‘Start It Up’!: Parlour Columnist Kenrya Rankin Tackles Teen — & Adult — Entrepreneurship

We’re multi-faceted here at Parlour and our beloved, retired Politrix columnist Kenrya Rankin is proof. In addition to leaving New York for Washington, D.C.’s calmer suburbs,  in 2011 she’s delivered a new baby, written for magazines like Glamour and opened up a new chapter in her life, literally. Mrs. Rankin Nassel, her married name, published a new book called Start It Up: The Complete Teen Business Guide to Turning Your Passions into Pay and it’s a perfect Christmas gift for your cousin who wants to be Diddy. Check it all out below!

Why write a book on teen entrepreneurship?

I wrote Start It Up to help free us from the tyranny of the man! Seriously. I firmly believe that we’d all be much better off if we found a way to link our passions to what we do to support ourselves — and there’s no better time to start than when we’re young before they are fully indoctrinated into the system.

Did you have a muse? A rusty butt cousin that never did much? #kiddingbutseriously

Kinda. When I was in undergrad, I called the business school the “middle management machine” because it seemed as if it was churning folks out the door with the skills they needed to stay afloat in corporate America, but it wasn’t encouraging them to form deep the connections with their work that would help them be happy and successful. Writing this book was my chance to help young folks identify what they love early and work hard to weave it into their lives every day. If more of us approached our careers with an eye to what we love, we’d be much happier (and richer) for it.

Any tips adults can use too?

I’ve had dozens of adults come to book signings, and when I ask to whom I should address the inscription, they say “to me!” Start It Up lays everything out simply but doesn’t talk down to readers, it works for anyone who wants to start or rejigger their business. The most useful feature is that when you finish the book, you have completed a simple business plan, and have even registered your business with the IRS and the state, which is something that many entrepreneurs put off until later with sometimes disastrous results.

You’re a longtime Parlour Politrix columnist — we miss you! — what do you think of … everything?

I miss y’all, too! I have trouble even watching the news, because I start yelling at the television, and I have no outlet to express my outrage, lol. Right now, I’m beefing with my tv because of this whole debt situation. I’m pissed at the concessions that were made, and tired of being held hostage by a vocal fringe playing political games with folks’ lives and livelihoods.

What are your five favorite songs right now?

My new little one means that I spend a lot of time listening to a CD that turns Kanye songs into lullabies (seriously). I also have a “happy birthing mix” that I created for my labor. The baby and I listen to it during the day (I’m determined to make her an eclectic hip-hop head) and everyone who hears it asks for a copy. My fave songs on the mix are:

DJ Krush featuring Esthero “Final Home [Piano Mix]”: This song closes out the mix, and it’s amazing. I can never listen to it just once. I’ve always loved Esthero’s voice, and hearing it over this track takes me somewhere else.

Musiq, featuring Cee Lo Gree and Kindred the Family Soul “Momentinlife”: This song makes me ridiculously happy. That cat says, “The future’s so bright it’s almost burning my sight.” I want to face every day with that sentiment.

Erykah Badu’s “Ye Yo”: It’s EB’s song to her kid Fly. It’s long been one of my favorite EBadu songs, and I sang this to the baby every day in the shower when I was preggers. Now, she loves it when I play it for her.

Black Star’s “Thieves in the Night”: One of my favorite songs, from my favorite emcees, and it speaks the truth more than any other song I’ve ever heard, no hyperbole.

Dwele, featuring Boney James “Wake the Baby”: This song is about getting it in despite the fact that you have a little one in the next room. I endorse this message. 🙂

Speaking of labor CD’s you just became a mommy! Our first Parlour baby! What’s it like?

Freaking awesome. And poopy. I’ve written lots about how I wanted to have little brown babies, and it has finally come true. No matter how tired or spit up-covered (yeah, that happens) I am, when that kid smiles, I melt.

Find out more, and order a copy of Start It Up: The Complete Teen Business Guide to Turning Your Passions into Pay at kenrya.com.

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