Sharifah Hardie went from teen mom to CEO of her own company.
Today, she interviews celebrities and top executives to find out what business advice they have for budding entrepreneurs.
With 25 years of business experience herself, as well as insights gleaned from a decade of her Ask Sharifah Blog Talk radio show, Sharifah helps clients realize their dreams.
In this week’s YBTV interview, Sharifah condenses decades of business advice into a few key pointers on how to succeed. Don’t quit. Build a team. Work hard. Meditate.
And don’t leave your day job without finding your WHY.
What You’ll Learn
Sharifah Hardie isn’t a quitter.
Her book Signs You Might Be An Entrepreneur just came out this March, but she began her own entrepreneurial journey 25 years ago.
“When I first built my first website, people called me lazy,” she says. Back in 1994, everyone thought you had to have a day job where you left your house to go to work.
But Sharifah was a teen mom. “All I wanted to do was to be a home with my baby. That was the most important thing in the world to me,” she says.
“I didn’t care about billions, I didn’t care about the stock market, I didn’t care about any of those things. But I wanted to see this beautiful little baby take her first steps. I wanted to hear her say, ‘Mama.'”
Sharifah is so grateful she didn’t listen to the people who “said I was lazy because I didn’t want to go and get a job.” Building her first website set her on the path to becoming the CEO of her own company, raising millions of dollars in capital for other companies through social media advertising, and being the captain of her own ship.
I’ve been homeless. I’ve been divorced. I’ve been laid off seven times. Nobody could have predicted that I would get to be the CEO of my own company.”
Sharifah has found that everyone has stories like these, where they hit rock bottom or went through a dark night of the soul and thought they’d never achieve their dreams.
“Too often we have those moments where we just want to throw in the towel,” she says. “So I just ask you—I implore you—please don’t throw in the towel.”
She gives the example of a time when she was just starting out. She was offering marketing and website design services, but she had a hard time getting businesses to pay her any attention.
I always have to figure out how to get in that door. That’s one of my mantras. I’m going to get in that door; it’s just a question of how and when.”
She realized that the best way to speak to business owners was to position herself as a member of the media, “because everyone wants to speak to the media.” As soon as she launched her Ask Sharifah Blog Talk radio show, she had people lined up to speak to her.
As she was interviewing CEOs and top executives, she asked them questions that she personally wanted to know in order to build her own business. She found that her guests were happy to share with her, “because people want to help.”
In the process, she discovered a number of key traits of successful people.
“The one commonality that I see in all my interviews … is that they are not quitters,” she says. “If you want to be successful, you cannot be a quitter. Just take that word out of your vocabulary.”
When she thinks about the celebrities she’s interviewed, she can see how they got to where they’re at.
“They’re not special as far as their abilities. They’re not special as far as their talents and their gifts,” she says. “I think what makes them different from anyone else is how hard celebrities work…. They have to put up with so many things that the average person really can’t understand.”
Sharifah’s favorite interview was with Patti LaBelle. Sharifah was interviewing the contestants at the Next Great Drummer competition, where Patti LaBelle was a judge. She didn’t even know if LaBelle was going to answer her questions or even talk to her, but she did. “She was so positive,” Sharifah remembers. LaBelle’s main message was the importance of supporting the children and the next generation of talent.
Today, Sharifah is a business consultant who helps people realize their professional dreams.
People ask me all the time, ‘Sharifah, what business can I start today that will make me money?’ And I always tell them, ‘ANY business! Any business that you’re willing to work day in and day out, any business that you’re willing to work Saturday, Sunday, Monday through Friday, every day, all day. That’s what’s gonna make a business successful. It’s not the product. It’s not the service.”
To unlock that kind of dedication, you can’t just pick a business you hope to make a lot of money at.
“Don’t look at the amount of money you can make,” Sharifah advises. “Look at what you want to do, what you’re passionate about…. I can guarantee you: if you’re doing it for the love of it or the passion of it—it’s something that you will do for free—eventually you’ll be successful.”
She urges entrepreneurs to spread risk across a number of project rather than put all their eggs in one basket. That’s what she does. Her favorite project is her videocast Ask Sharifah, but she also has a PR company, In The News PR, where she helps clients gain exposure. Her latest project is her own television network X Roads TV, where she helps clients produce their own show.
Ultimately, she wants budding entrepreneurs to not get discouraged. It took her 25 years to get to where she’s at today. “If you keep going, you WILL be successful.”
Jump to Topics of Interest
1:55 How “Ask Sharifah” got started
4:29 Sharifah’s interview with Patti LaBelle
6:07 Are celebrities just like us?
8:25 Don’t be a quitter
8:49 Sharifah’s entrepreneurial journey
12:25 Should you pursue your business idea or keep your day job?
14:35 Find your talent and pursue your passion
15:14 Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
16:49 How Sharifah juggles her projects
19:41 Hire a team
Sharifah is a business consultant, online marketing specialist, and influencer. With over 25 years of business experience, Sharifah has positioned herself to be one of the top executives in entertainment and a person on the rise. She’s the host of Ask Sharifah, CEO of XroadsTV.com, InTheNewsPR.com and InTheNewsMagazine.com; and author of Signs You Might Be An Entrepreneur: How to Discover the Entrepreneur in You.