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Entrepreneur And Investor Ryan Wilson: Stop Taking Advice From Lifestyle Gurus Who Have Never Been To War, No Expertise

Entrepreneur And Investor Ryan Wilson: Stop Taking Advice From Lifestyle Gurus Who Have Never Been To War, No Expertise

Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson was rejected 97 times while trying to raise capital for The Gathering Spot -- validation, he says, that he had a disruptive idea. Photo: Ryan Wilson, the CEO and co-founder of The Gathering Spot. By Anita Sanikop/Moguldom

Back in 2016, Ryan Wilson and his partner, TK Peterson, were rejected 97 times while trying to raise capital for Atlanta’s The Gathering Spot, a Black-owned private membership club.

Today, The Gathering Spot has two locations in Washington, D.C. and the original one in Atlanta with plans of expanding in Los Angeles, Revolt reported. 

Wilson’s entrepreneurial and investing experiences led him to tweet over the weekend that Black entrepreneurs are turning to the wrong people for business advice.

“One of the biggest threats to the future success of Black owned businesses is the rise of the guru,” Wilson tweeted. “Too many founders are taking advice from folks that have passion but no expertise. What’s being sold is more lifestyle than actual business. It’s a game we need to stop playing.”

Wilson likened entrepreneurship to war.

He tweeted, “Entrepreneurship is war. Often a war of attrition. If you haven’t been before you can’t teach it. The bigger question is why would you want to teach something you don’t fully know about? In this context your resume and experience matters.”


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Wilson’s experience makes him a veteran when it comes to the realities of being Black and raising capital.

Developing the concept for The Gathering Spot was easier than getting it up and running, Wilson said in an interview on the GHOGH Podcast With Jamarlin Martin in March 2019. The club operates a restaurant and bar and co-working space, offering workstations, private offices, “really any work environment that you need,” Wilson said. “We keep that open 24 hours a day and as a member of the club, you can use it.”

“The numbers don’t lie,” Wilson said on the GHOGH podcast. “It is harder to raise capital in our community than what you see in others. Right? I want to acknowledge that.” However, he said he believed he was onto something different with The Gathering Spot. “If you don’t have confidence as an entrepreneur, you don’t have anything, especially early, right? You have to believe in yourself more than anybody else … A lot of entrepreneurship in its early stages is about your mindset, right? It’s about how you’re approaching the problem and the overall mentality that you have while going into battle every day.”

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 45: Ryan Wilson Jamarlin talks to Ryan Wilson, founder of Atlanta’s Gathering Spot. They discuss Wilson’s plans to scale his profitable subscription and events business, and whether Kamala Harris’ candidacy will result in a civil war in Black America. They also discuss the term “people of color” and why Atlanta is one of the hottest cities for tech.

Wilson wants Black entrepreneurs to know that that starting a business isn’t romantic. It’s war. And the best advice comes from someone who has been in the battle.

“For the vast majority of businesses the process is going to be ugly,” he tweeted. “There is no quick route. No fancy tricks. Just daily war. You know more than you are giving yourself credit for though. If you want some prep before your battle study with someone that has actually seen war.”

Like some other successful entrepreneurs, shuns the Instagram image of entrepreneurship that glosses over the reality of running a business. He tweeted, “In order for us to get our businesses to scale we’ve got to stop marketing a lifestyle of entrepreneurship and have some real conversations about the realities. Taking advice from people that have never made a payroll, raised money or led a real team is hustling backwards.”

He warned, “…A lot of folks seem comfortable taking advantage of people they know don’t know any better. Keep learning just be wary of folks selling you nice schemes when the truth is that the game is ugly. It’s war. The good news is…you are built for it.”