4 Tips on Turning Your Passion Into a Successful Business

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Deena Von Yokes is a professional hair stylist who owns and operates Studio Savvy. She had recently launched a self-help and advice platform where she shares four key tips to attaining success in business simply by tapping into your passion for the field you are in.

One thing that serial entrepreneurs have in common is a guanine love for what they do and this makes their business profitable and enduring. Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, and Elon Musk are all known to have an insatiable passion for what they do and work tirelessly to achieve whatever goals they set.

Deena’s entrepreneurial journey to make her clients feel beautiful has spanned more than three decades. While Deena was badly affected by the pandemic, she pushed through based on the following key principles: Determination, Consistency, Responsibility, and Gratitude.  Deena pits respectfulness and professionalism above all else and that has helped her establish a loyal clientele. She frequently measures the success of her company to see how it can be improved, including the employment of analytic tools to measure the traffic to her website.

Deena followed her mother into the hairstyling business. A colorist as well as a stylist, Deena approaches each client’s look—from classic to edgy—as if it is a work of art. She is also dedicated to training each of her employees to follow her philosophy.

Deena recently discussed her business and success advice via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in becoming a hairstylist and how did you establish Studio Savvy?

Deena Von Yokes (DVY): I grew up in a hair salon and followed in the footsteps of my mom. Quite honestly, I didn’t know anything different. It was just a given. I even put it in the high school yearbook in my senior year that I would do hair and have a salon someday, and that’s precisely what I ended up doing. I started my first salon with a credit card. I was a stubborn and spirited young lady and didn’t want to work for anybody. I started in a small studio and loved the word savvy. Savvy means the ability to make a sound judgment. Being that I worked in a studio and was embarking on the beginning of my future, I came up with the name Studio Savvy.

MM: How have you made a name for yourself and what styles are you especially famous for?

DVY: I started in the hair industry by cutting hair. I did multiple hair shows for more than 15 years alongside my mother. As time went on, I found my true passion which was hair color. I was in my early 20s and was at a hair show in London. I was lucky enough to see Vidal Sassoon and Annie Humphrys. I’ll never forget the day I saw her doing hair color. It was at that moment I knew that this was the area that I was truly passionate about and thus, I began to specialize in hair color. Then, combined with growing up at the beach and living in Southern California, I became known as “The Blonde Salon.” I didn’t like that nickname at first. I felt like it limited my abilities because I enjoy and can easily style red and brown hair as well. It soon became apparent that those working in my salon were predominantly blonde and we began gaining a more blonde clientele. Therefore, I can no longer fight the nickname. It has now become something I embrace.

MM: How did the pandemic affect you?

DVY: For starters, I have never had anyone tell me in my entire 38-year career that I could not work, and that I had to shut my business down and go home. That was devastating and a challenging fact to accept. I have never felt so much stress and sadness for myself, my family, my team, and my industry. I believe in the word responsibility and what for me it means the ability to respond. In these types of situations, there’s not a whole lot of options. I went through some despair, hopelessness, and a lot of confusion. It’s essential to stay healthy financially, spiritually, and emotionally so I had some work to do. Now coming out on the other side, I feel unstoppable. I’ve gained new awareness that is going to better prepare me for the future. So, I would say overall, the effect has not been significant in the financial sense, but in the emotional-spiritual sense, I am stronger and better because of the forced pause. It helped me reevaluate everything and come back with a clearer picture of what I can and cannot do and will and will not do. I think it’s been a great time for me to transform. My attitude is I started this business from nothing and the truth is I can restart it from nothing if necessary.

MM: When did you develop your 4 Tips for Success and why did you decide to go public with them?

DVY: I want to share my knowledge and experience in a way to help grow others through education and mentorship.My 4 tips for success are simple:

  • Goals – It’s a great way to design what you want and where you want to go. What you measure, you treasure.
  • Consistency – Show up every day and keep trying no matter what.
  • Attitude – It’s everything, so pick a good one.
  • Boundaries – Know your value, know your worth.

MM: Which piece of advice do you regard as the absolute most valuable?

DVY: Stay humble, have integrity, and know how to connect with others are the most valuable assets when entering into the world of service. The top advice I have is learning how to passionately connect with others. Without passion, you’re simply doing hair. I believe people can feel that. It’s not just a thing you do. Let it come from a real sincere place of who you are.

MM: Do you hope to establish a self-help platform from here?

DVY: Absolutely. My knowledge and experience of working with people and owning my own business since I was 17 is very valuable to the up-and-coming of the world. I feel I can help people navigate their paths by being a woman business owner and knowing what it takes to have longevity and perseverance through all the ups and downs. I’ve seen a lot, and I know a lot, and I want to use this to help others on their journey.

MM: What has been the highlight of your career as a hair stylist and colorist thus far?

DVY: One of the biggest “highlights” I get to experience all the time is the gratitude of knowing that I’ve touched people’s lives. It is and always will be a great feeling realizing that when people leave my chair, they’re happier than when they initially sat down. And that’s coming from my connection with clients. When it comes to my team, being a mentor is what lights me up and keeps me going on days when I feel like quitting. The biggest reward career-wise is when someone that’s worked for me for years comes by and shares all the things that I did to impact their lives. I want more of this and that’s the next chapter of my career.

MM: What is coming up next for you and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

DVY: I’m working on launching my virtual academy online called Von Savvy Hair Academy. I’ll be teaching hair color, haircutting, and business tips on how to thrive in our industry. I genuinely think there are so many facets to this business. This is truly an evolution for me where I’m phasing out being strictly behind the chair and creating an environment to help others start in the industry. I believe without passion we’re simply just hair. It needs to be more than that. I think it’s essential to find what lights you up and always have the desire to learn and grow.

The one thing I never recognized when I was young is that you have to be a little uncomfortable to succeed. Growth does not happen if you stay comfortable. I started my life in poverty, not having the resources or the knowledge on how to start preparing and planning for my future. I was raised by a single mom who had three kids by the age of 19. My father left, and we were all one, two, and three years old. My mother worked in a beauty parlor in the back of a barbershop. This chapter of our lives was the period it all started to turn around for us. My mother, Vickie Lavanty, single-handedly pulled us out of poverty. I am forever thankful to have this industry as our saving grace, along with my mom’s fighting spirit. If it wasn’t for our scissors and combs, we wouldn’t have eaten or had a roof over our heads. Scissors and combs were the tools it took to build our future. Acquiring knowledge by learning to use these tools was my first challenge.

So, at this point in my career, I want to leave a legacy. I have a dream to create a movement called #ScissorsAndCombs. I wish to raise funds or use profits to get these tools into the hands of people along with the knowledge on how to use them. I feel I can make an impact on those who have similar struggles and obstacles when it comes to getting started in building their career and their future. I can’t help but share this quote: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

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To learn more, visit the Studio Savvy website: http://studiosavvysalon.com/