We had the good fortune of connecting with Khala Simmons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Khala, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My extensive media background (PR executive, blog, newspaper editor, podcaster) paired with the positive feedback from past media collaborators and consumers helped me realize that I want to offer media training. However, I want to provide media training for media hosts specifically because they are often not prioritized. So many of them are burning bridges and producing stale content because they don’t know how to efficiently navigate media interactions and automate their platform backends. I want them to understand that media guests are a valuable resource and they don’t need to have a large following to attract them.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I went to school for Business Marketing and Mass Media, and have a very extensive media background (blog, newspaper, etc.) that I’m very passionate about it. I had plans to pursue fashion marketing, but when the pandemic hit, that changed. I ended up spiraling into different niches that included copywriting and general brand consulting/business coaching.
I didn’t understand the value of my media expertise and got caught up in the comparison game, so I ended up trying to build a business centered around the generic business skills I acquired while expanding my media credentials instead of simply building a business centered around my media credentials.
I met two podcast guests who work in entertainment media and it reminded me of the goals that I had before the pandemic hit when I fell down the toxic online business rabbit hole. They encouraged me to pursue a career in PR, leveraging my media experience and I realized the huge market I had been missing. I’ve been the media, pitched the media, and been a subject of the media across a variety of different structures. Media isn’t just a concept I know, it’s who I am. So by the end of my successful (but stressful) 5-month journey to securing a 9-5 PR role, I realized that I could no longer avoid the misalignment within my own business, and I made the pivot.
I think that’s my proudest moment. I was finally gaining more traction and exposure for my business, yet I made the decision to start over out of integrity. And now I’m being rewarded with even better opportunities than before. I want the world to know that it’s better to slowly find your groove than rush into misalignment. And I want my fellow media figures to know that your platform is designed to be a safe space for someone’s story — you just have to take the time to identify what stories you’re meant to tell.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Okay, although I’m relocating to NYC soon, I’m a South Carolina girl at heart. In Columbia, we’ve got to check out the Blue Marlin — they’ve got the amazing mixed drinks and appetizers. I like to vibe when I go out, so we’d have to hit up this downtown restaurant called Main Course on Thursday. They have an event every week called Throwback Thursdays where they transform the restaurant into an intimate RnB spot and a live band performs cultural classics. It’s the most intoxicating, completely judgment-free environment and the food is superb. And at some point, we’ve got to hit up the Sandhills outlets on the Northeast side to shop. It’s like the cutest little town and super fun to explore when the weather permits. That being said, I’m usually a homebody when I’m in South Carolina so aside from eating and shopping, we will likely spend a lot of our time in the house watching tv, doing home photoshoots and drinking wine.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out one of my closest friends and fellow entrepreneur, Shaneece Thompson. Shaneece is the founder of Kai Blends, a budding all-natural hair care line that formed after she experienced post-partum hair loss in 2019. We met during a group coaching program in the summer of 2020 and she ended up becoming one of my first clients later that year. Our business relationship quickly evolved into a close sisterhood, as we bonded over the crazy rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship. Shaneece is the one person I can call at 3 am to give feedback on a project I’m working on or to just vent about struggles I’m facing because she can relate. She is deserving of all the flowers and I am so excited to watch the fruits of her hard labor come to fruition.
Yonata Solomon *only editing credits apply for the two images in the white hoodie.