The Next Web

Sharmadean Reid on how to kickstart a community-focused brand

Earn up to $578.97/day in passive income. Make your side hustle into full time.

Did you know Sharmadean Read is speaking at TNW2020 this year? Check out their session on ‘Business by women, for women’ here.

Sharmadean Reid defines herself as a “very philosophical and strategic entrepreneur,” someone who is able to look at the details and visualize a project from start to finish. 

“I’m the type of entrepreneur who likes to have a thesis behind everything I do, and then build the right team around me to execute it,” she tells Growth Quarters. 

It seems this strategy has so far paid off. Known in UK tech circles as the woman responsible for fixing beauty tech, Reid is the founder of BeautyStack, an online booking service that highlights the work of individual artists and creators. 

She set up the business after founding WAH Nails — a nail salon business she opened in London’s Soho — which closed down following several years of trading.

Reid’s close ties with technology aren’t new either. While at university, she created a hip hop fanzine called ‘WAH,’ using her Mac Mini and after teaching herself how to use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.

She’s long experimented with beauty and emerging new technologies, such as a VR Nail Design app, and is firmly on a mission to use tech to empower women — economically, socially, and culturally.

[Read: 4 ridiculously easy ways you can be more eco-friendly]

Reid’s tried and tested productivity hacks

For all intents and purposes, Reid is the kind of entrepreneur we all need in 2020. She’s constantly innovating and able to re-invent herself and her businesses based on consumer and market needs — but how exactly does she manage to do this over and over again?

It’s mostly down to compartmentalization, she says. 

“I like to chunk up my time […] I try not to do any external meetings on Mondays or Fridays,” adds Reid, explaining how switching from one task to the next can cause her (and you) to lose 25 minutes at a time. 

Other productivity hacks that work well for her include setting up a morning call with her team, taking frequent breaks, and clearing her inbox once a month. 

As far as her creative process goes, Reid insists it isn’t structured, instead she makes a concerted effort to observe what is happening in her industry, and subsequently enters full-on research mode. 

“I do a whole bunch of research into macro trends but I also listen to users,” she notes. 

Creativity without structure

One of the hardest things about being a serial entrepreneur is coming up with ideas that help to solve real-world problems — and inspiration isn’t always easy to come by.

Reid says she gets her best ideas while she’s out walking. “I then call my smartest friends and tell them what I’m thinking and stress test my thoughts on them. I then wait to see whether they are receptive or if they’ve got any push back and think my idea is stupid,” she adds.

While some entrepreneurs swear by note-taking, Reid prefers to keep everything in her head. 

She says she’s the type of “annoying creative” who wouldn’t have had a sketchbook to show off at art school — instead opting for thinking about what’s actually required and building it then and there.

This approach, she adds, has changed somewhat over the years, after acknowledging that she doesn’t always have the right answers or solutions.