Episode 16: Throw a party and just get started with Tara James

“I do whatever I need to do, to get the money to go, where I want to go.” – Tara James

Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Tara James (@bymsjames). 

When Tara was younger, her father would buy her greeting cards filled with black imagery and messaging she could relate to.  At the time, Tara felt the cards were “super corny,” and never understood why giving her a card  with a black image gracing the cover and a message on the inside she could relate to, meant so much to her father.

As is often the case, Tara’s perspective has changed with time, particularly with the birth of her son. Like her father, Tara had a burning desire to recreate and (re)inspire others with positive and relatable images of black people. 

By Ms James is a paper goods and greeting card company based on the real life experiences and adventures of Tara James. Like Tara, each card contains a funny, honest, quirky, lovable and extremely relatable message.  Her beliefs are her own but are shared with and by many. 


I’m truly appreciative to Tara for calling  from her car, during her lunch break.  While the the reception was spotty at times but her overall message of taking action and making things happen is clear nonetheless. 

During this fun and easygoing chat, Tara and I discussed:

  • What prompted her to start a black themed paper and greeting card company
  • Just getting started vs paralysis by analysis
  • Balancing your career and your side hustle
  • The mentor who challenges and helps hold Tara accountable to her business
  • Consumer vs Producer mentality
  • Throwing parties to raise money for her business

Please Enjoy!


“Somehow, right before I hit the bottom, I grow these wings and I shoot back to the top.

‘You know what, this needs to happen.

“I only sold one card from an older guy that was trying to hit on me.

“Every time I go to Lamar Park I sell out.

“I had to throw things up in the air to see what stuck.

“I don’t like working for other people.

“I don’t have it like that yet, but I knew I wanted it like that.

“I get off of work and I go home, and I clock back in.

“No one can pass up a good party.

“I can’t allow other people to tell our story.



  • Do whatever is necessary (legally) to finance your goals, including throwing parties.  Tara explains how throwing a party is her go-to-method of fundraising.
  • Just get started! Yes, planning is critical to any startup, however, many startups never get started because they remain in the planning  stage and never get started. 
  • Making yourself a valuable asset to your employer in order to create the flexibility you want.
  • Surround yourself with people that challenge and hold you accountable.



By MS James available at LulaMae ( @lula.mae )



Head over to Coloringpins.com (@coloringpins) and get to know the woman behind Tara’s brand new printer.


Check out By Ms James in the Huffington Post

15 Gifts From Black-Owned Businesses Your Loved Ones Deserve This Holiday Season




Go Fund Me

Lamar County Park



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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

ANOTHER EPISODE YOU MAY LIKE: Episode 14: “Entrepreneurship is a mindset and can’t be taught, with Greg Henzel”

NEXT MAIN CHARACTER: Stephen A. Hart (@stephenahart), host of Trailblazer.FM podcast ( @tbpod )


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