Tana Session is an Award-Winning International Speaker and Coach, and a recognized expert purveyor of Reinvention and Transformation. Recently recognized as a Huffington Post “10 Black Female Experts to Follow in 2018,” Tana’s mission is to help you identify and move beyond previous adversities. She will give you actionable tools so you can show up great in your life, relationships, career and business!
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I was motivated to start my business when I realized I hit a plateau in my corporate career as the head of Human Resources for the past 10 years. I was no longer feeling fulfilled in my role, and was worried I would wake up one day and hate my life. I decided to do something about it and take control of my own destiny. I incorporated the parts of HR I liked, as well as my gift for coaching people, and established my own coaching and consulting practice in 2014.
Tell us about your business.
TanaMSession.com is a coaching and consulting practice. I am a solopreneur, so I offer a very high-touch service to my clients. I am an award-winning international speaker, best-selling author and certified trained career/life coach. Through my business, I offer a 6-week virtual group coaching program as well as VIP one-on-one coaching programs.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I am currently offering a New Year’s special for the enrollment tuition for my 6-week virtual group coaching program. For those who register before the end of January, they will receive a $500 scholarship discount off of the standard tuition rate.
- Huffington Post “Top 10 Black Female Experts to Follow in 2018”
- LeadHERship Women’s Conference 2018 Honoree
- University of Phoenix 2017 Distinguished Alumni of Southern California
- WomELLE Magazine “Top 6 Women Leaders of the Month”
- #1 Best-Selling Author “Get Your Career Life in Order”
- BOSS Network Top 50 Business Starts of 2016
- Contributing Writer: Forbes.com, BlackEnterprise.com, Recruiter.com
- HR Certified: GPHR/PHR/SHRM-SCP
- MBA Organizational Psychology & Development
Where is your business based?
I am physically located in Pasadena, CA (relocated from Brooklyn, NY in 2014), but my business is international.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Before I started my coaching/consulting practice, I reached out to other people I knew who were doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to learn from their success and challenges before implementing my business.
I also researched the best type of business to establish (i.e., S-corporation, LLC). I obtained my federal employer ID number (FEIN) and my state licenses to ensure my organizational structure was set up correctly for tax purposes. Simultaneously, I secured my social media account names and started my social media presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
I also rebranded my LinkedIn page to reflect my new business/employment status. From there, I started reaching out to people in my network seeking referrals for career coaching, which ultimately led to my first speaking engagement and writing my first two books, all within my first year in business.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The most effective way for raising awareness of my business and gaining new customers has been referrals, hands down! It’s great to have a social media presence, but I do not recommend putting all of your efforts there.
Likes on your status do not necessarily equate to dollars in your bank account. You have to network and spend time cultivating and nurturing relationships. This is where the hidden job market is… and it is also where your next client is hiding.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenges in my business so far have been scalability. Since I am a solopreneur, I can only service so many individual clients at one time. In order to maintain the level of flexibility and lifestyle I desire, I have had to create other ways to go from “one” to “many”.
Speaking engagements and interviews on television, radio, blogs and podcasts have all helped to build awareness of my brand and introduce me to an untapped market of group coaching clients. These opportunities are not easy to come by, but when they arise, say “yes.”
How did you overcome these challenges?
You have to remain consistent, determined and persistent to overcome any challenges you may face in your business, career and life in general. When you fall down, get back up. You will be stronger and wiser as a result of overcoming each challenge. I look at challenges as an opportunity to stretch myself and rise to the next level of success.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
The best way I have found to remain motivated during difficult times is to meditate, pray and lean on my husband and close friends. I also have strong mentors and peers who I can be transparent with and share my challenges and ask for guidance based on their own experiences.
Having a good, strong, supportive community is key when you are running your own business, especially as a solopreneur. There are no team members to strategize or socialize with, and no office parties to help keep you engaged throughout the year, so in most cases you will have to remain self-motivated. I bet on myself every day of the week, and sometimes that has to be sufficient to keep me motivated.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Coaching is built first and foremost on relationships. I distinguish myself from my competitors by remaining consistent and authentic in all of my interactions with current and potential clients, whether that’s on social media, at speaking engagements, or when they run into me at networking events or the mall or grocery store.
Coaching clients about their career, relationships or business is a very intimate relationship. There has a to be a high level of trust built very early on in the engagement. I openly share my own challenges in each of those areas with my clients so they can quickly realized I am just like them, but have been able to figure out a path to success and want to help them find their own path there.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I recently received was to continue coming from a place of “service” for my clients and the universe will continue to return the same to me.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
My advice to other entrepreneurs is to stay focused, regardless of what may be happening in your business at the moment. There was a reason you got started on this path, and your purpose is straight ahead of you.
Don’t look back because you’re not going that way. Continue to use your adversities as FUEL for your success and not as excuses for failure. And finally, remember SITUATIONS fail… but YOU don’t.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
My virtual assistant has been an integral part of my success over the past year. She introduced me to HootSuite for planning out my social media marketing weeks in advance. What a time saver! Also, I recently implemented Infusionsoft for my sales funnel, email campaign and client database.
Admittedly, this system is not the easiest to figure out how to create a sales funnel in, but they have great resources and videos to walk you through the process. It’s a great one-stop system for engaging with your audience on a regularly basis (i.e., e-newsletters, special products/offerings).
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I recently completed reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi, and have started reading The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey.
Throughout the year, I continually read articles from multiple career and coaching sources, and I keep an eye out for new book releases I can learn from and incorporate new practices, services or offerings into my coaching/consulting practice.
I am a firm believer in self-development, and if I don’t invest in myself, how or why would I expect anyone to invest in me as their coach or speaker?
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Currently, I am working with a business coach who specializes in marketing speakers for speaking engagements. My personal goal next year is to double the number of speaking events I completed this year, thus widening my reach to new potential clients who can benefit from my message and allow me to serve them in the new year and beyond.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals for the next few months are as follows:
- Finish reading 2-3 of the new books on my bookshelf
- Move into a new house with an extra room for my home office
- Have 10-15 women enrolled in my 6-week virtual group coaching program starting January 8, 2018
- Start writing my 3rd book
I plan on achieving each of these goals by remaining laser-focused. I have started watching less television and spending less time on social media, and instead using that time to read more each day.
My husband and I are working with a realtor to help us locate the right home for us. I also have plans to partner with peers who can help me promote my group coaching to their tribe. I also hired a freelancer to collect all of my quotes from social media so I can create a book with journal pages so readers can write how each quote applies in their life.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook TMS Tana M Session
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