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Black Entrepreneurs Month: TaVia Wooley-Iles

TaVia Wooley-IlesTaVia W. Iles Communications Lancaster(661) 429-1379 • Email: tavia@taviailes.comWebsite: taviailes.comTaVia Wooley-Iles in 2017 started her own communications business for women professionals and entrepreneurs striving to nab public exposure, marketing expertise and branding or public speaking excellence.Her business motto is “have the audacity to be seen,” a challenge to women and minorities that have not always gotten a seat at the table.“Women and business owners of color struggle to have their voice heard in a crowded industry,” said Wooley-Iles, whose business is TaVia W. Iles Communications.

“We believe in an abundance mentality which means there is room for everyone … We work with our customers to develop their unique voice and message that will resonate with their ideal audience.”The Lancaster communications business has worked with clients all over the country, including Honey Beth Wiggs, a best-selling author and motivational speaker from North Carolina, and more recently social service agencies in the Antelope Valley focused on reducing infant and maternal mortality rates in the area.Kim Watson, chief executive of Lancaster-based Project Joy, is listed as another client. Watson’s organization, which works to provide jobs and opportunities to the most vulnerable people in Antelope Valley, was recognized as the state’s nonprofit of the year last year.Wooley-Iles’ digital content expertise has become a large part of her business during the pandemic, with many traditional companies making the often Herculean effort to get an online presence up and running, let alone establishing a social media presence.“(Companies) need to show up online and create digital content to connect with the target market,” said Wooley-Iles. “Business has been great during the pandemic. As a person who believes that all businesses should have a digital footprint, my services have become more necessary for traditional business owners and solo entrepreneurs.”Her team, which consists of five employees including herself, plans to expand in the fall as they move into filming, specifically documentaries, she said.Wooley-Iles is starting a new venture, too — a boutique branded merchandise business. She hopes the additional focus will appeal to clients looking for a “one stop shop,” working with small businesses to produce customized T-shirts, mugs, and acrylic wall calendars, among other products.“As a creator, maybe even an artsy person, I have provided clients with customized designed and branded products for the last two years,” she added; she hopes to bolster a service already offered to her clients.Social media connections and strategic communications are Wooley-Iles’ bread and butter — her love for tailoring these services to client needs “birthed” the business, she said.“It was a natural thing for me as my background in crisis management always prepared me to think on my feet, communicate strategically and ensure my target audience received the messaging,” explained Wooley-Iles.On being a black business owner, Wooley-Iles had this to say: “I think I have a unique perspective to offer. If a potential client is looking to tap into a new market or ensure they are being inclusive of all their potential clients, then I believe my entire uniqueness as an individual will serve them well. It has been beneficial.”The entrepreneurial life, she added, has helped her stay motivated and inspired, but that comes at the cost of a blurred line between home and work time.“Sometimes I don’t know when to shut it off,” Wooley-Iles admitted. “I homeschool, prior to COVID and now, three of my five children. I’m able to teach them about being a business owner and provide them with small projects from my company that supports educational growth and exploration of entrepreneurship.“As long as I’m doing what I love I will not be trading it in,” she continued.Wooley-Iles’ advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Don’t be deterred if things aren’t wildly successful from the onset.

“Be prepared to have many zeros in the beginning, but don’t allow that to deter you from your vision or allow it to define you,” explained Wooley-Iles. “The wins will come to those who are consistent, resilient and relentless.”Another helpful hint: become a master networker, both online and in-person.“Don’t be afraid to show up as your authentic self,” added Wooley-Iles.

– Amy Stulick

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