After listening to Cathy Hughes on NPRs “How I built this” Podcast. I couldn’t have been more inspired with her remarkable story. A lot of lessons were learned during her illustrious journey to becoming the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation.
Visualize Your Dreams
Cathy Hughes had a vision of what she wanted to do at the age of 8 or 9 years old. Hughes would often get in trouble at school for talking a lot. states ” I’m practicing for my future career”. Living with five other siblings Hughes would resite her make believe radio show every morning with her tooth brush, even though her brothers and sisters were trying their best at their turn in the bathroom. Hughes would not open the door until she finished her make belive radio show.
Overcome Your Obstacle
Hughes became pregnant at the age of 16, but that did not stop her dreams. If anything, it fueled her even more. Hughes was determine not to let her newborn son become a black statistic. Hughes was very determined and dedicated on accomplishing her goals with a purpose. She would often take her son to class with her.
As an employee, Hughes was able to help grow WHUR-FM by implementing the quite storm format. Hughes knew the demographics of the unattached singles in the Washington DC area. Her playlist consist of songs that would pull at your heart strings. Sam Cook, The Balladeers etc. Hughes improved WHUR-FM’s ratings from number 36 to one of the top 5 radio stations in Washington DC.
Be Persistent ( The law of averages)
Hughes and her husband decided they would purchase their own radio station. Hughes went to 32 lending institutions to require a loan for a million dollars. Hughes knew the law of averages. “I knew that if I kept asking, a yes had to come up.
Don’t Sell Past The Close
A female banker finally said yes and granted Hughes a business loan for her company. Hughes was so excited she insisted on convincing the banker on granting her a business loan. Hughes couldn’t believe the banker said yes and kept selling her pitch. The Banker nicely gave Hughes some advice on not selling past the close.
Play Offense Not Defense
Hughes was under financial pressure from her lenders, but she did not let overwhelming financial obligations get to her. Hughes would call the lenders and asked if they would except all the money that she had at the time, but she would always promised a token of good faith that should would pay all of their money back in due time. Most of the lenders were impressed that Hughes let them know up front that she could not make the payment. Hughes has never been forclosed on or filed for bankruptcy.
Be Careful Who You Discuss Your Hard Times With
People that love you and care for you, can also give you bad advice and detour you away from your dreams. Your positive aspirations of your dreams can be suppressed by negativity on behalf of your love ones. Everyone is not going to see your dreams the same as you would. Just be careful who you tell your dreams to.
Lenders Don’t Invest In Ideas, They invest in you
Lenders felt very good about Hughes, they knew their money was good with her, so they gave her more. People tend to loan money to the person, not the business or the idea. As a fan of Shark Tank, I’ve seen Mark Cuban practice this same rule when choosing which company to invest in.
Cathy Hughes is such an inspiration.
Founder of Radio One, the largest black-owned broadcast company in America.