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The Value of Social Capital and the Proper Way of Growing It (Episode 95)

James Oliver, Jr. is the Founder and CEO of the ParentPreneur Foundation, which empowers Black ParentPreneurs, so they can leave a legacy for their beautiful Black children. He is also the founder of WeMontage.com, which turns your photos into repositionable wallpaper, and the author of The More You Hustle, The Luckier You Get.

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What you will learn

  • Why your network is your net worth
  • How a rising tide floats all boats: Sharing success around the world
  • The value of social capital and the proper way of spending and growing it
  • Why you need a give first mindset
  • How to avoid the trap of a scarcity mindset
  • Reducing inequality in the black entrepreneur community
  • The substantial effects of empowering black parent entrepreneurs

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

00:00:00 - 00:01:00

Hi everyone and welcome to the Jeff Bullas Show today with me, James Oliver Jr. Now James is the founder and CEO of ParentPreneur Foundation, which empowers black ParentPreneurs so they can leave a legacy for their beautiful Black children. He is also the founder of WeMontage.com, which turns your photos into reposition-able wallpaper and author of “The More You Hustle, The Luckier You Get” So we're gonna touch on all of those. We want to discover a little bit more about what pushed James over the lion to come up with a crazy idea of wanting to be an entrepreneur as we know it looks fantastic from one side, but when we get to the dark side, like the light side, as we know there's a lot of pain, there's a lot of joy and there's a lot of growing.

So welcome to the show James, it's an absolute pleasure to have you here from Atlanta, USA.

James Oliver

00:01:00 - 00:01:06

Yes, thank you. Super excited to be with you, Jeff man, thanks for having me on the show. I really appreciate it.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:07 - 00:01:29

So James, when did you decide that you wanted to be an entrepreneur? What was, was it a moment of inspiration while you're in the shower? A lot of people talk about the shower these days. I don't use a shower, I've heard of the El Camino trail as well or maybe being chased by a bear in Alaska, I don't know, so...

James Oliver

00:01:29 - 00:01:31

Chased by some kangaroos, maybe I don't know.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:31 - 00:01:33

Kangaroos and make it happen, I can tell you right now..

James Oliver

00:01:33 - 00:01:57

No man, I just, I've always been entrepreneurial even from back in high school and in college. I had my own little production company and I just always been entrepreneurial and just at some point I just, you know, decided to quit monkeying around and trying to be what other people thought I should be and just be what I am.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:58 - 00:02:09

Yeah, I think that's very important, isn't it too, and that's one of the biggest challenges as humans, is the biggest job you have in life is discovered while you're, while you're actually here.

James Oliver

00:02:10 - 00:02:31

You know, we talked about that, we were on a, we met on a panel a couple weeks ago, speaking panel, and you know, we talked about that, I said, Mark Twain said the two most important days of your life for the day you were born and the day you figure out why, and the sooner you figure out why, you know, the easier life and more enjoyable life might get for you.

Jeff Bullas

00:02:32 - 00:03:17

And I think there's another part of that which I sort of rediscovered in terms of the motivation to keep you motivated, in other words, why are you here? And on the other part of the question with the why, and I'm not talking so much some cynics type of why I'm talking, okay, why am I doing this? In other words, what are all the reasons that you're doing this and I think if you can get a whole bunch of those together, then it gets much more powerful. I'm doing this to provide a better life for my children. I'm doing this because I want to put a beautiful home over their head. I want to be able to be free and do what I want to do. If you start stacking those up. I think it gets really powerful.

James Oliver

00:03:17 - 00:03:19

Yeah, I like that.

Jeff Bullas

00:03:20 - 00:03:38

But so your first, I suppose, okay so you I suppose as a kid playing as a kidpreneur because you just keep with the ParentPreneur. Okay, the kidpreneur, what are some of the things that the kidpreneur do?

James Oliver

00:03:38 - 00:04:31

Well you know it's just I was selling, I had like an uncle who, he was importing like accessories from Egypt and you know I got some of them from him and I was selling those. This is back in high school, you know, this is back in high school and when I got to college we had a production company where we were flying DJs in from like New York. I went to Morehouse College in Atlanta and we were flying DJs in from New York and other places around the country and we were having events and things like that and having contracts and such. So you know I just had the entrepreneurial bug for a long time and I majored in Accounting in college and I was, I think my junior year I was number one in my class in accounting. But I hated it. Alright. I get it. I hated it. And um remember that,

Jeff Bullas

00:04:31 - 00:04:35

Say that one more time!

James Oliver

00:04:35 - 00:05:07

Hated it, man! Just because you're good, just because you're good at something doesn’t mean it is what you're supposed to spend the rest of your life doing right? Man, I'm good at most things I put my mind to, I mean I don't say that like bragging, braggingly but you know, if I put my mind to it, like I can become at least competent at it in most instances. The same for my son. He beats my butt and Xbox One Injustice 2. And I'm so mad about it. I don't know. He's eight years old as much practice. He kills me. But I digress. And he talks chuck too, you know?

Jeff Bullas

00:05:07 - 00:05:12

Well, I think, I think the thing there is, I think he spends a lot more time on Xbox than you do

James Oliver

00:05:12 - 00:05:52

A little bit. You know, I have it here. You don't have it at his mom's house. But yeah, he's just, I'm just, I'm just not built for that thing. I just, I play because he likes to play and I'm super competitive.

So anyway, but yeah, like my senior year, I wanted to change my major and I kind of hated it and I slipped to number two. Oh my God. And I want to change my major. But my parents wouldn't let me. And um, that was a big mistake, you know, I just, yeah, I never should have done that, but you know, there's no point in dwelling on that. It says the only obvious today this moment right now. So what are we going to do with the time in the moment, in the present? So that's what I'm focused on.

Jeff Bullas

00:05:53 - 00:06:02

Okay, so you, you went to college then, what was your sort of after that? Did you go and get a day job? What happened there?

James Oliver

00:06:02 - 00:10:53

Yeah, so I went and got a job in accounting as an Auditor. I mean, do I look like an Auditor? Do I talk like an auditor? Do I seem like an auditor to you? But an auditor wearing a black panther made t shirt. Probably not. So, you know, I did that and ultimately went back to business school and even that was just really, you know. Yeah, so I graduated from business school, got an MBA and you know, after my MBA, I took the first entrepreneurial plunge and this was pre, in the pre-ipad era. I had this crazy idea, you know, this is back when Tiger Woods, you know, burst on the scene. And so I might have business school, early 2000's and a lot of my friends who happen to be black were huge in the golf. I was a big golf nut. You know, I was like, I'm gonna start a digital lifestyle magazine for black golf enthusiasts and I'm looking at the business model of magazines at the time and I'm like, you know this business model doesn't make sense, you know, there's such huge printing and shipping costs like at the time there was this new online digital delivery of this digital delivery platform coming online. A big, a lot of the big magazines were adopting this very early. So I redid the business plan at the time, I don't do business plans anymore, but at the time I redid the business plan as a waste of time. I redid the business plan and we went to a digital delivery model and I remember we had everything ready to go and a couple of key people, who had significant magazine experiences from, would be investors sent me to to so they could tell them if they thought the idea was any good, they thought my business plan was crazy. Oh this is not doable, this is crazy, like not so crazy now with all those magazines going out of business, right, all going to a digital delivery system, right, not so crazy now. So, so that was then, and then back in 2011, I got the crazy idea, you know, my wife at the time was watching HG TV interior design show called the Novogratz or Home by Novogratz and they were in the family's basement covering the walls with these amazing big beautiful photos or something they call photo wallpaper. And it was, it was the proverbial Aha moment, clouds parted, angels singing, you know, like yo this is amazing. And you know, not for nothing. I wanted it when I had a super dope wedding in Dominican Republic. Amazing pictures. I wanted one. So, you know, I'm just, I'm just nuts man. I charge headfirst down the path. Clean up, Clean up my savings. I'm a non-technical founder, which means I don't know how to write it on a code. But this product required a very complicated custom software algorithm type solution, like who does that? So, I was very fortunate to get intel. I was living in Northeast Wisconsin at the time and we were 100 miles away from friends and family. Like she was pregnant with the twins. You know, I'm working on the startup. She's like, she wants to have kids. So we do IVF, we put into, we get to, I'm like, yea, in like, holy crap, like I'm out of money trying to get this startup going. And I got into the Accelerator, the timing wasn't always going to be great. The kids were supposed to be born in March. The Accelerator was ending the first week in april. I'm like, all right, this is great. I know I'm going to go to this accelerator. I think we're in generators like second cohort, like super early in the generated days and generators killing it right now. But we're going to get a second cohort maybe. And I got the two days before I was going into the accelerator, we had to prematurely delivered the twins. They were three months early.

The only way to £2 a piece. So the accelerator was a 2-hour drive each way. And, you know, those are some really dark days, man, you know, back and forth to the nick you, I mean I woke up every morning at like 2am. Because I couldn't sleep from the stress of it all, I had a super talented developer on my team who was really brilliant kid, but he was very unreliable. He had his own demons. He's like a recovering alcoholic, recovering alcoholic, but brilliant. Like the kid was brilliant when I tell you, but it's super unreliable and you would have walked up to me and say, Hey, good morning James. I almost started crying and I just was a mess.

So anyway, you know, thankfully we got to the program, we got to demo day right before demo day. We went out to go on stage to pitch to a room of would be investors. I got a call from an angel investor who had previously pitched and he said, Hey, I'm going to fill your entire around. I'm like, what do you mean? We're gonna give you $250,000 and I just dropped to my knees and thank God. And um, so we raised the money, we lost the business, the kids came home eventually and they're doing well, so thankful for that.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:53 - 00:10:55

How old are they now?

James Oliver

00:10:56 - 00:11:01

They'll be nine in a month for three weeks or whatever. Crazy man.

Jeff Bullas

00:11:01 - 00:11:03

That's a pretty tough time.

James Oliver

00:11:03 - 00:15:21

Well, yeah, but that is what catapulted me to write the book because when I started the business, much like you, I started a blog, you know, so I knew I was going to start a blog, talking about my experience as a parent and entrepreneur and use the content from the blog as inspiration to write a book to inspire parent preneurs around the world and that's exactly what I did. So in 2017, I self published “The More You Hustle, The Luckier You Get”, you can be a successful parent preneur. So that was 2017, some have called it the realist book about entrepreneurship they ever read. And then in 20 you know, after I wrote the book, I said, all right, I'm gonna one day sell my business for $40-$50 million which by the way, we raised just enough money to fail the WeMontage, you know, it's still around, but it's basically a zombie, I mean, the website needs so much TLC, there's so much technical data on that thing, you know, maybe it's going to get fixed one of these days, we still get a bunch of, some repeat customers, but maybe not like whatever, I actually have a new project I'm spinning up which I'll tell you about in a second. But so I was going to sell this thing, this is my idea. I got these crazy ideas in my head, Jeff. I'm gonna sell this thing, I'm gonna take $1 million amount of money. I'm gonna see the foundation for parent preneurs because it's really freaking hard being a parent and an entrepreneur. It's just nuts. And then, and then the world over here fell apart, you know, Ahmaud Aubrey, Brianna Taylor, all these things, George Floyd, all these things started happening. I had my own personal care and experience, I don't know if that's, an Australian know what Karen is but it's just like a crazy racist white woman who tries to call the police on black people. So my, so my subdivision, I live in a really nice neighborhood here in Atlanta. I had two experiences with this woman here in my backyard, had to call the police on her to file a trespass warrant. And then I was looking at all the wealth inequality data from the federal reserve. At the time, the median white family wealth was 10 X data, the medium black family. Well so I added all these things together and I said, you know what like screw this, I'm going to do this foundation. It’s going to be for parent, black parent preneurs because we really need to help them out and we need resources and tools to help close this wealth gap, you know, because at the end of the day we'll all be much better off if we could get that done. Like all of us, a rising tide lifts all boats.

So, so that was my idea. This was right at the beginning of Covid and I'm talking a lot if you want some questions pop and just feel free to stop me, I'll just keep talking.

At the beginning of Covid and everybody was running around, oh my God, Oh my God, this guy is falling, the sky is falling. And I'm like, all right. I know within every crisis exists opportunity. So I'm like, where is the opportunity? God, I'm literally, I got his opportunity, right? And I understand, I found like when you do that kind of thing, you open yourself inspiration, you get answers. And I did, I was having a chance coffee meeting with some acquaintances and they were like, why are you waiting to sell WeMontage, which basically is like I said, a zombie is not gonna have any time soon, right? Um, why don't you do it now? And I was like, yeah, do it now. I was like, I'm doing this thing and then everything else happened and I decided to make it for black parent preneurs. And then, you know, at the time when I initially said I was going to do this, I was going back and forth with Brad Feld and David Cohen who are co-founders of Techstars, which is arguably the pre, the pre eminent global tech startup accelerator. And they were like, you know, this is interesting, but nonprofits are hard, like what? They're not wrong, fundraising grind. They're definitely not wrong about that. But for me, the thing that they understand, I told him, I said I've had this scrap and scrape for every single blade of grass on the field of life. So as a black person telling me something is hard, is not a reason to not do it. So I'm doing it regardless. And so out of the blue one day I got an email from Brad. I mean, I love this story so much. I got an email out of the blue from Brad Feld who is like Brad is like top of the food chain venture capitalists, are you familiar with limited partners? LPs?

Jeff Bullas

00:15:22 - 00:15:23

No, no.

James Oliver

00:15:23 - 00:18:13

Yeah, the LPs are the people who write the checks to the venture capitalists who write the checks and entrepreneur, right? He's a VC and NLP, right. Big time. Right? I got an email from, out of the blue one day and just the subject line and say it was, you know, are you game for a 30 minute Zoom? And I'm like, well, hell yeah, who doesn't want a 30 minute conversation with Brad?

And I'm like, what, was there anything else? There was nothing in the body of the emails. And he's like, I just want to know what two things you're working on addressing racial injustice and inequality, like I put my time, money or attention toward. And I'm like, oh this is amazing. So we get on the Zoom. And I said, you know, remember that foundation thing I was talking to you about a couple months ago? Yeah. I said well now that's just for black people. He said, I'm so glad you did that. And this is the part, Jeff. He goes, Well, what would a 12-month operating plan look like? Why don't you just throw it up in a Google Doc and I will co-create it with you. I'm like, oh hell yeah, let's go, let's go. So I got that thing right back to him, I don't mess around. He said this is a great first story. He said, what would a six-month plan look like? Bam. Got that right back to him and he said, okay, assume three things, One of which is a $50,000 C grant from my foundation to start this foundation. Yeah, boom. So there we go. I mean, we, six months later, we launched right away with impact and we're doing great work and collaborating with Seth Godin. I’m assuming you know who Seth Godin is? Seth’s an ally and supporter. Like he's been giving scholarships to people in my community to his Kimball marketing workshop, which has been transformative for me and how I think about who I serve and why and how I talk about what we do in the foundation. And I was just emailing with him today, they're spinning up another cohort of that in January and presumably we'll have some more scholarships for the people, our community for that. Um, so, uh, he gave us another $50,000, Brad did and then, um, they got us into the Techstars Foundation Accelerated Equity Program, which is phenomenal because they do some fundraising matching and just really an expansion of social capital because, you know, everybody talks about the dearth of financial capital and access of financial capital to financial capital for black entrepreneurs. But the one thing people don't talk a lot about is the dearth of social capital and I contend is as problematic and in some ways more problematic than lack of financial capital because a lack of social capital will keep you from executing, it would be brilliant ideas and worse than that. Uh, it keeps you from imagining what's possible. And it was Albert Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge.

So I'll stop talking now, let you ask some questions. Sorry, just hard the whole thing, making your job easier, Jeff.

Jeff Bullas

00:18:13 - 00:18:55

If I'm good at questioning, then I get long answers, that's the, that's the reality. So let's do a little bit more into what, social capital means to you and what I think needs to be done more on the social capital level. It’s because, look, venture capital is all sexy, right? Okay raise money, get people invested in companies. So there's lots of money washing around globally because zero interest rates, money is gonna go somewhere. In fact, cash is actually negative in earning now, a lot of cash chasing good investments. So talk to me more about social capital.

James Oliver

00:18:56 - 00:20:47

Yeah. At the end of the day, it's sexy what you're thinking is, it's just like networks and relationships, and you know, again, if you go back to the wealth chart, your network, as you know, is your net worth. I don't know if that's a saying over in Australia, but it's a saying here in the US. Your network equals your net worth. And if you don't have the net worth, that's because you don't have the network. And if you don't you're looking at the network chart, we don't have those relationships and those networks to help us increase net worth. A because we don't have and it's something that says, we don't even really understand how to move effectively to build social capital. So that's actually one of the things I'm really grateful for is by virtue of the people who are sponsors and mentors and friends and just watching how they move, emulating those things and listening and learning. So I'm very thankful for that. And the other thing is, you know, we have to be willing to spend our social capital for other people. So for me, if you join the Parentp\Preneur foundation community, I will quickly spend my social capital on you to help you get something significant accomplished. I'm not stingy with my social capital. I don't have a scarcity mentality. And you know, one of the key things that I've learned that's been life altering for me is this Techstars quote unquote mantra of Give first, you know, #givefirst you know. A great book, Adam Grant's Give and Take, if anyone's interested in learning about that, it's a great book, but for me, you know, the “give first” mindset is just a wonderful way to spend and grow your social capital organically and effortlessly and happily, quite frankly.

Jeff Bullas

00:20:49 - 00:22:35

Yes, I've just made a note about that book, I love that. So, for me, when I started blogging for example, it's all about just giving and I had no business plan, it was just an idea and I created content and shared it. Um it's basically, the idea behind that was to share what my insights were about the rise of social media and where I think it was going and where it was and what I loved about social media for example, was in blogging is that you have to give till it hurts, right? In other words, giveaway premium content and the traditional business model was don't tell anyone, don't give away your best stuff. Right? So, um, but the other thing is this, I loved about two about social media. You know, if you've heard of the Dunbar number. Dunbar number is that you and gets into things talking about weak ties and strong ties. In other words, you can only have a relationship with so many people. Okay, so in face to face top communications now, that was your network. And this is why tribes break up. They hit about 150 people and they break up because it starts not being so cohesive. What I love about social media was and beyond the 150, that sort of stronger ties you move into a place called weak ties. And what's really cool about that weak ties is that social media allows you to have all these weak ties with thousands of people in the tribe of the same uh, culture and belief or beliefs and interests. So especially in the early days of social media, it was very organic. Before algorithms crept in and stopped you reach in your tribe because Facebook wants to make money. So that's what I loved about social media early on was enabled you to reach your tribe globally and build weak ties as well as strong ties.

James Oliver

00:22:35 - 00:22:46

Yeah,by the way your audio is getting a little choppy again. When you started talking, your audio choppy and your videos choppy too. So your video is not sinking up with your audio now, just FYI.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:46 - 00:22:51

Okay, All right, thanks for coming out. But they might be to stitch it up with the editing hopefully,

James Oliver

00:22:51 - 00:22:55

yeah, I just want I just want to give you a heads up. So good. Heads up. Sorry.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:55 - 00:23:36

The other thing that interests me in what you mentioned was income inequality. And I just read a fantastic book on the ise and fall of empires. The Principles by Ray Dalio. nd Ray Dalio, being one of the richest men in the world and the owner of Bridgewater, the CEO and founder, is very strong on that. The fall of empires has also been linked to inequality. The French revolution, for example, the haves and the have nots and I totally agree with that in that we need to reduce that inequality gap. And that's what you're trying to do, isn't it?

James Oliver

00:23:37 - 00:25:36

Yeah, that's exactly what we're doing. You know, we were doing our small part. So, for example, uh, we just uh, we're working, we're always experimenting. So we have this program that we launched a couple months ago, we ran into some snags, but you know, you spend these things up, you learn from them and you improve them. But what we're doing is standing in the gap for black founders. A lot of people will say, hey, if you're starting a business, go to your friends and family for startup capital. Right? But again, going back to that wealth chart, our friends and family don't have the money for that. So what we do, so in our ParentPreneur Foundation, we're collaborating with one of our members now. She runs an organization called Essteem, ESTEEM. They’re qualitons and these hackathons and we're going to pay her $5000 to build MVP app prototypes for members of our community. So what does this do? This means they can get an app built that they can use their feedback from and they will be able to show something to a potential investor. It's not just, hey, I have an idea like I actually have a prototype with some feedback, something I can build on. So we're standing in the gap from that standpoint. So it's not solving the problem. But we're doing our part.

We're raising awareness by making a stink about it on social media. That's my favorite thing to do by the way, Make a stink on social media. Uh, so we're doing that and you know, we just completed another round of grants. This is our fifth round now we just gave away $30,000. 1000 dollars in grants to 30 black parent preneurs in conjunction with the NASDAQ entrepreneurial center, which is a nonprofit entity of the NASDAQ stock exchange here in the United States and I'm super excited about that and some people like, oh what's $1000 going to do it. I look at those people like, well clearly you're not a super hustling entrepreneur because if, you know, if you are, a $1000 could do a lot for you.

Jeff Bullas

00:25:36 - 00:25:40

Yeah, I started with, I think $10 a domain name.

James Oliver

00:25:41 - 00:25:42

Right? Exactly.

Jeff Bullas

00:25:42 - 00:26:10

And I worked out how I write my own set up, my own Wordpress blog and me again like you, I'm not techie. So I wrestled and wrangled with that dude for years doing a lot of my own stuff. Yeah, so I totally get it. But uh, and we're looking at a project to help people launch their own side hustles because in other words to bring, to reduce the risk of becoming an entrepreneur,

James Oliver

00:26:13 - 00:26:16

What does that mean? That's hilarious.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:16 - 00:26:31

Have a day job and then when you get home from your day job, I know it's a challenge for children, as you totally mentioned and I totally get that. But to actually, because today we've got the technology and the platforms and low cost tools to launch an online business, haven't we?

James Oliver

00:26:31 - 00:28:17

For sure. And you have these no code tools, which by the way, so you know, I always have so many things going on. So, you know, they're depending, pandemic over here. I virtual school of my twins, which was incredibly hard. My kids are eight, so they're not fully vax, they just got their first shot, they get their second one Friday. But because they're not vaccinated, that means I've been playing after school care, which means I only have 50, I'm at 50% work capacity. But so when January starts, when you go back to school after the holidays, they'll be back in after care, which means I get my day, half my day back, which is great because I'm actually working on a new startup which is, it's called Kabila and Kabila's uh, I used the word tribe a little while ago, which I thought was cool. Kabila is Swahili for Tribe and Kabila connects co-founders, building diverse tech startups. And the reason I'm doing that because as founder and CEO of the Parentpreneur Foundation, I've been sitting in some really interesting spaces with people allocating capital and they're all trying to figure out how to flip the script and get capital into the hands of more underestimated founders and I'm reading the tea leaves and you know, it's Wayne Gretzky would say you've got to skate to where the puck is going to be, you know, one of the famous hockey player and I'm skating to where I think the puck is going to be because I think it's going to be a capital raising superpower if you have a diverse team with a tech startup. So come January and my kids go back to school, we're gonna be going full bore with that. We're actually building MVP prototype app and we're using a no code tool to do that. I have a technical co-founder this time. So he's building all that. But you know like you said we have all these tools that make it easier to do these things

Jeff Bullas

00:28:18 - 00:28:39

And a lot of people don't realize how low cost they are and how easy they actually are used today. Like even when I started in 2009. Yeah it was pretty clunky. Um, like just trying to record a video and upload it now. We've got Zoom. Okay we use Skype and Skype made it. Skype was good.

James Oliver

00:28:39 - 00:28:46

How does Skype drop the ball and Zoom just crushed all of it?

Jeff Bullas

00:28:46 - 00:29:43

Skype was owned by a big corporation that it wasn't their core competency that's what I think it was. And also has a lot of companies that start with what they call I call legacy platforms and they whereas the new player comes along and disrupts by providing much as use, use a better user interfaces, customer experience and Zoom as we know and we're, according today on Zoom makes it so much easier. I can record in separate channels of audio video. It actually automatically sets up the upload into main files or you can save it in the cloud as well. So zoom makes it easy and that's a challenge for all of us isn't it? So a lot of people don't realize how easy it is in one sense. It's not easy, but the tools and technology? The challenge for all entrepreneurs as we both know and is that converting ideas into action that works is really the biggest challenge?

James Oliver

00:29:44 - 00:29:53

Well yeah, I mean ideas are worthless, right? It's the execution of a brilliant idea that matters. Everybody's got an idea it's worth.

Jeff Bullas

00:29:54 - 00:30:00

So what's your big vision then for ParentPreneurs Foundation?

James Oliver

00:30:01 - 00:32:39

Yeah, I appreciate that question. And so we have, at the heart of our community, is an online community. We built it on Mighty Networks, which I'm super excited about because it's not on Facebook. So I own it. I'm not at the mercy of the algorithms. I don't have to pay anybody to see my stuff, may be paid to keep our stuff hosted there. But I post something everybody in the community, they see it. So it's great. I love it so much. So at the heart of that is that and that's important because as Seth Godin helped me realize, you know, he comes in and does these conversations with us periodically. And when I was in his workshop, he talked about tension and that and I was struggling with that particular assignment.

I was like, what's the tension with the ParentPreneur Foundation? I couldn't figure it out. So he came in and we were talking, he said, you know, if I'm on an airplane and somebody's like, well, you know, we're going to go sky jumping or skydiving, jump out of this plane, Seth. He's like, well the tension for him is like what if the parachute doesn't help it? Right? That's tension. So for us is, you know, we're all on this. Um, you know what if we're trying to leave a legacy for our beautiful black children? Like what if we fail? Yeah, that's the tension. But it doesn't matter because in our community, we all have each other's back on this rocky journey to leave a legacy for our beautiful black children. So it doesn't matter. We won't fail because we have each other's back.

So the goal is to build a community around the world. We actually have people globally now. We went our last grant. We have a woman who was in Berlin who got a grant from us, super excited about that. She's doing great things in Berlin, a global network of black ParentPreneurs empowering them, you know, doing more grants, but creating more opportunities for them, spinning up some startup studios. You know, I think invariably we'll probably have a VC fund and be investing in some of these businesses directly. I think that's a logical endpoint for us, we'll be doing that eventually. But really just more people collaborating, building relationships, coming up, changing paradigms, expanding social capital, helping people get access to resources. We just helped one of our community members get to $250,000 for, you know, her business just directly through some connections we made for her and we got, I mean somebody just got a $500,000 term sheet is a direct result of the work that we're doing in the community. So more of that.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:39 - 00:32:56

I love the fact that you're trying to reduce inequality and in the black entrepreneur community, I think that's fantastic and I think, you're trying to change the world in your own way, in your own niche and I think that is just hats off to you.

James Oliver

00:32:56 - 00:32:59

I'm not trying, I'm doing it.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:59 - 00:33:01

Well, you're trying to make a bigger impact than what you currently do.

James Oliver

00:33:01 - 00:33:06

Well, yes, I promise you we will just,

Jeff Bullas

00:33:06 - 00:33:29

Well, I think you're well on your way and you're acting on the opportunity of inspiration, which is fantastic. Now, just before we finish up, I know you've got a hard finish particularly go and inspire your community with a live call. So what are some of the takeaways as an entrepreneur that you've learned along the way that you'd like to share with our community and viewers and listeners.

James Oliver

00:33:29 - 00:33:32

Oh boy, that's a really good question.

Jeff Bullas

00:33:32 - 00:33:33

Just two or 3.

James Oliver

00:33:33 - 00:36:08

Yeah. You know, I think this is a message for entrepreneurs, particularly early stage entrepreneurs and it goes back to what we talked about the Give and Take book and the gift first mindset. Uh, and I'm guilty of this too. I was at least, you know, people who are like super hustling and grinding and trying to make money and get the product market fit and they got all the things going on right. And they're like, what do I have to give? Well, you have a lot to give, like the scarcity mindset, it's a lie. You know, you can just share people's content on social media, you can hold the door for someone, you can make an introduction to someone, make sure your introduction is a double sided by the way, that's another takeaway for you. You know, meaning if you want to impress somebody wanted to introduce me to you, Jeff, they need to ask me if I want to do that, I need to check with you first and make sure it's okay. And then make the introduction. I think single sided introduction can be awkward and make people look bad, actually double sided introduction. So that's the second thing takeaway right there. But if you're an entrepreneur, early stage in particular, that don't fall into the trap of the scarcity mindset. Give, give, give, give, give. And main take away from that book, Give and Take, by the way is you have, the most successful givers are the ones who give a lot, but they do so with their own personal interests in mind. And I know that's a little counterintuitive, but it's based on all their data and research, this is what they've shown and just think about it. If you're in a relationship with someone and you give, give, give, give, give, give, give give give give all the time and they don't give anything back to you, you're probably gonna be burnt out from that relationship, right? Yeah, so that's it. So yeah, I just, you know, get first, you know, don't be shy about helping other people, share your social capital, particularly spend your social capital on black entrepreneurs and black founders man, like we really could use, could use help with that because a lot of the rooms that you know, some of these influential white folks are and we're not in those rooms were just not like being an advocate for people and I would say, you know, get a mentor. Mentorship is great, but sponsorship is really greater. “Dementorship” and I like to jokingly say, mentors be like, hey, this is great conference coming up, I saw it online, you should sign up there, gonna be some good speakers, sponsors are like, hey I know that people put on the super great conference here, I recommend that they put you on the page speaking panel because I know the organizers see the difference.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:09 - 00:36:10

Yeah, absolutely.

James Oliver

00:36:10 - 00:36:23

mentor and sponsor, but it starts with mentorship and it's incumbent upon you as the mentee to build the trust and cultivate that relationship to transform and converted into sponsorship. So those are three things that I think.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:23 - 00:36:46

Tthank you very much, that's very insightful and very wise and and part of the reason I wanted to have you on the show was is uh part of my mission is also to help reduce inequality because I believe that we're all on the planet together and as you said, a rising tide floats all boats and why can't we share success around the world and and hats off to you that you're doing that.

James Oliver

00:36:46 - 00:36:56

And yeah, I appreciate you. So we got a black panther noise in Australia and I would love to connect with that. Like we got room for them in our family and our financial community.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:56 - 00:37:06

Yeah, absolutely. We do. Well, I'm sure we have, so I'll reach out, see if we can find some to introduce to you, and that brings up, how do they get in touch with you, James?

James Oliver

00:37:07 - 00:37:35

Great questions. So I'm on, I'm on Twitters, I'm @jamesoliverjr, James Oliver Jr on Twitter. Twitter for the Foundation is @ParentsPreneursF. On instagram, we’re ParentPreneur Foundation, I'm not, don't use my personal instagram page, but yeah, that's how you can reach me on Instagram there. I would start there, I'm a super tethered unhealthily, so it's all that stuff and I'm easy to reach.

Jeff Bullas

00:37:35 - 00:37:40

And your Parent Preneur Foundation website, what's that?

James Oliver

00:37:41 - 00:38:44

ParentPreneurFoundation.org. Oh, and by the way, like, I mean, at the end of the day, somebody's got to write a check, so we can keep doing this work, right? So you know, if you have a heart for the work that we're doing and if you want to be supportive and look, so I'll say this last thing, if you want to support black entrepreneurs, you have to support black parent preneurs. Why? Because the success or failure of a black parent preneurs, the consequences are far greater than the stereotypical hoodie wearing entrepreneur in their mama's basement, right? Because if you impact and empower the black parent preneur, you're potentially improving the quality, that parental unit, the mindset of the entrepreneur, the relationship with the child, the child grows up and they raise a wonderful child is sent out into the world. It's better for the black community and the community overall, it's just, it's a multiplicative, It's multiplicative effect, So go to ParentPreneurFoundation.org, click on the Donate button please. We could use your support. Thank you so much.

Jeff Bullas

00:38:45 - 00:39:06

Thank you for sharing, James, It's been an absolute pleasure. I'm glad I met you a week ago and just wanted to share your gift with the world in my own little world and I look forward to hearing about the astounding success of ParentPreneur and Kabila, which you're working on as well.

James Oliver

00:39:06 - 00:39:07

Yes sir.

Jeff Bullas

00:39:07 - 00:39:10

Thank you for your time. It has been an absolute pleasure, James,

James Oliver

00:39:10 - 00:39:11

My pleasure.