This episode's guest on #MWL is Danielle McGee, we talk about her Black Business Boom RISE (Results. Increase. Sales. Engagement.) System, the new directory she has created for Nashville Black-owned businesses and the state of the world.

Danielle has a passion for supporting entrepreneurs, and is a creator and moderator of a 15,000+ person Facebook Group focusing on Black Owned Businesses in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee area.

We talk about her move from Chicago to Nashville, why she got an MBA, how to figure out "what your lane is," the difference between starting your own business and working for other people, and the need to "be a voice."

Where to watch live:

Danielle McGee - Guest Socials
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all right
as the technical difficulties but we got
it figured out, and that's my first
glitch like that... but anyway I was saying...
I have an incredible guest today I'm
super excited to have her on the show
she has built an incredible community
online, she has built the business that so
many people out there are looking for
right now -they're trying to figure out
what they can do to support black
businesses- you're about to find out
exactly what you can do because I've got
the one and only Danielle McGee on the
call with me today... Danielle how are you?

I am fantastic Marcus, how are you?

There you are, you look great, it was all
my fault, sorry for the glitch there. but I
appreciate you hanging in there so...
Danielle just just as a starter, you know
I found out about you from various
people that are there in the in the
black business scene here in Nashville,
they were like “hey have you checked that
this Facebook group have you checked out this
Facebook group…” and normally when people
say that, you know you go and you see
like 400 people 500 people you know what
I'm saying... when I entered the group there
were already like 15,000 people. you know
in the group, and I was like okay
note to self I have totally like missed
what is going on here. And then I've just
been lurking, I haven't been posting a
lot in the group, but the level of
engagement that you have is incredible
your fantastic online community manager.
You know you're more of a pro at this
livestream stuff than me you're live all
the time engaging a community, finding
ways to support them... you know before we
even get into the Facebook community,

Just where did you get this passion for
supporting entrepreneurs? It's a passion
of mine, and I just I want to know your
your backstory on that well the passion
came out of pain I'll say you know I had
a brick and mortar Spa in Chicago for
about five years it was a struggle you
know just getting up and going we
went through a lot of red tape type of
situations we
oh boy Wow we can't do much you know we
can't do the massages and then we have
to figure out how do we get the word out
about the business and it was just such
a struggle and I thought because I had
an MBA I could run a business and I
figured out quickly that is not the same

when you when you went to get your MBA,
did you think like that was the
prerequisite to being able to run a
business? Was that what was in your head?

no and I kind of just felt like you know
that's what you do... yeah it was kind of
well you know I got my bachelor's and
I've been working, but if I want to take
my career to the next level, I'm gonna
have to go back to school... as well but
you know you go through all these
finance classes and all these things, so
you really think that you know business
yeah, but starting a business and working
for someone else's business are two
completely different things... again it was
just a lot of struggle and I learned a
whole lot, but you know there were some
pain points there as well. and so I I
just felt like it was important for me
to help others not experience some of
the things that I experienced, and to you
know, educate people as much as possible.

I can relate to that so... so how did you
get the confidence to actually do that?
To step out of simply operating your own
business and this pain point, but to
actually step out there and start to use
your voice and start to organize people
and start to find best practices,
resources, and share them. What was
the motivation for that?

was really at first I was like well let
me put it out there and see if people
actually want this you know and people
embraced it so quickly that I felt like
this is what I'm supposed to be doing...
you know, and it all just came together
so seamlessly and easily that I was like
okay this is it,
this is what I've been searching for. and
I'll tell you I've had the spa, had a
personal chef business I've had other
ventures and nothing ever felt like my
passion, and I was honestly really
jealous of those that cooked, or did
nails, or did
hair, knew what their passion was because
I never I could never identify mine and
then once it clicked it just clicked and
I was like this is it this is what I'm
passionate about, and the community needs
it and wants it…

awesome awesome so so so talk about the

the group start is so I been in
Nashville four years now and I'm here

can I just say that is incredible
congratulations for only being here four
years and making such a massive impact
you know so many people that have come
I've been here 20 years and there's so
many people that have come in the last
you know five years and Nashville had
already had that it City thing going
I've met so many people over the last
five years who have moved in and said
they've found it hard to like find their
space to find their people

I mean you
started because it was and I moved here
not knowing anyone I didn't go to school
here anything like that I did I knew
zero people yeah and I was like okay I'm
coming from Chicago I'm used to being
able to go out whenever I want to find
black people whatever I want yeah we I
was like what is there to do here and
nobody could really tell me and so I
started to just google and try to find
black culture here in Nashville and I
found that there was a lot but a lot of
people didn't know about it I created
the group as a way to really bring
together that black culture inform
people about black events and then it
just kind of transitioned into a lot
more with supporting black owned
businesses, talking about black issues...
you know so it's just week on everything
black in Nashville… and I think it's
because so many people needed it. And so
the space kind of just cultivated
itself to be what the people the black
people in Nashville needed.

Now why did you
move here?

I took a job here. I work in
health care, and so I actually, I was just
ready to get out of Chicago. And so I've
been offered a job here and Tampa -in
Tampa, Florida- and I chose Nashville just
because, I felt like you know, they have
TSU there. I was like “it’s
gotta be… that sounds like a fun place to
be. I had only been here for like a half
day ever in life, so yeah, but it was
closer to home, and I felt like there
would be black culture here, so that's
why I just up and left and surprised
everybody and was like, “I'm going to
Nashville.” Out of the blue.

okay and the name of the
group is…

Black People Making Moves -
Awesome, awesome... So as I've
been watching everything transpire over
the last couple of weeks, one thing
that's been great is to see you being
very, very visible throughout everything.
right. So you were visible, and you were
recording live, and I think you were one
of the most helpful early voices I
had when the protest was super peaceful,
you know what I mean, everyone had a
great day, it was a nice day, it was
fantastic, and then obviously we had the
events that transpired
that night. And, you know, I went on
Facebook, and I got a notification from
you that you were live, and it was great.
Because you were there -you know the news
was saying one thing- and you were there
to say, “look we were there, everybody who
actually was really there to protest was
there peacefully, it was fantastic.”
I don't know what's going on with this
other thing, and you know it for me, it
was just like it was a face I recognized
I trusted, and it was really helpful. So
you know I'm just I'm thankful that
you've been so engaged in this
part of it as well, not just the business
side of it.

Yeah it becomes a struggle a
lot of times we're kind of figuring out
where my lane is. Do I, you know, do I talk
about these things? And I think, you know
Me and my boyfriend were talking this
week about leaders, and the need for
leaders, and do we need one leader... And
and I was kind of like, I feel like we
need several leaders, but everyone needs
their lane, right? So I was like my lane
is supporting black home businesses and
getting others to do that, and I try to
stick in that lane. But, when there are other
issues that are important to the
community, I feel like I have to step up
and be a voice at that point as well. So
even with the tornado I was like live
first thing in the morning like, “okay we
gotta raise money,
we getting out here, we're doing this, you
know. Because someone has to kind of
step up and do those things. But yeah, it
-with the protests, again- I feel like, you
know, at the forefront is of course
police brutality, but it really ties in
to so many things that involve black
people, including the support of black
owned businesses. So while I try to stay
in my lane, I feel like this is also my
lane as well.

I would agree
I would agree. I think you know I I kind
of feel like you know I was telling you
before the before the show came on that
I recently posted something about the
healthcare industry here in Nashville,
and I agree, it's like for me, I feel like
I have a lane you know what I mean. and I
and I'm and I'm trying to like stay in
my lane and at the same time you know
Sunday morning I was just sitting there,
and I it was it just felt like this
obligation. you know like like I I know
these things to be true and I have this
position, and if I don't say something,
you know what I mean,
there it runs the risk of it not being
said, which could be really really
dangerous you know what I mean. like if
we really want to make progress in this
moment in time, I you I think we need
multiple leaders I think I think people
need to know their lanes but but each
one of us has to be willing to kind of
step up in in in those moments right

absolutely I think that you know I've
been called an influencer so many times
I want awards for being an influencer
it's and it's been something that I've I
never wanted to be you know I just
wanted to run my business and it
happened and so my, the most important
thing for me in claiming to be an
influencer, is to use my influence for
good and to help other people it's not
about shine for Danielle you know I'm
not one of these people running around
here doing photo shoots all the time... you
know I know I want to use my influence
to help people advance black owned
businesses, and just truly whatever
you can do to help the community is not
just about getting shine for me.

understand and

To that end, you've now
launched -on top of the group- you have
an actual business Black Business Boom.
And is it

It is.

Ok great. Talk
about that because that feels so timely.
I mean the number of people that are
reaching out asking me, “hey do you know a
black butcher, do you know a black
bookstore, do you know…” you know
what I mean? Like and and you're right
you know, like if they don't know the
directory they don't know where to go,
then it gets hard and they're just
asking their black friends, or their
black co-workers, you know. And you
know not to say -like this is a good

We’ll take it.

getting people understanding that part
of justice is economic, and part of that is
“oh wow, all the biases where I didn't
spend money with black people and I
really need to…” like that's part
of how black neighborhoods and black
communities get strong, you know is like
through black economics. So I give you a
big intro, but talk about Black Business Boom

So I started Black Business Boom in
October of 2018, so we're going on two
years now. And again, I started with it
wanting to be the Groupon for black
owned businesses, and that that's what I
called myself creating. A lot of people
wanted it to be a directory, but I wanted
to focus on using coupons and digital
marketing to grow black owned businesses.
Even more now, it's wanting to bridge the
digital marketing divide with black
owned businesses. I feel like we're not,
you hear a lot of, “okay you don't support
black owned businesses and all those types…”
but do people even know about your
business? What is your online presence
like? You know so I feel like that's
where I truly want to help. So we
launched the boomin app last year, it has
coupons for black owned businesses. We've
built out that platform to include
online reputation management, a
testimonial collector, and a lot of other
things on our customer engagement
platform that we have now. But then also here
in Nashville, I did launch a directory
because again everybody wanted Black Business Boom
to be a directory, but
every business is not gonna be on Black Business Boom
just like every
business isn’t on Groupon.

Yeah, understand.

I did launch Black Owned Nashville last
week because people wanted a directory,
and it now has close to 800 businesses
on it. I have been doing the
work for months and collecting this data
on black owned businesses, and last week
I just said, “I'm gonna take three days
and sit down, and I'm gonna push out this
directory because everybody is asking
for it.” So is
now live, the app has been submitted to
the App Store, so I'm hoping to launch
the app officially on Juneteenth. That's my goal.

That’s amazing, that's amazing. so everybody go
right now to black owned Nashville calm
okay that's the directory... well I have a
bunch of people I'm gonna send that link

please and you can list the business
for free our Bronze level is free I'm
hoping that people will do a silver or
gold level which is $2.99 and $9.99 but
money to run about

nothing right I mean
like you know it's almost like I mean I
I don't even know that I need to have my
business listed there but like I just
need to like be donating every month
like you know just because like we this
is this is a community utility it's and
that's what

it costs money to run the
site you know it costs time to run the
site so while I didn't do it is like a
revenue generator I did it for the
community entails taking money to run it
you upgrade packages get you a lot more
shine so

well look if you if you love it,
I mean I would just you know we hadn't
talked about this before but I just I
just want to say things like this that
are important to be sustained it is
totally fine if you make money. you know
I can tell you're a very humble person
and you're very mission oriented and
you're due
this because you you see a need and you
don't want anyone to mistake you wanting
to fill the need for you wanting to get
some shot I get that part I get that
part... but but there's nothing wrong with
you making money to me

it always a
struggle for me you know and I've shot
myself in the foot a lot because of you
know me just being like I just want to
help and I also want to quit my job

I'm like you when you're when
you're overwhelmed and you know you
you're doing this and this is a side
hustle it's like you know this this
should be this to me feels like a
no-brainer you know this is a no-brainer
we should be figuring out exactly how to
make sure you have you have enough to
where you don't have to constantly
campaign to people this cost money to
operate right... you know I I have a
website of all my content it's got like
300 posts... I know how much time it takes
to add 300 pages to a website, much less
800 entries or like are you kidding me?

Yes I set out and I just knocked it out,
and that's what… I think that's also an
issue we see sometimes in our community
where people will quickly find some way
to kind of bash you, and kind of be like
“you're trying to capitalize off…” and I'm
like okay, so I try to go out of my way
to be like “no I'm not!” But then at the
same time, again, like you said I mean if
I'm still working my nine-to-five, I'm
running Black Business Boom, I'm now running
this directory I'm trying to run the
Facebook group... I feel like I
can give a lot more to the community if
I didn't have the 9 to 5, but it takes
money to not have a 9 to 5.

So this
is something that I see way too often
happening in Nashville's black
organizations. Almost always this is
-there's a black woman- in this position
okay. Where you work in a nine-to-five,
and then you're doing this other thing,
and you're not even like getting paid
for it like. This is not the only time
when I've seen this like set up, you
know what I mean? I just
want you to know like there are people in
The chat
right now on LinkedIn and Facebook who
are saying like “yes this site is great,
like we need to support.” And like we need
to support this. How many people are in the group
right now?

There are 19,300
people in the group, so I'm
Hoping for
20,000 in the next couple weeks.

You know I'm just saying right, you've been doing all this
community management for absolutely free.
Right you know, if you get some if, if we
get some small percentage -and I'm just
telling you like I'm getting all like
I'm getting good feedback from the chat-
but if we create a campaign to get some
small percentage of group to
understand that like we, you know, we
start paying you like we pay Netflix, you
know what I mean, and you just could you
just call it you know you just call it
like you know just call it like, it is
you doing Black Business Boom, you doing
Black Owned Nashville, and it’s you operating
the group. That's it that's three jobs!
But like we're getting three for one, you
know what I mean, and then we set up like
a Patreon or something like that, and
everyone just like, you know, put you on
auto-renew. And then that's it ,and then
you quit your job, and then you like and
then you really blow this thing up. Alphonso agrees. Michael Baker
agrees, Nicole Hart says the website’s
great. My cousin's super good friend
Leslie in Charlotte, North Carolina says
that she loves you lane. Bill Haywood
says he loves it.
We got enough people. Just, we’re creating a

That's why I feel like you know,
I got so frustrated last week because I
was so overwhelmed, and I was like I
could go so much harder if I wasn't like
“oh I gotta go jump on this meeting, oh I
gotta go..” I could really do a lot more for
the community, and I have people who will
reach out and be like “well can you do
this? I want you to come over here. Can
you write…” And I'm like “I got a meeting
right you,” know. So it just, I'm hoping
you know by the end of the year to be
the transition to full time.

we we
really should figure out how to do this
faster I mean I I I'm really not kidding
about this I didn't mean for the show to
kind of go in this direction but the
more we're talking and I'm just
realizing like this is this is
completely silly you know their their
other you know III I'm a patreon member
for Nash severe weather because you know
like they're better than they're better
than the news it's like you know when
they are like you know what's going on
that's who I go to so you know I'm a
monthly you know you know you've been
doing the work you're a proven entity
like this should not be a hard sell this
should not be a hard sell so I think
what needs to happen is we need to
Alphonse Wood says he'll gladly pay for
your digital services so here's what we
need to do we need we need to circle up
get a little campaign going you already
have the the most incredible marketing
partner in tea in the world you know
what I'm saying so she'll know exactly
what to do with this and we needed to
set up a patreon and we need to like you
know we need to get the word out about
about what you're doing and get people
to sign up so that this resource will be
there just like Wikipedia just like just
like anything else that is a utility
that we all use and we all need in the
world like this is needed

and my thing
is honestly if I could get you know 300
of the businesses that are on the
platform the black hole Nashville to
just upgrade to pay $9.99 a month but I
mean and that money is going toward
getting this advertising their business
you know on the platform if I can get
three other people to sign up for $9.99
that will make me completely happy

it it
feels to me like the problem is really
that you don't want to make to ask so I
think we can make a campaign to support
you to make the ask you know anything oh
can someone share the website in the
chat I I can't do that right to second
but it's um but it there it is
black-owned nashville compo thank you
miss Dava okay yeah so so yeah look we
just need to do a campaign about this
this is this and now is the time it is
now it like today you know what I mean
like we need to jump on this right now
because there's so many people that that
that that would that this is like an
easy thing you can do people try to
figure out what can I do this is easy
this is easy this is straightforward
very easy thing to do okay any final
things that you
want to say i'm all hyped up

no I just
think you know I again moving from
Chicago's in Nashville has just been
incredible for me and just the support
that I've got and overall has just been
amazing you know and so but you know
there is like a level of support this
needed financially to like like some
comment you know but again if there's
anyone who's listening in who has a
black owned business please go a listed
at black hole Nashville comm also go
check out black business boom comm if
you're interested in learning more about
the rise system which is our lead
generation system and if you're going to
black on Nashville go ahead upgrade get
the $9.99 package that gets you able a
premium listing with pictures and videos
and every anything that you want to add
your social media all that for only
$9.99 a month

okay straight up we're
doing it we're running a campaign we're
gonna make this happen this is like the
easiest thing on earth
what what what else what else you want
to just say about this incredible moment
okay yeah

we talked about this briefly
before we were alive is that I feel like
a lot of organizations and corporations
are looking for ways to support black
owned businesses during this time yes . I
think that it's really important that
instead of them flipping a switch and
saying oh you get free delivery on black
owned or you know whatever those around
they for anybody's supporting to the
organizations that are doing the work
and have already done the work you know
how can i partner with ubereats versus
you know them kind of doing everything
it's like a way for what I'm doing
though in a lot of ways we need larger
platforms roll-out thing like that it
takes away from the directories that
people like myself are already running
and trying to get people to so I'd like
to see anyone with the organization or
that's looking for ways to support black
owned businesses to reach out to me and
see how we can partner with one another
and so I can be reached it Danielle at
black business

has a Nashville
Business Journal covered you yet

have not

mmm seems like we ought to fix
that one too seems like we should fix
that one too I think we can fix that one
too cuz uh you know I just I just think
there's a list of things that are really
easy that we need to like just resolve
here already
ya know you're doing the work it's just
too it's just too too important you know
like I said I'm ready

I stay ready so I
stay ready for all the opportunities

well look um we'll have to have you back
on like after we've done everything and
like you know yeah you know we'll just
we'll just have you on regularly because
you know you're you're a bright light
right now and and when everyone is
trying to figure out what to do it's so
amazing that you were doing this work
all this time unrecognized you know so
that when this moment arrived you made
it easy for us like that's how I look at
it you've made it very easy for us to do
something that is that is really going
to move things forward and really gonna
help everybody and so this is just
something that we need to we need to do
so absolutely I'm a strong believer and
if you stay ready you don't have to get
ready so so so to that end y'all it is
definitely time to go follow Danielle at
black business boom on instagram at
black visible on Twitter I'm gonna be
we're gonna be promoting this episode a
lot we'll be doing lots of clips of this
episode so don't worry you know you know
you need to be subscribing to me anyway
so that you can find out about these
things when they happen but make sure
that the easiest thing to do is right
now you got some time go follow Danielle
at black business boom on instagram at
black visible on Twitter and Thank You
Danielle so much for being on the show
I don't mind self promoting I got my
book it's coming out on June 30th
creatin orchestrate so I just hope that
everybody is putting that date on your
is as excited as I am to get this out
into the world please subscribe to my
podcast Marcus Whitney's audio universe
on Spotify Apple Google I Heart Radio
SoundCloud etc and if you're watching
this you're already following me on
socialist but if you follow me on one
why not on all at Marcus Whitney
basically everywhere at Marcus Whitney
calm and y'all that is it I am out for
the rest of the week I have some
conflicts board meetings and things of
that nature some work so you won't see
me again it's Monday I'll give you all a
break but I appreciate you hanging in
there through the first round of
technical difficulties and you know just
just being here for this show this is
one of the most engaged shows we've had
chat wise so Danielle thank you so much
for being here and y'all have a great
rest of the week take care yourselves be
good to each other and let's build a new

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