Iasha Masood – “Don’t judge a book by its cover”

Iasha Masood the business owner of Insu Beauty speaks to us about her career journey and how she started up her own business.

My name is Iasha, I started off in the fashion industry and then got into sales. Once I was in sales my career really took off, so I decided to apply for The Apprentice, and I got it! I launched my business Insu Beauty right after filming was finished and it’s been incredible ever since. 

I didn’t choose this career, but it is a journey, I never knew that I would end up doing this. I just knew that I needed to do what I was passionate about.

There were many challenges I faced along the way. I had so many barriers, and I still do. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy!

When I’m overwhelmed, I get off my phone and laptop and get a big marker, and a big A3 paper pad out and create a plan on how I’m going to get past it. This is how I overcome setbacks.

‘Education is the key to unlocking future growth’

An important initiative that I feel passionate about in my role is that I truly believe that education is the key to unlocking future growth. There are so many young people with potential who become lost in life and it’s a tragedy that so much talent is lost through our education system. I really want to inspire and help the younger generations no matter who they are.

My mum gave me the drive and determination to succeed. She was a hard worker, even though she was a housewife; she raised 7 girls and 1 boy. She did everything, the cooking, the cleaning. I watched her grow as she planned house refurbishments, bill payments, and making sure we were supported throughout school, she even sent me for extra tuition when I was struggling at school. She is the hardest worker I know. 

The greatest thing about being a female in my role is, I love breaking stereotypes, because I am considered ‘girly’ with quite a high-pitched voice which people love to point out. Then I will dish out business strategy advice and I love seeing people’s shocked faces. Don’t judge a book by its cover!

The biggest lesson I have learnt along the way is that people matter more than you think; business contacts and sales can come from the strangest of places.

‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!’

I have felt my gender has bought unnecessary challenges to my career, especially as a young, south Asian women, I faced a lot of obstacles, but I’m determined to smash through them. I will thrive.

Outside of work I have so many hobbies! I love to paint, and cook new things, I miss my little sewing projects that I don’t get to do anymore. 

The mantra I live my life by is ‘Per Aspera Ad Astra!’ Loosely translating from Latin as ‘Through hardship to the stars!’.

My top three tips I would give to young females starting their careers is that relationships are everything, build your network first! There are going to be so many setbacks and you will doubt yourself, be ready for it, you can feel down, but make sure you keep going! Learn, Learn, Learn, and never stop learning! To this day I learn something new online every day, my inbox is always filled with industry news!

I heard Claude Littner once say, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’ and my mind was blown! Fast forward to some time I spent at Oxford University learning about risk and they talked about the risk grid (below) and I live by it now when I’m business planning.

One woman who has impacted my life would be Karen Brady. I read her book and I loved her attitude to everything, she is truly strong women, and a big inspiration to me.

My key motivators are that I want to have a fulfilling life, both in being successful and leaving the world as a better place. 

I feel a lot is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance, whether it’s working is open to debate!

Some strategies to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organisation or industry are that we need to look at unconscious bias! It’s easy for us to consciously make changes, when we start to look at unconscious bias is when we truly start to make a big difference!

If I could give any advice to women aiming for leadership positions it would be to support other women! Together, we are stronger! When others rise with you, they can support you when you are at the top.

‘Together, we are stronger!’

One key lesson I have learned along the way is that showing a human side of you can go a very long way. It goes back to connecting with people and developing those relationships.

If I could say anything to my 16-year-old self it would be that great things will come from huge hardship and sacrifice in your life! It will be worth it.

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