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Temima Shames | California | Put In The Work

Founder/CEO of Next Step Talent

I started out doing acting when I was younger and was signed to Dream Maker Talent Management. I had always loved being in front of a camera and then when it came to college I went for Music Business. Growing up in an unstable financial household, I had been working since I was 10 years old and that gave me the drive to find my path in the professional world. During the summer of 2019, I interned at Atlantic Records and then again not soon after Covid-19 hit. During this time I was eager to make good use of the time at home and co-founded an organization with Danielle Gray where we created panels for females in the music industry to share support and inspire each other.

On the side, I spent my days watching Troy Carter’s panels and becoming inspired to really take my entrepreneurial side to the next level. After the panels I would connect with everyone I met in the chats and that's how I ended up at Visionary Records helping out with the Influencer Marketing Division. It was there when I was managing an artist from college on the side that I decided to start managing some of the influencers as well. I quickly grew passionate about helping them reach their goals and found a love for that side of the industry. Circling back to the larger pictures, with my experience in acting and music I knew what I liked and didn’t like about my previous manager and was able to use those tools to help guide my own decisions throughout my business.

The moral here is to take every moment and open door that you get and turn it into something. You never know if you may like it. When I started at Visionary Records I knew nothing about TikTok, but I quickly became an expert by asking questions and studying trends. I still have a ton to learn every day and new doors to go down as do all of you!

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

When starting my business I did not knowing the rules of operating a business legally outside of the research I had done. This is not something taught in college and therefore I made a ton of mistakes with the special insurances that were needed and other related matters. I overcame them by making the mistake once, fixing it and not making it again. The hardest hurdle when entering which I still face daily is not being taken seriously as a young female entrepreneur. Often times people say “you are so young, how do you know”. I am working to inspire others to realize that at any age you will make mistakes. An older person may not know as much about the new digital age, and I may not know as much about business regulations. We both have to learn and that is okay.

Other hurdles were learning how to operate non-emotionally in the workforce. In entertainment, our clients have so many unknowns such as what they will be doing tomorrow, so it is our job to keep things as scheduled and calm as possible when things don’t go as planned. I overcame this hurdle through lots of practice and learning that not everything needs an immediate answer, but some things can wait until you walk away and can regroup.

What books are you currently reading?

I usually try to read for at least 20 minutes per day. I am currently reading a couple books called “Who Not How” and “Traction”. I typically read books that educate me on other entrepreneurs, or key successful figures to learn from their mistakes. I am always looking for good book recommendations!

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

Put in the work. Things will not happen overnight but watch YouTube videos and figure out what materials you need for the specific career you are aiming for. Secondly, invest in yourself. Thirdly, be patient and do not get discouraged. Remember that you may be the best actress or the biggest social media star, but you may not be fit for a certain role or brand. Even the biggest artists received rejections before they landed where they did. Lastly, be professional, timely and communicative. Casting Directors, Influencer Marketing Coordinators, Record Label Executives, Modeling Executives all like people who have a personality. If you are in an audition, or a meeting, be sure to be on time, not be on your phone, talk about non-work related matters with those around you and ask questions.

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