Students Rising AboveBy Michelle Griego

(KPIX 5) — Tevah El Emmet is a bit of a showman and definitely an entrepreneur. His tremendous communication skills and business acumen are on full display in a series of videos he produced that offer simple yet sound advice for small business owners hit hard by COVID-19.

“You’re a person who dares. You’re a business owner,” El Emmet espoused on the videos. “When someone comes to your social channels, it should be a microcosm of your business.”

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But Tevah El Emmet’s real skill may be helping those around him experience calm in their lives, such as leading breathing exercise to put everyone at ease before our interview began.

“Do you mind before we start I would like to do a breathing exercise?” El Emmet asked. “[It is] just being in gratitude of all the inspiration and all the hope that we get to share.”

It’s the kind of thoughtfulness El Emmet has always exhibited towards others. When we first met El Emmet back in 2008, he was an aspiring rapper, teaching other kids in West Oakland about healthy cooking.

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And even back then, he had the spirit of an entrepreneur. While in high school, El Emmet raised enough money selling jewelry to pay his way to Paris to take culinary classes. His church also helped with the cost.

Flash forward now to 2020, and the year has been a bit more of a challenge. The 29-year-old Oakland native had already founded Nspired Media as a way to help others market their businesses, and he had a full list of clients.

By the end of January, he’d lost them all. But then when COVID-19 delivered a second blow, El Emmet kept his calm, calling this change “a blessing and an opportunity.”

“When things get taken away, when things that you are used to doing are gone, when your livelihood, when your possessions are gone, it may feel painful. You may feel separation, ” said El Emmet. “But you have to realize … that you now have a blank canvas and you have to be open to creating something entirely new and different.”

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That blank canvas became a new business plan – Pandemic-Proof Profits – that offered virtual courses designed to help others struggling in a down economy. El Emmet and his team created the course in just a few weeks.

But El Emmet decided to use his new “blank canvas” to remake his own life plan, too. When the plans to rent a new apartment fell through, El Emmet embraced the unexpected and downsized all of his possessions to what he could fit into his car. It was a bold move.

“I gave away my bed, my dresser, my TV, about three-quarters of my clothes,” recalled El Emmet. “And I said, you know what, I am not going to go the traditional routes.”

He gave up the idea of having his own apartment, and instead he’s living week to week in Airbnb’s. He’s traveling to beautiful beaches and meeting new friends everywhere he goes. He even recorded a song with some fellow travelers he met in Mexico.

“I went to Cabo for a week and stayed out there and made a song, a hip-hop song with my Airbnb host,” recalled El Emmet with a laugh.

El Emmet will soon be sharing his adventures in a new blog. But until then for this world traveler, the current time of uncertainty is also a beautiful life’s journey, which includes helping others in business.

“Our two double bottom lines [in business], support entrepreneurs who really want to make a difference in the world,” declared El Emmet. “And support the culture really coming together to understand each other and to love each other.”


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