CT Entrepreneur Creates Safe Spaces For Black And Brown People
Serial entrepreneur Sasha Allen Walton is Editor-in-Chief of Northend Agent’s Newspaper, Connecticut’s largest and longest-published African American newspaper. She’s also Founder of Sasha’s Whole Earth and Bird’s Eye Media. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Sasha to learn about her entrepreneurial journey and how she simultaneously runs more than one business.
NAN PRICE: As someone running several businesses, how do you make that all align?
SASHA ALLEN WALTON: There is no balance. Each of my businesses is focused on creating safe space for Black and Brown people to be heard, to be healed, and to be held. That is the balance and how those things intertwine.
A lot of days I’m solely focused on Northend Agent’s. I compartmentalize and strategically plan my efforts so I can give each of my other businesses the time and energy they need to grow.
The alignment comes from recognizing your rhythm as an entrepreneur and being okay knowing it’s not going to be balanced. I’m going to show up to the best of my ability. I can’t do everything, because that means I’m not going to excel at the things I’m good at doing. I’m giving the bare minimum if I’m doing everything. So, when I need to, I’m going to say, that is not my ministry. I can’t do that. I need to outsource or bring in somebody else.
Also, making time to do nothing is so important as an entrepreneur, because we don’t get paid just because we showed up. And sometimes when we think about doing something for ourselves, we think we’re going to miss out on revenue. But I know I’m no good to myself or these businesses if I haven’t fully allowed myself to “replenish my tank.”
NAN: Can you share some other entrepreneurial lessons learned?
SASHA: I have no problem saying: that’s not going to work for me and I have no problem being the bad guy. You have to be comfortable being a bad guy as an entrepreneur. Sometimes you have to lean in and be honest about what is and isn’t going to work for you in your business. That may mean suggesting someone takes their business elsewhere because it’s not a good fit. It’s recognizing that all money is not good money.
I’ve also learned that I’m not afraid to take a risk because I believe in this principle: I will reinvent myself as many times as I need to. So, if this version of Sasha doesn’t work with this business, I’ll reconfigure and go back to the drawing board.
Also, if I reinvent myself, that doesn’t mean I’m failing—I’m learning lessons and figuring out how to move forward and get back in alignment. And, if it doesn’t work, I know I’m going to survive.
If something isn’t working, it may not be your season for that particular thing. It doesn’t mean you’re not skilled; it may not be the right timing. For me, every time the timing hasn’t been right, I’ve grown as an entrepreneur and as a human being. And when the timing came right, I was better prepared for that thing.
I’ve learned to be okay with having fun with myself through this process. There is no blueprint. Everyone can give you advice about entrepreneurship but it’s one of those things that’s really hands on.