Growing a career or business at any age is never easy, but doing it before you can legally drive? Pretty darn impressive. Fortunately for us, successful businesswoman Isabella Barrett, and rising rapper, songwriter, and producer Tonee Marino are more than willing to share their success stories and provide insight on how to become a young entrepreneur, all before they leave their teen years.
Isabella Barrett: How to Become a Young Entrepreneur From the Young Fashion Queen
Isabella Barrett is no stranger to putting in work. At a young age, Isabella began participating (and winning) in the pageant circuit, and was crowned Little Miss America in 2012. Since then, Isabella has become a young entrepreneur through a number of successful businesses, including jewelry brand The Glitzy Girl, and House of Barretti, which carries couture suits and luxury skincare. Her House of Barretti suit lines have been featured in New York Fashion Week three times, and Isabella is frequently referred to as one of the country’s youngest self-made millionaires. Did we mention she’s still a teenager?
Isabella started her journey to become a young entrepreneur with her business “Wear Your Wins” accomplishment bracelets. The jewelry line was created largely for kids and teens, and provided unique charms for dancers, gymnasts, cheerleaders, and other active youngsters to sport their accomplishments on their bracelets. The brand became a hit among many kids and their parents, including some of the participants of Lifetime’s Dance Moms.
With her brand’s successes and her continued work in pageants and modeling, Isabella realized something was missing from her wardrobe: professional attire suited for the busy teen she is. “I was having a hard time finding the right outfit for what I needed. Something professional that also stood out and had some bling,” said Isabella. “I wanted to create something for teens who were doing kind of what I was doing; interviews and looking for professional opportunities.” Thus, House of Barretti was born.
Fortunately for Isabella, her work to become a young entrepreneur up to this point had provided her with a solid foundation for successful marketing campaigns. Isabella was featured on television shows like TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, and Bravo’s Game of Crowns. This exposure helped her social media networks grow, and she now uses them as her primary platforms for promotion.
In addition to continuing to grow her brands though, Isabella has also made it her mission to help fellow teens learn how to become a young entrepreneur like she did. During the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, Isabella chose to use her unexpected free time to launch her IGTV channel called Business with Bella. Isabella is also currently on a how-to book called Business with Bella: How to Become Successful In Your Teens. The purpose of this latest endeavor? “The book is going to be for kids and teens who have a dream they want to accomplish. I want to be able to guide them and help them through,” said Isabella.
And because the grind never stops, Isabella recently wrapped up filming Amazon TV’s Next Big Thing NYC. The show follows 8 teens who are already on their own journey’s to become a young entrepreneur, but have big plans for their future. The entire season is set to premier later this year.
Tonee Marino: How to Become a Young Entrepreneur From the Rising Musician
And that brings us to our other panelist, rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer, Tonee Marino, who also stars in Next Big Thing NYC. Tonee first started making music when he was just 11 by posting cover videos onto Instagram and his YouTube channel. When the videos started to garner attention, Tonee realized there just might be something there. With the help of songwriters and other industry professionals, Tonee began to put out his own music and become a young entrepreneur in his own right, all the while learning as much about the industry as he could. Now, just a few years after beginning his career, Tonee writes his own lyrics and beats, co-engineers in the studio, and helps to create the video concepts for his music videos.
Now, Tonee has performed at notable venues like Legendary S.O.B’s, Citifield Stadium, and alongside artist Jay Critch at York College. He has also done interviews with publications like Buzzfeed and The Hype Magazine, and was featured on the covers of 2020 Influencers Magazine NYFW Edition, YV Hip Hop magazine (April 2020 edition), and Life Is Art Magazine (2020 “The Unity Issue” edition). “For me the two keys to growing a following and a business are persistence and patience.” With both of those tools at his fingertips, it is no wonder Tonee was on the path to become a young entrepreneur from an early age.
And while there is no doubt that Isabella and Tonee are on an incredible path to success, they’ve learned a lot along the way, and we were lucky enough to receive some of their best tips and tricks for growing a business or career at any age.
12 Tips on How to Become a Young Entrepreneur from Isabella and Tonee:
- Make Mistakes
If you’re trying to become a young entrepreneur, mistakes are going to happen at some point, they just are. But the mistakes you make are just going to make better, so learn to embrace them!
“When you start something new, you really don’t know what you’re getting into until you actually get into it,” said Tonee. “I really wouldn’t take back any of the mistakes that I made. I don’t know if I’d be the same person or artist I am now. Everyone is going to experience failure, so you just really have to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s a good thing to make mistakes.”
- Let it Go
To follow that up, don’t be afraid to let your failures go. Once you’ve learned from them, put them behind you.
“I have definitely had brands that have failed,” said Isabella. “The best thing you can do if something isn’t working out is to not be afraid to let it go.”
- Be Patient
When working to become a young entrepreneur, it’s hard not to want to be successful overnight, but that just isn’t realistic.
“Things don’t happen overnight. People like Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, they started in their garages and it took them years of work to become successful,” said Tonee. “Anyone can have their time if they’re putting in the necessary work. And the more time you put in, the more you improve, so you have to be patient.”
- Build Your Fan Base – Especially Online
Before you start a business or launch your career, you have to know there are going to be people there supporting you. As much as you may want to, you can’t do it on your own.
“Once you have an idea for something like a clothing line or something, make sure you have a fan base that is going to be there to support you,” said Isabella.
- Have a Presence Everywhere
Social media can be overwhelming at times, but Isabella and Tonee will be the first to tell you that it can be one of the best tools on your side.
“I would recommend having social media on every possible platform,” said Tonee. “The more platforms you attack, the more different people you’re going to come in contact with. That leads to more opportunities and a larger fanbase.”
- Have a Plan
This should go without saying, but you can’t launch a business or a career if you don’t have at least a slight outline of a plan.
“You do have to have a solid business plan. If you have an idea, make sure you get all of your steps laid out, like how you’re going to market that brand, how you’re going to manufacture and produce that brand, all of that.”
For example, when launching her business, Isabella knew that she wanted to take advantage of private labeling, so she immediately incorporated that into her business plan.
- Be Annoying
If you’re putting a product out, whether it’s a fashion line, a song, or whatever, you have to promote it. A lot. Tonee and Isabella suggest promoting your product/endeavor almost everyday (or even every day) before it launches.
“You really want to be annoying honestly. That’s what is going to make it stick in people’s heads and that’s what makes you stand out from others,” said Tonee.
In fact, according to Isabella, advertising should end up taking up more time than creating your product should.
“Your product is a smaller part of your business. Living and breathing advertising should end up making up 60-70% of your overall success. The more people see your face, the more they’re going to remember you,” said Isabella.
- Work with Influencers
Influencers are one of the best tools you can take advantage of, especially if you’re launching a beauty product.
“Social media influencers are the easiest way to promote a beauty line. They are paid to promote products, so if you find the right person, you can pay them to promote your beauty line, which can be huge for your brand,” said Isabella.
- Work with People You Trust
Whether you’re hiring someone, collaborating with someone, or looking for a mentor, it is important to surround yourself with people that you respect and who understand your vision.
“For business, it’s very important to have relationships and connections with people you really trust. It’s really important for collaborating and growing your business. You want to have people in your life that are going to benefit you,” said Tonee.
- Listen to Fans and Trends
After you do an initial launch, gauge the reactions from the people around you and take their feedback.
“You want to focus on your audience’s reaction and current trends within your demographic,” said Isabella. “Then you can make a better product with your demographic in mind.”
- Take Every Opportunity
Every chance counts.
“Make sure you take every opportunity, even the small ones,” said Tonee. “One of the best opportunities I’ve had career wise came when I performed at a really small show I didn’t really want to. Someone in the audience really liked my performance, and asked me to perform at a huge show in front of thousands of people. If I didn’t take that small show, I would have missed that huge opportunity.”
- Stay Positive, and Put in the Work
“Block out any negativity. You’re going to get shade for trying to do something that other people aren’t, said Tonee. “So, don’t let any negativity knock you off of your goals and put in the work. When you start to get lazy, you’re letting other people who are working all of the time pass you.”
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