Today we’d like to introduce you to Edward Griffin.
Edward, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always felt a strong need to help my Mother with household things and find my own way to contribute growing up in a single-parent home. I understood that my Mom worked hard to provide everything we needed not necessarily everything we wanted.
As a child going to school and seeing other kids with Jordan’s and other material things, it made me feel like those things were a need. Because I didn’t want to worry my Mom with those things I decided to figure out a way to make money for myself, to get what I wanted. My earliest memories as a child, I would’ve considered myself an Entrepreneur, even then.
There were three experiences that I remember that laid the foundation for my life as an Entrepreneur. I remember my first stab at Entrepreneurship was in elementary school. I would go to the local candy lady in my neighborhood and spending the $10 or $20 my brother would give me on all the candy that I could afford, take it to school and sell it. This was at 9 years old. Off and on this is something I’d do all the way through high school. My second experience was when I was 12 years old, I lived near a Walgreens in Chicago. I went to speak to the manager one day and asked if I could get a job and he told me I was too young. I tried convincing him that I could take out the trash or do cleaning, etc. He said that unfortunately, he could hire me because I was too young, even for that. Before leaving out, I said to him, there’s a lot of old people coming in and out of here with a lot of stuff can I get them to pay me to take their groceries to the car? He said that would need to be something I tried on my own and he would ensure the police wouldn’t think I was soliciting. Ended up working out and got some regular customers doing that.
At 14, I wanted to make more money, I was finally of age to get a real job. My first job was for the City of Racine. After a while, back in Chicago, I wanted to start another business. This time, I figured if I got my friends involved we could make more money. Because it snowed so much in Chicago, I got five of my friends together and came up with my snow shoveling company. I personally didn’t do the shoveling, my friends did. My job was to get the business, collect the money and pay my friends. While I was running that business, successfully I’d say, I decided I wanted to cut hair. Going on 15 years old, I didn’t know how to cut hair, never cut hair in my life but a neighbor had clippers that I asked if I could use. There were a lot of older guys I knew in the neighborhood who were always drinking and I figured, they’d let me cut their hair, they wouldn’t know if it was messed up or not, plus I could get some practice in until I got better. Lol Needless to say, my clientele were older men near the liquor store, I got better at cutting hair and did that for a couple of years.
In 2006, after working at iHeartRadio in Milwaukee for over 10-years at V100.7 and working for The Source Magazine, I decided to start my own company, Hop Hop U-C-IT, LLC. An online and print Hip Hop and Entertainment magazine. My goal was to create an outlet and assist people who wanted to work in the entertainment industry who would’ve otherwise had a tough time breaking into the industry. I hired journalists, writers, photographers, videographers, graphic designers and more all over the country who went on to work on some amazing things with major brands and Fortune 500 companies. Hip Hop U-C-IT is still active today. Recently, I’ve pulled all of my brands together under my parent company E. Griffin Enterprises where I manage 13 brands at this time. This September, I will be in business 13 years, Lord willing.
Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth road at all, there have been so many challenges along the way but I have always welcomed the challenges. I understood very early that it wasn’t going to be easy, nor was it supposed to be. Every path I’ve forged, I went in not knowing what I was doing and with no money but, I knew God would make a way. Those things forced me to learn, they forced me to be a student of my craft. I had to learn how to code, how to build websites, how to network, how to build valuable relationships, how to manifest the things I wanted into reality, how to see my vision clearly and execute on my vision. For example, when I started my print Magazine, I couldn’t get anyone to buy into my vision and at the time, the magazine business was dwindling away. So, I created my own Publishing company, self-published my magazine and got it out to major outlets, myself.
I learned what it meant to be optimistic because I knew things wouldn’t be perfect I had to make up mind that there will always be something great coming out of every experience. I learned the importance of dealing with people and the three most important things in doing that, compassion, empathy and kindness.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the E. Griffin Enterprises story. Tell us more about the business.
I’ve always understood the importance of growth. Not only feeling growth but ensuring people see growth in what I was doing. Every year, I have created a new brand, product or service.
This was never the plan to do but I’m always inspired to create something new. Instead of having an idea and sitting on it, I have the idea, do the research, work on implementation and I launch. Success or failure, I put everything into it. I never want to worry, what if. So, I don’t, I just do what I want. This is one of the quotes I live by: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.” -Erma Bombeck
If I’m uneducated or scared, I do the research, educate myself, push fear aside and just do it.
I currently run E. Griffin Enterprises, I’m an Author, Serial Entrepreneur Philanthropist and a member of The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. E. Griffin Enterprises is a portfolio of socially responsible brands and businesses in fashion, media, marketing, PR, Branding, talent management, entertainment and more.
I believe what sets me aside is my drive. When I set out to do something, I see it to the end. In addition, my thought process. I recently wrote a book called The Power of Positive Thinking and I truly believe in what you think, so shall you become. I do my best not to think about anything I don’t want to see show up on my life.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I believe because I have my hand in so many things I do believe there will be a shift in many areas.
What I will say to that is, Entrepreneurship is growing. People are becoming more conscious of what it means to be in business for themselves. So many people are betting on themselves, taking chances on their dreams and goals through Entrepreneurship. Success or failure they are taking the chance, that’s all that matters. I believe over the next 5-10 years like today, entrepreneurs will be younger and younger. Which is why I created Brand Me University, with the goal of starting an entrepreneurship school for kids.
- The Power of Positive Thinking (Digital Book) | $14.99
- The Power of Positive Thinking (Print) | $19.99
- The Power of Positive Thinking (Print and Digital) | $24.99