Emmy Award winning journalist Tamara Banks is a pillar in the Denver community and our Sistahbiz Spotlight for this week. We appreciate her light, depth and commitment to truth and justice. She has been making waves as a Black Female entrepreneur, creating transformational social change through excellence in journalism.
Tamara is a former anchorwoman for WB2 News, and has been featured on numerous news networks including PBS, CNN, ABC News, HDNet’s World Report, BBC, Al Jazeera America, FOX News, as well as on a number of radio stations and newspapers over the past 20+ years. The shift to freelance journalism and consulting is one that requires boss moves and Tamara dropped a few of those gems in this interview for sure.
What’s the #1 piece of advice you have for black women starting new businesses?
Believe in yourself! That doesn’t mean you can’t have moments of self doubt, butterflies, or an uneasy stomach. Just don’t let them consume you. Get your prayer warriors and support team behind you and keep moving forward! Get a mentor or a few mentors.
Has your product/service gone through iterations and changes? What was your strategy for learning from customers and improving the product?
I’ve learned to do as much pre-planning as possible for a client needing a video produced. The flip side is I’ve learned how to manage a client’s expectations. This is not always easy since clients will sometimes change their minds in the middle of a production.
How did you acquire the necessary capital required to scale your business and get to this level?
I put money aside before I stepped completely in to the freelance world.
What is a strategy (or two) that you use to ensure that you meet your annual goals?
I have to write my goals down.
Secondly, I put benchmarks in place to stay focused and on track.
How do you recharge and restore and how often?
I don’t recharge and restore often enough! But when I do I spend time laughing with my BFF’s. I also meditate, and EVERY DAY, several times a day I pray, thanking God for all of my blessings.
What area of your business did you have the least experience in when you started? How did you handle the learning curve and ensure the business succeeded in that area?
I’m a creative… I get bored with numbers and had no experience in bookkeeping. I had to learn how to do at least the basics. And when I was able to afford it I hired a great accountant.
What is your morning routine?
1. I thank God for another Day and ask Him whom I can bless that day.
2. Read my daily devotional.
3. Read the news headlines.
4. Go for a run.
Tell us about your first big deal and how you achieved it? (This can be a retail distribution deal, large-scale contract, sponsorship or funding round)
Every job I have been hired for I felt was a “big deal” because I knew it was a right where I was supposed to be. With that said, when I got my anchor/reporter contract I felt I was really on the path I wanted to be on. Later, each time I’m able to work for a national or international network I’ve landed a “large-scale” contract in the TV journalism world.
What advice do you have for women trying to cross cultural lines to grow their business? Can you speak to this from both a race and class perspective?
First and foremost, be yourself. If you wear your hair natural then wear it that way when you give a presentation, pitch a story to network, or approach a client. Just like any relationship, you need to be authentic from the very beginning. With that said, meet potential clients where they are. In other words, find something you do have in common like sports, activities, family. This will make you relatable to (almost) anyone. Again, don’t hide your light!
How have relationships impacted your business? What advice would you give entrepreneurs about how to manage business relationships? What relationship skills are most important for business success?
Relationships are the key pillars of success and those strong relationships are built on a foundation of integrity. This looks like keeping your word, following through, and calling your client regularly just to see how they’re doing. Much of my work now comes from referrals from people who trust me and my work.
Can you tell us about a great failure or disappointment that you learned or benefited greatly from in your business?
One of my shows was cancelled with no real explanation. I was surprised but not shocked when I learned the money for the show would go toward someone else’s. But, I learned that other doors were opening… bigger, better doors… once that one closed! I needed to leave that job but hadn’t. They blessed me by discontinuing my contract!
If you can share one message to inspire black women in business, what would it be?
It’s important to find your passion and follow it! Get the support and resources you need. Ask questions. Get a mentor(s). Be thankful for the good and tough times.
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