Yandy Smith on How to be (or Not to be) a Successful Entrepreneur

The music industry manager goes beyond 'Love & Hip Hop' and shares her tips for entrepreneurial success

Portrait of a young businessman looking ahead

Dream big (Image: Thinkstock)

Dream big: To achieve the kind of success that you want, you need to dream big. Every success story starts with big dreams. Have a clear and concise vision of what you want and where you want your idea to go. Actively visualize success in your mind so that it actually starts to become reality. Speak it into existence! Be the person now that you imagine yourself being when you reach your goal. Dress the part now, speak the language now, talk about the places your business will allow you to travel to, research them, tell your friends and family what’s going to happen. The more you speak, the more you’ll believe and the more inclined you’ll be to make things happen. People may look at you like you’re crazy, but imagine how they looked at the Wright brother’s when they thought of creating the first successful aircraft.

Be a leader. Leadership is one of the areas that many entrepreneurs tend to overlook, according to leadership coach John C. Maxwell, whose books include The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Thomas Nelson, 1998) and Developing the Leader Within You (Thomas Nelson, 1993). Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”  Becoming a great leader isn’t easy, it requires successfully maneuvering a team through the ups and downs and the major challenges that a new business faces.

To groom yourself to be a quality business leader:

  • Envision yourself as a leader. You have to believe for others to believe.
  • Recognize your best and worst qualities and evaluate them honestly.
  • Create a plan that allows you to capitalize on your strengths.
  • Build a team that assists you in areas that may be weaknesses, which will help you have a more well-balanced business.
  • Be straightforward and keep it simple. The clearer your mission and direction, the stronger your team.

Hire shrewdly. Nothing is more important. Do extensive research and check references. You can’t rely solely on what’s said in résumés and cover letters. It’s best to ask everyone you respect for solid candidates. Then have a trial period for the new employee before you hire.

Fire fast. If quick efforts to remediate an inadequate employee do not work, fire the person respectfully. One bad employee can infect the success of the team.

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  • Moseka Johnson

    I just like to give u props on ur success, I’m also into this management business and it’s auh rollercoaster ride, but I definitely admire ur work efforts in this industry, especially when it comes to a point when u have decide business and friendship…. I’ve been through tha same thing.

  • Ready For Love LLC

    Yandy Smith is the true reason I watch Love and Hip Hop season 2. I was greatly pleased that the Producers finally realized that an actual Hip-Hop Executive and Working Business woman(Entrepreneur) most adequately represents Hip-Hop culture. It is a shame that the “females” that screw for a living are given an outlet to misrepresent the culture that is Hip Hop music. As an executive and entrepreneur myself, owner of Ready For Love LLC., I thank you Black Enterprise for continuing to support what matters most, the financial and entrepreneurial power of uplift real black women in business! RFLove.com honors you BE and Yandy Smith. Continue to prosper!

  • Rochelle Poke

    Yandy if you have an ideal were do you start with it.How do you get it started.

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  • Kissy Denise

    This is really good advice. Straight forward and no BS. I actually learned something new. .Thanks for writing it.

    • Froilan

      rap is the worst kind of music on the penlat. it all sucks and is bad for everyone lol. If you like Rock / Christian rock go check out Forthangel.com. Rock is real music

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  • shereta wilson

    If someone wanted to become a successful MANAGER in the entertainment business,without a colledge degree,what is the first step to achieving that goal?

    • Luca

      I lovoooe Life in Synergy. Every few months they have a Friday night dance party, where you learn choreography and have a dance off. It’s sort of amazing.

  • BeBeLish

    Hi Yandi,

    It’s truly a pleasure to hear that you are the brains behind the VH1 show concept as the Executive Producer. I greatly appreciate that we have a black woman who is a leader within the genre. It’s apparent from your interview/blog that you are educated and articulate, I hope that you have learned from the whole Chrissy situation that you don’t have to stoop to the vernacular that is stereotyped for hip-hop in order to be an operator in the industry – meaning please take “getting checks” out of your vocabulary LOL – and make more time with your mentor who is a stellar example. So my real point in this message is you have to get RID OF THE JONESES – really!! They are crass, etc — but you have to make an example of them in that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. If you allow them to continue to profit from their disrespect it will only belittle your efforts and how you are perceived in your business as a manager. Nuf said! 🙂

    • Artika

      haha may God bless yall it does not meattr if the gloves fit are not just keep praising God great mime minstryTERRAN DPBC PRAISE DANCE DIR

  • Executees

    Good points, especially the long hours & staying motivated. I LOVE being an Entrepreneur……

    • renii

      As has been plueiovsry noted… That Foundation interview is quite lenghty. I feel sorry for whoever had to type it!I’mma try to finish it up before work is over

    • Marcos

      nothing worse than a dead drive. i dread to thing what goeoids may have been lost.Damn! check your email as i have sent you a proposition

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  • Koko Palmer

    Great points its good to see a black woman on top of her game we love it at Kuts By Koko

  • smiths0222@att.netsmithshrita@yahoo.com

    Thank for your advise to the budding entrepreneur of a home health care business not yet in operation. I’m currently in the process of completing my business plan and productive time management. I’m also still working for a soon to competitor who does not wish to be fair about sharing the pie !!! The 62 hour work week, on the bus and metro link makes it hard balance everything my life. Like most new companies I plan to start in my apartment/office, and join a incubator in downtown St. Louis, MO. to keep cost down. Also looking forward to working with community lender to consolidate my current debts and buying a vehicle for cash. While saving time and not incurring more debt to manage time and become more computer savvy through my local library.


    This is a great article. Kudos to the author and for Black Enterprise for having a diverse set of voices sharing knowledge and wisdom!