Baltimore brand consultant is changing the entrepreneurship game

As businesses rethink their strategies and entrepreneurs continue to scramble to maintain successful businesses during a global pandemic Raven Paris, a Baltimore based brand consultant and multi- media strategist who has freelanced and served as a radio host for local and national platforms like 92Q and nationally for Def Jam, DTLR, TMZ & BET, has come to change the entrepreneurship game with her debut book, “The Game Changer: Start-Up Kit to Become or Sustain Entrepreneurship.”

Raven Paris, author, “The Game Changer”

Mia Greene

Raven Paris, author, “The Game Changer”

The 51-page guidebook addresses the concerns of new and aspiring entrepreneurs during this time when it may be necessary but difficult pivot because of COVID-19 related revenue changes for businesses. Even though we are living in the digital age and connection might be at our fingertips, support is often not. “The Game Changer” is a guidebook that supports a demographic of specifically Black entrepreneurs and is tailor-made to hold their hands through goal setting, sales and even advertising.

“If we’re able to spend in our community, we’ll keep the dollars in our community,” Paris said when asked why newly established or seasoned black dream chasers should invest in buying “The Game Changer.”

Paris says she is no stranger to dropping off copies of her new guidebook in-person. “I love for people to be able to relate to me, so whether I’m having a good or bad day I hop in my car with my mask for folks that support me, You can’t always touch or reach people that you meet on social media, I like to show love to the people who show love to me,” she said.

Paris naturally guides her peers and clients step-by- step through their initial jump into the entrepreneurship game based on her experiences. “I’m not a graduate of any formal communications program. I went to school for Social Work at Morgan State University so I’m driven to think about people first,” she said.

The plight of entrepreneurs is something the new author understands personally as she remembers vividly quitting her job at a local mobile-phone store in 2017 in order to pursue her dream of expanding her voice in entertainment full-time.

“Entertainment is a male-dominated world and doesn’t come without its challenges. And being an attractive woman, you have to work even harder for men in the industry to take you seriously because they feel like you’re going to sell your soul in order for doors to open for you,” Paris noted.

Throughout her new book, Raven urges early-stage entrepreneurs both men and women not to immediately quit their jobs but to first strategize and prepare spiritually, emotionally and financially for what she describes as a time when things don’t always go as planned.

“It can be uncomfortable to follow your dreams and in that first year especially, it gets lonely as you’re spending an increased amount of time on your new- found passion,” Paris said.

Space for journaling and prompts to help are laced throughout the start-up kit to become or sustain entrepreneurship because while this is a guidebook rich in resources Paris wanted it to be personal.

“I want entrepreneurs to analyze themselves by asking themselves certain questions based on their own industry [to] find their niche and what makes them unique,” she said.

As a self proclaimed seasoned social media mogul Paris has amassed 35.7k followers on her Instagram alone; and is no stranger to the online game that we are all playing as entrepreneurs in 2020. However, it’s not about the followers, according to Paris who reminds entrepreneurs: “Don’t be driven by the followers but be driven by the intention of what your goals are and gaining believers. Is your intention to inspire? Is it to motivate others? You definitely want to reach as many peoples you can but set bigger intentions than just having a lot of followers.”

Paris is well known in some circles for her local or national notoriety and successes with those aforementioned organizations and following on Instagram, but she hasn’t forgotten fellow entrepreneurs, mentors and friends who have supported her along the way so she has included a guide to Black Businesses in the DMV, New York, and even Atlanta throughout “The Game Changer.”

“I just see myself as someone who is trying to change the game and be an example to entrepreneurs that I didn’t have when I came to the game. No one gave me the resources or the tools to be able to thrive as an entrepreneur,” said Raven.

Paris believes her best tool is the ability of her spirit being able to lead her to make certain decisions or not make them. She credits her intimate relationship with God as being what allows her to keep herself away from the distractions and anything else that does not feed her spirit in a positive way. She fasts intermittently and abstains from any lifestyle habits that may take her focus off her new entrepreneurial journey.

“I feel like when you have that relationship with God, it just helps to make things clearer— hard work paired with faith are driving forces in my life,”Paris said. “I’m being used as a vessel by God to be able to allow my community to build their own tables and open their own doors to be able to thrive as entrepreneurs or to just pursue their passion.”

What about our daughters? Baltimore Black mother’s thoughts on Breonna Taylor’s birthday

I am a Black, single mother of two girls Blair (8) and Harper (6). One night recently, my Remington home was quiet because I sent them to their father’s house for a much-needed break after 84 consecutive days at home together amid social distancing precautions due to COVID-19. Today, my mind finds some ease in reading that we are headed into Phase 1 of re-opening here in Baltimore.

However, the imagery associated with the police killing of Breonna Taylor is one I’ve struggled not to replay in my mind. The thoughts of the civil unrest all around the country make it hard to focus, sleep, or just let your kids go out for a quick visit. On Friday, June 5, 2020, it was much harder to ignore the imagery because it was Breonna’s 27th birthday.

On March 13, 2020, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers while she was sleeping when they entered her home. This senseless killing took a daughter from her mother.

When my girls are home, I often peer into their room to watch them sleep and to ensure their safety— wishing them sweet dreams. Even now when they are only 25 minutes away, I miss them dearly. They carry on and leave their toys all over the floor but as annoying as it may be for a mother, I’m sure Breonna’s mom would give anything to rewind the hands of time and relive those days. My daughters are much younger than Breonna was or would’ve been today but the world and its ills are one and the same for my daughters as they were for her.

This is all a nightmare; to think that my daughters could grow older, take jobs serving their communities like Breonna, and have their lives taken, carelessly by law enforcement wherever they may reside. I pray God to plant a hedge of protection over them even right now. I’m afraid and rightfully so, I’m unsure that hashtags are enough, I’m unclear on if protests or officers taking knees is enough to appease the grief that Breonna’s mom must feel. The collective grief in community is heavy and the media is persistent on messaging around George Floyd, But all I can ask is, What about our daughter, Breonna?

How should we train our own daughters to live in a world that has no regard for them? Should I prepare their minds even now to be fearful of law enforcement? There are so many questions laying squarely on my shoulders as a black mother. Especially given the geographic context and history of police brutality in Baltimore. Do we move to another state? I’ve even gone the length to research the story of George Floyd and found that he lived in multiple states over the course of his life. You simply can’t outrun acts of carelessness, I guess. I’m stumped by the entire system from the police force to the prison system— it’s not necessarily broken, it was just never meant to protect the majority of us.

In Baltimore, I have memories as early as age 16 where friends of mine both young men and women were locked up. We would all just be hanging out trying to come of age— not looking for trouble. As I got older— in my early twenties— I worked in healthcare just like Breonna and would come home after a long night exhausted from patient care. The degrees of separation between myself and Breonna, situations like hers, and my daughters are too close.

I’ve skimmed articles where her mother describes it as being “harder to breathe without her.” I spend nearly 365 days of the year in very close proximity to my daughters and I can’t imagine, and I don’t want to imagine a day without my children here on earth. The 84 days that I have been home with my girls marks the 84 days that Breonna’s mom has been without her. She has a lifetime to go.