Imagine working with a certified business consultant with almost 20 years of experience. They have a Masters in Management, and an impeccable work ethic, managing million dollar budgets for major corporations. Now imagine that this professional not only is a woman, but is a warrior and champion for survival; as well as an educated, strong, and innovative Woman of Color. TJ Everhart is the extraordinary business consultant we’d like to introduce you to today. Her superpower is that she has a heart to see people win because that mindset has always led to her personal success. Read along as we delve deeper into Everhart’s story.
Why should business owners choose to work with you specifically instead of going to another business consultant?
I am a business strategist and I have a keen eye for identifying those things that may be preventing a business from meeting its financial goals. For larger corporations, my strength and core competency is turning under-performing teams, departments or divisions into high performers collectively. As a consultant, I bring a third party’s view of what changes may be needed to move the company towards its operational goals. I access, identify, and help facilitate the change needed with a strategic plan, all while being a person that can work will all levels of management. Small business owners must think larger and act like where they want to go financially and operationally- NOT where they are. With that I mean, they need to have policies and procedures in place, understand the terminology of business (SWOT, ROI, RUC, RFP, Trending, Forecasting) for example, and put these things in place. I help them with these things because business growth doesn’t come by happenstance. All of this I do, whether working with a larger corporation or a small business, with a heart for people.
You speak briefly of your traumatic childhood on your website. Can you share your story?
The earliest memory of violence against my mother was when I was about 4 years old. I remember my mother attempting to leave my dad, but he had a gun to my little sister’s head, whom was an arm baby, to keep her from leaving. On an almost daily basis, my father would beat my mother, violently. One year my mother wanted to leave and I wanted to stay with my daddy because, despite how violent he was to my mother, I was a Daddy’s Girl, I was around 10 years old. My mother took my little sister and left. My dad in his anger walks over to me and tells me, “You know I’m not your daddy don’t you. While I was gone to the war your momma F@*ked some dude and got pregnant with you!!” Talking about devastated, I was completely destroyed. But then it all became clear: if my mother hadn’t birthed me, she wouldn’t be going through this. I was a daily reminder of what she had done and he couldn’t handle it, so the violence escalated. Fast forward to 19-year-old TJ. I was at work, and got a call that I needed to come to the hospital because my mom had been rushed there. On this day, before I left to go to work, my father would not allow my mom to go to work that day so I knew he had done something serious. As I arrived to the hospital, I am advised that my mom had been harmed, and that she had a 3% chance of living. While with my mom’s family, the doctors roll a body on a gurney passed us. This body had no skin and no hair, and all I saw was a body burned beyond recognition. My mother had been set on fire from the waist up. From August to April of the following year, my mother was hospitalized and she died on April 9th, 1992. I had just turned 20 in March. I like to believe that my life is a story of overcoming, forgiveness, resilience and freedom!
Why leave corporate America after having such a long tenure of over 20 years?
I always knew I was an entrepreneur. I knew that I was working hard on someone else’s dream. I asked myself, “if I would work that hard for someone else, how much more would I do for myself?” I knew I had more within myself, and I knew that God had given me the ability to work at some great companies and learn great skills, for me to build my own dream. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I know that the vision God has given me for my family to be billionaires will never manifest working for someone else.
You focus on helping clients live their best lives. How does personal coaching affect the growth of one’s business?
How a person sees him or herself will determine whether he or she will be successful as an entrepreneur. If a person knows that they are gifted or skillful, but internally feels that they can’t do it because they deal with issues that are hindering them from moving forward, they will need help overcoming these things. I share my story with people because I have overcome so many odds. I share stores from being the child born out of adultery, my mother dying when I was young, to growing up in the ‘hood, and putting myself through college for both my Bachelors and Masters. I push people to push passed all of the challenges and walk in their purpose
When did you realize your purpose in business consulting?
I became so dissatisfied at my last job, I realized that I had more in me. It really hit me when I joined a group of small business women and recognized that although they had great products and services, they lacked a lot of the business principles to be profitable and sustainable, and it’s no fault of their own. Someone may know how to make a hair bow but may not know anything about an operating budget or expenses. So, I realized that I needed to help those types of individuals.
Was it easy for you to embrace your purpose?
No because like most people, fear tried to set in. Fear said “What if you don’t get clients? What if you don’t make any money? What if people won’t find you valuable?” I had to push passed all of the FEAR (false evidence appearing real) and utilize FEAR (faith eradicates and restores).
Describe a day in the life of TJ Everhart, the entrepreneur.
Whew, I’m hustlin’ like I’m broke all day and night, lol. I am in the business development phase while dealing with clients. That means that I am networking, whether online or in person at events. I have at least 3 meetings a day, varying amongst my mentor or current clients, a business partner, or even a potential client. I have free 30-minute consultations for potential clients, which are usually one a day. Then I have to handle the business side of my business, so that means email correspondence, and financials. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy listening to business podcasts or business books while doing all of this!
Do you believe that all entrepreneurs need a business consultant in their corners?
Absolutely. Oprah Winfrey once said that she has at least five coaches or consultants. So,of course, we should have at least one. A business consultant gives you the perspective of an outside person. True story, I just held a free consultation for someone and she told me that I lit a fire in her, and that she thought she had everything all together ; but after speaking with me, she understood that she has a lot of work to do to get to her goals. I reviewed her client contracts for her and recognized that they were completely unacceptable, they were not specific enough, very generic and were more like a SOW than a client contract. For large corporations, it’s always good to get an outside perspective because those internally are too close to the project to be unbiased. For an entrepreneur, make sure you hire someone who is a specialist in what is needed and not just a person who puts the title of business consultant behind their name.
Would you say that there is a formula for leading a successful life as an entrepreneur? If so, what does that entail?
Yes. First you need to know that God has given you a vision and a heart to be an entrepreneur. Knowing this will help you push through the ebb and flow of business. Second, you have to be unstoppable and learn to accept rejection. You will get many “no’s,” and you can’t take it personally. You have to keep pushing until you get to your “yes.” Third, surround yourself with a team of people that is strong in your areas of weakness. Fourth, don’t be concerned with the people who you think should be supporting you Ask God to show the people who support you and the doors that are opened for you. Fifth, make sure you have quiet time with God to get strategies on what you should be doing with your business. You must spend time with God about your business. And lastly, make sure you have a mentor, a business coach and a consultant for your business to guide you on the things that you do not know. You will need someone in your corner to remind you of your why and that you will make it!!
Everhart currently hosts a weekly Facebook show every Tuesday at 8:00-8:30 pm CST entitled “Redesigning Your Life or Your Business,” as it is her dream to have a show on OWN. Also, she is adding a podcast to her brand within the upcoming months, and has plans to expand her platform and speaking engagements beyond the state of Alabama. If you are an entrepreneur or business looking for someone who genuinely cares about you, operates in the utmost integrity, and has a proven track record of meeting and exceeding operational goals or growing a business, then TJ Everhart is ready to work with you!
We certainly look forward to more of TJ Everhart, and appreciate her, wholeheartedly for sharing her story with W2WT!