All Articles Tagged "career advice"

Weaves, Hair Art & Nail Polish: Lisha Lee & Bethany “Queen B” Bell Are Launching A Beauty Empire

July 23rd, 2014 - By Candace Smith
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Bethany "Queen B." Bell

Bethany “Queen B.” Bell

Lisha Lee and Bethany “Queen B” Bell are two beauty entrepreneurs who have amassed a large following in a short period of time. Lee’s Hair Insanity, Lisha Lee Cosmetics brands and Queen B’s majestic hair artistry have put them both in positions of “ones to watch” in the worlds of beauty and art. MadameNoire talked with both women to find out their secrets to business and creative success in an already crowded industry. 

Madame Noire: Please talk about why you decided to get into your respective fields in the beauty industry?   

Lisha Lee: With hair extensions, I thought about starting my business (Hair Insanity) about four, five years ago. My hair is very coarse and my hair was breaking off due to flat ironing. I was trying to get my hair the same texture as a friend of mine, who has virgin hair, which is very fine and silky. I thought to myself that there has to be something different to achieving the same desired results for my hair without damaging it.

I started doing research and that’s when I [read] about Brazilian and Malaysian hair. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, what if I got some of this so I can see what will happen.”

Then I came up with Lisha Lee Cosmetics to expand on the success of Hair Insanity. I kind of did it for myself because I love nail polish. I’m not going to sell you something that I won’t wear myself. I wear nail polish, hair extensions, and lip gloss. These are things that I wear on a normal, day-to-day basis. Then you see other women out doing the exact same thing. I just basically took my business ideas from there.

Bethany “Queen B” Bell: I actually never wanted to be a hairdresser. It was something that I was never passionate about. I didn’t grow up braiding or coloring my girlfriends’ hair or anything like that. I wanted to go to school for fashion and changed my mind during my senior year.

My mom had a little heart attack. She was like, “This is my oldest daughter. I can’t spend 50 grand a year while she still can’t decide what she wants to do.” My mom was also getting married that year and where she was getting her hair done they had a school upstairs. So I went to check out the school and decided to try it out and it stuck.

I was only halfway through school and I had a position behind a chair. I built an awesome book and a salon out of the experience. About seven years into my career, I got really bored and needed to play around because I’m an arts kid. I decided to play around with my business of making hair art and ended up on Oxygen’s “Hair Battle Spectacular” (Season 2). From there I pushed myself even further to create the pieces that I have today.

Lisha Lee

Lisha Lee

MN: Lisha, did you have a start-up funds before creating your businesses? 

LL: Honestly, I started my business in 10 minutes. I had no money. I had no job. I did all of this on my own, with no help, no boyfriend, no family, nobody but just me.

A few years ago, I got laid off and I thought “Oh my God, what am I gonna do?” Then the hair came in and I did my research. Every time I got money in my hand I would buy samples (of hair). I just put everything into the business.

I spent money on the logo, business cards, brochures, samples, bundles. Of course I was struggling. I was completely struggling. Then in 2012, my mom ended up with lung cancer. At that stage, I kind of put the business on hold for a little bit. For some strange reason in 2012, all of a sudden people just started ordering and I was just making it from there. I didn’t even have a website, only social media links. In 2012 I made $80,000 and in 2013, I made $120,000.

Axed! 9 Real-Life Lessons Learned From Being Fired

June 30th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Shutterstock

No one likes getting fired from a job. There could, however, be several reasons you have been fired: the company’s having trouble, you’re just plain old doing a bad job or your boss is a jerk, reports

In fact, sometimes being let go from a position can be a lesson in disguise.

  • You can”t take the rejection personally–even if it was about your work. Tell yourself “you were in the wrong job, at the wrong place, at the wrong time,” suggests Oprah.com. You just need to determine why you were fired so you can learn from the situation.

We asked nine businesswomen what they learned from being fired and the responses were insightful.

And if you on the hunt for a job, be sure to check out the new MN job search board here.

[h/t CBS News]

Sunshine Hustle: Ways To Boost Your Career This Summer

June 25th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Shutterstock

The summer season can put us all in a trance where we want to do less work and more vacationing. Both productivity and job enthusiasm take a major hit, which is why we need to stay focused. Keep ahead of the curve by following these tips to boost your career this summer.

9 Lessons Learned From Being Laid Off

May 22nd, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Shutterstock

Layoffs are typically not an ideal situation. Unless you were just hanging in there to reap the benefits of being laid off while you take some time to plan your next move, losing your job can make you feel inadequate and worried. What did I do wrong? Why me? There are so many questions that, unfortunately, will never get an answer. Sometimes things just happen and it’s up to us move on. Here are nine lessons we can learn from being laid off.

Why Wait For The Perfect Time? How To Create Your Own Career Path

May 21st, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

All of us would like to enjoy a slice of success when it comes our line of work. Otherwise why the heck are we getting up each day to do the work? Don’t let the days pass you by as they are opportunities to move yourself one step closer to your goals. Here are some ways you can create your own career path.

Is Your Money Working For You? Things You Should Do With Your 401(k)

February 28th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Shutterstock

When it comes to the coin, all of us want to do everything we can to make sure they keep coming in and last for the long haul. There are tons of ways to let your money grow with the most popular being retirement investment platforms like a 401(k). When’s the last time you took a serious look at yours? Do you even invest in one? Here are some things you should do with your 401(k).

‘I’m Not Scared Of Rejection:’ Joy Bryant Shares How Yale Prepped Her For Hollywood

February 13th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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The world knows Joy Bryant as a fashion model-turned-actress, but many don’t know the “About Last Night” actress also attended Yale on a scholarship—an experience that she says helped to prepare her for the competitive world of show business.

“Getting into Yale, I’m already used to competition,” the 38-year-old Bronx native told Rolling Out. It’s not easy to get into Yale. The possibility of rejection or having the odds stacked against you or a lot of people are gunning for your spot — that whole dynamic I understood.”

Though she later dropped out of the Ivy League school to pursue modeling, she says it gave her the tough skin that she needed to make  it in modeling and ultimately Hollywood.

“Coming into Hollywood, I wasn’t shaken at all,” said Joy. “Not that I’m going to be the most successful actress ever, but I’m not scared. I’m not scared of rejection. Modeling prepared me for that. Sometimes the rejection can be so brutal and in your face — you have to get a thick skin. Coming into this business, I wasn’t really tripping on anything. What I view as mine to have, I will have. And I can wait it out.”

Though it was not the most predictable voyage, she says the experience definitely taught her that everything that happens in life is only preparing you for what’s to come.

“Everything leads you to the next step. I went to this great school that got me into Yale. Instead of Wall Street or wherever I thought I was going to go, I got into modeling. That exposed me to so many places and things and from there, I went into acting. In acting, I’ve done well for myself and I love what I do and I’m looking forward to more of it. But it’s also led me to other things. I produce and I write and I’m able to express myself in a way that gives me happiness. It’s afforded me a great quality of life.”

As for what’s next, Joy says she has her eye on some behind-the-camera gigs.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to grow and who knows? Maybe the next step for me is to write the Oscar-winning script! That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Check out Joy’s full interview over at Rolling Out.

Tips For Getting Over The Fear Of Networking

February 13th, 2014 - By Blair Bedford
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Big Stockphoto

Networking is intimidating for more people then you may think. In almost every survey or report on the biggest professional fears, or fears in general, speaking in public and networking are sure to be close to the top of the list. Being driven by the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone to network could cost you opportunities for professional growth.

With networking, you are not only making professional connections, but cultivating valuable relationships that could help build your career or even your personal life. With this in mind, here are a few tips to overcome the fear of networking that could help you lose the intimidation and gain great contacts.

How To Make “The Black Tax” Work for You

February 7th, 2014 - By Kara Stevens
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Shutterstock

I was well into my mid-twenties before I heard of “the black tax.” In fact, I discovered the concept of “the black tax” when I was watching the movie Something New. In this particular scene, Sanaa Lathan, a talented accountant, was on a date with Blair Underwood, another ambitious professional. They were commiserating about life on the “plantation” (meaning the corporate structure), and how they had to incur “the black tax.” This meant that as black folk in predominately white settings, they had to work twice as hard, be twice as good, and be more on top of things than their white counterparts.

The belief in a “black tax” does a disservice to us emotionally and psychologically, which ultimately negates the underlining impetus of the tax, which is to make us more productive, creative, and professionally outstanding.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that institutional racism, microaggressions, and stereotype bias are not in full effect in most, if not all, workplace settings. They are. Even white boys with criminal records have a better chance of getting employment than black men with no criminal past and several degrees.

So, I get it.

I just think we need to reframe our energy and thinking around this “black tax” so it works to our benefit, not our detriment. Since we already know what it is like to grind, hustle, and be extraordinary, usually behind a computer and alone, let’s use this skill set to build and sustain relationships that will lead to both personal fulfillment and professional success instead of consistently leaving unrecognized and underappreciated.

Let’s grind around organizing opportunities to learn, connect, and grow with people that look like us in and outside of our workplaces in a strategic and meaningful way.

I am currently reading Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success One Relationship At a Time by Keith Ferrazzi. Ferrazzi says it is important to leverage relationships in all of your social and professional using a Network Action Plan. To create one, divide a blank piece of paper into thirds or a Word Document into three columns. Under the first column, list three to five of your immediate and long-term career goals.

For each of your goals in the first part, name one or two people that can help you achieve this goal in the second column. Start thinking about people that you already know and people that you would like to know.

Finally, in the third column, start thinking about the best way to reach out to the people listed in column two. If the gatekeeper to your goal is someone you know, a simple call and request may be all that you need to help you reach your goal. On the other hand, if you realize that the person you need to talk to is someone you don’t know, then you will have to start small and build their trust. Try reaching out with a genuine compliment about the work that they do via email or at an in-person gathering, providing them with ideas that can make their jobs easier, or introducing them to people that can help them with their personal or professional goals.

We don’t have to own “the black tax” in the way that it has been presented to us. As a culture, we invented the remix. We took scraps and made it soul food. We took our plight and made hip-hop. The black tax? This ain’t no different.

Connect with Kara @thefrugalfeminista and at her site The Frugal Feminista.

From Marketing Beats By Dre To Forging Hip-Hop Collaborations, Karen Civil Makes It Happen

January 31st, 2014 - By Tianna Robinson
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Meet Karen Civil, the 29-year-old head of a small but growing empire in digital hip-hop media and strategic marketing. Civil has been carving her own path since her days at Hot 97 as FunkMaster Flex’s intern. She rose from that entry-level position to A&R coordinator to shaping the careers of up-and-coming rappers. Hailing from Elizabeth, N.J., Civil is also a force behind marketing campaigns for Beats By Dre, serving as the brand’s social media manager.

MN Business had a sit-and-chat with Civil about how she started and how she’s creating profitable brands for herself and some of hip-hop’s biggest names. She was mum about the Beats by Dre marketing that we’ll see at the upcoming Olympic Games, but we’ve heard some awesome things are in the works.

MadameNoire:  Tell our readers who Karen Civil really is.

Karen Civil: I like to consider myself a Social New Wave Entrepreneur. I take heed to the digital media space, understanding what it is and how to help talent and products grow in it.  I am currently the social media manager for Beats by Dre headphones, I have my own marketing company, Always Civil Enterprise, as well as run  a hip-hop tastemaker site, and on online positive affirmation forum. I also have my own clothing line, Civil Clothing, and I am in the process of writing my first book.

MN: Is this what you dreamed of growing up?

KC: Actually growing up, my dream job was to be an on-air radio personality. I admired and wanted to be a lot like Angie Martinez. As I got older, I realized that I had a soft monotone voice and that being a DJ may not be the career for me. However I was so in love and infatuated with hip-hop that I still wanted to be apart  and give back  the community, so I decided to carve my own path and make my own lane.

MN: How did you start in the hip-hop community?

KC: While interning for [Funkmaster] Flex, I met Duke Da God. He invited me to work for Dipset. I taught them how to build a profitable e-commerce business and wrangled New Era to make a run of Dipset hats. At the time, I was also fortunate to bring on Max B and Wale as digital marketing clients. All was going well and one day it fell to pieces.

In 2008, Max B was facing life in prison, Dipset split up, and my contract with Wale came to an end. All that I worked so hard for came to an end, and I needed to seriously figure my life out. I did theright thing and got a corporate job on Wall Street. That did not last long. I felt like I was throwing all my years of hard work and relationship building down the toilet. I eventually quit, went and bought a camera, and built a website. That was the birth of KarenCivil.com.

MN: What were your intentions with KarenCivil.com?

KC: I don’t just post music and videos. With civilized talk, the fans are given the opportunity to delve into the lives and artistic brains of their favorite hip-hop artists.  I also post about new artists before they drop anywhere else. I was the first to feature Nicki Minaj, J.Cole, and Drake on my website.

… I think the fans really enjoy the fact that they are getting an insider glimpse and getting to experience music before anybody else. Also, strategic branding and marketing of the website and myself was essential.

MN: Did you use those skills to apply to Beats by Dre? How did you get such a high-profile position?

KC: Actually, Beats approached me.  They said they liked the way I branded myself online and wanted me to help them with their digital marketing and finding their online voice.

When I was brought on, Beats by Dre was at 300,000 Facebook followers. We are now at almost 6.5 million and was at 5 million not long after I was there… One month, we saw Facebook followers jump by 1 million when Lil Wayne wore his Beats headphones to the Grammys and listened to his album the whole time. Another time he wore his million-dollar custom made headphones to an NBA game. When Chad Ochocinco played for the Patriots, he gave out $50,000 worth of Beats headphones during the Super Bowl. You can’t pay for marketing like that; it’s priceless and now synonymous with the brand.