Being an entrepreneur is not an easy gig. Every entrepreneur goes through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We know as entrepreneurs, the journey is tough.
But every entrepreneur has a few things in common. Focus, determination, resilience amongst many other traits required to succeed. With many competitors and many avenues to enter any business simply by means of YouTube, Google & the likes, anyone can join the industry. But what makes successful entrepreneurs different is their journey.
Today, we cover the story of Khai Harrison, a local Markham entrepreneur who currently works for a local Markham Barber Shop. If you're looking to get your haircut, and are a student, a young professional or anyone looking for a great haircut, contact Khai. Khai also has instagram (@khuttzz) which will show you the amazing work he does.
Read below as we share the journey of Khai who aims to be one of Markham's best haircutters.
Tell us about yourself and how you got started?
Khai: My name is Khai and I’m a barber in Markham, Ontario. It all started off on YouTube 4 years ago. I happened to scroll by a video of a haircut tutorial and I kept watching them. Eventually I thought to myself, I want to try it, but I had no one to practice on. So I did it on myself and of course it sucked but from there I grew eager to learn, so I kept practicing on myself. I was trying to learn how to fade and from there I tried to get my friend to let me do it on him. He said no at first but eventually let me and it wasn’t great but from there a few more people let me. I grew up moving around and at the time I was living in a rental apartment and didn’t have space, so i did it in my bed room. I did all of my haircuts in my bedroom. From there it grew and I started making videos, I had no experience editing videos, I just put some clips together and put some music in the background. I grew an eagerness to not only build clientele but to make better quality videos.
What do you like about being an entrepreneur?
Khai: I like being an entrepreneur because I feel a sense of freedom. Everything, from how many clients I want to gain to where I want to cut hair all depends on myself. It’s challenging of course, but I love the challenge. Success is built on how hard and how smart you work. I learned that at a young age and keep pushing to get better.
I never thought of it as a career, I thought of it as a side hustle, but at the time it was the only thing I was doing, so I thought, “hey maybe i should take this more seriously” so I made a bunch of promotions, trying to grow my page as much as possible, then someone i knew from high school told me his barber is opening a shop and got me a job there.
Who's your biggest role model and influence?
Khai: My biggest role model is tough to answer because I never really looked up to one person, I was influenced to take it seriously by watching a few videos on YouTube on a called Damps. They’re a shop in Montreal which turned a loft into a shop before opening an actual one this year. Their vision was what inspired me and I tried giving my room a similar look to what they had
What were some of your biggest challenges?
Khai: Some of my biggest challenges was the space. Usually people do it independently in their garage, their basement or an extra room in the house. But I didn’t have that - I lived in a rental apartment with no where to cut hair. I used to have to flip my bed over on the wall to make space for people waiting to get a haircut. Another thing was money, I didn’t have the money to buy good tools but I made what I had work. One more thing was the lack of a role model. There were a lot of things I didn’t learn about cutting hair that I wish I knew sooner, everything was self taught. I did a good job but what really got me to a next level with my skills was working in a shop around people. I was taught so many techniques just by watching other people do it, and people pointing out flaws I created. When you show people, they don’t want to hurt your feelings so they don’t tell you what you need to hear, rather they tell you what you want to hear
With every successful story, there comes people who question your journey and if you will be successful. How do you get past that?
Khai: People will always doubt you, no matter what you do. You can go to med school and people will question if you’re going to be able i get a job when you graduate. The only person who needs to believe in you is yourself, because you create your own path in life and you choose what you want to amount to, so just ignore what people have to say. I don’t put too much thought into the people who question me because I don’t want it to get to my head, I know what I am able to do in the future so I just need to keep moving forward.
If you had to do it again, would you change anything?
Khai: If I had to do it again, I’d put myself out there more, talk to more people, post more on social media, talk about the business more. I grew up having a very low self esteem, I was never confident with myself, so I was scared to start. When I did I received a lot of mixed responses, people telling me I’m good at what I do and people telling me I’m bad. But I didn’t listen to them, I listened to the people who actually tried and help me improve, whether it was to improve the business or my skills as a barber. But I couldn’t have learned anything if I didn’t put myself out there so I wish I had done it sooner
If you had to give someone advice, what would you say?
Khai: If I had to give someone advice, I’d say to keep looking to improve the business, whether it’s a trade or you’re selling things, always try and improve the business, never stay stagnant always look to grow with every opportunity you get
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Khai: Anything is possible if you work hard enough for it. I started with nothing but a pair of Walmart clippers and a $20 computer chair. If you work hard and believe in yourself, great things will happen
We thank Khai for his time and for sharing his story. We hope this story inspires you to continue hustling, and continue to follow your dreams. Don't pay attention to the doubters, just keep doing you!