Learning to say, "No".

Stop beating around the bush and just say it.

“‘No’ is a full sentence.”

So why the hell is it so hard to say?!

Over the past 2 years of gaining a platform and becoming a Founder, I learned so many hard lessons that could have all been avoided if I just said, “no.” As my following grew and my platform gained popularity, so many people reached out and asked to get into different types of partnerships with me. Most of those partnerships were not going to benefit me at all. Some partnership propositions were scammy or literally only benefited the other party. I had people try and take advantage of me as a first time Founder, and even pressure me into saying yes to their propositions when they knew I wanted to say, “no”. Due to all of the negative experiences I had, I prayed no one would ask me for any sort of partnership because I was going to have to go through the process of having the stress and anxiety of needing to tell them, “no.”

I had trouble saying “no” to:

  1. Opportunities that I didn’t have time for because I was already stretched too thin. I would usually agree to anything that would contribute to the exposure of my community or business.

  2. Partnerships.

Pros and Cons of saying “yes” to every opportunity👍🏾👎🏾

When an opportunity presents itself, I personally think you should jump on it because you don’t know if an opportunity like that will ever cross your path again.

Lessons I’ve learned- only say “yes” if you have the bandwidth to say “yes”. I used to say “yes” to speaking opportunities when I really didn’t have the time for them. Whether I was speaking at a meetup or a conference, I knew the advantage was exposure. Exposure is extremely valuable when you’re trying to bring awareness to a cause or market your business. I was trying to do both, so I figured I’d speak on a topic that I’m knowledgeable in, teach people, and also bring awareness to my business all at the same time just by saying, “Hi, I’m Pariss- Founder of Black Tech Pipeline.”

^This mindset can land you in a great position, or a really bad one.

Don’t say yes before you consider prep time and your schedule.

-How much time will this opportunity take out of your schedule?

-How much time will you be able to dedicate to prepping between now and the day of?

-How much time can you realistically put in without burning yourself out?

The last thing you want to do is agree to something that’s actually going to become a burden. What could end up happening is that you don’t put in enough time, or energy for this opportunity and you end up unintentionally exposing that when it’s time. If you didn’t get enough prep or practice time, your audience can tell. You may not be presented that opportunity again because you didn’t meet expectations. Now you’ve wasted people’s time and possibly money, your name circulates in bad light, and that may tarnish your reputation.

Only say “yes” when it’s truly fitting and appropriate. Prioritize where your time goes, and that may mean saying “no” to certain opportunities over others. Saying “no” doesn’t have to be the end all, be all. You can say “no” in the context of meaning, “not right now, but possibly next time.”

Saying ‘no’ to partnerships🚫 🤝

This is…hard. I’ve actually lost a couple of people within my network due to how hard it was for me to be upfront and say “no” to partnerships right away. My approach to saying “no” was to drag people along until they got tired and just left me alone. I feared that saying “no” would lead to people being mad at me, which is pretty ridiculous for a few reasons:

  1. If someone gets upset with you for saying “no”, they aren’t in your best interest anyway. They’re just worried about themselves.

  2. If people are trying to partner with you, it’s because you have something that they don’t. You’re the one in control. Be confident in your response, because the ball is in your court. Saying no to them may not affect you because at the end of the day, you have whatever value they want.

I’m sure #2 sounds power trippy, but it’s not. Always be humble and speak to people with respect, but saying “no” is not disrespectful, nor is going on a power trip. It’s your right. If you don’t feel that something is the right move for you, don’t do it. You don’t need to give an explanation, you can just say, “No, thank you.” Regardless of where you are in the process, if nothing has been signed, you can say “no” at any given point. Is that annoying? Yes, especially if you’ve led people on to believe that you’re going to move forward with them. Reality is, at the end of the day, if a deal isn’t sealed, you’re entitled to change your mind.


-If something sounds off, it probably is. Your instincts will tell you everything (as well as your advisors if you have any). Of course getting into something that involves other people will always be scary and risky, but some risks can be really beneficial, while others can be detrimental. Seek advice from professionals on how to best protect yourself when it comes to doing business partnerships. If it’s not what you want or need, don’t entertain it.

-If possible, say “no” sooner than later, because again, the last thing you want to do is lead people on. Wasting peoples time can burn bridges, and once again, harm your reputation.

-Remember that partnerships are meant to benefit both parties, not just one. There are people who exist who may attempt to get as much out of you as they can without giving you anything valuable in return. Make sure partnerships are detailed and clear, and that you’re going to get actual value out of them. Value usually contributes to giving you a lot more of something that you already have, or exposure to something that you need in order to progress towards whatever goals you have.

DE&I: what these companies are doing right.

Get your organization inspired by some of the practices these companies have implemented around DE&I📝

When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion anywhere- no one’s got it perfectly down pat. What some organizations do have are certain practices and strategies in place that can make even minor significant impacts. Take a look at what these companies are doing and jot down some of their approaches below📝

P.S. All of these companies are hiring! Feel free to check them out👇🏾

Equal pay matters, especially when you look at the racial/gender wealth gap in America. Did you know that Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men?

Howard Development & Consulting (HD&C) is a web development firm providing agencies with high-end WordPress and custom PHP solutions. HD&C mitigates the infamous inequality of compensation amongst coworkers by using this simple, transparent formula below:

Equity means transparent, predictable and equal pay for everyone who performs the same role. We provide equal pay to everyone on our development team, with a transparent starting rate and a simple formula for career advancement. Everyone on our team receives two revenue-sharing payments per year, based on a transparent formula that is the same for everyone. As the company succeeds, you succeed.

Nepotism and inequality in the workplace is really not a shocker to most people. In fact, it’s so prevalent in the workplace that it’s pretty much expected. The approach HD&C has taken to create equity in the workplace by using a transparent compensation and career advancement formula is one great way to build confidence and trust in employees.

Diversity needs to be a priority starting at the foundation of the company.

Botany empowers and grows great developers and managers by creating growth opportunities that help build habits and track improvement. Although they’re only a team of 5, they know the dangers of scaling without making diversity a priority early on.

Our company was founded by 5 white guys, so it's very important to us that not be the seed for our first hires. Although we need to quickly hire developers right now, we're choosing not to resort to Indeed, Vettery, etc. and other sites that have a much larger audience reach that will primarily bring in more white males.

Superhuman, the fastest email experience ever made, has the same practices around intentionally hiring for diversity:

We commit to evaluating a diverse group of candidates for each and every role. We intentionally seek out and interview candidates in groups that are underrepresented.

Many companies, especially start ups, start off by hiring friends, and people within their network. Diversity gets lost in this process because the priority is getting people in as quickly as possible so they can scale. Diversity becomes a priority only after they’ve grown to a point where they have the time to think about it.

They hire diverse candidates, but then struggle to retain them because they’re expecting the new minority of the workplace to adapt to the culture, systems, and policies that have been built and established without them in mind.

Make diversity a priority at the beginning. Be intentional in your hiring practices, and include diversity as a requirement in your recruiting and vetting process.

Being able to identify with people at work makes a difference.

Shopify focuses on making commerce better by allowing merchants to use their platform to manage every aspect of their business. One of Shopify’s approach to creating a sense of belonging at work was by creating Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s).

We have a number of initiatives that work on fostering a sense of belonging so all employees can feel included, valued, and heard. An example of one of those initiatives is Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
ERGs are employee groups that form based on a shared identity like race and ethnicity, gender, abilities, or sexual orientation, and help elevate the voices and experiences of their respective communities. ERGs are more than social groups: they have the potential to not only guide and contribute to creating an inclusive work environment through fostering belonging but can also act as a resource to impact business objectives.

Part of creating a safe space is by intentionally hiring people who come from diverse backgrounds. There’s a sense of relief and security when you’re able to speak to, and build a relationship with people who can resonate with you in some way, shape, or form. When you’re the only one who can identify with yourself, it’s lonely and stressful.

By intentionally forming groups for underrepresented people to rely on at any point in time, it can make coming into work that much better. Those groups create even more value when they’re also used to build a more inclusive work environment by listening to those underrepresented voices and applying their feedback.

Regardless of how ‘woke’ an environment seems, there is always more to learn and be reminded of.

HubSpot is a marketing, sales, and service software that is helping businesses grow. When it comes to learning and development in the DE&I sector, they make it mandatory that all HubSpot employees participate in seminars and trainings.

We also take care to make sure that every HubSpotter, no matter their background, is educated on the importance of inclusivity and diversity. Each employee must go through regular bias training targeting racism, sexism, ageism, and other forms of discrimination in our Commitment to Respect Each Other (CREO) course.

Additionally, we provide workshops and trainings for all employees, as well as specific sessions for managers, on anti-racism, allyship, and how to be an ‘upstander.’

There is significance in making things like anti-racism trainings mandatory, and consistent. Employers should be hiring people who want to make work a happy and healthy experience for all of their peers. Participating in regular trainings on how to be anti-bias is a way to keep people informed and in-line. When attending these trainings becomes optional, and people don’t attend, think about how that must feel to the underrepresented minorities of the workplace. There’s this thought of, “Why is learning how to be inclusive of someone like me not important to {x people who chose not to attend}?”

There are many types of diversity, including how people choose to engage at work.

Wistia, working to make business more human with video, encourages all of their employees to bring their full selves to work.

We encourage individuality and bringing your full self to work, our hilarious and entertaining all-hands meetings are usually evidence of that. But we also emphasize the opt-in nature of our fun/creative culture. Folks who prefer to keep to themselves add value too and they shouldn't feel bad for working however they are most comfortable. Sometimes it's just as great to watch the fun from a distance.

Accept that not everyone is like you. No one should feel the need to force themselves out of their comfort zones for the sake of proving that they’re a team player. Allow people to engage and work in a way that suits them best.

Aside from diversity, employers need to keep equity and inclusivity in mind from the time they’re writing a job posting, to actually recruiting. This is especially true when companies decide to think about hiring one of their first diverse candidates for a very hard to fill role.

“Job requirements:

-15+ years of experience

-Led numerous engineering teams

-CS degree”

Employers need to take a step back and look at history. How many Black/Brown/POC are in tech now? After they discover that the number is incredibly small in comparison to white males, think about how many Black/Brown/POC were in tech 15+ years ago? Now if there weren’t many in tech that long ago, how many people from those underrepresented communities got to lead numerous engineering teams? Let’s also talk about CS degrees. The poorest communities in America are Black and Brown communities. How many were/are able to afford to go off to a university and obtain a 4 year CS degree? Maybe some people from those communities resorted to cheaper, yet still effective and legitimate routes, like bootcamps.

This isn’t to say that Black/Brown/POC CS graduates with 15+ years of experience in programming and leadership don’t exist, but your chances of having an overwhelming amount of candidates to choose from is slim.

Starry, a fast, accessible and affordable internet provider, is thinking about equity in hiring by creating initiatives that will provide training and job opportunities to underrepresented communities.

Later this year, we’ll be launching our first apprenticeship training program targeted at providing job and training opportunities to underrepresented communities. Additionally, we’re expanding our cooperative engineering program to develop relationships with a wider array of universities and engineering programs including HBCUs.

Provide mentorship and up skilling opportunities to underrepresented people who have the potential to be that Senior or team lead that you’re looking for. Don’t resort to the same old job platforms that will bring in the same crowd your org is already full of. Be willing to do the work of building leaders.

One of the most important pieces to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive company is employers being open to getting their feelings hurt.

Moz, building the best-in-class SEO software, has created a space where employees are encouraged to be transparent about issues and improvements that need to be made within the company.

It's not enough to hire people from underrepresented groups. We also need to ensure they feel like they have a sense of belonging once they join our team. Our culture must be inviting to and supportive of everyone. Transparency is one of our core values — that means creating an environment where people feel comfortable speaking up, giving their perspective on an issue, and knowing their voice will be valued and respected.

Welcoming transparency means welcoming negative feedback, no matter how bad it is. Change only happens when you listen, understand, and accept the reality of things, even when they’re different from your perspective and experiences. No matter if only 1 person is having a hard time, it’s important to address the problem head on and fix it. Everyone should be able to have a great experience at work, not just the majority of the company.

Welcome transparent feedback. My advice is to welcome it through anonymous surveys that go out every few weeks. Don’t just get feedback, also take the actionable steps necessary to do better.

Employers publicly stating their stance on the topics of equality and justice is important. Being loud in public shows that employers are willing to sacrifice potential business opportunities for the greater good, and for the well-being of their employees.

Drizly, an alcohol delivery service app, is willing to speak up even if it has a negative impact on their business.

Leadership at Drizly emphasizes transparency, courage, and vulnerability. It's important to leaders that the employee population has visibility into strategy and decision making. This takes place through widely shared company reports and weekly company meetings led by executives. Our leaders stand up for social impact initiatives even if they are at odds with business impact.

ROI Solutions, providing technology solutions and a best-in-class CRM, has a similar practice. ROI demands respect on both sides of the business- internally, and from their clients.

As we help our client partners, we are also committed to fostering a healthy and respectful corporate culture. Both internally, and when interacting with clients and vendors, ethical conduct and mutual respect are mandatory.

Resilient Coders, a bootcamp training and paying POC from underserved communities to code, has great quote around how they value their employees.

Our people come first. We believe a company's output or product is just a vehicle through which you can sustain a company that sustains its people; in other words, work should work for the worker. 

Knowing that your employer values your life, and views you as more than just a worker, but as an actual human being, is comforting. Employee’s aren’t meant to be used as objects, and driven into the ground for the sake of business. Company values and code of conduct shouldn’t only be necessary for internal employees, but also for the clients employers decide to interact with.

So, you wanna be an influencer? ✨

What it really means to gain a following and build your own platform🎤

Over the last (almost) 2 years, I’ve been growing a following and building a platform. I didn’t do this with intention at first, it just happened because of the viral #BlackTechTwitter tweet. Everything happened very organically and unintentionally for me, and because of this, I made many mistakes😅 I’m still learning how to manage my following and social presence till this day, but I want to show my early on mishaps and provide tips on how to avoid them.

I quickly want to bring awareness to #EndSARS: an anti-robbery squad developed by the government of Nigeria to protect and serve their civilians. Instead, SARS overstepped and abused their power to harass, extort, and kill many of their youth. There is a fight between the Nigerian people and their government happening right now. Be sure to amplify their voices, and bring awareness to the injustices happening in Nigeria✊🏾

It’s not that I was an asshole, I was just blunt.

Since I didn’t get on Twitter with the purpose of becoming an influencer, I didn’t really have any consideration for others, nor a direction to go in, nor any responsibility. No one looked up to me, no one cared about what I tweeted, so I just tweeted whatever I wanted with no care for the repercussions.

Then unexpectedly, #BlackTechTwitter happened, and my following grew overnight! Suddenly people wanted to know who I was, they wanted to hear my “story”, and they wanted to offer me opportunities that I was never offered before. I entered a new world.

I was being called an “influencer”, a “role model”, and being told that I was “inspirational”. The transition of being nobody, to a sorta somebody happened very quickly.

Now what? I had this following, and I had no idea what the hell I was supposed to do with it. Since there was no guide on how to manage a following, I figured I’d continue about my life and tweet as normal. That’s where things went downhill.

I felt like I was being called out for everything! I even got called out for the #BlackTechTwitter tweet. I was told that I was causing a racial divide in the tech industry, that I was racist, and discriminative🙄

Point is, people were watching me. They were watching what I tweeted, how often I tweeted, what I liked, what I responded to, who I talked to, etc.

I’ve been “cancelled” about 5 or 6 times. The two cancels that actually sucked were when I was cancelled by Tech Twitter. Nothing sucks more than being cancelled by your own community because:

#1- You’re hurting people that you truly care about, and they also really cared about you.

#2- These aren’t random people that you’ll never be in the same room with. You’re being cancelled by people within proximity to you. Imagine needing to go to a conference and being surrounded by people who can’t stand you because you’re a POS on Twitter. Yikes.

Cancel #1- Airpods

There was a debate on Twitter about the quality and cost of Airpods. I didn’t know anything about Airpods, but I decided to look up the cost of them. Keep in mind that at this time I was making really good money as a developer, so seeing the cost of Airpods seemed inexpensive.

^ This turned out badly.

I had people commenting, quote tweeting, and DMing me about how privileged and selfish I was. I’ll admit that my first thoughts were, “I don’t even care. This is the dumbest sh*t to be mad about.” I perceived people being mad as them just wanting something to be sensitive about.

Lesson learned✨

I had been receiving DM’s all night from people telling me they were going to unfollow me and wishing brokeness upon me. Then one DM came through that really put things into perspective for me.

This person explained that they were really disappointed in me because they saw me as someone who was fighting for equity and opportunity for those at a disadvantage. Although I was privileged enough to be a Black woman making a good salary in tech, that wasn’t the case for everyone. A lot of people in the world are struggling, and $160 is expensive to them, especially those in the Black and Brown communities.

This wasn’t something I didn’t already know, it was just something that I didn’t consider when posting that tweet. And although my intent behind it wasn’t to say, something like, “If you can’t afford something that’s $160, you’re broke”, that’s how it could easily be perceived by others.

Before tweeting an opinion, especially when it has to do with finances and materialistic things, consider how someone completely opposite of you in a situation that is difficult to transition out of would feel. It’s as simple as leaving your bubble of comfort and putting yourself into someone else’s shoes.

Cancel #2- Google it

This was most definitely my worst cancel 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

I tweeted this out of annoyance and frustration. When you gain a following, you receive tons of DM’s daily! I got this question in my DM’s the most. I used to take the time to actually answer people. A lot of times though, I’d take the time to reply to people and they’d either stop responding, or I’d just never get a response back. I thought it was so rude and inconsiderate because I took the time to care about these strangers seeking advice. I customized my responses according to each persons journey, and even did research for them to make things easier on their end.

So on this day ^, I was DMd this question a couple of times and decided to take out my frustrations publicly. Whew, did this turn out poorly for me. I was being cancelled by supporters, big names with checkmarks, and people I admired. I was being dragged!

Random note: There were a few people who were being very unforgiving about this tweet, and took things a bit too far, so I personally decided to block them. You’ll find that there are people who are excited to see you fail while you fail. They enjoy adding fuel to the fire. My advice is to block them and move on. As for everyone else, definitely issue an apology after you truly understand why you were wrong. Don’t ever apologize out of fear of losing opportunities or because you want everyone to stop talking about what you did. Really listen, understand, and acknowledge where you went wrong. Take that accountability.

Lessons learned✨

Again, this tweet took dozens of people putting the tweet in perspective for me. First of all, I had to get over the fact that I was going to always get tons of DM’s a day from people asking me simple questions to giving me ridiculous demands. That’s what comes with the territory of having a following. The bigger your following gets, the more requests you will receive, and the more will be expected of you.

My excuse for my frustrated tweet was very much the, “I never asked for this”, excuse. “I’m human. I can get annoyed if I want to. I didn’t even ask for this platform or following. Everyone feels entitled to my time and expects me to never mess up.” Not only did I state that, which made everyone even more mad, but it’s truly how I felt at the time. What I had to realize was, whether I gained my following unintentionally or not, the fact was that I had it. Having a following comes with responsibility, and unless I was willing to give it all up, I had to get my sh*t together and once again look at things from a different perspective before tweeting about it.

You’ll eventually come to the conclusion that you are now a person of influence. You’re a role model, and people look up to you. Being a role model means that it’s not just about you anymore, it’s about your community of supporters too. You have some power to make incredible impact, and power to do some damage, so use what you have wisely.

You’ll eventually mess up, even just a little, but don’t let your pride get in the way of admitting that. If you can’t take accountability then don’t complain about losing supporters or opportunities.

As for making mistakes…

I’m probably going to mess up again. I hope I don’t, but I am human and that’s the nature of being one.

We can’t always say the perfect thing, or even have the perfect angle of putting things across. You’re going to offend someone, regardless if you intended to or not, and you’re not going to be able to please everyone. Don’t try to either, you’ll drive yourself mad attempting to do the impossible.

Take aways

✨ Does everything deserve an apology or explanation? No. I can’t tell you what deserves to be acknowledged, because that’s up to you and your intuition. You’ll know. But when you truly do hurt people, especially your own community, it’s very easy to be defensive, especially when you didn’t mean it to come off the way that it did. Be honest and tell your people that you didn’t intend to be offensive, be specific in saying how you hurt them and how understand those specific things are harmful, and apologize. Don’t do it again. You’ll make mistakes again, but hopefully not the same ones.

✨ You’re going to be asked so many favors, be given tons of demands, and asked an endless amount of questions. Some people will be really nice, others will be super aggressive. You’ll come across all kinds of people from different parts of the world. You do not need to respond to everyone, you’re not obligated to. However, if you’d like to maintain a social presence, continue gaining your following, and really help others, then you have to do the work of being active and engaging.

I suggest you compile a list of frequently asked questions that come across your inbox. Take those questions and turn them into a blog piece, or a youtube video. That way when people ask those questions, instead of tailoring your responses to each of them, send them a link to your personal resource. Getting tons of questions allows you to produce helpful content.

✨ Don’t be angry and tweet. Tweeting while you’re annoyed at people for being human is most likely not going to work out in your favor. Don’t do it. Obviously you’re human and you’re going to have your emotions, but keep them offline. Not everyone needs to know your emotions all the time, especially when it’s towards people reaching out to you seeking guidance. I suggest unplugging and taking social media breaks. There’s nothing wrong with that.

*I think it’s important to remember that once you gain a following, you really do have privileges that others don’t. It’s easier for you to attain certain opportunities simply because of your social reach. It’s easier for you to amplify messages that others need help with. Not everyone has that, which is what makes having a following a privilege. Give back. Do as best you can. You’ll never do things perfectly, and you’ll never do enough to please each person. That’s the unfortunate fact, but keep going.

✨ Your following will fluctuate. People will follow you and unfollow you every day. Some people who you thought you had a good relationship with will unfollow you, or even block you. People who you didn’t even know existed will block you. Don’t get stuck on who, and why. You don’t need to wonder why people no longer want to see your content, and you don’t need to chase them. People are going to unfollow you. That’s life, keep it moving. (that’s my perspective anyway)

✨ You know how they say, “Mo money, mo problems”? Well, same goes for followers. “Mo followers, mo haters”. Haters absolutely exist, and not just those with smaller platforms than yours. Those with bigger ones as well. Ignore them and keep being great.

✨ Last but not least, don’t be an asshole. I don’t know if this really needs explaining, but don’t intentionally be mean and make others feel stupid, or less than. Check your ego, check your pride, and don’t let the number of followers you have go to your head. Some people with big followings think they’re better and expect to be treated differently. It’s a little pathetic to me lol but those people do exist. Don’t be one of them.

New opportunities in the pipeline 🙌🏾

We've got opportunities, you've got the advantage. Take em🔥

Partnership announcement 🎉

Upstatement, building digital brands and products, is pleased to partner with Black Tech Pipeline to help support the work of underrepresented founders and entrepreneurs. Upstatement is offering heavily discounted 2-week Design Sprints where you’ll be able to collaborate with some of our best-in-class designers and engineers to work on a challenge your organization is facing. Please reach out to vanessa@upstatement.com if you’d like to discuss how Upstatement might be able to help your business take its next step forward. 

Typical cost for above service: $39,000+

✨Upstatement’s service offer to Black Tech Pipeline members: $500-$1000.

Who’s hiring? 🔍

Click on company names to apply!

Shopify | 2 roles | Remote | FT

  1. Software Development Manager

  2. Senior Software Developer

Superhuman | 3 roles | San Francisco CA | FT

  1. Analytics Lead

  2. Lead Software Engineer

  3. Mobile Engineer

Starry | 10 roles | Boston MA, Columbus OH, New York NY | FT

  1. Data Engineering Manager

  2. Director of Sales, Field Technician

  3. Fiber Network Project Manager

  4. Principal Embedded Software Engineer

  5. Systems Software Engineer

  6. Systems Software Manager

  7. Vice President of Marketing

  8. Site Reliability Engineer

  9. Principle R&D Engineer

  10. Network Operations Engineer

HubSpot | 10 roles | Remote, Cambridge MA | FT

  1. Software Engineer

  2. Software Engineer Co-Op (Spring 2021)

  3. Software Engineering Intern (Summer 2021)

  4. Senior Product Designer

  5. Program Manager Certification

  6. Sr. SWE, CRM

  7. Sr. CWE, CMS

  8. Product Analyst

  9. Senior Data Engineer

  10. Senior SWE, Marketing Hub

Resilient Coders | 1 role | Boston, MA | FT

  1. Development Associate

Howard Development & Consulting | Multiple | Remote| PT & FT

  1. WordPress Developers

Ovia Health | 8 roles | Boston, MA | FT

  1. Advertising Copywriter

  2. Senior QA Analyst

  3. Senior API Engineer

  4. Growth Marketing Lead

  5. Enrollment Marketing Manager

  6. Senior Account Manager

  7. Director of Sales

  8. Account Manager

Moz | 7 roles | Remote | FT

  1. Sr. Cloud Infrastructure Developer

  2. Senior Software Developer

  3. Front End Software Developer

  4. Sr. Data Scientist

  5. Website Developer

  6. Sr. Node.js Developer

  7. Marketing Coordinator

Drizly | 2 roles | Remote, Boston MA, Denver CO, New York NY, Austin TX, San Francisco CA | FT

  1. Front-end Staff Software Engineer

  2. Senior Software Engineer

ROI Solutions | 3 roles | Boston MA | FT

  1. Systems Administrator

  2. Software Developer

  3. Database Administrator

Mark your calendar📌

DEITECH Conference is a diversity, equity, and inclusion conference focused on tackling the issues of the disparities of Black representation in Tech.

Speakers: Jane Elliot, Arlan Hamilton, Minda Harts, Angel Rich, David Johns, & more!

When: October 27th, 2020

Where: Virtual



What entrepreneurs should consider before quitting their 9-5.

How I determined it was time to quit my job 👋🏾

“When is it time to quit my 9-5?”

*Me stressed IRL^^

Honestly, I don’t think there’s one absolute answer. I believe the answer depends on you and the risk you’re comfortable taking. However, I do think there are things you should take into account before jumping the gun. This is how I personally knew it was time to give my notice and take my business full time…

Everyone’s situation is going to be different. This is my story.

I announced that I was launching Black Tech Pipeline (BTP) in June of 2020. Around this time is when everyone was really riding the Black Lives Matter train, and claiming their allyship after George Floyd’s murder.

This was not why I decided to launch. Weeks prior to the pandemic and quarantine, I was constantly tweeting about launching BTP “in the next weeks.” Those next few weeks just happened to fall during a tragic time.

But these two things did contribute to the eagerness of announcing my launch:

  1. I knew my performance at work was dropping. I stopped attending happy hours, and engaging in conversation. It wasn’t because there was something wrong with the company I worked for, my focus just shifted.

    I was rightfully distracted by social media and the flooding of content surrounding the injustices happening in the Black community. Knowing the work I should be doing full time vs the work I was actually doing full time made me annoyed with myself. I wanted to just help create impact in my community. That’s it.

  2. I was pissed the hell off.

👉🏾I want to preface this by saying that I know I have the privilege of already having a platform and a following. I know that contributed to the traction my launch announcement received.

I had been writing newsletters surrounding Black Lives Matter a few weeks before announcing my launch, and those newsletters gained lots of traction on social media, which gained me more subscribers. I decided to announce the launch of BTP in my newsletter, and the response to the announcement was sign #1 that I was going to be on my way out of my job.

My calendar was flooded with calls. I had 15 minute breaks in between calls from morning to evening. I was talking to employer after employer wanting to take advantage of BTP’s services. Aside from calls, I received emails non-stop. Not just from employers, but from press wanting to cover the launch. It was tiring but good problems to have, especially before even launching.

On top of my performance dropping at work from being distracted by the political climate, I was now also distracted by BTP’s calendar being completely booked. Having so many calls booked seems promising, but until I had client agreements signed and invoices paid, I wasn’t going to leave my job, especially during a pandemic.

Plenty of employers expressed interest. They loved the origin story of #BlackTechTwitter and how it led to me building Black Tech Pipeline. There were lots of promising words, but you can’t go off of words of interest to determine your safety net.

The way I determined my safety net was by looking at my finances with my mentor, Leon Noel. I kept in mind what I was making annually at my 9-5. I already knew what I was charging for my services so I also used that to think about worst and best case scenario. He told me to ask myself:

  1. At the very least, how much do you need to make to pay your bills on time?

  2. Are you willing to give up your typical lifestyle?

I looked at my pricing model and mapped out how many clients I’d have to have per month to get by. And not just how many clients, but:

  1. Which services would those clients have to pay for in order for me to get by?

  2. And when those clients pay me, how much money do I have left over after putting 30-35% into savings for tax time and personal savings?

  3. And if I don’t want to live a life of just getting by, how much money do I need to make, with tax deductions in mind, to live the life that I want to live?

  4. How much money would I like to make annually? What will it take to get there? Can I project that?

  5. Is it possible that I can stay at my 9-5 and balance my business at the same time?

  6. Could I potentially hire someone to help me out so that I can do both?

Those numbers and questions are extremely important and it’s what you should think about before making the decision to bounce from your 9-5.

Sign #2: Personally, time was not on my side. It came to a point where something had to give. It wasn’t fair to continue working my 9-5 when I wasn’t giving it my all because I was busy prioritizing my own business. I also wasn’t willing to give up potential clients, miss calls, and wait to reply to business emails for the sake of my 9-5.

Sign #3 : Potential clients turned into paying clients. Agreements were getting signed, and invoices were being paid. That sounds dope, but that’s not enough to say you’re secure. The question is,

  1. With the money you’ve been paid + your savings (if any), would you be able to quit your job and be able to pay your bills for the next 6 months, even if you got no other paying clients?

  2. How many signed/not yet paid clients do you currently have?

  3. What’s your projected paying client rate for the next month?

  4. What are you going to do if you don’t have any new business coming in?

These are the risk questions, and you have to be very real with yourself when you answer them. The last thing you want is give yourself optimistic answers and then be left with late payments, debt, and serious financial hardship.

My personal answers: I’d be fine. I determined this by the tangible money I had been paid. I didn’t count the client agreements signed because anyone can back out of an agreement before the work begins, something could delay the process on their end, etc. I made enough to feel confident in giving my job my notice, and to continue living the life I want to be able to live. I only considered signed agreements when I thought about future business expectations: “I have {x} many clients potentially secured for {x} services, which will keep me financially stable for {x months}. I also have {x} many potential client calls lined up for the next {x weeks/months}.”

I also double checked with my mentor, and when he approved, I felt even more confident in leaving.

It was bittersweet, but I gave my notice. It was time. Shout out to G2i for being the best employer I’ve worked for since entering the tech industry. Amazing culture, dope people, and doing the work of solving the broken vetting process.

Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen with Black Tech Pipeline. Maybe things are only going well right now and we’ll struggle later down the line. I don’t know, I hope not. I will do everything in my power to make this company successful, but there’s only so much that I have control over. That’s the risk. That’s entrepreneurship for ya.

If I’m being totally honest, a job will always be there. Companies will always be hiring. I know- I’m a recruiter.

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