Business Tip for Culture Makers: Hire Them When They’re Hungry. Hire Them on The Way Up.
Been thinking about some genius talents I know whom I know are struggling for coin.
I saw something a while back that I can’t forget. Back in the not-yet-famous day, Ta-Nehisi Coates talked about reaching out to a former boss (the legendary editor David Carr). Coates told Carr he needed to write a piece because he was strapped for cash. His former editor connected him to an editor at The Atlantic and Coates wrote a 7,000 word piece. Rent was paid. History was made.
I wish that more of us on both ends of that heart-y transaction could and would do that. I wish we could be clear about our need for cash AND creation and have it received without stigma. Without it being a statement on our worth as people and creators.
Coates is a genius thinker and writer. Writing that article for The Atlantic wasn’t a gimme. It was a gift.
There was no charity there. There was humanity.
And there was value and fair exchange.
But I think our emphasis on six and seven figure businesses and getting paid what we’re worth (ha! no market can bear my worth) makes it tough to admit we’re still on the way up. It’s like we’re not allowed to talk about the struggle until after we’ve passed through it.
So if you’re on the rise, don’t think I’m judging ‘cuz you’re not there yet. (I’m not there yet, either!) Your income flow or lack thereof doesn’t tell me how evolved you are as an artist and a human. Feel free to tell me you’re great at what you do and you need a gig to keep going. If I can connect you to one, I absolutely will.
And this is what we need to do for our emerging artists, activists and entrepreneurs.
We need to hire them on the way up.
We need to hire them before their brand is tight and their sites are hot and their name-recognition precedes them. We need to keep them fed and safe and warm so they can keep doing and growing that thing our culture needs.
Our world needs Ta-Nehisi Coates. His editor saw that.
I see you.
You might also like these posts about investing in our community members:
- Business Tip for Culture Makers #220: 8 apps that are great for your marketing AND are founded by Women of Colour, People of Colour, Women, Feminists and Culture Makers
- Business Tip for Culture Makers #1025: Invest In Your Community