In the 1700s, South Carolina became a slave society, with slavery central to its economy. African slaves were made to cultivate labor-intensive rice. Here’s a proud descendant of black ancestry from that past of pain and hurt, Coach Nykia Wardlaw, who frees small business owners to leverage digital technology and reap profit!
In this feature, the Editor-in-Chief of StartuptoEnterprise, Linda Ashok, talks to the Founder of Chosen One Agency LLC, Nykia Wardlaw, walking us through slavery in South Carolina; to helping her first client pay off $14000 in debt and more! Read this interaction between two women entrepreneurs in the world that still hesitates to fund women-led enterprises.
LA: What is your take on the small business industry in the digital marketing sector? What do you think about the current growth, and where do you see it headed?
NW: Propelled by the pandemic, the small business industry has been disrupted forever. The majority of small businesses, for long, have been resistant to new technologies. Still, now, due to the pandemic, those small businesses are ready to adopt digital tools and evolve for good.
In the future, I see small businesses directly launching online before considering offline presence. According to a survey by Facebook, the social media behemoth informs of 76% of its advertising revenue from millions of small-and-medium-sized businesses, which sounds terrific.
I am very positive and hopeful how small businesses are now ready to take charge of their growth and enjoy equal visibility at par medium and large enterprises!
LA: Nykia, “According to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, Black women-owned businesses represented the highest rate of growth of any group in the number of firms between 2014 and 2019 as well as between 2018 and 2019. When looking at specific minority groups over the last five years, growth in side-entrepreneurship is up 99% among Black women. They started an impressive 42% of net new women-owned businesses, which is three times their share of the female population (14%).” How do you feel to be a part of this growing community as a Black Digital Marketing Agency Founder?
NW: I feel honored and grateful that I am the Chosen. God gave me this opportunity to create a mark in history and help other black women cross my path to do the same.
LA: As an African-American woman, what has been your experience with racism in America, and how do you deal with it?
NW: Well, South Carolina has a history of slavery wherein the blacks were enslaved to cultivate the seemliness rice, a major cash crop. And yet, South Carolina is not done with racism when the African-American community experiences discrimination on several occasions.
- I experienced racism for the first time as a middle-school student because I dressed up like any caucasian girl. I was punished due to my race and body type.
- I have experienced discrimination in restaurants with my friends and pulled over in a traffic stop for suspicion, called ‘Driving While Black’ here.
- I have experienced racism by gaining assistance from organizations to help small businesses here. Being an African-American in South Carolina and operating a business, you have to work 10X harder than your counterparts to be successful.
I have overcome racism by learning to control my emotions. The best thing a person can do, especially of color, is to stay in control of their emotions and be the bigger person when dealing with discrimination. I’ve also learned to love and educate those around me as much as possible. I use my voice to tackle issues and create solutions for our people, which has been vital to overcoming the emotions of discrimination and racism.
LA: What do you think about Digital Marketing & Client Success Counselling as practiced in the U.S. compared to the U.K. or in Asia? Do you think agencies of these regions have a distinct way of practice?
NW: Digital Marketing and Client Success counseling in the U.S. compared to the U.K., or Asia is slightly behind. The U.S. is more skeptical about inputting information online than the U.K. or Asia.
A study conducted by 360i exploring the role culture has on how people in the U.K. and the U.S. engage on Twitter. When a brand is mentioned, it is usually to share a specific experience the user has concerning the quality or customer service. In the U.S., brands are more likely to be mentioned negatively, revealing how distinct cultural practices influence specific platforms.
I believe the way the U.S. culture looks at digital marketing compared to the U.K. or in Asia is more negative and comparative over collaborative. As time goes on, I hope that the U.S. can adapt to digital marketing and client success counseling expeditiously and effectively. I believe digital marketers in the U.S., like me, inspire and educate others to be a part of the inclusive culture.
LA: Nykia Wardlaw runs three businesses. Tell us more about each one of them. How did you start? Were they separate entities from the beginning, or have they evolved as different service lines over time? Do you have websites for each one of them?
NW: Thank you for asking. As said earlier, I believe God has chosen me to lead my fellow businessmen and women to tap the immense growth potential of the digital.
My first business is Chosen One Agency LLC, a done-for-you digital marketing agency specializing in Content Creation, SEO, Sponsored Advertising, Website Design, Logos, Business Plans, and much more.
The second business is CC The Software, launched in 2021 to help clients schedule their posts automatically to all their social media platforms and free up their time for more focus on driving strategy.
The third business is Chosen One Academy, a digital marketing academy creating online digital courses for private and limited one-on-one 8-week coaching program helping entrepreneurs and SMBs make their brands profitable.
LA: There aren’t many press coverages on you available online, which makes me ask if you were shy or strategic about your personal and business branding with so much success as a digital marketing entrepreneur.
NW: I hesitated to go public until I was ready to build a solid foundation by setting up the operations’ back-end side. I have also focused most of my agency’s efforts on figuring out our stronghold, such as Facebook Ads being our most sought-after expertise. Most importantly, I believe that when my clients reap the revenue, it is organic growth for my business through word-of-mouth, warm referrals, and testimonials. I would say it’s been a strategic move because we have been able to work with who we choose instead of everyone.
LA: The pandemic, Nykia, has made work-from-home the new norm, and people in this sort of arrangement have come to identify as digital nomads. So, is your agency occupying a physical space, or is it completely virtual catering to a global clientele with you and your associates operating as digital nomads?
NW: Our business model always has been a remote one as we could see, not the pandemic, the advancement of technology driving the world for remote business delivery. We have always focused on servicing our clients virtually.
The pandemic didn’t make any adjustments to our delivery model. Still, it grew my agency for a higher intake of clients from the small business community and solopreneurs seeking to work with us. This growing success of Chosen One Agency now calls for marketing our services to reach out to more small business owners hesitant to go online but seeking support.
Yes, you can say that my team and I are digital nomads as it is 99% online. I may meet 1% of my clients to build relationships or assist with their orders, as some of my clients are seniors who do not have experience working online. I’m truly glad I saw this coming when we launched Chosen One Agency LLC in 2019.
LA: Nykia, do you remember your first client experience. How did you find your first client, what was the work like, and the impact you made?
NW: Wow! It was like yesterday when my first client hired me to help their business. I was so excited but nervous at the same time. I wanted to make sure I gave the client the best experience and expand the business to the next level. The work was simple for me; the client didn’t have digital exposure, so I had to help him establish that digital presence patiently.
The work consisted of consulting with the client, holding the client accountable, creating content, branding strategies, and analyzing analytics to help the client scale. We made the impact after about 4 ½ months; the client paid off over $14,000 in personal debt, which was one of the main goals for the client. Since then, the client could create a dependable and consistent cash flow through regular business consultation to date.
The impact we made on clients’ clarity and confidence has been the most rewarding for us. The impact it had on me was to trust myself, and it elevated my mindset. I have been able to impact other brands and businesses from that first client.
LA: In our conversation, you mentioned “caregiving.” As a woman, I know how tough it is to take care of an ailing parent while mothering two children and fulfilling the demands of an independent career. Do you think this “caring” has come to be who you are and defines how much you care for your client’s success?
NW: Yes, it’s very tough caring for an ailing parent all by yourself while parenting two children. I believe that caring for others is my purpose, and it’s just in my nature to do the right thing. I can say that the different roles that I’ve been called to serve are helping me care for and serve my clients better. I have gained a great deal of patience, and I am determined to see my clients win. Juggling all these hats helps me help my clients understand how they can succeed in doing the same.
LA: And so finally, tell us what clients love about Nykia Wardlaw, and what does Nykia Wardlaw love about her clients?
NW: Clients love Nykia Wardlaw’s confidence and energy. My clients always compliment me for helping them gain clarity with building their brand/business. The energy that I put into my brand and helping my clients succeed is unmatched. Then there’s the outcome of what my clients get from working with me, and they love how the experience of working with me can transform their entire life, not just their business. The clients love that I love God and their passion for my business that ultimately transfers to their business.
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