The In Her Words Series is meant to celebrate the excellence and fortitude of BIWOC and WOC entrepreneurs through a series of interviews.
1. Please introduce yourself. Who is the real Tash?
I am Tash Haynes, owner of Wisdom & Courage, a blog dedicated to family, faith, entrepreneurship and travel. I’m a Haitian American who is passionate about working motherhood, Black family travel, and seeing women take a leap with their dreams. Whether it’s starting a family, a business, or quitting something to live life on their terms, I like to model that the life we hope for is both possible and attainable and that we CAN have their cake and eat it too. You can be a wife. You can be a mom. You can travel the world. You can pursue your dreams. You CAN have it all (mostly). I am also a full-time professional photographer running my own wedding and photography business with my husband for the last 11 years.
My blog is inspired by my two daughters, Wisdom (age 8) and Courage (age 1) and what and who they represent to me, our stories and all of the lessons of wisdom & courage that have allowed me to pursue and LIVE a full life on my own terms. I love that I get to inspire people by sharing our everyday lives and stories in an authentic way and that people connect with it. It makes it so much fun.
2. You are a source of authenticity and inspiration for many women. As you’ve shared your learnings on entrepreneurship and photography over the years, what has been your greatest lesson as a mother and businesswoman?
My biggest lesson as a mother, entrepreneur, blogger over the years is that YOU get to map the kind of life you want and no matter how perfect or close to the goal you are, there is a cost for every decision. Instead of living a life of regret, it’s better to weigh the cost and decide which ones you are willing to pay for. Every “yes” in one direction is a “no” in another, so what “yes’s” can you live with? Decide that. Cling to it and don’t look back.
3. When you launched your wedding and portrait photography business with your husband Ike, what was your vision for your business? How has it evolved over the years?
When we started our business, we didn’t really have a goal, except financial freedom and autonomy in time. We didn’t want to work for anyone else and we wanted to own our own time. I think 11 years later, those are still the foundational goals, but now, its about living our version of the American dream and keeping our freedom, maintaining it, while also setting up our daughters for better than what we started with.
I think when we started a lot of our ambition was about what others saw and how we were perceived by “them,” and now so much of our focus is about legacy and what we are building for our future and our children. Every choice and move we make is about the future. We make decisions for 20 years down the road. I wish we were doing that from the beginning. It changes how you see things, how you deal with people and how you show up to work every day.
4. In your opinion, what are some important steps that are needed to support BIPOC and POC businesses in America?
I think important steps to supporting BIPOC and POC in business in America is access to money and opportunity that our counterparts get. BIPOC can’t get the same loans, the same access to property, or business loans as others, and so we operate at a deficit. Seeing more opportunities for equity is what will make the difference, and it’s so deeply rooted into our systems that it feels like a daunting issue that will never be solved. But the only thing that will TRULY level the playing field is money. And most people don’t want to give that up, because with money comes power – and power is the goal. That is what many BIPOC lack.
5. What has been the most challenging thing about being a BIWOC entrepreneur and business owner? Your favorite thing?
The most challenging thing about being a BIWOC is feeling the pressure of having to show up 2x as good as our counterparts but still being half-honored. You are working twice as hard to get 50% less and that can be challenging and discouraging – but it’s the game that BIWOC have to play to stay relevant, and that really stinks. What it has done though, is taught me how to make my effort excellent at 50%. I can show up broken and battered and still beat out my competition, and I think that is the work ethic that is ingrained in BIWOC. We are not lazy, we work hard, and we are excellent at everything we do — that is the best part.