We had the good fortune of connecting with Khia Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Khia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always maintained that “making a living” could involve work that was meaningful, engaged my top skills, and serves to help make someone else’s life just a little bit easier or better. I never really fancied myself as a business owner, but after many years of teaching, writing, and mentoring young adults, I saw clearly how my own expertise, skills, and experiences could help others outside of the scope of my 9-to-5. So many young people are in the middle of figuring it out – what they want to be when they grow up, which college is right fit for them, what they want to major in when they get there, how to successfully get admitted to college of choice, and how to take the best route to achieve their dreams. You see, I have navigated to and through college, graduate school, earning my Ph.D. in psychology (with 99% of my journey including no student loan debt!), and over 10+ years of full-time experience as a professor of psychology at Broward College. I help high school students explore these questions through college prep, and learn how to present their best selves in applications, essays, and interviews that are part and parcel in the college admissions process. It all started with helping students for free. Then I began to help students who were interested in academic disciplines other than my own, like biological sciences, physical therapy, computer science, engineering, and even graduate school applicants. There are common strategies that work to put your best foot forward, to highlight your strengths, your skills, your experiences – and although there are no “guarantees,” I’ve celebrated right alongside many students when they’ve earned their very own acceptance letters and scholarships. Those students (and parents!) have referred others, so in a very real way, business ownership found me.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Admissionisms is a boutique college admissions consulting company based out of South Florida – and accepting clients virtually through the United States. What sets me apart is my passion for ushering in the next generation of bright and talented young people into their next stages of their education/career – and the personal attention and engagement that I lend to each client. My favorite students to work with are those who have big dreams – they want to become the first doctor in the family, practice law, design computer software, help others heal their bodies as physical therapists. They’re highly motivated. They’ve worked hard in high school. They’ve got all of the makings of “success,” but may also need a bit of direction in making sense of the college admission process. They want to highlight their very best assets in their applications – but they’re unsure of exactly how. They feel there’s something “extra” their missing in their applications or they’re underconfident in their own abilities. I’ve heard “I’m never getting into any of these colleges” more than once – and every time, these students are able to earn multiple acceptance letters. They just needed a little bit of one-on-one support, nurturing, feedback, and guidance. I feel fortunate to be able to provide that for them. It is/was not easy to start and run a business, especially as I juggle my full-time job and invest time during evenings and weekends (and sometimes holidays!) to work with students, and continue to grow my business. One of the biggest challenges as a solopreneur/side hustler is outreach, getting in front of potential clients, letting others know I’m out here, so that I can grow and reinvest into my business, to hire people to work in my business, so that I can expand the positive impact I’ve had with the clients I’ve worked with so far. To be quite honest, I’m still working my way through those challenges. Despite every challenge that I have encountered, I still feel fortunate and proud of myself for taking the leap, and would not have it any other way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a huge introvert and homebody, but I have to admit, I do enjoy when friends come to town so that we can go out on the town around the South Florida area. I usually have a list of different restaurants I’ve always wanted to try out, and so we do. Nothing beats the vibrancy (and people-watching) of places like South Beach or Las Olas, so we’re definitely headed there. Just not anywhere near Spring Break or other big touristy weekends. There’s way too much going for me to handle during those times! But if I were also to be 100% real, I embrace the big nerd side of me and love her fiercely (and all of my friends know it!), my BFF and I are also going to balance the fun in the sun and mojitos with a historical or sightseeing tour, a musuem visit, seeing some art, something that feeds us intellectually as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out Michelle Y. Talbert of Her Power Space – and the entire constellation of women who are part of the Her Power Movement. When I first met Michelle, I just had a business idea. No website. No official clients. No revenue. I attended her very first #UnNetworking meetup and have been hooked since. It was a super novel concept and a networking event unlike one I had ever seen. It was truly positioned to help women grow in business. Part of the experience is sharing the answers to the following 2 questions to the entire group: What resources do you need to grow in your business? What do you have to offer another woman to help her grow her business? This wasn’t about passing out as many business cards as humanly possible, but about making real connections and mutual support. I connected with those women without a single client. I met someone there that day that helped me get my freebie and email list up and running with an amazing training that she offered through her business. She introduced to me to someone who would later become a client. Over the years, I’ve met numerous other incredible women (and men) and we’ve done speaking engagements together, vended together coworked together. Michelle now has Her Power Space – a fabulous coworking space/event venue/podcast studio for women and men entrepreneurs in Lauderhill – which connects the community that’s been so instrumental in my personal and professional growth as a business owner.
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.