Cornbread Hustle

Opening doors and creating opportunity for the improvement of society.

5 Steps To Change Your Career Or Start A Business Without Spending Money

Excuses. The root of most failure. We are all guilty of making excuses that we justify at one point or the other and sometimes those excuses don't affect us much. But there are certain times in your life when there is no room for excuses if you want to be successful. Most people automatically think of money when they hear the word success. After working with everyone from multi-millionaires to people in homeless shelters, I know that success is more than money. It means paying your bills and waking up doing what you love everyday. If you do what you love, and you're good at it, the money will follow.

You may be reading this because you have an idea of what you want to do but have no idea where to start. Or you're in a job you hate and think you're "stuck" there. The easiest excuse to use for both of these situations: "I don't have money". Well, I'm going to remove that excuse from your vocabulary by providing 5 things you can do starting today that won't cost you a dime and will create opportunity and open doors for the career you really want.

1. Networking & relationships: It doesn't matter who you are.Whether it be your background or social status, there is nothing stopping you but yourself to start creating new relationships. You don't even have to go to networking meetings. So if you don't have a car, transportation is no excuse. Start by making a point to say hi to everyone you bump into. How many times have you had the opportunity to say hi to someone and introduce yourself, but just stared at your phone instead? Have social anxiety? Well start with Facebook and begin chatting with people on your friends list that you haven't met yet. Look at your friend's Facebook pages and find individuals that work in the area of business you want to be in and introduce yourself. Building relationships is the single most important and easiest thing you can do. Not only is it easy, it's necessary because those supporters will most likely become your customers when you land the career or business of your dreams.

2. Education: Google is free. There is no excuse not to be educated. If there's a business you want to be in, you need to research everything you can about it. Most people beat their competitors through knowledge and awareness. If you know more than your competitors, you're already ahead. Anything you need to know can be found on the internet. Also make sure you're searching industry related news stories by going to news.google.com and typing in key words. If you don't know what's going on in the news, how are you going to properly serve your potential clientele?

3. internship: When people think internship, they think college. Nobody ever made up a universal rule that you have to be in college to get an internship. I've never stepped a foot on a college campus and I've had more internships than I can count on both hands. I suggest finding a startup company in the industry you want to be in and offering your free help in exchange for hands-on experience. After you have already done the two things above (make relationships and educate yourself) they will most likely be glad to have you involved. An internship may be free, but the knowledge is worth more than the money you'd be paid otherwise.

4. Intrapreneurship: Your internship could very well turn into Intrapreneurship, which means behaving as entrepreneur while getting paid to work for someone else. Once you have the experience from from your internships, it should be very easy to find a job in the field of work you want to be in and get paid for it. People go to college and PAY to learn. You will be getting PAID to learn. I often hear the excuse from people that the money isn't enough and they can't afford to leave their job. I've never once said throughout this entire blog to quit your day job. That's a sorry excuse because you and I both know that there's always time, even if it's one day a week. Baby steps. Get out of the all or nothing mentality. It will stunt your growth because you'll never feel like "you're ready". When in fact, you are.

5. personal branding: If you're on social media, people should know what you're about. You are wasting a completely free marketing tool if you're not using the platform to share your ambitions and goals. You don't have to already have the career or business of your dreams before you start sharing them. Let people know what you are working on and why you are passionate about it. Build your following and support base. You will notice that more people will reach out to you offering help and ideas to help you along the way.

Keep Hustlin', 

Cheri Garcia

Cheri Garcia is the founder of Cornbread Hustle, a 90 day transformation program that helps felons become Entrepreneurs and find meaningful employment.

www.CornbreadHustle.com

What it's like to work with someone with anxiety

If you have anxiety, you probably clicked this link with thoughts racing through your mind of what your co-workers really think of you. I know, because I have anxiety and I would do the same thing. If you are productive day in and day out despite your anxiety, you are stronger than you think. Don't let your own thoughts or people's reaction to your anxiety tell you otherwise. I have anxiety with a capital A. It's truly crippling. For those of you who don't understand it, here's what it feels like: physically, it's like having a constant hangover mixed with way too much caffeine. It's spending hours of your day pacing back and fourth. On bad days, it's throwing up first thing in the morning. Your palms are sweaty, you're short of breath and sometimes it feels like your chest and throat are caving in. Mentally, It's a thousand negative thoughts going through your mind even when you're having fun. It's playing out the worst case scenario of any situation, and actually believing it already happened. It's thinking you've done something wrong because you didn't get a text reply within a few minutes. 

I decided to write this blog because for the first time in years, I somehow, magically haven't had anxiety for a few days. Honestly, I don't want this feeling to end but before it does, I want to write something inspirational for those of you who suffer with anxiety like I do. 

If you are productive or successful and have anxiety, you are truly a superhero. 

1. You don't let stuff fall through the cracks.  Ask someone with anxiety to do you a favor and they will not forget about it. Why? Because we constantly store everything in our heads and we don't want to let anyone down. It may take us a while to get around to it because we've said "yes" to you and everyone else, but trust me, it's weighing heavy on our minds and it won't go away until the job is done. If we drop the ball... even if you don't notice or care, we never forget. 

2. You don't miss deadlines. Someone with anxiety wouldn't dream of missing a deadline. In fact, you don't even have to give us deadlines. We put enough pressure on ourselves that the job would be done with or without a time frame. 

3. You are a provider. Someone with anxiety doesn't only worry about themselves. It's not that easy. We worry about everything and everyone all the time. That being said, people around you will be taken care of if they show any signs of struggle. Whether they're hurting financially, need a ride to work, or simply need someone to talk to, we'll do everything we can to find a solution. And if we don't, we will think about it forever and pressure ourselves to make it up to them. 

4. You are empathetic. Someone with anxiety can listen to people's problems without judgement. Even if their way of thinking is bat-shit crazy, we don't judge because we understand what it's like for people to think your thoughts aren't logical. If a co-worker is freaking out over something minor, it's easy for us to point out why they're thinking that way and get them through it. We may not be good at controlling our own thoughts, but we've dealt with our demons long enough to help others conquer theirs. 

5. You're a great problem solver. Someone with anxiety can look at a situation from not only every angle, but also every possible scenario. Why? Because we have already thought about all the bad that could happen with every decision. Unfortunately, that's how our mind works. Lucky for your co-workers, you're able to point out potential risks quicker than anyone. 

There is nothing positive about the way anxiety makes you feel. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis. Being one of those people, I finally decided to embrace who I am and try to manage my anxiety through positive thoughts and healthy habits. 

Here are the top 3 things I do to control my anxiety: 

- Eat cashews. Eating a handful of cashews is almost equivalent to taking a dose of prozac. 

- Background music. Go to youtube and type in "Positive vibrations frequency" and chose a track. My favorite one is the 432Hz. You will be surprised at how different your workday goes listening to this in the background. 

- Exercise: First thing in the morning. It's not easy to get up in the morning to workout but it's so worth it and makes a huge difference. 

I hope that this blog made you smile and gave you at least 5 minutes to focus on yourself, your qualities and why people love you for who you are. Now, go kick anxiety's ass! 

 

- Cheri Garcia, Founder, Cornbread Hustle  

Why hiring a convicted felon could be the best investment for your startup

 I've been volunteering by helping inmates learn entrepreneurial skills for the past 4 years, and I  noticed something a lot of people may not realize. These men have the perfect personality traits and attitude to join a startup. There is such a stigma when employers see the little box checked that asks: "Have you been convicted of a felony"? Personally, I could have several felonies had I been caught. Most of our participants are convicted of non-violent drug charges and sentenced to years, decades and even life in prison. How many times have you been in possession of a controlled substance at a party or drank one too many beers and got behind the wheel? A lot of us has made mistakes, but dodged the bullet several times and lucky to not have the label of "felon" set in stone on our records. 

I'm an entrepreneur and know the struggles of starting a company. In my experience, finding the right people to join your small and intimate team is one of the hardest tasks, especially when millennials are known to "job hop" often. 

I recently hired a software engineer from inside the prison walls. It's been such a blessing, and I would double his pay today if I could afford it.  Here are the 4 reasons hiring a convicted felon can be the best investment for your startup. 

  1. Desire - After leaving the prison walls, there is a strong desire to succeed. A lot of inmates have tremendously let their family down and don't want to hurt them any more. On the flip side, there's usually a strong desire to "prove people wrong". It takes a while for convicted felons to build trust back up with their family, and succeeding within a company is a great start. 
  2. Loyalty - I've never seen true brotherhood and loyalty as strong as what I see displayed in the prison walls. I feel like I've gained 300 brothers that will have my back no matter what the situation would be. It takes a lot of loyalty and a "what ever it takes" attitude from your co-founders and employees to succeed with a startup. 
  3. Humble - I've gone through a lot of employees with a "that's not my job" mentality. Convicted felons are the most humble people I've ever worked with. Think about it. It's mandatory for them to have full-time, labor-intensive jobs that begin as early as 3am... without pay. Can you imagine how thankful your employee will be to not only get paid for their work, but to also have a grateful attitude by enjoying life after prison? Our Software Engineer, who spent 7 years in prison will take out the trash, run errands, mop floors, or any other tedious task in between programming software for our startup. 
  4. Commitment - You won't have to worry about them quitting. They know they have a good opportunity to work with a company that has already forgiven their past mistakes. It's already tough to be in the market for a job, but nothing is harder than applying to jobs as a convicted felon. It's stressful for a small company to have key people quit. The hiring and training process takes a lot of time and money, and startups don't have a lot of either. 

These are also the 4 reasons I decided to create Cornbread Hustle, A staffing agency for 2nd chances. At cornbread hustle, we open doors and create opportunity for felons and employers for the improvement of society. Help us reduce the recidivism rate and get involved! 

Stay Hustlin', 

Cheri Garcia