It's actually been a really long journey. I started working at Footaction in high school, then went on to work for TSA at the airport while deejaying on the side. One day I realized I couldn't do it anymore. I had an entire breakdown on my lunch break one day, boo hoo crying because all I wanted to do was deejay full time -- not checking bags. LOL. Needless to say, I decided in that moment to quit and never returned from lunch that day, allowing me to become a full-time deejay. My mom wasn't too happy about that at the time, but thank God I followed my heart because deejaying turned out to be one of the most magnificent parts of my life and ultimately my career path. From there I began event planning and now I have three major weekends that I host around the country -- SweetHeat in Miami, Bait in New York, and Queendom in Atlanta.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
I'm all about filling voids. So, if I'm a part of a market and I see it is missing something, I fill it. My business started because I was deejaying for a variety of different events in places away from home and would come back to Miami recognizing that we didn't have the same types of events offered here. Long story short, I created SweetHeat Miami which draws thousands of people every year and created a new space in the entertainment field for people to enjoy.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
My biggest hurdle is being a woman, and having to work harder to prove that I am just as good as any guy who does what I do. You overcome stuff like that by continuing on your path with tunnel vision and hard work and don't focus on any of that.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I'm currently reading Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence - and How You Can, Too. For entrepreneurs, I would suggest How Successful People Lead, How Buffet Does it, and The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck .
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Yes, some of my friends doubted me. They thought I should take the "safe" way, which was a 9-5. For me, that wasn't safe -- it was a dream killer. I handled it by continuing to 'do me' and blocked all that noise out. They were insecure and uncomfortable, but not me. I wouldn't do anything differently. I did exactly what I needed to do and that was to keep pushing.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
It never really gets easier. You have to stay on your shit because there will always be someone there trying to take your place. You need to out-work yourself.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Never give up, and that gut feeling you have that tells you to go for it? I don't care what else you are feeling -- just do it.