This interview was facilitated by Aisha Tatum and first appeared on her blog at AishaTatum.com
Tell us about your childhood and the impact your family had on the Woman you are today?
I had a really great upbringing filled with a ton of love and adventure.
My Mom was in the Navy and my Dad worked for the Department of Defense so we were always on the move. New schools, new friends, new experiences, I even got to live in Egypt for a few years!
While living in Egypt the junkyard was my favorite playground and I would make swings out of old hoses with the neighborhood kids who didn’t speak a lick of English. Somehow we were all great friends though.
When you grow up in that kind of environment, it tends to make you pretty well rounded and open minded.
How did your military background influence your decision to pursue another path?
When you grow up in something, you tend to be influenced by it so the military was my chosen career path from early on.
“Get a degree, gain rank in the military and set yourself up for retirement.” – said common sense.
The closer I got closer to being shipped off to bootcamp though, the more I realized that it wasn’t what I really wanted. It was a great path for many, but deep down I knew it wasn’t for me.
So here I was in college, on my way to “degreed and stable happiness” and much to the surprise of my entire family……I dropped out.
I joined a band and dove head first into experiencing life fully.
I explored many creative avenues and got to really know myself for the first time ever. I let my creative inclinations flourish and lead me wherever they may.
If I wasn’t singing, I was having fun in Photoshop making show flyers for myself and my various bands.
This was also the MySpace era and I began to fall in love with code. The fact that I could bring my creative ideas to life online was so exciting to me. I would be up until the wee hours of the morning pimping out my profile page using html and CSS thanks to “Google schooling”.
Fast forward to today and I still don’t have a college degree, but my “hobbies” that I just did for the love of it now fully fund my life.
I have a successful web and graphic design business going on it’s 7th year, with 3 full time team members (Pixel Me Pink).
My music has reached heights I never could have imagined with fans from all over the world covering my original songs and telling me how my message and brand has touched them deeply.
I started an inspired living clothing line to help spread the message and importance of personal development as that’s what got me here (The Spirit Warrior Shop)
And I also own a live performance workshop for aspiring singers in San Diego (The Ultimate Entertainer Workshop)
Moral of the story, chase your passion and the money will follow.
As much as I loved my military upbringing and all the benefits a life in the service can bring, it wasn’t my passion.
Was it hard for your parents to forgive you for taking a different path than expected?
They were very supportive of me not going the military route and taking interest in more creative fields. I think what caught them off guard was that I went the entrepreneurial route.
Going it on your own isn’t a very common route and there is a certain amount of risk involved. As a parent you want your kid to be happy and have an easy life. In the early years of working for myself there was a lot of… just concern really. They saw me struggling and not having the funds for things. This would concern any parent or family member.
Despite not being sold on me taking the entrepreneurial route, they saw it was what made me happy and would continuously help me wherever they could.
And they have always been 100% behind my music.
I am truly blessed to have the family that I do.
How did you know what your passion was?
I was born singing pretty much.
I never thought of taking it serious until my later years, but there is video of me singing and putting on shows as early as two.
My Mom would always sign my sister and me up for performances for military functions as well from a very young age.
I was born into a performing family and my Dad is a fantastic musician so it was kind of a given that I’d turn out musical.
How did you overcome your own personal insecurities?
That’s still a work in progress for me. I’d say putting my focus on my WHY helped to alleviate a lot of the pressure.
I may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. I’m here to inspire, to help, to be of service, to connect, to just be me in the only way that I know how.
We all bring something unique to the table so comparison is just silly. Of course I’m not like “that one person”, because I’m me.
The moment I stopped COMPARING so much and started REMEMBERING my purpose and my WHY, is when I became much more at peace with myself.
After all, comparison is the thief of joy they say ;)
How did the Fear of mediocrity influence you to pursue your passion?
In short, it didn’t. Mediocrity wasn’t and isn’t something that I really think about. I can only do my best so it kind of is what it is I guess.
Tell us about your hit single, “I Dare You to Dream”
This is my BABY. This is the reason for everything in my life right now.
I can’t even imagine how my life would be right now if I didn’t dare to dream. Actually I could, because unfortunately I see it every day.
As long as I am here on this earth, I aim to inspire as many people as humanly possible to never settle.
IDYTD is very much about your mindset. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.
If you want a better life situation, a better job, an improved love life, whatever it may be; you must first dare to go there in your MIND. Dare to believe it’s POSSIBLE for you. You have to DARE TO DREAM before it can become a reality.
As with most things, word of mouth is the best marketing. I wanted people to feel supported with their own endeavors.
It can be so scary to step out on your own, but not if you have a support system. Some don’t have that support system so that’s what the IDYTD movement is all about; sharing the stories of the dreamer’s and the go-getters to not only inspire others, but to make it safe for them to declare to the world what it is that they truly desire.
Funny things happen when you put pen to paper and physically write out what it is you want most in life.
Actual studies have been done showing the impact of this practice. You are (I believe it’s something like 70%) more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down. Pretty crazy right?
How has being an entrepreneur shaped your life?
I have learned so many valuable skills working for myself that help me immensely with not only my music career, but bringing my other ideas to life.
It’s helped me to become a more confident woman, to dream big, to expect miracles. There were so many days in the early years of working for myself that were truly scary. A lot of top ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner days if you know what I mean.
When you’re just starting out you never know where that next dollar is going to come from or even how many dollars it will be.
You have to be a strong minded and strong willed individual to go it on your own. I wasn’t that. Not even close. But I am now.
Being an entrepreneur has helped me to navigate many intimidating situations in music and in life with more grace and tact.
And luckily I’ve had my husband to share the journey with.
What advice do you have for people who want to become entrepreneurs?
I’d say a huge part of entrepreneurship is mindset. Get that right and so much will fall into place. Read as many books in that area as you can because you’re going to need it.
I cannot recommend “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz enough. It is truly a life changer. Especially if you’re not quite sure what route you want to take yet or are having doubts about your life path.
Tell us about your personal line of products at www.Spiritwarriorshop.com
You’ve heard me talk a lot about mindset; this is in essence what the Spirit Warrior Shop is all about.
I’m big into affirmations. I have them hanging around my house, on my phone; I fall asleep to guided affirmation style meditations, etc.
As an entrepreneur and big dreamer, I need all the positive reminders and inspiration in my life that I can get; this shop serves as a place where you can buy apparel and products for inspired living.
The term Spirit Warrior actually stands for: one who combats the universal enemy: self-ignorance, the ultimate source of suffering.
So don’t be ignorant and go combat those negative thoughts with some Spirit Warrior Shop Gear! :p
And make sure to post a pic using the hashtag #spiritwarriorgear so I can feature you on the website ;)
How can a person interested in dancing and singing learn more about your exclusive workshops?
They can visit www.DancingSinger.com
This is part of my “#IDYTD/end game scenario” plan. I adore this class and my business partner.
I see a day where I make passive income from my main businesses and do my music and this workshop full time.
It’s so needed and it doesn’t exist anywhere that I’ve seen.
If you live in San Diego and are an aspiring singer, you MUST go to the website and join a session. Your live performances will never be the same.
What advice do you have for other people who have a similar story and really want to strike out on their own and march to the beat of their own drum?
You just need to do it.
Stop thinking about it, stop talking about it, stop mentally planning, just TAKE-THE-FIRST-STEP and DO IT.
There will never be a perfect time. It will always seem scary. There is only now.
What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?
The hardest thing I ever had to do was to quit my job and pursue my first business full time.
My husband and I had just gotten laid off from our jobs and we were losing our first home as a result. It was the middle of the recession and being in the service industry, it hit us hard. It hit everyone hard. I had never seen so many empty houses on our block.
As a last ditch effort we paid a law firm the last of our reserves (2k) to refinance our home so we could save it. That law firm went out of business and took all of our money.
It was truly scary times.
My husband wasn’t able to find new work right away and I had gotten another job as a server to keep us afloat, but I was completely miserable at it. I had finals coming up (I went back to school for web and graphic design), and in the middle of cramming for those I had to now learn which of the 500 Tequila’s went with which of the 500 tacos the restaurant served. It sounds harsh, because I always try to do my best, but I could really care less at that point. I had been a server for 5 years and it was eating away at my soul.
My husband saw how busy, stressed and unhappy I was in this new position trying to hold our lives together and he told me to quit. He said he’d rather live in a box under a bridge then live another day of our existence at that point.
So with no money to our names, a house in foreclosure and no idea of where we’d live next…….I quit.
1 month later my husband landed us our first website deal for 3k and our business has grown every year since.What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far on your path?
To always speak your truth.
Being in the business and music world, there are a lot of tough conversations that come up and a lot of tough decisions that need to be made. As long as you are authentic and true to yourself, no matter what the outcome, at least you can sleep at night knowing you didn’t hold anything back and stayed true to yourself.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
This reminds me of this practice that I learned in the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey.
It challenges you to write your own eulogy for your own funeral. What would you want the speaker to say about you?
I realize this is kind of morbid, but it is totally eye opening because it brings to light the things that you need to change in order for that eulogy to be true.
I’d like to be remembered for creating meaningful content; for being a catalyst for others to achieve their own level of personal greatness; for loving life with all the ups and downs that it brings and for loving people at their best and worst.What final advice do you have for the audience?
Don’t be so serious. Have fun. Laugh. Travel. Love fully and unconditionally. Happiness is a choice, choose it daily.
This interview was facilitated by Aisha Tatum and first appeared on her blog at AishaTatum.com