Celebrating Black women: Nicaila Okome quit her job for her podcast in 2016, now she’s bossing things

Abu Mubarik Feb 8, 2021 at 08:00am

February 08, 2021 at 08:00 am | Success Story, The Black Agenda, Women

Nicaila Matthews Okome, podcaster and marketer.

The success stories of many Black women rarely get highlighted in the media. As such, the wonderful efforts of Black women in creating jobs and contributing to the development of America and beyond, are not noticed.

One Maryland woman has started a podcast show to tell the success stories of Black women. A full-time worker, Nicaila Matthews Okome started ‘Side Hustle Pro’ podcast in 2016 as a side hustle to highlight the entrepreneurial journey of Black women. 

It first started as a blog when looking for a social media marketing role in D.C. “I was interested in working on stories about women working full-time jobs while working on a passion project,” she told Wjla. “And as I started to write these stories that I was interviewing, I decided to turn these into audio podcasts, which gave [the stories] so much more character.”

What started as a side hustle for Okome is now her main job. She quit her day job at NPR to concentrate on her Podcast show in 2017. “I now work intensively with emerging podcasters in my Podcast Moguls accelerator to create and launch their own podcasts, grow their influence through targeted social media marketing, and build a profitable business,” she says on her website.

Since the launch of her show, Okome has interviewed over 100 Black women who have opened firms across multiple fields, including Arsha Jones, the founder of Capital City Company, Yene Damtew, former First Lady Michelle Obama‘s hairstylist among others.

Okome recalls growing up and playing with white dolls or seeing women on the cover of Magazines not looking like her. For her, the time has come for Black women to see themselves, just like anyone else.

“As a matter of fact, when I was about to start the podcast, I never saw entrepreneur podcasts or shows talking to these women,” Okome said. “I just said – I’m just going to do this, there’s no reason we’re not featured on these magazines – I would like to say [you’re seeing more stories like this] because of Side Hustle Pro highlighting these stories.”

Okome says the next layer of Side Hustle Pro is to help other Black women find their voice and start podcasting. “It is something that has a relatively low start-up cost, but not many people understand how to market themselves, you have to figure out who your ideal listener is, connect with them online, or your show won’t grow,” she says.

Okome’s podcast show is now catching the attention of the mainstream media. She was recently featured on the Today Show to share her successful journey. “Verified I made it to the Today Show! What a completely surreal moment talking about Side Hustle Pro on Live TV. Especially watching the highlight video they pulled together,” she posted on her Instagram page.

The podcaster and marketer was born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Michigan. 

She has a professional career spanning digital marketing, ad sales and social media strategy for NPR, Google, MTV Networks and more.

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