Zavia Monet...Pre-law to Entrepreneur: A Story About and For Millennials

We, the Millennials, are always defending our generation's tech age and entrepreneurial efforts. Most of our parents don't understand that social media can play a tremendous role for any entrepreneur. Some of our parents believe that the only way we can truly succeed is by going to school and graduating, and continuing education in grad programs, and working in corporate, and whatever other traditional routes they they feel are acceptable.  They never consider that being a makeup artist, or hair stylist, or blogger, or dancer, or videographer, or photographer, or promoter, or event planner  can bring in more money in one year than their office job that took them 20 years to be promoted and given a raise. Of course, they only want more or better for us than what they feel they were given growing up, but the fact is this world and everything in it is ever-changing. And in two thousand sixteen the possibilities are endless. 

But, they'll get it eventually. They have no choice. Because you know how the saying goes, right? "Get with it or get lost" As fast as technology is improving, oh, they'll be lost for sure.

So this is one of those stories from one of the most beautiful, amazing spirits I have ever known. Zavia. A DMV based makeup artist and hairstylist. Many of you may already be following her via instagram (@zayviamonet) or youtube. Zavia used her social media to create a large following which continues to grow every day. Her following gave her the clientele she needed to help create the life she wanted. To work for herself and on her own terms. This was her fight to, even after graduating college, stay true to herself and to follow her passion and not her parent's passion for her.

This is her story in her words...

I worked as a receptionist and assistant to my hair stylist mom starting when I was 12. I didn't think I liked doing hair that much back then. I worked at the salon through high school and occasionally in my freshmen year of college. The longer I stuck with it the more I started to love it. I was doing hair and makeup out of my dorm room at Morgan, my Mother's and my Grandmother's basement. I began doing bridal hair and makeup and teaching makeup workshops for teen girls. I majored in pre-law and graduated from UB in 2012. The beginning of my junior year I knew that I wasn't interested in being a lawyer I wanted to pursue hair and makeup as a career. By this time I was working at a salon in Charles Village and freelancing various makeup jobs.

After graduating college there was so much for me to think about. I didn't want to be a lawyer so there was no need to go to law school. This lead to about a year long rift with my parents and much soul searching. Now years later, we are all good and my parents realized that I had to go after my own path. I remember the years 2012-13 were some of my most stressful trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I would wake up a little before 7 with aching anxiety in my stomach. I distinctly remember wishing I could get a glimpse into the future to let me know that I was making the right decision.

It's so easy with social media which, as we all know, rules our world to make you feel like you aren't enough. That's how many of us start our day, even before our feet hit the floor, we are looking, liking/disliking, comparing. I remember during my stressful phase I had to delete my Instagram app so that I can clear my head and really focus on my goals. I am always reminded by the people close to me that I have tunnel vision. It turned out to be very useful as I threw myself into my craft. I started working for MAC and attending the Aveda Institute in DC in the same week and in the chaos I found peace because my time was being consumed by my passion. I imagined that it would feel glamorous working within the beauty industry. It turned out to be far less glamorous and much more work than I expected but, most importantly, the reason why I still don't really schedule off days. I've had more 14 hour days than most and at the end of each day I feel so inspired. It brings me so much pleasure that I am self employed. Funny thing is I thought making the decision to become an entrepreneur was going to be the hard part. Not exactly. The continuous work it takes to manage yourself is the real challenge. I hope anyone who reads this takes away from it that I've been doing hair/makeup and I've messed up my fair share of hair/makeup. I had expectations placed on me that I knew didn't speak to my soul and I was viewed as a disappointment but still I went with my gut. Anything worth having really won't come painlessly.

All this to say, don't ignore your instincts. Don't deny your magic. Don't silence your calling. It won't always feel like you've made the right decision. Everything will not flow seamlessly but as long as you make your purpose your focus and keep at it everything will work out:)