“Focus on whatever it is that you are passionate about!” – Shalita Heard’s advice for becoming an entrepreneur.
Shalita Heard is use to hard work, so much so that she disciplined herself to treat her love of doing hair into a home business as a teenager. You figure, this is an age where most of us are enthralled into boys and what we’re wearing to impress our peers. Making great money from that experience, she pretty much knew what her calling was. To look at her today, she is a businesswoman, speaker, consultant, and author. Shalita is the Chief Extension Officer (CEO) of her hair business empire, Iconique located in North Little Rock, AR. Like most stories, there are always bumps along the way in order to travel the smooth road. Shalita’s story was that she had to grow up pretty fast when her mother relocated to Texas and she stayed behind in Arkansas at age 13.
“God spoke into my mind at a young age that my purpose was to change lives and empower minds and everything that has happened in my life has allowed me to be the vehicle to do just that!”
Shalita took what she learned from working in her mother’s salon and used those skills to start doing hair, which helped to pay the bills at fifteen when she shared an apartment with a cousin. She became a teenage mother but did not let that stop her from finishing high school or continuing her education to hone her craft of being a hair stylist. After her second son was born, and the father negating to share in the joys of parenthood, Shalita thought a move away from Arkansas would prove her good. Temporarily getting away from the hair industry, she moved to Texas and delved into the real estate business. There she excelled with numerous accolades and of course the money was great!
In 2006, when the real estate market collapsed, Shalita was homeless with little money and two children who needed her to still be “Mommy.” A woman always of faith, she had been attending T.D. Jakes church, The Potter’s House and was constantly seeking God on what to do next. Trusting in his word and the plan He had for her, she packed up her children into her old purple, Grand AM with no more than $20 and an act of obedience that something greater was in store. Back in Arkansas, she began doing hair again but was starting to think how she could brand her business as a hairstylist, into more than just standing behind a salon chair. In between those moments, she would find herself married and given birth to her third son. When the marriage didn’t last though, she tried to save it, she found herself homeless again and now with three children. Something had to break! Something had to give!
Armed with a determination on how to brand her hair business and in between working in a hair salon, Shalita would spend her hard earned money on classes that would improve her mindset for becoming a business owner. Here is a woman that was very adamant about learning the ins and outs of branding and strategically used that knowledge to educate herself in the business. “I didn’t just want to be that person who only did hair but to have a brand of what I did stand behind it.” Continuing to trust that God would provide the resources, she noticed a vacancy for a suite during her lunch hour away from the salon where she worked. It was around this time that she was having problems with the salon owner and it seemed like the right time to inquire about the space. Keep in mind, she had already owned a small salon back in Pine Bluff so the transition of ownership wasn’t that much out of her territory. Let’s just say that favor was definitely on her side because the owners of the property asked for little reference all of saying, “She just looked like a good candidate to rent the space!” What was even more rewarding was that the suite, which was located in the historic district of North Little Rock, was well equipped with upscale amenities and was a considerably large space for her new hair business…not to mention that the rent would be exactly what she was paying for her rental booth at the salon.
What is inspiring about Shalita Heard is that she doesn’t mind sharing the wealth of education she has learned along the way. With no formal college degree, she began to pour her all into teaching herself about search engines and other factors that would improve the visibility of her business. “For six-months straight, ” I literally stayed up until 3 AM daily researching and studying marketing techniques that I knew I needed in order to succeed!”
A business is not a business without a clear concept of what it stands for and part of Shalita’s purpose is to educate those who wish to follow in her footsteps. She absorbed everything her mentors taught her about marketing and she can proudly say she has built a six-figure income for her thriving hair extension empire. Nothing comes easy and literally nothing comes free, but through old fashioned hard work anything is attainable. Through her success as a business owner, Shalita is now pouring into others by providing classes on entrepreneurship. Shalita is teaching how one can learn to take minimal means and turn it into multiple resources with branding and access to turn a job into a business.
“The best investment we can make is to invest in ourselves!” – Shalita Heard