One Disc Helped This Entrepreneur Turn Black History Flash Cards Into A $2 Million Business

One Disc Helped This Entrepreneur Turn Black History Flash Cards Into A $2 Million Business

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For Freddie Taylor, it wasn’t about the money — it was about keeping history alive.

“I couldn’t believe that the misinformation about black history that I grew up with was still being taught to my children,” says Taylor, a black history teacher and founder of Urban Intel Intellectuals, an educational and educational company. I kept saying, “Someone has to do better.” So I became that person.”

The entrepreneur has been producing educational materials on black history at cost since 1994, but turning his passion project into something bigger (and profitable) requires him to approach things differently and start asking for help. It almost never took off.

Fast forward to today, and Taylor’s business, backed primarily by black history flashcards, has over a million followers on Facebook and generates more than $2 million in sales annually.

Here’s the advice Taylor has for anyone curious about turning their passion into a side hustle — or even a multimillion dollar business.

Test your idea, both online and offline

Taylor’s passion for history and curiosity for entrepreneurship started at an early age.

“My father is a black history buff,” he says. “He always raised me with a great interest in history and culture, and wanted me to understand what we went through as a people. He paid me for every chapter I read in black history books.”

When Taylor arrived at college in 1994, he was surprised by the number of studies that did not include black history and culture. He wanted to do something about it, so he went to his college library and printed out profiles of prominent figures in black history.

“I sold Black History profiles on campus for a quarter of a year to recover printing costs,” he says. “I just wanted to get more information about the history of black people there.” Taylor sold black history files throughout his college years.

In 2002, Taylor discovered Yahoo! Sets of his wife – she was in a set for mothers. Taylor saw the way the group worked and realized he could build his own community on Yahoo! For those interested in black history. He started the group and built it to 100 members in three months.

Your winning idea may be under your feet

When Taylor’s children reached elementary school age, Taylor was faced with an all-too-familiar challenge about how to teach them about black history.

“I was upset with the school system because I didn’t see the best of us reflected in the educational materials my children were consuming,” he says. “Little black boys and girls need to see themselves represented so they can know that greatness lies within them.”

In late 2007, Taylor created for his children what would later become his million-dollar idea: black history flashcards. He had printed cards featuring a famous person from the black history on the front and information about the person on the back. He didn’t think of cards as a business idea at the time, though, and he kept going.

Meanwhile, his efforts to organize the online community were taking off.

Cultivate a space where people can gather

Due to Facebook’s growth, Taylor decided to migrate his group to the platform in 2009.

“I started getting curious on Facebook and having discussions about the black community and what we’re facing,” he says. “I couldn’t afford to have someone create a website for me, so I went to the library and got a book on HTML. I taught myself coding and created my first website.”

What surprised Taylor was how many people were interested in the black history flashcards he mentioned in passing. He would sell it back for the cost of printing it, similar to what he did in college. As demand increased, he saw an opportunity to use the Internet to reach more people with a black history education.

professional advice

Pay attention to the way your audience behaves. If people proactively ask you if they can buy a product or service, you want something.

With online engagement increasing, a friend of Taylor saw the community he was building and told him he needed a product to sell. When Taylor thought about what he could create, he went back to the black history flashcards he was selling for cost. But he didn’t take any official action on making decks available to the public to make money online until 2017, a full ten years after he made the first set of his now teenage kids.

Then the gates opened.

Stack ‘Em High, watch ‘Em Fly’

What is one tablet? This would ask for help. Through the relationships he built in his community, and asking for help, Taylor found a factory in China and invested $1,500 to get an initial 500-story order.

“In our area [Black] Society, we tend to do everything on our own.” “I needed to humble myself and seek help to create and launch flashcards. The flashcards are designed after a standard deck of cards – 52 cards in each series. Then I hired a graphic designer on Fiverr and an illustrator on Upwork. The flashcards included an image on the front and bullet points of black history information on the back.”

Taylor was pleased with the quality and design, so he decided to show pictures and pre-sell the first batch of decks as a way to gauge interest. They sold out in days.

“I was shocked,” he recalls.

Taylor ordered an additional 2,000 floors, which also sold out immediately. Then he ordered another 10,000 – they were sold, too. Taylor’s Black History Flashcards, an idea first embraced a decade ago, sold over 12,000 decks less than a month after its release. He credits his years of community building to why flashcards were so successful when they were finally launched.

Side hustle can grow into a full-time business

In preparation for expanding his vision, Taylor outsourced supply chain efforts to the Fulfillment Center. He hired a full-time employee who was initially paid out of the revenue share. The two-person team outsourced the creation of the flashcards, customer support, marketing, PR, and other aspects that made the job work. They also hired a virtual assistant who does small tasks.

Today, Urban Intelcepts has grown into a complete online learning platform. She now has over a million fans on Facebook, her mobile app, and her own social network. The company has launched an online educational community to educate kids about black history called The Sankofa Club, offering black history clothing. He also offers black history tours, and has taken groups to Ghana, Morocco, Spain, Granada, and the Alhambra.

The company generates more than $2 million in sales a year — and it all started with flashcards. More than 350,000 floors have been sold and displayed since inception, and the company enjoyed Black History Month’s collaboration with JetBlue in 2019, which includes flashcards at John F. Kennedy and Newark airports. Last year, the company took home the Black Business of the Year award from the All Black National Convention.

Tips to turn your passion into profit

When it comes to building an online side hustle that can steer you toward financial independence, Taylor has the following tips.

  • Start building your community now. Taylor says: Don’t wait. Start by building an audience of people around a common passion or interest. Establish yourself as a trusted expert by educating others and sharing your personal stories.
  • Educate yourself constantly – Read books, register courses and attend conferences with speakers. Gather the information, but be prepared to act on it. Also consider getting a coach or mentor; This reduces the learning curve, Taylor says.
  • Focus on finding your product or service. Find out what you can offer people to help them solve their problems or add value to their lives. Do not be afraid to test different offers and combinations.

Taylor says that you can learn any skills you need to make money online through YouTube videos, social media, podcasts, and books. He says don’t let your limitations stop you from learning the skills that will help you reach your ultimate goal of creating financial independence — and making a greater impact along the way.

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