San Diego Magazine Staff | September 7, 2018
Yvonne Williams-McMillan, 65, and Erika Danina Williams, 47, launched Color Your World last year, offering women one-on-one career coaching and, this fall, webinars and conferences. Yvonne, a former teacher and mentor to college faculty and Erika, a former investment manager at JP Morgan Chase, run their business from their Rancho Peñasquitos home. coloryourworldcoaching.com
Why go into business together?
YVONNE WILLIAMS-MCMILLAN: In early 2017 I had more people to coach than I had time in the day. I was answering the same questions and problems for everyone. So I started formalizing it—“I’ll give you this PDF to read before we work together, maybe we can move a little quicker.” I talked to Erika about it, and she said, “You need to put this online.”
ERIKA DANINA WILLIAMS: Mom was my coach. I would bring my situation home and speak to her about it. “How can I move up the ladder?” She would help position me. Then my friends started coming to her. Even though she’s in academia and I was in nance, everyone wanted the same thing—to advance in their company.
What’s it like to work with each other?
EDW: My mom communicates well about what she needs and wants. We don’t have a problem with prioritizing, setting deadlines, then getting after it. Yvonne is divide and conquer. I’m more collaborative.
YWM: It’s a blessing because she’s taken off my plate the things that aren’t in my wheelhouse, like the business aspect. I don’t want to talk to vendors or spend my day guring out social media; oh my god! And we work different hours. We have a large family in the house, all the way down to Erika’s grandson who’s three years old. I’m up at 3 a.m. while everyone’s sleeping except me and the dog. When everyone starts moving around to go to school or work, I’ve done a lot of work already. When it gets quiet in the midday, then I talk with Erika about what I’ve been doing to make sure I’m on track. Then I’m done by 4 p.m. because the family’s coming home. EDW: It works well. I’ve been trained in corporate America. I have an 8 to 6 routine. We tease each other that we don’t go to bed for the evening. We just nap all day and night!
YWM: I’m a perfectionist. I spend so much time double-checking my facts that Erika is ready to make the next move. It seems that all of a sudden the company we were talking about grew up, and I was forced to do other things, like TV interviews.
EDW: She realized it’s a business, not a research project, but I’ve known my mom my whole life. I know how to nudge her! That was a little nerve-racking.
YWM: She became my boss. Like, excuse me?!
Working from home makes it harder to separate business from personal, right?
YWM: Absolutely! When we first got the business, Erika wanted an office. I was against that because I taught for 20 years and did my prep work at home. Erika needed separation because of the interruptions with family. I was like, “No.”
EDW: My first week home I was like, this is a madhouse! I couldn’t see how anything got done! With a three-year-old, who was two at the time, and with a dog! I’d barricade myself in my room.
YWM: I said, “Calm down, you’ll get over it.”
EDW: Now the thought of going to an office? I’d be missing the action. I’d be thinking, “What’s the baby doing? Has the dog been walked?”
YWM: I do a lot of my thinking walking or in the garden. I’ll be watering the grass and I’ll say, “Hey, come look at the tomatoes!” Erika’s like, “What are you doing?” “I’m thinking!”