Life happened. See, I was contacted by a publication in early January 2016 and asked if I would be interested in writing a blog for them using a conversation
between the current me and the twenty-year-old me as the theme. Basically, I was to mentor myself. I thought it was a great idea and subsequently,
I began writing the blog. Well, I sit now just a couple days after we have all celebrated Independence Day. Yep, seven months later, I had not managed
to finish the blog, yet the publication contacted me once again to pen a blog for them (different subject matter, of course) and I reeked of guilt.
The guilt we all experience when we know we simply did not perform up to our standard. And with all sincerity of heart, I simply offered to them, “Life
That has also been a familiar refrain from many I have had conversations with about entrepreneurship. It is often the case that someone is working a full-time
job and participating in their career yet they are experiencing their passion on the side. It’s the accountant that plays upright bass in a jazz band
and performs weekly in front of hundreds of people. It’s the United States Postal Service mail carrier who designs, creates and markets her own clothing
line. The school teacher who codes and creates and sells apps to others because “it’s just something that has always interested (him.)” During these
very separate conversations, a few relatively similar concepts manage to weave their way in. Repeatedly, these part-time entrepreneurs explained to
me that they found the fulfillment of their passion for life while working for themselves. Over and over the sentiment was relayed to me that, “this
is what (they) feel (they) were put on earth to do.” Rarely did I hear mention of their disdain for their full-time jobs. But, overwhelmingly I heard
the tale of their dream to live out their passions as a full-time career. And when pressed about their hesitancy to take that leap, “life happened”
was often the reply.
So many times the foundational reasoning for why an extremely talented person was not currently enjoying the trials and bliss that come from the day-to-day
inhaling and exhaling of being in your purpose was that simple; life happened. Yet, at the same time, that complex; life happened. The waiter who meticulously
details automobiles has a wife with ongoing health issues that prevents him from working a job he cannot easily adjust his schedule to ensure he is
available for his wife’s aid. The government official who makes leather goods and successfully sells to a nationwide customer base without an Internet
presence has seemingly unsurmountable student loans from a college degree she never completed. Life happened. Yet, life happens…
I’ll never forget my first major blunder as an entrepreneur. I took a risk. It failed. I doubled down. It failed again. My business and my credit suffered.
I was twenty-four years old, just five years into my lifelong journey of using entrepreneurship to help solve the social problems I realized were adversely
affecting minority communities and populations. The decision was simple yet, complex. After wading months without paying my mortgage and instead pouring
that money back into my business, the bank had grown weary of the infrequent rate at which they were receiving my mortgage payments and had initiated
the foreclosure process on my home. Wow. Lose my house? …still relatively a newlywed with a newborn daughter, I weighed all options carefully. I
sought help, direction, and mentorship. I was drowning. Life was in fact happening. I was trying daily to figure out how to continue as a full-time
entrepreneur, husband, and father while opening foreclosure documents detailing my options under the law if I so choose to continue to live in my house
until HUD found a new owner to acquire it. As I worked diligently through to the other side of those troubles and fought off depressive moments, I
remember vividly a mentor of mine saying to me, “WHAT NOW?!” His language was little more colorful, but the message was clear, “YES, that happened.
What did you learn from it and what are you going to do next?!” LIFE HAD HAPPENED…TO ME!
It was his tone more so than his words. He seemed upset, almost angry that I would dare pause this journey except to figure out what lesson I should learn
from this. Thinking back, I wasn’t at all clear as to my next move. But, I was more than sure what my next move would not be. I had no intentions of
quitting. Quitting served no purpose for me. So, I went on. I simply went on. Over the last quarter century of being a full-time entrepreneur, I have
learned so many lessons. But, none more valuable than understanding that life happens and I must go on. Not quite as eloquently vulgar as my mentor
once put it to me, but true nonetheless.
Edward R. Boyd, Jr.
iNvictus Group Holdings, LLC, Founder/Chief Strategy Officer
iNvictus Forward Outreach, Board Chair
Edward R. Boyd, Jr., a lifelong serial entrepreneur, has taught in public and charter schools and served in the nonprofit sector working with urban adolescents
and focusing on national and neighborhood gang prevention, intervention and sustaining. He served as Area Director of Urban YoungLife of Durham/Chapel
Hill, and is the co-founder of the Durham H.A.W.K.S. (Helping All Willing Kids Succeed,) which is currently an iNvictus Forward Outreach program. While
still very active serving on boards and volunteering with organizations dedicated to lowering the prison recidivism rate, he currently serves as Chief
Strategy Officer of iNvictus Group Holdings, an investment group started to address the inequities that adversely affect minority communities and populations,
using entrepreneurship and education as vehicles of change. Edward also serves as Director for the E.M.E.R.G.E. program (Entrepreneurship, Mentoring,
Economic Development, Research, Growth in Business(es) and Education.) Its programming revolves around their mentor-based minority entrepreneurship
curriculum and is headquartered at iNvictus Office Center – A CoWorking Community Space, highly regarded as the HUB of Minority Entrepreneurship and
also houses iNvictus Forward Outreach, the 501(c)3 federally tax-exempt non-profit arm of the iNvictus brand.