This months Spendefy Stories feature is Takia Lamb of TK Consulting & Design, LLC ; an Atlanta-based, full-service, design agency that provides business solutions for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Takia Lamb founded the agency in 2016, after spending several years working as a freelancer.

With a Bachelors in Psychology and Masters in Social Work, Takia used her background in human studies to create a client-centered culture that values people first.

We sat down with Takia to learn all about how she started, why she does what she does, and what it means for her to #SpendDifferent.

When did this entrepreneur journey start for you? 

That’s a good question. What I always tell people is that I’ve always wanted to start my own business. So conceptually it started pretty young but it never went anywhere until I was in my late 20’s.  I was at a church and the First Lady asked me to help come up with a T-shirt design and flyer for a conference. After that, I realized I could really do something with this and make it an actual business, so I did. That was five years ago and we’re still going. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment?

I think being able to actually live off of what you create is a huge accomplishment. So that’s probably the biggest one. In entrepreneurship, coming out of the financial struggle is an exciting feeling but it takes a while to get there so it’s hard. 

Overall, starting and continuing to build my business while reflecting on all the times I wanted to quit and could have quit has been rewarding. Getting past those hardships feels like one of the biggest achievements. 

It filters into being a mom of boys and what I want them to do in their lives. I want them to keep going and try to make it work and learn from their mistakes. I hope that one day they will see all of these things and feel more capable of doing those things themselves. I want them to consider what women are capable of in their marriages and partnerships. 

What has been your biggest challenge?

I have a few things. One of them is underestimating myself. That’s a big one. I have continuously set goals and met them which has made me realize I was underselling myself. There was good in it though because I was able to build confidence. 

Collaborating is another challenge. People don’t necessarily give information freely but will take from you — people are shady. It’s weird because you need people and you really have to push against all of that, build relationships and give information freely but you will definitely get burned along the way. 

What keeps you going? 

I don’t want to fail. I’m stubborn so failure is a big thing for me. When I first started, people weren’t really coming in. I was struggling with how to move forward and I was wrestling with whether I actually wanted to start something so I decided to put it out there. I announced it to the world for accountability because if I did it too quietly I knew that was like saying it wasn’t going to be successful. That’s one thing that kept me going – people knowing.

The other thing was, the more I got into the work, the more I saw the potential of the freedom to control my own schedule. I had other opportunities come up and I went for them.

What keeps you grounded?

Sometimes my dreams keep me grounded because I feel dreaming feels too big. Like will I really get there? Yea, I’ve achieved the goals, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m guaranteed to meet goals going forward. Some of it is also feeling like there are improvements to be made.

We operate in a silo, so you have a small amount of people that know everything. The people closest to me don’t see the hard things. There is a big gap that people don’t see. Sometimes you don’t know if you’re unique or not; you’re just in a silo trying to get through the day. I’m constantly trying to get to a place where I feel more like this is legacy stuff and not just play. This could all be gone tomorrow. 

Do you have a personal mantra? 

I did. “Maktub” It was from the alchemist and it means ‘it is written.’ The book was about how this journey you’re on is already decided and you’re on a path of discovery. 

There is freedom in that because while there are many things we can’t control, in discovery, you can lean on this supernatural experience of feeling and following the signs and then end up in the place you’ve been trying to get to all along because there is somebody guiding you through. 

That’s my personal mantra. That is what I internalized when I read that book. When I was going through an identity crisis journey, I read it and the whole thing made me look at life differently and helped me release control.  It made me see God in everything and realize everything is working towards getting to this ultimate goal. 

What influence has your family had on you? 

My family has been very instrumental in my identity as far as believing I’m smart and super confident. That’s something that other people have told me. I’m very assured. I’m very like “this is who I am”. I am who I am and that’s perfectly fine with me. I think my family was always saying “this is who you are.” It was ingrained in a sense. 

My mother is probably the most influential person because we’re basically the same. She’s sweeter than I am but she’s a go getter and she sets goals. If she says she’s going to do something, she does it. I got that determination and belief that I can do whatever I want to do

What advice would you give someone starting a new business?

Try to think through everything as much as you can; although I know that seems overwhelming. When I started, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I put the website out and the prices and everything; and nothing happened. I felt like all the signs were saying “start the business” but nothing happened for like a month and that was discouraging. 

I had a little conversation with God and I felt this question in my spirit, “are you even ready for the clients you feel you should have?” Like where are your contracts and systems. Like what do you have outside of the ideas and the websites. And I realized I didn’t have any processes or anything. So for three months I worked on processes and systems and contracts and by the time I finished, I got my first official contract to do a website for a law firm. 

Most people have an idea and it’s not well thought out. Eventually it’s going to bite you in the butt. Talk to people, research, and try to prepare yourself as much as possible. 

Make yourself legit, tax and registration wise. Get an Llc. Set yourself up right and do all the things that are not as glamorous because no one is going to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously. 

What are you doing when you’re not working? What are your favorite things to do? 

I love talking to people. I love connecting with friends and going out to eat. I love hanging out with my boo thang when we get one on one time. I love listening to loud music in my car and dancing. I’m very attached to having a good time. 

What does Spend Different mean to you? 

It means being intentional about hiring people of color to work with me on this journey. I hire contractors and hope to hire my first full time or part time staffer soon. I see a lot of agencies completely comfortable with having all white staff and it’s disturbing to me that we’re in 2021 and you can still get away with that. 

Spending different means spending with vendors that are black. I work with non black clients and vendors as well but my main focus is creating a business where black people can be comfortable. I run a business and I want the agency to be successful, but I really want to invest in my clients. That means helping them bring their vision to life and giving them advice.

I want to see us win. A lot of people are involved in investing in their own people and I don’t see that as much with black people so whenever I get the opportunity to do that, I will. 

I’ve had a lot of conversations where I’ve realized we believe what people who don’t look like us have said about us. We’re adopting those beliefs and putting them on our kids but we have always been some of the most amazing people in the world forever. Seeing us shine and win and feel good about ourselves is important. 

If you’re successful as a black business owner and you know what the statistics say about other black owned businesses, you cannot sit back and say nothing. We’re not getting the information and there are too many of us who are successful and not sharing that information. 

We need to share the steps to success. Other people are not stingy with the information. That’s probably the issue with us. We really think sharing information is going to take something from us. And not really adopting the fact that hey, I have my lane and this person can have their lane too. Sometimes people just want it to be this exclusive club. How great would it be if people could be successful in the same circle. We can have a crab mentality and it doesn’t serve us. It has never served us. 

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You can find Takia at TKConsultingDesign.Com for all your digital marketing and business consulting needs.