19-year-old Samoa Blanchet runs her own company, Ink’d by Samoa, where she works with other entrepreneurs to find their angle and create their brand. She’s currently a college sophomore and she balances running Ink’d by Samoa with being a full-time student. Her powerful, quirky story was a joy to read and I know you’ll enjoy it, too!
SS: Hi Samoa! Great to have you. To start off, describe your current job in one sentence.
SB: I help entrepreneurs figure out their business superpower and use it through visual design and words.
SS: Tell me a bit about your childhood and teenage years. Where and how did you grow up? How old are you now?
SB: I spent most of my childhood in Miami, Florida, though I was born in Haiti. My parents were very strict and I couldn’t spend much time with friends from school. The internet and the computer became my haven, and I’m 19 now. 😊
SS: When did you figure out that your job was your passion?
SB: I always knew that I loved art and design, but I wasn’t sure I was meant to do it until I completed a poster last minute and submitted it to a contest. I won the contest and I thought “If I can do something last minute and still win, imagine if I really tried. I could do so much!” So I chose to go into this field. I was 16 at the time.
SS: What did that feel like?
SB: It was amazing! I was feeling so much pressure to figure out what I wanted to be and I wasn’t sure about anything. Now I had a clear path that led to where I wanted to go.
SS: Who were some of the most influential people that helped you along the way?
SB: My graphic design teacher, Mrs. Soto, was the most influential person. She always pushed me to be better and knew when I wasn’t trying hard enough. She believed in me before I believed in myself.
SS: Did you have any jobs or internships in high school or college? How did those affect your career choice?
SB: Lol I’m still in college! I’m about to start my second year. I did have multiple virtual internships in high school. I got them at internships.com and they taught me what I DIDN’T want to do. They were mostly for social media.
I also got one the summer before college started and that was a Graphic Design one that I loved! It was amazing.
SS: What made you decide to start your own business?
SB: I was annoyed, really. I was working with an influential woman who was breaking ground in business. But eventually, I started feeling underpaid and undervalued and the working relationship ended in a mutual decision.
I found another job that was paying me twice as much an hour and the owner seemed to value her employees so I was excited. She offered me a trial period where she’d give me a project and she’d hire me based on how well I completed it. She told me she was very impressed with me, but she had to go with an older, more experienced woman.
I was crushed. My rent was coming up and I was super stressed. “How can I get experience when no one will give me a job to get experience?” So I reasoned that if I became my own boss, I wouldn’t care about my experience and I’d work my way up. That’s exactly what I did.
SS: Name one big struggle that you’ve had to overcome.
SB: Confidence was my biggest struggle. I couldn’t price my services correctly because I didn’t know what my value was. I’m starting to learn that and I’m getting better.
SS: Name one big success that you’ve achieved.
SB: I think that being a Millentrepreneur with a business that sustains me every month is pretty successful! I’ve also made so many wonderful connections and even friends in the industry and it’s very refreshing to be with people of the same mindset going through the same journey.
SS: On your website you talk about “Business Beasts.” What essential skills do all business beasts have?
SB: A Business Beast is basically an expert in their field. They make it their business to know the in-and-outs of their industry. I’m a Branding Beast. However, they’re also humble and kind enough to learn more and help others get to their level. They believe in collaboration over competition and that we all have unique talents so even an expert in the same field isn’t necessary competition.
SS: How can teens get started with branding while they are still in high school?
SB: Well it all depends on what you’re branding. It’s very simple, actually. Date yourself. You need to be true to yourself and get to know who you truly are. Not who society, your friends, teachers, or parents tell you to be. You need to be honest on which path makes you feel good and follow it, because you’ll eventually stray over to it anyway. So stop wasting time going the conventional route and do it yourself.
My parents wanted me to be a Physician Assistant and though they make great money, I just couldn’t picture myself as one. So I didn’t do it. I don’t know what that path held for me, but I can say that I am currently very happy. 😊
Anyways, before you can figure out what you want to be and what you want your brand or business to be, you need to figure out who you are. Take some time to reflect deeply on that and ALWAYS make time to spend with yourself. Hell, even talk to yourself (I do it). If you become your best friend, you’ll be a lot more confident and sure of who you are and what your goals are. Those are the key foundations of a brand.
SS: What’s the #1 piece of advice you offer to a high school student who wants to be a Business Beast?
SB: Do it. Don’t wait around because you’re scared, or you “don’t have enough money”. Most importantly, don’t whine. You want something, go for it. Make the sacrifices it takes so you can reach Business Beast status. Also if you don’t know something, Google it. I guarantee you that you’ll be able to figure out the answer 98% of the time.
If I had started this journey at 16, I think that by 19, things would be a lot easier for me. But that’s just me.
SS: Finally, what’s a quirky fun fact that we should know about you?
SB: I already said it but…
I talk to myself – a lot! Like I will literally get annoyed if I go too long without talking to myself. It’s how I get my thoughts in order, come up with new ideas, solve my problems, and it generally makes me feel better. ◊
Thanks so much, Samoa, for taking the time to answer all of my questions! I know you’ll be successful but I wish you the best of luck anyway. 😉
Do you want to learn how to be a teen tycoon like Samoa? Click here to get my free, three-day email course that will help you figure out what field is right for you and how to get started.