ELC Entrepreneur Highlight: Tara Jaye Frank
Tara Jaye Frank is the President and CEO of TJF Career Modeling LLC. She partners with leaders and organizations to create learning experiences that advance critical culture and leadership goals.
Q: Why did you make the leap into entrepreneurship?
A: I moved to Dallas from Kansas City a few years ago and began working remotely for the company I’d been with for 17 years. Over time and after a couple requests to move back in order to be considered for C-Suite roles, it became clear that my move was seen as a cap on my growth there. I wasn’t ready to stop growing. So I started my own firm.
Q: How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
A: My background is in creative product development, but I’d always loved nurturing talent, and evolving systems to better enable talent. When I started, I was coaching, speaking and consulting, with an eye toward helping women, mostly, unlock their potential and achieve their professional high grounds.
Q: What was your biggest mistake/failure and how did you navigate through it?
A: In the beginning I scoped my services around everything I knew how to do or was good at. I learned within a year that just because I COULD do something, that didn’t mean I SHOULD do it. I had to be honest about what energizes me and where I deliver the most differentiated value. Now I design leadership development experiences – conferences, LD programs, workshops. I also advise C-Suite teams as they strive to build a bridge to a more inclusive culture.
Q: To what or whom do you attribute your success?
A: So many things and so many people, but if I were to choose one differentiator, I would say the ability to write and tell a compelling story. It fuels my clients’ confidence, it grounds my design work, it accelerates my branding work. The writer in me has propelled the business owner in me.
Q: What has entrepreneurship taught you?
A: Relationships are everything, and also that you don’t have to be in relationship with everyone. Focus is good. Being an expert in human motivation – relationships, EI, culture drivers – has served me much more than being a generalist did, especially in this climate.
Q: Any tips for new business owners or struggling business owners?
A: Use LinkedIn as a way to build community and establish your voice. It has been a tremendous accelerator to my business and I see the same happening for others. This takes time, but engaging helps you become familiar, then build trust…and that opens the door to opportunity.
The ELC Entrepreneur series highlights ELC Members who have been successful in starting businesses. Their stories will provide insights on what went into their decision and how they navigated some of their toughest obstacles. They will also provide tips for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make the leap.