the entrepreneur series
How WorkSmart Alum Nakia J.S. Thomas Built a Successful Agency by Adding New Services and Growing Her Team
In this week’s episode, we’re joined by WorkSmart alum and professional ghostwriter, Nakia J. S. Thomas. In 2014, Nakia founded a small writing company that organically transformed and grew into what’s now a six-figure full-service creative agency. Today, as the founder and CEO of Few Editorial & Creative Suite, she and her team partner with high-profile entrepreneurs, executives, influencers, and small-to-large businesses and organizations across the country. Helping client’s voices and visions cut through the crowd, The Few Suite is a hub for content creation—providing brand development and design, copywriting and editing, social media, and marketing campaign management, podcast studio services, and one-on-one book ghostwriting with Nakia.
Applying to the WorkSmart program
When Nakia first applied to the program, her business was consistently growing but she felt constrained but the demands. In 2014, she started as a ‘one-woman show with one service—writing.’ Through word of mouth and referrals, she was able to grow her clientele to a prestigious level. By the end of 2018, she was able to bring in a few creatives, rebrand, and it resulted in her workload growing weekly.
Some of the questions she asked herself were: Does everything in my office still have to go through me before it goes to the client? How do I get over this hump? Am I handling my service processes right? Am I paying my team too much or too little right now? How will we possibly handle more clients? How do I find time to grow personally without crashing under the workload?
Once her business started gaining steam, her first hire was a seamstress. After doing everything for herself, she needed someone to help her sew. Her first full-time hire, Kristen, took over the admin duties, so that Andrea could solely focus on design and building the business.
From freelancer to CEO
At the time, Nakia says, she had no idea what she was doing. “You could say I went from a freelancer to a CEO and I didn’t know what hit me.” The community that Nakia found through the WorkSmart program became one of the most valuable things. By having that network that was small and intimate, her cohort was really able to get to know each other.
Some of the key lessons that Nakia focused on were the fundamentals of Master Your Team and Master Your Time. And it started with embracing the title of CEO.
Restructuring your mindset
At the very beginning of the program, Nakia was challenged on how she should think of herself within the company. Managing herself came first.
“Leaving more time to have meetings with clients and more space to meet with the team really helped me get more control as the owner. This structure gave clarity to the team. “It helps me work with my team better and it helps us grow better.” She also had to adopt the mindset that the business was something that would grow for years. “We’re building momentum.”
Another mindset shift came when Nakia began to think of herself as a business person. “The work doesn’t stop. It’s not shutting down.” This meant that the team was in it for the long haul, and she felt more inspired by planning big goals. Before the program, she hadn’t even written them down.
“All you have to do is set the goals and it’s going to show up.”
What to know about the program
Nakia shares some wisdom for anyone who may be considering the WorkSmart program: bring your A-game. “They should know it’s actual work. It’s not just talking to Morgan on Zoom every couple of weeks. You’re going to have to know your numbers.”
“Being around people with different sets of experiences really helps you grow,” she says. Thanks to the program, she’s been able to dream of bigger goals. “I feel like my goals have grown so much.”
Q&A: Live coaching with Morgan
How can you structure your org chart for growth?
The title of your job description needs to be specific. Think about where you want them to be on day one—so that they are able to solve problems that you have immediately and in the next 3-6 months. Solve for the reality of your business today.
How can you structure your org chart for growth?
Your sales process and sales funnel will look a bit different if you want to go for some of these bigger clients. You need to have the capacity to do that. I would suggest looking at hiring group managers by category: larger, long-term clients; small-to-medium size business, social media and websites; and solo and entrepreneurs.
Then you have time to be the CEO.
Remember: work smarter, not harder.
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