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Community Highlights: Meet Zaria Wiley of ZariaWServices

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zaria Wiley.

Hi Zaria, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
Whenever I get a vision to create something, I have to see it through. My journey to becoming an entrepreneur started in the 5th grade. I had lots of extra Halloween candy I didn’t want, so I separated them into mini bags and sold them to kids on my school bus. It was during that time that I discovered a passion for being my boss and being able to make people happy.

Over the years, I’ve turned many different interests, hobbies, and skills into business ideas. I’ve tried everything from doing hair or selling wigs to making lipgloss, press-on nails, and more. While these ideas were great, I would always say hyperfocus on one idea at a time and eventually become burned-out and ultimately disinterested. I’d also do babysitting from time to time, but nothing consistent. Eventually, I cast all my ideas aside to focus on being a full-time student and working part-time in different 9-5 positions. When I transferred to a 4-year university, I thought that would be the perfect time to start one or more of my business ideas as a side hustle. What college students wouldn’t enjoy the convenience of buying items on campus? I decided to start selling customized wigs. I ended up selling each wig that I customized, but I was struggling mentally and physically, so I didn’t have the energy to be consistent. I decided again to focus on my schoolwork until I found a job position I would enjoy. I hated some positions and liked others. Throughout my journey in the workforce, I tried working in food service, retail, customer service, clerical, and other types of positions as well, but nothing worked for me. Ultimately, I quit each job because I was really unhappy and struggled immensely with my mental health. I was unhappy working those jobs, the school was taking a great toll on me, and my psych medication was not working for me.

I began thinking about becoming a professional nanny towards the end of 2021. I had always enjoyed caring for people and was constantly used to hearing people tell me that I would make a great mom. One day, I had an assignment to do for my Child Psychology class where I had to write a review on a children’s movie and relate it to concepts we learned in class. I chose a movie at random, which just so happened to be ‘The Willoughby’s. This movie featured a nanny who seemed to embody who I wanted to be as a caretaker and how I wanted to show love and grace to children; I took this as a sign that it was meant to be for me to continue on my path of becoming a nanny. Unfortunately, this process became stalled until April of 2022 because of a car accident that I had. When I finally got my car up and running, I began searching for a family to nanny for. I went to the most popular caregiver sites and made profiles. Over a month or so, I met with a few different families and found a part-time position, which has been amazing for me. This is also how I discovered that I enjoyed offering babysitting services.

While starting my journey as a professional nanny and babysitter, a chapter was closing in my journey as a student; I had ended the semester rough, and I knew what decision I had to make. I needed a break from school. I had been in college since I was 15, and while I loved almost every aspect of it, I was struggling too much. I could barely get myself out of bed and to class. Deciding to take a break from school was a major leap of faith for me. My entire life, I had the idea that completing school was the only chance to become successful. I feared that if I took a break from school, I would never go back and struggle to support myself financially for the rest of my life. Still, I knew something had to give. So I did it. I canceled my housing contract and dropped my classes for the next semester. Luckily, I had a change to my medication that also seemed to help a lot.

I decided to take this next year to focus on being a caretaker. Jeeze, Louise that feels like one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. I’ve been spending my summer nannying and babysitting. I started seeing an influx of babysitting clients and felt I needed a more convenient system of showing my clients my availability and allowing them to book my services. I started researching different companies that offered booking sites. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it to be. I played around with a few different sites until I found the one that works best for me.

One of the next steps was to think of my business name. At this point, I realized that I would most likely want to expand my services, so I should choose a general name to be a catchall for my business. That’s how I came up with “ZariaWServices.’ I have so many great ideas for what I want this company to be. I want my business to be mainly service-based, with a selection of items to sell.

Along with babysitting services, I would also like to offer other caregiver/home services such as catering services and cleaning services. I would also love to offer services that help with brand-building and marketing. This would include creating resumes, proofreading and editing, creating budgets, and offering marketing tips. Marketing is one of the most vital parts of acquiring clients, and I noticed a major change in the amount of interest in my profile when I improved my marketing. I would also like to continue offering beauty products such as wigs and hair extensions, press-on nails, lip gloss, and hopefully skincare products one day. One of my newest ventures has been learning how to create content, and it’s been great. Not only is it a great advertisement for my brand, but it’s also a great way to connect with others and share my experience and the knowledge that I have gained thus far.

I know this may seem like an overwhelming list of things to be working on at once, but I have learned the importance of taking things slow and doing things one step at a time. Frankly, having so much variety in my work and schedule gives me joy and keeps me motivated. I am only at the beginning of my business journey, and I feel that it will only go up from here.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This journey has not been a smooth road for me at all. It took years for me to reach the point I’m at today. I’ve always had the vision, but I had to learn about prioritizing my health, giving myself grace, and learning what works best for me. I’ve had many internal obstacles that prohibited me from reaching my full potential. I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and PTSD. These conditions can be so debilitating that you feel like you can’t even get out of bed to start your day. It took me over a year of therapy and medication changes to feel functional again. I’m doing much better now, but I must remind myself daily to take things one step at a time and do what I can. I’ve also had anxiety and doubts that were directly correlated to my career: Am I going to be good with kids? Are people going to value my services? Are people going to like my products? Am I charging too much? Do I even have enough skill, enough experience?

I’ve also had some external challenges that have strained my ability to excel. I recently dealt with having really low vitamin D levels, which caused me to experience extreme fatigue and intense ankle pain. At a certain point, every time I would stand up, I would limp because of the pain. I’ve also struggled for a long time with my weight and generally not having a healthy diet. My body is very sensitive to unhealthy foods, making it hard to function when I’m not eating healthy. Unfortunately, this is something that I still struggle to manage. I also got into a car accident in 2021 which affected me emotionally and left me without a car for months. I had a hard time adjusting and healing, but I can say that I’ve learned to handle adversity better and remain resilient. All of these factors plus more have direct effects on the way I was able to manage my life and operate my business.

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 an entrepreneur who happens to be a nanny as well. I currently offer babysitting/petsitting/housesitting services and plan to add cleaning services, catering services, furniture flipping, resume-creating, proof-reading, and editing services, as well as customized wigs and press-on nails services as well. What sets me apart from other companies is that while most companies offer a variety of products with a few services, my goal is to offer many different services while also selling items. People will always get quality services and items at a reasonable price with my business.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by a community that supports me. My sisters, Lexi and Nia, are always very supportive of me. They always tell me that they are proud of me and that I inspire them. It always feels reassuring to hear that. Danisha and Veronica, friends of mine, are always super kind and supportive regarding the products I sell. I can always count on them to hype me up and make me feel like people are excited to shop with me. My parents also tell me that they’re proud of me. People generally tend to speak positively towards my brand and me when they find out what I do and try to encourage and let me know they are proud of me.

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