We had the good fortune of connecting with Dwayna Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dwayna, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The journey of entrepreneurship has been one heck of a ride. I’ve learned so much throughout this process, which allowed me to be where I am today. Being a business owner isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of sweat, tears, mistakes, and victories that come with it. Sharing my journey and process will show other women that they, too, can do it. I’ve started my business with little “know-how” and no money. However, my work ethic has allowed me to flourish and grow my business to where it is today. Since undergrad at North Carolina Central University, I knew that I wanted to work in the creative space; however, I didn’t know how to make that vision happen.
After graduating in 2013, I had one of the most exciting and challenging years of my career; I honestly had no clue what was in store for me. I can truthfully say that I did not prepare for all the “nos” I received from countless job applications. The rejections put me in a negative mental space but also gave me tough skin. I had the academic scholastics, I had meaningful internships, but yet it seemed like no company found my work ethic a tad bit interesting. Thank God for temp agencies; about three months of an unclear career, a well-known hospitality brand manager gave me a chance. I worked for the company for a year. It was great! I made enough money to pay bills, and I was a part of a great team, but something was missing. That something was passion! I wasn’t doing what I loved. I knew that it was more to my life than corporate holiday parties and team lunches (which meant free food). I yearned for more. Ironically, as I was making plans to live my PR dreams in the city of Atlanta, I was offered a full-time position. Uncertainty began to set in as I started to second guess if living my passion was the next move I was supposed to take. I let go of fear and found a second job where I worked part-time hours to stack up some cash and save money to move to Atlanta. I’ve worked as a Jr. Publicist and Freelancer with quite a few companies throughout five years of living in Atlanta.
Working as a freelancer allowed me to understand entrepreneurship. In 2016, I decided to extend my education and obtain a Master’s in Marketing at Georgia State University. Around this time, I started my business. I planned on coupling my newfound knowledge with my business savvy and created a company where I offered PR and brand marketing services to businesses. Ironically, during the time of this new journey. I also became a mother. Motherhood sparked a fire in me to make my vision of becoming a business owner a reality. There was no turning back. My dreams became more significant than just me. In my pursuit of a successful business, I found myself fully immersed in the freelance mentality. Yes, I worked from home and a full-time mother, but I wasn’t living on my terms. I was busy fulfilling someone else’s dream. It began to be draining, and I knew there was time for a change. During this time, fear came in again.
I knew that I had to do some severe mindset work because I asked myself, “are you even qualified to run a business?” Towards the end of 2019, I started an agency accelerator program and decided that I was tired of living under other people’s terms. I then started taking on clients under my own business, TGND Consulting. Since I made that leap of faith and allowed myself to grow, I can say that I made the best decision. My company has a full roster of clients. I’m able to hire contractors, and I’m working on my terms. My mindset shift from” I hope I can run a successful business” to “I can have a successful business” was a life-changer.
What should our readers know about your business?
TGND Consulting is an agency providing PR, social media marketing, and branding to lifestyle brands, experts, and entrepreneurs. What sets TGND Consulting apart from the rest is that we specialize in traditional PR, online PR, coupled with digital brand marketing. We implement digital strategies for our clients with a specialization in social media marketing. 20% of a client’s PR campaign is securing media coverage; the other 80% is the marketing and brand awareness you create from it.
I’m most proud of the results I’ve been able to add to my portfolio. There is no better feeling than securing a media placement or seeing the growth of a company’s digital presence. I’ve worked so hard to create a reputable and respected brand. I got to where I am today through freelancing and networking. A key to my success is the relationships I’ve been able to create and maintain along my journey. My journey has not been comfortable. There have been times where I wanted to throw in the towel and work back in the corporate space. There have been times where I felt like I’m not built for this type of industry, but then I think about everything I’ve created and kept the focus on the end goal. I’ve learned to surround myself with like-minded people. I’ve grown to be okay with not always getting it right the first time. I’ve never been afraid to ask for help when I need it from seasoned professionals in my field. The most important lesson is that mindset plays the most prominent role in creating a successful brand.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m such a homebody! My itinerary would look a little something like this.
Day One: A Spa day and dinner at a nice restaurant. I love sushi and seafood (the restaurant must have one of the two on the menu). After dinner, I would have a nightcap that consists of drinking wine and binging Netflix.
Day Two: A day in the city that consists of shopping and eating. There are so many restaurants that I want to try in Atlanta.
Day Three: A cookout in the backyard during the day. That night may look like us stepping out to a bar or lounge in the city of Atlanta.
Day Four: Game night at the house, drinks, and more food.
Day Five: A full day of rest. I love sleep!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve had a great support system throughout this journey. My family, friends, and mentors have been with me throughout the ride. I want to give a special shoutout to my husband. He has always supported and encouraged me to go after my dreams. When I lack discipline, he’s getting me back on track. When I’m fully dedicated to my business and working all day, he is understanding. When I’m overworking, he makes me realize that it’s okay to take a break. For the past four years, I’ve had one main focus, and that’s been his focus. We’re creating a legacy and generational wealth.
I also want to thank everyone who has mentored me along the way, from professors at NCCU to everyone who allowed me to intern with them. I have quite a few women (family and friends) that I have deemed my mentors. Thank you for always being a listening ear and giving me insight on how to navigate this industry.
I’m also thankful for my mother, who has always instilled how important education is. She always told me how smart, beautiful, and strong I am. These simple words play a tremendous role in who I am today.
Upscale Magazine, Thrive Global, and Baltimore Times