Adventures in Entrepreneurship, March 2015: Creating Your Own American Dream

In this past year I have met SO many people who’ve wanted to join me on this journey of entrepreneurship. Certainly you can turn to any number of blogs, podcasts, and TED talks to get recommendations from experts who are really good at helping you turn your ideas into reality. (This ain’t that blog, folks!) But I am committed to sharing what that journey has been for me in my new monthly series, Adventures in Entrepreneurship. Every first Thursday of the month, you can read a new adventure about my entrepreneurial experience and we can learn together how to create our own version of the American dream. Enjoy! 

I remember walking into my brother’s studio five years ago and seeing this sign at the bottom of the staircase. I was so proud and so inspired that I was related to this amazing human being who was making his musical dreams happen. I thought, “I’m going to have my own business one day, too.”

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When I saw the sign in Buddy’s studio, I had already been moonlighting as a freelance writer and editor for three years, but I really hadn’t thought much about making this my everyday, full-time gig. Fresh Eyes was just my little thing on the side that helped me sharpen my editing skills, beef up my savings, pay for my vacations, and fund my MAC addiction. Fast forward four years later, when faced with the very REAL choice of staying in the DMV and working on someone else’s vision versus moving to New York and taking my career in my own hands, I’m glad that I took the gamble on me.

Now let me keep it ALL THE WAY 100…this has NOT been an easy journey. I’m sure many of you saw a picture I posted in early September of myself and Steve Harvey for the debut publication of “Act Like a Success.” But just a few weeks earlier, I spent more than a few very hot summer days BAWLING my eyes out in my first apartment in Canarsie, Brooklyn wondering how I was going to stay in New York and which of my siblings I would have to couch surf with if I had to go back home to Baltimore. Fortunately God’s timing is so much better than my own, and everything worked out better than I could have imagined.

I discovered just how rock solid my relationship with God was when I embarked on this journey. Let me tell you, when you are trusting solely on yourself for your rent, utilities, food, health insurance, Broadway tickets, and MAC lipglass, you learn how to secretly infuse the words “I’m a freelance writer and editor” into every conversation. You have NO SHAME in slipping your business cards to Lottie, Dottie, and everybody. Being an entrepreneur is truly the scariest, realest, and most confronting thing I’ve ever done in my life thus far. But I would not trade the fear of the unknown for the joy of realizing on the other side just how capable, competent, savvy, and truly extraordinary I can be.

When I step back and recognize the gift that I have been given to be born as a Black woman in this time and space and to be able to be my own boss, my fear becomes irrelevant. I’m certain that just 40 to 50 years ago, there were young writers and editors of color who had the same dream that I did, but couldn’t pursue their dreams because of the limitations in this country. So I push myself out of bed on cold, snowy Brooklyn mornings to edit, write, re-write, scream over the abuse of the English language, drink a few cups of coffee, and sneak in the latest episode of “Empire” over lunch (I LIVE for Cookie!!!).

Nothing brings me more joy today to launch my new website, fresheyeseditorial.com, and to add the words FRESH EYES EDITORIAL SERVICES to a long legacy of Lakins entrepreneurship that began with my father’s company, Howard Lakins Painting, and now includes My Buddy Studio, WDBL Medical Billing, Raymond Lakins Painting, and IdaGirl Products.

Creating your own version of the American dream isn’t easy; but if you’ve got the vision, heart, and drive to do it, ANYTHING (and I do mean ANYTHING!) is possible.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Kevin says:

    Leah,
    Thanks so much for this. Following your journey has been encouraging and this post I particularly needed. As you know I also have dipped my toes into entrepreneurship (dipped toes, haven’t plunged into it full-time…yet), and this encourages me. Looking to turn the side hustle to my full hustle in the future. Thanks for showing us it can be done.

    1. soulwriter9 says:

      Indeed, bro! I don’t mind sharing my journey because it’s not a bed of roses but it CAN be done. It’s a journey worth going down if you have the faith and heart to do it.

  2. Dominique R Young says:

    That was soooooo inspiring! Taking that leap of faith is so scary, but hearing the story of someone who did it and lived to tell about it, brings me one step closer to my dreams and away from fear. Thank you for that.

    1. soulwriter9 says:

      Aww, thank you! My pleasure to share my story!

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