Small Biz Buzz—119—Ronnie & Lamar Tyler—Entrepreneurial Spirit and Diversity

Ronnie and Lamar Tyler of Tyler New Media join Small Biz Buzz to discuss the role of diversity in entrepreneurship and how small business owners can support each other through allyship in their respective communities.

“There's a huge wealth gap, and it's not getting smaller between different groups in this country,” said Lamar Tyler. “And right now, African Americans are pulling up the rear, and we want to help close that gap through entrepreneurship.”

“We are clear about our mission to uplift, equip, and support the community, to support families in our communities so that we can build strong families, we can close in the wealth gap, and just build up our communities. That's what our mission is,” said Ronnie Tyler.

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Transcript:

Scott Martineau (00:14):

Welcome everybody to this episode of Small Biz Buzz. I'm Scott Martineau.

Crystal Heuft (00:18):

And I'm Crystal Heuft.

Scott Martineau (00:19):

And today we have some awesome guests. We're excited for a really great conversation. Ronnie and Lamar Tyler of Tyler New Media. And I think we talked about earlier, this is either the second or third time they'd been on the show. It's been a while. Glad to have you back. Welcome Ronnie and Lamar.

Ronnie Tyler (00:36):

Thank you. We're excited to be here.

Lamar Tyler (00:38):

Exactly. Thanks for having us back.

Scott Martineau (00:39):

We're going to dive into some topics today that I think will be really exciting. As most of our listeners know, at Keap, our mission is to simplify growth for millions. We exist because we want to help entrepreneurs to be successful. And part of the essence of what we're about is understanding the power that entrepreneurship has across our world in so many different ways. And so we're just really excited to talk about entrepreneurship today.

Scott Martineau (01:08):

I want to first ask Ronnie and Lamar, why don't either one or both, give us a quick rundown of your business. And I think for our guests, it'd be great to know a quick overview just to what you do today. And then I'd also like to get just a little bit of a what got you to this place? What inspired you to start the company that you have today? And let's go there, and Crystal and I will jump in with questions.

Lamar Tyler (01:30):

Well, our company name is Tyler New Media. We've been running it now for almost 12 years. We're a few months away from our 12-year anniversary. And we run several different online brands and it started with just one brand, one blog, and that blog was blackandmarriedwithkids.com, a site that we created to support, equip and encourage marriage in the African-American community. And we just wanted a different perception of images.

Ronnie Tyler (01:55):

Yes. We wanted more positive images and we felt like the media always portrayed a more negative image of marriage, especially as it pertains to African Americans, and we wanted people to see positive relationships and to provide them with resources and tools to support healthy relationships and marriages within the community, because we know that strong families build strong communities. And so that was our goal for that.

Lamar Tyler (02:20):

Yeah. So we-

Scott Martineau (02:21):

Wow. That's great. So when was that? When did you start Black and Married with Kids?

Ronnie Tyler (02:24):

2007, December. December 2007.

Lamar Tyler (02:26):

Yeah. December of 2007.

Scott Martineau (02:27):

December of 2007. All right. And if your experience is anything like Clate and mine, I think you guys might know this, but Clate, my co-founder married my sister, so we are brothers-in-law. And I can't tell you how many people have said, "That is a horrible idea. What are you doing going into business together?" But that pales in comparison to husband and wife going into business together.

Lamar Tyler (02:50):

It's been a lot of lessons. We've learned a lot. But I say also we benefit a lot because we are exact opposites.

Crystal Heuft (02:57):

That's great.

Lamar Tyler (02:58):

So I think a lot of times, if you look at wanting a business, which is spouse and if you look at even going into business with a partner, people are looking for people that are exactly like them, and that may not be the best thing, because what we've found in our relationship is that it's really true to form where it's a visionary and an implementer. And I'm the idea guy. I'm a cowboy. I'm shooting from the hip every day with different ideas, and Ronnie tells me to cut it off, and I can't. I can't stop thinking about ideas.

Scott Martineau (03:21):

Just see Ronnie's face right now. It's saying a lot. Let's just say that.

Lamar Tyler (03:23):

And Ronnie is a certified project manager by trade, 17 years with IBM before coming into our business. So she's the one that takes not all of my ideas, but some of the crazy ideas and actually makes sure that we get things done. So the union, the marriage of it, and the union and the business both workout well together.

Ronnie Tyler (03:41):

Right. And your spouse can be the best business partner. I say our marriage is our secret weapon sometimes. Because of the fact that we are able to work together, I think our advantage is exponentially greater than people that are just starting business by themselves, because you're not going to have a better business partner than your spouse, as long as they're down for it and they're working towards it and working with it. And they don't necessarily have to be working in the business, but to have the support of your spouse, that's an exponential advantage.

Ronnie Tyler (04:12):

Now, if your spouse is pulling at you in the opposite direction though, you can find a way to make it work, then you're just not going to have someone that's just ride or die for you.

Crystal Heuft (04:23):

That's true.

Ronnie Tyler (04:23):

You're not going to have someone that going to work just as hard as you, because when you own it, you're working hard. You're up till 2:00 AM. You're not going to let it drop. And if he's tired, I'm picking it up. And if I'm tired, he's picking it up.

Crystal Heuft (04:35):

That's a beautiful thing.

Ronnie Tyler (04:35):

And so we can make it to have this thing going around the clock. That made the difference in our blog. How do we have a blog that turns into a business that we can both leave six-figure jobs in corporate? We never stopped. We were consistent. And we were focused on it even with four kids. And I think because of the marriage, we were able to actually succeed and be successful.

Scott Martineau (04:58):

That is just gold. I absolutely love that. I think both the diversity that each of you brings because of your background and the fact that this give and when I'm down, you're up, I love it. I love the way you phrase that, exponential advantage, that's so fascinating. And I think I've always felt like entrepreneurship, it takes a lot... I was going to say it takes a lot out of you. I don't actually think it does because I think it ends up giving to you, but it requires a lot from you.

Scott Martineau (05:32):

And in many ways, one of the reasons I like entrepreneurship is because it creates more growth, and it creates growth in you that you can't really find in another way. And how cool is it that you get to have that experience where that growth, which is a very intimate process, you get to share that with your spouse? And I know my wife has recently started a business, so I have a firsthand experience of what it's like. And I'm playing a certain role in that business. We have a lot of different views as well. And it forces a level of growth, not just individually, but in the relationship that I think is really powerful. I love your perspective on that, it's so great, Ronnie.

Lamar Tyler (06:10):

And I think it also lends to the fact that the things that make for a great marriage make for just a great business partnership. Being able to communicate, that is something you've got to be able to do with your business partner and you better be able to do it in your marriage.

Crystal Heuft (06:21):

Yeah.

Ronnie Tyler (06:21):

Yeah.

Lamar Tyler (06:21):

If you're married, you're supposed to-

Scott Martineau (06:22):

If you're going to figure it out, you might as well use it in both, right?

Lamar Tyler (06:23):

Exactly. Being able to trust. Being able to trust your business partner in a day of going to do what they need to do when they need to do it. And then you need to be able to trust your spouse and your marriage and your relationship. So a lot of the things that benefit our marriage also benefit us working together in the business.

Lamar Tyler (06:39):

And then I feel like we had also the benefit of our first brand that we launched, which is now one of several, Black and Married with Kids, also being something that focused on marriage, so we talked to a lot of experts. We did seven full-length documentary films where we were going to the homes of couples that had been newlyweds and some that had been married 30, 40, 50 plus years, and be able to learn from the wisdom of other people. So we had the benefit of taking all of that and then learning those lessons and using those and applying them to our own relationship as well.

Scott Martineau (07:09):

That's cool. That's very cool.

Crystal Heuft (07:12):

I remember reading your guys' customer success story when I started almost three years ago, I can't believe it's already been almost three years, but I'm really excited to be chatting with you guys today because it was so impressive to see that really you had such a strong purpose and mission, but also to see how you were able to really grow. Your guys' ideas were just, I feel like, especially at the time they were so ahead of it and just really intriguing when I was reading through that entire customer story and watching your guys' video. I was brand new, so it was so important to understand how our customers are thriving and what they're doing that helps me be a better marketer. But I have to say, I was really excited when Scott said you guys agreed to come on. So thank you for coming on and sharing your story.

Lamar Tyler (07:57):

Oh, well, thank you.

Scott Martineau (07:58):

So I do want to come back. And I want to talk about this intersection between race and entrepreneurship and what you experienced as you built your company. But I want to keep going too, and just hear where you're at with your current business. So sorry for the long interruption there, but why don't you give us the rundown?

Lamar Tyler (08:22):

No problem. Well, as I mentioned, once we launched and did Black and Married with Kids, we got a lot of press and visibility off of it, so we quickly grew. We had a Facebook page over half a million fans on it, we were on CNN, HLN, The Today Show, Entrepreneur Magazine, Black Enterprise, Ebony Essence Jet, Parenting Magazine, a bunch of stuff, so we had a lot of visibility, and people saw us publicly growing this business. So as we grew that, and we released different films, and we would go around the cities in the country doing our own tours, so we would do seven to 10 city tours on our own. We would do some radio advertisement, some Facebook ads, because this was still in the early days of Facebook. So we'd do Facebook ads and we were going into these markets, and do screen and sell tickets and sell products at the end of the actual movies with bundles of our different movies and T-shirts and all this different stuff.

Lamar Tyler (09:12):

And during that path, we really learned how to market and sell because we had to figure out a way to monetize this stuff. At the time we were still both working our full-time jobs. Ronnie was a project manager for IBM, I ran the IT department of a TV station in Washington, D.C. So we got just really good at being able to figure out who exactly the target customer was, finding out where our product fit in their lives. What challenges did that product actually overcome? Figuring out how to build community and audience, and then how can we get this community audience to believe and buy into the actual products and services that we had to offer?

Lamar Tyler (09:44):

So we went from documentary films to ebooks and audio books, membership sites, boot camps, conferences, and even four cruises with our Black and Married with Kids audience. And from there, people kept asking us, "Can you teach me how to do it? Can you please teach me how to do what you did?" So we launched a separate brand called Traffic Sales and Profit, where now we work with African-American entrepreneurs to help them try to figure out how to drive more traffic, convert more sales and grow the amount of profit in their businesses. So we've been doing that since 2015, that brand. We do two conferences a year here in Atlanta. The first one in 2016 had 47 people. The last in-person one we did in 2019 had 504. So it's been exponential growth.

Scott Martineau (10:27):

That's awesome.

Lamar Tyler (10:27):

It's again filled a need that's been in our community. And as we talked about purpose before, this is another piece of our purpose around uplifting families in our communities. First, we did it through marriage and parenting. One of our films, we did it through a generating wealth, and now we do it through Traffic Sales and Profit through entrepreneurship.

Crystal Heuft (10:47):

You guys must be using the heck out of the ability to have multiple sales pipelines now, with all these businesses. I was just thinking about that. That only came out not too long ago, I hope you guys are utilizing that for all these pipelines you've got.

Lamar Tyler (11:01):

Yeah. We have a lot going on in our... Actually, we were talking about that recently like, "I need that."

Ronnie Tyler (11:06):

Yeah, to say the least.

Crystal Heuft (11:08):

I was just saying, it's a great lesson to teach your kids all about entrepreneurship.

Lamar Tyler (11:12):

Yes, it is. Actually, one of our daughters right now worked with us all summer. She's about to go to college, but she worked with us all summer and then she'll even work remotely while she's in school, doing some light work for us. And then the younger kids, over the years we had them packaging up DVDs and shipping stuff out and going to the post office with us. So they definitely have gotten to see it firsthand.

Scott Martineau (11:31):

Oh, this is so amazing.

Crystal Heuft (11:32):

That's great.

Scott Martineau (11:32):

So there's so much gold here that I'd love to dig into. We're probably not going to have time to get into all of it. I want to [inaudible 00:11:41] a topic here that we can talk about for a little bit, and that is the role of obviously, the conversation today about race is I think stronger than ever been before, and the racial equality, and I find the debates are so polarizing. And I think a lot of people are just trying to understand which way is up.

Scott Martineau (12:05):

I want to shift the conversation slightly to say you clearly have in at least two of the businesses, Black and Married with Kids and Traffic, Sales and Profit, you've been really clear about your audience and you've gone to the black community. And I don't think that's necessarily the only clients that you service, but I just want to dig into what do you feel is the role of entrepreneurship as it relates to some of these topics that we're hearing about in the media today? I'd just love to hear what's been on your mind as you've lived this long before the level of conversation that's going on today. I'd just love to hear from your perspective, what do you see in all of this?

Lamar Tyler (12:48):

For me, and then I'll let Ronnie share her point of view, definitely. For me, one of the reasons we really focused on Traffic Sales and Profit is to build the power base of economics in the African-American community. So for us, that looks like closing the wealth gap. There's a huge wealth gap, and it's not getting smaller between different groups in this country. And right now, African Americans are pulling up the rear, and we want to help close that gap through entrepreneurship.

Crystal Heuft (13:14):

Love it.

Lamar Tyler (13:14):

When we look at statistics around job loss and joblessness, what we see is that that gap is larger with African-American communities a lot of times. And one of the reasons I say that is because we need more African-American business owners. And not just more African-American business owners, we need more African-American business owners that actually employ people. I think a lot of times what happens is people hire other people that look like them. And then we see a lack of diversity, but people pretty much just pull people in their immediate circle, people that they can relate with. And they say, "Hey, you know what? I think he or she is a person like myself, and let me bring them into the company."

Scott Martineau (13:49):

Yeah. I think I'm hearing a couple of things. One is you're leveraging the principles of entrepreneurship to create opportunity for the entrepreneurs themselves, and you're extending that vision beyond to say, "Look, entrepreneurs are the ones that are hiring," and the more black entrepreneurs you can create, the more they're going to naturally hire people who are like them and around them and in their circle of influence, and that'll help create a lift in the communities that you're talking about.

Ronnie Tyler (14:16):

Definitely.

Scott Martineau (14:17):

That's awesome. And just out of curiosity, I'm curious what percentage of your target market is not black? And also, is part of your mission also to help other entrepreneurs recognize the value of diversity? This has been a big topic for us too, but the value of diversity in their small businesses, which I think do tend... The way you've talked about. I know that's the way it was for us. You look around at who you're most close with and who thinks like you, because that's the way we thought when we started the business, and you end up with a bunch of people that are very similar and maybe lack diversity. So are you reaching out in your business as well, or are you really just focused on the black communities?

Lamar Tyler (14:54):

Primarily, we're just focused on the black community and what we're doing is the whole piece, when people say, "You should lift yourself up by your bootstraps," that's exactly what we do. But what's interesting and then Ronnie can definitely speak to this on the Black and Married with Kids' site and what we saw as we created our business is that when you do lift yourself up by your bootstraps, a lot of people actually have issue with that as well. So on one hand, they say, "Hey, you have the same opportunities, United States. Do it on your own." But when you do your Facebook criticism and critique. How many times have we ran Black and Married with Kids, did people come and say, "What if I ran a site that was White and Married with Kids?"

Lamar Tyler (15:29):

And we say, "Well, every marriage site that's out there basically is white and married with kids, because that's all you'll see in the images." That's all you'll see with the writers, that's all you'll see with the content. So the need is so acute and so needed in our community that we had to directly address it.

Ronnie Tyler (15:45):

Right. And I just feel like the devastation to our community... It's just been so devastating, the impacts of slavery, the impact of segregation, Jim Crow, that you have to be intentional. This is not something that you can say, "Okay, we've stopped this and now everything is just going to correct itself."

Crystal Heuft (16:02):

And if you're bootstrap-

Ronnie Tyler (16:03):

There needs to be intentional action. It's just like, we know who our avatar is, so we target our avatar. Are we saying we're excluding other avatars, or if other people come to our site, they wouldn't be welcome? No, because that's our environment. That's the culture that we've built. And so anyone that wants to join our list or come to our website, they'll see that it's a home for us. And if someone there is saying, "Oh, you're not African American, you can't be here," our audience, they'll stop it. We won't even have a chance to get in because that's the type of environment and culture that we have.

Ronnie Tyler (16:41):

So, although we are clear about our avatar, we do have people, even within our mastermind and our coaching programs that are not African American, because you are comfortable, you can come, but we are clear about our mission to uplift, equip, and support the community, to support families in our communities so that we can build strong families, we can close in the wealth gap, and just build up our communities. And so that's what our mission is.

Lamar Tyler (17:12):

Yeah. And if I can add one thing. One of the things that's interesting guys, as we look at race in business and all these types of things, there's a lot of times Ronnie and I will have friends that are not black. It could be white friends and they'll say, "It's amazing what you guys are doing."

Lamar Tyler (17:27):

And we'll say, "Come to the conference."

Lamar Tyler (17:28):

And they'll say, "Well, am I going to be okay? Is it cool for me to come? Is it fine for me to come? I don't know, I might feel awkward if I'm the only white person." But what's interesting is that most of the actual events that we go to, we are the only black people.

Scott Martineau (17:43):

You feel the same thing. Yeah.

Ronnie Tyler (17:44):

Yeah.

Lamar Tyler (17:45):

So to us, it's funny because you know, this is really our life. When we go to marketing events, when we go to conferences to learn more, to get access to network and things like that, oftentimes, we are the only people in the room. So it's just, what's our norm would be just out of normal for most people and would make them give pause. And a lot of times it makes them not show up. But in order for us to get to where we need to get for our business, this is just what life is every day.

Scott Martineau (18:11):

I love the intentionality of the target, the intentionality of what's gone on in the world and in our history. And the fact that you're attacking this. Give us a little bit more of an insight into that. What does it look like? Take us maybe to one of your conferences. You look out into the audience and you see people, what is the state that you find these black entrepreneurs who are reaching and striving? What are the disadvantages that are real and palpable that they feel? And what are they going to hear from you from stage that helps them to rise up, grab their bootstraps and take control and do these amazing things?

Ronnie Tyler (18:45):

Right? So I think the first thing is that when people come to our conference, they're just in awe, just to see so many African-American entrepreneurs that are being successful. And we're providing those examples from people that are making five figures, six figures, and even seven figures. And we're able to have them on stage and we're able to have them share their journey so that people can see what is possible. That's another thing. People actually need to see that it's possible for them as well. And so we're able to bring those speakers on stage, speakers that may or may not get invited to some of the other conferences.

Ronnie Tyler (19:21):

So I think that's the biggest thing is just the imagery of it all. The image. The imagery of it all is powerful in itself because it inspires people to keep on going and to keep pushing. I like the fact that people see us as a couple as well. I feel like we have a lot of couples that are entrepreneurs that follow us, just because of our example with our Black and Married with Kids, and they see us working together. And we really want people to know that it is possible, and how much of an advantage that they have if they're able to work together as couples to be entrepreneurs. So we see a lot more of that, I think, at our conference, because we are a couple and that we do it together. So we see that as well. What else, Lamar?

Scott Martineau (20:05):

When you say it, you mean you're converting people to the idea of, "Hey, you can do this together. Go for it"?

Ronnie Tyler (20:10):

Yes.

Lamar Tyler (20:10):

Yeah, exactly.

Ronnie Tyler (20:10):

Yes. And we also let people know that doing it together is different for different people, because a lot of people think doing it together has to be what Lamar and I have, meaning both of us working in the business. And we always like to say, if you're working in the business and you have a spouse that's at home and they're not pulling on you, and you're able to work full time and you're able to work these long hours, and they're holding it down at home, they're just as important to that business as you are.

Crystal Heuft (20:40):

Definitely.

Ronnie Tyler (20:40):

So I feel like a lot of people are in entrepreneurship and they're mad at their spouse because they don't have their hands on their business and they're not appreciating what their spouse is doing at home. You're at this conference and you're mad because your spouse is at home with the kids, and you should be happy because you have that flexibility.

Ronnie Tyler (20:56):

And some people don't realize that they wouldn't be as far along in their business if their spouse was not at home and working, and things like that. And so we like to let people know that it comes in a variety of different scenarios, but at the same time, when a couple works together in whatever scenario, whether your wife is at home or whether you're in the business full time, or you're both in the business full time, that's the advantage that you have. But they love it.

Scott Martineau (21:24):

What a powerful reframing for people, who may come to a conference like that, or just be in their business and be frustrated. And that weight of frustration is just so toxic for any entrepreneur. It's the opposite of really what they need to be doing. What a great thing, what a great message you're sharing. It's so beautiful.

Lamar Tyler (21:46):

And if I could add Scott, I think what's important when they come is not only do we reframe their outlook and their mindset in what's possible, we do it in a culturally safe space, meaning they're in a space, and I can't tell how many times somebody has got up to the mic when we do Q&A, and just says, "I feel like I'm at home." Or I go to conferences, and imagine they go to a conference and they're the only person of color there. Or on top of that, maybe they're the only person of color and in a male-dominated field. So now they're the only person of color and the only woman there. Definitely the only woman of color there. And then they get to come into a space where they see other black women and other black men all around them. Black couples, black children that are entrepreneurs all in that space.

Lamar Tyler (22:25):

And we see the mainstream conferences a lot of times say, "Well, we would have diversity, but we don't know who people are. We need people that are qualified." And what we can say is that every event we do, the stage is full of qualified African-American men and women that are business owners.

Lamar Tyler (22:40):

Our last event, last June, we had Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African-American woman to build a billion dollar business, with a B. Billion. ActOne Group, based out of Los Angeles. So we can put these historical figures. We had a Dr. Lonnie Johnson, the individual that invented the Super Soaker. So not only can we talk entrepreneurship, we can bring people at literally are today's examples of black history to that stage.

Lamar Tyler (23:07):

We can put examples in front of people, then say, "Hey, you know what? Whatever you dream about, whatever you want to be, you can actually be it. And here are people that can show you," because while Ronnie and I are spoiled and we live in Atlanta and we used to live in a D.C. area where we see a large number of African Americans at all levels of the socioeconomic scale, there are African-American individuals that live in places where they don't see a lot of other people that look like them. So their representation of what being black is, like a lot of other people in this country, is based on what they see in the news, what they see in the papers, and even what they may think is possible needs to be shifted through a lens once they get into one of our events.

Crystal Heuft (23:43):

I love that.

Scott Martineau (23:44):

I got chills.

Crystal Heuft (23:45):

I'm also jealous I wasn't in the room when the Super Soaker talk went on, because-

Lamar Tyler (23:50):

It was amazing

Crystal Heuft (23:52):

... talk about making a huge business off of that. I just think that's so amazing and lots to learn from, no matter who you are. Your friends should start taking you up on that. I'd be at those conferences.

Lamar Tyler (24:03):

We invite you. And it's literally that. It's just so much opportunity. It is almost like a homecoming experience, going back to your high school or your college homecoming. It's that type of relationship. And then it's still setting the bar for this is what excellence looks like. This is where we need to go. This is where we are as community, this is where we need to go. And guess what? We're the ones we've been waiting for. We are the ones in this room and we'll fight through every obstacle, we'll fight through every challenge in order to have success for us and our children, and to create a new legacy for our community and this country.

Crystal Heuft (24:33):

That's beautiful. It's a beautiful thing.

Scott Martineau (24:36):

So I'm intrigued. I think about... By the first of all, just a second, I had chills and got a little emotional, just hearing you talk about that feeling of home. I know when we used to have IKON, which is our user conference, there was a very similar feeling where entrepreneurs, who in many ways feel alone out in the world, and I think part of our mission is to change that so that they don't feel alone. They feel like they have community. And just the intersection of you focusing on your community with such intentionality and entrepreneurship, and bringing them all together, I can't say enough for what you're doing to change the world.

Scott Martineau (25:15):

And where my mind is as we look at global change and we've got a second, so we start with changing our country, there are different tools and levers that we can pull. There are certain things that the government can do. And obviously, there's a lot of conversation about what the government could or should or whatever do. There's another lever, it's called entrepreneurship. There are other levers, and interestingly, I think also marriage and family, there's lots of opportunity there.

Scott Martineau (25:41):

What is it like for you to sit in the current dialogue and narrative that's going on today? First of all, do you get any pushback or on the opposite? Are people responding to your call to use entrepreneurship as this lever to help in our current environment? Do you have any pushback? Do you have any thoughts? We definitely don't want this to be a political or polarizing conversation, but I'm just curious, you're exercising this entrepreneurship lever to its fullest extent, what do you see with what else is going on in the world today?

Lamar Tyler (26:17):

I think for us, a lot of it's business as usual, and it's funny to a degree because as things shift and things happen and now people say, "Well, we need to focus on having a seat at the table for black businesses as well."

Lamar Tyler (26:32):

What we say is, "This is what we've been focusing on for the last few years." All of a sudden, people say, "We need to support and buy from black businesses." And we look around our community and say, "Well, We've been supporting and we've been buying from black businesses." So if anything, there may be increased opportunity for some of the businesses in our communities, but our mission hasn't changed. Our mission is still the same thing it was when we first started Traffic Sales and Profit, to create that space for African-American entrepreneurs to grow and scale their businesses. So, I think that's what it is. And again, when we talk about what that community is and what's special about it, I think another piece of it is just the fact that I think when you go into other groups and other rooms, you never know what the intention is of the people that are in that room, because when they're at one of our events, and I can talk about the fact that we've been discriminated against when we went to get capital or lending from banks.

Lamar Tyler (27:28):

And when I share that story, or somebody shares that story with me, they know I'm not going to look at them and say, "Well, did you really try?" Or, "Was your credit bad?" All these other things. "Banks just don't do that." Well, yes they do, because we've had great cash, we've had great capital, great collateral, and still got everything dragged through, and still had to jump over every fence, and duck and crawl and climb and everything, and have our financial team and our money team literally frustrated and screaming and yelling when we got off those calls, say, "What in the world? Why have they not given you this money yet?"

Lamar Tyler (28:09):

But again, in a safe space, some of the things you have to do outside of that safe space, you don't have to do. You can just let your guard down and say, "This was happening to me." You know other people have empathy for you and we have empathy for you. We see you. We realize what's going on and let's take it from there and then still be successful in spite of it.

Scott Martineau (28:28):

Wow. Yeah, that's so great. And I think one of the beauties of entrepreneurship is exactly what you just said. Staring in the face, something that didn't go as planned and maybe even be completely inequitable and the wrong thing, and you stare it in the face and you March right past it and you get to show everybody exactly what you've done, which is just so amazing. So inspiring.

Scott Martineau (28:52):

Ronnie, what else are we missing out on?

Ronnie Tyler (28:54):

No, I think we've pretty much covered it all. I think the difference from me during this time is that we have control over our destiny. I know that a lot of people right now feel like they're not in control and they can't control what's going on. Whether is our building going to be shut down? Social distance and things like that. And when you think as an entrepreneur, we're thinking, okay, we just have to pivot. We know how to make money. We know how to create a business. We know how to build a business, Now we have to just put our heads together and be more proactive, and put a plan together and be in control of our own destiny, versus waiting for someone to tell us what's going to happen next.

Ronnie Tyler (29:44):

So that's where I felt like Lamar really stepped up to be the leader in our communities to say, "We're not going to get caught out here. This is what we're going to do. COVID is coming. And this is how we're going to react. And this is how we're going to shift. And this is how we're going to survive and thrive through this time." And I felt like with him showing that leadership within our community, it's been so great because people weren't down, people weren't getting depressed, they got into action.

Ronnie Tyler (30:14):

So that's the biggest thing for me, as far as with the entrepreneurship and things that are going on right now. Even with the social and civil injustices that are going on, you could feel so helpless and just so hurt as an African American and so powerless, and I feel like entrepreneurship puts that power back into our hands. Puts that power, as far as our legacy, controlling what we do, what we do with our kids, how much money we make, we're in control of that.

Ronnie Tyler (30:45):

So, yeah, I think that that's really empowering for our community.

Crystal Heuft (30:49):

Now that gave me chills. What can other entrepreneurs who may not be part of the BIPOC community, what can they do to practice allyship of their fellow entrepreneurs going through 2020? 2020 has been a crazy year, so how can other entrepreneurs practice really that allyship and make sure they're supporting their entrepreneurship community?

Lamar Tyler (31:11):

I guess I would just say perhaps, and I don't know if this maybe is too simple, but just open your eyes. Open your eyes, have empathy. And I guess you could say open your eyes and open your ears as well. To look and see what's around you, to look and see what opportunities do you have to partner up with other people in other communities, that you can maybe do business with somebody else or tie somebody else into your event. Because tying somebody else at your event is not giving them a chance so that you feel better or you feel like I can check this thing off of my sheet. Tying somebody else at your event may open up your event to an entirely new group of people that wouldn't have attended otherwise because they don't see themselves represented. So it's really just being able to tie those things down. Listening, and like I said, having empathy for other groups.

Lamar Tyler (31:53):

A lot of times I think that the codeword now for, "I don't want to have empathy," is, "I don't want to be politically correct." So when it's anything that may actually stretch you to have empathy for some other group or for you to have some level of maturity or for you to say, "Okay, this is how other people view it through their lens. Let me stop and actually think and process that," the easier thing to say, "Oh, that's being politically correct. You're trying to make me be too PC. This world is being too, this country's too politically correct now."

Lamar Tyler (32:20):

And what I can say is this country, no matter how great it is, has done a lot of things that have been wrong over the last years, the last decades and so forth. And when Ronnie talked about earlier, people say, "Well, what is this group of people so mad about?" Or, "What are they talking about? What are they marching about? Slavery was so long ago." No, really, slavery was only a few generations because my grandmother's grandmother would have been born into slavery, based on that time. If you think about that, most people here, they know who their grandparent was. That person knows who their grandparents was, their grandparents would have been born into actual slavery.

Lamar Tyler (32:54):

When people get frustrated and they say, "Well, what is this whole thing about black?" And in I'm hearing so much about being black, when I explain to people all the time and Ronnie and I did a lot through Black and Married with Kids, black is not just a color. What black is to us as an actual culture because in so many instances, our culture was stripped away from us, so when you have individuals that can say, "My heritage traces back to Ireland, my heritage traces back to Norway or Scandinavia or Russia," or all these other places, pretty much, if you look at most of the actual family tree and you trace it and things like that, African Americans in most cases can only go up until the late 1800s because before that time, we weren't included on the actual census data.

Lamar Tyler (33:37):

So, when you don't know who you are and now, thanks to some companies like African Ancestry, we can actually find out through the DNA, what country we came from and what actual tribe of current-day people we relate to. But without information like DNA information, you don't even know all the way back where you want to. So, like I said, just having empathy, learning, educating yourself about other people other than yourself. And if again, one more time, I'll say for people who say, "Well, I shouldn't have to learn about somebody else or everyone else," what I'll say is again, in our shoes, we spend our whole lives learning about other people, other cultures, without having anyone really learn about ours.

Scott Martineau (34:16):

I read this book recently called White Fragility. It's a really good book that basically, she's writing to a white audience, this is a diversity trainer who is tired of walking into corporate America and having people walk in, "Oh, why are we having this conversation? I'm not racist." And there were many things, her whole point to help people realize that you've got to be able to have a conversation about this. And there were many takeaways, but one that seems relevant right here is she said that most whites are never taught that it would be a disadvantage to have diversity in their friend circles. She didn't use those exact words, but I think what you're saying is look, there is power that comes in understanding and reaching out and building community across whatever divide is there.

Scott Martineau (35:05):

We're talking about race. There are others as well. So I think it's a great challenge for entrepreneurs to think about that. And I chuckle when I think about how, when I started our company, I was completely clueless. I was exactly that. I was completely clueless. Who did we hire? If you think like me and you look like me, I'm going to hire you. And the more that we've built our business, the more we recognize, no, that is not where the magic comes from. It comes from the beautiful blend of people coming in with so many different perspectives. So that's a great challenge, I think, to the entrepreneurial community.

Scott Martineau (35:44):

Oh, I feel like we could go on for another hour, but we probably...

Crystal Heuft (35:47):

Yeah. I feel like this could be a three-day workshop at least. But yeah, I feel like there's actually risks associated at this point without taking on inclusivity and diversity within businesses. And I think that starts from small business up or big business down. Either way you look at it businesses, I think that don't think about these topics and diversity and inclusion are actually going to be left behind in my opinion.

Crystal Heuft (36:14):

Scott, I was just sharing, we had a DM today from someone saying they were considering Keap and they wanted to know who our CEO was, what our mix of diversity at Keap was and what we've done to support BIPOC. And I'm proud where we work. I had an answer for them easily, and I know where we are and I know where we're going. But I'm just saying, if people think the world of business is not changing with diversity, it is changing every day. And that DM is one of many that will come if companies, even the smallest company aren't aligned, people want to know where their money's going and who it's supporting.

Scott Martineau (36:54):

Well, Ronnie and Lamar, thank you so much. I feel totally filled up. I feel instructed. You're an example of, I think what entrepreneurship can do in the world. And it's just so exciting to hear it. So any final thoughts either you want to pile on?

Ronnie Tyler (37:09):

No. I just think that we've been blessed to work together. And entrepreneurship, I don't want to glorify it because it's been a lot of work.

Scott Martineau (37:20):

Right.

Ronnie Tyler (37:22):

It's been a lot of work, but it has given us so much, we've been so blessed and we've been able to do a lot with our family and kids. So I'm blessed with it. And also, we have been blessed to be able to use Keap and Infusionsoft on this journey as well. And we miss IKON. We miss that conference. That's what I said.

Scott Martineau (37:42):

It's coming back.

Ronnie Tyler (37:43):

Okay.

Scott Martineau (37:43):

It's coming back.

Crystal Heuft (37:45):

I also just want to say real quick. Ronnie, I'm sorry. I cut you off a couple of times, I was having a slow sound issue where it wasn't coming in on time. So I just wanted to say that wasn't intentional. I think what you were saying when it caught up was way more impressive than anything I was trying to say, so sorry for that.

Ronnie Tyler (38:01):

No, that's okay.

Crystal Heuft (38:01):

Thank you.

Scott Martineau (38:01):

The beauty of Zoom. The beauty of Zoom.

Crystal Heuft (38:05):

I know. Go for it, Scott.

Scott Martineau (38:10):

Speaking of talking over. So let's just end really clearly. How do people find out about you? Where's the best place for people to learn more?

Lamar Tyler (38:20):

Sure. To learn more about us together, and to learn more about the brands that we run, you can go to www.tyler, T-Y-L-E-R, newmedia.com, tylernewmedia.com.

Scott Martineau (38:31):

Thank you so much. I couldn't be more excited about where we went today and what we got out of this. Thank you for the time. I know you're busy, you've got plenty of other things to do. Thanks for giving us the audience.

Scott Martineau (38:41):

And to our listeners of Small Biz Buzz, I hope you felt what we did today. Let's all do our part. I think this is a shining example of what can happen when you take entrepreneurship. For you, it might look like using entrepreneurship to impact yourself first and your family, but the reaches for entrepreneurship and what we can impact, they go far and they go broad. And thank you Ronnie and Lamar for giving us an example of that.

Lamar Tyler (39:05):

Thank you.

Scott Martineau (39:05):

All right.

Crystal Heuft (39:05):

Thanks guys.

Scott Martineau (39:07):

Have a good one and we're going to call that a wrap for this episode of Small Biz Buzz.

Speaker 5 (39:15):

Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five-star rating. It helps keep the show going. And if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to keap.com, that's K-E-A-P.com, and get started. More business. Less work. That's Keap.