Take a walk down the path of these entrepreneurs, business owners and progressive women.
With a MA in Education and a BA is Sociology with a Minor in Small Business Entrepreneurship, Tieko Wilson, Founder and Brand Strategist of Tiko Nejon, LLC, left her teaching job to follow her passion and become a brand-builder for small business startups. She partners with them to define, design and deliver a brand that it REAL to the them by showcasing their specialty and meshing it with their personal style so that they may say YES only to their dream client. When not being a mother and wife, this lady boss offers Brand Strategy, Graphic Design, and Business Education services to her clients. We had the opportunity to interview this Womeneur and find out more about her business entering its 10th year of existence.
What inspired your journey into business?
I believe I was born a entrepreneur but this particular venture began after I left my career of teaching in the classroom for ten years, my last assignment teaching Algebra. After conceiving my daughter, the idea of really doing what I love kicked in!
What steps did you take to start your business?
I studied, studied, studied. I performed by trial and error, sometimes way more error but I did not quit! I would seek and soak up all the information relevant to my industry and began to position my self as an expert worth of charging.
What did you do before this and is this your first business?
As mentioned, I was a school teacher prior to this, a total of 10 years. I last taught Algebra. I’m quite certain looking back on it, my years of braiding hair at the age of 12 for all kinds of folks qualifies as a business owner. I wold literally have clients booked for months out. This went on through college. My first government-aware business was when I was 22. Child Link, a tutorial company for children in group homes. Tieko Nejon was started in 10 years ago solely focused on Image Consulting before evolving into Image and Branding.
What is one thing that really helped you with starting your business?
Wow! If I had to narrow it down, I would have to say my love for learning. I think success is in always looking to learn something new. My husband’s belief that I could do anything and actually suggesting that I stay home from the traditional work and pursue my passion was the very best thing that could have happened.
What are your biggest business ownership fears?
I hate the word fear but I am apprehensive of other entrepreneurs that throw a title on a site and business card and call themselves a_____________. Fill in the blank. It seems like every industry is over saturated so I have to remind myself to not be distracted. As well as a consultant, we only eat if we stay booked. I have been fortunate thus far but I don’t take any of it for granted.
What do you do to stay motivated when you feel like giving up?
I first stay rooted in my belief in Christ who promised me that He had a plan for me and would be faithful to complete it. I then think about my two children. Nothing I do is for me now but it more about my children having a story to tell their children about me.
What do you enjoy the most about business ownership (what’s most rewarding)?
Most rewarding is being able to say yes and no when I feel like it, lol!!! I enjoy not having a “Monday”!!!!
What do you enjoy the least (what’s least rewarding) about business ownership?
I do not like the back end work; invoicing, banking, etc. I am working on delegating. I am horrible at that!!!!
If you had to do it again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
I would have definitely built an administrative team sooner. I now am looking for an administrative/personal assistant and it feels like it is harder than it should be. I should have done this prior to now!
What’s one thing in business you cannot go one day without using?
What’s your secret to cultivating a good relationship with your customers/clients?
I make sure to over-deliver; give past the expectations. I also honor their time and talent. I am here to serve.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I see my business as the go-to firm for building and educating on Branding. I look forward to quadrupling my team of designers, photographers and make-up artists. I look to author 2 books by then and increase my speaking [engagement] calendar. I also hope to be in a building that is a co-op working environment for creative brands.
What are 3 tips you can share with anyone wanting to be a business owner?
1) Become soooo good at what you do that you could do it in your sleep
2) Never stop learning and every opportunity is a chance to do so
3) Don’t work by mood but by schedule