We had the good fortune of connecting with Raphael Baker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raphael, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Without risks, there can be no returns. The greater the risk, the greater the return. In the past, I rarely took risks because I was afraid of failure. That fear often crippled me, and prevented me from walking in my purpose. I finally realized who I am and Whose I am. Once I became fearless, I began taking risks. I was born and raised in Philly, and my hometown was my comfort zone. One day I decided I wanted more for my life, so I quit my job, packed two suitcases and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. There, I worked at a few low-paying, dead end jobs. I went to a temp agency, dropped off my resume and was offered an interview for a receptionist position at an insurance agency. I had no experience in the insurance industry, but I’m a fast learner. After I secured the job, I began teaching myself the systems and all about insurance. The agency owner saw my drive, and paid for me to attend insurance school. After graduating and getting my insurance license, he promoted me to an Insurance Agent position. I worked there for years, but I wanted more. My best friend, Diaz Allen and I moved to Charlotte. We stayed in Charlotte for a year, but realized that it wasn’t the place for us to pursue our dreams. We loaded a moving truck, and headed to Atlanta. Once we got there, I worked at a few insurance agencies as an agent. I finally settled in an agency that I thought was a perfect fit. One day, as I was dropping a file off in the owner’s office, I noticed a document. He had hired an inexperienced agent, and although I was basically running the office, this newbie was getting paid more than me. Instead of getting bitter, I got better. For a while, I had been thinking about opening up my own agency, and after some prayer and encouragement from Diaz and my brother Gabriel, I took a huge leap of faith. I opened the Raphael Baker Agency, I use this same fearless mentality within all my other business endeavors and in my life. I am unafraid to take risks, because I am unafraid to fail. I know that if I fail, I will only fail forward.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business is a conglomeration of several services and products. What sets me apart from others is that I am unafraid to do it all! I never feel the need to conform to labels or expectations of others. I constantly find ways to monetize my gifts and talents. In addition to my other endeavors, I have ventured into the world of fashion styling and creative directing. I’m also reconnecting with one of my passions- music. I got to where I am today because of divine intervention, support from my crew and innate tenacity that won’t let me give up. I have learned if the sky was truly the limit, we wouldn’t have space shuttles. I want the world to know that I am coming for everything that is mine. In the words of Sheree Whitfield, “Who gon’ check me, Boo?”
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Day One: We would begin with a driving tour of Atlanta. Since Atlanta is the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, we would ride through the Sweet Auburn area to catch glimpses of the King Historic Site and the APEX Museum and other historical spots. We would also ride past the World of Coca Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. After that, we’d make our way to Buckhead and have coffee and googies at Cacao Chocloate. After the caffeine rush kicks in, we would spend the rest of day shopping at The Shops at Buckhead and Phipps Plaza. After dropping off our spoils of the day, we would venture to Dantanna’s in Buckhead for some food, drinks and cigars, and spend the evening there socializing. Day Two: We’d grab breakfast at Highland bakery and venture to AmericaMart downtown. With all the home decor, furniture, clothing and accessory vendors there, we will absolutely be there all day. After walking several floors of all three buildings, we would need a nap. After the nap, we would go to Feedel Bistro, my favorite Ethiopian restaurant nestled in the midst of the Druid Hills area. Afterwards, we walk down the same strip and visit Therapy Lounge for hookah, music, fun and even dancing. Day Three: Brunch at Twisted Soul is a no-brainer. Unlimited mimosas and bougie Soul food are always welcomed in my group of friends. Later that night we would hang out at the Battery to bar hop and sing our tipsy hearts out with Karaoke at Punch Bowl Social. If any of the restaurants I mentioned had long waits, The Consulate (Midtown), Southern Gentleman (Buckhead), and Tacos and Tequilas (Chastain Park) would be completely suitable alternatives.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My support system of family and friends is phenomenal. My late best friend Diaz was my copilot, mentor, confidant and the list goes on. When I think of him, I reflect on the song, “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler. Because of who he was, I AM. While I continue to build my empire, I will be certain to keep his legacy alive.
Diaz Allen Louise Gill Dani Trevant Kareem Quow