1. Wallet 2. Keys 3. Pen 4. Lipglosses 5. Bazaar 6. Brand Thinking 7. Fresh Cooling 8. Macbook Pro 9. Gum 10. Nail Polish
What’s your biggest accomplishment?
There are many things that I am proud of but, I would say that my biggest accomplishment to date is the experience of building a career/business on my own terms. It’s not the easiest thing to do, so every single day that I wake up and do what I love counts as an accomplishment.
What are three books you would recommend to our readers?
These three books changed my entire approach to business and life: The Dip by Seth Godin It’s a little book about knowing when to stick and knowing when to quit. The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Greene. This is a powerful book about fear and how 50 Cent is able to move through life fearlessly after looking death in the face. Your Best Life Begins Each Morning by Joel Osteen. A book that contains a prayer/mantra for each day of the year. I start my days with it.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned since launching?
I launched House of Success in January 2011, and I’m gearing up for the launch of my second business, POLISHBOX. I think two of the biggest lessons that time has affirmed is the practice of excellence and the importance of adapting/editing.
What I mean by the practice of excellence is that you can have a standard of excellence before you’re excellent. A lot of people make excuses and think that because they don’t have enough resources or money that they can’t produce a quality product or deliver a quality service, but that’s simply not true. You have to have a standard of excellence and bloom where you’re planted. Use what you have in front of you to make the best thing possible, and as you grow and acquire more, you can make your product better. Excellence can exist at every level.
And the second lesson that’s been affirmed over time is the importance of the edit. In the industries that I’m in, things change so quickly, so you have to be flexible enough to adapt to the changes and/or times. Always look for ways to improve.
What’s your advice to someone interested in starting their own business?
1. Do your research.
2. Understand your market and your client/customer.
3. Make sure your reasons for wanting to start a business come from a pure, authentic place. If you decide to do something because you see someone else doing it, you will fail quickly. Focus on long-term wins.
4. Have a lawyer, an accountant and a publicist on speed dial.
Where do you receive inspiration?
Everywhere, but I still believe that action creates the ultimate inspiration. When I’m moving forward and completing small tasks, it gives me the energy to keep going. Far too often people claim to be inspired by something and then they go back to doing nothing. But again, the truest sign of inspiration is action, so do something.
If you could have one famous entrepreneur as your mentor who would it be?
There are so many that I’d love to connect with, so if I think about this strategically, I would select someone who has access to my ultimate mentor wish list: Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Mr. Combs has a brilliant business mind and will most likely be the first African American who grew up in/with hip hop culture to reach billionaire status. I admire the lifestyle empire he has built and would love to talk to him about how he got to this point. He’d also be a (dope) mentor because he could introduce me to other like-minded individuals such as; Jay-Z, Oprah, Mark Wahlberg (his partner in AquaHydrate) and more!
Do you feel your life is balanced between work life and your personal life?
Absolutely not, but I’m working on it. In the FAQ section of Kelly Cutrone’s first book “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside,” someone asked her something about balance/trouble sleeping and her reply was “I sleep like a fucking baby.” My goal is to get to that point.
What is your most indispensable gadget: My Macbook and iPhone–as long as I have a wi-fi connection, I can run my businesses.
What’s your favorite app? The New York Public Library (NYPL) app on my iPhone. I love the app because whenever I see/hear about a book that I want to read, I can go into the app and put the book on hold or add it to my reading list for later. When you put a book on hold they deliver it to the library branch of your choice and send you an alert email when the book is ready to be picked up. It’s super convenient.
What’s your favorite account to follow on Twitter: Good question. I don’t have a favorite Twitter account. However, my favorite feature is the “favorite” button. I love it because it allows me to save tweets (that often include links to interesting content) for future reading. I literally have over 400 tweets saved for this purpose right now.
What’s your favorite item in your closet: I just brought a new pair of shoes for Fall, so right now those are my favorite. Can’t wait to wear them!
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