Author and Relationship Expert Tionna Smalls from ‘What Chilli Wants’ Gives Entrepreneurial Advice
My name is Tionna Smalls and I am an author/entrepreneur from Brooklyn, New York. I wrote the soon to be NY Times Best Seller, “Girl, Get Your Mind Right!” (Harper Collins Publishers, Released on January 4, 2011). I am also a youth advocate and a relationship advisor who also appeared on the VH-1 show, “What Chilli Wants.”
What are some of the misconceptions people have about celebrities and their money?
I guess some of the misconceptions about black celebrities and their money is the fact that all they do is live over their means and buy fancy cars and chains — but I dont think that is true. Many celebrities are financially responsible and understand what they can or can’t afford. Yes, some are crazy with their cash, but some arent. It all individually based. I dont think everyone should be placed within the same stigma.
What surprised you the most about the financial side of your industry?
What surprised me most about my industry is the fact that you dont get paid a lot of money for being on television. When I used to watch TV, I thought that they had it made in the shade — but really, if you want money, you have to be smart with your time while you are on television. Make sure you market yourself so that you can get book deals, production deals and endorsements. That is how you get paid in the end of the day.
How has Twitter helped you in building your brand and running your business?
Twitter has helped me tremendously with my business. When the show “What Chilli Wants” aired, I received over 10,000 followers on Twitter. My followers became very loyal to me and then they started to become interested in other things that I had going on. Once the show ended in May, my tweets kept my name circulating, therefore not letting my brand die. Now that I am opening a boutique, my twitter followers let me know on a daily basis that they are here to support me. They have been pre-ordering my book and everything. Twitter is a great tool to use especially if you plan to make money online.
Do you have any financial and professional advice for aspiring celebs out there?
Well my first piece of advice is to get you a great lawyer and a great accountant from day one, because you will not be able to understand the verbage of a contract yourself. There is a lot of underlying bullcrap that you will not be able to sort through. Lawyers and accountants should become your best friends in this business.
I also think you should research things that you don’t understand on your own, because you never should get yourself into something you dont know anything about in detail. If you know better, you do better. Don’t let people make financial decisions for you without knowing what’s going in depth, because there are many people out there that will take advantage and bamboozle you. So don’t be a fool! Reading is fundamental.
Lastly, stack your ends! Sometimes in life when you get a little cash, you get crazy and start spending like tomorrow is never going to come. But the best lesson that I have learned is that you have to save for a rainy and a snowy day. We are in a business with Net 60 and Net 90 payment terms — meaning you may have to wait 60 or 90 days to get your next check. Therefore, you should save your money so that you can continue living the lifestyle that you want to live. Dont just go out and buy everything because you can. Look at the millionaire who drives a Toyota! Dont fall for the flashy stuff right away. Get your brand up so that they will start sending you those things for free.
What upcoming projects do you have in store for us?
Whew! Well I have my new book “Girl, Get Your Mind Right!,” which is out now. You can order the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble or any other book affiliate. I am very proud of this new book and I am hoping that it makes the New York Times Bestsellers list. Most of all, I am hoping it will help women get themselves together. I will also be back on television in January so that is pretty cool. I still own my own entertainment company, Talk Dat Ish Entertainment, LLC. We are also helping other authors get published and things of that nature. We also have a toy drive event coming up for the underprivledged kids in my neighborhood, East New York, Brooklyn. Also, I am opening an accessories boutique in Brooklyn called Loveys. I am just so excited because I really plan on bringing the fabulosity to Brooklyn. So many things are happening; I am just thanking God for the many blessings that he has given to me.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our AOL Black Voices audience?
Yes I would like to let everyone know that I am getting married and I am so excited to be doing so. God has blessed me with a wonderful man who loves me for me. I am so happy that we are becoming one in a few months. I am proof that true love still exists. I would like to thank you guys for featuring me — and to my followers, thanks for everything you guys do for me. I appreciate the support!
Follow me @TionnaSmalls!