I'm so excited to introduce you to this week's guest on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, TaVona Denise!
TaVona Denise is setting a new standard for how coaches book out their one-on-one services and fill their group programs so they can actually make money doing what they love. After having multiple 5 to 6 figure launches that left her exhausted and overwhelmed, she created the Launch Optimization Method to help fellow coaches crush their launch goals without burning out.
TaVona is the founder of the Launch Lounge for Coaches, the author of Unstoppable Success: How to Finally Create the Body, Business and Lifestyle You Want, and the voice behind the podcast, Breaking Protocol. When she is not handling business, you’ll often find her in a book, at the movies, or on her bike!
Push play to listen to this week's episode, or read the full transcript below!
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Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 359 of Pep Talks For Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest, Tavona Denise, and Tavona is on a mission to help you create a life you love and a business on your terms. She is the voice behind the Breaking Protocol Podcast, author of Unstoppable Success, and she teaches Type A entrepreneurs how to achieve their goals without the hustle, overwhelm and burnout. So Tavona. Thank you so much for being here on Pep Talks For Side Hustlers. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?
Tavona Denise: Oh for sure. Thank you for having me Shannon. And yes, I'm Tavona Denise and I actually have a background in healthcare. And for so many of you all that have been going with us through this awful journey through the pandemic, know that healthcare professionals were burned out before, so you know it's like that now. And I started helping my colleagues with burnout and it got to a place where I'm like, you know what, it's one thing to be burned out and not have autonomy, but I know how to do business. So let me help you get that started. And I went from helping them make the transition from healthcare into a coaching business. And then I really found my niche in helping with launches. And you and I were talking briefly about that because I think about them completely differently. Mostly like a party, like an event. So that is a very, very little bit about my journey and how I help people today.
Shannon Mattern: I love that you were at your nine to five, so to speak. I don't know if in healthcare it was nine to five, but at your day job, and you just saw an opportunity to use a gift that you have to help people in an indirect way. And you said something that really stuck out to me. "Burnt out and didn't have autonomy". And I think that that was one of the biggest drivers for me in wanting to go from working for someone else to working for myself is feeling like I had autonomy and agency. Feeling that I was in control of my life, my destiny, and to be able to have a bigger impact than I could have just sitting behind that desk doing who knows what kind of crazy report for someone that's never gonna look at it anyway.
Tavona Denise: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I really got into the burnout space cause I got certified as a life coach in 2014 and I had my physical therapy contracting company. So I was working at this hospital that was one of my main contracts since 2007, and people that I love that were brilliant, I saw them turn into walking zombies over the years. And it was just one of those things where they kept me in the breakrooms so much where they were crying and I knew how to help. And it was just me being a helper. I could not not help them when I had the tools. Not only did I have the tools because I had overcome some burnout, but I had the autonomy because I functioned as a contractor. So it was just a natural transition for me to say, "Hey, if you don't like where you are, you don't have to stay here. You have choice in this matter."
Shannon Mattern: And sometimes it doesn't feel like we do. It was interesting. I was listening to your podcast a little bit before we started this episode, and you said we've been sold this, you didn't say it this way, but like sold this lie that if you just go to school, get good grades, get the job, go to college and get the paycheck that we'll be happy. And you're like, how's that working out for you? And I'm like, exactly! You know? And it just really resonated with me. I know it resonates with everybody listening to this podcast because they're all kind of right there thinking that's not necessarily true. That's not the path to happiness.
Tavona Denise: Not at all. And I don't know if this is the case outside of the healthcare world. I imagine it is. On some level we were dreamers. It was like, I can't wait until I get to college. I can't wait till I get my degree. I can't wait till I get my first job. And then it's like, we can't wait till retirement? And there's 40 years in between that. And so at some point we stopped dreaming and we stopped directing our paths. Because we were the ones that got to choose the college. We got to choose the degree. We got to choose the job. And then we stopped being able to choose. We stopped being able to direct our path. And that's what I love so much about business is you get to decide what the next goal is and you get to test and decide what the path is to get there. And so that's why I loved being an entrepreneur so much. I mean, of course it has its risks, but there are also some fantastic rewards.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I have found that all the risks and all the challenges are so much more rewarding than... and let me just say, I was responsible for my experience at my day job. I fully realize that if I felt like I didn't have autonomy, that was because, in my position looking back with hindsight at my specific job, and I'm not saying this is true for everybody, I believed something that wasn't true, that I didn't have autonomy, that I couldn't make those decisions. And so I can look back and be like, oh, I am powerful. I could have changed that situation if I wanted to. I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I took the path that I took. And like you said, there's 40 years,
Shannon Mattern: and especially for Type A people like us, the Type A achievers, we like to achieve and check those boxes and set those big goals. And then, like you said, we turn into walking zombie somewhere along the way. And someone has to come along or something has to happen. We need to be interrupted. Something has to come along and wake us up. And it sounds like you did that for a lot of your coworkers that were crying to you in the break room. And you're like, "Hey, wake up. It doesn't have to be this way and I can help you. "
Tavona Denise: And one of my coaches told me one time, how you do anything is how you do everything. And I have that same mentality when it comes to helping people with their business. It's like we somehow take that employee mentality into our business and that work ethic, if it was overworking to over having responsibility and all of these things, we bring it into our businesses and then we can burn out there. And I find that a lot of the people that I work with, especially because we were used to achieving at such a high level, it's like, I'm trying to get it right. I'm trying to get it perfect. What should I do? What am I supposed to do right here? And I'm like, boo, the business is the wild, wild west. You get to do it your way. With that though,
Tavona Denise: you get to understand that this is a place to experiment, to play and to fail. And so what I love so much about looking at business as an experiment is it takes a lot of the pressure off. And it takes a lot of, I'm a sucky business person because I did a launch or I did this program or whatever, and it didn't work. I'm like, no, let's bring it back to the data. Okay. Well, what parts of it didn't work. Let's not throw the whole thing out. Let's look at what segment didn't work. Let's fix that part and then run it again. And I'm guilty of this too. It was like, oh, that didn't work. And then throw the whole thing out, start all over again, spend more time, energy, motivation, money, whatever resources. And we're wondering why we can't get traction.
Shannon Mattern: I did the exact same thing. I did the exact same thing. It's like, oh, that didn't work. Start over. I've talked about that on this podcast so many times, and you brought up launching and I think launching is one of those places where we make it like this 'make or break/pass - fail/ success or we suck' kind of thing. And you had mentioned that you listened to one of my past episodes, my July income report, where I'm like, I had this idea in the beginning of my business, cause I started in 2014 also, and, of course, you're seeing all the Facebook ads and all the things as you start to wade into the entrepreneur space online, everyone's going to show you how to have a 4 or 5, 6, 7 figure launch. And, you know, the idea is that you make this offer and everybody buys it.
Shannon Mattern: And I was sucked into that mentality. And that's how I was introduced to the concept of a launch. I think it was like product-launch-formula and all of that stuff. Yeah. Jeff Walker. And so that was my idea of how you sold online. And so I was talking in that episode when I say launch, here's what I really mean. I mean, making an offer for the first time, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I would love to hear your perspective on launch and what do you say to your students and your clients about it? What's your take on that?
Tavona Denise: It's funny because I didn't realize until I looked back, you know, how we create so many things and then we toss it to the side. And I had a workshop that I ran one time called it, Launch With Confidence. And in that case, I'm talking very much like a person that's launching a business, launching their stuff out into the world for the first time. It's like your grand opening ceremony. In the work that I'm doing these days with people that are more intermediate business owners, they already have a number of clients. I actually look at launches slightly different instead of it just being, I'm launching a group program or course into the world where they're supposed to be a zillion people come running. I think about it in terms of like, even if you are a one-on-one service provider and you want to fill your one-on-one program at one time, you can use a launch model to do it.
Tavona Denise: And I think that's one of the things that I do that's very different than many people, because I don't know how many times you've seen this. Like where people say, oh, I want to make a hundred thousand in my business. So then we do the math and that's $8,333 each month. Well, most of the time people really can't get those. If it was 8,333, and you need 10 clients, most of the time people cannot get those 10 at the same time. And so what I do in teaching them how to do the launch is you do the launch and you get the 10 people at the same time, so the math actually works out. So you can use it to fill your one-on-one and you can use it to fill a group program. And so I think about launches as you're announcing something to the world and you create buzz and excitement around it.
Tavona Denise: And you not create scarcity, but you inspire people to actually take action on it at the time when you're talking about it, versus what I call the post and pray method, where some people that use social media and they're like I call I'm going to post these epic posts all the time, and I'm going to make my call to actions, and people are going to get on sales calls with me. And I'm like, how's that working out for you? Because we can't really predict that. But I've gotten it to a place that we know that if you do any one of these launch events and there are four or five different types you can do, you can start to, especially if you don't just do it one time and say that didn't work and then toss it out, you can start to predict how many people you need to come in order to hit certain numbers.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. And I think that one of the things that you said that really stuck out to me is really creating the buzz around this thing. And also giving people a reason to make a decision now, right? Instead of oh, they're going to put it off and put it off. Because the mistake I used to make back in the day was oh, I'm working on this thing by myself, behind my laptop, getting everything perfect. I'm not talking about it anywhere. Like I was talking about in that podcast episode, it's like all this behind the scenes work that only I know about, that only I am doing, you know? Until one day I'm just like, now you must all buy on my timeline. This is the first time you're hearing about it.
Shannon Mattern: And now you must all buy on my timeline. And if it didn't work out it must mean my offer sucks. There are so many other pieces and parts and things to measure, and data to collect and putting things out there to get a reaction and all of that. So I was this lone Wolf working in a silo and then thinking oh, well, when I offer this, of course people are gonna buy it. It's amazing. I came up with it all by myself. I got no feedback. So, I love your take on launches where you're talking about it like it's an event in time where you're making an offer and then creating a reason for people to say yes to you at that time. But it's not just like a one and done kind of thing.
Tavona Denise: Right. And taking it a step beyond, because I think it's interesting that you mentioned Jeff Walker and the product launch formula, so many people think, because the marketers would have you believe, their way is the way. And so you're doing a three-part video series or it's gotta be a five day challenge, or it has to be a webinar, like, oh my gosh, webinars are all the thing, or it's a workshop. No! What I've found in working with my clients is that I tend to go based on your personality, your offer and your energy type. So introverts do not do as well as extroverts on five day challenges. They just cannot deal with that energetic exchange as much. If we're talking about your offer, sometimes, especially if you're a coach or a consultant and there's a co-creative kind of offer, you want them to experience what that's like.
Tavona Denise: And so what I've found is a lot of times, even though everybody's hollering webinars, sometimes they don't work as well for some coaches and consultants because they just get to see your framework and how you work and what results you get, but they don't quite see themselves in it, as opposed to doing a workshop or a challenge where there is that co-creative, it simulates how you all would work together. So they're like, oh, I can see how this would work for me. And then we think about the energy. If you're a person that is like, I can't sustain going live and doing the things for five days, you don't have to do five days. And so it goes back to what I was saying before, so many of us that are high achievers are like, tell us what to do coach and we'll do all of the things. We will overdo all the things. We get to decide what feels good for us and align it with our clients and our offer.
Shannon Mattern: Ah, that makes so much sense because, you know, we do, it's like, let me fit my business model into what so-and-so says is going to work. And it's fascinating because one, either you're going to just go all in like a Type A person does, like you said, we're going to go do everything. Or on the flip side, you're going to do nothing because you're like, I don't want to do it. A webinar just sounds awful to me. And I don't know how I would even talk that long? And all of the things. And then that mindset kind of gets in the way. If it's not fully aligned, you're not going to take action. And you'll be beating yourself up. At least I see this with my students a lot of the time. Beating themselves up for, oh, I know what to do, but I'm not doing it. And it's because these pieces are out of alignment
Tavona Denise: A hundred percent. And when you talk about mindset, it's really a delicate balance that we walk between the mindset and the strategy because, I'm sure you recognize this too, Shannon, the strategy doesn't take that long. It's really quite easy, but it's the execution where people fall down. And so the reason why I keep thinking about launches as events and parties is because more people can get their mind wrapped around that than 'okay, now I've got to go live. Now I've got to pose. Now I've got to tell people'. But it's like, okay, if you've ever had a wedding, which I haven't, but I've been to a few, or if you've ever thrown a major birthday party, twenty five, thirty, whatever, it's like, oh, it's a win-win for everybody. You're going to have open bar and there's going to be drinks. And you're going to see some new people. And I'm going to introduce you. I'm going to spend money. We spend time, energy, money on the event. And we spend a lot of energy telling people about it. Wedding invitations can be quite expensive. So we look forward to doing that. But somehow in our business, we seize up when it comes to telling people about our stuff. And so when we can really get our minds wrapped around this is a win-win and this can be fun, it's a lot easier for people to actually go out and do it.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. Thinking about it as you would totally go all in if you were planning a party for your best friend, to make sure that everybody knew about it, everyone was going to have a blast. You wouldn't be like, oh, I don't want to tell her again that it's happening because I haven't heard back from you. You'd be like, oh, I need to know if she's coming. I want you to be there. It's going to be amazing. I think the other thing that I love about how you were talking about planning as an event is that you can't put it off once you've set the date and told people about it. It's like a built-in 'okay, this is happening' and the date's getting closer and the train is on the tracks and I'm going to see this all the way through because I've already told people it's happening, right?
Tavona Denise: Yes. Yes. And I think if you can get excited about it and think about how amazing it's going to be and how much people are going to get out of it, as opposed to, and I think a lot of us go in thinking this, that we're taking from them or only we are getting something out of it, and then it makes us not want to talk about it as much. And I try to keep things super simple when we think about the data. When you think about a party or when you think about one of these events, you have to make sure that people see it, that they sign up, that they show up, that they stay until you make the offer and that they take you up on the offer. And so I got this so clearly about the events and the party situation
Tavona Denise: when I saw my mom sell some tickets to a crab feast. I'm from Maryland so we do crabs. And she was there one day on a patio. She had her list of people. She had her guest list and she was calling people and catching up how you've been and we're having this thing. And I think that thing cost like $75. It wasn't cheap. And she's like, okay, and how many tickets and how many people are you bringing in? Oh, you don't like crabs. We got hot dogs, we got hamburgers. So in that, I really heard her overcoming objections to coming to a party that costs money. And it was just incredible. And that's when the whole idea was born. Like, oh, it's really just like that. It could really be that simple.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. And one of the things that I have noticed personally in my business when I am launching is when I'm making the results all about me, I never get the results that I want. When I'm making the results all about what's possible for them, when they say yes to me, I get the results that I want. And I have been in business since 2014, it's 2021. I have done this a million times and I still get hooked back in to making a launch about me. I just actually wrapped up my August income report. It hasn't published yet, but I recently did a launch and I was like, okay, I'm gonna make this launch, the part inside of my business, the best we've ever done. We're going to have so much fun me and my team.
Shannon Mattern: It's going to be amazing. Because what I've done before is stress out, burn out, like whatever. So the prep for the launch part - freaking awesome. I made that super fun. The actual launch part, I was making it all about me making this launch an awesome launch. And I totally lost sight of what is the transformation that people are going to get when they work with me inside of this program. And I completely lost sight of it. And I did not get the results that I wanted. And it's that whole thing, we create businesses to help other people have a transformation and also make a living doing something that we love that has a big impact. And I don't know, I just, it's so interesting because I created that result for myself again, which I'm like, I know better, but I did it anyway.
Tavona Denise: And I appreciate you sharing that. Because I have had the same experience, and I called it the thought markers in launches. It's like, you have one amazing launch. And then either it's like, that's going to be a fluke or I have to get the same results or I'm a fraud or blah, blah, blah. Like we get all up in our head and I keep reminding myself and my clients, me or the mission, me or the mission. It's about the mission. And you hit the nail on the head! And it's one of those things where, and I'm glad we're talking about this publicly, because so often people can think when they get to your level, they get to my level it's like, oh, everything's perfect, every launch works every time, every single time, and you always have your mindset on point and you never forget, and you never go back to selfish ways and all of these things, you're never afraid, you never have doubt or confusion. Like, no! Those are human emotions. They're going to come up. Just let them in. And it doesn't mean that anything has gone wrong. The best thing ever is that you're like, oh, I see what happened there. It was just an opportunity to remember.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, absolutely. And it's also one of those things where I could have been like, oh, I can blame it on it's 'back to school' or this or that or whatever. At the end of the day, it really was me being like I want to check all of these boxes of getting this done in this certain kind of way and making it happen on my terms with this date and these things happening. And of course I have my mission. Of course I have people I want to help, but I lost sight of it. And so I appreciate that you're talking about this with me because I think people do think once you had one success, everything falls into place. It's something you're constantly working on and we need support to do that. You know, as entrepreneurs, especially Type A, probably lone Wolf people, we think we got this, we don't need help. No, we actually do need help. That's why you work with Type A people, right? They need you to lead them through these parts of their business that they probably think' I've got this. I know all the answers. '
Tavona Denise: Yeah. I think that one of the most challenging things for me, as well as any Type A person, is to realize that the strategy is like 10, 20% and the rest of it is mental.
Shannon Mattern: So tell me more about that.
Tavona Denise: Oh my goodness.
Shannon Mattern: How much time we have, right?
Tavona Denise: I can do a person's strategy for their whole launch in like 90 minutes. I've got it down to a science now. The rest of the time we work together is all of that 'Oh, well, what if they didn't buy?' And exactly like you said, 'oh, I think it's back to school'. And I'm like, Hmm. Is it really though? Cause so-and-so over here is crushing it. So what is that really about? And all of the thoughts of perfectionism and imposter syndrome and what are we making it mean if we don't hit the numbers and all of these things. And this is so funny to me, I call it inconvenient amnesia, where a person will have made decisions and you know it's a soul yes because they get excited. They're like, oh, this is going to be so fun.
Tavona Denise: And then they go off and I don't know what happens after they go off. They forget that decision that they made that was going to be amazing and easy and fun. And then they make it all complicated and then they get all confused and then they come back and then we sift through it and I ask questions and things. And then they go back to the original decision. I'm like, wait, this is not deja vu. I can look at my notes and see we've already made this decision. And so I called it inconvenient amnesia because it holds them back. It sets them back, with time and motivation and energy and sometimes money. And it's like, wow, if we could just stick with that soul yes, then it would be easy. But I find that so many of us are so used to working hard for everything that we've had, that it is like the brain freaks out and it's like, it can't be that easy. It can't be that simple. I got to make it more complicated because if it's more complicated than I will feel worthy of the reward. I will feel worthy of the money, of the clients, of whatever. And so I see it happen time and time again, and they go beat their head on that rock and then they come back and it's like, oh, okay. It doesn't have to be that hard. It actually can be simple. It can be easy.
Shannon Mattern: Ugh, I've experienced that so many times. And I think, for me the, there's like a feeling of guilt when it's too easy, right? Not necessarily that I should have to work harder for this. That's probably part of it. But also that if it's too easy, I must be taking advantage of people. There's that piece that I have definitely done so much mindset work to work through, but I agree with you, we're Type A. We're used to working super hard. We don't need to work that hard to create amazing results. So yeah, I find ways to make things harder on myself by delaying decisions. I love this inconvenient amnesia, by not asking for help with things that we don't need to be doing ourselves. That was a big one for me. It's fascinating the ways that we just get in our own way when it's just like, oh, you wanted the strategy, you wanted me to tell you what to do. Here's exactly what to do. And now it's okay, let me see how you're just going to get in your own way. And then we get to sift through all of that.
Tavona Denise: Yeah. I learned that the hard way for a lot of people really boils down to not feeling good enough, and worthiness issues, and myself included. I will never forget when I had my first 200K launch and it was the pinnacle. It was like, not only did you finally hit the six figures after so many years, but you did it in three months. And I was completely and utterly underwhelmed and depressed because I had his belief, this vision that my life was going to be different. And in some ways, of course, it was because I had more money. But I thought that I would feel different, that I would be different, that I would feel happy, worthy, successful, deserving, enough, all of those things. And what actually happened was in addition to not being happy, I was depressed. Having that much money in my account, which was about what I made in a year, left me feeling even more like, oh crap, now I'm going to run out of money.
Tavona Denise: WHAAT?? How does this happen? So what it really taught me was that it wasn't the circumstance that created my feelings. I coach on all the time. Our thoughts and our beliefs create our feelings, a hundred percent. But somewhere in me, I didn't quite believe it. I was like, yeah but once I get to that six figures, I'm going to feel different. And so that's my story. And one of the big things that I took from it is, and this is something that is not normally taught in school, what do you think you will feel when you reach your goal? Is it worthy? Is it successful? Is it happy? Is it whatever? And how can we start accessing that now? Because if we can start accessing that feeling now, you're not going to sabotage once you get there. You're not going to freak out as much once you get there, because your nervous system is attuned to what you get.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Oh my goodness. And I can relate to making more money than you've ever made before. And then just feeling more insecure than you did before you had the money. I felt guilty, like I took money from people, even though I knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were going to make that money back and then some working with me. But then I felt so insecure. Like it could all go away. And I also thought I would feel happier. When I reach this certain level, I'll be happy. When I reach this certain level, I can get help. When I reach this certain level, I can work less. And then I would reach that certain level and I wouldn't feel that way.
Shannon Mattern: I'd move the goalposts. And I keep going. And I moved the goalposts. And keep going. And then, thank goodness for my business coach, who was just like, Hey, Shannon, knock, knock, knock. I've been trying to tell you this. You have to fix the joy and the worthiness and the security and the trust independently of your business. You would have those issues whether or not you had this business. That's where your work is. And no amount of achievement or success or successful launches is going to fill that hole for you. So please let's work on this.
Tavona Denise: Yeah, but I think it's one of those things where sometimes some of us have to learn from the school of hard knocks. We just have to get the six figures so that you can realize that what we're saying, like really know it in your spirit. Because I recently moved to Mexico. And to our point about learning lessons over again, like if you don't get it the first time you're going to get it again, just from a different angle. So I moved to Mexico. I read the book The Four Hour Workweek way back in 2007 when it first came out. And that is what I worked on for the last 14 years. I was like, I'm going to be part of the new rich and live anywhere and whatever the third part of the subtitle is. And so I've finally get here and I'm living in paradise. I can walk nine minutes to the beach and I'm like, wait a minute. This is kind of like what happened after I hit the six figures? You can't solve those problems by having things. Who are you being? What are you feeling? And if I could teach people that, I think we would make even more money and help even more people because we wouldn't be fighting against ourselves.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And it would be the mission. Right? And it wouldn't be me. It would be the mission. Because we would already feel trusting. We would already feel worthy. We would already feel joyful. We wouldn't need to focus so much on ourselves and creating this for ourselves because we would just be being that every day anyway. And so it would be the mission. I totally relate to you. I'm like, if you tell me, Hey, Shannon, that stove is hot. Don't go touch it. I'd be like, I believe you, but I'm going to go touch it anyway. Right? I don't think you're lying to me. I just need to see for myself. Right?
Tavona Denise: I might have special skin.
Shannon Mattern: Right. Oh, I can handle it. I can handle it. Right. Goodness. So tell me about your podcast. What compelled you to start the Breaking Protocol Podcast?
Tavona Denise: Well, it really was born out of some frustration of things that I was seeing in healthcare. I think I started it right before the pandemic. So I was, again, hearing all of these people burned out and I'm like, y'all are brilliant. You can totally come on over to the coaching side. You don't have to get more education. You don't need more letters behind your name, all of these things. And in the hospital, we follow sets of protocols. Like it is detailed for us what to do so that someone doesn't get hurt. The problem is once you become a business owner, you have to toss all of that following the rules out of the window. Even if somebody has said, I have walked this path and I made a bazillion dollars doing it, every step on that path may not work for you.
Tavona Denise: So I was just like, Hey, we need to break protocol. We need to learn how to create our own rules, create our own way. And just do it like that. And that's when Breaking Protocol was born. It was really a call for those in healthcare who were so used to following rules. And it just didn't feel good to them, but they couldn't break away from it. And so I really wanted them to have access to people who had gone before them. Women that were making six and seven figures doing online business either still within their discipline or who had transitioned out and no longer worked with patients. And so that was that era. I think I did about 40 something episodes. And then I was like, part of my mission is reaching more people and not just healthcare.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So the Breaking Protocol Podcast was for healthcare, right? And then you decided your mission was bigger than that. When did you make the pivot from healthcare to your target audience? I hate to say it like that because they're all people that you serve now.
Tavona Denise: So it was around, I want to say around February of this year, because I am big in the Life Coach Schooll. And so I do a lot of work there. And everybody that went to the Life Coach Schooll is not in health care. And so I wanted to be able to support more people. And what I was finding for myself, just doing the general life and business coaching, that I love, love, love events. And so that's when I started pivoting into, let me teach the coaches and consultants how to launch, to fill their practices so that they can spend more of the time doing what they love, which is the actual coaching and consulting.
Shannon Mattern: I freaking love the Life Coach School. I love the podcast. I love the thought work behind it. I do models every morning. And I've thought about going through the Life Coach School and then I'm like, no, no, no. You already have so many things in your business that. Entrepreneurs, we want to do it all, right? I could do this. I could do that. I could do this. And what you were talking about earlier, it's the circumstance that creates a thought, which creates a feeling, which creates an action, which creates a result. It's really been life-changing for me to slow down and notice oh, this is actually what I'm really feeling. Like I stepped right over the feelings.
Shannon Mattern: I'll say, I feel like, and I make up another thought instead of actually touching down on that actual emotion. I'm like, ah, we don't need emotions. Let's skip over that part. Let's just stay in action and keep moving and not slow down to think. So it truly has been game-changing for my life and my business to understand I really am in control of every single thing that I think. And every feeling that I feel. And every action that I create. And the result that I create in my life.
Tavona Denise: Yeah, it is life-changing and it's business changing too. And I tell people this, even having been a coach with the school since 2014, the difference in my business from, there was a break in my business and then I started back up in mid 2018, but 2019 I made $40,000. The difference between that and 2020, where I made $200,000 was actually doing the thought work. Actually looking at how I feel. Actually looking at okay, when I feel confused or when I feel frustrated or when I feel afraid, these are the actions I take. These are the actions I avoid and no wonder I have the results that I have. And so that's part of why I was saying strategy is 20% of it. And mindset is 80 to 90% because we don't understand why we procrastinate. We don't understand why we don't have boundaries. We don't understand why we overwork.
Tavona Denise: And once we can really understand that it just makes taking action on the strategy that was laid out so much easier. And it makes it easier for us to experiment and be willing to go big and to fail and to test and to see what happens because we're not afraid of the feeling embarrassment. One of the reasons why people get into perfectionism and procrastination and stuff is because they are afraid of feeling embarrassed or they're afraid of feeling disappointed. When you can teach yourself that, okay, disappointment is not a big deal. Then you're willing to take those risks. You're willing to do the things that you might fail, and you might actually get to see that you don't fail. And so that's part of the work really and truly
Shannon Mattern: So powerful. And it's also like, what are you making that outcome or result mean? You get to make it mean whatever you want to make it mean, right? So you have a launch event, you go through all of this, you set some realistic goals based on whatever, and you don't meet those goals or it doesn't happen the way that you thought it would. You get to make that mean what you want to make that mean. You get to make it mean you're a complete and utter failure. You're an imposter. Your idea was horrible. You lost all this money, wasted all this time, whatever. Or you get to make it mean here's all of the things I did. Here's everything I built, here are the things that worked. Here's what didn't work. Here's what I'll change next time. And I'm a badass for even trying it. You get to choose that. And just learning that I get to be aware of what I'm making something mean about me, and then I get to redefine that just because I get to, because I can.
Tavona Denise: Yeah. I think you highlighted that too, when you were like, okay, the launch didn't turn out the way I thought it would. And you could go in and see, oh, I see how I created that result. As opposed to being victim to, oh, now we can't do launches when school starts because it was school was starting. No, maybe it doesn't have to mean that. And you get to take your power back and launch whenever you want to, without making it mean that oh, August or September is a terrible time to launch, like we don't have any power in that.
Shannon Mattern: Yep. So you work with coaches and you work with coaches to fill their client list, whatever that means to them. Right? Whether that's one-on-one, whether that's group. Tell me how you work with people. What does that look like for you when you're working with people?
Tavona Denise: Yeah. So it's either in one-on-one. One of my nicknames is the Rocket, when I used to be a competitive cyclist that was the nickname given to me. Either I'm working with him in an intensive where we design their launch or we go and audit their last launch and figure out what worked, what didn't work, how will we approach it differently? Or we're in a sold-out services program, which is an accelerated intimate group program where you are launching, going through all of the processes with me and the copywriting coach so that you have that support. It's not one of those things where you just, oh, let me teach you a bunch of stuff. And then you get to figure it out on your own. We're doing it together. And the way I think about the whole process is in three parts. It's the engagement, the event itself, and your energy.
Tavona Denise: So when we think about the engagement, and you talked about this too. We're working in silos. And then we're like let me launch this thing out and y'all should all buy right now because I just opened the doors. But how do you make sure that you have your base set up so that you're already established in the know-like-trust with people so that they know what to look to you for. And when you do your event, they have some kind of reason why they will even want to attend it. So we lay that foundation first. And that includes who is your audience? Who are your favorite type of people? Not just any people, but your favorites. We look at what makes your offer irresistible, because that's also the big domino that knocks the rest down.
Tavona Denise: That doesn't mean that you have to create the whole thing. It just means what makes it irresistible so that you have a great way to talk about it. Then designing the event itself, where I talked about the five failure points that could happen. How do we make sure they see it, sign up, show up all, of those good things. Stay til you make the offer, take you up on the offer. And then the final, but big piece is about your energy. I talk about marketing sales and money with love. So how do we have love for these things instead of fear around them? How do we get to love marketing? How do we get to love sales? How do we get to love money? And how do we protect your physical energy? How do we celebrate? What are you actually going to do to celebrate? Put it on the calendar right now?
Tavona Denise: Because, especially if it's your first event, it's a lot of daggone work. So how can you celebrate yourself for just going out there and doing the darn thing? Because if you can celebrate yourself then and not beat yourself up, you're more likely to do it again. And one of the things that I look at, sometimes people are like, oh, industry standards are 1% to 3%, open rates, and blah, blah, blah. I have clients that have 25% to 45% open rates and attendance rates at their events because we don't look at what other people are doing. We start the marketing, sales and money with love. And when we do data, you have to look at this process as I'm going to do it at minimum three times. Because the first time is we're just getting the stuff done. We're laying the bricks. We're laying the foundation. We're getting the work done. The second time, we're looking at now that got our feet under us a little bit, what is our normal?, Not everybody else's normal. What's OUR normal. And then the third time you're comparing it to the first and the second time, so that you compare you to you, and you don't seize up because you don't have a list with a hundred thousand people on it, or 10,000 people or whatever.
Shannon Mattern: I love it. And I think the thing that jumped out at me about what you do is that it's not just them coming in, learning all the stuff, going off on their own to try to implement with all of their blind spots and limiting beliefs and all the stuff that holds them back. It's collaborative with you. And I don't know if you have a team, but it's collaborative. So I think one of the biggest shifts that I made in my business as an entrepreneur was taking courses, courses, courses, courses, courses with my broken mindset and my blind spots and trying to run all of that through someone's course that was supposed to help me grow my business, when I had fundamentally broken things in either my copy or my mindset, or just pieces of my business that like, how am I to know these are broken without somebody's help. Right? Trying this course didn't work. That course didn't work because I'm just trying to put something that has fundamental flaws through a different system and it's never going to make it work. So the biggest shift that I made was actually working with someone who could look at what I was doing and say, ah, this is the piece that we need to fix, where I would've never even thought that that was a problem, or that was the lever that I needed to pull to like get the momentum. And I don't know, maybe this is a Type A thing, or maybe it's the online entrepreneur space or whatever, but if you're continually just rushing for results and trying to go through a course and keep not getting results, maybe it's time to shift and actually work with someone in a group or a one-on-one setting who can actually put their eyeballs on what you're doing and help you in that way. And I see a trend towards a lot of programs shifting that way, away from the self-study course model and into the more collaborative model. But just hearing you say that you do it that way, I'm just like, ah, that's what people need. That's what people need.
Tavona Denise: Yeah. Because I was in that space too. I invested a bunch of money with people and like, oh, that didn't work, and I know now my mindset caused that, to I'm not going to invest in big courses or whatever. And I was just doing little courses. But like you said, you're trying your best to implement what's there. But without being able to get the feedback and the eyeballs on your stuff, sometimes you're like, okay, I know I'm smart. What is happening? I can't figure this out, but I'm trying to piecemeal this course with this course and put it together. And it's like, the two are not talking to each other. And so when I designed a sold-out services program, I was like, no, I want people to feel held and supported in that. I don't do a lot of big, long modules. I'm all about simplicity. Like let's figure out the basics so that we can get started and get out there in the world and test stuff. And test it with me, the copywriter, looking at your stuff so that you're not out there to fend for yourself.
Shannon Mattern: I love it. I love it. So I have just a couple more questions for you before we wrap up and these are ones I ask everyone that comes on the podcast. And my first one is for the person who's been at it for a year, two years. They want to create a full-time income, but they're just not getting traction. Right? They're not getting clients, they're not getting sales. They're not making the money they want to make. What is your best advice for someone in that situation?
Tavona Denise: I can think of two pieces of advice since I get to break protocol. The first one would be looking at specificity because so often we want to help all the people, and so much so that we end up helping none of the people, because our message gets very vanilla and very bland and all of that stuff. So that would be the first thing. The second thing I would say is to just do a brain dump of what do you think about making the type of money that you want to make? So for example, let's say you make 60,000 in your current job, what do you really think? And that the surface fru-fru thoughts of like, oh, it's possible and I think I can. Well, if we really thought that, then we would be making it. So tell me what you really think about making your current salary in your business as revenue from the business. When you do that and give the real thoughts, you're going to see some of the little boogers that are keeping you from making that.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I love that. Yeah. Cause you're like, oh, it'll be amazing, I'll feel so free, blah blah blah. But then it's like, oh, it's hard. I don't know if I can charge that much. People might not pay me that much. Yeah. You'll uncover all those little, I love that, boogers. Jasmine Haley called it mind trash.
Tavona Denise: Exactly. You think, I don't have time to do my job and make that kind of money because in my mind I think that I have to work so many hours in order to do it, or I have to have 30 clients to do it. But most of the time, those are under the surface. So you can't even see the saboteurs because what you're reframing so quickly is that, oh, it's possible. I want it. I'm excited. I hope I can do it. And they sound good, but they're not the real drivers.
Shannon Mattern: So good. So that is the perfect segue to my final question. What beliefs about yourself did you have to change to get to where you are today?
Tavona Denise: The primary belief that I ran on when I made 200k last year was "it's happening". Period. I think I've always had a belief that when I truly make a decision, from the Latin roots caedere, as in to cut off or to kill off, I knew it was a done deal. But I don't think I had actually decided. I think I was still like, oh, I can still run my other company. Or I don't know, I spent all this time and money getting this degree. So I really had to change my identity to, no, I am a coach and I'm a very successful coach. And that is one of the main things that I find I have to work on with all my clients is that self-concept, that identity. I've seen it happen time and time and time again, especially in healthcare because so many people are attached to "I'm a doctor" and" I'm a nurse" and whatever. And you can notice this for yourself if you're listening to us and you have that issue, when you start introducing yourself to people at the grocery store, at parties or whatever, as I'm a coach, I'm a marketer, I'm a consultant,
Tavona Denise: I'm a whatever. That's when I know you're about to start making some serious money because your identity is shifting.
Shannon Mattern: That is so, so powerful. I could talk to you for the whole rest of the afternoon. Unfortunately we are almost out of time. Can you share with everybody, where can we connect with you, learn more about you get on your email list, get in your world, tell us all the places.
Tavona Denise: Absolutely. Well I'm at tavonadenise.com. I'm at Tavona Denise on Instagram, Facebook. And I recently created a launch quiz. So you can kind of dabble and figure out which type might be the best one for you. And that's tavonadenise.com/launchquiz.
Shannon Mattern: Awesome. We will make sure to link up all that stuff in the show notes. That launch quiz sounds fascinating. You guys definitely go check that out, especially because everyone I talk to is like, how do I do a challenge? How do I do a webinar? How do I do this? I'm just like, I love that. You're probably going to, I'm assuming like what we talked about earlier today, help them figure out really what's right for them. Right?
Tavona Denise: Let's point you in the right direction towards which is the right one. And then we can tweak it.
Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate your time. And this was an incredible conversation. So just thank you.
Tavona Denise: Thank you for having me. This was so fun.
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