Ashunta Sheriff, celebrity makeup artist
In business, there are those who follow traditional rules for success and those who prefer to reject them outright, trust their instincts, and forge their own career path. Black Enterprise caught up with a couple of trailblazers to learn about the career advice they didn’t follow and a few secrets to their success.
[RELATED: Part I: Successful Women Entrepreneurs Share the Business Rules They Didn’t Follow]
As a celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff has an impressive client roster including Taraji P. Henson, Ava DuVernay, Alicia Keys, Kandi Burress and Paula Patton, to name a few. She’s worked in TV, film, print magazines, advertising, and more. And she has her own product line that includes a Perfect Blend Stick, available in six shades, a Perfect Blend foundation brush, and more.
What traditional career or business rules are you glad you didn’t follow?
I’m glad I didn’t doubt myself. Just because I’m a makeup artist it doesn’t mean I couldn’t become an entrepreneur. I had to pump myself up. Remind myself that I went to Howard University and NYU, and I was an honor roll student. It’s my passion and how I provide for my family, however, I realized it was time to step out of my comfort zone and elevate to the next level.
When you first started in the business, what was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was financing. I have tons of amazing ideas and not just in the beauty market. I create new concepts, gadgets all the time. Having the resources to make those visions manifest is the most difficult part.
Many trailblazers find themselves making their own rules. What rules have you set for yourself?
I walk to my own rhythm for sure. I do not follow any traditional business advice in terms of creating a plan. Most of my business advice is rooted in spirit and meditation. If I can visualize it I know I can make it happen. My mother always taught me from a young age that your thoughts have power. If my mind sees it I know I can achieve it. Sounds bizarre but it works for me. It may not be conventional, but it works. Starting my morning in gratitude and silence truly grounds my visions and then the day I put my thoughts into action. I use this technique in every area of my life because it works.
Zimbabwean-born Farai Gundan is an MBA graduate, TV and radio personality, founder of Faraitoday.com and leading expert on African women in media and technology. She’s contributed to a number of publications including Forbes, Forbes Africa, and Essence and she was appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
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