The Definitive Guide to Business

Supermodel turned CEO Tyra Banks on how to reinvent your career

Tyra Banks speaks onstage during the 2016 ESSENCE Festival presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 2, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Tyra Banks' career is not easily summed up in one sentence — and that's because she's always had a desire to do new things.

She is a supermodel, producer, Emmy Award-winning talk show host, CEO of TYRA Beauty and soon-to-be Stanford University MBA lecturer.

"I've been obsessed with the white space my entire career in business," Banks told CNBC. "Totally obsessed."

In order to create a career she loved, Banks constantly asked herself, "What hasn't been done before? What is there to conquer? What is there to innovate? What is there to create?"

That thinking helped her transition from runway model to creator of the TV show "America's Next Top Model" and "The Tyra Banks Show," which won the 2009 Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding talk show.

For those looking to reinvent their careers, the entrepreneur recommends following two important steps.

1. Start with a side-gig

"If finances are an issue, and for most of us finances are an issue, I think the pivot has to happen with a side hustle first," Banks said at the 2016 Re:Make conference hosted by lifestyle company Brit + Co.

"Don't be a fool and just drop it all if you don't have a way to pay your rent," she said. Start with a small project on the side.

"It's all about the side hustle, or that part-time job on the side," Banks said.

2. Be willing to get your hands dirty

"The way to get into a sector that everybody wants [to be] a part of is to say you'll do anything and everything — and to not complain," said Banks, who will be co-teaching a class on personal branding at Stanford in 2017.

If that means getting somebody coffee after hours or arriving early to get a head start, Banks says do it.

"Follow your fire," she said.