Rakia Reynolds | Crain's Philadelphia

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Rakia Reynolds

Background:  

Rakia Reynolds is the founder and CEO of Skai Blue Media, a multimedia communications agency based in Philadelphia and New York City. She is also Visit Philadelphia’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. Reynolds has previously worked as a television producer, producing content for networks such as TLC, Discovery Health and MTV, in addition to contributing to Lucky magazine.

The Mistake:

In the beginning, my mistake was not inviting more people to the table with me from an external standpoint to help me make decisions about the company.

I worked for a public relations agency for a short stint and decided to take all the things I had learned in the public relations space and producing episodic content for networks and freelancing for Lucky magazine, and ... mix it all into a pot and say, “How do I disrupt the public relations space?”

One of the things as an entrepreneur for me has always been, “Just do it, don’t wait until you have it all figured out.” [But] one of the things I missed in the very beginning—that I have now—is a really diverse advisory council in the sense of age, gender, point of view and background.

It was really tough at first and I was in a dark place because it was only me. It is very lonely at the top because you have to make all the decisions. For example, at one point I had to let people go from my team who weren’t contributing to the overall growth. It was tough for me because I didn’t really know the art of human capital and talent as it relates to your company.

Create the community before you need the community.

The Lesson:

I had a number of people I had to reach out to. I brought in a couple of specialists to help me because I do believe in having that external viewpoint. Other people were able to help me by looking and saying “It might not be them, it might be your approach to how you’re hiring people or evaluating people….”

I think being able to have different people to reach out to that didn’t necessarily at that time know everything I was doing in my business but just had a different point of view about making decisions was really helpful.

The lessons that could be learned are knowing when to reach out and who to reach out to.

You can know when to reach out ... [but what if] you don’t have those people to reach out to? So I say, create the community before you need the community.

We all need a community around us and it has to be comprised of different walks of life, different perspectives and sometimes a different way that they do things.

Follow Rakia Reynolds on Twitter at @RakiaReynolds.

Photo courtesy of The Palette Group