I started writing when I was very young. I would write T.V. shows and write songs while in middle school. I actually thought I was going to be a songwriter and then in high school I got into theater. I was very active in theater in college but didn't pursue it when I graduated. I started working in Management for a few years. I moved to Austin Texas from Atlanta in 2012 and decided to focus on Theater. I started auditioning and performing in productions and then decided I wanted to write plays I wanted to see. I wanted to see more theater about queer people of color. I wrote and produce my first play, The Counseling Session in 2015 with funding from the City of Austin. I then decided that I wanted to write a book about my childhood and what it was like growing openly gay in an inner city like Detroit, Michigan and I released my first book, NO BONDS SO STRONG in May 2018. Well I knew I wanted to brand myself as someone who told stories about the black queer experience. I wanted to add visibility to our truths and not the marginalized truths we usually see in mainstream media and decided that I was going to create my own brand. I created my brand, MISTERTELLTALES as a way to keep my advocacy for telling black queer truths creative and entertaining. I wanted people to recognize my work and brand easily and reach the people. I am very specific that I am giving queer people of color something that reflects them as a black queer man.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle was trying to create an audience and getting people to care. I wanted to meet and reach the my community through my stories but physically as well. So that meant, social media engagement, book tour, and lots and lots of graphics and designs to get people attention. With limited funds, I had to get people on my team who believe in what I wanted to create and had resources to help me create it. I have wonderful people in my life who really help me launch MISTERTELLTALES and my first book. No Bonds So Strong.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I am currently reading Perfect Peace by Daniel Black. I recommend any thing by James Baldwin and I am totally loving Darnell Moore's new book.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I have not had experiences with any contention from family and friends. They support me tremendously and believe in the work I do. I support and encourage others all the time so I feel like I am blessed to get that same love in return.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Reaching my community is the single most influential factor in my business success. I want queer people of color to know that I am here for them, to tell their stories, and help open more doors for us to be authors and playwrights and not have to conform to what they think is a way to make it. In 2018, there are plenty of ways to make it and be successful, you just have to do the work.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I wish I would have started off more fearless. Fearless people get what they want, they impact the world. I wish i would have had that fearless mentality from the beginning.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Just have a purpose in what you are doing and love on everyone while doing the work. Positive energy brings about positive results and you never know who can help you and be a blessing in your life and with your business and career. Be fearless, you have nothing to lose.