Introducing Nakia D Whittaker-Woody, the absolute boss who snagged the "Best in Virtual Assistance" award at the 2023 Blaze Business Awards! We all know how hard it is to juggle work, life, and dreams, but Nakia is here to show us how it's done.
Nakia, who is an administrative professional with 20+ years of experience, works full time and has been able to go from just offering virtual assistance services to now owning a Facebook Group, a podcast, a second business, a third business, and mentoring.
In this interview, she tells us about her booming virtual assistance business, drops gems on what it takes to succeed, and even spills the tea on her exciting future plans. Get ready to be inspired!
About KISS Virtual Services
KISS Virtual Services helps women entrepreneurs, particularly women of color, who are ready to invest in delegating administrative support to increase their capacity and achieve hands-on customized administrative and organizational assistance. Unlike traditional outsourcing alternatives, my solution focuses on providing transparent and hands-on support and solutions tailored to each client's specific needs.
"I traveled a lot growing up as an Army brat but was always into being creative and learning everything - especially electronics and technology. I had planned to become an Interior Designer, but I was pregnant at 19 and had to use my learned skills to make a living," said Nakia.
We are so proud of you and your inspiring win, Nakia! Can you share a little bit about your business journey? How did it all start for you?
Nakia: Well, I started with Google. I tried to do some research on the virtual assistance services and there were over 5 Billion results. So I initiated my business, got my business license, built a website, got a listing in the yellow pages, and read business books.
But being an online virtual entrepreneur was not the usual business - and I was failing. I didn't see people who looked like me. There was an immense amount of information that mostly was not accurate, and there were lots of scams.
However, I eventually came across a business coach who offered reality in the realm I was attempting to enter. I paid for coaching, I volunteered in her group, and gradually, I gained the confidence I needed to get over imposter syndrome, put myself out there and thrive.
This was the start of my journey to becoming to an Administrative Virtual Assistant, offering extra capacity to minority women coaches, social entrepreneurs, and small business owners. I manage calendars and inboxes, write up meeting minutes, manage projects, etc.
Really dope stuff, sis! So tell us, how did it feel to be recognized as a winner in your category at the Blaze Business Awards and what other achievements have you had on your entrepreneurial journey?
Nakia: I was actually shocked, even though there were only two contestants in my category. I was literally shocked! I am the typical overachiever so it just adds a layer of confidence to what I am trying to do as an entrepreneur and mentor.
I have taken an unconventional road in my business by going after government certifications, so I am SWaM Certified in Virginia, as well as SBA certified as a EDWOSB by the Federal Government.
Most times administrative tasks are overlooked for delegation and investment and I feel that these certifications and some of the courses that I have taken allow people to see that this is more than a hobby and that I could potentially really help them in their business.
We feel you! It's applaudable how you've gone out of your way to professionalize your offerings and set yourself apart! Can you share a bit about your impact goals and vision for your business?
Nakia: As an accidental entrepreneur, I have evolved into the role of mentor, not wanting to be labeled coach, because I want to offer my help as a fellow entrepreneur working it out. I remember how I felt when I started out and I want to offer the community, camaraderie, and resources that I needed when I started and continue to need as I evolve my business.
As I garner government contracts, I hope to be able to facilitate newer VAs in my network to support those contracts, giving them real-life experience and compensation, so that they know their value and have confidence in their skills.
That's powerful, Nakia! You're definitely going to touch many lives with your ambition! If you were to give advice to other aspiring Black women entrepreneurs, what would you tell them?
Nakia: Just start and find your tribe. I started but was alone and it took me longer than it had to to get over imposter syndrome and the mental loneliness of being an online entrepreneur.
Starting the Facebook Group and having to be present and transparent was the best thing for me and those who joined!
So so good! Finding a tribe of people who understand you and have overcome the same challenges that you are currently dealing with as an entrepreneur is so key. So what's next for KISS Virtual Services? Any upcoming projects?
Nakia: Yes! I just won a grant to support my passion project business, VA World Conference, and I plan to again host a virtual conference for women of color who are aspiring to become remote online professionals.
Thank you so much, Nakia, for taking the time to chat with us and inspire the community! You are doing absolutely amazing work and we wish you good luck in all your future endeavors!
If you'd like to connect with Nakia or access her VA services, you can use the links below:
Follow her on Instagram
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