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Entrepreneur files: Ms. Sheba

Entrepreneur files: Ms. Sheba

Hey guys, here's a new line of interviews I'm working on. Personally, I think everyone should own their own business (that wants one). With that said, I'm going to introduce you to some successful entrepreneurs. My goal is to help you understand that you don't have to be some sort of expert or guru to have a business of your own. You just need a dream, and a whole lot of "want to."
First up is "Ms Sheba", entrepreneur and small business owner, she owns a successful hair salon. Get to know her below, hope this helps...

Meek: Sheba! I know you've probably finished up a hard day around the shop, but the readers need to know ya, tell em a little something!
Sheba: Well, I'm a Richmond native, mother of 3, who loves to work with people.

Meek: Right on, we'll get to business in a second, but what do you like to do outside of working like a hebrew slave?

Sheba: Travel, spend time with my family, which is rare being that I live in Tidewater alone with my kids, reading

Meek: People still do that? Name a couple of good reads the people need to check out!
Sheba: Believe it or not, I like Smart Money magazine, Time and autobiographies
I like to keep up with current events, economics and getting real life perspectives from people's own minds, not how others perceive them.
Meek: Cool beans, interesting point of view. So tell the readers a little about your background, what do you do for a life?
Sheba: I'm a licensed barber, braider, stylist and natural hair care specialist at Back To Life Unisex Barber + Braid Shop in Norfolk, Va. I completed my cosmetology program over 10 years ago but never pursued a professional career in hair until 2009.
Meek: I'm glad you caught that, most are just trying to make a living. What did you do before that?
Sheba: I have always been doing hair and braiding but I was focused more on education and entrepreneurship. I moved down to Tidewater to finish my business degree at Norfolk State, where I graduated in 2006. While going to school full time, I started working at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital at night full time. Upon graduating, my manager asked me to stay to become a manager for the registration team because I had basically trained everyone on the floor in 3 departments. I stayed and ultimately got laid off with the implementation of an electronic medical records system. After applying for several jobs and being either overqualified or needing a specific degree or level of experience, I made the decision to work for myself and do what I loved at that point.
I searched for the location and a team of people to work with and ended up meeting a guy who is a braiding and barbering instructor. Because I had my cosmetology training, I wasn't required to go through barbering training but I wanted to learn. I completed my braiders and barbering training in 6 months and became the first female graduate with all certificates from his school.
Meek: Wow, thats great! Would you say that you've always wanted to work for yourself, or just kinda fell into it?
Sheba: I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I could never see myself working for others for long. I have visions about what is better and I don't like someone else being in charge who doesn't take actions to make things better.

Meek: I can relate. I don't deal well with authority lol What do you like most about working for yourself?
Sheba: I have the ability to make my own schedule, my own rules, and change the norm of how a stylist is perceived.
Meek: What things are you doing to change the image of how a stylist is received?

Sheba: I give a more personalized experience, I listen to my clients concerns and needs and I never book more than one person at a time, whether it be a haircut or braids; that is rare for a stylist.
I also have the "Styles For Grades" program, which rewards students for their good grades. It began at Camp Allen Elementary in 2009 & has since been expanded to all Hampton Roads public and private schools. I'm the only stylist/barber in the area who does the program year round. I do it to show the importance of education and to encourage students to keep up their hard work. Knowing how difficult it was to maintain honor and scholar roll throughout school, I felt it was important to reward students who value their education.
Meek: Thats great, when you're the boss, you make the rules. It's great that you give back as well.
If you could give any advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would you tell them?
Sheba: First make sure you're prepared for the work that comes along with being an entrepreneur; it's imperative to plan and act. Anyone can be an entrepreneur but it's not going to be for everyone. Being the boss is fine but it's a lot more work when others look to you for leadership. Be prepared.
Meek: Would you say education and mentorship would benefit an aspiring entrepreneur?

Sheba: Education will be essential, not necessarily in a traditional sense because you can learn from anything or anyone. Mentorship in your chosen field is definitely encouraged because you get better results from people who have been where you're trying to go.
Meek: Good point! Who better to learn it from right? People make that concept WAY too complicated. So now that we've helped a couple of people. How can they help themselves get their wig smoked? Tell me a little about your shop and how to contact you for an appointment.

Sheba: The Back To Life Unisex Salon is on 7468 Tidewater Drive in Norfolk, VA. Find us online @

Meek: Right on, I'm sure they'll do the right thing. Thanks for your time, this was fun!

Sheba: Thank you!


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