Yoali Rodriguez


We live in a world where curating an image is at the reach of a fingertip, but in Erika Lee Williams’ world, unfiltered authenticity can lead to endless possibilities. Climbing up the social media ladder, Williams began to cultivate her presence in 2018 after opening her store, ONNEXTSUNDAY. As she pushed for her business to succeed, Williams decided to use her platform to create videos that could reach a new market.

“I opened my clothing store, and I noticed that with larger clothing companies, the owners had a presence and they had their own following too,” Williams said. “And a lot of them would also be influencers and business owners, so I was like I should do that.”
Williams decided to dedicate herself to building Instagram content for her boutique, while on the side she began to share personal ‘behind the scenes’ content that transcended her image of just a boutique owner in her personal account, which inspired her to chase a broader dream: becoming a brand of her own.
“People want to engage more, watch your stories, they’re more interested in the personal aspects of things,” Williams said. “Not necessarily always a hundred percent sell, sell, sell.”
Williams began to build a following that gravitated to her authentic content on her personal account, which made her feel there was a gap in the market that missed speaking out on the tough reality of owning a business.
“No one was really sharing the real behind the scenes,” Williams said. “Like what did you do to get there? What are you doing? Or what happens if it fails?”
In 2022, Williams built up the courage to expand her platform and dip her toes into podcasting with her show, ‘Watch Me with Erika Lee.’ She decided on building a message that mainly focused on connecting with her audience through her personal experiences.
“I wanted to share that aspect of a more real approach and get people something that I didn’t have,” Williams said.
In her episodes, she provides real advice on the hardships of building different businesses from scratch. Explaining how she understands the reality of losing businesses and money because of unforeseeable circumstances.
“A lot of people were like ‘I want to open a business, I want to do what you do,’ and well it’s not all amazing, there’s hard stuff too,” Williams said. “I feel like no one was sharing that side.”
Opening up to an audience made Williams understand the power of her voice, pushing her to also spread her message outside of social media. She began to host networking events that helped her build a trusting relationship with her audiences.
“I really take part in the engagement because I know it’ll translate into anything else I want to do,” Williams said.
Reaching mostly a female audience with small businesses, Williams felt empowered to have built a community that learned from her and encouraged one another simultaneously.
“It’s really cool to see the support of women, especially in a city like El Paso,” Williams said. “I think it’s such a unique city, population, and group of women.”
After seeing the positive impact of her message, she decided to start running her own social media agency, ‘So Can You,’ in 2023. Through her agency, Williams was able to amplify her message and turn it into a reliable product. Motivating her audience that wish to become a brand to connect with her through her courses and events that teach specifically about how to run a business and master marketing.
“When I have something that I know will benefit them, I have that first thought of connection and it helps me get those events full,” Williams said. “If someone does need a connection, I know I can help.”
When it comes to creating a balance between her personal life and the followers she carries within her pocket, Williams encountered an evolution that has exposed her to new challenges. After getting married in 2021 and moving to Phoenix, Arizona, she felt this year was time to take on another dream: motherhood.
“I was so scared of being in this position before because I was like, how am I going to do what I currently do?” Willams said.
She mentions that her pregnancy has become a teaching moment to seek balance in her life.
“You hear people talking so negatively, they’re like ‘we have kids and can’t do anything,’ and I would say don’t listen,” Williams said.
Entering her ‘soft girl’ era, Williams has been able to fully lean into her pregnancy these last few months. Her most valuable lessons have been translated into self-care and being authentic to herself about the stress her body is currently experiencing.
“For a few months I didn’t want to talk about business at all, like I was so sick,” Williams said. “My hormones hit me in a weird way, where I was almost depressed, really unmotivated.”
Recently reaching 20 weeks into her pregnancy, Williams mentioned that her biggest struggle was related to her mental health and anxiety. This constant struggle led her to sacrifice part of her business persona and take advantage of her support system to create a harmonious physical and mental space. She mentioned adopting a business partner to run her boutique business throughout her absence has helped her focus on her health.
Even though Williams felt unable to travel back and forth to her physical business, she felt the importance of keeping her audience updated on her journey. By posting about her current reality, Williams experienced a positive shift in her content, as she has gained more views than she expected.
“People really like the pregnant mom content,” Williams said. “It’s the most engagement I’ve ever had, my stories are up by maybe 30 percent.”
Williams mentioned she was surprised by the support she has received from her followers. At first, she thought she would lose people, but instead, she began hitting a brand-new market with her content. Having part of her new audience be made up of single women that turn to her as an example of what to expect within a pregnancy.
Through her content, Williams hopes to keep growing her brand as a business owner and mother. She plans on remaining to learn how to balance both lifestyles and encourages others who are on the same journey to do the same.
“Talk to people who are really positive about the (pregnancy) experience,” Wiliams said. “I mean, people do it all the time, we’re not the first people to do it, so I’m sure we can figure it out and keep out the negative.”