Once upon a time, beauty entrepreneur and Mixed Makeup founder Susan Yara, 35, worked for someone else — and her job wasn’t bad! In fact, it probably sounds a lot like a dream job. As the editorial director of video for NewBeauty magazine, Yara lived in L.A. but often traveled to New York, edited stories, and attended photo shoots for a living. But after spending more than 10 years in media working for the likes of PopSugar, Total Beauty, and Forbes, Yara realised her creative energy and beauty industry know-how would be best suited to forging her own path instead of continuing down an established route.
‘I was swamped with work [at the magazine],’ she tells Cosmopolitan.com. ‘We didn’t have typical business hours — we just worked until projects were finished.’ It was also 2014, a watershed moment in the media industry’s digital revolution. ‘My team was dealing with the same issues many digital teams face at traditional media companies — the executives at the publication weren’t sure where they wanted to take it,’ she says. ‘That feeling of uncertainty slowed our progress. We went from being creative to playing it safe, because many of our ideas got shot down.’
‘I started to feel stagnant,’ she says, just like so many people who are in the middle of their careers. That’s when she came up with the idea for Mixed Makeup, a new media platform for working adult women interested in beauty and lifestyle. Yara purchased the domain and trademarked the name years before she considered quitting her job, she explains. ‘The blog sat dormant for a very long time — it was one of a few ideas I had for businesses, but I was hesitant to move forward because blogs were such a saturated market.’
While she was at NewBeauty, Yara realised there weren’t many people who could run a team, be on camera, and produce all at the same time. But she could. With her background in broadcast, beauty, and production, ‘Brands were starting to ask me to work with them on the side, but my hands were tied because I couldn’t while working at [NewBeauty].’ That’s also when she noticed a gap in online video — specifically on YouTube. ‘Everyone was targeting their content at teenagers,’ Yara says, ‘but they were ignoring the demographic that spends the most money and probably does the most research: working women and moms.’
So, in 2014,Yara launched Mixed Makeup as a YouTube channel devoted to sharing hair and makeup tutorials, along with beauty news and trends. Instead of the just-hanging-in-my-bedroom- vibe of so many beauty vloggers, Mixed Makeup creates glossy, high-production-value content often with industry experts. Now, nearly two years in, Yara and her Los Angeles-based team of 10 produce up to a dozen videos every week on two different channels, Mixed Makeup and Mixed Makeup Wellness, and continue to work closely with influencers, health experts, brands, celebrities. (Fun fact: Yara’s team recently helped launch Molly Sims’s new YouTube channel.)
‘Mixed Makeup is the culmination of everything I’ve ever done — the skills I learned, the mistakes I made, and all the people I met and worked with along the way,’ she says.
1. Make it a full-time pursuit: ‘That means quitting your day job, and putting the majority of your time and attention into it. Otherwise, it really is just a passion project and not a true business. It’s that focus and need to succeed, especially if you’re potentially going to go broke, that makes you put your all into the business.’
2. Choose the right business partner: ‘This can be tricky. I only recommend [working with a business partner] if the other person can truly bring a skill to the table that you absolutely need. I chose to work with my business partner, Min Lee, because I knew the quality of his work and I knew he had a strong work ethic. He also understood the hustle and struggles that we were inevitably going to face when we started. Every few months, we’d sit down and write out what we want to accomplish in the upcoming months and year. This helps us keep our eyes on the prize and work hard together.’
3. Write down your goals, not your dreams: ‘You can’t just hope for your dreams to come true. You have to make them happen. I start with small goals that feed into medium goals that eventually lead to long-term goals. That’s how I plan my year. Create a realistic roadmap for your business, so you don’t overwhelm yourself before you have the ability to get through step one.’
4. If it’s not important, skip it: ‘You can keep yourself busy all the time — that’s easy. But it’s on you to decide what’s important to get your business going and keep it moving. Do you need to spend three hours answering emails? Should you really get lost in that Google black hole? No. Spend the majority of your time on what actually matters.’
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com
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