Ready, Set, Hustle. by @inspiredbysgp

Ready, Set, Hustle.

by Tanea Smith

Think you’re ready to do the side hustle? 3 things to check off your list before you press play.

If we were to look at life as one big party then we’d have to agree that nothing happens until the music starts. Whether your playlist includes Aretha Franklin, Beethoven or dare I say Beck you can’t get on the dance floor until someone pumps up the volume. The same can be said when you’re working full time and starting a business on the side. You’ve got to establish a rhythm and there needs to be a method to the madness if you will.

When I started my stationery company, She’s Got Papers, also known as my “side hustle” I was working full time, raising 2 children, operating on very little sleep PLUS nursing a long standing addiction to prailines & cream ice cream.

In order to really get in my groove I had to get crystal clear about 3 things when it came to my hustle: My strategy, my support system and my finances.

Break out your blueprint:
Do you know where you’re going to? Those oh so introspective words sung by Lady Diana Ross in 1976 are ever so paramount today. If you’re going to hit the ball out of the park with your side hustle and transport yourself from your employer’s office to that cute coffee shop with the very rich chocolate muffins & an even stronger wifi connection where you can toil away at your project full time you need a strategy. And a good one too. You’ve got to map out in your best penmanship how you’re going to make it happen. What is your goal and what steps do you need to take to get there. The best route to success? Work backwards.

Who’s in your crew?
It’s the $64,000 question that you can’t avoid. Teamwork truly does make the dream work and the dream can quickly become a nightmare if you don’t have the right people on board. Running a successful business is no walk in the park. Doing so as you’re working a full time & raising a family requires Gabby Douglas Olympic type precision. Everyone from your Virtual Assistant & your accountant to your Uncle who doubles as your PR person must be up to the task of doing their best work. Don’t let another day go by without taking stock of your team. Are they competent & reliable? Do they take direction well? Do they understand your vision and most importantly do they add value to your dream or do they subtract from it?

What’s In Your Wallet:
If like me, you’ve survived another year at your day job where you’ve performed well, staved off a panic attack or 2, took on added responsibilities with the grin of the joker, wore your team player T-shirt with pride, AND got a year end bonus, you are so ahead of the curve. Remember that your day job is the business loan that you don’t have to pay back. Get to your kitchen table, dust off your Casio calculator from high school and crunch those numbers. Does everything add up or do you need to add, subtract, multiply or divide a few things to make it all work?


Tanea SmithAs a teenager mother living on welfare back in 1994 Tanea Smith made a conscious decision that she would defy the odds and would not become a statistic. She began what has culminated into an 18 year career as an Executive Assistant on Wall Street in New York City. With the acknowledgment that gratitude & ambition can dwell in the same apartment she knew that despite having a “steady” job the click she felt in her spirit to do & be more was too strong to ignore. After the birth of her 2nd child in 2007 she used her creativity & life’s experiences and created a witty & empowering stationery collection, She’s Got Papers.

While the “papers’ are keeping America connected one handwritten note at a time, in 2013 she expanded her platform. As an Inspirational Business Speaker Tanea motivates, educates and frees other women in Corporate America who desire to start their own businesses on the side.

Tanea has been featured in Essence, More,, American Express Forum & The Wendy Williams Show.

Tanea has spoken at St. John’s University, City College of New York, New York University. She has a PhD. in Thriving Despite The Odds. She is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity.

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