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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the influence of my mom, so allow me to share a special experience I had with her a little while back: sailing with her to Spain and Croatia!

Check out the story HERE and follow my travel blog for other stories and photos at www.brandonthegallant.com.

Also, in light of this special day and the current difficulties created by COVID-19, I’ll be offering my resume and cover letter services at a 75% discount up through May 20th.

I want to hear from you all, so don’t be afraid to reach out!

~Brandon

 

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New Travel Blog!

New travel blog is up and running! One thing I’ve always been particularly passionate about is the connections and experiences you can have while traveling abroad. As a black American man who loves to travel, I wanted to start a blog that discussed and demonstrated what traveling abroad may look and feel like as a person of color.

Head on over to http://www.brandonthegallant.com to check out the new blog and first article.

Poke around, take a look at the photos and captions, and please subscribe and share! I’m looking forward to engaging with all of you in a new way!

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Sh*t Rappers Taught Me

When I was growing up, my older brother was really into hip hop. So of course, I got really into it at a pretty young age. As I got older, I started to realise that rap is more than just rhythm, profanity, and bravado — there’s artful lyricism, there’s history, there’s economics. I don’t need to go into detail about my personal thoughts and feelings on the quality of the genre, BUT I did pick up on something I think is worth sharing:

Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Are you interested in perhaps wading into the waters of freelancing, side hustling, or full on business owning? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you should study a rapper.

No, really. Find you a rapper, and listen to their come up story. I promise it won’t be hard. It’s all over their discography. If you want, I can even give you a list of some of my favourites that do an excellent job at describing what it’s like. You’ll have to ask for that, but in the meantime, let me show you a quick list of some sh*t rappers taught me.

1. Believe in Yourself More than Anyone Else

“They told me don’t believe the hype, but I felt like this about myself before the mic.”

-Nipsey Hussle

“When I’m back home, I’m the best in the South. When I’m in LA, I’m the best in the West.”

-J. Cole

The late great Nipsey Hussle once said, “They told me don’t believe the hype, but I felt like this about myself before the mic.” What he’s describing here is pretty straightforward. Once he established himself as a rap icon, especially in Los Angeles, people tried to warn him to not let the hype go to his head. Little did they know, he thought of himself as a champion well before he rose to fame, while he was still just selling CDs out of the trunk of his car. When you strike out on your own as an entrepreneur, it’s likely that it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You will inevitably take lots of punches on that kind of journey, and you’ll find plenty of reasons for why you can’t make something happen. Believing in your own capacity to succeed as an entrepreneur or freelancer is not a suggestion, it’s an imperative, and you have to believe in it even when it may not seem like there’s much reason to from the outside.

2. Goals are Good. Just not Good Enough

“I’m a hustla, baaaaby.”

-Pharrell Williams

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business mannnn.”

-Jay-Z

How many rappers have you heard speak about “the grind” or “the hustle” or “the come up”? Rhetorical question, but the answer is a lot. What’s so special about that? Every aspiring rapper has dreams of making it big, being on stage, and touring the world, but only a few of them actually turn that into a reality. Among a number of other reasons, one of them is that while all of these aspiring rappers have dreams of stardom, only a few recognise that a goal on its own simply isn’t going to get the job done, and combine that recognition with a powerful work ethic. Goals and ideals are good. They’re amazing! You need them. But, as an entrepreneur, you need more than that. You need a plan. You need a strategy that comes with guidelines. You need knowledge. You need a work ethic that matches the size of your goals. And with that work ethic, you need to develop a spirit of resilience that forces you to get back up when you get knocked off the pathway to your goals.

3. Stay the Course

“Ain’t really trip on the credit. I just paid all of my dues. I just respected the game. Now my name all in the news.”

-Nipsey Hussle

“Can’t tell you where I’m going, just know I won’t stop. Goodbye to the bottom, hello to the top!”

-J. Cole

Is being an entrepreneur always fun? Is the pathway to achieving your goal always clear? Noooooo. Nope. No. But if you don’t stay the course, here’s what’ll happen:

Nothing.

Even when it’s not glamorous, and even when you have no idea what to do, you have to keep moving. Pay your dues. Respect the process. Recognise that, sometimes, good things take time and that failure is just part of the process. These are the things that can eventually provide you with some semblance of clarity. Study hard and apply until you break through. As they say, stick to the script and stay down.

4. Follow YOUR Rules and Beware of “Advice”

Excuse me, is you saying something? Uh uh you can’t tell me NOTHIN’”

-Kanye West

“‘Don’t ever take advice,’ that was great advice.”

-Drake

The only person who truly understands what you have to go through while on your journey as a freelancer is YOU, so while advice can be helpful, it may not always apply to you. What works for other people will not necessarily work for you, but that’s okay. That means you get to develop your own set of rules by which you play, and you get to insist that other people play by your rules when they interact with your business. That can be awkward and uncomfortable at times, but consider the alternative: When you don’t insist that people play by your rules when they interact with your business, that means they get to break your rules and impose their own. They’ve become an exception in your process. At that point, you no longer have rules. You’re back to having goals and ideals. See #1.

While these aren’t the only things I’ve learned from rappers, they are some of the most transferable lessons I’ve picked up on. At least when it comes to working for yourself. Anyway, go find some super confident, hustlin’ rappers to listen to.

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Money Energy Project, Ep.1

A while back I wrote an article about the awkward and perhaps even tense relationship between young adults and their money (or lack thereof). That led me to a good convo with someone who sparked a really cool idea–make a video series about all the untalked about money taboos for young people and then post it on the internet for everyone to see. Of course–it’s so obvious! Except that I have no video-making experience whatsoever. None. Zero times 2. Oh, and I also didn’t have any equipment for this sort of thing outside of my iPhone with a lightly cracked screen and my handy dandy GoPro lol. But I have a pretty competent network that was willing to help me out with stuff like that. It’s far from perfect, but it has been a fun learning process and we’ve already found some easy ways to make future vids much better. Check out Episode 1 here. I’ll make a page to house the others once they’re done. I’ll keep ya posted. Obviously.

~B

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Money Energy, Pt. 1: I Have a Personal Question for You…

What’s your relationship with money like?

I know, sorry. If you just sighed, laughed facetiously, and/or cried a little, I understand. Money is a stressful thing. It seems to me that so many people, especially millennials and young people, have a negative relationship with money. It’s hard to save money these days, and many of us struggle to find jobs that’ll pay a decent wage, despite all the college degrees and credentials we thought would be the key to a happy–or at least amicable–relationship with da cash.

 

In reality, after we got those degrees, we had to watch those entry level or “new professional” (read: kinda low pay) jobs scoff at our lack of the prerequisite 5-7 years of post-degree, full-time experience. So some of us became frustrated. We shifted our gaze to other things (read: lower pay jobs). Things like unpaid internships. Things like slightly above minimum wage jobs. Things like “just getting by” enough to afford the next meal and pay the damn electric bill. I’m not here to provide my take on the merits of these things, or my thoughts on the state of the U.S. job market, or even a rebuttal to a Boomer’s accusation that millennials generally lack grit–perhaps some other time. I’m here to talk about the relationship between young adults and money.

 

Doesn’t it seem pretty bad?

 

Just the mention of the word “money” generates a flutter of excitement, followed by a wave of anxiety and stress for so many people who have actually already given up hope, not for a relationship with money, but for a good relationship with money. I’m no expert, but that sounds unhealthy to me. Anyway, I feel like that dynamic tends to contribute to the formation of pretty sour feelings toward money, in general. At least from my observation. It’s a strange dynamic because everyone wants it, but most people are totally jaded by it. It’s a vice. Talking about it is taboo. It’s a shallow pursuit. Those who fervently chase it are greedy. Right…?

 

Genuinely curious here, but is it possible to change our relationship with money from unhealthy to…great? Even given the state of the job market in the U.S. What would that look like? How would we pursue it? How would we perceive it? How would we perceive ourselves? And before you go there, no I’m not talking about what we perceive as value or valuable or wealth. Health is wealth, family/friends is wealth–I get all that. But I’m talking about actual cash right now.

 

I remember reading that money is an expression of energy. Think about that one for a while.

 

Be Gallant.