Be yourself. There is not one single person out there who can offer the life experiences and unique perspectives that you can. No one else has your story and your superpowers. The people who like you will support you, and the people who don’t, don’t matter.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tay Daniels.
Tay Daniels is the CEO & Founder of It’s Tay as well as the Co-Founder & CEO of BuhTay. She started her entrepreneurial endeavors in 2016 when she was 7 months pregnant. At the time, Tay had no money, no degree, and absolutely zero clients, but that didn’t stop her from quitting her 9–5 to become an entrepreneur. Tay is a 28-year-old wife, mother, and multi-business owner who has a true passion for helping women build lives that they not only love, but are incredibly proud of!
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?
I grew up in a small midwest town with my mom, who was always busy kicking ass as a single mother. My mom was, and still is, one of the hardest working women I know. She is genuinely one of my greatest inspirations. I grew up as an only child, but when I turned 18, I met my half brother and sister for the first time. I’m lucky to say that my sister is one of my very best friends. Despite having an amazing relationship with my mom, I knew that I was meant for more and decided to leave my hometown just one month after graduating high school. I gave college life a shot, but quickly opted to jump into the corporate world after moving to Kansas City, MO.
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Growing up, I was very involved in a number of different sporting teams. From cheerleading to volleyball, these opportunities definitely helped me to develop perseverance and a powerful work ethic. As an adult, I’ve read two specific books that I would highly recommend — “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis & “You are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero. Both of these have dramatically helped to shift my mindset and have fueled me to really step into my CEO role!
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I define “Making A Difference” as helping the people that come across your path in a positive way. I feel that helping women to believe in themselves is one of the best ways to make a difference! When I have clients come to me and say, “if it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I would have been able to get here or to have taken the steps to start my own business,” that is all I need to know that I am truly making a difference in someone’s life.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
Both of my businesses share the same mission — to help women be confident, step into their zone of genius, and to build lives that love and are incredibly proud of. We love bringing women together from all over the world — every color, size, shape — and building a safe space for them to connect with like-minded women. We aim to help these women feel like they can be authentic, honest, and intimate within a community that supports them while they launch or scale their businesses. We are passionate about helping these women honor their potential and become the CEO they have always wanted to be. Our business also highly values giving back. Each year we select a charity to donate to and promote. Our last fundraising event was for The Loveland Foundation. It was a beautiful opportunity to support their mission of providing access to mental health care for Black women who are often otherwise overlooked. In short, we aim to empower women all over the world!
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
In 2018, I walked away from an abusive marriage. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and frequently questioned my value. I was struggling as a freelance virtual assistant, just trying to make enough money to put food on the table for me and my daughter. Fast forward to 2019, I decided that it was going to be a year of scaling my business, working on myself both inside and out, and that I would no longer allow the opinion of others to dictate my life. That next year, I finally decided to share my experience with abuse and divorce. I hoped that this vulnerability would help women to know that they aren’t alone and that they can, and should, live life for themselves regardless of what anyone else thinks! Looking back, I can definitely say that was the beginning of wanting to empower and support other women.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
The final trigger for me came when I needed to find a way to provide for my daughter and myself as a newly single mom. That ultimately was my “this is it” moment. I decided that I was going to go all in to make something of myself because I wanted better and my daughter deserved better. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Since I made those commitments to myself, I have never looked back.
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
Honestly, the most impactful change that I made in my own life was a major mindset shift. I shifted my mind to believe that there was absolutely no other option than figuring out how to make my business successful. Helping women is such a passion of mine, and I deeply believe that not honoring that would be a disservice to myself and those women who need me! Once you get your mind right, the other fundamental pieces start to fall in place. From there, you do what it takes to show up each and every day to make the rest work.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
At the end of 2020, I launched a new VIP Day program where I help women build their entire brand during a one-day intensive. Believe it or not, but the very first person to book this service was my high school best friend! We hadn’t talked in nearly 10 years, but were able to pick back up right where we left off. She is currently preparing to launch her own clothing line that focuses on modular fashion. Four months after our VIP Day experience, I asked her to be my business partner in my newest venture, Brand with BuhTay. Together, we have launched a full service branding boutique where we bring together a small group of ambitious women for in-person retreats!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?
I have made many many mistakes over the years, but I also believe that I have failed my way to success! I strongly believe that mistakes are just lessons learned to help you on your way to becoming a better person. I can’t seem to pinpoint any funny mistakes, but I can say that a major lesson learned is that if I had stopped listening to everyone else and trusted my gut intuition to guide me, I would likely have gotten to where I am a lot quicker. I would love to help share that message with any women who are currently trying to build a life that they love!
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
I was very fortunate to have found a mentor in the beginning of my business career who played a major role in my success! Wildly enough, he ended up being a client of mine for quite some time. I am also incredibly lucky to have a number of passionate cheerleaders in my life — my husband being one of them! He is so supportive of my journey and is always there to lift me up after a hard day. He even rocks our Female Empowerment Crewnecks with pride!
Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
I feel like I have impacted quite a few people throughout my years in business, but this past year I was able to collaborate with a local business owner to hold a fundraiser for my grandpa. My grandpa was diagnosed with skin cancer and I wanted to help pay for his treatments. Amazingly enough, we were able to raise enough money for him to pay off his medical expenses completely! That was by far one of the most rewarding moments in my life. It’s an incredible feeling to have such a supportive community who is willing to step up and help me focus on the good in the world.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Do you part to empower and encourage the women in your life to follow their dreams. Recognize the impact that they could have and show up as their cheerleader.
Support women-owned businesses in any way that you can! Whether that means buying their products/services, writing reviews, or sharing their content online — every effort helps.
Work to break that pattern of tearing others down. Women often struggle with confidence and self-love, stop contributing to the problem by committing to changing your own behavior.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each).
The 5 things I wish someone had told me when I first started was.
- Invest in yourself and invest in your business. Spend money on the things that will bring you a return and stop trying to DIY everything.
- Put your blinders on. Stop focusing on other people in the industry and focus on yourself, your mindset, and your own goals!
- Tell your story — over and over again.
- Be yourself. There is not one single person out there who can offer the life experiences and unique perspectives that you can. No one else has your story and your superpowers. The people who like you will support you, and the people who don’t, don’t matter.
- Stop living for other people. You have a calling that is meant for you. Stop justifying your dreams and passions to anyone for any reason. The only person who has to understand it and believe it is you.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
You can have this life too! You are just as talented, just as deserving, and just as capable of creating a life that you love and are so proud of. I’m a mom, and I’ve been a mom throughout my entire entrepreneurial journey. I personally know that as a mom it’s incredibly easy (and common) to struggle with shame and guilt for wanting to pursue your dreams. So many of us have been taught that becoming a mom means you can no longer do things that bring you joy and that you should abandon your own dreams and passions to live life for your family. I’m living proof that these ideas could not be further from the truth! You deserve to be happy and to lead a fulfilling life! Not only will you inspire your kiddos to do the same, but a happy momma can show up in ways that will positively impact everyone around her. Anything you have previously heard that contradicts this can be attributed to fear, jealousy, or another negative thought process that has no business occupying space in your mind.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
If I could have a private breakfast or lunch with anyone, hands down it would be Jamie Kern Lima! She is such an inspiration — I cried when I heard her story for the first time.
How can our readers follow you online?
Yes! You can follow me on Instagram @bswithtay or @brandwithbuhtay. You can also learn about my services or take the brand personality quiz at my website — www.itsvatay.com
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!