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Check out our interview with CEO & Founder of Next Step Talent Temima Shames.

Temima hopes to inspire other aspiring entrepreneurs to follow her lead and take a chance at any age. From a young age herself, Temima was engrained with an entrepreneurial mindset. Growing up in an unstable household, Temima began supporting herself at the age of 12 and quickly learned the value of hard work. She spent much of her youth as a child actress, which is where she initially got a glimpse into the ins-and-outs of a career as a talent manager.

Temima went on to study Music Business at SUNY Oneonta, and began managing a roster of music artists while working on Influencer Marketing at Visionary Records. During this time, she began to manage talent as a side hustle. She found a passion for aiding talent across the board, and from there began building her own company at just 21-years old which then became Next Step Talent. The company recently celebrated their one year anniversary, with a roster of over 25 clients and many milestones in-between. Temima cites her broader goal with Next Step Talent is to aid her clients in using their platform to create a positive change in the world.

Follow Temima @nextsteptalent or @temimashames

Hi Temima, please tell us a little about you?

My name is Temima Shames, I am 23 years old, and I am the founder of Next Step Talent.

Tell us about your agency Next Step Talent?

Next Step Talent is a full-service talent management company home to 25 clients that range from musicians to actors to social media talent with 2M-15M followers. We focus on growing with our talent and working with them to reach their goals whatever they may be. In the past few months, Next Step Talent had clients that landed roles in major network shows, feature films, launched clothing lines and also one who just launched her debut satirical album which reached #7 on Spotify’s US Debut Albums and #11 on TikTok Viral Hits. This same song “My Crown” has reached over 5M streams in less than two weeks since release. While we have a majority of our talent who started on social media, we are working to build out the various departments of NST.

What is different from Next Step Talent to other agencies in the market?

The differentiating factor is that Next Step Talent focuses on holistic management including music, acting, social media, etc. We are working to build out these departments individually to better serve our talent in all areas of entertainment. Management is about building relationships with your talent and helping them grow. If they change their goals, then we pivot with them while giving our advice as well. With a team that has experience in music, acting, etc., we can tackle the client’s career from this perspective.

What is fun and rewarding about what you do? And what’s not?

It is fun to constantly be thinking of new ideas with my talent and having the ability to be creative. It sometimes stressful to be on 24/7, but at the end of the day I really love what I do and it never feels like work. The calls we get when we get exciting news, or even bad news, are all character building and helping to further build the professional relationship I have with my talent. It makes everything worth it when something we have been working hard toward finally happens. This past month has been one of the most stressful yet most rewarding.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision is always when we have to let go of talent because often times, they are super sweet and we have built great relationships, but for one reason or another it no longer makes sense to keep them on. We hate to keep talent that we can’t give our all to as everyone deserves the same amount of attention.

What’s next for Next Step Talent?

Next Step Talent is expanding in 2022. We are hiring three new employees as our talent continues to grow and we need more on the ground help. We are also going to be helping our talent get involved with more startup companies, larger partnerships, music careers, acting careers, gaming and more. As COVID lightens globally, we will be doing more travel and expanding fanbases. We are aiming to send some clients on tour for in person meet and greets as well. One of my favorite aspects about the Next Step Talent team is that we are all really in tune with the fast-paced landscape of social media and entertainment which helps to jump through new doors as they open.

Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur gives me the ability to be creative and think outside the box. Through running my own business, I can make change, inspire others and constantly be thinking about what’s next. I love having the freedom in my schedule and being surrounded by other likeminded people.

What message do you have for other young entrepreneurs that want to follow your steps?

Go out and do it. Don’t be afraid of what might happen or what you may do wrong. Mistakes are a blessing because it means you have learned and are one step closer to your goal. As long as you reflect on your mistakes, you will only continue to grow.

Another message is that things do not happen overnight. The media portrays success, but it often misses the struggles and failures that each person went through to get to where they are. Embrace those days that feel like they will never end, embrace the struggles because one day you will look back and be grateful. It is about the baby steps. Instead of reaching for 100, reach for 1 thing a day and in just three and a half months you will be at where you want to be.

What book should every entrepreneur read?

‘Who Not How’ by Dan Sullivan is one of my favorite books to recommend to entrepreneurs because it teaches the value of connection, of networking. Even the founders of some of the largest global corporations had to ask for help, or lean to specialists. When you have a goal, think about “who” can help you to get there instead of “how” am I going to get there. “Who” immediately gets your mind to think. It encourages you to get mentors, to seek advice and at the end of the day figure out what is best for you.

What are the three things you can’t live without?

Nature, music, and human connection.

What’s next for Temima Shames in 2022?

With Next Step Talent, I am excited to continue to work with my talent to help them grow. While we are not currently taking on new clients, the talent we have are growing every day. I am excited to build new brand relationships and create new opportunities. Hopefully, we will get a few of our talent signed to a music label this year and land retail on one of our product lines. I am also looking to take NST global to open more opportunities for talent in various countries as things begin to open up. On a personal side, I am excited to get into investing in startups and real estate.

Best advice ever given?

“Take every door that opens and see what is inside. You may not think that door will be good for you, but you may be surprised.” When starting my internship journey, someone said this to me and it really stuck. I had always wanted to work in marketing and when I got offered an internship in Streaming at Atlantic Records, I was tempted to say no. I called a mentor of mine to ask what they thought and they were like try it, you may be surprised and you may love it, but if you don’t you are walking away learning more about yourself. I went in with an open mind and that was quite literally the best summer. It opened my eyes to so many things and I found a love for data analysis. While I don’t work in that department or in that area, it led me some amazing mentors that have been with me throughout my career thus far.

How’s a typical day in your life?

There is no such thing as a typical day in my life as every day is different. Some days it is attending meetings all day, some days it is phone calls, others it is events, appearances, auditions or filming. Each day depends on what our talent have going on and how we can expand.

Idea of a perfect Sunday?

My perfect Sunday is cleaning my apartment, lighting candles, drinking tea or hot chocolate, and writing down my goals for the week. I typically like to get my food shopping done on Sundays and prep for the week. I am big on getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday night to start the week off right.

What is you favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?

Anything Miley Cyrus or Charlie Puth.

What is your own definition of happiness?

Happiness is waking up every day with a purpose. Feeling that I have goals and that I am content with where I am in life. It is being able to smile at the little things. Happiness is not having everything go my way or be perfect, but understanding that everything happens for a reason.

Do you support any charities?

I am big on supporting Strength to Strength for people affected by terrorism around the world, Tuesday’s Children for kids affected by 9/11, and Scott Hazelcorn Children’s Foundation which supports children affected by 9/11 and other horrible diseases. After losing my uncle in 9/11, these organizations have been my backbone and have given me a support system that I am beyond grateful for.

What is your favorite healthy food?

I am a big fan of Açaí bowls and fresh fruit.

And your favorite cheat food?

100% pasta.

What do you think of Social Media?

Social media can be beneficial if channeled correctly. I recently started following a ton of motivational and business accounts which have been helpful to creating a positive environment for me. Social media can be used to create change and it is important that we as individuals use for good rather than negative.

Where we can follow you?

You can follow me on @nextsteptalent or @temimashames

Travel Destination: I really want to backpack around Europe or go to Thailand.