Serial Entrepreneur Tionna Smalls Started With A Book & Built A Business
MN: What was one of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get your career and businesses where they are today?
Smalls: Learning how to deal with and work with other people who may come from different backgrounds. The problem as I mentioned earlier is getting people to understand your ideas and how they fit into your culture and pop culture in general. People in power positions don’t always understand culture or the nature of the game.
MN: At the core of what you do, you seem to always want to inspire others, specifically women, and show them that if you can do it, they can do it. What is the number one tip you’d give to women who are going to read this about how they can move forward and accomplish their dreams?
Smalls: That’s actually the key: they have to READ. I call it Google University, but reading has helped me with a lot of things. As a woman you’re underestimated and as a Black woman you’ll be underestimated times 10 so you should strive to know more than everyone else in the room. This doesn’t mean that you need to let people know what you know… but if you’re on the way to pursuing your goals learn every thing you can about your industry and your craft. Learn how to read contracts, financial statements, proposals, etc. The more you know, the less likely it will be that people take advantage of you.
MN: Who or what inspires you?
Smalls: The hood inspires me. I’m from East New York and every day you’ll see people who you don’t want to become so you work harder to make a difference. Queen Latifah, Bethenny (Frankel) and Oprah also inspire me. I’m inspired by greatness and people who are or who have created a legacy for themselves.
MN: You’ve been able to accomplish more in your 20s than most will accomplish in their entire lives. What is one big goal that you haven’t accomplished yet?
Smalls: Honestly, I want to become a licensed therapist. The stuff I’ve done up to this point has honestly been easy because it’s nothing for me to talk and write and run my mouth giving advice. Now I want to focus on the things that won’t be so easy: settling down, owning property, starting a family and really creating solid businesses that stand the test of time.