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How The Queen Bey Inspires Me Daily

Music to me is everything. Growing up, I could always tell what type of mood my mother was in depending on what record was playing in our house. If it was Marvin Gaye’s, “What’s Going On,” she was feeling introspective. If it was Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” she was feeling funky and up for partying. And if it was The O’Jay’s “Backstabbers,” well you know. . .

Unfortunately the songs of the 21st century don’t have nearly as much depth as the music from the 70s and early 80s, but everything is good for something, right?

Take Beyonce for example. She’s a beast. I mean she just is. She can sing her face off, her work ethic is insane, she’s a very astute businesswoman, and she’s built one of the most solid brands this side of Oprah herself. The fact that she’s one half of the wealthiest couples in pop culture is fantastic, but she herself is a powerful force. And that’s what I love most about her.



Her songs are front and center on my playlist because they put me in the head space I need to be in. Here’s how you can apply the lyrics of some of Beyonce’s biggest hits to step up your side hustle game.


  • Dangerously In Love–“I am in love with you, you set me free.” Those three words alone should be the mindset of your side hustle every day.And yes, you really do have to love it. It can’t be a “like” on Tuesday and Thursday, and maybe once more “if I feel like it” on Saturday type of thing. You got to be all the way in. If you diligently work your side hustle, build it strategically, and give it 100%, it will eventually set you free from your day job.
  • Flawless – “I woke up like this.”I absolutely loved when this song came out simply because of all of the fabulous merchandise that followed. Seeing women walk around wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the mantra, “I woke up like this.” was so inspiring. You gotta get up every day and bask in all that. Flawless is indeed a mindset.
  • Diva –“A diva is female version of a hustler.”The word diva is frowned upon almost as much as the word bitch. I never understood the negativity around it because when I think diva, I think Diahann Carroll in Dynasty, Madonna when she was in her prime and Diana Ross for well, her entire career. I say wear the crown and own it.
  • Ego – “I talk like this cause I can back it up.”I’m a tried-and-true native New Yorker and so very proud of it. I will admit it’s off-putting to some and guess what, I’m good with that. Why? Because my ego is just that healthy and yours should be, too. If you’re getting up in the morning with the slightest bit of doubt you are the best at whatever you’re doing, then you’ve already lost. There’s a difference between a Kanye ego and a healthy ego. Find your groove somewhere right in the middle and wear it proudly.
  • Survivor – “I’m a survivor, I’m not gon’ give up. I’m not gon’ stop. I’m gon’ work harder.” This song should be on the playlist of every woman across America. I personally consider it my national anthem because the words just ring so true. The side hustle, like every other facet of your life has its ups and downs, it’s rainbows and it’s storms. But you can and you will You’re a survivor and please don’t ever forget it.

Maybe you’re not a Beyonce fan, perhaps it’s Tina Turner or Lady Gaga. Whoever speaks to you, I suggest putting together a strong playlist. One that makes you want to leap out of bed every morning and kill it.

Tell me what’s on your personal playlist?

The One Time Kanye West Got It Right!

Oh Kanye. What can I say? Very little about a man I don’t know personally. What I will say from my own experience is that there’s a Kanye in every family. Yes, yours too! You know the cousin who shows up to the barbecue and everybody dead stops in the middle of eating their macaroni salad because nobody has a clue what they’re going to say or do. Be they male or female, every family has a cousin just like him.

As there are two sides to every coin, we’ve also come to learn there are two sides to Kanye West. There’s the Kanye who meets with Donald Trump for no reason that anyone would recognize as helpful. And there’s the Kanye who sells out an arena and goes on a rant simply because he feels like it. But there is also the Kanye I happen to love.

The artist who has given us such brilliance as “The College Dropout” and who was quoted in “The World According to Gayle” column in Oprah magazine several years ago:

Now, THAT is the Kanye I’d like to hear from on a consistent basis. Just put down your latte and let that sink in for a minute.“Excellence is the bare minimum.”Because isn’t it?

Good is good, but GREAT is most certainly the goal, right? What does that mean for you? If that were to become the mantra for your life, how would it change the choices you make and how you move every day in the world?

Here are three ways we can get closer to our greatness:

Define your awesome – Using pen and paper, a page out of your favorite journal or a pencil and a napkin in your favorite café, write out what your awesome is. Not your cousin’s or the lady you follow obsessively on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Yours! Write it down. You need to see it in your own words. Is it launching your side hustle or losing that last 10 pounds so you can get back into your favorite prebaby jeans? Maybe it’s rising a half hour earlier each day so you can master your meditation practice or taking that step to go back to school?

Give yourself a deadline – On a scale of 1 to 10 how important is your awesomeness to you? If it’s just a 2 no need to read to the end of this post. Because, why? But if it’s between an 8.5 and a perfect 10 then you’re going to need a deadline. And not just any random Thursday, but rather a day that will be of significance to you. If you plan to be back in those jeans by your daughter’s first birthday, write it down and be sure to get a full body shot with your precious baby and your fabulous figure. Yes Mama! Launching that side hustle “at some point” this summer? Well no, how about the Fourth of July? It’s Independence Day and if you work your hustle properly you could really have something to celebrate by Christmas. There’s no better gift we can give ourselves than the feeling of accomplishment.

Keep your foot on the mark – Awesome ain’t easy! Your bare minimum has gotten you exactly nowhere thus far which means you have to do something different. The difference will come in the form of your “Front Row”. Trust me, you need people! Why? Because people who have tribes to encourage, motivate and hold them accountable to their goals get things done more often than not. Gyms are full of personal trainers helping women just like you hit that target weight. Women in corporate jobs they hate who want to launch side hustles come to hear women like me speak on my experience and give them tools to make the transition. No one has ever achieved anything amazing on their own. Identify three people who you can share your goal with and you can depend on to help you get to awesome.

Winners, you can only be sure of today. Not knowing what’s to come is part of the magic of being on this journey. But since we’re going to be marching anyway, shouldn’t we be doing the most instead of the least? Share your awesome with me in the comments and let’s encourage each other.

Tanea Smith featured in Success Stories on Chase.com!

Rediscover the Personal Touch of Handcrafted Communications

Ditch the Digital and Make a Real Connection

by Nancy LaFever

Tweeting, texting and pinning are expedient digital ways to connect, but some business owners believe there’s still strong demand for unique, handcrafted ways to stay in touch.

Just ask New York City entrepreneur Tanea Smith, who says instant communications diminish the message.

“I find that with the social media boom, we’ve become woefully detached in terms of authentic connection,” she says. The handmade cards from her company, She’s Got Papers, feature images designed to make the recipient feel empowered and valued. “The handwritten note congratulating you on your promotion will be treasured long after your news feed disappears into cyberspace,” she says.

The inspiration for Smith’s company began when she was a teenage mother on welfare in 1994. “My postpartum weight-loss struggle, my appreciation for a heartfelt thank-you and my passion for thriving despite the odds have all been influential themes in my design process,” she says.

Her “This Road Must Travel” card is a perfect example. “It tells the story of my life. Falling down is hard, but getting back up is so worth it. Each of us know at least three people who need to hear that message right now in our own penmanship, not in a meme.”

Smith also speaks about her past and her business to groups in New York, her hometown, and reminds them of the power of a physical note when seeking a job. “This is one of the most competitive places to do business,” she says, “but companies remember the candidate who stands out. That’s where a handwritten note can set you apart from your competitors and solidify the connection.”

Click here to read full article.

April is Card & Letter Writing Month!









3 people who would love to get a handwritten note from you!

  • Your Customers: As you know the customer is the heart & soul of any company. The courtship usually goes something like this:
  • They hear about you
  • They connect with you and your product in some way
  • They get to know, like & trust you
  • And before long you’ve made a sale and another and another.

And while there are competitors cropping up as I type your product has remained their favorite and they have continued to patronize your business. I’d say this is the perfect time to send an “I’m so grateful to have you” note to your diehard customers. It’ll capture their hearts in a way no utility bill ever could.

  • Every member of your team: Remember when your uber successful business was just a blip on your Apple screen? There were times when your parents were petrified that if you blew it you just might have to cram into their attic and your Aunt Mablean kept you in her prayers no matter which religion she was practicing that week. But it was your team that stayed in the trenches with you because they They’ve been with you in storms, rainbows and experienced all the magic in between. Drop a “Couldn’t do this without you” note on each of their desks tomorrow. If folks start simultaneously bursting into tears you’ll know they got the memo.
  • Your #1 Cheerleader: Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely life. There will be exhilarating highs and incomprehensible lows. Some days you won’t know if you’re in or out of the game and the “why” you were so sure of will become an increasingly defeaning WTF. Remember who talked you down when everything went North West, your biggest account dropped you & suddenly your parents attic began to seem like the perfect place to hide out with a 5th of Jack? Yep, your bestie, your ace, your most significant other. Oprah has Gayle, Lucy had Ethel, Kim K. & Beiber have Instagram and you have Phyllis. How many times has she thrown both caution & her diet to the wind, come over to your place with a fresh baked bread pudding, a Ray Charles greatest hits album and cried with you through a mess? And then gave unwaivering support as you set your sights on putting the pieces together again? Drop the lady a line. It’s well deserved.

This blog was originally featured on sheownsit.com.

9 Reasons Not To Abandon The Art Of The Handwritten Letter

n-LETTER-POSTCARD-large570Here’s some food for thought from the Huffington Post on why you should pick up a pen and paper to send a letter or postcard once in a while…  

Nowadays we rarely pick up a pen and paper to communicate with one another, but it might not be wise for us to trade this long-standing, cultural practice entirely for the convenience of text messages and emails.

Research has shown that the general act of writing by hand can promote quite a few physical and mental benefits, from improving learning abilities to fostering a more positive outlook on life. And when it comes to writing that is used as a form of communication between two people, namely letters and postcards, the impact of such messages lasts far longer than any alternative version offered in our high-tech world. From the careful intentions of the sender to the value experienced by the receiver, no true match exists for this old-time, traditional means of conversation.

Whether you’re trying to cultivate a little romance, nurture a friendship or simply stay connected with loved ones while abroad, here are nine reasons you should still send a letter or postcard once in a while. 



Secrets of a Side Hustler: 3 ways to stay sane & have your best year ever.

Woman-Pulling-Out-Hair6 years ago when I started my stationery company, She’s Got Papers also known as my “side hustle” I was also working a full time corporate job, juggling 2 children and trying desperately not to lose all of my eyelashes. I survived that first year by the skin of my teeth but I knew I had to make some changes.

The juggling act of balancing your passion in addition to working a day job and having a family can be really overwhelming. Your time, your patience and even your faith can be tested on a regular basis. Like the day your little girl throws up on the way to school & you have to make a u-turn for home, which also happens to be the day that your supervisor is travelling and misses his connecting flight. To sweeten the grudge the universe is clearly holding against you your manufacturer phones to inform you that he won’t be able to deliver your goods on schedule thereby setting you back 5 days in debuting your fabulous new collection to the world. As you scramble to get your boss back to your city either by plane, train or Mega bus, you race home with your kid to find that you’re out of Pepto Bismol AND chicken soup?? Ever had one of these mornings? Well, here’s what you do:

If there were ever a day to hyperventilate, chip a nail & throw a duvet over your head today ranks high on the list. The better approach? Stop & take a deep breath. Panic & frenzy beget more stress. Stress paralyzes you and clouds your judgment. Prioritize: Which issue demands your attention, like right now? Clearly, if you have a sick child she trumps all. If you’re out of chicken soup, then vegetable it is. No Pepto Bismol? Ginger Ale to the rescue! Tackle one problem at a time and do the best that you can. Your best is always enough & don’t allow anyone to convince you otherwise. Especially not your mother in law who would never, ever be out of chicken soup. Say Thank you: Yup. Right in the middle of the chaos be grateful. Why? Because it could all be worse. One of my greatest lessons has been that what we often see as a calamity is just a glitch. Things can & will happen that are simply out of your control. Having an attitude of gratitude changes your perspective & therefore your approach to coping when things don’t go as planned. The fact is your little girl will likely overcome her virus in 24 hours, your boss will return safely to shore & your inventory will come in. If you’re going to survive the juggle AND save your lashes please take a page out of my playbook. Breath, Prioritize & be grateful. Until the next challenge!

 Featured on Sheownsit.com.

Before you blow your cool: 3 ways to keep calm so that you CAN carry on


PatienceAh yes, one of my least favorite words in the dictionary. Right up there with mayonnaise, injustice and seersucker. But i digress. . .

Thing is, if you’re going to make this “launching your side hustle while working 9 to 5” thing work, yep, you guessed it, you’re going to have to be patient. You’re going to have to resign yourself to the fact that everything won’t happen when it’s supposed to, you’ll spend way more money than you budgeted for and it will take some time to find & dominate the niche in which your business will thrive.

Picture it: You make an appointment for your child at the pediatrician. You arrive 20 minutes ahead of  time. The nurse checks you in, takes your child’s height, weight, head circumference and thumb print.

Um hmm, as if they really need that!

Then off to the waiting room you go. 20 minutes later they call you back to the front desk to check your insurance. You present your rumpled card and assure them that nothing has changed. You take your seat. . . and wait. . .  and wait. They call your name once again. You’ve got a co-pay. Ohhh, for the love of cupcakes! Why didn’t they collect it after they took the kid’s temperature and watched her do a card trick?

Great. They swipe your Mastercard and off you go to sit. . . and wait. After 35 minutes here she is. Ms. America? Nope, the pediatrician. 45 minutes late for your wellness appointment, flustered and chugging a latte. This has been my experience at least 4 of the 5 times that I visited my daughter’s Dr’s office in the first year of her life.

Once upon a time this would’ve unnerved me to no end, however I’ve become really good at . . . well, learning to wait.

You see, every experience in life is proportional to another. Just as when you begin to teach a child to walk you must be patient with their process, it’s the same in launching and growing your business. 4 out of 5 things will not go as planned. Trust me! But that doesn’t mean you have to pluck out your lashes and call in overwhelmed.

Here is how I’ve developed my ability to keep calm, carry on and get through the tough spots:

  • Get distracted. Yes, I know, it’s sounds counter-productive, but it’s not. If I’m at an appointment with my daughter, who’s now 7, we’re drawing, we’re singing and playing every spa game known to man on her Kindle. If I’m waiting on someone from my team to complete a task  just as I am right now I don’t watch the clock. I work on a blog post about patience! Great distraction, yes?
  • Hold your horses. I tend to want things like yesterday and perfection is always the goal. From the graphics for my website to the packaging for my stationery. In my quest to get things done on my timetable in the past I’ve been known to jump from my tried and true vendors to get something done after waiting until the very last minute. Has it cost me money and aggravation? Yes. Have I learned my lesson? Absolutely.
  • Leave room for error. When there’s more hands in the pot than your own there’s going to be mistakes. It’s human nature. You’ll need to send a document back for multiple revisions when you’re 2 hours from your deadline, your shipment of widgets from Podunk, Idaho will arrive late and your PC  just might erase the document you’ve been working on for 4 hours with no cigarette break. It happens. The lesson is to always give yourself some breathing space. Work smarter so that you don’t stress yourself to the point of  having to work harder.  How many times has your mother told you to back up your work, huh?

Do yourself a favor and accept what is. The pediatrician will be late, the printer will mis-score the note cards a time or two, your coach will double book and your virtual assistant just might go missing for a day. However, the sky will not fall and life will go on. Remember peace of mind is everything and patience is well. . a virtue!

 Share with me here how you manage to stay cool when everything seems to be going to hell in a handbasket.





Ready, Set, Change! 3 ways to acknowledge the clicks in your life.

Nothing happens in life until you decide. You won’t lose weight until you tire of going into the dressing room and yelling out to your girlfriend to bring you a dress in the next size up. You won’t get control of your finances until you tire of MasterCard,Visa & American Express getting their cut of your coins each month or else. But more importantly you will not take control of your destiny until you tire of putting it in someone else’s hands.



In life we all experience a series of what I call “Clicks”.

Read more…

So excited to be featured on The Purple Vine Club!

Click here to read the full article: http://purplevineclub.com/guest-blogger-tanea-smith-how-to-stay-motivated-to-pursue-your-dream/

Giving New Meaning to How Women Can Climb Their Way to the Top

By: Claudia Chan

As many entrepreneurs can attest, sometimes your business can take over your whole world. One of the biggest goals for my own business is planning S.H.E. Summit Week — a week of women-led events culminating in a transformational leadership and lifestyle conference for women on June 14 and 15.

In February, I woke in the middle of the night panicking about S.H.E. Summit for three consecutive weeks.

In April, my husband had an intervention with me because I was talking about S.H.E. Summit morning, noon and night. I talked about it over dinner with friends, during chats with local shopkeepers and even with our mail woman. I was out of control and he was losing his mind.

Read more…