Tiana Burse is the CEO & Co-Founder of District Media Press, Bar Talk and Coffee (which is an online weekly show), and creator of 66 84 apparel. Tiana is also an accomplished Writer, Author and Speaker. Read our interview with the lovely Tiana below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I truly believe that my DNA is wired for entrepreneurship. I remember selling, buying and trading baseball cards, pongs and other little things when I was in grade school. From there I developed leadership skills through sports so, by the time I turned 22 I found a mentor and learned the rules of the game when it came to the business world and since then I haven’t looked back. I am completely addicted to progress, success and personal growth.
Tell us about your business.
District Media Press is a digital media agency that focuses on marketing in various areas depending on each client’s brand/company. We service 40 clients at the moment and within the first 18 months of opening our doors we are on track to generate a 7-figure income as an entity.
66 84 apparel is my own clothing line (www.iambartalk.com) that focuses on monetizing my weekly video content through Bar Talk & Coffee. We generate roughly 30k + visitors to that website on a monthly basis.
Top 30 under 30 award winner, Creator of the flagship Entrepreneurship Institute for several top Universities, featured on CBS & The Observer News Paper.
Where is your business based?
Our first company location started in Sacramento, CA (our flagship location). We are in the process of opening a second location as well as a third location this year. Our business model is very virtual and we have clients from all over the country.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first few steps we took were:
- We made the vision clear. This is important because clarity equals power and power equals action. We wrote down our company name, the services provided, who needed our services and we wrote down the number of clients we were going to take on. From there we broke down our monthly, weekly and daily action steps.
- We got incorporated.
- We developed a strong website presence for potential clients to reference too.
- We began to build up the company through client services. From there instead of holding onto the money that was coming in, we invested it back into the company by getting our first company space to meet with our clients (we live in an online, virtual world so this step isn’t necessary for all brands).
- We made sure we had a 5-year vision statement. This helps us stay on track and “begin with an end in mind” (1 of the 7 habits of highly effective people written by: Stephen Covey).
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social media. More specifically, leveraging the social platforms that we have access to and then posting content through those channels that speak directly to the demographic that are on those platforms. For me, social media is actually psychology so my awareness of this has really allowed our company and brand to scale by unprecedented growth.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The truth is, entrepreneurship is hard. It most certainly isn’t glamorous. It’s tough. So, staying the course when things didn’t look so bright was a hurdle that I had to endure in order to get to this point. And to be honest, I think that social media has made entrepreneurship look easy which is a problem – because it’s not. The second challenge was sustaining when money was really tight. I had to sell clothes just to pay a cell phone bill. I had to make pennies look like dollars and on top of that I endured some personal challenges that really forced me to grow internally to become a person ready for where I am today.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I kept my head in the books that forced me to work on myself, I focused on what vision I could see at that time, I took time to meditate for 15 minutes a day to continue to see where I was going and I kept moving because a moving target is hard to hit. I also, depended on the strength of my business partner and best friend. We both had our moments but we both kept each other on track. Lastly, whenever I felt down I went back to my mentor who had been there, done that and bought the ticket to success in business.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind, is having sight but no vision.” The only thing that kept me motivated through challenging times was the vision of what we were building.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I never focused on anyone else, not even my competitors. The reason why is because I surround myself with some of the brightest minds who are in fact strong where I am weak. This makes for a force that is unstoppable.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Keep it simple.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be open to alter your course. This will happen many many many times on your journey. If you find a lot of resistance in whatever you are building, it may be time to alter your course a bit.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Books, books and more books. I’ve read 692 books over the last 12 years. Books are written by successful people for a reason. It’s a blueprint for success.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The 50th Law” by Robert Greene & Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We are currently learning how to build a culture within our organization that makes our team a collective unit where everyone feels like they have ownership within our company thus, making everyone work as if it is their own.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Over the next few months we are opening a second company location in Southern California. This is a big undertaking and we are ready for it.