10 Instagram Accounts to Follow for Inspiration

Whether it’s a rainy Monday morning and you’re lacking the motivation to get out of bed, or you’re browsing the internet during your lunch break, these are the top 10 Instagram accounts to follow when you’re searching for motivation and inspiration.

10 Instagram Accounts to Follow for Inspiration

 

@gopro

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 13.9M

This is the official GoPro Instagram account, which ranks as #98 on Instagram’s Top 100 accounts, with over three million followers. GoPro is the world’s most versatile cameras– you can wear it anywhere. Whether you’re diving underwater, sky diving, or enjoying a ride at the amusement park, this camera won’t fall off and it will capture every minute of your experience. The pictures on this Instagram account are a definite adrenaline rush and will make you want to get up and going. They feature amazing scenes from all over the world that will make your jaw drop, and is at the top of the list for a reason.

 

@earthpix

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 13.1M

These pictures are taken from all over the world, and are stunningly beautiful and edited. With over 13 million followers, this account deserves a follow. Some of the pictures featured include a landscape in Santorini, Greece, a bird’s eye view of Niagara Falls, a winter sunset in Alaska, an underwater shot of a sea turtle swimming in Hawaii, and the huts in Bora Bora, among many others that will amaze you.

 

@charitywater

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

 

Followers: 381k

These beautiful pictures of children in Africa who need clean drinking water will melt your heart and motivate you to help change the world and to be thankful for your life. Charity Water is a non-profit organization where the goal is to bring clean drinking water to every person in the world. The pictures are truly amazing, showing a young boy smiling with a cup of clean water, and other children in third world countries, happy to be getting help.

 

@humansofny

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 7.8M

This account is called Humans of New York and provides us with glimpses into everyday people in New York City. Each picture comes with a story. Brandon Stanton began Humans of New York in 2010 and his mission was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and put the pictures on a map. Along the way, the journey changed. Brandon was receiving short stories and quotes from everyone he met. With almost 8 million followers on social media, now #HONY has a worldwide audience. It is also now a # bestselling book. Follow this account for miraculous stories that will change you and inspire you every day.

 

@thegoodquote

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 14.1M

“Your home for positive typographic quotes, spreading good vibes worldwide.” With over 14 million followers, @thegoodquote definitely is the account to follow for positive messages and quotes. One of the best quotes on the page is “Give what you want to receive. If you want happiness, make others happy.” Another quote is also inspiring, “Keep the faith, keep working hard, and great things will come.”

 

@luxuryworldtraveler

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 2.7M

“Exploring the planet one country at a time. With over 2,500 posts to scroll through, the images are astonishingly beautiful and will definitely inspire one to want to travel the world and chase your dreams. From a rooftop in Bali and Indonesia to the view from the world’s tallest building in the Burj Khalifa, this account never disappoints.

 

@eatmoveinspire

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 42.5k

This account promotes self love, soul inspiration, and spiritual health. 500 posts of short quotes and pictures will motivate you to grow, love yourself, and don’t be so hard on yourself. There are also delicious recipes featured.

 

 

 

@cachafaz

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers : 31.2k

This Instagram provides insight into the lives of homeless people. The purpose of this is to help them realize their dreams and make them a reality. Pachi Tamer would photograph hundreds of homeless people and befriend them. Not too long after, she started an online project and turned the project into a non-profit organization called One Dollar Dreams. This account is remarkable because the pictures aren’t just purely for entertainment, they are also to help a cause. Tamer encourages people to donate just one dollar.

 

@thepositiveminds

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 120k

“You gotta keep your head up.†The posts are all inspiring and often times funny, along with beautiful landscapes which are occasionally uploaded. Follow this account to add a dose of positivity to your day.

 

 

 

@happsters

Instagram Accounts to Follow

(Instagram)

Followers: 16,051

“Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.” This account has been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine and Self magazine. With over 424 posts,it targets those who want happy inspiration. “There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.”

-Editor’s Note: This has been updated since its original publish date of November 7, 2014

The post 10 Instagram Accounts to Follow for Inspiration appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Our Audience Offers 21 Ways the WNBA Could Up Game Attendance

A’ja Wilson, a WNBA player for the Las Vegas Aces, recently took to social media to complain about the pay gap between NBA players and those in the WNBA.

Wilson’s comments stirred a vigorous conversation on social media and the sports world about the wage discrepancy between male and female basketball players. Wilson made the comments after LeBron James signed a four-year, $154 million contract with the Lakers.

Even the most skilled WNBA players make just a fraction of what an NBA player who is benched for a majority of the season can earn. Reigning WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles, for instance, earned $109,000 last year. In comparison, NBA 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook made a whopping $28.5 million. Meanwhile, Leandro Barbosa earned $500,000 in the 2017-18 NBA season despite being waived by the Phoenix Suns in July, reports Forbes. As a result, Barbosa will earn nearly five times Fowles’ earnings even though he is no longer playing for the Suns.

Many make the claim that the WNBA players are paid less because they do not draw the same attention and attendance as the NBA. While attendance has been improving over the years since the league’s inception in 1996, getting fans into seats still remains an issue. The Washington Post reported:

WNBA games averaged 7,716 fans per game in 2017, the highest number in six years but far from a significant improvement. WNBA games haven’t averaged 8,000 fans per game since 2009, and the 2017 figure was down 28.9% from the league’s all-time high attendance in 1998, which was the WNBA’s second season.

We solicited our audience to offer ideas to increase attendance at WNBA games. Here are some suggestions (these are posted verbatim from Instagram with some light editing for clarity):

– Team with NBA on promotions, social media, shout-outs, community events, and other involvements.

– Live streaming, community activations, and global initiatives.

– Unique and more involved half-time shows.

– Figure out a way to involve hip hop or the black culture. For example, give Beyonce and Jay-Z side seats.

– Play before the men’s (NBA) games.

– Lower the rims to 8.5 feet, so more players could play above the rim.

– Play satellite games in other cities where multiple games occur, lots of prizes and guest interaction.

– Open to foreign countries.

– Look at smaller venues.

– Sell tickets via Instagram.

– Have partnerships with Girl Scouts or Girls Inc. to spread the word.

– [Have] a fan night for aspiring WNBA players in each city where they play.

– Buil[d] a pipeline of young female athletes and provide free tickets to WNBA games.

– [Develop] integrated summer leagues/all-star games so they can develop a stronger fan base that will support them independently.

– Give the ladies real extra financial incentives to ball.

– They need to be featured on networks other than just ESPN.

– Engage older players who have retire[d] to remain involved outside of coaching.

– Half-time entertainment with local celebrity entertainers.

– Go to markets with no sports teams and let them sell the arenas out.

– [Create a] reality show following five of the most interesting/outrageous/intelligent/socially active, etc., players.

– Every WNBA team should have their own touring bus. During some off days and during the off season, drive this bus into neighborhoods in your respective city, where the players will get out and meet the fans, offer giveaways, and shoot arounds.

 

-Selena Hill contributed to this report. 

 

 

 

 

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Report: Nope, Not the Smartphone. Radio Is No. 1 Audio Platform for Black People

A new Nielsen report reveals that when it comes to content platforms, radio is No.1 for black and Hispanic consumers.

Nielsen’s Audio Today report analyzes the audio habits of black and Hispanic audiences. It found over 75 million black and Hispanic listeners tune-in to radio each week; that’s a breakdown of 92% of black consumers and 96% of Hispanics.

Surprisingly, perhaps, radio is more of what is referred to in the report as a “reach vehicle” than the smartphone. For 81% of blacks and 80% of Hispanics, their smartphone serves as their main device for consuming audio content.

Another interesting revelation—blacks and Hispanics are more likely to use smart speakers and audio streaming services than white consumers. Nineteen percent of blacks versus 18% of whites have a smart speaker in their household. Smart speakers can range from Bluetooth devices from vendors such as JBL and Sony; to smart home assistants such as Google Home and the Apple Homepod.

Fifty-two percent of blacks use audio streaming services including Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Pandora, Apple Music, Soundcloud, etc., versus 40% of whites.

radio

(Nielsen)

The report also delves deeper into black people’s radio habits. On average, blacks listen to 13 hours and 32 minutes of radio per week. Most of that listening is done from 3 PM–7 PM, Monday–Friday during the work commute home.

Overall, urban adult contemporary is the No. 1 radio format listened to by blacks in all age groups. Generation Z and millennials favor urban contemporary over all other formats. The top five advertisers vying the most for the ears of black consumers are McDonald’s at No. 1, and then Comcast Xfinity, Optima Tax Relief, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS, respectively.

Radio has been one of the fastest and perhaps most welcoming platforms for black voices, especially during times when it was rare to see African Americans on television or in the movies, other than negative portrayals. Brian Ward, a University of Florida history professor, says that “black radio stations and disc jockeys often were as important as ministers and politicians in mobilizing support for the civil rights movement of the 1960s.”

Black wealth has also been made via radio. Berry Gordy created what was one of the nation’s largest black businesses for many years as well as the careers of iconic music stars with the Motown sound.

And Cathy Hughes took Radio One and built it into a multimedia empire, Urban One Inc. with annual revenues of more than $400 million.

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Queen Latifah To Fund and Produce Movies For Independent Female Filmmakers

Still a few years shy of 50, Queen Latifah has already racked up a lifetime of achievements that include a Grammy, Emmy, and a Golden Globe Award. Throughout her illustrious career, the hip-hop pioneer has stood as a powerful voice for women and used her platform to help others advance in male-dominated industries. Now Latifah is turning it up another notch by helping women crack the glass ceiling in Hollywood by funding and producing two independent projects created by women.

“We’ll choose two people who will have their scripts made [and] financed from A to Z. When it’s time to be distributed, we will get distribution whether it’s theatrical or whether it’s through Netflix, Hulu, or whatever outlet is appropriate for the film. We will market and promote [it] as well,” said the 48-year-old actress and musician on Friday at a private dinner sponsored by Proctor & Gamble’s “My Black is Beautiful” campaign and held during the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The projects will be produced by The Queen Collection, a new initiative created by Proctor & Gamble and Latifah’s production company Flavor Unit. In addition to handling the funding, production, distribution, and marketing of the projects, Latifah herself, will offer the women guidance and mentorship.

To continue reading, head to The Shadow League. 

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There’s a Finance Podcast for the Ladies Hosted by Angela Yee and More

We can all attest to being in a financial rut at some point in our lives. Well, if you are still there, three amazing ladies have teamed up to create a podcast for you. Turn your attention to Exhibit A: Color Full Lives hosted by, The Breakfast Club’s radio co-host Angela Yee, My Fab Finance’s Tonya Rapley, who has graced our cover and Call Your Girlfriend podcast host, Aminatou Sow. These women are having the very uncomfortable conversations around finance that will hopefully help us all get in formation.

One conversation, of many, took place during this year’s 2018 Essence Festival panel, “Candid Finance Conversation with StateFarm.” The ladies talked very candidly about their own journeys to financial freedom while sharing tips with the audience, helping us all understand why it’s so important to be financially fit.

podcast

L to R: Aminatou Sow, Angela Yee, Tonya Rapley, and Moderator (Image: Instagram)

 

“I wanted to be able to empower myself and empower others through conversations likes these,” said Yee in a recent post from Essence. The radio personality also owns a Brooklyn juice bar and hosts her own podcast, Lip Service. “I used to worry about things like retirement and thinking I had to wait until I had a husband to buy a house. I was able to go ahead and become a homeowner on my own.”

“If money isn’t right then things don’t move. Money gives you that peace of mind and helps you to plan for future generations whether that’s your kids, nieces, nephews, god kids, neighbors, whoever,” Rapley shared with Essence.

The overarching theme for the podcast is to empower listeners with the blueprint for financial well-being and additionally, Rapley shares these tips daily through her platform, My Fab Finance, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennial women change their money story and as she states, become their own fabulous.

“We’re just three women figuring it out just like you,” added Sow. “We’re wanting to keep ourselves accountable and stay accountable to each other, buy homes, pay off debt, learn how to invest.”

Color Full Lives in now in Season 4 can be heard in full here.

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First Black Woman on ‘America’s Test Kitchen’ And Her Mission For Women Chefs of Color

As the first woman of color on America’s Test Kitchen—a PBS TV cooking show, Elle Simone, doesn’t view her “test cook” role as just a job. She believes it’s part of her life’s mission to advance the representation for women of color and provide them with a platform for mentorship, sisterhood, and job placement in the culinary world. “Through my social enterprise SheChef, I’m most proud of the women chefs that I’ve been able to mentor directly, said Simone. Their products are on the shelves of Whole Foods, they’re cooking for celebrities, and food styling with Food52.

“I would like to see the full dismantling of the “good old boys club” ideologies. The ones that condone mental, verbal, and emotional abuse as a measure of gaining respect or shaping chefs. I want more support for those who are choosing to go against the grain of these concepts in order to create positive kitchen cultures. I would love to see our male counterparts stop pretending that it’s such a phenomenon that women chefs are equally capable, and often more so, in the kitchen.”

As a culinary activist, Simone is also passionate about creating safe spaces for all women. “The culinary industry is no stranger to the types of behaviors that spearheaded the “#MeToo movement” and since women are largely the minority of our industry, it is easy for us to slip under the radar,” she said. I’ve always felt that women chefs, especially those of color, needed a place for support and guidance; figuring out how and what that looked like, became a priority for me. I believe it’s great to create beautiful content and create social settings for women chefs but what good is any of that if we don’t feel safe, affirmed, and represented?

Below, Simone shares her insight on how she plans to bridge the culture cap for women of color in the culinary world.

Talk about your role on America’s Test Kitchen.

On the PBS show, America’s Test Kitchen, my role is that of a test cook. The test cooks at ATK work long hours to test and develop recipes to get them to the level of perfection that the company strives for. On the show, the test cook shares with the host some of the challenges of the recipe and the ways in which they overcame those challenges in testing; essentially, making all the mistakes so that the ‘home cook” doesn’t have to. I’m also the food stylist for all the food on ATK TV and our secondary show, Cook’s Country.

What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in the culinary industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?

This year, I moderated two very important panels on the “good old boys club” topic. The first was offered by SheChef Inc. at SXSW in Austin, Texas, about how women create and curate culinary careers. Our panelist were women who have used their unique career paths to start their own food business and how they’ve been able to foster positive kitchen cultures. The latter was with WCR (Women Chefs & Restaurateurs) Conference in Minnesota, where we discussed ways in which women chefs can speak up and show up for each other; reinforcing and strengthening our leadership voices and skills. People can feel exhausted from hearing these conversations time and time again, especially over a long period of time. But my feeling is that until the culinary industry is safe and fully inclusive, the dialogue should continue.

You’re in the midst of launching the Art of the Hustle Event Series for people pursuing culinary endeavors, what’s the purpose behind those events?

These events are a place where women in culinary can have a platform to teach and share about ways they have become successful and also share the mindsets and actions that may have hindered them. The goal is for everyone to walk away with several new ideas to implement that can help sustain their business. I always hope that networking will happen but I’m hoping for a sisterhood that will become the pulse and vein of SheChef Inc.

What’s the one thing you wish you had known before going into the culinary world?

I wish I had known that there are many paths that can be taken in this industry. You don’t have to be a restaurant chef! You can be a purchaser of a food distributing company, you can be a food stylist, you can be a nutritionist! I wish someone would’ve told me that the possibilities were endless, perhaps also that as a black woman, it’d be a bit more difficult but that despite that, I could do anything I wanted.

 

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‘You Sleep When You Die’ is Foolishness

There is a popular phrase in the entrepreneurship community regarding sleep. Quotes like, “you sleep when you die” and trending hashtags highlighting #teamnosleep have both had a strong presence. People have been verbalizing these phrases as if they are gospel, but these statements are very dangerous. No one can function at their optimal performance without sleep and if you aren’t getting enough of it, it can lead to serious health issues. On average, a human needs up to seven hours of sleep per night.

So, what if you are of that subset of people who are trying to go to sleep but, your mind is racing with thoughts surrounding the next product feature you need to launch for your app in beta or how you’re going to increase your customer base tenfold for your newly formulated startup? Well, there’s a sleep therapy mask for that. It’s called the Sound Oasis Glo to Sleep and it’s designed to quiet all of those racing thoughts that you can’t seem to shush before going to bed.

As a creative, I constantly have this problem, so I decided to try it. The way that it works is you place the goggles on your face and strap in. At first glance, they look a lot like Virtual Reality goggles, but they don’t feel that way. They are soft, fluffy and beyond comfortable. Once they’re on, you turn on the device and it triggers a blue light. You can program it to stay on for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. This light allows you to focus your mind until your thoughts quite themselves enough to fall to sleep and that they did. In what felt like less than five to 10 minutes, I was sound to sleep.

GTS2000 - Glo to Sleep (Image: Sound Oasis)

GTS2000 – Glo to Sleep (Image: Sound Oasis)

In addition to this version, there is a more complex version called the Illumy which has a much broader feature set. You can program the mask to an app and set up times that will gently dim the light to help you fall asleep and gently brighten the light to help you wake up naturally. The light mimics the sunrise and sunset. The more advanced mask comes with a durable case for all you travelers out there.

For more info on the Glo to Sleep mask, click here.

 
 

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Power Couple Creates Unique Travel Experience for AfroPunk

AfroPunk has gained worldwide popularity for its music festival that celebrates black alternative culture, music, and art across three continents and five cities. The annual concert features a collective of indie acts and headliners like Solange, Lenny Kravitz, Lauryn Hill, and funk legend George Clinton. Now, the global live events company is expanding into the black travel movement space thanks to a new partnership with The Runaway Experience, a black-owned travel company that specializes in curating cultural experiences, connections, and adventures.

The Runaway Experience

The Runaway Experience was created in 2015 by Jeff Belizaire and Kalisa Martin, a couple that met at church and started dating in 2013. At the time, Belizaire was a marketing executive who spearheaded campaigns for major brands like Boost Mobile, T.I.’s AKOO Clothing line, and McDonald’s. Meanwhile, Martin, a classically trained chef, was navigating a successful career in food science and media, making appearances on the Today show and Good Morning America. However, their lives took a drastic turn in March 2014 when they booked a last-minute getaway to the Caribbean to escape a harsh New York City snowstorm. “Have you ever gone on vacation and said to yourself, ‘I could live here?’ On a trip to Jamaica, Kalisa and I entertained that idea—and actually went through with it,” Belizaire told Black Enterprise in an email. “During the long weekend, the idea of [opening a bed and breakfast] came up and we thought, ‘Why not? It could happen, and it could happen right here in Jamaica.’”

AfroPunk

Jeff Belizaire and Kalisa Martin (Photo Credit: Sean Munro)

Four months later, the couple quit their jobs, relocated to Jamaica, and leaped head first into entrepreneurship in pursuit of their passion for food, culture, and travel. Together, they launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised nearly $47,000 as seed capital for their business idea. They then used the funding to launch their first outpost called The Runaway Jamaica, a community-oriented luxury bed and breakfast, in November 2015. “Kalisa and I made history by becoming the first successfully crowdfunded hospitality brand in the world,” says Belizaire.

The Runaway Jamaica brand became a huge success and eventually outgrew the four walls of the B&B. “In response to overwhelming demand, we were compelled to expand and host experiences all over the world,” he said. So, in 2017, they closed the B&B and launched The Runaway Experience, which hosts all-inclusive experiences for group travelers and partners with locally owned B&Bs and villas. The first pop-up destinations were in Cuba and Bali. The third will be in Brooklyn, New York, for the upcoming AfroPunk Festival in August.

The Runway AfroPunk Experience

“We’re excited to enhance AFROPUNK Brooklyn by creating a travel experience that connects festivalgoers with the community and highlights the most exciting black-owned galleries, boutiques, and restaurants,” says Belizaire. The five-day, four-night experience includes a pop-up dinner with Bravo TV’s Top Chef finalist Chris Scott, an art tour led by art critic Jessica Lynne, a boutique shopping tour featuring fashion designer Debbie Hardy, and VIP tickets to see all of the acts at AfroPunk Brooklyn. This year’s performers include Erykah Badu, Miguel, and Janelle Monae.

black travel

Jeff Belizaire and Kalisa Martin (Photo Credit: Sean Munro)

Belizaire says the partnership between The Runway Experience and AfroPunk developed through his organic relationships with AfroPunk co-founders Matthew Morgan and Jocelyn Cooper. “Matthew and Jocelyn have been longtime supporters of The Runaway Experience since its successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014,” he said, adding that the two brands share common values. “Through the years, a mutual interest in collaboration formed. When The Runaway Experience decided to launch a domestic travel experience, it made sense to partner with AFROPUNK. Together we created The Runaway AFROPUNK Experience to spotlight Brooklyn’s diversity, encourage cultural exchange, and to give Brooklyn festivalgoers an opportunity to form meaningful connections with the community.”

(Wikimedia Commons)

This first-of-its-kind partnership will enable festivalgoers to connect with local communities through meticulously curated events, unforgettable dining experiences, and more. Belizaire says the strategic partnership also “further signals the rising tide of the black travel movement, which combats the stereotype that black people don’t travel when indeed the sector comprises a $48 billion market.”

 

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Obama Foundation Hires Diversity Consultant Amid CBA Dispute With Local Acticvists

The Obama Foundation has hired a diversity consultant that will monitor and enforce the Obamas’ pledge of ensuring that contracting and employment in the construction of the Obama Presidential Center is as diverse as possible.

Ernest R. Sawyer Enterprises Inc., the Chicago firm chosen, will “set out the commitments and other strategies related to diverse and local contracting, and the hiring of local residents and other underrepresented communities to be part of the OPC construction workforce.”

In May, having rejected community activists’ calls for a community benefits agreement (CBA), the foundation released the Obama Foundation Community Commitments, which outlines specific commitments that the foundation has made regarding jobs, economic impact, preservation of parkland, youth engagement, and community resources. A big part of that commitment is the allocation of 51% of construction contracts to black-owned construction companies, marking the first time black firms have scored such a massive opportunity as major players. With construction costs expected to rise up to $350 million, the hiring of a diversity consultant was critical to ensuring that a key piece of the foundation’s diversity commitment to contractors and subcontractors is continually being met at every turn.

Ernest R. Sawyer, who is the founder of the firm, according to the Sun Times, is a former Chicago Transit Authority executive who is also the brother of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer and the uncle of Ald. Rod Sawyer, whose 6th Ward is on the South Side.

Since the announcement of the presidential center, which will be located in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago, local activists have banded together demanding a community benefits agreement that will ensure local residents and businesses are not displaced by the possible gentrification that could come with the project.

A coalition of 19 community activists and groups called The Obama Library South Side Community Benefits Agreement Coalition, wants the Obama Foundation, in partnership with the City of Chicago, to set aside jobs for residents in their local communities, protect low-income housing and home owners, support and create black businesses and strengthen neighborhood schools. Another group, the Bronzeville Regional Collective, has created its own seven-point CBA blueprint for the library development.

“We don’t want to see the South Side become what Lincoln Park was in the ’60s and ’70s. We don’t want that high level of displacement,” Bronzeville Regional Collective member Anton Seals Jr., who is also on the South Shore Planning and Preservation Coalition’s board, told Progress Illinois. “We want to ensure that the community, the working class, the (most) vulnerable among us, the middle class, are all able to have a space in the community they love. And that means that it will become even a safer place once there’s a real economic engine there to help support that.”

But former President Barack Obama has said that there will be no community benefits agreement for the construction of his presidential center, arguing that the whole initiative is a community benefit.

If we sign with one, two, or five organizations, they’re not representing everybody on the South Side. Next thing you know, you’ve got 40 or 50 organizations—all wanting to be decision makers. We’re not going to do that,” he said at a public meeting earlier in the year.

 

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From Barbecue Food Truck Business to Food Network TV Star

Just two years after opening Big Lee’s BBQ food truck in Ocala, Florida, chef Rashad Jones attracted the attention of Food Network star Guy Fieri’s show, Guy’s Big Project. After winning the competition, Jones landed his own show, Eat, Sleep, BBQ. Now, he’s having the time of his life traveling across the country with one of the most influential TV chefs in the country. “I was 37 years old when my TV journey began, said Jones. After almost 40 years of living and succeeding and failing and reflecting, I thought I knew myself really well. I thought I knew my strengths and weaknesses really well. But it’s amazing what happens when you step completely out of your comfort zone. With absolutely no TV experience, I originally felt like I had a pretty slim shot at even making it out of the first round of challenges on Guy’s Big Project. But each day, I felt more and more of this side of myself that I had never seen come to life. My confidence in my abilities grew stronger in front of the camera, in front of Guy Fieri, and I started to finally see that I belonged here.”

In the midst of managing his new TV role and running his thriving business, we caught up with the pitmaster for tips on what it takes to launch a profitable food truck business and maintain a healthy family life.

You’re only open two days a week, but gross five-figure profits each week. Why did you decide to limit the number of days you would be open for business?

We were originally open three days a week. However, my wife and I decided long before we opened that, no matter how successful our business becomes, we would never let it compromise our family and our relationship. Our boys were super young—the youngest just weeks old after we opened for business—and it was becoming a regular occurrence for me to go days without seeing them because of my crazy work schedule. So, we made the decision to only operate on Saturdays. It was hard because there was a demand for what we were doing, but we had faith that making the best decision for our family, as crazy as it seemed, would also be the right move for our business.

This business model would actually prove to be more efficient and profitable than the previous three-day/week schedule. We saw demand continue to grow, but at a pace that exceeded expectations. I definitely think the limited hours inadvertently contributed to this phenomenon. Since then, we’ve added Fridays to our operating schedule and honestly haven’t looked back.

Food Network

photo cred: bigleesbbq Instagram

 

If someone wanted to start a food truck business, what advice or steps would you share with them?

  1.  Know your passion – After you’ve identified the thing that you’re passionate about, learn it. When the barbecue bug bit me, I didn’t stop at playing around on my backyard smoker. This undoubtedly had a tremendous impact on the quality and consistency of my product.
  2. Test your model – Just because you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t mean your passion can be monetized. Long before we bought our food truck, we developed a rough model for our business concept and tested it out. We were cooking the food we wanted to serve on our menu and putting together the boxes that would ultimately become our trademark “lunch boxes” and giving them away via social media. We then asked those recipients to give us their honest feedback online so that we could compile that information and use it to improve our model. We also competed in a local barbecue competition before we opened for business to get some unbiased feedback on our food. We swept the competition, winning the People’s Choice award and a unanimous judges’ decision. This was huge validation and encouragement for us to take a more substantial step toward opening our food truck.
  3.  Be tough – There is a common misconception that running a food truck is easy. That is not true. There are times when you have to wear 10 hats all at the same time. With such a limited space to work in, you have to have ingenuity and creative thinking to maximize your efficiency and productivity.
Food Network

photo cred: bigleesbbq Instagram

Your wife plays a major role in helping you to grow the family business. Plus she’s a mom and Ph.D. at a major institution. What’s the family formula for working together and juggling the demands of a business?

Patrice and I are super ambitious and our personal mission statement is, “live full, die empty.” This mentality is one of the main ingredients in our formula. If you want it, you have to go get it. You have to stoke fires, and trim briskets, and work on dissertations at 3 a.m., and nurse babies, and be in the office for work at 8 a.m. the next morning. Excuses are just not options for us. We also realize that our lives and our union can produce something that our four boys and generations after them can enjoy and continue to finesse.

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