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Meet Dawanna Jones

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawanna Jones.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dawanna. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My entrepreneurial endeavors started when I was in my early twenties. I determined at an early age that I wanted to live life on my terms. When you are an entrepreneur, you have the luxury to determine not just what time, days, or where you work; but how much money you make. I’m also a servant by nature and love helping people, so it was within my character to start a business that aimed to help people. My first business in 2000, The 25th Hour Company, was an errand service designed to give my customers the extra hand and time that they needed in a day.

A few years later, after I was urged to respond to an ad in the local newspaper, I began teaching Quickbooks community education classes for BISD. They required a legal business for payment. The nature of the work was different from my errand service, so I created another company, DJ’s Professional Services. In 2006, I decided to follow another passion and became a Texas licensed loan officer and Real Estate Agent. Later, I realized that I had the heart and knowledge that children needed so I left the real estate industry to become an educator.

Around 2010, I received approval from the Texas Workforce Commission to operate my own Avocational school (business). I offer training in basic computer skills, Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, and other computer software. After careful consideration, I eventually rebranded my business and changed the name to Senoj Professional Business Services.

In 2011, I revived The 25th Hour Company and began to monetize my love of crafting. I offered unique, custom gifts such as wreaths, vinyl and embroidered gifts, etched and glittered glasses, gift bags and more. I also offered treats such as chocolate-covered strawberries, candy & chocolate apples, cake balls, and more.

One of the main characteristics of a successful entrepreneur is the ability to recognize opportunities. In 2013, I read a book filled with grammatical, spelling and structure errors. I decided to contact the author to give her feedback on the book. When I shared my thoughts on the plethora of errors, she replied that she had been having trouble with her editor. With a bit of quick research, Senoj Editorial and Educational Services was formed and offered proofreading, editing and tutoring services. That particular author was my first client. She referred me to multiple people who also referred me to people, and soon I had more work than I could handle.

I have been teaching Business Education and Finance to high school students for over ten years. My passion for helping others start and grow a business as well as understand and manage finance led to me adding business and financial consulting to my list of services about ten years ago.

I have always loved taking pictures and in 2016 I decided to monetize that passion.  Senoj Photography does not specialize in a specific category because I love taking photos and have done product, nature, professional, family, and event photography.

I love to read and learn new things. As I have acquired education and new skills, my business endeavors have expanded. Currently, I hold a Masters in Public Administration, Masters in Educational Technology, Bachelors of Applied Arts & Science (business), Associates in Management Development. I’m also a certified financial educator, certified in Quickbooks online and Women’s Entrepreneurship. I’m an active member of my church and I love giving back to the community by helping others through my involvement in various community organizations.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I believe that most entrepreneurs will tell you that the road to success was not easy. The satisfaction of knowing that you are building something that you can be proud of and leaving a legacy is what makes it worth it. When you are starting out, there is a lot of uncertainty. It can be a struggle financially, depending on the type of business a person is starting. Getting information can also be a struggle. Not everyone is willing to share the information that they know. You must do your own research and due diligence to make sure that you are in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws. You may also miss out on information and opportunities if you do not have the right connections.

One of my biggest struggles has been support. Unfortunately, consumer buying behaviors change and economic situations change and that makes it difficult to get the constant support that small businesses need to survive. I’ve also learned over the years (whether it is a big town or small town) there will always be a struggle of having people support you. It was difficult to accept that everyone won’t root for you to win. I eventually learned to block out and look past those who didn’t like me or didn’t support me. Once I began to focus on what mattered and not on what didn’t, the process became easier.

Tell us more about the business.
Senoj Professional Business Services offers complete business consulting from start-up to seasoned businesses. What sets us apart from the competition is that we specialize first in helping clients discover their passion and gifts and then secondly, showing them how to monetize it. I don’t see clients as dollar signs. I  actually care about the person, their goals, and genuinely want to see them succeed. We then help clients create simple and complex business plans, legal filings (LLC, 501C3), HUB & minority-owned certifications, website creation, and maintenance, as well as social media management and more! We stay with the client from the beginning to the end, aiming to support them the entire way!
Senoj Editorial & Educational Services offers proofreading, editing, and ghostwriting services to authors, blog writers and any individuals or businesses concerned about their grammar and spelling on social media platforms.
Senoj Financial Services helps individuals and businesses manage income and expenses to minimize debt, increase income, and make better financial decisions. We help individuals and businesses discover ways to spend less (save money) and maximize profit.
Senoj Photography captures memories for individuals and families that last a lifetime.

I am most proud of being the founder and President of Black Business Professionals of Southeast Texas. Originally formed in 2017, BBP of SETX aims to recognize, support and bring Black business owners, aspiring business owners and professionals together through networking. We also provide business resources, professional development, and make a difference in the community by giving back. The camaraderie of like-minded individuals, and having a network of people for support makes the struggle of entrepreneurship a little bit easier.

I am also extremely proud of my first business. It is a reminder of my ability to think outside of the box and take a risk. Although I do not operate it as an errand service as originally intended, The 25th Hour Company still operates as a custom and unique gits business. Crafting has always been my peace and escape at the end of the day. It was what I turned to when I had health challenges. Being able to provide others with unique and special items for the special moments and events in their life satisfies me in more ways than one!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t think that I believe in luck. I believe in favor, living right and worshiping God. When God favors you, everyone will know it. Everything you touch will be blessed and those around you will be blessed because of you. No one is perfect. We have all fallen short at one point or more in life. My motto is to try to always treat others the way that you want to be treated, even if you don’t always get the same in return. I try to always remember that we must all give an account for our actions one day. I don’t want to have to answer to God for purposely mistreating one of his children, whether it is a business transaction or personal. As I am sure many others could say, I have had good days and bad days, but through it all, I know that I could never have accomplished anything in this life if God had not first given me the desire to do it and then equipped me with the education, experience and divine connections to complete the task. He gave me desires, some of which I haven’t tapped into yet, and through prayer and supplication, I have persevered. Some of my businesses have been more successful than others, but I put it all in God’s hand and trust that if He gave it to me, He would see me through it.

It’s not about luck but training your mind to see the good in everything. Mindset is everything! I try to wake up each day thanking God for a new day and new opportunities despite how I may physically feel. I ask Him to lead the way as I go about my day and I ask him to show me how I can be a blessing to someone else. Being positive and trusting God has played the biggest and most important role in my life and business, not luck!

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