structure from day one to eventually get here and that’s exactly what the Dope Business Plan is about; structuring for that eventual hands-off business.

Which is fantastic because what you’re also getting if you structure that in from the beginning is– and I’m sure that you’re finding this, right? With group coaching, you’re getting that feedback. So you’re collecting information, you’re getting data from the people you’re working with, so then actually future group programs are better and your online program is also better. I mean, it’s truly leveraging everything; all of your expertise, all of what you’re hearing from people, into a product that you don’t have to be present for and that is beautiful [laughter].


That’s what everybody needs to be aspiring to, especially since more and more I think people want to just buy things online and do it themselves.

Yes. And that’s really our 21st-century economy. Since the financial breakdown in 2008, so many people just said, “I’m done with this,” and this whole economy has blown up, but now– it’s [inaudible], we’ve got to refine it. There’s a lot of not real people out there who are just wasting people’s money and time. We’ve got to refine this economy so that it’s a structured way of going about the business of eventually getting to that passive income by delivering value.

I think that’s great. Do you have anything to offer? How can we go get the Dope Business Plan?

Yeah, so the first question I have for you is when will this likely be airing? Within the next how long?

Couple of weeks.

Okay, good. So we’ll be good by then [laughter]. So right now I have an actual ebook in production that is called “Five Low-Cost Automation Tools to Transform Your Small Business” and I’d love to do a whole other podcast about a really easy way to put together a valuable ebook because I did this process and I had it built in a week. But right now it’s out on Fiverr getting made pretty. But yeah, so “Five Low-Cost Automation Tools to Transform Your Small Business”, you will be able to get that at No dashes in between, just G E T T H E B O O K. The regular main page is and then, for me, you can reach out to me on any social media site that’s normal. I’m not on Snapchat or any of that stuff, but all of my socials are the same. It’s G W Jones I I on all the socials and my email is

And we’ll put all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. I’ve had so much fun. I’m hoping, yes, we will talk about ebooks or whatever you want. You’re welcome to come back any time.

I would love that. So I went through this process, it was so quick I said, “Oh, I have a 25-page book and it only took me a day. This is awesome.” So, yeah, I would love to come back and share what I learned with that because, like I said, I love helping people win.

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