By Arlene Jones
One of the hardest ventures I ever undertook was writing, publishing, marketing, and subsequently selling my own book. It is, for someone like myself who had only known making money by working for someone else, a concept that is initially hard to grasp and even more difficult to master. Because the concept of "making one's own money" is so foreign to the majority of us, I suspect it is often rejected as opposed to being embraced.
Many in the black community, I think, face the same sort of invisible hindrance that I once did. Self-doubt is the worst; that inner voice telling us what we can't do is the reason foreigners can come to this country and see all the potential ways to make money while native citizens are stuck in a quagmire that keeps them in a perpetual cycle of un-accomplishment.
How do we change that reality? If I had the answer, I would shout it from the mountaintops. But I believe it all starts with individuals with the moral fortitude to take on challenges and situations that the average person refuses. It also involves not accepting the age-old myth, that "selling drugs" is the only opportunity available. If one can sell drugs, then one can replace those drugs with gym shoes, jeans, or anything else legal to sell.
Selling online has now become a way for people to make money. Originally, I would only look to a site like Craig's List to search for items I wanted that people were selling. Now there are other sites gaining popularity like OfferUp, letgo, and my personal favorite, Facebook Marketplace. Each site works in a similar manner in that individuals post what they want to sell while others searching for items can find what they want.
One of the things I've noticed on Facebook Marketplace is that people have been offering to sell food they make at home. In the past, I know people who have been hesitant to cook or bake for others because they didn't have a way to let others know about it. Word-of-mouth has never been as lucrative as the ability to gain access to people 24/7, especially when the people browsing are on websites looking to make purchases to begin with.
If I were someone who wanted to get involved in such a plan, I would first make a YouTube video showing how I create certain items. That gives people a chance to see your food preparation location. Then you can link your advertisement on other online sites to that video. I know there is a huge market out there because after watching certain YouTube videos, I have concluded, based on the comments, that many young people don't know how to cook what people of my generation learned to cook. Or someone has a fabulous talent for making certain things. I have a neighbor who makes the best dressing filled with hot sausage. Another neighbor makes a fantastic banana pudding. A good friend makes a sweet potato pie that is fabulous.
The internet and the ability to make money go hand-in-hand. Let's embrace technology as a money-making device and use it for that purposes. Before Uber and Lyft burst on the scene, black folks were doing the same thing with Jitney Cabs. The only difference is that those providing jitney services never envisioned what else one could do with the internet.
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