Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Journey with Rufin

Rufin is known in Atlanta for putting on some of the biggest and most creative experiences in the city. But this wasn’t always the case, growing up with immigrant parents from the Congo, Rufin didn’t have the traditional social experience in high school. When he went off to college at The University of Georgia, Rufin started to find his own sense of personality and realized he really enjoyed bringing people together. As a computer science major, Rufin was conflicted when he gained more of an interest as a creative. As he approached senior year, he had a flash of what his life would look like in 5 years if he would continue on this path. He realized the vision that he saw was one of comfort and it just didn’t feel right. Before making his decision to stay in school or follow his entrepreneurial interests, Rufin had an idea to help retain minority students at UGA. And from there he launched Georgia Dazes, when 20 invites for volunteers turned into 120 people showing up, Rufin knew that he was on to something and it was just the validation he needed in his ability to mobilize people and create something from scratch. After Rufin made his decision, he had to figure out how to tell his parents, who believed in the ‘American Dream’ of just going to school and getting a “good” job.

Have you been in the place where your family didn’t understand your passions or had people that didn’t support your entrepreneurial dream? Then tune in and watch Rufin’s story of how he was able to stay authentic to his dreams despite what his family thought was best for him.
Watch This Episode to Learn More

The Journey with Hadi

Michelle met Hadi randomly during one of my excursions through Atlanta. She always remembered him to be so fun and a burst of energy. So when I came across an article in Hypepotamus naming PeachDish as one of the fastest growing meal subscription companies in the country, she had to take some time to speak with him.

When she made her first visit to the PeachDish office, there were only three people a part of the team which has now grown to 50 people. Hadi shared there is no better feeling than creating a great job and a great product. With hopes to manage over 1,000 people some day, Hadi shared some practical tips to manage that many people. So whether you’re managing a team of 5, 5,000 or just yourself, be sure to watch the full episode of The Journey with Hadi.

The Journey with Ryan

Co-founder of The Gathering Spot, Ryan Wilson was named 2017 Business Person of the Year in Atlanta and they recently announced they will be opening their second location in 2018. The Gathering Spot is a private club at its core where they host events, everything from lectures to discussions, coworking space and full restaurant and bar. It has over 500 members and is continuously pushing for the next level. You can’t miss this! Watch the full conversation.


Key takeaways:

  • Set the best possible target for your business, instead of settling based on capital
  • Learn as much about your industry and hire the best people for the areas you aren’t strong in
  • You only have one life- five years from now you don’t want to regret taking that chance

The Journey with Nick

King of Pops is a popsicle company, Nick and his brother started together almost seven years ago. It was a make lemonade out of lemons story, when his brother got laid off at AIG during the financial crisis, they around and started their own thing despite the less than ideal situation. With not much to start with, Nick and his brother decided to roll a cart towards a busy intersection in the city and started selling their pops. To beat the seasonality of their product and to retain their valued employees they have now expanded to a farm, supplying fresh food and ingredients, a distribution center, a Christmas tree business and a dog treats business…that’s what I call product diversification.

Watch the full episode to learn more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Whatever life throws at you, make lemonade out of lemons
  • Consider businesses with low barriers to entry
  • Product diversity is key especially in seasonal businesses
  • There is no way around the hard work, you have to put the time in
  • Allow your vision and purpose guide your business decisions

The Journey with Britt

Britt’s idea to start a socially conscious luxury handbag line Whitby Handbags that supports girls education in Haiti, Peru Iraq and Thailand to help prevent them from being sold in sex trafficking.

Britt believed so much in her vision that she and her husband self-invested almost $35,000 to bring her first collection of bags to life. After months of working through her business plan, Britt was ready to launch. Regardless of the time in planning and preparation you do, unfortunately, losing is a part of the ‘Journey’. Mistakes are inevitable, Britt admits that she has made almost $25,000 worth of mistakes. Is it a tough pill to swallow? Yes…Does it make you question if you are fit to do this? For sure, but that’s the cost of doing business.

Watch to hear Britt’s full story, advice on what we would have done differently in starting our businesses and how she continues to make a difference in the lives of girls around the world.

Key takeaways:

  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Don’t go big or go home
  • Pick yourself back up
  • Push through the “No’s”

Learn more about Whitby and the girls they support

The Journey with Rennie

If anyone knows anything about UGA, you know that the SEC is a big deal and we take football very seriously. When Michelle met Rennie, he was the starting linebacker for UGA and he was becoming a household name, being featured on billboards and regular appearances on ESPN. But of course Rennie’s ‘Journey’ didn’t start there.

Born to Liberian immigrants, Rennie knew he had the responsibility to fulfill the dream his parents had sacrificed so much for. So when the opportunity to enter the draft came, he decided to take it. Rennie had prepared for this moment his entire life. Going into the league as a third round draft pick to the Tennessee Titans, Rennie was turning the ‘Liberian Dream’ into a reality until the NFL lockout left Rennie without a team, without football and in a place of uncertainty.

As Rennie puts it, during his time in ‘no man’s land’ and after a lot of self reflection, he realized that football had taught him a lot about life and what it takes to be an entrepreneur, which inspired him to share his story. As a full time author, public speaker and business coach Rennie reflects on the lessons of the sport that helped shape him into the business man he is today.

We’ve all been in our own version of ‘no man’s land’, whether it’s starting a business and losing it or graduating college without a job. If you can relate or still trying to figure your way through, watch the full episode as he chats with Michelle Blue.

The Journey with Daniel

*Please excuse the audio quality

Daniel and Michelle met randomly at Starbucks and she knew immediately that she had to get him on the show.
Whenever you think about Atlanta it’s hard not to think about the music that comes out of the city.
Daniel started off DJing in Savannah at 15 years old to producing everyone from Jeezy, Rihanna and Amy Winehouse.
If you’re trying to break into the music industry, Daniel shares his ‘Journey’…he said it was persistence, I think it was the hustle and heart that set him apart.
Watch the full episode to learn more!

Please bare with us, we are working on improving the audio for second season. We realized, we are artists and we are sensitive about our shit but we promise to improve!)

Key takeaways:

  • Keep learning and always take notes.
  • Hustle and Heart will set you apart.
  • Take care of mind, body and soul

The Journey with Altricia

Altricia is the true definition of a GirlBoss…fearless, empowering others and not taking ‘no’ for an answer.
As a teenage mother, Altricia wasn’t the most confident about wearing a bikini but she wasn’t going to let that stop her from looking good on a girl’s trip…after failed attempts to try to find a swimsuit that would work for her body, she made her own Allusions by A.Lekay swimwear was born.
Four years later and Nikki Minaj has worn her swimsuit on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine, she has been featured on the Steve Harvey Show, The Real and she’s not stopping there…Altricia proves that whatever obstacle comes her way she is going to conquer it. Watch her tell it all in this episode.

So remember, everything is a process and if you really believe in what you’re doing, then trust your ‘Journey’.

Key takeaways:

  • Whatever your life circumstances, that doesn’t have to determine where you’re going.
  • Be Resilient, Move Forward and Bounce Back.
  • Remember everything is a process and trust your ‘Journey’

The Journey with Zach

It was around 6:45pm on a Sunday night when Michelle sat down in the kitchen to plan out her week when she read Zach’s email. After reading it, she immediately texted Zach saying we needed to talk. In his email, he shared with his friends, mentors and customers that he would be closing his business Ambos Boots. Michelle’s heart immediately sunk because she could only imagine how difficult it was for him to come to this decision and walk away from the business he had worked so hard to grow for the last two years.
Michelle knew she had to talk to Zach because the fact is 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first two years but no one is telling that story. Watch this episode of The Journey with Blue to learn more.


Key takeaways:

  • Keep building your network.
  • Ask for help.
  • Keep your day job.
  • Have a bona fide market strategy.
  • Know the kinds of sacrifices you’ll need to make.

The Journey with Lauren

After working a consulting job for a few years after college, Lauren started THROW part-time, a give back pillow company, for every 10 pillows sold, they give a bed to a child in need. Miserable at her job and knowing that her part-time business really needed some full-time attention, Lauren took the leap. I know…leaving a salary and security isn’t easy but like Lauren said, “You have to get made enough at what your life is becoming, when you get to that point, you’ll know it” and she refused to just live, work and die. And just 6 months later, Lauren was able to turn her part-time project into a profitable full-time business.

Lauren shares how her community and how her ‘why’ are what help keep her focused and mentally sane through it all. Yes, we know, entrepreneurship is not easy and you’re in for a rollercoaster of emotions and even if you are a solopreneur you can’t do it alone. So our advice to you is:

Join a Community: Whether it’s a co-working space like WeWork or meet up with other entrepreneurs to talk, share resources and of course, tell each other the stories that no else would understand.

Remember Your ‘Why’: “If your ‘why’ is not personally connected to you…you in no way will survive”. And check out the TedTalk, “Start with Why’ by Simon Sineck, it’s a must Watch.

I want to hear about what keeps you sane through this emotionally and mentally sane through your ‘Journey’, so share with me below.

Key takeaways:

  • You can plan ahead but you can’t overplan
  • There’s no such thing as a “big break” in entrepreneurship
  • It’s important to have a community for support
  • Always remember why you’re doing what you’re doing
  • Be persistent

The Journey with Spendefy

In 2016, co-founders, Antwon and Eldredge, teamed up to launch Spendefy, a tech company that connects black owned businesses to conscious consumers. Holding nothing back, they give me an inside look at the importance of finding a co-founder and how they make it work with two totally different personalities. Watch and learn as they chat with Michelle.

Key takeaways:

  • Check in with your partner personally
  • Know how to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Find a partner who’s equally committed
  • It’s okay – and healthy – to disagree
  • Communication is key

The Journey with Garrett

Founder of Global Lead, H.E.R.O. for Children and ADDO, Garrett gets real about his journey. He admits that when he had the idea for H.E.R.O., he had no clue of what he was going to do, how it was going to work, but choosing courage over fear, he announced in front of 30,000 people at his college graduation that he was going to launch the nonprofit to help children infected with HIV/AIDS…that’s what I call insane courage. Watch and learn as he chats with Michelle.

Key takeaways

  • Choose courage over comfort
  • Have the courage to keep going and the success will come
  • Choose 10 seconds of courage and your future self will thank you