Resourceful| Do I Look Like The Hook Up To You?

As if being a black anything isn't already a problem many of us have against us. Let me ask this. Are you a black entrepreneur or business owner? I'm sure, that like myself, you may have encountered people that wanted "the hook up". I have quite a few times. Being a black nail technician among many other things, people often feel the need to think that they have an advantage of knowing you or believe that just because you're black and they're black that you will be very willing to give away your services for little to no cost for them. WHAT?! No way! 

It's ridiculous. Those of your own race inquiring about FREE this or FREE that, GIMME this or CAN YOU that. They have the expectation of your bending the rules and dipping out, for them, your business plan. Not many consumers respect the hard work you do to be able to provide services and what not, all many of them care for is getting what they can. Clearly, the "HOOK-UP" is one of the biggest burdens of black entrepreneurial growth and profitability. Why do black people always expect other black people with businesses to offer free anything to them?

Let's break this down. You invest "x" amount of dollars into growing or starting a business that you feel is needed or lacks elsewhere. You take "x" amount of time to carefully plan your business, what service (s) you want to offer, who to cater to, where to build, how to go about building onto your business, and selling yourself to those who could possibly be potential clientele. As a black business, your black consumer more than likely will not have "the hard work" in mind. If they know you, they're thinking, "Oh, I can get the hook up." If they know someone that knows you, "Oh, you think they'll cut the price for me?" If you're black and a service is too much for them, "Um, can I pay this and the rest later?" It's a shame when your own people don't respect your hustle enough to pay for a service they want from you! I've encountered this many times and those people are always the ones that are not loyal. If you happen to give in and give them a free service, they will expect you to do it again. There's nothing wrong with your rates or prices for services you offer, there is something wrong with them and their wallet. If I see a service I want, I'm going to pay for it. It saddens me that my many of my own people would rather pay less for messy work or bad service than pay for GREAT work. That's all across the board. We should be here to help each other as a people. Sadly, it's just not that way.

I put a list of the "HOOK-UP" statements and questions. I've personally heard all of these before when someone inquired about a service:

  1. How much is it again?
  2. We're cousins girl! Can you charge me a little lower than that?
  3. Can you do my hair? I only have $25 but I want micros.
  4. How much you charge for kinky twists? $85? *No response to me afterwards* 
  5. Did you say $18 for a full manicure? Um. 
  6. I need my makeup did. I don't have a deposit but I'll pay you when I get my check Friday.
  7. I'll pay you next week. *NEVER got paid for service* 
  8. I don't get a "friend discount"?

Sigh... it's a shame isn't it? It's been a learning process and I have surely been using the word, "NO" to it's highest power. People will take advantage, especially friends and family. Now, I've learned to keep on my business plan and the only time a free service or special is offered is when I decide to share a special. That's not daily, more so by the month. Something new or switched out. NO, they I can't type your research biographical by tomorrow, make you a wedding gown, bake your birthday cake, cut your hair, and all that other stuff for FREE! I can see if a consumer refers many new, paying customers. Then yeah, you may get free goods or services every now and then. You may even be at the top of the list for discounted services in the future. When it comes to business, especially entrepreneurial business, we make our living with networking, communicating, and selling. At the end of the day, they should realize that they're not worrying about workplace bills, inventory, advertising fees, marketing materials, etc. Being your own boss and being too kind will only jeopardize your business in the long run. 

Come on, black people in particular. The point of having a business is to make money! How can entrepreneurs, particularly black business owners, make money, if they’re always expected to give away their goods and services for free?! Realize that those goods and services cost them money to create, develop, market, deliver, and keep in circulation. Would it make sense for your consumer to want a free service but tell you about a business they own and you have to pay full price for their products or services? No. Money literally makes the world go around. If I don't pay my stylist to do my hair for an event, she won't be able to get her nail service the next week. Does this make sense? Money has no choice but to circulate for the sake of economics and especially for black entrepreneurs to have that same chance to grow, compete, and expand. You don’t support the hustle of a black business by just wanting the hook-up. You support that black business/ entrepreneur by paying what's due. It's okay for the black community to shop at MAC or Ralph Lauren, complain or not complain about the prices and STILL pay up but when wanting to shop black,  many complain, and either wait for a freebie or leave with something negative to say. The shame... we must do better.

Black businesses/ entrepreneurs? What have your experiences been like? 


  1. You hit the nail on the head with this. I needed to read this because too many times in the past I have been taken advantage of and I blame nobody but myself but like you said, those same people were not loyal. They ended up going elsewhere and PAYING for service(s) that I was working hard and doing for free. Not anymore. I grew up and put my business first.

    1. For sure. It really hits home when they expect a free service hat they will literally go somewhere else and pay for the SAME service. Foolishness. It was a huge lesson learned for me. Keeping a firm grip on what you offer is the best thing to do.

  2. AnonymousMay 08, 2012

    this is a great post about a true issue. my so called friends suddenly wanted to hang out with me every weekend...i had to stop and ask myself why? good thing i did because i realized they just wanted me to drive them around town under the impression we were "hanging out". business or personal, if someone thinks they can get something from you for nothing, they will try!

    1. Exactly! I'm glad you could relate to this post. Many people fail to realize that it's not just with business, it can also be with everyday relationships with friends, family, colleagues, etc.

  3. AnonymousMay 28, 2012

    I was just commenting on this very issue a few weeks ago. The fact is, we as business owners are allowing ourselves to be perceived as still one of the "homies", among those who know us or have the same skin tone.

    I find that it is beneficial to separate your image as friend, homie, etc... into a separate business personae. We train people how to treat us and when we don't give into the "hook up" or pleads for discounts, it sets a precedence that we value our profession and craft.

    Excellent post.

    1. I concur! The saying you get what you put out is most definitely true. Thank you!


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