The Design Business Show 161: Creating Systems to Hit Your Goals with Sonaya Williams

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | October 21, 2021
Check out episode 161 of The Design Business Show with Sonaya Williams to learn all about creating systems that work for you!

Sonaya Williams (pronounced: so-ni-yah), founder of The CEO Partner®, a systems-driven, profits-obsessed, Digital Implementation agency that helps smart CEOs grow their business and meet their goals.

Sonaya started her Digital Implementation Agency in November of 2011 while still working full-time as a Senior Financial Systems Analyst at TD Ameritrade. Since then, she has built a multi six-figure consulting agency and learned a ton of good and bad lessons along the way.

The CEO Partner solves the problems she knew so many business owners faced. Her message is clear – When we create systems + gather support, we build incredible, successful businesses AND happy Lives – for ourselves and the people we love.

Sonaya lives to help CEOs create an operational master plan for themselves and their teams, teaching efficient and effective systems and tools during the process.

She was featured in Forbes, Foundr and on the EonFire podcast.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Sonaya’s Journey to Entrepreneurship

  • How Sonaya and I met through a mutual friend and how she’s here to talk about creating a process to reach your goals without losing yourself in the process
  • Sonaya shares that her background is in IT and before starting her business, she fell into her dream job of business process management in the banking industry, where she got to take the banks old spreadsheet processes and create new logical, efficient processes to help save the teams time
  • When Sonaya decided she wanted to have kids and stay home with them, she used her childhood as a driving force to create something different for herself and fell into entrepreneurship where she didn’t have to work a traditional 9-5 job
  • How Sonaya didn’t know where to start with her business, so she went to networking events and ended up doing the same thing she did at work, helping people get the processes that are in their heads onto paper
  • The story of Sonaya’s first client who sold office supplies to schools in Manhattan and whose biggest frustration was his salespeople having to make multiple trips to close a deal, but once Sonaya helped them with the process of documenting things, they were able to close deals in 1, maybe 2 visits which resulted in efficiency and more money
  • Sonaya worked full-time and did her business part-time until she replace her salary with her business income in 9 months, then she did her business full-time and worked part-time until she was able to get her systems in place to know she could run her business consistently

The Business of Referrals + Sonaya’s Quarterly Magazine

  • A year after starting her business, Sonaya left her job and hired her first virtual assistant and says she got her first 10 clients from finding 2 people who had really big lists of clients she wanted to work with — Sonaya started working with those 2 people, so they could promote a webinar she did to their list
  • Sonaya shares that her first webinar only had 2 people, but says the more webinars she did, the better she got, and soon she was able to generate leads and close them, which really helped her business grow
  • How Sonaya’s business has grown off referrals and how she started doing quarterly client success panels which is how she continuously got clients every quarter and explains she now has a magazine she sends out each quarter
  • At the start of her business, Sonaya didn’t take the design of everything as seriously but says now after having the magazine and her brand, she realizes how important design is, especially when it comes to having a higher-end brand
  • Sonaya explains the thought behind sending out a magazine and says she wanted a way to get in front of her agency clients who weren’t on her newsletter and didn’t listen to her podcast
  • Sonaya says her magazine, The New Revenue Playbook has a different theme each quarter and offers her audience case studies, articles, tips, and plenty of resources — the theme for this quarter is how you can to still reach your year-end goals
  • How boundaries have been the most important thing for Sonaya in terms of being able to grow her business and still be sane for her kids and family

Agency Services + Membership Lab

  • Sonaya shares her team is made up of 5 women, some who are in the US and some who are in the UK, and shares that 60% of their clients are from the US, and the other 40% are from across Europe
  • On the agency side, Sonaya and her team work with a lot of service-based entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out out how to make new revenue online — Sonaya gives us an example of a current client
  • Sonaya’s membership called Work Smarter Lab works with solopreneurs to put systems and strategies in place to create new revenue online
  • Because the agency has systems in place, creates consistent income, and delivers a solid service, it allows Sonaya to mostly lead and do sales on that side while the team is managing all of it
  • Sonaya says this is their second time launching the membership, and says that they provide members with two calls a week, new content in the lab every month, and team support and explains the team roles involved within the membership
  • As the end of the year comes, Sonaya is looking forward to taking 3 weeks off in December and says their goals include planning for a solid 2022 and looking to hire another project manager
  • The system Sonaya and her team follow called, Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS)  helps them plan goals weekly and quarterly and she shares they have an annual retreat for goal setting as well
  • While running a business at home with kids can be challenging at times, it gives Sonaya the flexibility she has always dreamt of
  • How the launch of the membership came about accidentally when Sonaya spoke at an event where she had to change her talk to accommodate the audience and create a lower-end offer, which ended up being the membership lab
  • Sonaya tells us about the event where she had to pivot her offer quickly and says she’s learned that you have to go with the flow, otherwise opportunities might pass you by
  • Sonaya congratulates anyone who is in entrepreneurship because she knows it’s hard work and says to just create your systems and boundaries and keep going
  • Go to to get what Sonaya calls a get paid guide, which is a resource that will allow you to start generating leads online


Links mentioned:

The CEO Partner®

Become an Online CEO

Connect with Sonaya on Instagram

Connect with Sonaya on Facebook 


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