Shanti Das is something of an entertainment industry legend. Having shaped the careers of some of the greats such as TLC, Outkast, Usher and even having worked with the purple one himself (Prince), most would wonder what else Das could possibly accomplish. After some significant life events, Das decided to "press reset" and try her hand at building something of her own. Now, the owner of successful entertainment concierge service, Press Reset Entertainment, and author of 3 books, Shanti has a word for those who would like to live the dream of becoming their own boss.
We sat down with Shanti after #EssenceFest, to talk about her latest book, The 123's of Entrepreneurship, get her best tips on becoming an entrepreneur, and to find out what inspired her to take a leap of faith in starting her own business.
ESSENCE: Usually, significant change in someone's life stems from some sort of epiphany. What was the 'aha' moment that led you to becoming an entrepreneur?
Life happened. In 2009, I had a close family member pass away, I started having health issues and my mother had developed Alzheimer's. I just knew it was time for a change.
ESSENCE: If there is one myth you could debunk about being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
People think you have all of this free time to do whatever you want. They think as an entrepreneur you can just decide not to work one day and that's not true. When you are entrepreneur, you eat what you kill [so to speak].
ESSENCE: How did you adjust to life as an entrepreneur?
I prayed about it and I asked God to give me the structure and discipline needed to be successful. I also talked to other peers that are entrepreneurs.
ESSENCE: As a black woman who left an indelible mark on the music & entertainment industries, what advice would you give to those who aspire to have an illustrious career such as yours?
Some of the same rules still apply. So much of it is networking. Relationships and persistance are key. Don't be afraid of the word 'no'.
ESSENCE: What was your most memorable moment during your days in the music industry?
There were so many but I would probably say meeting and working with Prince. There was also a time when LA Reid who was my boss at the time shut down Barney's in New York so that TLC and I could go on a shopping spree. That was an amazing moment as well. We ran around the store trying to grab everything we could in an hour [laughs].
ESSENCE: How did you become known as the 'Hip-Hop Professional'?
The Hip-Hop Professional was the title of my first book and to me it means, someone that performs at a certain level with a love for the culture. Working in entertainment, there's a lot of smoke and mirrors. God placed on my spirit to be transparent. I wanted to share my journey with the younger generation who I sometimes feel have a warped sense of success. Dr. Cherry Collier first inspired me to write a book. I'd started speaking at colleges and at a speaking engagement, Dr. Cornell West read 5 chapters of The Hip-Hop Professional and encouraged me to finish it and to tell my story.
You can learn more about Shanti Das, Press Reset Ent, and the 123's of Enterpreneurship here.