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Exclusive Q&A, Part II: ‘The Movement That Changed The Narrative Of Black People In America’

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In the Part I of this interview, we sat down with four ex-roommates who built one of the fastest-growing Instagram accounts on the internet. But there’s more to the quartet than going viral.

“We want this to go down in history as the movement that changed the narrative of Black people in America,” Jared Spiller, one of the co-founders, said in Part I. 

We’re of course talking about the founders of @BlackWealthRenaissance.

Ex-roommates in college, Jalen Clark, David Bellard, Jared Spiller and Kelly Rhodes started this as a passion project; they’ve since grown this 209K+ followers in about a year, with one of the most engaging audience on the ‘Gram.

In part II of this Q&A, the four co-founders expound on their mission to change the “narrative of Black people in America,” why social media is important and what lies ahead.

(Editor’s note: This interview was done by WealthLAB editor-in-chief/real estate developer Philip Michael.)

How are you using social media — and why? 

David: We mostly are using social media to build a platform that we feel is needed to highlight the people in our culture showing that what we are talking about is real—and attainable—if you are willing to put the work in.

Why does this work?

I feel like it’s been effective because it provides a mix of motivation, education, and culture in a way that is true to the message of normalizing black wealth and the conversations around building wealth.

As one of our friends told us its like The Shade Room but for financial literacy. (Laughs.)

I can see that! What say you, Kelly?

Kelly: Social media to me is not just an app, it’s a powerful tool that we can use to help network with people across the globe. I think for Black Wealth Renaissance we really started to grow when we used videos, because our videos consisted of people that are looked at as wise in the African American community such as Jay-Z, Oprah, and Will Smith.

This helped people relate because its someone that looks like them and someone coming from similar background who we deem as financially successful. It allows African Americans to dream which turns into goals motivating us to achieve similar success.  

And that’s so much easier to spread on IG, I take it?

Jalen: We are using social media the way it was created and intended to be used. We are networking across the country and globe with people we would never had the opportunity to meet if it were not for social media. We are using it to spread positive messages and show the masses what is actually possible with self control and will power.

We are also shining light on parts of the culture the media does not shine light on.  We are showing [black] entertainers that are doing work within their communities; that are giving back and making a difference for those that have less.

We are able to mix personal finance tips with memes and topics that are related to the average person thats the reason I believe it has been effective. 

You guys talk about real estate quite a bit; that’s how I found your channel. So why real estate in the wealth-generation conversation? 

David: We’ve all heard the quote that 90% of millionaires were created through real estate and one of our main focuses is generating wealth for future generations. So real estate is something we promote because it is one of the best ways to accomplish those goals. There are so many different ways to get in and win in real estate, it really all goes back to an abundance mindset. 

Love that. I talk about that all the time. Wealth is really a mindset more so than a “tactic” that will work for you. That said, real estate is the pillar of every millionaire and billionaire’s portfolio.

Kelly: Yes, most millionaires own some part, or have some stake in real estate. Real estate is relatable to most people because everyone has a home whether you are renting or actually own your own home you can relate.

In my opinion, if 90% of millionaires made their money in the stock market it wouldn’t be as popular as real estate because it’s not something that your every-day person would be able to relate to.

Real estate is something everyone is already apart of and owning property could be as simple as owning your own home. Plus there is thousands of ways to make deals and structure deals to get into real estate.  

Jalen: Real Estate has always been something in my mind as a young child. I wanted to own land for some reason but once we realized the benefits and advantages of owning real estate, it was solidified that this is something we need to do.

What are the benefits to real estate, in your opinion?

Jalen: Land is not being produced anymore so it’s going to constantly appreciate over time. There’s tax advantages to owning land. Lastly real estate is the foundation to building and creating wealth it’s not the end all be all but it definitely gives you the freedom to start focusing on different streams of income. 

What’s the main thing you’d like to change and/or impact with BWR?  

David: I would like to change black people’s perception of wealth and understanding of money—the process of acquiring it. From my experience, too many of us sum it up to a person “getting lucky”—and that’s just not the case.

By understanding the principles used to acquire wealth, we can spark a necessary change in our community. It has been predicted that the net worth of the black family is expected to be $0 by 2053.

And that racial wealth gap really comes from not owning real estate.

Yes. And that’s in my lifetime. So I want to do everything in my power to ensure that this doesn’t happen—and the best way to accomplish that is through education.

One of our major goals is to teach financial literacy to the youth so that they can avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes that we’ve made on our own journeys.

Kelly: I would like for Black Wealth Renaissance to change, or at least create a movement, on a mindset that black people can actually achieve financial success without rap or going to the [NBA]. I want African Americans to understand that it’s OK to be an entrepreneur—and that you can become very successful doing it.

I just want at least one person to say hey those guys at Black Wealth Renaissance changed my perspective on money and I actually learned how to become financially literate. That in my opinion would be my ultimate success. 

You, Jalen? What do you want to impact?

Jalen: One thing I would like to change or impact in my life time is the idea that the only way to obtain wealth with in our community is through becoming an athlete, a rapper, a drug dealer or anything else we have been stereotyped for.

I also want us to love and embrace our communities; we need to respect and take pride in where we are from. There’s no reason the “hood” should look run down. Just because we are not getting funding from the government does not mean we have to live in the worst possible conditions. We need to “beautify” and keep our neighbors clean.

I want to impose the will and spirit of self love within our community and teach our people how to love one another with compassion. 

Entrepreneurs

EXCLUSIVE Q&A: This 26-Year-Old Got 1M Instagram Followers In 1 Year. Here’s How He Did It (And How You Can, Too)

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The rise of social media—the internet, really—has created more young entrepreneurs, business rockstars and self-made millionaire than ever before.

Still, one of the most coveted goals for business people is to learn how to crush it on Instagram. David Dang, a young internet entrepreneur, figured out how to do just that.

As owner and founder of @entrepreneurshipfacts, David has managed to create one of the best, fastest-growing channels on IG, pumping out daily motivational content to 1.3M followers. (At the time of this interview, he had recently cleared 1M.)

In just one year, he grew it from 100K to 1M, drawing attention from mega influencers Tony Robbins and Dean Dean Graziosi in the process. Yes, really.

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The Knowledge Broker Blueprint course that Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi created is closing on Monday and I don’t want you to miss out and regret it… ⠀ Click the link in my bio @iamdaviddang 👈to learn what KBB is all about! ⠀ They won’t be making this offer again for at least another year… ⠀ And most people (this is the sad truth) will hesitate today and many will regret that more and more over the next year as they see others succeed in the digital economy.⠀ ⠀ Don’t get caught on the outside looking in. Join the KBB course and community and create the impact and success you desire while your access is still available!⠀ ⠀ Go to the link in my bio @iamdaviddang 👈to learn all about the Knowledge Broker Blueprint

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Because we love to bring you the best of the best, we decided to ask David exactly how he managed to grow it like that, what tactics he used and how you (yes, you) can do it, too.

What’s up, Dave!

Hey, Phil.

Let’s get right to it. You’ve managed to build a channel with tremendous growth and engagement. What made you start your @entrepreneurshipfacts and how did you grow it?

What started out as an Instagram page for my own personal growth, where I share my favorite inspirational quotes on business and entrepreneurship, and life, in general, really.

I’ve always knew that a corporate 9-to-5 is not my thing. Started my first little business when I was nine, I was quite an entrepreneurial kid.

Besides unlimited income potential, I love the freedom of being my own boss… I get to work where I want, whenever I want, without anyone telling me what to do or when I can take days off.

There’s nothing like it.

To me, this kind of freedom is priceless.

What triggered it for you?

I fell in love with personal development in my teenage years, and happened to read a couple self-help books from Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, etc. They completely changed my life.

I think that’s a common thing in hustlers. You just broke down the holy grail right there.

Yes. If you read any book from the authors I’ve just mentioned, you will realize a common theme that MINDSET is everything. It is literally the foundation to success, not how much resources you have or who you know.

I truly believe the life you’ve always wanted begins with your mindset. Despite having a university degree in Entrepreneurship & Marketing, I am now making a living with my online businesses, and also dabbling in investing.

What’s your goal with your page?

Although I don’t consider myself as being successful or an expert yet to tell people how or what to think, but my goal with this page is to hopefully inspire and influence people’s mindset in a positive way. In turn, helping them achieve whatever goals they have in life.

You have over 1M followers. People are loving your content. And everyone wants to know: How?! How do you grow an account like this?

I am proud to say that I’ve never used any shady tactics or bots to grow my IG account. Everything is 100% organic growth. Besides that, you also need high quality content that people want to see.

Like any social platform, you must understand the platform algorithm and work with it. That’s my biggest secret…

In part II of this article, Dave breaks down exactly HOW he selects his content and the secret sauce behind the engagement.

 

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Business

This Guy Co-Built A $4B Company In Four Years - And He Only Works 7 Hours A Day

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Cal Henderson is pretty badass.

As co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Slack — arguably the single most crucial role in any startup — Henderson has helped build a product from zero users to four million daily in just over three years.

About a year ago (cue Shmoney Dance!), Slack announced they’d raised $200 million in its fourth round of venture capital, putting the software at a WHOPPING $3.8B valuation.

And unlike many all-time greats on #TeamNoSleep (think Leo DaVinci, Thomas Edison and Vince McMahon) — and the modern ones who call for 95-hour work weeks — this dude actually puts his Z’s atop his to-do list.

In this Inc.com piece, check out how Big Cal — at 36 — gets down on the time-management end that allows him to work less than a part-time management consultant.

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Business

This Mogul Became America’s 1st Black Billion-Dollar Businesswoman

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Sheila Johnson.

Where to start?

She’s the first black billion-dollar businesswoman. Before Oprah Winfrey.

She started as a TV executive, founding Black Entertainment Television (BET), the first TV network targeting African Americans. She then became a real estate mogul.

Oh, she also owns a stake in three major sports franchises, the NBA Wizards, NHL Capitals and the WNBA Mystics, the African American, period, to boast that claim.

In honor of Black History Month, let’s dive into her remarkable career.

FAST FACTS:

  • Born Sheila Crump in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Johnson co-founded BET in 1979 with then-husband Robert Johnson. The couple sold it to Viacom in 2000 for $2.9B
  • Sheila Crump Johnson became the first African American woman on the Forbes’ Billionaire list in 2000—beating Oprah Winfrey to the distinction.
  • Per Forbes, Johnson has an $820M net worth as of 2019

 GIPHY

Foray into real estate…

After closing the sale to Viacom, Robert and Sheila pocketed around $1.5B each. Johnson used that windfall as seed money to build a hospitality real estate empire in 2005.

“There’s a disparity in paychecks between whites and blacks,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “I will never forget that.”

As CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, Sheila controls a spectacular portfolio of six luxury hotels in Florida, Virginia and South Carolina. And she’s built it from the ground up—literally—in her own spirit.

“I’ve been to many hotels, not only in the US, but all over the world,” she told Forbes last year. “And I wanted to find something that was going to really make Salamander stand out beyond all of these hotels.”

So what does that mean?

“You have to understand, there are a lot of people, investment companies, with very deep pockets,” she says. “They can do it, but they don’t have the experiences that we’re able to bring. I am constantly trying to find a way to help Salamander Resort & Spa stand out head over heels above any other hotel — not only in the area, but in the nation.

“I want them to leave that resort wanting to come back and not just say, ‘I’ll be back in six months.’ I want them to come back all the time.”

And so far it’s worked. In fact, on Forbes Travel Guide’s 61st list of Star-Rated hotels, Johnson’s Salamander Resort & Spa outside of Washington, DC earned a Five-Star distinction.

Image Credit: Salamander Resort & Spa

Forbes: “Everything [she] touches turns to gold.”

That’s a real quote. From Forbes. Last year. It’s also true.

BET? Billion-dollar exit. Washington Capitals? Stanley Cup.

And Roma. Won 10 Oscars. Who showed it before a single soul started caring? Johnson’s Middleburg Film Festival. (Which, by the way, has 32 films and counting in Academy Award contention.)

Remember her golf resort at Innisbrook? Oh, yeah. Hosts the Valspar Championship, one of the PGA calendar’s most-anticipated tournaments.

Becoming a billionaire comes with a new level of clout as well. “When you don’t have money, you’re not invited to special events; you really don’t matter,” she told WSJ. “It’s a society thing.”

So instead, she’s turned to giving back. Her Sheila Johnson Fellowship’s paid for more then 40 scholarships at Harvard University for students who otherwise wouldn’t afford to attend.

Image result for sheila johnson"

Breaking glass ceilings. 

There’s an alarming statistic in business and diversity—especially as it pertains to women. According to research by investor Richard Kerby, 18% of all VCs are women—and only 3% are black. In addition, less than 50 black women ever have raised $1M in funding.

“When I got started,” Johnson says, “I couldn’t get a loan. I had to use my own money to get Salamander Resort and Spa.”

She explained to WSJ last year that men can go to any bank with a bank proposal. And no matter how “wacky” the idea is, she said, “they’re going to get the financing. Women do not have that ability.”

Johnson’s taken it upon herself to do something about that, becoming one of the founding partners of WE Capital, an investment firm that invests in female entrepreneurs.

“I started out in a very unique position where I had my own capital to be able to get started,” she says. “But there have got to be banks and investors that believe in helping women who want to be entrepreneurs in the hospitality business.

“And it’s just really, really important that they really take a look at this.”

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