Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nicole's Commentary 18 August 2008

I had the pleasure of seeing the award-winning Documentary "First Person". Six students from Philadelphia's public high schools talk in first person about their journey to college. Their journey was full of twists and turns from life on the streets. One of the students in the film attended the screening and said the thing that stopped her from going to college was a mentor. Today, let's set the record straight about my relationship with my mentor, UrbanPhilly's, Sulaiman Rahman.

I actually met Sulaiman through the website ConnectingBlack about 2 years ago and always respected him from afar. When he called me last year, I knew this was a special person entering my life. At the Conversation on Civic Engagement and Politics with BET's Jeff Johnson (Thanks again Urban Philly Professional Network), Jeff talked about creating institutions to educate each other. The institution has already been created, we just need to see it as an institution. Since August 2007, I have been attending weekly training on Tuesday where Sulaiman taught class on how to be a better person which turns into better business owners. He not only did that, but went above and beyond by spending his personal time to travel with me to Washington DC to meet my family, attend DiversePhilly events and also give tips on how to make DiversePhilly better. If we counted his time as money, because time equals money, he has spent about $40,000 mentoring me. Now at that price I could not afford his tutorlage, but he used a network marketing institution to share his knowledge with me.

If it was not for network marketing, DiversePhilly would not exist. When I was introduced to network marketing, I was a frustrated 250 lb single mom trying to make it work. My favorite author, Robert Kiyosaki endorses network marketing in the book, The Business School for People Who Like Helping People. It was through my first network marketing opportunity, Quixstar that the idea of DiversePhilly came to mind. Sulaiman likes to call network marketing - "personal development with a compensation plan attached". That is why network marketing has been so attractive. I was doing all types of wrong in the world and the idea of learning a system of how to be a better person was quite intriguing. As a business owner - YOU are the product. That was proven when I was explaining DiversePhilly to a prospective business owner over e-mail and he said "I don't want to advertise with you". He did not think of DiversePhilly as an advertising vehicle, he specifically said Nicole Newman.

Luckily for me, I was involved in a network marketing business which taught me how important it was to be personally developed. Entrepreneurship requires a different skill set than the corporate America. You have to believe in yourself and your product without a shadow of a doubt. My last day at Deloitte was July 5th, 2007 so I had not developed the skills necessary when Sulaiman called me the next month. Through Sulaiman's network marketing institution, I developed a thick skin and a positive mental attitude. Being an entrepreneur is not easy and he was able to mentor me on the bumps that happen along the way. So when the bumps occured, I was prepared (Murphy's Committee). It did not stop me on my journey of becoming a better person.

Sulaiman has a goal of creating 100 full-time entrepreneurs and as all network marketers should know "TEAM work makes the DREAM work". Everybody cannot run UrbanPhilly or DiversePhilly but everyone has the capacity to use network marketing as a institution where we can learn the skills necessary to mentor each other as successful business owners. Sulaiman, thank you for paying it forward by mentoring me and I will pay it forward by leading by example and teaming with you to make your vision of creating more full-time entrepreneurs a reality.

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