Rakia Reynolds is the founder of Skai Blue Media, a multimedia public relations agency with an all-star roster of lifestyle, technology and fashion clients. Noted as an influencer in the creative business industry, Reynolds is sought after by companies to provide her expertise in creative development, branding and strategic communications. Follow her @RakiaReynolds.
Who is your hero?
Bram Reynolds, my husband.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
My mother once told me, “Rakia, you can’t be on every ship that sails!” And while some people would agree with this “you can’t have it all” sentiment, I’ve made it my mission to prove her wrong. I absolutely love my mother, but I want to be living proof that you can do everything you put your mind to.
It’s exhausting for sure – even though I’m always perky, I’m usually tired – but it’s also super rewarding. My work has allowed me to talk to other entrepreneurs about media, technology, and capital. My company was instrumental in the launch of Uber in Philadelphia (we handled the press launch and influencer outreach), which was HUGE! I’ve met amazing people like Serena Williams, who hired me to promote her fashion line for HSN. And being an entrepreneur gives me the flexibility I need to be able to pick my children up from school and enjoy.
I don’t do it without help, of course. And that’s perhaps the most important lesson I can share with anyone who aspires to greatness: you can’t do it all on your own.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Not always utilizing and operating off of the business plan I originally wrote out is a mistake. For some it could be a problem, for others it might not. For me, a business plan is written and designed to help you organize your business ideas and help your business move forward. I moved too quickly on hiring people who didn’t directly meet the goals and objectives outlined in my business plan. Working in the creative space, sometimes you hire on impulse. But hiring someone who does not directly relate to the goals you’ve set for your business is usually not a good idea.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I believe in God and I feel that God has destined something for me. In order for me to fully function, every morning I read a chapter in the bible. I meditate on it and I do yoga. I watch the news, read a news related article, and then start my day. Usually I have a meeting with my husband about my plan of action for the day. Then it’s time to get my children dressed and off to school before I head into the office.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Quickbooks, Quickbooks, Quickbooks. Apps that can help you look at financial projections. It’s best to always be looking onward and upward. Looking at projections is one of the key things for growing your business.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
The best thing is to hire a business coach who is suited for you. It’s someone who helps you keep your goal and your visions in line. A business coach can help you balance out how to execute it in a timely manner.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
My rejection of my mother’s thought that I can’t be on every ship that sales is really the definition of my approach to life and business. So being able to accomplish more than others think I can is success. I really believe that success is also being really happy with where you’re at and where you’re going, and knowing that you’re going to get there is key to success. But I think I’ll know I’ve succeeded when I can squeeze everything that currently takes me five to seven days a week to accomplish into three days a week of work.
Image is from an appearance Rakia Reynolds made at the #DellInspire House, summer 2013. Photo courtesy of Dell.