Young Black Entrepreneurs & Innovators Share What Inspires Them To Succeed

February 26, 2014  |  

Jay Morrison: Real Estate Expert, Author and Speaker, African-American, Born and raised in Somerville, NJ

At the age of 26, Jay Morrison took a start-up real estate investing company, “Mr. Real Estate, LLC,” from zero to over $3 million in revenue in under two years. Morrison has been featured on BET, was chosen as one of the faces of Roc A Wear’s “I Will Not Lose” campaign, and has had nearly a dozen features on NBC’s Open House NYC. His first book is called Hip Hop 2 Homeowners, and he went viral when his motivational online videos collectively amassed over one million views. Morrison is currently on a 15-city “Keys to Success” tour where he teaches participants how to move “from poverty and prison to prosperity and purpose.” Morrison has also developed an organization called Young Minds Can, which focuses on empowerment and mentorship for at-risk and disadvantaged youth.

Jay Morrison: The two men who have inspired me are Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. They both remained selfless, they didn’t sell out and remained humble in how they chose to lead. Both were also clearly willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to achieve their goals. A lot of times you find leaders who only want to speak when their name is on a flyer or when there is a big crowd. But these heroes did the hard work whether it was one or 1,000 people.

What I have learned about being black in corporate America is that we have every opportunity to be as big, as legendary, and as lucrative as we want but there are just fundamental principles we have to follow. You have to buy in, even more so, to corporate culture: Speech, appearance, etiquette, everything. People don’t really buy into your business as much as they do into you as a person. The better picture you can paint of yourself, no matter where you came from and what you’ve been through, especially as an African-American, is the key to finding the path of least resistance for building new relationships and putting yourself in a position to be successful in general.

My advice for those coming behind me is to adopt a non-complacent attitude. As soon as you see yourself justifying something, STOP, and look at the results of your actions. If it wasn’t the outcome you wanted, then you need to adjust. Steal people’s phraseology, steal people’s email signatures. Look at what works and don’t be scared to copy the people who are where you want to be. Lastly, don’t get caught up in becoming a high-paid employee. Always strive to be an owner.

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