Johnny Hackett Jr had it made in corporate – good money, decent hours, healthcare, a respected title. Everything was going great, except Johnny felt like he wasn’t making a true impact on the community. So right before he was about to get a nice bonus, he left to make a difference.
Alisa Herr: Welcome to Inside Impact, where we give you a behind the scenes peek at how organizations can create positive change in their communities. I’m Alisa Herr, founder of Unity Web agency. And on the show today, Johnny Hackett Jr. from Black Dollar Corp and Black Friday market comes on to share what he’s been doing to impact the black entrepreneurship community. Johnny and I have known each other for years now. We met back in 2018, when he actually applied to work with me at Unity.
Johnny Hackett: I was a business systems analyst at Blue Cross at the time, was getting paid great money through Blue Cross, you know what I’m saying to do whatever, but it just wasn’t challenging. And I wanted to do something different that actually made a difference, took less money to come work with Alisa and even left Blue Cross a month before I was about to get like a huge bonus. Like, I didn’t want to do it, I was ready to like get out of there.
Alisa Herr: We were lucky enough to be a part of the Johnny Hackett experience for almost two years before he went out on his own with Black Dollar. That company is an online directory of over 1100 black owned businesses. That’s right, 1100, which is just incredible. Then during the pandemic, Johnny started the Black Friday market retail space in downtown Raleigh.
Johnny Hackett: A lot of people know about Black Friday market now. The retail store that basically makes the directory kind of a real place for retail businesses anyway. So you know, a lot of people call it black Walmart, we do have an official partnership with Walmart right now, which I haven’t.
Alisa Herr: Wow
Johnny Hackett: That I announced it just now.
Alisa Herr: I didn’t know that.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, exactly. It’s like the first the first time I’ve like publicly spoken.
Alisa Herr: That’s so cool
Johnny Hackett: You need to put some stuff out there. But you know, we wanted to become retail stores across the US to where, if you’re in South Carolina, and you want to shop local that, you know, you can go to a Black Friday market, right. And then there’s all these different things, you know, within that Black Friday supermarket with the retail as well as the grocery stuff that Black Friday Express small kiosks that we rent out to other business owners. You mentioned earlier about the directory and going more than just North Carolina, the original plan for the directory was to create a black owned business directory for the entire US. But you know, after actually doing some research, talking to other people who had their own directories, I noticed that most of their businesses were located in the state that they were. So it made sense for us to just say, let’s just focus on North Carolina, let’s not try to attack the whole us just yet. Because we need boots on the ground, and we’ll start with North Carolina and then expand to the entire US. So that’s still the goal. We want to be everywhere with it. So 10 year plan is more stores bigger presence on the directory. In this new project we’ve got going on, we want to we want that to grow as well.
Alisa Herr: That’s exciting. What’s your favorite success story of a business like, that has worked with Black Friday market or Black Dollar?
Johnny Hackett: Oh man, so with the store, the store part is easy, I think a lot of people pay attention to the amount of sales that we get, which is cool. But the biggest success story is seeing other business owners that move on from our store, and then open their own store. We’ve had four or five business owners who through the success or exposure that they were getting from being in Black Friday market, and now they have their own storefront, they’ve opened up their own physical property. And that’s what it’s about our goal for business owners and Black Friday market is either open your own store, or we want to connect you to a Walmart or a Target or belts and get your products in there. That’s kind of our end goal and what true success looks, like from a directory standpoint, there’s about 300 people a day going to that website now looking for black owned businesses. So we always get messages from business owners, you know, thanking us for the directory. They continue to get hit up from people on the directory from organizations, from consumers, whatever. So, again, we just want to keep those numbers climbing and like grow it across the US, and I think it’d be good.
Alisa Herr: Yeah. So how do people get on the directory?
Johnny Hackett: It’s free, it takes 10 minutes at a time. So you go to blackdollarnc.com you’ll see a button somewhere on there that says list business, again, doesn’t cost anything just maybe 10 minutes or your time. You go through fill out basic info, business name, social media info, a description, physical address if you have one, and then you can upload your logo, a couple pictures and stuff like that. And then you know, you’ve pretty much done like, we’ll go ahead and do the rest. And then there’s this cool map feature. If you do have a physical business, you can drill down, you can open up the map on the website and actually find and locate businesses. You know, just like you would on Google Maps or something you can zoom in, you can do searches through the map all that good stuff driving directions. So that’s pretty cool.
Alisa Herr: Yeah. And they’re all black owned businesses?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, the directory is full of black owned businesses. Like I said, a little over 1100 businesses now have lost a few in the last couple of years. We have this, you know, maintenance thing every quarter. So we see businesses that you know, have gotten out or, you know, no longer active, there’s some sometimes that number go down. He like, how does it go down businesses closed? So sometimes didn’t number you know, goes down and then back up and stuff like that, but yeah, I mean, once you once you go there, it’s pretty easy to sign up.
Alisa Herr: Yeah. That’s exciting. All right, so there’s the first store, the first physical store that you open was in downtown Raleigh, and it’s the Black Friday market. Can tell us just a little bit about like, how did you get that store open?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, so that one, you know, and you know, there’s so much credit back to, you know, just a lot of things, you know, that we worked on leading up to that, but our partnership with black flea market, you know, has been key. They do these market events, all around Raleigh, and you know, they have been our have become one of the biggest market event organizers in Raleigh for small business owners. So they did that later part of 2019, 2020. Going into that even through the pandemic, there was a little pause. But, you know, we had to get back, back, back out there for small business owners. And then our directory kept going, we were doing a lot through our partnership with the City of Raleigh and DRA. They kind of reached out, you know, after it was after the summer, crazy summer that we had after George Floyd passed away, more violence, more vandalism, stuff like that. So downtown was a wreck. In October DRA, reached out and said, hey, what would you guys think about opening up a temporary, you know, pop up shop pretty much. And thinking about our whole team and our whole network? I’m like, yeah, that’s easy like this, you know, let’s, let’s do it, right. So we put a plan together, we presented it to DRA city rally folks. We got connected to Empire properties who’ve been awesome for us from the beginning. My man, Ben Steel, I met him down at 23 West Hartford Street one day, we were talking, he said, look man, I know. You know, they were talking about a temporary thing. But this is a corner spot in downtown Raleigh retail. If you take this, like, we want you to be here permanently, like how do you feel about that. I’m like, hey, yeah, let’s do. So we got creative on a lease to where it was like, I will do it for a couple months. And like, if it doesn’t work out, you know, we can back away without any long term commitment, they can back away type thing. But if it’s working, we can let it automatically roll into a multi-year lease. And that’s you know, that’s exactly what we did. So we got the keys to that place, December 2, 2020. And we opened the doors, December 15, 2022, literally in 13 days, to what that store looks like now, like it only took us, you know, less than two weeks to open that store and it was booming. I mean, it’s been booming ever since. Like, I mean, it’s been nonstop, the partners that we’ve had, the partners that we have a lot of people who like our investors who are owners in Black Dollar that people don’t know about, like one on one boutique, shout out to my man with Mills, TJ all of them should direct the we bar, you know, I’m probably forgetting people I already talked about black flea market and Jasmine and Dominique them, Jay, are not dominate dominations on my team. So it’s so many of us, man, we couldn’t do that without, like a team of support. You know what I’m saying? And that’s why, you know, we can accomplish so many things, because it’s so many of us. Yeah. So you know, we all banded together, man. And in 13 days, open that open those doors, man, and it’s been rocking and rolling for small business owners ever since.
Alisa Herr: So that’s great. I remember see coming out there and seeing you towards the beginning. And I think you were sleeping in there. You were just there all the time trying to make it work.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah
Alisa Herr: Yeah, it’s working.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, Clark gets on me about that. He says, I sleep upside down in there, something like that. I spent a lot of nights.
Alisa Herr: I know you want to be Batman.
Johnny Hackett: Oh yeah, I know, man, I spent a lot of nights in there. It’s cool, man. Because, you know, we just, you know, for me, as a leader, I don’t want to ask anybody to do something I’m not doing you know, so I’m always going to be one of those guys like the first to get there to last leave type thing. And I’m gonna pull my weight so that the folks who, you know, I’ve been blessed to lead, you know, they have an example to follow. So that’s what I do.
Alisa Herr: So one of the things that we talked about probably a year ago, is you expanding from just Raleigh into Durham. I think Wilson was maybe on the list.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: A few other places. So, before we move into talking about Durham, which I definitely want to do today.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: Tell us a little bit about what’s next. What’s coming up next for Black Friday market?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah. So Black Friday market we did launch the Black Friday express a couple months ago. So like a small kiosk that will allow business owners like to rent out themselves. Through a partnership with downtown Durham Inc. and the CO Thompson they’ve been great. You know, we’ve obtained a 300 square feet space right on Main Street right around the corner from here in Durham, actually a Black Friday market Express, Black Friday Express how we call it. And we’re going to allow business owners to basically operate that space on their own to go into a storefront a physical location. We kind of use it like an incubator space where folks the same things that were done for us like folks who are thinking about going into their own space, come up with a creative lease plan that allows them some early access to it, but then allow it to roll into something more long term if they’re comfortable in doing that. So those Black Friday, Expresses are popping up everywhere. But then the factory which I posted about today, we carpenter development, David Meeker, his group, they’ve been awesome Kate Charles and some others, we actually his building right behind trophy brewing in downtown Raleigh in the Morgan West district, we’ve moved into their next month, in April, we’ll be opening up the factory to the public, it is a co-manufacturing, space 10,000 square feet of nothing, but the equipment and you know, retail equipment that business owners need to automate their products. So the heat press machine, screen-printing, embroidery, bottle filling machines, electric mixers, you know, all this kind of stuff, right, this stuff that they sell in the store, Black Friday market, now they’re going to have a facility to make these, you know, these candles or whatever it is they’re selling, they can make them on site there, and they haven’t shipped out, haven’t pushed out, you know, take them to the store wherever we need to do, as well as a lot of like our social and business mixes right. So like our company is growing, we need a headquarters. So we need a place to actually sit and work which the building has enough space for that. And we also want to, you know, create the social network and engaging events. Like we used to do like pre pandemic, getting back into it now, right, we’re doing a lot more mixes. But you know, we want that place for business owners to come to network to engage with folks, and also raise capital, do some creative pitch events and some things that we want to do at the space on a consistent basis. Many of the things we like to do is we always talk about doing things consistently, like recurring business owners need more than just one opportunity to do something. So the factory’s gonna be a place where we can really make a hub for events for education for his co manufacturing stuff. So we’re excited about that. It’s keeping me up at night too.
Alisa Herr: Yes. It sounds like it’s coming down to the wire for it getting open.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, it is the, he definitely got to come by, we’re gonna be doing a lot of like community events there as we’re like building this stuff up. So people won’t just come in and see it finish a finished product. We’ve allowed people to come through now. And just help us with ideas and designs and you know, how should we furnish this? What paint should we put over there, that type of thing, because we want the community to be involved in actually building it up as well, they’re gonna have a sense of ownership over this space, when it’s complete. We didn’t want to just, you know, unveil a finished product and then you know, people don’t feel attached to it in some way. So, we’ve been doing a little bit of that already. We’re going to start doing even more of that in the next couple of days actually. And we look forward to you know, the surrounding community whoever coming in and like literally helping us build that place up in furnishes so it’s gonna be cool.
Alisa Herr: That is amazing. All right, let’s talk Durham. So there’s been something in the works for a long time in East Durham?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, there it has been since last year in June, July-ish maybe. East Durham has a building called the old is the old people’s bank. I think it was built in like 1905, don’t quote me on it. I think it’s around that time, I think currently is called the Garland Millwork building. But it used to be the People’s Bank, part of East Durham, black owned bank, a whole like community there essentially. Obviously, through time the building, you know, has gone through its struggles, you know, wear and tear and, you know, is looking to get revitalized now, so we’re actually brought to the table, my guy Will Clark who is unbelievable, does a lot of development projects. He’s really passionate about doing things the right way, has been in this real estate space for a long time is a product of Durham and wants to see Durham you know, come back even stronger in some ways, especially as it relates to you know, how residential projects or commercial projects are carried out. He seeked us out, he came and found me. It was introduced to me through another mutual friend of ours Clark Reinhardt shout out to Clark, loading dock innovate rally extraordinaire, but he’s actually he was introduced to me through Clark. We got a chance to meet and you know, we’ll did his homework, everything we were doing as a company everything I was doing, and was just Very impressed with the network and the community that we have built up to this point. And, you know, he brought us to the table with this project, and East Durham with the People’s Bank and, you know, not only putting so much in our hands from, you know, the usage and the utilization of the building that because there’s like all these different days, right, but we want restaurants and you know, bars and maybe a Black Friday mark and a second floor, big open space, courtyard, like there’s all these components, right. And he’s interested in that, him and his team have entrusted that to us. But not only interesting that to us, they’ve given us ownership in that building in that project, which is something you don’t see very often now we have to work for it. Yes, you know what I’m saying we have a job to do. But, you know, when we talk about gentrification and different things like that, that is never something that somebody says, like, oh, they came in, bought the building, or they bought up all the houses, but they gave the community like a piece of the ownership that never had, yes. So for Will Clark and you know, the Garland team to think of us and that did just think that way period, even if it wasn’t us, just to even be thinking that way, was a huge, like, eye opener for me. And then the fact that it was us, you know, through his, you know, suit a series of really fun and someone who can handle that stuff. It was awesome for us. So yeah, we’re excited. It’s a long process. Like I said, this has been going on since last summer. And you know, there’s a lot of folks, you know, who partner with us who’ve been going through this journey with us, but, you know, yeah, we’re turning the corner here now. The building looks amazing, is coming together. And you know, the next couple of months, there will be some, some more formal announcements on what was going on at the People’s Bank.
Alisa Herr: Yeah, it’s exciting too, because, like, East Durham has gone through a lot of changes just over time. And so I used to work at a company that was in Golden belt.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah
Alisa Herr: That was like, right on the edge.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: Right. And so now, even just like 10 years ago, there was a white owned bakery there. And it was a successful little bakery.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah.
Alisa Herr: But then Review of Books came in, right?
Johnny Hackett: Right. Right.
Alisa Herr: About two years ago, was it?
Johnny Hackett: I think so something like that.
Alisa Herr: Like, it’s really going back to the community because it was black owned businesses are really starting to take a bigger stake and in the available real estate there. And yeah, it’s so exciting to see these buildings that went just empty, vacant for so long that there’s gonna be this hub in this new, like, you think downtown Durham and then there’s like the West part of Durham over by Duke and everything and then yeah, East Durham like, Okay, well, there’s some houses and manufacturing,
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, manufacturing and like
Alisa Herr: And that kind of thing. But now like so when is this opening
Johnny Hackett: It’s starting to come back man. So the buildings should hoping, pushing for September, like a Labor Day. You know, ready date. I’m glad you mentioned refutable books every time I’m in. Every time I go to Durham, Monday’s my Durham day. If y’all haven’t been in the few, listen up, I haven’t been a few in Durham, please stop by there. But I’m glad you mentioned them because they’re a staple right there. And we’re trying to like, build on that exactly. You know, to your point to give them a surrounding community that supports them. Right across the street from Murphy with as a few shops right there. If some good business owners man, the next guy named Derek that’s running that I think you probably should pay attention to the next. Then there’s a TNP fitness and Russell. This guy’s like former NFL player, hardcore fitness freak. He’s got a fitness studio right there. And then there’s the Mike Dee’s barbecue like that’s right there. This guy will build you any type of grill you want. And in crates, you know, the sauces, the spices for barbecue and stuff. But I mean, if you’re looking for, for somebody to have a grill built, this guy, Mike Dee will get it done. I mean, he is amazing. But you know, that’s just a view of the business owners that are right there. Who when we come in, we’re trying to build on what they’re already doing and support that area. And ultimately drive traffic to each one of these build these businesses and also create a sense of community there that people can be proud of around there.
Alisa Herr: So yeah, that’s exciting.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, it is. It is.
Alisa Herr: So all right, so that’s September ish, what about the one on Main Street, the Black Friday Express?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, so the Black Friday Express on Main Street that is actually going to open next month. We should be ready for that next month. They just finished like the last little touch ups on the front of the door at the kiosk but it’s literally ready to go. I’m going I may stop over there when I leave here. But we’re looking to have a business in there next month as soon as we can.
Alisa Herr: Before we get into like I want to talk background more with you, but Can you, are you able to talk about this Walmart thing?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, most definitely.
Alisa Herr: Okay, I want to hear about this, tell us why?
Johnny Hackett: The Walmart partnership, this is like literally an exclusive, right. We got it, we got to put it out more, I got to be better about that. But last year, our partner seat spot is a business, their top five business accelerator in DC, and they exist to educate minority business owners, small business owners, get them ready to go all that stuff, met them through city of Raleigh, you know, through that partnership and they reached out Zach, who’s the CEO of Seed Spot reached out in June. And he’s like, Hey, Walmart has this grant man. And I think we should apply for it together because you’re doing everything that the grant suggests that you should do for the partnership. And he’s like, and we’ve that with a nonprofit. So like, if we partner together, we may have a good shot at this thing. And it’s one of those things like, you know, I have my own feelings about grant. So I’m like, I whatever, you know what I’m saying like, we’ll, okay, so we work for the next couple of months. We submit, I think after we submitted literally two weeks later, we were like a finalist. And then maybe another two weeks after that it’s October, I think it was the beginning of October, I get a phone call from Zach, I’m in Durham, I get a call from him. He’s like, Yo, we got the partnership. We got the grants. I was like, Yo, are you serious? And so like from October through January it was like, you know, real rapid fire, like trying to, you know, finalize all the details and everything with Walmart and all that good stuff. And then in January, because the partnership is more than just financial. So yes, there’s this grant, right. And they’ve invested in both us Black Dollar Corp as well as seed spot, right. But then it comes with basically this access into everything that is Walmart. So like starting in January. I mean, I’m getting emails, you know, Walmart is looking for black owned food producers, you know, put this in your network. So like we’re getting that information, and we’re putting it out there in the network. Now, Walmart is looking for other minority business owners in retail. Walmart is doing this master class on retail, Walmart execs and stuff, we’re putting all this in our network in our newsletter. And that is like been the most amazing part to this whole thing. You know, even outside of the finances, being able to connect these retailers to that type of information. Again, our goal starting this store was like, oh, yeah, we want to get you to Walmart.
Alisa Herr: Right.
Johnny Hackett: And now we literally have Walmart, like, you know what I’m saying?
Alisa Herr: Asking you for that, that’s so cool.
Johnny Hackett: Like, yeah, they’re asking for these recommendations and stuff like that. So it’s been awesome. I haven’t, I don’t even know if I’ve had time to really sit back and process it. Like I said, we haven’t announced it.
Alisa Herr: Yeah, yeah.
Johnny Hackett: Walmart did make an announcement, which included us, it was a press release that they put out, and then flashy. But you know, they did put that information out. I think there’s a link out there. But we haven’t announced it till now. I think it’s crazy, because I was thinking, you know, like the other day like, man, we need to now watch this like, yeah, talk about it like…
Alisa Herr: So is the goal to get these products, like is Walmart’s goal to get these products that are currently just a black dollar or Black Friday market or businesses that are like in North Carolina, like black owned businesses in North Carolina into the shelves of Walmart, like across the country, or is it like regionally?
Johnny Hackett: I think it’s a thing across the company. It’s a corporate wide initiative for them. You know, last couple years have been crazy through the health pandemic, through the social pandemic, right, through all this stuff. You know, there’s been a focus on supporting African American business owners, it’s been a focus on minority owned business owners. There’s been a focus on supporting local business owners, right. So I think it’s just one of those things were Walmart’s setback and you know, came to realization that, hey, maybe they could do more. Maybe they need to, you know, put both their money and the access to them, you know, where their mouth is?
Alisa Herr: Yeah.
Johnny Hackett: They say certain things, right. So…
Alisa Herr: I can’t wait to see it.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s, you know, I think that’s what led to that. Again, we aren’t the only ones blessed enough to benefit from this partnership. So I think they’re looking for minority owned products across the board across the country. Again, they’ve kind of opened this access up to a few businesses where we can get businesses to them. They’ve opened these classes up in some of these classes like this. There’s a Walmart master class featuring a lot of the execs and other folks, you know, but stuff like that. I think they they’re just trying to, like, open up that window and get all types of feedback and products in. And I think I think it’s a good thing, man. I think it’s good for them to support these business owners in that way. And like I said, it gives us an avenue to like, connect business owners into so yeah, it’s really cool.
Alisa Herr: I can’t wait to see the success story of that.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: You know, and I think it’s so cool that you’re opening the factory where like, maybe there’s a company that wants to take, like to be part of this Walmart initiative. But they’re like, well, we don’t have the resources to be able to ramp up our production to get them the quantity they want.
Johnny Hackett: Exactly, exactly.
Alisa Herr: So then you’ve got this factory where it’s like, okay, well, here, we’ve got your bottle fillers and mixers and everything. And like, now they have the resources or better resources that maybe they had before to be able to create the bulk quantities that you would need to be able to sell in a store like Walmart.
Johnny Hackett: Exactly, yeah. And that’s why I want to join this. You know, this master class thing there is another one they have in a couple of weeks as well, but I’m trying to get, I’m trying to get up to speed with some of Walmart’s like policies on that, so that we can help educate business owners, because that may be a, you know, you gotta be able to meet this type of demand, or, you know, maybe they’re just other like quirky requirements, or red tape that business owners have to, you know, meet to be able to have their products in Walmart. And we want to be able to help with that, too. So I gotta get up to speed on some of those practices. And then we can help shepherd business owners to it so.
Alisa Herr: That’s cool. So it’s just starting out, but maybe a year from now, we’ll meet again and talk about it. Well, like well look at these three or 300 businesses, we’ve to get over to Walmart.
Johnny Hackett: Exactly, exactly, Man, I’m, that’s what I’m hoping so. It’s really cool.
Alisa Herr: Yeah. So when you found a Black Dollar in 2018?
Johnny Hackett: 2019, 2018, 2019 is when we actually officially launched in February, February 2019, yep.
Alisa Herr: And like before that, so you were at Unity?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah.
Alisa Herr: But then you have had all these experiences at giant companies like Xerox, IBM, Blue Cross, Wells Fargo, all these places.
Johnny Hackett: Right, right.
Alisa Herr: Were you nervous to like, go out on your own?
Johnny Hackett: I wasn’t. I wasn’t nervous, I think because I did it before in 2008 with the Life Foundation.
Alisa Herr: Yes.
Johnny Hackett: You know, what I’m saying, like, took the jump went out there. And it failed. It was it failed. We did some good work, but it you know, we couldn’t sustain it. You know, so I’ve had some failures. I think, what is different with this one in 2018, 2019 with the Black Dollar Corp? I do I give a lot of credit, you know, to my lodge with a sunlight’s number four, which you know.
Alisa Herr: I know them
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, I’ve talked a lot about that. Yeah, you know them, right. So they gave me the, I want to say the confidence to really, you know, like, Hey, dude, you got it. Like, you know, hey, man, step in front of that, hey, we’re gonna, we’re gonna let you do things here at the lodge, and, you know, do your events and implement your ideas. And you know, by the way, it comes with, you know, this, this group of brothers who like will be there for you, to support you through all these ideas, you have some of my ideas before it didn’t pan out, because I didn’t have like the soldiers that I needed, right. And then, you know, widow son lives, number four comes along, and, you know, changes the narrative in the book on that, like, now we move different. And I think that is, is the difference here. I was never nervous. But the confidence was just through the roof. When I thought about the support system I had in my Lodge, and number four in Wilson. And so like, you know, from that standpoint, man, I felt like I could do anything and I just was, I was jumping man. So and that’s, that’s how it is.
Alisa Herr: That’s amazing. That’s how this community around you. Well, you were part of that lodge for years, right?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah
Alisa Herr: And so like, you’ve been involved in the community in Raleigh through your, I don’t know if everybody listening knows what that is. But it’s Mason…
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: Right. So like, your Mason and like, right, by being a Mason, it really means that you’re deeply embedded in the community and the work that you’re doing through that is giving back and supporting and I remember I came to the, the MLK Day breakfast one year.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah
Alisa Herr: And like, that was like such a huge community event. And of course, it’s pre COVID.
Johnny Hackett: Right, right.
Alisa Herr: When it could have something like that, but like, yeah, it was always so amazing to see like how, how much you would do for the community. And it’s great that they would come back and lift you up when you need it.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, like I said.
Alisa Herr: And this feeds itself.
Johnny Hackett: That’s what I was about to say, man. It does, man because, you know, it’s not just me, it’s not just you know, somebody else. Like, it’s literally, you know, a network of all these different guys, he’s brothers in this community that, you know, helps pull things off like that these community events, you know, whatever they may be, they have the same that you get out of it, what you put into it. And, you know, from when I joined in 2015, I mean, I was just nonstop worker, you know, whatever community event was going on whatever was needed, like I was there, and I put a lot into it because I wanted to say I like serving my community. So yeah, it was big man. It just it gave me that confidence, like I said to just, you know, feel like I could really go out here and do anything. So yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: Yeah, yeah. And I remember even at Unity, like you were always a big, big part of like the initiatives that we did at our company for giving back like…
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, we did the school.
Alisa Herr: We went to that high school. It was the, I can’t remember what it was called. It was like
Johnny Hackett: The design, it was design school or something like that. I can’t remember.
Alisa Herr: It was a private school. It’s a public s school.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: It was this high school that did like this amazing class where they, they do the students in his class got like, Adobe certifications.
Johnny Hackett: Right, right, right.
Alisa Herr: Yeah, it was so cool, and the amount of like, like, I feel like that was like a big thing that you helped bring us to do.
Johnny Hackett: And the students are like, that’s a passion for me. Because that’s the first business I started was really for, like teenage youth. There’s like education.
Alisa Herr: That was the Life Foundation?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, The Life Foundation like so, you know, teaching students about credit and health insurance and banking resumes, right?
Alisa Herr: Gosh, that’s so helpful.
Johnny Hackett: Right, right. Like making sure that they, you know, don’t make the mistakes I made. Because what I made them but, you know, the youth and shepherding the next generation and the education that is always a passion for me, you know, yes, we did it at your company. You know, we had these ideas to do it. I did it. You know, through outside organizations. I when I did keep when I did innovate rally last year, I was told the whole crowd, I said, it is on y’all to help shepherd in the next wave of entrepreneurs, students, so make time and do job shadowing programs, or just invite them out for a day and show him what you do. You guys are the boss, you can do it. Like it’s just like, you know, we had that idea. You’re boss you like, all right, let’s go.
Alisa Herr: Yeah, and then like the mentoring that we did for that, that was like, seniors, it was a capstone project at NC Central.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, we did some. I’m forgetting about all the stuff we were doing.
Alisa Herr: I know.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, Alisa volunteered her time.
Alisa Herr: You fall into her time.
Johnny Hackett: We all did. But you, I mean, you allowed us to do that. You know, through your company through time when we’re working on websites and you allocated time for us to do that. And like I said, you don’t find that everywhere. I had a friend that was at Central working on his capstone project with this whole team. I think they had to build a website or something like, and they were just struggling. They were, Aaron, they were struggling like crazy. And so like, you know, he hit me up, and I asked you about it. I said, hey, how would you feel about having a class just come into the site? And, you know, kind of helping them? You know, with their website stuff. Right. And you did not hesitate? Like, yeah, let’s just get it on a calendar.
Alisa Herr: Yeah.
Johnny Hackett: And so now, you know, we’re in at the job at the frontier. And we’ve got like eight or nine kids, your students, I should call them eight or nine students coming in, and they’re just asking all these questions, at least is helping, it’s helping. I’m helping Lexi. Oh man, oh, that was so much fun.
Alisa Herr: Yeah, you’re such a connector. Like, you seem to know everybody. And like, you’re like, Oh, you want to do this thing?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: Like exactly, who to introduce with you. It’s awesome. For you as an entrepreneur, you mentioned a bit well, actually even not just even being an entrepreneur, but with the Life Foundation, the kind of education that you’re trying to like life skills, education, what are things that as an entrepreneur, you want these entrepreneurs that you’re starting to shepherd through this? Like, what are some things that you want to make sure that they learn?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah, man. Pie formula, we talked, we might have talked about it,
Alisa Herr: I don’t know for it. I like Pie.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, everybody likes the Pie. And then typically, when you say pie formula, people automatically go 3.14. Like, because that’s the Pie the formula that people have heard of. But there’s this other part formula that is performance, image exposure. And it’s basically, you know, I think it was a guy that worked at IBM for a bunch of years, he never got promoted, he ends up quitting developing this path formula thing he writes about it. Now he’s like a millionaire give speeches about it or something like that. But this formula he developed, it seems pretty true. I don’t like it as much, but it seems true. And is basically the formula for success. So it’s like performance image exposure. So the performance is actually 10% of the equation according to this guy. The P is performance, 10% of the equation. So if you and me and you both have 4.0 GPAs. And our transcript by the high school looks the same, right, that’s performance. We’re exactly equal. So only 10%. So that’s why you move to the E to the eye, which is image, right, your image 30% of the equation. So how you talk how you dress what you look like your beliefs. All this stuff, right. It’s like, if we both have the same grade, same performance, well, then how do you start to differentiate us, it’s not going to be performance. If it’s the same, it’s going to be image, right. That’s what people do. And so then those two things build on each other to go to the exposure, which is 60% of the equation. So you know, your performance, your image, these are things people talk about, these are the things they exposure piece, these are things, you know, whether you’re in the room, whether you’re not in the room, this stuff that people are talking about can be positive or negative. But it can be controlled by you as best as you can. I didn’t learn that formula until I was like 26 years old. And I felt like I was done a disservice by not knowing that formulas sooner. Because I’d made mistakes in corporate, you know, early in my career, I was very good at my performance, my performance was everything. That’s what I thought it was. I mean, my mom for years, go to school, get good grades, just performance, but I actually do want to be with the cool kids, or, hey, you do want to have a good image. My mom didn’t harp on it, she just harped on the report hard on it. And then I get older, and I’m in this environment in corporate wear. Like I said, it’s about you know, I’m doing the best work, you know, ever, you know what I’m saying, but I drive a 1990 Crown Vic Caprice with, you know, 22 spokes on it, and come through the parking lot blasting my music. Yeah. So, you know, these type, these types of things start to negatively impact me. And I struggled with it for a long time. And finally had a mentor break it down to me in that way. And not to say that I would do anything different because I am who I am. But understanding that if I maybe had understood that formula a little sooner, maybe there’s slight differences, things you do differently or whatever. But that’s what I would, you know, right now, it’s kind of at the top of my list is something I would impart to, like future entrepreneurs, future people who are building a career, it is not even, you know, just people who want to have their own business, people who want to establish themselves in their career where they are now at a Xerox or, you know, an IBM or wherever they are, you’re not going to give that to the young folks.
Alisa Herr: So the last question I like to ask is, what person or company doing good has had the biggest impact on you, or a big impact, or what multiple people?
Johnny Hackett: Oh, man. You know what, it’s funny, because Billy Warden just did a piece, we did a piece together for WHO tech wire. And he asked me a similar, very similar question. I feel like I gotta go with the same like, answers, this fictional character, but I like a Bell Morales from A Most Violent Year, just because he was, he was someone that everybody around him was doing, like illegal things, immoral things. And they were pushing him to do those things. And he just did not do it. And he didn’t want to, and I just loved his character in that. And then real people, like I said, Jay Z, young dwarf, these are guys who knew what they were and knew what they were going to become. Young Dolph turned down millions to keep doing stay independent, and make his own money because he knew what he was doing. And like Jay Z is just the example. He’s just like the example to me. So like, you know, just trying to do things like them as best as I can and learn from them at the same time? So yeah, that’s all I’m gonna say.
Alisa Herr: That actually reminded me real quick. Are you paying yourself?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, a little bit, but not too much.
Alisa Herr: Alright. Can you like, yeah, taking that pay cut, like it was part of your story to have like, you had this great paying job, but you weren’t happy?
Johnny Hackett: I made a decision before Blue Cross when the decision I made that led me to Blue Cross was a decision I made for money. And it was the worst decision I ever made. Because I left an environment in IBM, where everybody there is great, and is tech geniuses. And then Blue Cross, Blue Shield, they literally only have a tech department because 2022 demands that you do, but if they could file claims, like it was 1958, would paper claims they would be glad to do that.
Alisa Herr: I worked at a place like that.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, it’s like, it’s their insurance company. They’re not Tech Company. So everybody there in the tech department is, you know, I’m gonna keep those comments, but I was just not happy. And they didn’t want to listen to people who came from places like IBM or whatever. They wanted to keep doing things their own way. So fine, you guys keep doing that. And I was just unhappy. That’s why I left money on the table left, you know, didn’t take I don’t care about that.
Alisa Herr: So then you were at Unity?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, I was at Unity and just be happiness.
Alisa Herr: Right. It was great. It was great. But then you had this dream that you knew you needed to pursue, so you left Unity. And I remember you are not paying yourself.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, yeah.
Alisa Herr: So it’s good to hear that you’ve got.
Johnny Hackett: We make a little bit more now. So there’s a little more to go around. But the team is first, you know, every in my team knows that everybody else kind of you know, they get taken care of first I’m the one, you know, I’ll be okay, right.
Alisa Herr: That’s how it is.
Johnny Hackett: So like when you starting now.
Alisa Herr: Yeah, it’s the business, it’s your baby. And then all the people that work for you, you’re like caretaking?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so it was, you know, a lot. Like this is literally like just in the last couple of months, it changed for me but like, it’s like now we take care of them first I watched you do it. I learned from you everything that I’m doing. You know, and I mentioned this to someone else outside for the listeners, you know that a lot. I learned a lot of things from Allisa both from you.
Alisa Herr: You make me cry.
Johnny Hackett: Both design wise, tech wise, as well as just leadership wise and running a small business. It was the last piece in the puzzle to me in terms of like, fully being ready. I talked about the lodge before I talked about some of these other experiences. And then you kept it off, you know what I’m saying? Both with the knowledge and things you taught me and you know, just your encouragement. And so once I’ve and I used to see you do that, like I said you would you would sacrifice for us, and that’s just huge man. Like I said it taught me how to lead in what I wanted to do.
Alisa Herr: That’s amazing. Well, thank you again for joining me, Johnny.
Johnny Hackett: Yeah.
Alisa Herr: It’s always awesome just to see you and chat with you. If people want to learn more about you and what you’re up to and hear about these amazing announcements. How do they connect with you?
Johnny Hackett: Yeah, so I would say our newsletter first, definitely sign up for our newsletter. Again, the website is blackdollarnc.com. The NC stands for North Carolina. You scroll all the way to the bottom you see newsletter sign up. And then just social media, just follow us on Instagram at OfficialBlackDollar or BLKFridayMarket. And the same thing for LinkedIn. It’s the Black Dollar Corp. Facebook, I think is BLK Friday Morning.
Alisa Herr [PODCAST OUTRO]: Thank you so much to Johnny Hackett Jr, for coming on the Insight impact podcast. For more information on how everything is going a Black Dollar, visit the blackdollarcorp.us. And thank you for listening to Inside Impact. If you like the show, we’d love it. If you would give us a rating and review on whatever podcast app you’re using right now. For all of you making an impact in your communities, let’s hear about it. Send us an email to email@example.com, and we’ll be sure to mention what you’re doing on the show or even have you on as a guest. This podcast was edited and produced by Earfluence. I’m Alisa Herr, and we’ll see you again soon on Inside Impact.