Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

Ghetto Burger – Lunch with Tanya and Jamal

I was just thinking about this past weekend. You know I’m not the most patient person in the world. So why did I wait over an hour for an $8 burger? I’ll tell you why, because one of my best friends, Tanya, was visiting me from Chicago and insisted we check out one of the joints from her Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives list.

Okay, so let me tell you about our dining experience. The place was super small. It seats eight people inside (that’s right eight barstools and a grill), and about that many outside on the screened in patio.  So we climb the four steps to the door, open it, and the owner tells us we can’t come in. Say what?  I would have loved to see our faces myself, because I’m sure we were looking real crazy. It wasn’t just that she basically told us to get out, but it was the way she said it. …or maybe it was the way I heard it.  So when she shooed us out, I’m thinking – cool- I’m outta here. I was ready to hop back in the car and go up the street to Checkers.  But nooo, Tanya wasn’t hearing it. She’d come too far to check out this ghetto burger that G. Garvin said was a must have. 

Okay, so we back out the door and down the stairs. Of course it’s at that point we notice this little itty bitty sign on a window on the side of the door that says you can’t come in until there’s an empty seat available.  I’m thinking, she could probably keep more customers if that sign was bigger AND posted ON the door.

And you’re probably wondering where Jamal fits into this story, huh? I sat next to him, on one of the eight bar stools, and we all had a good laugh at the fact we were all sitting there waiting for a burger, but being treated like crap. At least G. Garvin had warned that we probably wouldn’t receive any southern hospitality. Poor Jamal hadn’t received a heads up – so he was kinda sittin’ in shock – and it turns out, he’d been there forty minutes prior to our arrival and we received our food maybe two seconds before he did.

Throughout our waiting experience, we watched as the owner shooed customers out of the shack, telling them they can’t come in. I’m sitting there thinking, so that’s what we looked like when we got shooed out. Many got back into their cars and drove off, but surprisingly, many stayed.

BTW, did I happen to mention that you don’t get a choice of eating inside? Nope, since the place only seats eight, if you want to eat
there, you have to eat on the patio.

But on a serious note, since the burger was pretty good I’ll give you the name of the place – Ann’s Snack Bar.  Just keep in mind – if you go, be prepared to wait…outside.

Sharon C. Cooper

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September 28, 2011 Posted by | Atlanta restaurant, Just Thinking | 5 Comments

My Time with Morehouse Men

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending some time with Morehouse men. Dr. Gwendolyn Williams, a faculty member at Morehouse, invited me to be a judge in her Reading and Critical Thinking class. The young men in her class participated in group assignments that were based on Hill Harper’s book: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny.

For those of you who are not familiar with the book, Harper, through a series of letters to young brothers, addresses several topics that young men have asked him personally. The topics cover everything from school, money and careers, to girls, family life and achieving goals. The book is an inspirational read, ideal for any young man whether he has questions or not. As far as I’m concern, it should be mandatory reading for any male who is age 13 or older. Keep in mind there are some sensitive topics Harper covers in the book, but he does it expertly.

But getting back to the presentations. Out of five groups, I judged two of them. Each group took a different aspect from the book and presented on it using their personal styles. The first group’s topic was part three of Harper’s book – The Real Deal: Girls, Sex, and Responsibility. They presented using monologues/poems and had videos to drive home their point. Needless to say those  were some pretty…dicey topics, but I thought they handled them beautifully.  The second group I observed did a skit for their  presentation. Their group’s topic was from part two of Harper’s book – School, Work, and Money: Mining Our Resources.  Through a series of scenes, the skit followed a young man as he confronted various issues in his young life where he had to make tough decisions with the assistance of an angel consulting in one ear, and the devil chattering in his other.

Personally, I was impressed by both groups! It was encouraging to see young men who were not only able to articulate their words and thoughts superbly, but who also exhibited passion on the topics they spoke on. My hat goes off to Dr. Williams for giving these young men a platform to show their intellectual, acting, and creative abilities. I felt honored to be invited!

Let me know if you’ve ever read Harper’s book.  And if so, what did you think?

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Just Thinking, Morehouse Men, Reading | 4 Comments

Tips for Starting a Home-Based Business

With the economy the way it is today, many people are looking to start their own home-based business. According to the Small Business Association (SBA), home-based businesses make up approximately fifty-percent of all U.S. businesses. Whether part-time or as your full-time gig, working from home and being your own boss might be just what you’re looking for right now.

If you’re considering starting a home-based business, here are a few things to think about before you quit your day job.

What’s a home-based business?

A home-based business is a business that provides help to others, while you manage the business from your home office. This can be anything from dog walking, freelance writing, to managing business accounts. The basis of a successful business is one that supplies a need. It may take some research, but you can discover the top service needs in your area or city, and then figure out which one of those services you can provide.

Operating a home-based business

There are several benefits to operating a home-based business. The most obvious benefit – you can work from home. Since you already pay a mortgage/rent, and utilities, the only thing you need to spend money on now is the equipment for your business. And, in many cases, you probably already own most of the needed equipment.

Secondly, a home-based business requires low overhead and start-up costs. Overhead costs typically include (but are not limited to) advertising, insurance, interest, legal fees, rent, repairs, supplies, taxes, telephone bills, travel and utilities. These costs are normally low for home-based businesses. In most cases, your start-up cost will include a computer, additional software, office supplies/equipment, and a telephone.

Establishing a website for selling your services lowers the overhead even more and maximizes your profit (saves on advertisement
costs).

Home-based business options

Virtual assistance has taken off in a big way in the last ten years. Using a computer, fax machine, telephone, and internet access, you can perform various administrative duties for small and large companies. You are paid for the work you do, so there is no extra charge for the company (like employee taxes, benefits…or call-ins!). Virtual assisting skills run from transcription to accounting to managing email and company websites.

Ghostwriting is the process of writing articles, novels, eBooks and more for an individual or a company. Using your writing talent, you can make good money creating literary works (print and electronic) for others who need them. Though the person hiring your services will have total ownership of the work you create, you still make money doing what you enjoy.

Offering Cleaning Services to companies or individuals will definitely fill a need. If you want to work second or third shift, you can focus on office clients. Take it a step further and identify retail businesses that are within a few blocks from each other (saves time and money). Perhaps house cleaning is more your speed. In this case, you probably won’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising or marketing because your customers will come by word of mouth.

Getting started tips

There are things to consider before starting any type of business, even a home-based one.

  1. Research the local laws for registering and zoning a home business. Most home businesses require no zoning issues unless
    you’ll be meeting numerous clients in your home, posting signs in the yard, or causing external nuisance s (e.g., noise, odors, etc).
  2. Small business tax laws. Now that you are a business, you are subject to different tax exemptions, deductions and payments. Sites like www.irs.gov can give you the information you need.
  3. Create a separate work space at home. This could be as simple as using a spare bedroom or a corner in the dining room. The
    main focus should be on finding a space to keep your work separate from your personal household items. A separate telephone line (or a pay as you go phone) is always a good idea. When you need to meet with clients – coffee shops, books
    stores and even the library make great meeting places. Or, you can rent virtual office space for a nominal monthly fee (you’ll be able to use their address for marketing material, and have access to their business machines, and conference rooms).
  4. Use on and off-line marketing methods to find clients. Such as: public databases, newspaper and Yellow Pages ads, direct
    mailings, email marketing, and designing your own website.
  5. Practicing good time management will play a major role in whether or not you’re successful. Create a schedule to divide
    time between work and family. Balancing both is hard, but not impossible.

A home-based business is an alternative for people who want to be their own boss without spending a lot in start-up costs. If you have a talent/gift and you can see or fulfill a need, consider a home-based business.

September 7, 2011 Posted by | Business, Business Start-up | 4 Comments