When I first met Besidone, it was at a casual brunch with a group of my closest industry friends one Sunday afternoon after a long night of partying at the W Hotel in Hollywood for BET Awards week a couple of years ago. It was a small group of us, maybe four or five, but because Besi was included in the caliber of people who were at this table, I knew she was someone I needed to know, or at least keep in touch with. We all ate brunch, then went to see Transformers. Although little to no words were exchanged between the two of us, it was something about this girl’s spirit and inviting personality that I made it a point to get her number and stay in touch before the eventful afternoon ended. I was very hopeful that we would form a friendship.

At the time, she didn’t know it, but I always made it a point to reach out to Besi every time I went to Los Angeles because building positive relationships with like-minded women in the entertainment industry is very important to me. Besidone has become more like a sister over the past two years. In the beginning, I had no idea that she was Revolt’s Consumer Director. I knew little about Besi’s professional background because when we got together, it was never about “networking” or work. The conversation was always about personal development, life goals, and just being encouraging and supportive towards each other more than anything. When I eventually saw Besi’s light is when I went to the Revolt Music Conference in 2015. This girl was on it. I was so proud to see my friend in her element werking! So when she told me she was thinking about making the drastic career change to leave the company she was performing so well at and pursue her own personal goals I was shocked, but I was all for it. After witnessing Besi launch her brand “Good Woman” and switch gears to manage talent, I thought that she would be the perfect person to interview for REBEL. Every time I speak with Besidone, she inspires me on so many levels. I hope her interview inspires you as well…

Describe your cultural, educational, and professional background.

I was raised in a very traditional African home. What that means is that education was really high on the totem pole. There were a lot of discipline and rules I had to follow. It was very strict. Having those limitations and not binge able to hang out with my friends, be at the mall, or have different ways to entertain myself through those avenues, I started reading a lot. I was really into books. I’d go to the library and come home with 15 books and read them. As I started reading, I had to get more involved with education and I decided to focus on the things that I like. With that, I really liked learning about other people and that’s how I decided to major in Sociology in college. I thought that if I can really understand and learn people and how we communicate, then I can help people. I wanted to become a lawyer. I tried to get into law school. I got accepted into a third tier law school, but I decided that I didn’t want to be in debt and in school forever.

I knew I wanted to be in entertainment. In college, I had been in a promotions company that I started with a couple of friends, which was my first attempt and becoming an entrepreneur. We put on a $50,000 concert funded by ourselves and it was with Trey Songz. I knew that at that time Ready, his album, was coming out, we wanted to tie in HIV/AIDS awareness because the idea for the campaign was “ready to be in love, and ready to make love.” We wanted to have some type of give back. Trey was on board. We knew that at the time Drake was also pretty hot and he was doing a lot of music with Trey. We knew that if we booked Trey there might be a small chance that Drake would decide to pop up. It eventually happened. He popped up at the show. I saw right before my eyes and said to myself, “Wow, if i can do this at 20, what can i do at 30? I can do anything.” That’s when my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in.

I graduated and interned at Aftermath, BET, and Hidden Beach Recordings. I ended up having a mentor in Jack Maiden, COO of LA Models and he wanted to hire me to be a receptionist, but I declined. He called me back and said, “You’re going to start here and I’m going to train you to be an agent.” And I said, “Okay.” So I did that for a couple of months, and I was an assistant at the receptionist desk, doing both jobs. I finally became a junior agent, which was awesome. An opportunity came about to work with the CEO and help him manage his companies which were LA Models, NYC Models, Exclusive Artists and Exclusive Casting. I jumped at it and also enrolled in a MBA program at the same time. I treated my job like an internship because if I could learn from a multi-millionaire and be in business school, I felt like that education would come full circle and I would be able to activate it at work and outside of work. So I’d be in a constant state of learning.

I also knew that I really wanted to get into music. I was trying to find every single avenue because music was the vehicle that’s always helped me express a certain part of myself. Being around it makes me happy and fulfilled when I’m around a different type of energy. I called up every single studio in LA and asked if they were hiring for any assistant positions, even though I didn’t have a music tech background. There was one studio that took my calls and told me to call back in two weeks and I consistently did. One day, she asked me to come in for an interview. She also asked why would I work there because I’ve done so much. I really needed to be around music and I thought being a front desk supervisor on nights and weekends when I’m not in my fulltime day job or in school, was helpful because I could be around music and I would just study at the desk. So I started working there two nights a week. My schedule was Monday through Friday, at the Agency. Friday and Saturday nights, I was at the studio from 6pm – 2am. On Saturday and Sunday, I was in class from 8am – 5pm, two times a month. I didn’t have time for anyone. That’s where my cultural background of having education be a core really drive me, help discipline me, and help me understand if you want something you really have to go through everything you possibly can to go get it. And at that point is when I realized it was the education, the connection, industry understanding of how a studio works, how an album is made, who works on the album, and how it’s promoted. I didn’t know then that I was working next to two of the top engineers in the world. I used to take their food orders and joke and laugh with them. That to me was priceless. I didn’t care how much I got paid at that desk. I just loved being around music.

Then the opportunity came to work at REVOLT TV. I was super excited. It was just the beginning and it hadn’t been announced. Working there, I started in the social media department and moved on to work in marketing, where I found was my niche because I had been ultimately doing that for brands and unsigned artists, prior. Bringing back in my experience managing talent and helping start the social media at LA Models and help brand them digitally, I carried that over to REVOLT. My affinity for music helped because I had passion. I went from a Marketing Coordinator to Marketing Manager working in sales and the integrating marketing sector. From there I was Consumer Director, working on all facets of the company that involved marketing or promoting to consumers or gaining consumers, really focused on social media, content, branding the company and promoting it offline and online. The company’s digital presence was just as important as its physical. Any programs, content, events, I was involved in helping to promote it. It was great there. I worked on so many projects; worked on so many albums. We did a ten-city tour that I planned with my boss and execute, which was amazing. There were so many things that I got involved in that I loved but I felt like I was missing something. I didn’t have what I needed to go to the next level. I loved the opportunity that I was given by Mr. Combs to help him create a business for young people.

I saw that at this time, women are not being utilized as we should. I felt like I needed to be around a more feminine arena. I was presented with the opportunity to be the Director of M&P, which is a digital talent management agency at StyleHaul. We manage social influencers primarily on youtube, instagram, snapchat, twitter and facebook. It’s been a real journey. I’m working with a lot of different brands where I’m able to create female entrepreneurs and put money in their pockets when they don’t have traditional nine-to-fives. One of the biggest things for me is representation. I work with a lot of different ethnicities of talent from African American, Hispanic, European and align them with big brands. Having them represent large companies is fulfilling for me. With that wide audience of people viewing them, we’re showing young people that they can be apart of this and aligned with this too. It’s also informative. A lot of people don’t know about certain types of products. It’s like hearing from your best friend on what’s cool and what’s not cool, something you should buy, a product you should know about, or whether it be an event, or providing a cool experience. It allows me to use my strengths of creating business partnerships. I’m working with a national music promotions company now to create experiences with some of the content creators to promote signed artists music concerts and events. Those types of things are really where I can bring my business skills to use and it started at home with the education and the culture.

What was the moment you decided you were supposed to move on to the next venture?

I knew I was supposed to move forward in November. It was just in me. I really learned so much working under the leadership at REVOLT and I felt like I got to meet people who you don’t get to meet in your lifetime; people who are going to be prolific when it comes to music history. As a woman, I know the type of boss I want to be and I always thought about representation. I had to take myself outside of the music culture and come back with something again later.

I always felt like the top players in music right now are Apple and Spotify. Those are the real money makers and key players that are really dictating music technology. Music is nothing without technology. Moving forward, if you don’t have a music and technology background you’re not going to fit. You won’t be a player. You’ll be a piece. I knew I wanted to be a player. I thought to myself what is the next level of marketing and branding when it comes to music. The talent will always be there. What is the next level of promoting musical talent? What is the placement like? What are the new tools that we can use to promote an artist? What else can artists sell other than music and tickets?

That’s where the idea of branded content became something I knew I needed to be in, but I needed to dig deeper. What skills do I have? What skills do I not have? What strengths can I play up to and advance my weaknesses and turn them into strengths? I knew that getting into branded content and actual influencer management is going to be the next thing. That’s how we define ourselves and how people know you. If you don’t have a social page, how does someone know who you are? It’s through word of mouth. It’s digital, showing a digital profile. As music advances, there are opportunities that these music artists need to be taking advantage of. That’s branded music content and creating opportunities for themselves to advance their music.

I went into influencer management knowing that I would be able to grow a cool brand that’s new and very relevant to women but I would be able to immerse myself in a new culture and learn things and combine my background to be a player later on.

“I had to know that the comfort of creating great relationships meant that I would then have great relationships to move forward with, if they are what they’re supposed to be and they have proven to be amazing.”

What was your transition like from leaving your previous job into this new venture?

As soon as I quit, I went to Nigeria with my family for two weeks and I just unplugged and disconnected from everything. Living in an environment where it was different and there wasn’t constant wifi and checking social media, I was able to be stripped of everything and see what I really wanted to do. At that time, I knew I was in the right place. I knew I was doing the right thing and taking the right step. I was very comforted. I was sad I was moving forward from my prior company because I created really great relationships. I had to know that the comfort of creating great relationships meant that I would then have great relationships to move forward with, if they are what they’re supposed to be. They have proven to be amazing.

From then, I went to London and met with some friends and that’s when I knew I wanted to do International business. Moving forward, that tweet you’re talking about was another moment when I woke up and said, “Oh wow, this has to be bigger moving forward. You’re doing great six months in, but it has to go bigger,, so what is the next step?” – That’s expanding my knowledge and really putting an effort into my passion project called Good Woman.

Describe your brand, Good Woman.

Good Woman is the idea of focusing and sharing the stories of women in their twenties to early thirties about their growth in womanhood. I feel that a lot of women don’t have an outlet or have anyone to talk to to get the great advice for the things that we go through that makes us or defines us as women. You can’t ask a magazine or media outlet. You have to ask another woman who’s gone through it. Sometimes she’s not your sister, aunt, or best friend. You don’t know who it is, so by women being vulnerable and utilizing their feminism to express what they’ve gone through, it’s a valuable source of information that connects us women. It really empowers us and gives us confidence. We can be learning from other women. It’s like mentorship. You learn from somebody else. You have to go seek it. Even if it’s in a book, someone else wrote it.

I felt like by sharing women’s stories on the Good Woman platform it would also be a great vehicle to create content that empowers confident women and promote feminine energy which I feel is something that women don’t know how to tap into. Sometimes we feel that vibe comes from sexuality, but there’s a certain care that comes from femininity; a woman’s hug, a woman’s touch, or a woman listening to you, or a woman comforting you. There’s a certain energy and glow that women give. We don’t have to be strong with our fists, we’re strong with our hearts, our word, touch and care. I want to be a person who advocates for femininity in women because I feel we let the masculine side take over. We want to be a boss and not allow our partners to take care of us. There’s a beautiful side to femininity that I feel like your partner can benefit from. I want to encourage that in young women.

Since that moment, I’ve launched a phone case line as an accessory a bi-product of the passion project to sell. I’ve become a professor at AMDA College Conservatory teaching entrepreneurship for the arts. I’ve always done creative branding and consulting so I’ve seen a big change. When I woke up that morning, I said in six months I needed to be in a bigger space spiritually, professionally, and personally. Taking the steps to do that was to go a bit higher, sacrificing a bit more, and putting myself in a position to take bigger leaps and bigger risks.

Have you dealt with any struggles while starting your business and transitioning into entrepreneurism?

I think the struggle is to start. The struggle is having the confidence to believe you can actually do it. Everyone has tons of ideas and they want to do great things. The biggest thing for me to do was to start and commit. I have 50 ideas for businesses, but I don’t believe I can do all of them. I had to muster up the courage to believe I can do this one, continue to prosper it, and to also have the confidence to build a team. I have a creative director and two coordinators who work with me on Good Woman. It’s hard to be able to have the confidence to go out and speak to other women. It takes confidence. I questioned myself with, “do I even know what I’m talking about? Can I really take Good Woman to a certain place? I’m still growing. I’m still young. Can I actually give advice?” Then I realized all the other facets of my life where people lean on me and are always looking to me for advice as a teacher or a mentor. Then I said, “ Okay, I have to step into my light. I know this is my gift and I have to trust my gift. I have to keep going.”

That was the hardest thing because so many people always tell you that you can’t do anything. I feel like if I had taken everybody’s advice, then I wouldn’t be in any position that I’m in right now. I wouldn’t have half the mentorship that I have. I wouldn’t have half the resources that I have to do things. The biggest struggle for me was just starting. You look at businesses and you think, “Wow, how do I get to a million dollars or my own office?” It’s work. It’s just doing it. It’s consistently committing to doing it every single day. When you wake up, what are you doing to advance your company? If I’m not doing something to advance my company, then I’m not moving forward or it’s not moving at all. So for me, the struggle was starting my company and actually doing it.

“If anyone is complaining about their situation and you’re not doing anything to change it then you want to be there.”

What does the mental transformation feel like now after starting your company?

I’m confident. I feel super confident in myself. Our first phone cases sold, and I woke up to the money. I’m making money in my sleep. That was something I always wondered how people did that. I thought if I could do that then I’m winning. With two phone cases here and four phone cases there, I had to start somewhere. One day, I could wake up and it’s 500 cases sold. That is enough to make me believe that I know I can do it, even if I just sold one. It’s like what else can I do. That curiosity as an entrepreneur keeps me moving forward.

What are three signs someone can identify about themselves to let them know it’s time to transition from a 9-5 into entrepreneurism?

I would say when you’re uncomfortable, when you are not having the right attitude and your energy is not right, and when you don’t feel like you have what you need. I was uncomfortable where I was and unsatisfied. I was uncomfortable when I didn’t have the proper finances. For me, I was uncomfortable that I wasn’t seeing the results. I was uncomfortable that I didn’t have the right connections and wasn’t in the right community. I was upset. My energy wasn’t the same. My attitude wasn’t positive and I wasn’t happy. I knew I needed to move. Seeing that I just didn’t have the things that I wanted, I was like okay, this is simple, “How do I go get it?” I’ve always felt that if anyone is complaining about their situation and you’re not doing anything to change it then you want to be there. You’re just a complainer. It was more about what I am going to do about it.

Are there any tools like books that you may have read or motivational speakers you’ve listened to who may have helped educate you and helped your transition into entrepreneurism?

One Hundred and fifty percent! Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is a really great book that I always just read. I constantly read it. It basically tells you how to not mess up your business very boldly. I also have people around me. You need to have people you trust who have done more than you have who are willing to give you advice. You’ll find them. There are very few though, but they exist. Utilize them and trust them. Rely on them because those are the people who I would ask advice, like, “Hey, I’m about to do this. What do you think?” There are multiple people. Sometimes, my best girlfriend from high school who knows me in and out, who is in a completely different world. And some people, I wouldn’t tell my moves. The tools that really helped me was that book.

I’m also very faithful. I follow God’s direction. I’m very spiritual. When I hear Him, I listen and I move. I just stay focused. The advice I’ve been giving a lot of people lately is stop paying attention to what everyone’s doing. When you start paying attention to what everyone’s doing, you are distracted from yourself. You are distracted from really understanding you inside.

My new goal is my body and that is to get so in tune with what and who I am that I’m really unaffected by what other people are doing and having the ability and mental discipline to focus on the things that I want to do. Why can’t I get wrapped up in a new social psychology book. Why can’t I get wrapped up in learning French and mastering it, as opposed to, “Did you see this on instagram?”; or being affected by someone posting a vacation picture, like, “I want to go on vacation.” I don’t want to get distracted by what anyone else is doing. I want to be so deep in my own that no one is affecting me and people are watching me asking themselves what is she doing. I want my mind to be on and so involved in my own business that I’m just constantly trucking through and advancing. I think when I get to that point, mentally, then I can give give give everything away and just continue building because I’m not worried about what everyone else is doing. That’s when you become the tastemaker. That’s when you become the creator and then everyone’s watching your moves.

Why do you consider yourself a REBEL, a Revolutionary Entrepreneur, Business and Entertainment Leader?

The fact that I’m a confident, tenacious, feminine woman. That makes me a really good rebel. I’m dedicated to that and there’s so many parts to that person. I’m able to give as much as I take, and I have so much to give.

How can our REBEL readers support your business?

Follow me on social media. Follow Good Woman. That’s the biggest passion project right now. My goal is to really showcase and highlight great women. If you know of any great women, at me, tell me, and follow me on social media. I want to know who they are. I want to hear their stories, and I want to promote them and spread their word. I just believe the value of good is in every woman. Whether she decides to show it or not, it’s in her. The more we can stay around that glow that she gives in good, we can give the world some more of it.