Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ayana Parham, Founder of Parham & Associates Executive Coaching, located in Washington, DC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Parham and Associates is an executive firm specializing in Emotional Intelligence for aspiring leaders of color. We are committed to providing an educational program that will benefit employees by improving cultural performance and efficiency. Our goal is to help businesses take advantage of untapped talent. We do this by helping employees better understand cultural and behavioral dynamics. Our unique Emotional Intelligence training will help organizations gain a competitive edge by improving how employees relate to each other and interact with customers.

Tell us about yourself

My business started because I wanted to help people be their best selves. As a millennial and Gen Xer myself, I know what it's like to feel overwhelmed by the pressures of work and life. I also know that we have the power to change our lives. I started working on my business when I realized I was tired of being treated poorly by the companies I worked for. I wanted to create a company where people could grow and develop and be treated with respect.

I believe that everyone has within them the ability to overcome whatever challenges they're facing. The key is knowing how to tap into your inner strength and confidence. My job is to help people do that. I'm motivated every day by the people I work with—they're so inspiring! It's such an honor to be able to help them be their best selves, and it makes me want to work even harder to make sure they get the results they need.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is the fact that I've been able to build a team that is passionate about our mission. Having people who are inspired by what we're doing and believe in what we're doing is the most important part of any company, and I feel so lucky to have an awesome group of people who share my vision for P&A.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is the constant struggle to balance your own passion and the needs/wants of your customers. As an entrepreneur, you're constantly trying to find a way to make what you love doing into something that other people will pay for. And this can be difficult, especially when you're trying to grow your business. But no matter what stage your company is in, it's important to remember that the most important thing to focus on is finding out what your customers want and need from their experience with your company.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Your why. What are your reasons for starting this business? Why do you think it'll be successful? What will make people trust your brand? And what's in it for them? What makes you different from other businesses that exist in the same space as yours? Why should people choose yours over someone else's?
  2. Do your research! Make sure before you buy LLC and Trademarking that you know exactly what your business will look like, write it out, and be very clear on the market and if you fit in it.
  3. Outsourcing isn't just for small businesses. If there's something that you're weak at or don't want to focus on, try outsourcing it first! You can always bring in more help later if needed, but if all else fails, outsource! You have to pay to play.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

My team and I work with clients from all walks of life, from solopreneurs to top executives at major companies. We use our expertise in executive coaching techniques to help people discover their strengths and weaknesses, so they can build on their strengths while working on correcting any flaws that are holding them back from achieving their goals.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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