Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Zakiya Larry, Founder of Quest Media Training, located in Dallas, TX, USA.

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

Quest Media Training is a strategic communications firm that provides media coaching, crisis mitigation, brand clarification, and public relations.

Tell us about yourself

I first started working on my business in 2009, when I worked in a TV newsroom. I noticed that the subjects that were interviewed were under-prepared. The ones being made fun of in the editing room often looked like me. I was determined to help everyday people, especially people of color, and entrepreneurs "Master The Media" (the name of my coaching program and ebook that materialized in 2014).

So, my first primary offering as a part-time consultant was media coaching. Over the years, I've gained experience in international crises, policy work, marketing, and strategy, allowing me to grow my consultancy into a full-time strategic communications firm. I recently leveraged my entrepreneurial skills to gain my current role as a Global Chief Communications Officer within a publicly traded company. I became the youngest and first Black woman to join the company's helm. Each day I'm motivated by my belief that we can all live a life of purpose, on purpose, and that effective communication is the best way to elevate yourself, your mission, or your brand.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would love to say my biggest accomplishment is working with Oprah. However, my biggest accomplishment is employing a team of women of color in PR who are all moms and leaders. Exposure and making one's fair salary are often challenging in this industry for women and women of color. I'm proud to have been a vessel to provide high-level exposure to noted clients and projects for an often overlooked demographic. More importantly, we provided excellent results!

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

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is that there isn't just one hardest thing. Ha! If I HAD to choose, I would say the most challenging part is focusing mainly on the administrative side to maintain the business when time, bandwidth, and a clear head are most needed to be creative and grow the business.

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

  1. Create systems and boundaries for yourself, potential clients, and team members early on.
  2. Be selective with who you partner with in your business. Your goals must be clear and aligned to avoid future clashes.
  3. Focus on the foundation before the flash. Spending money to look good online could get people in the door. Still, you'd lose customers if your offer's foundation isn't as flawless as your appearance. Remember, your brand isn't your colors, logo, or aesthetic. Your brand is your promise.

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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