We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Taylor Willis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michelle, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
The thing I disagree with is that children are too young to learn certain things. Kids will often learn anything you teach them, so why keep them from learning just because we think they can’t? They’re sponges, so it’s the perfect time to teach them as much as possible.

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 sell ads. It’s that simple. Gagnant Media is a media company that makes advertising more affordable for small businesses. This is achieved through print, television, billboard and radio advertising. We are dedicated to assisting small businesses ($350K-$6M gross revenues) with building relationships with the audiences they want to reach. Gagnant Media encompasses SoFu Lifestyle Magazine (formerly South Fulton Lifestyle Magazine), According to Michelle radio show on Mixx106radio.com, According to Michelle television show, which is streaming weekly on VTV Network through Amazon Fire and Roku platforms, and billboards around Atlanta.

I grew my professional sales career through obtaining business-to-business experience in Corporate America. I left the corporate world to focus on my first HR/medical consulting firm, HR Synergies. The firm’s success led me to acquire South Fulton Lifestyle Magazine, my entrance into the publishing and media industries. I saw a need to share the great stories happening in and out of South Fulton County, Georgia and eventually trademarked “SoFu,” which refers to the eight cities that make up South Fulton County. My magazine blossomed into an award-winning publication that highlights the movers and shakers in the region, and spurred my interest in media. From there, I converted my publishing company to my media company, Gagnant Media™.

Overall my business life has been pretty smooth. I mean yes, there are days and sometimes years when I wonder “Is this gonna work?!” I’ve made money, and I’ve lost money. Thankfully, though, I’ve made more than I’ve lost, so I’m still here. When we first start our businesses, we try to wear all the hats. Yet, we all know there is no “I” in the team. The biggest mistakes I’ve made include not hiring the right people at the right time, and devaluing myself by working with no salary. It’s disheartening when you are working so hard and not getting paid. Whether you are doing it for yourself or somebody else, it’s a bit much. I’ve learned that even if you allow yourself a small amount, you are the most important asset of your business, so it’s mandatory that you get paid.

I chose a business that I love and that fits my personality, but most importantly, my purpose. It makes it easier for me to pivot when I have to because I know there is more than one way to reach my goals and more than one way to monetize my passion!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

Harold’s Chicken and Ice Bar Old Nat for Karaoke Wednesdays   

Gocha’s Breakfast Bar for breakfast

Westside Creamery 

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Little Five Points

Centennial Olympic Park

Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE)

Parlor Den 

Silver Comet Trail for exercise

Sea Salt Midtown

Kevin Rathbun Steak

Roswell Mills for the waterfall and to cool off on a hot day 

Boat Rock Boulder Park in SoFu

Atlanta Beltline to walk and for the restaurants

Any of Atlanta’s great parks

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

My mom. Most of the things I do professionally, personally, and with regards to raising kids goes back to something my mom said to me or showed me. Most of the reasons I am who I am is because of my mom. I raise my kids based on what I saw her do with us and she taught and showed me. I run my business based on that. I operate in my circles based on that. Literally, I realize that in every part of my life, I have become my mother. The good things I have in my life are because of her.

Website: gagnantmedia.commichelletaylorwillis.com

Instagram: @michelletaylorwillis

Linkedin: @michelletaylorwillis

Twitter: @michelletwillis

Facebook: @michelletaylorwillis

Youtube: Gagnant Media

Image Credits
Personal Photo: @abdquadir1 Additional Photos: Aric Thompson

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.