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16 Qualities You Need to Be Productive

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You may have heard that highly productive people wake up at 4 am, run 10 miles, and attain enlightenment before sunrise. But that’s not always true. Rather, they come in many varieties ranging from late risers, early risers, singles, couples, and family members.


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So what are the most common traits of highly productive people? They are constantly working on optimizing themselves, regardless of whether they are entrepreneurs, employees, or both. As part of self-optimization, one of the keys is to build strong habits. By adopting the right habits, you can save time, energy, and willpower.

Listed below are 16 habits highly productive people possess. Whether it’s ways to spend less time on emails or ways to stay focused, these productivity tips can help you maximize your efficiency.

1. Ability to take initiative and make decisions on your own.

A high performer doesn’t need managers or supervisors to tell them what to do. Instead, they seek apt information to finish a project on their own. For example, they could get in touch with the project manager who has worked on a similar assignment.

Even better, they’re willing to attend conferences, enroll in training programs, read enlightening books and even attend night classes if necessary. Why? Because this can develop their careers, they will take on more responsibilities and take on new ways of working.

2. They’re organized and structured.

The majority of productive people maintain some form of organization system throughout the day that helps them stay focused. There’s probably some sort of desktop storage, as having a clean workspace reduces work-related stress and cuts down on time spent finding stuff.

Having an excess of clutter, whether it’s physical or digital, distracts the brain and slows work performance since it’s trying to assess the mess and mitigate the task. A well-organized workspace improves efficiency and creates structure, which improves the quality of work.

They also have a routine in place. It’s critical to follow a routine so you can delegate time and make sure you stay on top of what you need to do. Whether it’s a physical notebook carried around or an online platform, like a calendar app, a productive employee shows this by integrating job resources into one place. While routines might seem confined or rigid, they actually give you the flexibility to figure out what works for you instead of just winging it.

3. They know their priorities and protect them.

According to Laura Stack, MBA, president of The Productivity Pro® and author of The Six Keys to Performing at Your Productive Best, highly productive people are clear on their direction.

Furthermore, they do the right things, not just the things that need to be done. Stack adds that “value determines priority; priority determines goals; and goals determine activities.”

In addition, they delegate. Basically, they don’t waste time on things that can be handled by someone else. Rather, they focus on “where their energy is best spent,” says Sara Caputo, MA, productivity coach, consultant, and trainer at Radiant Organizing.

They also know how to “say no, and maintain healthy boundaries,” says Hillary Rettig, productivity coach and author of the forthcoming book The Seven Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism and Writer’s Block. In Stack’s view, productive “people control their schedules, so they can make time for important activities. They know they can’t be available to everyone every day.”

A person’s ability to say no, set boundaries and delegate are all “nonnegotiable success skills that can be learned and practiced,” Rettig says.

4. Take strategic breaks.

People who are highly productive not only set the right priorities but also schedule breaks accordingly.

You cannot achieve satisfactory results if you work too much and neglect your health. Because of that, you need to keep an eye on your health, as well as your business. What’s more, breaking away from the everyday business can sometimes lead to new opportunities and be eye-opening.

Likewise, you should schedule short breaks every day, to make sure you’re productive. During these breaks, you should move your body, eat nutritious food, and drink a lot of water.

In terms of increasing my productivity, I also have found the Pomodoro Technique to be highly effective.

The Pomodoro Technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing on one task without interruption. After that, you take a five-minute break before working without distraction for 25 minutes again.

I would add that you don’t get too hung up on the exact timeframes. The idea is to schedule blocks of time for undisturbed work, followed by a short break.

5. Drive for results.

“Most people are willing to accept responsibility for accomplishing goals and to work at a reasonable pace to achieve expected results,” write Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman for HBR. “But there are a few people who have a great desire to accomplish results sooner and quicker.”

“They are overjoyed to be able to check something off their to-do list,” they add. “They’re competitive — and they compete not only with their colleagues but also with themselves.” Their goal is to set new records in performance and then beat those records.

6. Make deep work a habit.

Occasionally, a task is just too difficult. However, in order to achieve real results, deep work must be done.

All of us have a few daily tasks that can be almost done while we’re sleeping. In fact, it may be difficult to get in the zone with these tasks because they aren’t particularly interesting. That’s probably why you listen to your favorite music to plow through them.

Then again, some tasks are just too challenging. It’s impossible to multitask your way to completion. The best way to accomplish them is to devote a lot of time and mental energy to them. The work described here is known as “deep work.”

This type of work is discussed in Newport’s bestseller Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. According to Newport, those who master intense focus have a huge advantage over others who cannot.

The following are a few of Newport’s recommendations for cultivating deep work:

  • Schedule deep work. Make deep work a habit every day, perhaps in the morning when you have the most energy. You can make deep work a habit by setting aside regular time for it.
  • Become bored. The idea of being bored as a productive habit may seem counterintuitive. Yet boredom is an important part of life. We seek distractions when bored or frustrated because deep work isn’t always enjoyable. Get more comfortable doing nothing, and avoid social media as much as possible.
  • Make yourself harder to reach. People who contact you should do more work upfront to reduce the amount of email and other distractions. Provide as much information in your emails as possible so people can research their questions. For you, it’s important to spend time communicating instead of sending a quick email.
  • Be aware of your work habits. Are you more productive in isolation? How about periodic breaks? Is your schedule hectic? Just set aside some time for deep work rather than overhauling your entire schedule.

Overall, people who excel at deep work are highly productive.

7. Use feedback to improve performance.

Being open to feedback and taking it constructively is crucial to personal and professional growth. In fact, feedback is how high performers evaluate their efficiency and find areas where they can improve. Because of that, they’ll always ask for feedback regarding their performance.

Moreover, the feedback received will also provide the opportunity to develop fresh, innovative ideas.

8. They possess emotional intelligence.

“Your emotional intelligence is just as important as your street smarts and general knowledge,” writes Hunter Meine in a previous Calendar post. “This is how you’re able to connect with people, build relationships, and express emotions in a healthy manner.” Emotional intelligence consists of five categories:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social Skills

As a result of developing emotional intelligence, you can become a better friend, family member, and employee. And, if productive people need to step up their EI game, they strengthen it by:

  • Taking up meditation.
  • Enrolling in classes for personal growth.
  • Adding service to their schedule.
  • Asking others for help.
  • Unplugging more often.

9. Maintain a positive outlook.

Researchers found that those who wrote positive thoughts after the study were significantly less anxious and stressed over the next four weeks. When people engage in this at work, they will project a more positive environment and become more engaged and team-oriented than those who let challenges discourage them.

When it comes to working efficiently, having a can-do attitude is the key. For example, the negativity of a co-worker has a profound impact on not only the mood of others but the project itself as well. Positive mindsets, on the other hand, are the ones that can instill confidence in themselves and others around them. You’ll have better morale, more willingness to collaborate, and more productivity with a positive attitude.

10. They seek inspiration.

In truth, we all have times when we feel demotivated and need to be inspired. A highly productive person, however, has clear sources of inspiration that are effective for them.

Walking in the fresh air, making a vision board with all their goals and dreams, or talking with a close friend or relative might be helpful. It doesn’t matter. What motivates and inspires you is less important than how you get there. The most important thing, however, is that you have a source of inspiration you can refer to whenever you feel unmotivated.

11. To stay focused, they keep a distraction list.

When you’re trying to be productive, it’s easy to get distracted by emails, social media, and a thousand little tasks. However, there are no escaping distractions when it comes to productivity, whether you’re working on deep tasks or just dealing with smaller things. It’s hard to maintain efficient work habits with distractions around.

One powerful method of minimizing distractions? Creating a “distraction list.”

While you are working, keep this list nearby – whether it is a Google Doc or a physical document. You can write down distractions on the list whenever they occur and get back to work as soon as possible.

The Pomodoro Technique uses this technique because many of your distractions are legitimately requiring attention.

When I’m deep in work and suddenly recall a bill to pay or have an idea for a new blog post, I should pay attention to those thoughts.

It’s not that they deserve my attention. At the moment, they simply don’t deserve it.

Write down your thoughts as they arise during your work. As soon as you’ve taken a break from your work, you can get back to them or add them to your larger task list.

12. The ability to work well with others and network effectively.

Because they tend to seek out like-minded people, high performers value building relationships. By establishing connections with other sources, they develop strong networking skills when it comes to gathering information and knowledge for their organizations. As a result, they are constantly growing their network of contacts within and outside the workplace.

High performers are innovative and are willing to invest in their personal development due to their innovative attitude. In turn, their skills will become more valuable.

13. They don’t make themselves too accessible.

I’ve allotted to this while discussing deep work. But let’s explain this in more detail.

According to Warren Buffett, saying no is the key to success. As Buffett has famously said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Being an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning, can be tempting to attend as many events as possible, network, and take advantage of every opportunity. However, highly productive individuals aren’t overly accessible.

The focus is instead on increasing their own performance and focusing on what is relevant.

Certainly, collaborating and saying yes to a project can open doors. The problem is that if you say yes to everything and are too open, you will never be able to reach high levels of productivity.

14. Sharpen the axe.

Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

It is debated whether Lincoln actually said this or not. But there is an important lesson here: staying sharp is vital to being productive.

A modern example can be found in the success of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, both of whom credit books for much of their success. They could make faster and more accurate decisions by reading, learning, and getting better at their trade.

As Munger once said:

“Neither Warren nor I is smart enough to make the decisions with no time to think. We make actual decisions very rapidly, but that’s because we’ve spent so much time preparing ourselves by quietly sitting and reading and thinking.”

Ultimately, you need to take time to improve, and you’ll be able to handle many situations more effectively.

15. They optimize time pockets.

People who are highly productive know how to make the most of their time. After all, there’s so much you can do in your free time.

You can make the most of your time while waiting in a waiting room, driving to work, or doing your groceries, for example. Personally, I use these times to listen to an inspiring podcast, return emails, or evaluate my to-do list.

16. They’re under external pressure.

External pressure can push them beyond what they can normally do because it pushes them to meet deadlines, make sales to earn commissions, or just finish their work in time to pick up their kids.

In other words, the stakes are high for them. And, flow is created when that happens.

Create a situation that forces you to produce a result – referred to as a “forcing function” by Dan Martell. For example, not bringing a charger for a laptop so you can work faster.

When you use forcing functions to work, you’ll get more drive than you would in a less-demanding scenario. It is hard to achieve your highest potential when there is no pressure or urgency. If you had everything we needed to succeed, you would probably take forever.

Image Credit: Cottonbro Studio; Pexels; Thank you!

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Why All of Us Need to Join the Fight for Workplace Diversity

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The Ernst & Young 2020 Global Private Equity Report found that 74% of private equity firms under $2.5 billion did not have set targets for ethnic diversity and had no plans to set any.

While this might come as a surprise to those with no history working in private equity or hedge funds, this statistic and the recent media attention Soo Kim has received regarding the TEGNA takeover, unfortunately, come as no surprise to me.

As a former employee of Standard General, one of only a handful of Black Americans working in the hedge fund sector and an immigrant founder, I’m appalled at the lack of diversity in this space. However, I can firmly say that it would be a lot worse without Soo Kim’s contribution — but we need more than just him to join the cause.

Related: 18 Business Leaders on Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Society

What’s happening with Soo Kim’s TEGNA takeover?

In February 2022, Soo Kim’s Standard General, with funding from Apollo Global Management announced a deal to acquire TV station owner TEGNA for roughly $8.6 billion. TEGNA is the second-largest local TV broadcaster by revenue, operating 64 TV stations and two radio stations across various markets in the U.S. Contrary to large TV consolidation mergers, this particular deal has drawn a number of vocal objectors.

Ostensibly, the critique has come from a union — The NewsGuild — that purports to be concerned about jobs, despite the public commitments that Standard General made to preserve local station employment. While concerns about jobs are admirable, the publicly filed comments from these groups include statements that, in so many words, say that Soo Kim’s ownership of this station group would do nothing to advance diversity as understood by the civil rights community and public interest.

Is there a “wrong” type of minority?

These commenters continue to say that Soo Kim was not barred by his race from becoming a successful entrepreneur.

As a fellow New Yorker and both graduates of Stuyvesant High School, I can speak to our experiences. Using his Asian ancestry against him is exactly the kind of short-sighted hateful rhetoric causing so many issues for Asian communities across America. I have seen this in all aspects of American life, from Wall Street firms to my days at West Point and in Baghdad.

When there’s a flag draped over your coffin, there is no “wrong type of minority.” Yet we seem to treat immigrant founders and founders of color like there is such a thing as a “wrong” type of minority.

The indivisible nature of the United States is our greatest strength, but that strength is weakened by the belief that Soo Kim being Asian makes him unqualified to pursue the commercial principles that our country was founded on.

However, what worries me more than anything is that Kim hasn’t been treated fairly by anyone throughout this deal. Are these political letters and criticism influencing the regulators whose judgment the closing of this deal depends on? I know firsthand how hard it is for founders of color to access the capital to pull off deals of this magnitude. An adverse outcome here would have a chilling impact on minority ownership of broadcasting assets at the very least. Perhaps this is what the objectors want.

While the thought of that is troubling at the very least, I believe what’s been so impactful and appalling to me throughout this entire debacle has been the fact that I know Soo Kim. I’ve worked with him, I have represented him on public company boards and I’ve seen what he stands for. It’s unimaginable to me that he could be on the receiving end of such racism when he so clearly stands for justice and equality.

Related: 6 Ways to Offer Allyship to Black Entrepreneurs

Commitment to diversity

As the founder of Standard General, Kim has been tireless in his commitment to diversity: from hiring to using his power to change companies to better reflect what America really looks like. More importantly, he didn’t limit his search to just Asian professionals. Black, Asian, Jewish and white employees all were represented in the 12-person team at Standard General while I was there. He has also consistently appointed women and people of color to the boards of his companies throughout the years.

I have seen the good he does in his companies and how hard he works to provide equal access to opportunities regardless of race or gender.

And, because I am the diversity and inclusion officer for the MediaCo board of directors, which owns the radio stations Hot 97 and WBLS (which has a management team that is over 50% diverse and a staff that is over 70% diverse overall), I would say that it is precisely Kim’s unique background that could help improve TEGNA own documented diversity issues.

If other leaders follow Kim’s lead, we can slowly but surely change the diversity problem. But we all have to actually commit.

How the TEGNA deal compares to other acquisitions

Just to drive my point home, I believe it’s important to take a look at how this TEGNA deal compares to other similar acquisitions.

Recently, the TV industry has seen a surge in big deals. For example, Gray Television acquired Meredith’s and Quincy’s local stations with virtually no opposition from across the aisle. Scripps bought ION Media Group and Nexstar Media Group also added to its empire by snatching up Tribune Broadcasting — moves that heavily concentrated power in this industry space.

All of those prior deals did not face any of the scrutiny and criticism from this deal, which is curious because the TEGNA deal shrinks the company with the concurrent sale of a number of stations to Cox Media Group, and does not require any statutory divestitures or regulatory rule waivers as each of the above did. And yet, with Standard General’s deal, the informal 180-day “shot clock” for a regulatory decision has long passed.

The point? The lack of opposition to other similar deals shows young entrepreneurs and immigrant founders that even when you try to play fair as a person of color in this industry, you just can’t seem to win.

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs of Color Can Determine an Ally’s Authenticity

The system has to change

In one interview, Kim said that after the takeover, TEGNA would get a “company with a minority owner, run by a woman, that’s committed to serving diverse communities. We think that’s good business.”

It is good business, and I am delighted to see that Kim and Standard Media CEO Deb McDermott have received letters of support from legislators, civil rights groups and minority media groups. I applaud these groups for speaking up in defense of Soo Kim and other minorities in this space. I, too, am doing my part to speak up against these racist attacks. However, that isn’t enough anymore.

The system has to change — and it changes by not allowing these types of attacks, comments and ideals to persist in any way, shape or form. We must stop entertaining the idea that these types of comments are valid or even acceptable. We have as a nation all experienced the heartache of watching videos of racially motivated violence against people of color from all walks of life. Racial oppression takes place in the business world just as it does in the streets, just without the same visible evidence but the same indelible impact on those persons of color involved.

As a business leader, here’s how you can enact systemic change:

  1. When making hiring decisions, stop going with your gut. Newsflash, your gut always leads you to the most comfortable choice. Instead, create a list of metrics you will hire for and focus on hiring someone that meets those metrics. Blind auditions eliminated discrimination in the world’s greatest orchestras. Imagine what it could do for your business.
  2. Be aware that there are challenges diverse individuals face in business that you don’t see or experience. Do your best to factor those in when evaluating candidates. They may not have Goldman Sachs on their resume, but can you see evidence of ability in past academic performance or in other areas like military or community service?

As the great Martin Luther King Jr. said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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Better Chip Stock in 2023: AMD vs. STM

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While the last year has been challenging for the chip makers, the outlook for the industry is improving. Moreover, lucrative government initiatives are expected to strengthen the industry further. So, quality stocks Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and STMicroelectronics (STM) could witness stable growth. But which is the better buy in 2023? Let’s find out.

The semiconductor industry witnessed significant supply chain disruptions in 2022. However, according to Peter Voser, the chairman of Swedish-Swiss tech and engineering giant ABB, the global shortage of semiconductors is expected to ease this year.

Moreover, the CHIPS Act is expected to bolster the industry further. It allocates $52.70 billion for American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development. Lucrative federal investments are expected to help the semiconductor industry thrive in the upcoming terms. The global semiconductor industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7% until 2030.

Therefore, quality stocks Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM) are expected to gain significantly. AMD and STM are popular chip makers operating globally.

AMD has gained 16% over the past month, while STM has gained 32.8%. Also, AMD has lost 20.5% over the past three months, while STM has gained 24.5%.

Which stock is a buy? Let’s find out.

Latest Developments

On December 1, 2022, AMD and Viettel High Tech (Member of Viettel Group) announced the successful completion of a 5G mobile network field trial deployment. This collaboration for advanced 5G connection deployment is expected to be strategically beneficial for both companies.

On the other hand, on January 30, 2023, STM launched the world’s first MCU Edge-AI Developer Cloud.

Ricardo De Sa Earp, Executive Vice President of General-Purpose Microcontroller Sub-Group, STM, said, “Our goal is to deliver the best hardware, software, and services to meet the challenges faced by embedded developers and data scientists so that they can develop their edge AI application faster and with less hassle.”

Recent Financial Results

AMD’s revenue came in at $5.60 billion for the fourth quarter that ended December 31, 2022, up 16% year-over-year. However, its non-GAAP operating income came in at $1.26 billion, down 5% year-over-year. Also, its non-GAAP net income decreased marginally year-over-year to $1.11 billion, while its non-GAAP EPS decreased 25% year-over-year to $0.69.

On the other hand, STM’s net revenues came in at $4.42 billion for the quarter that ended December 31, 2022, up 24.4% year-over-year. Its net income increased 66.6% year-over-year to $1.25 billion, while its EPS increased 61% year-over-year to $1.32.

Past and Expected Financial Performance

AMD’s revenue is expected to increase 5.1% year-over-year to $24.71 billion for the current fiscal year 2023, while its EPS is expected to increase 2% year-over-year to $3.58 for the same period. Moreover, its EPS is expected to rise 14.3% per annum for the next five years. Also, it surpassed EPS estimates in three of four trailing quarters.

On the other hand, STM’s revenue is expected to increase 6% year-over-year to $17.10 billion for the fiscal year 2023 and 4.8% year-over-year to $17.92 billion for the next fiscal year 2024. Its EPS is expected to increase 7.7% year-over-year to $4.36 in 2024. Moreover, its EPS is expected to rise 5% per annum for the next five years. In addition, it surpassed EPS estimates in all four trailing quarters.

Profitability

AMD’s gross profit margin of 50.95% is higher than STM’s 47.34%. However, AMD’s EBITDA and net income margins of 24.30% and 9.96% are lower than STM’s 34.76% and 24.55%, respectively. Also, AMD’s ROE, ROA, and ROTC of 7.37%, 2.26%, and 5.72% are lower than STM’s 36.00%, 20.34%, and 20.13%, respectively.

Valuation

In terms of forward EV/Sales, AMD’s 4.85x is higher than STM’s 2.41x. Its forward EV/EBITDA of 14.93x is 114.8% higher than STM’s 6.95x. Furthermore, AMD’s forward P/E of 66.92x compares with STM’s 11.06x.

Thus, STM is relatively more affordable.

POWR Ratings

STM has an overall rating of A, equating to Strong Buy in our proprietary POWR Ratings system. On the other hand, AMD has an overall rating of D, which translates to Sell. The POWR Ratings are calculated considering 118 different factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

STM has a B grade for Quality. Its trailing-12-month CAPEX/Sales of 19.57% is 679.5% higher than the industry average of 2.51%.

On the other hand, AMD has a D grade for Quality. Its trailing-12-month CAPEX/Sales of 1.80% is lower than the industry average.

In addition, STM has a C grade for Stability, in sync with its beta of 1.30. On the other hand, AMD has an F grade for Stability, with its beta of 1.98.

Of the 92-stock Semiconductor & Wireless Chip industry, STM is ranked #2, while AMD is ranked #88.

Beyond what we’ve stated above, we have also rated the stocks for Growth, Value, Momentum, and Sentiment. Click here to view STM Ratings. Get all AMD ratings here.

The Winner

The supply chain issues in the semiconductor industry are expected to ease this year, which should boost production. Given the steady prospects of the industry, quality stocks STM and AMD should benefit. However, STM’s better financials and attractive valuations make it the better buy here.

Our research shows that the odds of success increase when one invests in stocks with an Overall Rating of Strong Buy or Buy. View all the top-rated stocks in the Semiconductor & Wireless Chip industry here.

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STM shares rose $0.16 (+0.34%) in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, STM has gained 32.75%, versus a 6.29% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


About the Author: Riddhima Chakraborty

Riddhima is a financial journalist with a passion for analyzing financial instruments. With a master’s degree in economics, she helps investors make informed investment decisions through her insightful commentaries.

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These Co-Founders Built a Mobile Farmers Market With a Mission

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“The world was in shambles,” Prosperity Market co-founder Carmen Dianne says, recalling the pandemic and social unrest of 2020. “It was really hard to see everything that was happening, to know that 41% of Black-owned businesses were closing. The grocery store lines were so long, just getting food was even more difficult than it had been previously.”

Dianne and her friend Kara Still didn’t want to stand by amid the tumult — so they took action.

To address the economic instability and food insecurity facing the Black community, the Los Angeles-based duo co-founded Prosperity Market, a mobile farmers market featuring Black farmers, food producers, entrepreneurs, artists, florists and chefs.

At the time, neither Dianne nor Still had experience in the food industry. Dianne was a makeup artist; Still worked as a fashion designer. Yet coming into the food space “with fresh eyes” has been advantageous for the co-founders, who’ve been ready to question and challenge things from the start.

Entrepreneur sat down with Dianne and Still to learn how they built Prosperity Market while navigating an industry that was entirely new to them — and hear about the exciting initiative they have planned next.

Related: Sorel Liqueur’s Founder Shares His Multi-Million-Dollar Comeback

Black business owners suffered the greatest earnings losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 800,000 Los Angeles County households (almost a quarter of the total), experienced food insecurity over the 12 months ending July 2022, up from 17% in 2021, according to a study released by Public Exchange.

And a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration found that Black business owners suffered the greatest earnings losses during the Covid-19 pandemic: They lost between 11% and 28% while white business owners saw decreases in the 2-15% range.

Dianne and Still came up with a two-pronged approach to tackle the problems of food insecurity and economic instability in the LA area. They’d take healthful and affordable food options directly into the communities that needed them — and partner with Black businesses and farmers to make it happen.

The co-founders’ vision was clear from the start: They wanted to launch a mobile trailer, largely inspired by Dianne’s days as a makeup artist on set, where snack trailers were common, to transport the products to local communities.

But as newcomers to the food space, they had to contend with unknowns along the way, and they soon realized that such an ambitious endeavor would require the kind of funding that would only come once they started to prove themselves. That’s when they landed on the idea for the pop-up markets.

The co-founders consider the required pivot a “blessing in disguise,” as it allowed them to familiarize themselves with the market, connect with vendors and build relationships with different communities.

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

Related: The 10 Best Books for Black Entrepreneurs, by Black Entrepreneurs

“Because we hadn’t intended to start this, it wasn’t like we had a business savings fund.”

In the first six months after they came up with the idea for Prosperity Market, the co-founders had to learn how to do it all — from getting permits to finding funding.

“[Funding] took some figuring out,” Still says, “because we hadn’t intended to start this, it wasn’t like we had a business savings fund. So really what it looked like once we were getting started was friends and family outreach.”

The inaugural market opened in February 2021, and in the lead-up to launch, Dianne and Still prepared relentlessly, researching everything from farmers to food to economics.

Dianne and Still also crafted an aesthetic to help Prosperity Market stand apart from traditional farmers markets. “[Our creative backgrounds] informed our branding and the experience that we want to create, and the theme, continuity and way we show up,” Still explains.

But one thing the co-founders hadn’t banked on? Just how difficult it would be to find Black farmers.

“It was like, Okay, we need more Black-owned businesses,” Dianne says. “We need essential Black-owned businesses — we’ll find Black farmers. And then we had trouble doing that, and we had to learn about the history of Black farmers and why it was this way. So that added another layer to our work.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

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“You can get your hot food and shop for your groceries and produce all at the same time.”

Through it all, the co-founders’ dedication, flexibility and creativity have helped Prosperity Market gain traction and find success.

As word about Prosperity Market spread, friends and family continued to support Dianne and Still’s venture — and so did their other fans. In 2022, the co-founders launched a crowdfunding campaign on the platform Fund Black Founders with the help of a grant from the JLH Social Impact Fund.

It was a triumph and allowed them to raise enough money to fund the mobile trailer they’d dreamed up at the beginning of their journey.

“That was such a transformational experience for us,” Dianne says. “It taught us a lot. It is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you, but we did it: We raised over $111,000 for our mobile trailer.”

The long-awaited trailer will be 48 feet long with a farmers market that’s set up to look like a produce aisle with shelves full of goods, and a kitchen in the back, which Prosperity Market will rent out to different chefs and food entrepreneurs.

“So it’s a pop-up food truck all in one trailer,” Dianne says. “You can get your hot food and shop for your groceries and produce all at the same time.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Prosperity Market

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“It takes something to be able to pull yourself up every day, no matter how things are going.”

As the co-founders look to Prosperity Market’s exciting future, they consider capacity one of the greatest hurdles they’ll have to overcome.

“We have all the ideas in the world,'” Dianne says. “There’s so much we want to do, but then [we] have to execute it, and we just need more operating capital.”

“Because everything takes time,” Still adds. “You write it down, plan it out, strategize and then [it takes] time to actually execute, and there’s always things that come up, and with such a small team, we can only do so much at once.”

The road to Prosperity Market has had its twists and turns, teaching the co-founders the value of practicing patience every day in all areas of their lives.

“You’ll need patience with that vision, patience with all of the different types of people that you’ll be working with and patience with yourself,” Still explains, “because it is not an easy process. It takes something to be able to pull yourself up every day, no matter how things are going, because no one makes your schedule but you.”

It also underscored the importance of having a solid support system along the way.

“We have great mentors and advisors and people we can go to when we get stumped with something,” Dianne says. “We have a supportive community of people who want to see us win. And if it was not for that, I don’t know that we would be continuing this.”

Prosperity Market will hold its next market on Saturday, February 25, 2023, its second anniversary, at the California African American Museum. Its virtual market will be open the week before the pop-up to provide an opportunity to pre-order online and schedule a pick-up at the market or satellite location.

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