CEO Arian Simone Teaches Us Her Secrets To Success


To be successful, you must live a life that is aligned with God's purpose for you.

Often in life, we tend to ignore our purpose because of fear. We slave at jobs that are unfulfilling, and we spend our days, working to live out someone else's dreams. When you do work that is not destined for you, it is believed that you will never be as satisfied, happy, and successful as you can be if you were doing work that YOU were created to do.

I recently sat down with entrepreneur and boss babe, Arian Simone, who is living proof that when you don't do work that was created purely for you, things will not fully work out and you won't be as happy as you can be. Arian is the CEO of Arian Simone Enterprises and the mastermind behind the upcoming 3-day Fearless Reloaded conference in Atlanta which aims to inspire women to live fulfilled, confident, bold lives while making a positive impact on the world. But before becoming the founder and CEO of her own enterprise, she was jobless, homeless, and was in a financial hell hole.

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With Arian's fearless attitude and her life mantra of "If there is a will, there is a way," she was able to go from being homeless to living out her dreams and life destiny. In 30 minutes, Arian taught me what I like to call her 6 secrets to success that we can all benefit from knowing.

Secret #1: Don't pursue a career just because it will be convenient and easy.

In college, I did a five-year MBA program while running my own business. Even before college, I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Before owning my own business, a fashion boutique, I was in real estate, and in high school I sold Mary Kay.

The boutique Arian owned in college

When I was preparing to graduate, I became so used to entrepreneurship and I knew the ups and downs that entrepreneurship could have. I decided then that I didn't want the instability that could come from being an entrepreneur. I decided to just go get a job because I felt it would be more safe, convenient, and easy. But girl was I wrong. I did that I ended up in more hell from that than I ever had when I owned a store or any business. After college, I moved to LA and decided to ignore my entrepreneurial spirit and work for someone else. Unfortunately, just after 30 days of working there, I was laid off because the company got sold. With the job loss, I also became homeless with no money.

During this moment, I realized that people either come to a place in their life and have to surrender by choice or force, and for me it was by force because I had no choice. I learned how important it was to stay aligned with God's purpose. A lot of times when we venture off and take shortcuts (or an easier route) from what we were destined to do, chaos will come come into our lives. I learned that while living any life will have its ups and downs, your ups will always outweigh your downs and your good will always outweigh your bad in the event that you are doing what you are created to do. So when I tried to take a shortcut in that moment of my life, it created hell and I realized I should've kept being an entrepreneur. But no, I wanted to go get a 'regular job', get something stable, and do something that would keep my mother assured. But it was hell. It was truly a living hell. When people hear this story, they always say 'oh you just overcame it', but really I just got align with what I was created to do - which is being a business owner. And once that moment happened, things started to work for me in my favor.

Secret #2: Use the gifts that you were given and good things will happen.

Wherever I'm at, I always make the best of my experience, use my gifts, and have a fearless attitude. When I first went on tour with Chris Brown to be a publicist, I had no idea that I had to publicly speak. I thought that I could just do book interviews, radio broadcasts, check ticket sales, and just work at that capacity. Now I love to talk, I can talk to you all day, but I had no clue that I would have to moderate and speak by ad-libbing and performing on cue.

During the tour, Chris came up with this idea to speak at high schools and middle schools and he said that I would need to give an introduction, speak, and moderate the Q&A periods. At first I was a little uncomfortable because I wasn't expecting it, but I did my best and delivered.

Secret #3: When things get tough, push through anyway.

While I was homeless and unemployed, my parents were still in Detroit (which is where I am from). Even though going back home would have been the easy way out, I stayed in LA. My motivation was that home doesn't provide a better opportunity for me. My parents were going through a horrible divorce and were low on money, so it was either be broke there or here [in LA]. Had I went home, I would have been on my mother's couch and she was already struggling. It would've just been a mess and I would've been a burden to her. I wouldn't have been able to strike big.

Secret #4: You should never feel like you are stuck to a career.

In your career or life, you are not stuck.

If you think like this, the first step would be re-positioning your thinking because you current situation doesn't dictate your future. Nobody is holding a gun to your head, saying you have to stay where you are at. You are letting your mind condition you to think that you have to be a slave to a check and that your life and security is dependent on being at that job or having a certain career. The next step would be to create a plan or an exit strategy before leaving the place that you feel stuck at. So if you know you make $55,000 a year but desire leaving your job, you know you will need a good exit strategy. This exit strategy would need an income of about $5,000 a month to transition seamlessly so that you don't have any of the hiccups that I had when I got laid off. Your first strategy may you want to go talk to HR and see if they can outsource you at your job, but also keep you on salary. Outsourcing is a write off for the company, and they can still have you doing what you are doing. The only difference is now you have the freedom of working from home and the flexibility to start whatever this new venture is that you want or go do something else that you desire.

Another secret for this is figure out what you want to do, and then find someone to pay you to do it. Let's say you love to be a cartoonist or paint, there is someone that will pay you to do it.

Secret #5: Don't rush special moments and always take advantage of all networking experiences and resources.

When I think about the advice that I would give college students that want to own their own business in school, I would say that I wouldn't recommend it. If you want your own business, I think you should use your time in college to prepare for that, but I don't recommend to operate in full execution mode like I was. Doing so was definitely a big much - I had a brick and mortar business and I was open during mall hours which are 9am-8pm. This takes things to a whole new level for me, especially because I was a full-time student as well. I feel like I kinda rushed things and my college experience. I should have been more in that collegiate state - not that I have any regrets, but there are so much in the college experience that you can benefit from. College is such a short, precious time, and you should be able to absorb it all.

Arian Simone's boutique while in college.

During your time in college, I recommend that people take advantage of everything, including the networking and resources. College is like a huge networking incubator full of opportunity and creatives. Somewhere on the campus, there is a budding graphic artist, photographer, you name it. You should be figuring out how to collaborate with them and build relationships. A lot of successful businesses nowadays stem from those college experiences, and sometimes don't start until after college.

Secret #6: As a manager, learn how to hire smarter and better.

As a manager, you always want to hire great talent. That is key. One of my favorite producers says always “cast behind the scenes as well as on the team." You definitely want to have people that are not just good, but they have to fit in with the culture of your business. Also, as you are selecting your team, you definitely want to make sure they are aligned with the vision of your business.

Currently through her enterprise, Arian is managing her successful subscription box business. When she is not curating lifestyle boxes, she uses her personal brand and hold fearless discussions about being transparent in today's society and pop culture.

She is also known for her motivational speaking and has spoken at Dartmouth College, Purdue University, Howard University, FAMU, and a host of others. Arian has also spoken at major events such as Dwyane Wade's Wades World Youth Summit, MegaFest, and the Delta Sigma Theta National Convention just to name a few. Through her philanthropic efforts, she uses her life as an example and serves as the Founder of the Live Your Dreams Foundation, which empowers women and girls to live a fearless and fulfilled life.

What are you doing today that will shape your tomorrow?

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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