Nia Lewis is the CEO and founder of The Solopreneur Hustle, a platform that supports women in business. They connect powerful women to the resources, strategies, and platforms they need to build thriving sustainable businesses. They are committed to redefining how women generate wealth, so they can create meaningful lives of freedom and impact. Nia began her solopreneur journey like most entrepreneurs, hustling to build a business that was profitable and meaningful. She eventually found herself drowning in her business without a lifejacket; working 24/7 just to stay afloat.
She knew there had to be a better way to build a business. She adjusted her sails and developed systems that allowed her to simultaneously create more income and freedom. She is now a passionate advocate for women-owned businesses and the solopreneurial experience. Her mission is to connect women across the globe to resources that promote growth, freedom, and business longevity.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Nia Lewis: I’m Nia Lewis, CEO, and founder of The Solopreneur Hustle, a platform that supports women in business. I’m a business coach and a passionate advocate for women-owned businesses.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Nia Lewis: There are qualities some entrepreneurs embody that can’t be taught, such as resilience, grit, and motivation. Entrepreneurship is not for the weak, so in order toto make it, you have to have to naturally possess a level of resilience that gives you the strength to press on during difficult times. I think these are qualities entrepreneurs are born with. No one can teach you to be hungry for success.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Nia Lewis: I’d describe myself as passionate. My reason for starting a business in the first place was so that I could create a life of purpose and freedom. Every day, I get to do what I’m passionate about, and I’m so grateful for this.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Nia Lewis: The Solopreneur Hustle is a platform that supports women in business. We connect powerful women to the resources, strategies, and platforms they need to build thriving sustainable businesses. We’re committed to redefining how women generate wealth, so they can create meaningful lives of freedom and impact. The Solopreneur Hustle started as just a podcast for women of color in business. As our community has grown, so has our business. In addition to the podcast, we now offer business coaching, courses, and success tools that help women grow their companies.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Nia Lewis: When an entrepreneur starts a business, they assume the responsibility of every aspect of their company — the good, and the bad. Success is fun and exciting, but in the early stages of building a business there are also long days, failures, and difficult lessons to be learned. There’s also considerable risk associated with starting a business. In life there are no guarantees, so even when you invest everything you have into a business dream you want to succeed so badly, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it off the ground. Despite all of this, entrepreneurship is extremely rewarding, and wouldn’t change any aspect of my experiences thus far.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Nia Lewis: Absolutely! I assumed that being responsible for every aspect of my business meant it was my job to singlehandedly do every task required to keep my business afloat. I ended up on a never-ending hamster wheel trying to keep my business running, which led to a lot of unnecessary overwhelm and burnout. Two years into building my business, I realized my business needed my strengths, not my hustle. I decided to focus on giving my business my strengths and outsourcing everything else. A smart CEO doesn’t focus on being the most talented person in the room; they focus on finding the best talent. The best business advice I’ve ever gotten was this: Learn what needs to be done, then hire someone who can do the job better than you can.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Nia Lewis: I’d tell myself to accept help sooner. Too many entrepreneurs limit their growth by trying to do it all. Delegation should be every entrepreneur’s secret weapon. If it’s not your strength, delegate it to someone who’s an expert at the work. Continuously focusing on work for your business that you’re not an expert at means the task isn’t done with the level of excellence your business deserves. This keeps your business small.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Nia Lewis: Everyone says hustling is a “part of the process” of building a business. I hustled 24/7 for almost 2 years because I thought that’s what I had to do to build a successful business, but I was wrong. Entrepreneurs should be working smarter, not harder. Hustle culture keeps so many entrepreneurs busy working in their business, instead of working on their business. When I stopped hustling and started being strategic about how I spent my time, my business started growing exponentially.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Nia Lewis: Nothing about the basic principles of entrepreneurship have changed, however, I think new entrepreneurs have to assume the responsibility of creating an online presence now more than ever. Businesses that didn’t have an online presence found it difficult to survive during the pandemic. Some didn’t make it, COVID created face-to-face barriers, but there are no face-to-face barriers if you’re able to serve your customers online.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Nia Lewis: Everyone who isn’t an entrepreneur assumes starting a business is like buying a one-way ticket to a life of freedom, but this isn’t the case if you’re not intentional about how you build your business around the lifestyle you desire. Your business should complement your lifestyle. If you’re starting a business with a specific life goal in mind, think about what type of business would be the best fit for the life you desire. There are so many ways to build a business. A product or service can be packaged and delivered to your target customers in a variety of different ways. Choose a business model that aligns with the life you envision for yourself.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Nia Lewis: Resilience, motivation, fearlessness, confidence.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Nia Lewis: Start surrounding yourself with people who are doing the things you want to do. When challenges arise, it’s important to have support, as well as mentors who can help you overcome obstacles. It feels easier to overcome challenges when you’re surrounded by people who are successful and driven. Surrounding yourself with successful people isn’t always about physical. Listening to podcasts, or joining online communities is a great way to start aligning yourself with people who are doing big things. If you’re a female entrepreneur, I’d recommend checking out my podcast, The Solopreneur Hustle, available everywhere podcasts can be streamed.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Nia Lewis: I wouldn’t choose any other job. I was born to be an entrepreneur. I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Nia Lewis: I’d add Madame C.J. Walker. Her entrepreneurial success is an inspiration to women of color around the world.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Nia Lewis for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Nia Lewis or her company, you can do it through her – Facebook
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