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?

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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