Diversity is extremely important to me.
One reason is that it brings to the table different degrees of knowledge and experience.
Any humble entrepreneur should realize that ideas and suggestions often come from the input of others.
Diversity can lend itself to including different cultures in your business, which in turn can expand the horizons of your customer base.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Deidra Smith.
She is known as a serial entrepreneur by those who she has helped start and expand their businesses. Since 2009 she has birthed four businesses worthy of mention. She is known for her perseverance and determination by those close to her.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
With my love of makeup especially lipsticks, there was always something missing in the quality of most. That sparked an interest in providing a quality product. I wanted something different and healthy for our lips. With research, the proper direction and testing, my lipstick line was born.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
My first business opportunity came about by accident. I dialed the wrong number at the right time. I called to handle personal business and when the representative answered he assumed I was calling as a prospective applicant for a new government initiative. Always looking for a business opportunity I took advantage of this misdirection and it became my first business.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I ever made, was coming up with the name of my first business in haste. I made the mistake of including HR in my company name when my business has nothing to do with Human Resources. Since 2009 I still receive calls for help in the HR field. I have now learned the importance of paying attention to details as everything has implications.
Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it is important for a business to have a diverse executive team?
Diversity is extremely important to me.
- One reason is that it brings to the table different degrees of knowledge and experience.
- Any humble entrepreneur should realize that ideas and suggestions often come from the input of others.
- Diversity can lend itself to including different cultures in your business, which in turn can expand the horizons of your customer base.
More broadly can you describe how this can influence our culture?
Business-wise this can have a positive effect on our culture. Building a Brand and watching it grow will allow others to have confidence to do the same.
Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address the root of the diversity issues in executive leadership?
- We must have team building and training in leadership.
- Those in executive positions must be educated in diversity and in cultural differences.
- The workplace environment must be conducive to working together to solve and maintain an atmosphere that will allow all to grow and achieve their goals.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership for me began as a single parent of 6. The actual definition of leadership is one who guides or directs another. I feel that I can relate to that. While I mainly focus on my businesses, I also feels strongly about helping those who have entrepreneurial goals to achieve success by means of my expertise and experience, giving them sound advice and direction as to how they can reach those goals.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- I really wished someone would have told me to start a business by doing something I was passionate about. Why, because if you love it you will be motivated to withstand the ups and downs and still find joy. An example of needing passion was my first business which was medical billing. Though it was a promising field, and I was good at it, I lost interest and chose another path. It just was not my passion.
- Persevere through the first year. There will be so much to learn. In the first year you will encounter struggles both monetarily and mentally.
- I would have liked for someone to explain that zero to a little capital was needed to launch a business. An example of this is my first business which I started with no capital. Money generated from clients was reinvested back into the business, which became the funding to keep the business growing and flourishing.
- I would have loved to be informed as to the importance of having a real marketing strategy. For example, though my business started in 2009, it wasn’t until 2012 that I realized that tools were available. Platforms such as Google, Instagram, Facebook, etc., were at my disposal for marketing my businesses.
- I would have loved if another entrepreneur would have explained the freedom and latitude that becoming an independent business owner would afford me. Because of owning my own business my freedom is now limitless. I am able able to set my own schedule and choose the clients I wish to work with. My time is not time constricted and can reward myself with traveling and more time with my family.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It has always been my dream to start an initiative that would help our youth prepare for future endeavors. My focus would be instructing them that joining the workforce is only one option. Teaching them to strive to reach for goals that are not usually set before them. So hopefully one day the same opportunities can be afforded by all, no matter their gender, race, or nationality.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One quote I love is “Build your own dreams or someone else will hire you to build theirs”. This is a quote by Farrah Gray.
I can relate to this the only way to empower yourself is to have power. Your dreams and ambitions should be filled by you and not someone else. Do not allow someone else to hire you to build their dream. If you are going to work for anyone, work for yourself.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would like to sit down and share a meal with Tyler Perry. From the standard of success in business, he is someone who started from nothing to now having an empire. I would love to discuss with him what obstacles he ran into and how he overcame them. How did he maintain his professionalism or was he ever overlooked or deemed disqualified? In between each bite or spoonful, I would love to nibble off any advice he would like to offer me.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me at:
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!