Entrepreneur Nana Agyemang got her start in the world of fashion journalism. From sending cold emails to editors she admired to running social media for The Cut, she worked her way up to building a social media empire of her own—EveryStylishGirl—and interviewing thought leaders and celebrities for national publications.
It was during one of these interviews that Nana received a crucial piece of advice from actress Gabrielle Union: “Don’t wait for someone to invite you to a seat at their table. Create your own.”
Ever since, Nana has been doing just that: In 2020, during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, she expanded her brand into a platform for Black and brown women who want to change the world of business. A home for aspiring entrepreneurs and creatives, EveryStylishGirl’s mission is to hold employers accountable for their commitments to diversity and to empower Black women—who faced disproportionate job losses during the pandemic—with the tools they need to thrive in the media industry.
Between growing her company, hosting Yelp’s 2022 Black in Business Summit, and organizing her first international Sip ‘n Slay event in Accra, Ghana this December, Nana has a lot on her plate. Here’s how she makes the most of each day as a founder, CEO, and multimedia journalist.
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The first thing I do in the morning
The first thing I do in the morning is pray. It sets me up for the day, it keeps me grounded, and it’s a form of meditation for me. I like to focus my prayer on what’s coming ahead in terms of that day, so I’m manifesting a successful day for myself, manifesting the partnership I’m pitching, manifesting successful growth for my company. I’m manifesting everything that I need to do that day in that prayer.
I think so many of us are so quick to right away grab our phone, but I sit with my thoughts in the morning before I grab my phone—even if it’s just for two minutes. Two to three minutes of discipline in the morning will take you so much further than grabbing your phone right away.
We have two company accounts, EveryStylishGirl Biz and EveryStylishGirl, and we have social media managers for both of those accounts. So I’m checking in with them daily to say, “Hey, are we good to go? Did we have any more timely content that needs to go up?”
For example, this past weekend was such a phenomena at the Emmys because we had so many Black women winning—it was back to back to back, [Sheryl Lee Ralph, Quinta Brunson, Lizzo, and Zendaya] finally getting the flowers that they deserve. Let’s say we had a social media post that was set to go live, an inspirational quote or some type of career learning. We’re gonna pause that, and we’re gonna push the timelier content. That’s why it’s always really important to check in during the day and figure out: What are our goals for today? What is the focus?
My DMs are always open. I kid you not, people are closing business deals in their DMs.
For my personal Instagram, I [check it for] maybe 10 minutes in the morning, and then I go on it [for two hours] throughout the day. I try to respond to DMs, whether it’s questions about my career or questions about something I wore. I’m giving insights on my Instagram constantly. I’m always trying to be a vessel for resources, support, or whatever it is. My DMs are always open. I kid you not, people are closing business deals in their DMs.
How I prioritize
I box myself into three categories: lifestyle and fashion, media and business, and then social media strategy. Before I post any piece of content, I ask myself: Is it hitting any of these three buckets? If it’s not, I’m not gonna work with you.
I recommend people create a niche for themselves and ask yourself if [an opportunity] meets any of your niche requirements. If it doesn’t, maybe it’s not best to work with that company. Most of the time, you’ll see me doing panel engagements, hosting events, doing lifestyle and fashion content creation, or talking social media strategy. That’s what’s so close and dear to my heart.
My favorite form of self-care
I like to build in regular pauses throughout my day. I will go hard for maybe one to two hours—whether it’s sending emails, pitching, creating content, reviewing business deals—I will do that for straight one to two hours, but then I need to close my laptop. I need to walk away. I go for a walk, I grab some yogurt and granola, I make a good lunch, I listen to a podcast that I know can build that momentum for me. Doing that really keeps me motivated to keep working harder.
And for self care, I love a good spa day, honestly. It doesn’t have to be a full-on spa. You could just get a pedicure with a five-minute massage in it. I try to get that biweekly, and those small things mean so much to me. It takes me out of my work mindset. I’m trying hard not to think about work, emails, and deadlines. Self-care to me is being in the moment, not touching your phone—I really try not to take my phone to the nail salon and just enjoy that experience because I don’t get a lot of time to myself throughout my day.
My work-life boundaries
So many women, specifically women of color, push themselves to become CEOs and work for Fortune 500 companies and [make their] goals and hit the salary. And it’s so exhausting. I think since COVID, a lot of people are taking time to self-reflect and realize that mental health is much more important than getting to the bag, you know? I’d rather have a happy home, happy life, than be a top CEO at any company anymore. If it takes me having to sacrifice my mental health, I don’t want it.
We are no longer sacrificing our mental health for corporations. We are in the time of putting ourselves first.
I’m a huge advocate for doing what’s best for your mental health. When you need to walk away from a job that is straining you, that is stressful, that is belittling you, that is keeping you up 24 hours of the day—you need to walk away. We are no longer killing ourselves for corporations. We are no longer sacrificing our mental health for corporations. We are in the time of putting ourselves first. That is so important to me right now, and it’s important to my community [on EveryStylishGirl]. Whether it be with Gen Z Black women or millennial Black women, we are seeing that message across the board: Mental health first, my happiness first, and then your corporation.
How I make connections
[For networking,] you would think my immediate way to connect is Instagram, but it’s actually LinkedIn. Back when I was in grad school [at Columbia University School of Journalism] and really trying to transition from working in hard news to working in fashion media, I told myself that my goal was to try to have one coffee a week with someone doing a job that I aspire to be in. I sent a lot of cold emails and LinkedIn messages. A lot of like: “Hey, so nice to meet you. Here’s a little bit about me. I would love for us to stay in touch. Can we grab some coffee?” I feel like it’s really hard to deny it when someone offers you coffee. It’s a small gesture—a little way to sweeten the deal.
You’re gonna get a lot of no’s in your lifetime, but you’ll be surprised—those same no’s will turn around a few years later and say, “Yes, hey, I remember you.” I cannot emphasize enough: Relationships are the most important thing to business growth. It’s barely qualifications, to be honest with you. It’s that manager who remembers you from a great conversation at a coffee shop. So make sure you talk to as many people as you can and put yourself out there and build those relationships.
And then also don’t be afraid to connect with your own peers. It’s called horizontal networking. I wish I would’ve known that earlier. I think people are so focused on vertical networking, but it’s really the people around you that could one day help you propel in your career.
The last thing I do in a day
There’s one thing I do that gives me such a big sigh of relief: It’s just crossing off my to-do list at the end of day. Oh my gosh. It is like getting a hundred dollars. Every time I cross it out, I’m like, I’m so proud of myself, like this is such a big achievement. I’m not kidding—it could be as little as opening all my PR gifts for the week. But being able to cross that off gives me a huge sigh of relief. It’s fulfillment. It’s just such a good feeling.
Watch below for more of Nana’s journey: