Founder & CEO
YFS Magazine and Socialista
A serial entrepreneur by the age of 25, Erica Nicole is the founder and Editor in Chief of YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self Employed and the CEO and Managing Principal of Socialista Media + Marketing Group.
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Socialista Media + Marketing Group provide strategic and tactical support for startups, emerging brands and small to mid-sized companies. Clients encompass B2B, consumer and lifestyle brands and the company is poised to expand to Europe with the launch of a London office in 2011.
YFS Magazine, also based in Texas, provides expert advice and tools to help entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses work smart from the ground up, improve workflow and develop sustainable and profitable businesses.
In addition to inspiring and engaging entrepreneurs as a conference speaker, Erica is collecting industry accolades. YFS Magazine has just been announced as a Best Business Site at America’s 2010 Black Weblog Awards.
Why did you decide to start Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed?
Founded in December of 2009, I launched YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed to serve aspiring entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, YFS magazine was birthed out of my personal experiences as they related to starting and operating profitable businesses at the age of 25.
Iron sharpens iron. Every day, I encounter people with tremendous potential. Unfortunately, their potential is often overshadowed by circumstances, negative influences and a lack of information. I wanted to bridge the information gap and make entrepreneurship accessible.
You often hear how imperative it is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals when you start your own business. For many people this is easier said than done. Therefore, YFS Magazine was built to be a collective force of one accord – a launch pad for bold and fearless entrepreneurs.
At the end of the day, I am passionate about helping others succeed, conquering the seemingly impossible, and transforming lives to inspire greatness. If YFS Magazine has helped merely one person discover his or her greatness, act on it fearlessly and reap the benefits – I consider it to have been a tremendous success.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
What was your career path prior to starting your online magazine?
Funny enough, I always knew since I was a kid that I would own my own company. Prior to doing so, I was fortunate enough to work with some of the best and brightest stars in the advertising industry and cut my teeth on international brands. While I moved up the ranks very quickly in corporate America, I always knew that entrepreneurship was in my blood.
How does it feel to win the Best Business site award at this year’s 2010 Black Weblog Awards?
I am honored and quite honestly, very surprised. Winning the 2010 Black Weblog Award for best business site is a tremendous honour for YFS Magazine and a clear indicator of loyalty and commitment from our expanding reader base. Thank you to all of our supporters.
Tell me more about Socialista Media + Marketing Group, who are your clients and what services do you offer?
Socialista Media + Marketing Group is a global business development consultancy. We provide strategic and tactical support for startups, emerging brands, and small to mid-sized companies.
Our core competencies include business development, integrated marketing solutions, advertising and public relations. Our depth of experience with B2B, consumer, prestige skincare, luxury automotive, retail, fashion, entertainment, publishing and lifestyle brands is unparalleled.
Socialista’s client base spans key markets including Dallas, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. Due to a staggeringly successful business climate, Socialista is poised to launch a highly anticipated London office in 2011 to assist European startups with North American business development and expansion.
What are you working on at the moment? Can you describe your typical working day?
Wow…what am I ‘not’ working on at the moment? A typical working day – hmmm, does that exist? On any given day I am juggling numerous projects across various lines of businesses.
As an entrepreneur and conference speaker, I don’t believe that ‘typical’ is synonymous with my ‘work day’. One minute I am in negotiations, or collaborating with game-changing entrepreneurs for YFS Magazine — and the next I am leading a strategic brainstorming session with a client.
Keeping abreast of the pulse of our client’s business is a predominate factor in the work I do. I am constantly strategising, planning and expecting to win.
How do you balance the demands of running two distinct businesses?
Balancing the demands of running multiple companies is accomplished by focusing diligently on your thought-life. You are what you think you are and you can only do what you think you can do.
In the famous words of my favorite author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, “You have to be before you can do, and do before you can have.” I believe that we are never given more than what we are equipped to handle.
Therefore, balance includes personal well-being coupled with a definitive vision, prioritised goals, diligence, accountability, fearlessness and faith.
What are the highlights of running your own businesses?
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t in order to spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
The main highlights of entrepreneurship are lifestyle and serving others. Personally, as an entrepreneur, you reap the full benefits of your labour and efforts. Becoming your own boss enables you to manage your own time. Life is short and you cannot put a price tag on time – it’s invaluable. The most rewarding aspect is the ability to help other individuals meet their goals.
What is the hardest part of running your own businesses?
The toughest part of entrepreneurship is wearing multiple hats at the onset and development of your business.
Eventually, as your company grows, you will learn to delegate, outsource and streamline operations to increase productivity and efficiency. However, in the interim when you get started it can appear overwhelming.
My advice is to become extremely organised and prioritise every single effort. Learn your business and industry from the inside out and seek ways to enhance your offering by running smooth internal operations. Develop systems and processes that are scalable and duplicable to meet initial demand and leverage economies of scale.
What has been your biggest triumph to date?
As a successful entrepreneur my biggest triumph to date is the success of my companies and the associated wisdom I have been blessed with to continue to build sustainable and profitable companies.
Great victories are hidden gems in the small wins, triumph over adversity and the development of fortitude in the face of opposition. Every day I wake up and am afforded the opportunity to help others build their dreams, and fulfill my own – this is true success. Everything else that comes along with internal success is a byproduct of these things.
To quote Henry David Thoreau, “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learnt so far?
I have a few ‘lessons learned.’ The most important business lessons I have learned thus far are to develop an unassailable positive mental attitude, become highly cognisant of your value, help others achieve their goals and never quit.
The limitations of your mind define the boundaries of your reality. In business, and in life, it’s not what happens, but how you respond that makes all the difference in the world. Reinforce your right to win at every step and endeavor.
True greatness is defined by your acumen to develop greatness within others. Your gifts will make room for you in this world. Napoleon Hill said it best, “The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going.”
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
First and foremost, I am inspired by God and my relationship with Jesus Christ – it motivates me and is the foundation for all that I do. I am also inspired by contemporary thought leaders.
At the end of the day, I understand simple truths and apply them successfully to my life. People and businesses fail due to being un-informed or misinformed. Knowledge is power – ideas are the currency of change. I am also truly inspired by the numerous emails of positive feedback I receive from clients, YFS Magazine readers and attendees from my speaking engagements.
Do you have a business mentor?
When I first embarked upon my entrepreneurial endeavors I did not have a mentor. Therefore, I sought out like-minded individuals that had attained a certain level of success.
By aligning myself with people that had already built strong companies – I developed a network of fellow visionaries and dream builders. Over the years, I have been fortunate to learn from and collaborate with some of the top game-changers in their respective industries.
Everyone is equipped with a set of strengths – collaboration enables a person and/or business to cancel out each other’s weaknesses. Ultimately, you become a force to be reckoned with once you develop strong mentor mentee relationships.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting multiple businesses?
My advice to those considering business ownership on any level is simple. Stop listening to people who are not where you want to be.
While people generally mean well, many are not equipped to champion your dreams – and shouldn’t be expected to do so. Your vision is wonderfully made – specifically for you. Seek out like-minded individuals that support your mission and that are actively in hot pursuit of their own dreams.
People that don’t help you climb want you to crawl. Those that do not stretch your vision will choke your dreams. Your life in the next five years will undoubtedly be a reflection of the people you associate with and the books you read.
There is no time like the present – take small steps today and focus your efforts. Don’t be a spectator. You will never reach your full God given potential being a ‘watcher.’ Stop standing on the side of the game watching other people play – being a cheerleader on the field of life! Drop your pom poms, put on a jersey and get in the game!
Aside from your own of course, which business websites do you have bookmarked?
Business websites I frequent include YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed, which goes without saying, and Andrew Warner’s www.Mixergy.com. Andrew shares some great insights via highly relevant interviews with successful entrepreneurs.
What are your future goals for YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed?
YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed is poised to become one of the top business websites and the definitive launch pad for global entrepreneurs and startups.
My goal is to continue to serve emerging brands, startups and small to mid-sized companies with actionable and relevant information. Ultimately, we will continue to bridge the information gap, inspire greatness and make the impossible – possible.
What are your future goals for Socialista Media + Marketing Group?
Socialista Media + Marketing group has continued to experience phenomenal success. We will continue to build strong partnerships within our current markets and expand into global markets. The ultimate goal for Socialista Media + Marketing Group is to birth a new brand of informed, savvy and bold companies. Our success is predicated on the success of our client’s success – a roster that continues to grow and outpace projections.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Lastly, I have to share and debunk the greatest myth of all time that people share when it pertains to starting a business and entrepreneurship. Without fail, people will say “I don’t have enough time.”
According to A.C. Nielsen, the Media Research Company, you do! The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. This equates to 28 hours per week and 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year. This simply means in a 65-year life span, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the box.
In the third quarter of 2008, Americans watched more than 142 hours of TV a month. Can you think of what can be accomplished in 9 years?
Visit www.socialistamediagroup.com to find out more about Socialista Media + Marketing Group
Erica Nicole was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.
The Twenty Ten Club connects, inspires and supports Black female business owners. If you are interested in becoming a member you can find out more here.