Most people know T.I. as a rapper – but, as you’ll discover in our recent interview for the Launch Your Business podcast, he’s also an extremely accomplished businessman based out of Atlanta.
How can that help you?
In our conversation, he brought valuable insight to:
- Finding purpose in your struggles
- Trusting your mentors
- Why vision is crucial to your success
I’ll share some of my key takeaways below.
The importance of having a vision for your life and business
I kicked off our discussion by thanking T.I. for his song “Live Your Life”; back when I first moved to New York, I was (to put it mildly) going through it. I was broke, five months behind on rent, and almost got evicted. But I’d listen to T.I.’s song, and envision a life when I wasn’t worried about the electricity bill.
T.I. said that this was a great first move.
“Before you do anything, you’ve got to adjust your vision. You have to have a vision for something that’s greater than what you see around you presently. So I think that vision did more justice for your outcome than that song did. But I’m proud of being part of the presence.”
T.I. has brought his vision to a broad array of ventures. Thanks to taking his uncle’s advice, his first non-rap endeavor was in real estate (more on that in the episode), and eventually expanding to apparel, food, drink, the Trap Music Museum, and most recently, cannabis.
“It’s always been about ‘What does our culture spend money on?’” T.I. said. “It’s always been about where [I can] impact the market with my platform by offering something that the culture already spends their money on.”
An excellent example of this is T.I. new partnership with CIGNATURE. As per the website
“Created with culture and ownership in the forefront, CIGNATURE was birthed with the sole mission to provide a platform for Black ownership within the tobacco and cannabis space. CIGNATURE is a full line of quality products partnered with top tier talent, allowing each artist the opportunity to handcraft their own specialized flavor.”
But, the goal shouldn’t just be to provide something your audience wants, you should improve on the current offerings as well. Here’s an example from CIGNATURE.
“The CIGNATURE line takes pride in offering alternative options including vegan hemp wraps that are 100% organic, non GMO and vegan, as well as CBD and Delta8 that are also hemp derived.”
So you need to consider practicalities (is there a place for your product in the market?) as well as your unique differentiator (how can you improve on what’s currently available?).
But you also need to have a good sense of the big picture. T.I. said that when it comes to vision, there are a couple of pitfalls to avoid: Limiting your vision to just yourself, and letting others limit you. Let’s dive into those one at a time.
Find a greater purpose for your business
You may have heard the phrase “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” T.I. provides even more perspective on why it’s so important to get clear on your WHY.
“The first thing is you try to find yourself focusing on something greater than you,” T.I. said.
“A lot of people would call that energy [or] universe. A lot of people go with religion … I think family is always a good component, but believing in something greater than you. Because if you think you were the greatest thing that you have in life, then your failures are going to hit hard.
“Your lack of perfection is going to affect you in such a way that it makes it difficult for you to find the joy in life that everybody else can find, you know?” T.I. continued. “When you believe in something greater than you, no matter how flawed you are, you still see greatness, the potential for greatness.
If your outlook on life is only based on your performance, then you’re gonna be sad a lot of the time. Because to reach father, that means you’ve got to be willing to fail harder.”
Don’t let others limit your vision
The other big pitfall is allowing others to have too much of a say on whether or not your vision is within reach. T.I. says this is actually the biggest thing he wishes he’d learned earlier in entrepreneurship.
“Your vision is yours for a reason,” he said. “My vision is mine for a reason. Usually, [the] first thing we do when we get a vision is we take it to the people around us and say, ‘Hey, look, this is what I had an idea of doing.’
Because of their fears, their failures, because they don’t believe that they could do it because it’s not their vision, they would say, ‘Nah, man, why would you do that? Nah, that ain’t gonna work. That’ll never happen.’”
The worst part is that when, two or three years down the road, you see someone else executing your vision, you will have no one to blame but yourself for chickening out because your buddy couldn’t see the vision.”
Moral of the story, surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are while still encouraging you to continue ascending.