Ownership is Everything

Ownership is Everything | Mogul Chix

I learned a long time ago that ownership is crucial. When you own your stuff, you make the rules. You set the ground work for your journey, but you also assume all of the risks and pitfalls. But win, lose, or draw, you do it your way.

When I couldn’t get a publisher to take my book (2008), I self published and wrote 5 books and published on my own. Nobody can claim rights to my books or bar me from selling my own books when or where I want.

When I couldn’t get a radio deal (2009), I created my own radio show on the internet (before podcasting was a thing). No censorship, no scripting, nobody to tell me what I could and couldn’t talk about. It6 ran for 6 years. That content is still on the web.

When I couldn’t get a publishing company (2010) to take my idea for a magazine serious, I created and published my own digital magazine with a team of bloggers and ran it for five years.

When I couldn’t get a cable network to give me a shot (2010), I created my own web tv show. Those shows are still found on the web.

I was watching the HBO show Ballers and while the series had me intrigued, the series finale hit a strong chord with me. One of the players Rickey Jarrett was in a meeting with a media executive, who told him how much he loved his new radio show. But he needed him to “tone it down” to appeal to more people. Rickey defiantly told him no and to go f*** himself. Then he and his long time friend set off and created their own production company.

Joe, the original partner to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s star character, ex-football player turned financial manager turned sports agency owner turned Kansas City Chief’s owner (yes, the Superbowl champs) Spencer Stratsmore. Watching Spencer over the years, Joe learned a thing ar three about the advantages of ownership. After finding himself in precarious situations, Joe decided to build something (a company) where he’d never have to report to anyone for anything ever again.

Throughout the series, Spencer is increasingly raising the stakes and ultimately becomes the blueprint for ownership and telling people to go f*** themselves. He understood the importance of ownership. He recognized it gave him certain privileges and advantages. At first it was for selfish, ego driven motives, but ultimately he was able to give back and help others through ownership. He knew the importance of people of color being in the driver’s seat in order to not be a slave to a company, organization or group ever.

Let’s switch gears for a moment. Take a look at all the streaming services that popped up. The tv, movie and cable industry is a strong mafia that can be impenetrable. If you don’t have the right connections, you can’t even get your content seen by decision makers in Hollywood. And if you do, those decision makers have the ability to make you or crush you.

Tyler Perry comes to mind here. He couldn’t get theaters or producers to take his plays serious. So he had to create, write, direct, produce and act in his own plays with his own money. Love him or hate him (or Madea), the man took ownership to a whole other level. Now major studios are falling over themselves to partner with him. He now owns his own completely black owned studio and soundstage in Atlanta.

When actors and producers couldn’t find work in Hollywood, Netflix, Hulu and the like all found it to be an incredible opportunity and started streaming. Remember how Netflix found themselves hemorrhaging money because people just didn’t want DVDs any more? They pivoted the hell out of the movie content rental business and created streaming. Then they stalled out….then came up with the idea to stream. Now don’t get me wrong. There are some elite few that have secured lucrative deals with Netflix. But even though it’s their own content, they basically rent the platform.

Take Jay Z as another example. He didn’t want to get in bed with iTunes and Spotify and the like because he felt it was unfair to artists. So he created Tidal as an alternative. We can debate all day about him returning to Spotify. That’s neither here nor there, and I’ll tell you why in a second. He saw a need, wanted to have better control over his content (music), and he went for it.

So back to Jay Z returning to Spotify and Tyler Perry getting into distribution deals. They were in great positions to do these things because they made sure their own content was secure, and allowed for said content to be distributed on other platforms. When you own your shit, you can negotiate from a position of power. Why not have the best of both worlds? You can own your shit, and still lease it out to others. You make money on both ends. I’ve simplified that, but I need you to understand the importance of ownership.

To start the process of generational wealth, you have to begin with ownership. Content, property and platforms allow you to call the shots and give you better negotiating power. Don’t let the size of competitors, the white noise of naysayers, or fear of failure hold you back. There are people being rejected every single day. Out of the frustration of those rejections, have come some incredible opportunities for ownership. I know, because I’m a witness and the proof.

Ownership isn’t about being a “boss” or flossing. It shouldn’t be about ego. It’s about building something that can work for you and your family for generations to come. Ownership allows you control when you don’t need anyone else to prop you up, lease to you or be dependent on.

Don’t rent a property if you don’t have to. Own it and make it work for you. Don’t rent a platform simply because it’s easy and everyone else is doing it. Think Facebook, Youtube, etc. They control the playing field and make the ever changing rules. If they decide to pull your content, eliminate your content or shut down (think Google+), you are left out in the cold. Beware of these “done for you” tools because they own it all and can dictate whether or not you get to use them. They are OK to start out, but your end goal should be complete ownership.

The number one lesson you should take away from this post is: Never put yourself in a position to lose everything at the whim of another.

Til next time,
Adrienne Graham
Founder, Mogul Chix, LLC

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Adrienne Graham is the Founder of Mogul Chix, LLC (www.mogulchix.com), a global company and community for female founders and women entrepreneurs. She works with female-founded companies to grow, scale & making them investment ready. She is a CEO, investor, advisor, author and serial entrepreneur. She provides Strategic Business Growth advisory services to companies with high growth potential to assist clients in creating processes and strategies to effectively scale, run, grow and position their business for success. Adrienne is an author, serial entrepreneur and avid techie dedicated to promoting inclusive diversity in the tech, VC and startup community. She is steadily building her empire one company at a time. She was a Mentor for the Straight Shot Accelerator in Omaha, NE, which helped guide startups into successfully launched ventures.

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