Ling Agaran is a Success and Mindset Coach who helps makeup artists all over the world generate wealth and up-level their businesses. Once the lead makeup artist at the Versace Mansion, her work has appeared in Bridal Guide Magazine and Vogue Italia. Her skills have taken her all over Asia, Europe, and North America.
She is a best-selling author of her autobiography ‘Little Miss Slay’ and co-author of #1 bestseller ‘The Secret Diaries of a female entrepreneur.’
In this episode you will learn how against all odds Ling quit her full-time office job and decided to become a full-time makeup artist. No guarantees, no connections, she hustled her way to success. Learn how she did and how you can do it too!
Connect with Ling here:
Here website: http://www.lingbelleza.com
Aimee Montgomery: This is Episode Number 38. Welcome to Thrive Radio, I’m your host Aimee Montgomery entrepreneur and business coach and I’ve decided to bring on other entrepreneurs to share their story in how they’re helping others to do the impossible.
Aimee Montgomery: Today my guest is, Ling Agaran and she is a success and mindset coach who helps makeup artists all over the world generate wealth and up level their business. She is once the lead makeup artist at the Versace Mansion. Her work has appeared in Bridal Guide Magazine and Vogue Italia.
Aimee Montgomery: Her skills have taken her all over Asia, Europe and North America. I also want to mention she is a best selling author of her autobiography, Little Miss Slay and co author of the number one bestseller The Secret Diaries Of A Female Entrepreneur. Welcome, Ling.
Ling Agaran: Hi, Aimee. It’s so amazing to be here, and I’m so honored to be part of this and coming on your podcast. Thank you.
Aimee Montgomery: Yes, I’m so excited that we met on Instagram.
Ling Agaran: That is so crazy, and I have to say that I am so glad that you reached out to me.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, I just opened my Instagram account. I think I had 200 people on there, and there was I thought there’s no way she’s going to talk to me, but you did.
Ling Agaran: It’s funny, because I actually haven’t asked you about that. Because you just came on and I love the fact that you just started speaking to me like a normal person and that caught my eye because I do get messages pretty much almost every day. The way you approached me it was so organic, and you just started talking to me like a normal person instead of saying hi, and you just actually just connected with me.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, and instead of trying to sell you something.
Ling Agaran: Exactly.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, you know when people have those automated messages and things that come up, I know. So, and the other thing I like to do on Instagram is send people voice messages and video messages. Because there’s not that many people that do that. So you connect with people better.
Aimee Montgomery: So, I want to talk to you about a little bit about your journey, because it’s phenomenal, and tt has inspired me on so many levels. So first of all, let’s start how did you first start doing makeup?
Ling Agaran: Yeah, so I’ve been a makeup artist for 10 years. I don’t really know how I got into being that creative because my family, they’re not creative. I think I’m the only creative person in my family. It’s my journey started pretty much 10 years ago as a makeup artist, and to be honest, I ended up having like a cystic acne, and I started like doing makeup on my own, on myself. That’s pretty much how I got started into makeup, and the more I did that, having cystic acne growing up, pretty much like couldn’t go out and didn’t want to go outside. And the only way for me to do that is to cover up.
Ling Agaran: I didn’t know I had that skills back then 10 years ago, and just as I did that, I just enjoyed the process so much and then I find self confidence, it’s really goes deeper than makeup itself. So the more I did it on me, the better I got. So, it’s almost like the skills and then I decided, “Wow, I really want to do this for a living.” That’s when I got started. I went to school, I studied makeup, I studied all the techniques with makeup, and I just enjoy it ever since.
Aimee Montgomery: That’s really cool. Then you started to do it on the side, and you were working a full time job, right?
Ling Agaran: Yeah, because I think the reason I did that is because looking around being a makeup artist, I live in Canada, and in a really small town. The belief around it is you could never make money full time doing makeup. And so I took that belief, someone else’s belief that I couldn’t. So I would have to find a full time job, a nine to five job that’s what I’m taught.
Ling Agaran: So I feel like in order to be successful, this is the limiting belief that I got. In order to be successful you either have to be a nurse or a doctor or some sort of like this prestigious profession, like an engineer, a lawyer, any of those stuff to be successful. I didn’t have that, I don’t have any desire to be those. I just don’t have that in me.
Ling Agaran: So, I went into creative, into makeup, but I couldn’t make money doing full time doing makeup, and I couldn’t support myself and my expenses. So I ended up doing what everyone else think they should do, is to get a full time job that pays the mortgage and the car. And, then so my art as a makeup artist, it just became a weekend, I call it the weekend gig.
Ling Agaran: So, it just became a weekend gig and I would do this makeup and that’s when I’m alive the most. So going through, do this full time job nine to five, it was something that I needed to do to pay for things, but when I came alive it’s the weekend when I need to do my craft. That’s how I became this obsessive makeup artist where I would wait for the weekend, so I could do what I’d love to do.
Aimee Montgomery: Okay, so how did your entrepreneurial journey begin? When did you decide that this was enough, and you were going to step out into full time?
Ling Agaran: Yeah, so I think the last two years is when I started this journey. I was at work at this nine to five job and over the years, it just kind of got harder and harder to be happy. Not that I didn’t love my work then but it wasn’t my passion.
Ling Agaran: So the more I got in, and the more I thought about what I wanted to be and I wanted to become, the more I was unhappy at nine to five job. So I decided a year and eight months ago that I was going to go full force, quit my job, leave my nine to five job, and focus solely on the makeup itself.
Ling Agaran: It’s pretty gutsy if you think about it, because really, I didn’t have any plan of how I’m going to get my next mortgage payment, or my car payment, or really didn’t think through as far as how I’m going to live. When the limiting belief around me is you could never make full time doing make up and you’re going to starve. It’s almost like a financial suicide is what everyone is telling me. Everyone just told me I was stupid to do that. You don’t have any plan, but in my head, I just had the belief and I just had faith.
Ling Agaran: It really helped that even though everyone wasn’t believing in me, I have this one person in my life, my partner that believed in me so much on my passion that I was inspired by him to do that, to leave my job and focus on what I love to do.
Ling Agaran: He said something about money is not everything. Money’s just kind of almost like a byproduct of your passion. So that kind of like inspired me to just take the leap of faith and see what it’s going to happen. If it didn’t work out and gave myself a year to make it work, and if it didn’t work out within that year, then I could go back to another job, or find another job, or figure something out then.
Ling Agaran: That’s my journey, that was the start of my journey, quit my nine to five, focus on the makeup and just find all the resources I could and figure out how to be the person and who to be that person. Yeah, it’s been amazing since then.
Aimee Montgomery: You went out there and you hustled, like you just networked like crazy, huh?
Ling Agaran: I did, I really did, and I could not tell you how I did that. I just knew that I had in order for me to do something like that. So if you think about it, a lot of people would say, I just want to be this person, and let’s do the law of attraction. And it does work, but what I did is I zoned into that and I focused on that energy.
Ling Agaran: I just felt like I took such massive action, and that came from having that inspired action really, like you said networking. That was the resource. That was the first thing it came to my mind is I need to network in this industry in order for people to know who I am and what I want to do. And just having those connection again, is pretty much my first step to my journey really.
Aimee Montgomery: It’s really incredible. Then you’ve now worked with some of the most exclusive designers.
Ling Agaran: Yes.
Aimee Montgomery: Luxury destination weddings. Now, how did that happen? You went from networking and going out there and then all of a sudden now you’re at the Versace Mansion, and you’re doing, working with all these amazing designers. And know that there’s people listening, they’re like, how in the world did she go from just networking to there?
Ling Agaran: Yeah, so what happened is when I decided to quit my job, I didn’t have anything to waste. So thank God for Google, and isn’t it so amazing to have this technology around us and Facebook and able to find who those key player in the industry.
Ling Agaran: And so really, I just networked with a lot of makeup artist, hair stylist, wedding designers, wedding planners and created pretty much a relationship. So kind of like what you did and how what we did is not like, “Hey, I’m Ling, I’m a makeup artist, I would like to be part of this.” It’s almost like, “Hey, my name is Ling, what do you do?” And just created those authentic connection. I ended up being part of a group, a makeup artist group and hairstyles group and just took that and just created this movement. And that whole networking thing you don’t know who you’re speaking with. You don’t know how they can help you really because they can they don’t know who they … You don’t really know who they know.
Ling Agaran: So, I ended up being part of this group. I’m in Canada, so there was this bridal Fashion Week, and I felt like I needed to be there, and I took the chance. Most people, most makeup artists would have gone and say, “Okay, well, that is a lot of money to go to New York, especially when you are just making minimum wage, it’s a lot of money.” Then there’s the hotel that you need to think about.
Ling Agaran: For me, I just knew that it was something I needed to do, and I needed to say yes to everything from that moment on. So I ended up saying yes to going to New York Fashion Week, once I got to New York Fashion Week, I network with a totally different network again, and then took those network home, and then I just nurtured that relationship.
Ling Agaran: Then you just kind of had that momentum, and then I would get invited to some photo shoots. It’s just been amazing to network with those people. So really, part of that is saying yes to opportunity, instead of thinking how I’m going to do this. And there’s that saying where, forget the how and just allow, which is exactly what I did. I just forgot how I was going to do it. I just allowed everything that came into my life and run with it.
Aimee Montgomery: So what are some of the hurdles that you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome those?
Ling Agaran: Yeah, so I think the biggest thing I would say is self doubt. Huge, because I mean, obviously financially, I think that’s a given to any entrepreneurial, anyone out there that financially, it’s really hard to do that. With me, I think my biggest one was of course, financial, because you don’t have that much when you’re starting out, but I would say self doubt. Because I’ve been surrounded by people that didn’t really believe in what I was doing, and didn’t have a massive support. So because when you don’t have a massive support like that, a lot of negative things comes through your head. So definitely self doubt for me is probably what kept me small, and not stepping into my power quicker than I should.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, I think that that is so key with everybody. I think that every single entrepreneur I talk to, they always say like, “I wish I would have just trusted myself and just have that confidence.” It’s so easy just to be like I can’t do it, and then you do it and you’re like, “Oh, wow, I did it.” That’s amazing.
Ling Agaran: It is and I think that’s huge. What you just said. It’s because you look back, and I’m all about checkmark kind of girl, and that’s how I started. I started with big checkmark. Okay, that’s done next, next. It’s really not, it’s about enjoying the journey, and I’m definitely enjoying my journey right now. Yeah, I love makeup, but I’m also loving, I’m actually loving all the connections that I’m making throughout this journey and just really, I would just say, enjoying the moment.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, that’s really powerful I think. Because you do, you can’t focus on the next goal, although I’m very achievement focused as well. And it’s like, “Okay, I got there. Now let’s go there.” So I think that there is a challenge there, but you’re right, you have to stop in a moment and create this life and day that you’re passionate about and that you love. Because if you don’t, if you’re miserable, then what’s the point, right?
Ling Agaran: Exactly.
Aimee Montgomery: So what would you say are some of the things that most people struggle with when they’re trying to scale their makeup artist business?
Ling Agaran: First of all, there’s two things that I think one is fear of commitment. I think it’s because of the whole limiting belief that we cannot make money from it. So like fear of commitment, and then investing in yourself is huge, I find. Then once they decide to let’s say commit, sometimes they don’t go 100% commit to that. Because again, that’s based on fear.
Ling Agaran: Once you get there as far as like getting clientele, I think one of the biggest thing is attracting clients and making it more sustainable. Because makeup isn’t something that you need every day. It’s not like a haircut, or anything like that, it is paying for makeup artists, it’s consistency. Consistency of getting those clients to pay them they’re worth.
Ling Agaran: But again, the fear is a lot of makeup artists, I feel that because we don’t get consistent clients all the time that we undervalue ourselves, because we are scared that we would rather, it’s better to have a client or any client and then undercut ourselves and then have our prices low, because we’re scared that we’re going to lose those clients.
Ling Agaran: When really, I’ve done it the other way around. I’ve created a consistent, high paying client, because I believed in my worth instead of undercutting it. Because you do have that dream client, there is a client for you, when you know how to tell people that this is your work, and then you’re respected for that. So I’ve definitely done it the other way around. I would turn down clients before, because I know that they’re not my ideal client. So yeah, that’s definitely how I’ve done it.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, I think that’s so important too. I mean, in my own coaching business, like I turned down a lot of people. You’re right, when I first started out as well, I was just in the whole business coaching stuff, you want clients so bad right away, and like, how do I get clients? How many clients? Then, for me, all of a sudden, I went from how do I get clients to 8000 people asking me to coach them, and I was like, “Okay, now how do I coach them all at once?”
Aimee Montgomery: So I almost went from trying to do the one on one thing, which I really love to, “Okay, how can I scale this really fast and take care of everybody?” But then I realized there were a lot of different people that I did not want to work with.
Ling Agaran: Exactly, and that’s okay.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, absolutely. The other thing that I learned was, it takes the same amount of effort to say sell a package that costs $2,000 versus a package that cost somebody 50.
Ling Agaran: Exactly, and I feel like when you do that, it’s actually more of the people that you want to work with, that loves you, that loves what you do, that loves what you can give them, you know, love your service. It’s really not about money, is it at the end of the day, it’s about helping those people and giving and really like helping them and showing them what you can do and change their lives. It’s really now about, it’s about them. It’s not really about you.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, 100%. I found that those that invest more, like you said, tend to be more serious about it and take the action and all of that. So I’m 100% about that. So you also have a couple of best selling books. One is your autobiography called Little Miss Slay and then Secret Diaries Of A Female Entrepreneur. Tell us a little bit about the both of those.
Ling Agaran: So back in November, I was actually chosen to collaborate with the book, The Secret Diary Of A Female Entrepreneur. At that point in my life, I was already doing so much and that I … So first of all, I never aspired to be an author, ever. I’ve never seen myself wrote a book, I’ve never, it was never in my wildest dream, really. Let me tell you, I have a lot of wild dreams, but writing a book is not one of them.
Ling Agaran: So I was asked to be part of this. At first, I was like, “Hmm.” Again, here comes the fear and self belief, right? Because to write that you would have to put yourself out there, right? Because what is the point of writing something when you’re not going to go 100%, right?
Aimee Montgomery: Right.
Ling Agaran: So when I was asked, I said let me just think about it. Because again, there’s that fear that’s about to come, again, like I’m fighting with. And so after a while, I thought about it and I said, “Wow, I have gone through so much transformation in the last year.” And at that time, a year and a year and a half. “And, if I can do this, if I do this, and I help one person and get inspired and have one person inspired by my story, then that would be worth it being part of this movement or being part of this book.”
Ling Agaran: So I ended up saying yes to this. I again, like I’m working with a coach at that time, and I remember her saying an opportunity only comes once and take it and say yes, say yes to everything. Because you never know what the opportunity is going to bring you. So I ended up saying yes to that, and I’ve met all this 19 women that is part of this book.
Ling Agaran: Again, that inspired me so much, because of their story, I resonated with all their story and they’re such warrior women, female, amazing, intelligent, like just being part of that is so amazing, and that actually inspired me to write my own book.
Ling Agaran: So when I was asked, being part of the female, The Secret Diary Of A Female Entrepreneur, I secretly started writing my own autobiography, because I was so inspired by the process. So when I started writing my own book I again, I didn’t know if I was going to put out this book, my own Apple biography, because there is so much more, and it’s so private. It’s like pretty much telling your full journey about your struggles, your pain, my pain that I went through as a makeup artist, financially, emotionally, and all that stuff. It’s like, do I want to put that out in the world, right?
Ling Agaran: When I started secretly writing it with the chapter that I had, I went back to it and read it, and I was so inspired by that and that’s my own story. And so I figured, I thought about it a lot, and I was like, again, if I can inspire other makeup artists to go for what they want, and get rid of that limiting belief that we all carry around us or through our life, and that fear of not stepping into your power, then it’s worth it, it’s worth putting pen to paper. That’s what I want to put out there is the message that you can do whatever you want, someone else’s limiting belief doesn’t have to be yours.
Aimee Montgomery: So what advice would you give someone that’s wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Ling Agaran: I would just say go for it, start, just start to do it. Don’t worry about where you’re going to get the money from. If this is something that you’re so passionate about, doesn’t matter what it is, whether that’s makeup, whether I don’t know, being an amazing doctor or whatever, just start somewhere.
Ling Agaran: It’s not about being a perfectionist, but it’s starting somewhere is the key to your success. It’s because if you wait around and say, maybe I’ll do this someday, maybe I’ll do that tomorrow, or the whole procrastination of the whole thing. Just start, start today, you don’t need to wait for tomorrow. So that would be the biggest thing because I waited 10 years to step into my greatness and to step into the power. And when I decided to squash that fear, every single thing happened and all my doors is open to me and I could never … I am so grateful. I really, getting all this momentum just by being conscious, and being aware that starting from now, and having that focus just really made a huge difference. So yes, just go ahead [inaudible 00:22:36].
Aimee Montgomery: So you coach makeup artists in how to grow their business. Do you want to share a little bit, and what you offer in your coaching?
Ling Agaran: Yeah, absolutely. The coaching is about six months, it’s a six months program that I help other artists, and it really depends on where you are at right now. So the beginning is I definitely, the first thing that I like to do in my program is to get you into the right mindset to be, to have that success, successful mindset, money mindset, believing in yourself kind of thing. Because I can show you everything that I’ve done in my business, but if you don’t have the right mindset that goes with it, it doesn’t work.
Ling Agaran: So definitely 50/50, and then as far as that coaching, it’s almost like a tool that I give everyone, everything that I’ve done. Help them with their portfolio, network with them, show them how to network with the … Let’s say they wanted to be a bridal makeup, then help them network within that industry. Marketing is huge. When it came to my business, I definitely knew how to market myself between online marketing and offline marketing. I also help makeup artists and beauty artists use their skills to monetize it online as well. So it’s not just your makeup, but we look into monetizing other skills that you have to help you generate more income for yourself.
Aimee Montgomery: That’s really awesome. You’ve been doing this for a little while now. One thing I want to ask you is what made you want to add that to what you do? Because you’re successful, and you could just bask in your success, and then you decided that you wanted to help other people. So, how did that come about?
Ling Agaran: Okay, so it’s really a funny story, is because I had a coach, I worked with a coach for a year. When I started working with a coach, it’s because I knew that I needed help, that I didn’t know how to do my business, I didn’t know anything about business. So again, investing in myself.
Ling Agaran: I never wanted to become a coach, but once I got all this momentum, like you said, I could just really just do what I do, and just write that, right? But I recognized all the pain and the struggle that I’ve gone through that I would be doing disservice to other makeup artists, if I don’t share my knowledge and what, how I’ve done to be successful, because I want them to be successful as well.
Ling Agaran: I know so many makeup artists, that has the exact same struggle and pain as I’ve gone through, and I really just want to help them out and share what I’ve done, because they deserve, everyone deserve success. If I don’t share that, and I feel like I would just be doing disservice to makeup artists, and I want to make it my purpose. I want to change their lives to get what they need to get and feel confident that they can do this, and that if they choose to be the biggest, the greatest makeup artists that they can, and I want to support them in that journey as well.
Aimee Montgomery: I love that. So what other profession other than your own would you ever attempt?
Ling Agaran: I’d love to be and I feel like I’m attracting this people right now. I see myself as speaking on stage, being an inspirational speaker, I think that would be amazing to share my knowledge and my journey to inspire others. I think that would be that right now that is my dream. That is something that I want to work towards.
Aimee Montgomery: I could see you there too. I’d attend because you’ve definitely in our conversations have motivated me on so many levels. I’m like, “[inaudible 00:26:31], if Ling can do it, I can do too.” I love it.
Ling Agaran: So funny, because what you just said, is exactly what I’ve been getting. It’s like you just need to sometimes have another person inspire you. I mean, I was inspired by you. I was inspired, the minute we started talking, I looked you up and I was like, “Oh my god, you’re Superwoman, you’re doing so much.” I was like, “Wow, I want to be there, I want to be that person.” I think the biggest thing is surrounding yourself with like minded people like you. That’s where you get your inspiration from is being around this people that can help you and really care about you. It’s not even that it’s just you really, truly care about those people and have a good relationship with them.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah. Well, it takes one to know one. I love it. So, what’s been your truth that you’ve held fast to as you’ve moved through this process of building your business and succeeding?
Ling Agaran: My truth is really being myself, being authentic. I feel like when you want to be something, you feel pressured to act a certain way, or stay a certain way, and be a certain way. For me, I really carried who I am, who I want to be, what you see pretty much is what you get. And so that’s definitely I want to hold true to myself, I want to be authentic as ever. Because I feel like when you are authentic, that’s where you attract people in your life that is as authentic as you.
Aimee Montgomery: Yeah, that’s really good. If you’re able to give yourself one piece of advice, when you first started out, what would it be?
Ling Agaran: This is a tricky question, it’s because I actually thinking about this. I wish that 10 years ago, I didn’t let fear hold me down. That’s what I would give myself now because just starting, and just believing in yourself. And I wish that I started sooner, and got to know myself, and know exactly what I want without someone else telling me how I should be, or my fear let me down. So, that’s really what I wish that I would have done to be where I am right now, is not let my fear got in the way.
Aimee Montgomery: So, I do want to mention your website. If people want to contact you. It’s lingblleza.com and obviously, you can find that on my website and the links below the podcast. You also have a couple of different Facebook pages, do you want to explain … There’s three different ones. So do you want to explain which one they should follow if they’re interested in your makeup and your coaching and all that?
Ling Agaran: Absolutely. Right now what I’m working on is yes, I am still a makeup artist, my main focus is to only do two or three wedding destination a year. So if you’re a bride, and you are looking for a makeup artists that you can trust and to be your wing women for your day, and to pretty much cater to you, and be your best friend and be the bridesmaid that you were just meeting at that time, that website is that lingblleza.com.
Ling Agaran: You can follow me on my Facebook as well BS by Ling Agaran, and if you are a makeup artist, and you’re ready to take your business to the next level, and you need to help and kind of catapult your business quick without the trial and error, you can follow me @LingAgaran, send me a message there on messenger. I also have a business page called Ling, MUA Success & Mindset Coach. You can drop me on the line, I’m on Instagram, I’m also on LinkedIn. I would love to share what I’ve gone through and see how I can support you in that sense. And just a quick chat, it doesn’t have to be anything. If we’re great fit, great, if we’re not, that’s okay, too. I just want to speak to as many makeup artists as I can in the world and see if I can help them on their journey to success.
Aimee Montgomery: I’m so excited to see what is about to happen next with you. Because there’s been so many amazing doors, and you’ve just been doing so many amazing things. I’m so encouraged just by your journey, and I do, I mean, I could absolutely see you up there speaking, maybe you’ll be on TED Talks. I don’t know, televisions, what’s next?
Ling Agaran: That would be amazing. I’ve been wanting to do all that. Really, it’s just all about having that message out there and inspiring people and really supporting people. Because really, we’re all here to do good things in the world, and if I can help that one person, I’ll be so honored to do that.
Aimee Montgomery: Thank you so much for coming on, and sharing your journey, and the way that you’re helping people. I’m excited for you, Ling and I also want to thank everyone for listening to Thrive Radio. For more information about this podcast, you can go to acalltothrive.com. Thank you everyone for listening and have a wonderful week