Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristy Jackson.
Hi Kristy, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I describe myself as a Dreamer and Disruptor. I am truly a product of my parents’ influence. My mother – The Dreamer – is a professional singer and retired music educator. She taught me that with God all things are possible but I have to be willing to put in the work that it takes to make my dream a reality.
My Father – The Disruptor – was one of the first African American managers at Procter & Gamble and faced a lot of discrimination in that role. He taught me to do the hard things and that there will be times when you have to take a risk or experience loss to stand up for your convictions. Looking at both of their lives, I realized how much more powerful it is when the two come together.
I believe that more Dreamers + Disruptors are needed today to bring new ideas forward to break down old barriers and limiting beliefs.
I used my dreams and passion as ammunition to take risks or disrupt systems in spaces that are not equitable for black and brown business owners.
In 2011, I followed my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. I am the CEO of DK Solutions, LLC – a boutique creative consulting company that provides coaching, project development, and Learning & Development resources. In 2019, I retired from a 20-year career in gifted education at the age of 47 to become a full-time entrepreneur. In that role, I was the first African American Distinct Coordinator in the history of that school district.
In this season of my life, I am learning how to play more. When I am not working, I love to travel and enjoy great food with family and friends. My faith in God, husband, James, two daughters, Kelsie and Jada, and four-legged son, BJ, keep me grounded.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Let me tell you…there is nothing smooth about the entrepreneurship journey -but it has been worth every step. In fact, I compare the road to a skate park path in my new book, Dream, Sink, Launch. We start off ramped up with our big Dreams that will change the world, then set off after them and then life happens.
As time goes on you lose your grip and feel like you’re Sinking; trying to respond to judgment, failure, rejection, loss, fear, or toxic people along this road that you did not expect. Once you are able to gather your thoughts and control your emotions you realize that these experiences really set you up to Launch with more wisdom, passion, and experience to make an even greater impact.
In 2018, my husband James Jackson, II – CEO of Gator MediaSTL, and I opened the DK Annex- the first black-owned co-working space/training space in STL. We were so proud to create an inclusive work community that intentionally focused on the needs of BIPOC entrepreneurs. We envisioned hosting corporate meetings, community training workshops, and a collaborative workspace for diverse startups.
Initially, our dream became a reality- hosting launch events for small black-owned businesses and professional events with Kauffmann Foundation, Venture Cafe, Arch Grants, Lindenwood University, and many others. But these events slowly became far and few between. More clients started booking our space for social events, parties, and weddings.
We started following the money instead of focusing on our original plan. This distraction was the beginning of the end. We are grateful for EVERY client that chose to do business with us, but we compromised our passion for profit. When passion goes- so does motivation, commitment, and focus.
At the end of 2020, we closed the DK Annex. We struggled for a bit – feeling like we let the community down as Black business owners. We did not want to be a statistic. We also questioned if the sacrifices that we made to run our company were worth the risk. We initially saw closing our doors as a personal and professional setback but we soon realized that we were actually being set up for a greater opportunity.
We closed our physical doors and focused on digital services that clients found the most valuable just as COVID was on the rise. During the pandemic, our customer base grew 200% – providing coaching & consulting services and live- stream media services. Our revenue grew to six figures. Pivoting back to our passion was the best decision we made.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am the CEO of DK Solutions. LLC – a boutique creative consulting and media firm. My, why is my calling to help entrepreneurs and leaders discover their creative brilliance to ACT on the ideas that they have to make life better for themselves and others. Nelson Mandela’s quote ” It only seems impossible until it is done.” is my North Star.
When I first launched my business I had lots of ideas but no solid plan to get it started besides jumping in with both feet. I love consulting and coaching start up’s because I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs do this over the years. I know that mentorship gets you to your goal a lot faster. I am determined to disrupt the statistics that 8 out of 10 Black-owned businesses fail within the first 18 months (CNBC) due to a lack of resources and funding.
I am an author and professional speaker known as the G.P.S. Coach ™ because each of the learning and development resources that we have created helps business owners identify strategic Goals, Purpose & Solutions. Each of my books, The Dream Box Children’s Book, Dream, Sink, Launch: Lessons from the Real Entrepreneurship Journey, Bizperation and the Goal Tracker Journal are all about inspiring and educating readers to dream bigger and actively pursue their goals.
I am grateful to be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a National Emerging Leader, 100 St. Louisans to Know (St. Louis Small Business Magazine), and a Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation Alumnae.
There is so much to learn as a leader so professional growth is one of my top values. I have earned certificates of successful completion from the Disney Leadership Institute, ELI’s Ice House Entrepreneurial Mindset Facilitator Certification, and Seth Godin’s – Marketing and Creativity Masterclass.
Hosting my Bizperation podcast and Youtube channel allows me to share REAL stories from entrepreneurs in the trenches doing the work.
My passion for serving my clients is clear to them. My secret sauce is developing the art of listening which builds trust and allows us to connect to a deep and diverse client base in a personalized manner. So many of our testimonials speak to service with excellence, integrity, and top notch results. I believe that this is the DK Solutions, LLC difference.
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Yes, I want everyone one reading this article to know that they are needed. Your creative brilliance is the solution to the next person’s problem. Once I realized this, I gained the courage to show up and the doors continued to open up for me. The same can happen for you!
If you need some entrepreneurial insight or help in skilling up your creativity check out my books. All of our books and resources are available at www. dreamsinklaunch.com.
I am also the founder of #SheCan Connect- a sisterhood for female leaders, entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, and creatives that bring both the spiritual and professional together.
We gather monthly to grow in our faith, sharpen leadership and business skills, serve our community, and just have fun! Join one of our upcoming meetings.
Eventbrite Meeting Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2022-shecan-connect-networking-meet-up-tickets-241285490397?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.
- Website: https://linktr.ee/DKSolutions
- Instagram: @DKSolutionsSTL
- Facebook: Kristy Jackson, Ed. S.
- Youtube: Bizperation
- Other: www.shecanconnect.com