We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanell Tyus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanell, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When my daughter was born, it quickly became clear that I was short on what felt like two precious resources – time, and money. I was determined to think of a way to generate more of both, and be fulfilled in the process. It came down to a pursuit of freedom – freedom of time, freedom of finances, and freedom of creativity to live a more fulfilled life with my husband and our daughter. I didn’t want to get an extra job that took away time but gave me more money – that would defeat the purpose for me, so I focused first on what I did well naturally that could be done while my daughter slept and didn’t require me to learn a new skill as I was less than 2 years out of grad school and loving my career in higher education.
Writing always came easily to me, even as a child, and it was a skill that friends and family would often ask for my help with. I knew if people were coming to me to help them write their cover letters or statements of purpose this was a clue to talent. Writing is a valuable skill that not everyone has but many people need and are willing to pay for, which lead me to incorporate Well Said, where I helped entrepreneurs craft their personal narratives in the form of About pages and bios for their businesses and websites.
My business has evolved so much since 2011 when I first incorporated my business – my life and interests have evolved so much as well. What hasn’t changed is my desire to be more free and I’ve always viewed entrepreneurship as the avenue to freedom. It definitely translates to longer hours and at times more work, but the more I drill down on doing work that I love and am energized by, I don’t mind that nearly as much as I mind working hard on someone else’s dream. My children, Hunter and Hudson get to see what it’s like to not just have a dream, but birth and grow a dream and that feels like such a precious gift to give them.
What should our readers know about your business?
help women focus on their strengths and natural talents as the strategy they need in order to start or scale in business, and live in their strengths daily instead of being fixated on their perceived weaknesses. This is a unique approach to coaching because coaches often introduce a new skill set or strategy that they’ve used to achieve success for themselves and those they coach without applying it through the lens of what’s going to help that person actually work successfully as they implement. I work with clients to not only share critical skills needed as entrepreneurs, but to leverage these skills through the lens of their natural talents partnered with a growth mindset. I’m a conversation curator – I help new and aspiring entrepreneurs move through their fixed mindsets around the fear and immobilization starting a business can cause, and we get there through understanding how to tap into their strengths.
Women are so often pulled in different directions and defined by who they are to others…their roles (girlfriend, wife, mom, sister, daughter, manager, friend, etc) these roles start to define who they are. The truth is that there’s so much significance in how we are each of these roles. THAT is the key. I help women tap into the secret sauce that allows them to operate in their roles and see how those qualities and talents can translate to them being what they really want to be! Our roles are what we are, our strengths are who we are.
I am so excited about how my business has evolved over the years as I’ve gained more clarity around not just what I’m good at, but also how I’m able to help people solve their problems using the best of what I naturally bring. My business began as a writing services business where I focused on how my clients approached their work. The process of understanding them better always included helping them better understand their strengths, and over time, it was clear that this piece gave me way more excitement and energy than the writing itself.
I removed writing from my list of services this year, and focus solely on training and coaching others using my own talents to help them better understand the power that lies in theirs. God gives us these gifts to share…not to hoard. The key to someone else pouring out their gifts is directly tied to us operating in obedience and pouring out our talents and gifts. I love helping people realize how much they have inside of themselves and how to share it.
As a creative entrepreneur, I used to feel like I was always working and creating in a silo, which is often the case for creatives. I found that I was connecting with lots of creative entrepreneurs, but very few of them were Black. In classic “If you build it they will come” fashion, I created @BlackCreativeandDope as an outlet for myself, but also to connect with and highlight Black creative entrepreneurs, in my community and beyond, through online community, live and virtual experiences, and through the live events an apparel line was formed. Obviously until its safe to meet in person the live experiences are on hiatus, but I’m proud to have created a space that speaks to and honors the Black creative and to offer pieces that allow people to wear a part of their identity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There is NO place like LA, and there are so many hidden gems, but I’d focus on my favorites.
Day 1 – If my bestie came to visit me I would start with brunch at Overland cafe – such an unassuming place with a fantastic menu, bottomless mimosas, and great service. A day at the beach is a must – I would talk her out of going to Santa Monica and opt instead for Dockweiler beach, which is such a vibe and way less touristy with way more locals. I’d also take them to Carpenteria because there is NOTHING like a drive to the beach on the 101.
We’d probably need to sleep in so Day 2 would start with deserts at Porto’s, and honestly, that’s all we’d need to do that day! Grab some cheese rolls, potato balls, a media noche sandwich, and a dulce de leche latte! Ok….maybe we would have to walk that off, so a trip to Universal Citywalk to stroll, shop, and people watch and catch the city view from up there. If we could catch ComeUp LA we’d love to shop some of awesome Black entrepreneurs at this marketplace.
Day 3 – An AM trip to the Original Farmer’s Market to eat all the things, and take a power nap so we can dedicate the evening to DiscOasis for skating at the BEAUTIFUL Southbay Botanical Garden to sounds curated by Nile Rogers.
Next, on day 4 we’re cruising through Leimert Park, then heading down to Eso Wan (an independent Black-owned bookshop) in Inglewood to snag some books. Next we’re off to Hilltop Coffee and Kitchen for lunch, coffee, and the culture! Maybe shoot over to “The Dunes” for a quick photoshoot, lol.
Day 5 would definitely include a long lunch at Sky’s Tacos for some of their AMAZING shrimp tacos, a large lemonade, and a slice of their famous pineapple cheesecake – even though I’m allergic to pineapple it’s worth it. Then we’d head up to the Getty for the view and the breeze. We have to cap a day like today off with a night trip to LACMA for a look at Urban Light and the obligatory photoshoot. She’s probably going to want more tacos after all of that picture taking, so I’m going to insist we head to My 2 Cents LA for their oxtail taco, and a slice of one of their epic cakes…probably the strawberry cake.
Day 6 – I hope she wants to go to Disneyland. Because we are. Actually, even if she doesn’t want to go, we’re going. And yes, we’re doing both parks.
Day 7 – We’re heading to Pasadena for a chill stop The Huntington, followed by a trip to The Hat for a pastrami.
Being raised in LA gives you an appreciation for the tourist attractions, but despite how BIG LA is everyone finds their own niche of the city – this is mine and I’d be so excited to share it with her.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
SO many people are critical to me believing I can do this! My husband, Devin literally props me up – from helping me with logistics, to pep-talks, to forcing me to nap when I need it, lol! I can’t imagine what him being more supportive would look like…he’s my backbone. He is the most talented geek, gamer, tech and athlete but also the best husband and father – he is so one of a kind. He’s an insightful and funny podcast host at Play Some Video Games (PSVG), and loves to tweet @datninjadev!
My best friend Raven Johnson (@thtsorae) is an amazing worshiper, songwriter, vocal producer/arranger, wife, and mother. She literally changes atmospheres with her worship and vocal ability. The world needs her sound and her spirit and I’m so excited for her first album, which is currently in development!
My friend AlyssaSimone (@alyssasimoneis) is an actress, writer, and singer who shines light everywhere she goes – she is so talented, loves people, and creates content that encourages people to think critically and live fully! Plus she CRACKS me up.
They don’t have platforms, but they deserve my recognition always! My mother Kim, and grandmother Dorothy. Prior to each of their passing, they made me think I was the most amazing thing on earth and that there was nothing I couldn’t do. They thought everything I tried and succeeded at was award-winning, and you just can’t buy that type of encouragement and cheerleading. It translated so directly to my self esteem, and the belief that I could probably do anything if I tried and stuck with it.
David Coston Carissa Cady Alyssa Simone