True Grit: Lessons from the Blessing Basket
By. De Andrea Nichols
Image via blessingbasket.org
As a graduate student studying social entrepreneurship at the Brown School of Social Work, I often hear the stories of many successful entrepreneurs, student ‘treps, and more throughout classes, networking, and local St. Louis events. In many cases, the narratives are similar, the goals are generally similar, the starting points are— you guessed it— similar.
But today, I heard a different story.
During a class session whereby speakers shared their start-up experiences and venture journeys, Teresa Wilson, Founder of The Blessing Basket Project, shared a story that turned out to be an awe-inspiring call to action unlike very few that I’d experienced thus far. Here are the top 7 key points:
- Define what’s within you. We are each uniquely equipped with all that we need to make our impact.
- “Momma don’t take no mess.” Be honest. Work hard. Hold a zero-tolerance for corruption.
- You never know when you will need to “lay the evidence on the table.”Document what’s happening, every step of the journey, every transaction.
- Eliminate ego. Admit what you don’t know. Acknowledge what you do know. Ask for help.
- Always think: what is in the best interest of those we serve?
- Start operating before you ask for money. Show ‘em that your model works.
- Plan for your exit when you start. Have a succession plan.
In addition to these key points, Wilson also identified 4 aspects needed when pursuing competitions, pitch opportunities, and grants:
- The sustainable component: Identify where income will be generated outside of grants.
- The Leading Edge: Know what CLEARLY sets you apart and makes your venture different.
- Winning Collaborations: Create clear deliverables that can foster partnerships with others.
- True Grit: Be resilient. Be unwavering in actualizing your idea.