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4 Things To Keep In Mind Before You Say "I Quit"

Workin' Girl

It's been almost five years now since I cold turkey walked off my news reporter job to blog full-time. Since then, I've experienced so many highs and lows of being an entrepreneur and #girlboss. From overlooking some important business details, to learning (the hard way) to deal with shady clients, losing some of my work benefits and not thinking about financial planning for my later years; I literally had a crash course in becoming a businesswoman.

With entrepreneurship being all the rage these days, so many people only flaunt the glitz and glamour of being in business but forget to share those little nuggets of how to actually make it work. In entrepreneurship, there's a lot of personal and professional business (no pun intended) to handle that can easily be forgotten or missed.

Quitting your job to build your own empire or to bring a passion to life is indeed a risky move to make, but it's also a move that can be both beneficial and fulfilling. Just like everything else in life, you have to weigh out the pros, cons and, "Girl, you sure you wanna do this?" scenarios. Don't be one of those people who quit their job to work for themselves…but forget to build a business!

Keep these four things in mind if you're on the road to entrepreneurship.

Make the business official.

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It took me fifty-leven days for one company to run me my check and another flat out refused to book me because I didn't have a business license. Sure, I could do the work and in my head it was easy for them to just write a check out in my name. All companies are different and not everyone can just write the check; they all follow procedures and processes unique to them and sis, you don't want to get caught up in all of that. I found that it made being an entrepreneur much easier when I could supply a client with proper, legal documentation on behalf of my company. Not only does it help you to get paid easier it also proves that you take your business and coins seriously.

Benefits? What benefits? 

As soon as you say, "I quit!", one of the first things that disappear are your employee benefits. As a woman, it was super important for me to have some kind of health insurance, but the minute I walked out that door, I was on my own. Some companies are great in that they allow past employees to stay in their group plans but make the payments themselves; others just drop you. I've been making the sacrifice for five years now to pay my health and life insurance out of pocket; because of the way life is set up these days, I can't chance it. If this is important to you, make sure to keep this in mind as you journey to entrepreneurship. Will you need new insurance, can you join a group one…do you even care? And then there's the pension plan. How will you save money for retirement? Will you set up your own plan? This is definitely worth the conversation and discussion.

Where’d the money go?

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I'm cheap. And I'm not afraid to admit it. As a freelance writer and TV host and occasional influencer who partners with brands, I know firsthand how fickle this industry can be. I've had partnerships taken away, given the 30-day notice and left to literally count my coins. Learning how to effectively budget and manage money is a great skill to have as an entrepreneur, in any field. All businesses, even the well-off, established ones, experience ebbs and flows in their companies and yours won't be exempt. Buffer those crazy days by saving, budgeting and investing.

It’s not an easy road.

Being my own boss is one of the greatest pleasures I've ever experienced. It's a thrilling journey of highs and lows that stretch you and strengthen you; it's simultaneously fickle and fulfilling, it has its bumpy days and days where everything is going right. More importantly, it's not for everybody. If you've decided though that you can and will do this, you have to commit to the cause and fight through the tough times.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

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Featured image by Shutterstock

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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