“Once you make the decision to kick fear to the side and stay consistent, you will get your breakthrough.”- Chamar Logan
Chamar Latanja is an Author, Speaker and Transformation Coach who was born and raised in Maryland and is the Editor in Chief of the Women By Choice blog. Chamar has been a #1 new seller on Amazon with her mini ebook titled “The Seven Day Slay!”. She then went on to publish her book, “The Thirty Day Slay”, in which she chronicled key pieces of her life after her divorce to help other divorced women know what to expect, how to get help, and how to transform their lives after divorce. In December 2018, in an effort to help guide divorced women through a journaling process, she released “The Thirty Day Slay! Journal”. She was featured as one of “10 Winning Women” for Women By Choice Global, chosen as a featured writer for Brown Girls Who Write, and has done interviews and guest appearances on several live streams, focused on women empowerment and growth. Chamar’s platform is geared toward helping divorced women rebuild, transform and reclaim their power after divorce.
Who is Chamar Latanja and what was your motivation for starting your brand?
I am a transformation coach and I help divorced women rebuild, transform, and reclaim their power after divorce. I remember being at Women By Choice’s first Stepping N2 Sisterhood event in New York, and Andromeda said, “How many of you are entrepreneurs?” I did not raise my hand. She said “How many of you want to be entrepreneurs?” and I was dead set like no, I do not want to be an entrepreneur. I do not have the patience or time, and I need my check coming every two weeks.
As I started to really go through the process as a divorced woman, I noticed that it is very taboo especially if you as the woman asked for the divorce. So, I did not have much to work with or a lot of support. Then, I started to find out other things about myself. During the marriage, I’m thinking I’m a strong black woman and I know how to do this and I know how to do that, but when I got divorced, my name was not on any of the bills, and I did not know how to pay a bill. I was really starting over from the ground up. I thank God everyday that I had the foundation of my mother and grandmother just raising me in general because I could say, I may not have done it, but I know how to go back to it. I am thankful that support came through from far and in between, and I took it when it came. I feel like it was trial and error for me. So I said, I am going to start writing about my process. Maybe women going through a divorce will see this and say okay I am not by myself. As I started going through it, I would meet other women who said “Oh that’s typical, I went through that too” and I would say, “Why aren’t we sharing this?” So I started writing. I always wanted to write a book, but did not know what to write about. I wanted to be real transparent. So my business started with a book. I simply just wanted to be an author. That was it. But then women got the book and would call me and say “Oh my goodness! I went through this. How did you set this up?” Now, I am in a position where women really need to know how to do this. I found myself coaching women and had no clue that I was building a business. I was just helping women because it is what I wanted to do.
I decided to get my Masters in Social Work so I would know what I am doing. God has a way of talking to you and setting things up. I still did not realize that I was creating a business. I am just living my purpose and passion. So, I am just coaching women and I start seeing other coaching programs geared towards finding your purpose and building your business and I’m like, there is nothing for women starting over? Okay, I am going to create a coaching program for women starting over. That was a light bulb. Then, I started getting booked for speaking engagements. Again, now I am creating another business that I did not realize I was creating. I just love to speak and connect with people. So that is what really got me into entrepreneurship. I was scared about the technicalities of it. But, stepping into the role and fulfilling my passion is what made me do it. I said you know what, I can handle the technicalities. Let me stay in this and help these women.
How did you discover your purpose?
I discovered my purpose through trial and error and serving. If you are trying to find your purpose, you cannot be money hungry because money does not make you happy. If that was the case, we would not have so many millionaires committing suicide. So, you cannot find your purpose being money hungry. You find it through what you love and what your passion is. Sometimes you find it through serving and giving. For me, it was giving to women and helping women. I realized my purpose is seeing other women win. I am a cheerleader for women. So that is definitely 100% how I found my purpose. Actually, I would say knowing that I could do this was through trial and error because failing and having to get help and hearing, “You’re a hot mess” and “You know what you want to do, but let’s get it together” helped me to realize that I could do this. Finding my purpose definitely came through my passion and serving.
What were the main challenges you faced?
A lot of times we know what we want to do, but we cannot communicate it. You cannot go in public not knowing how to communicate what it is that you do because no one is going to buy from you or believe in you. Brand clarity was one of the main challenges. I knew what I wanted to do, but I could not communicate it. How do I bring my message across? Who is my target market? I decided to hire a business coach.
Another challenge is that anytime you are choosing to do a business that serves people, it causes you to do a lot of self-reflection. So, I had to make peace with what I went through so I can move forward. I was seeing myself in these women all the time so I had to make peace with it, embrace it, and let it go at the same time.
Then, you have the other challenges of how I can make myself stand out. Everyone is some kind of coach. It is becoming so prevalent. So, how do I make myself stand out? That is where brand clarity comes in. I had to make peace with myself and say, “I am a divorced woman. I want to help other divorced women.”
Another challenge was really understanding my worth. When I started charging, I was not charging a lot. When I first released my coaching program, it was $75 per month for one on one help. I gave myself the excuse of; I wanted women to be able to afford me. But, when I looked at it, we were doing some intense work that is worth way more than $75 per month. Not only are you getting my credentials, you are getting my experience, and getting access to me more than one time per week. You can reach me anytime you need to. So no Chamar, you need to be charging what you are really worth. I know me, if I feel like I want something and it is necessary, I will figure out a way to get it. Like my business coach. She is very necessary so she is in the budget no matter what. Knowing my worth and charging my worth was something that I really had to get over if I wanted my money to last.
Then there are the other pieces of business like LLCs and trademarks. But, I don’t consider those challenges because Google is your best friend. If you have a question, anybody can Google it. But, you really have to determine what you can offer that people cannot get on Google.
How did you get brand clarity?
I was a part of a group-coaching program, which was fine at first, but my only issue was that I was learning how to hustle in money but not build. I am grateful for my first program because it taught me how to bring in multiple streams of income. It taught me that I can earn an extra $1400 per month just by doing what I do. But, I knew I had to build an actual company. So, I hired someone to work with me one on one to help me nail down what this company was going to look like. Once I discovered whom I wanted to serve, the brand clarity came into line. My business coach took me from “You are helping women starting over” to “You want to serve divorced women”. That was my target. Once we did that, we got the 30 sec pitch. “I help women rebuild, transform, and reclaim their power after divorce.” After I figured out the brand clarity with someone on the outside looking in, everything else started lining up with it. Even the new products and book I am working on now. You can do self-reflection. That’s fine, but sometimes you need someone on the outside looking in to pull it out of you.
Let’s talk about some of your accomplishments. Name a few and tell us which one you are most proud of.
My writing has been made so public on so many different platforms. It started with Women By Choice and then it went to other online publications and blogs. I was picked up as a blogger on Boss Babe, which is a Forbes magazine, recognized company, and was featured on the Brown Girls That Write platform. I am super proud of when I said let me stop being scared and put out this eBook. I did that and I will never forget. It was released at midnight on Thursday, and by Thursday at 8:00 PM, it was #1 as a new seller. I was like “What!” That was the accomplishment that said okay girl, do it. You pushed fear to the side and look what you got done. That was a huge accomplishment for me. Then, on September 31st my first business coach asked if the book was written. I said, “Yes pretty much. Just got to edit”, and he said okay release it on October 31st. It will be a push, but we can do it. Within that one month, I had to send the book off, throw together a cover, find a venue to have a book signing on my birthday, get a flyer made, and advertise it. It was the craziest thing I had ever done. I was up until 3:00 AM, working some nights, sleeping 2 hours then had to get up in the morning to work a 15-hour shift. But it got done. I had one place and it fell through, I had another place and it fell through, and he was like keep pushing, keep pushing. At the end of the month, I had three events lined up that I did. By December, another accomplishment, sending it off to South Africa. In addition, beginning my speaking engagements starting with Women’s HERstory month event in Brooklyn, New York, Women By Choice Stepping N2 Sisterhood in New York City, then the Miss Black US Ambassador Luncheon in Georgia. It is one of those things where I don’t think about them because I am always thinking what’s next? But when I look back on them, I realize that there is nothing you cannot do.
Are there any other goals that you would like to accomplish?
I have so many. I really want to create a national platform for women that are starting over from divorce because there are so many people who are scared to say it and scared to go through the process. I want women to understand that you can go through a divorce. It may be the worst time of your life, but you can end up better than what you were. Too many women come out feeling battered, unprepared, bitter, and not healed. I know so many women that get divorced and they never get married again. They never live. They end up so bitter about it and that does not have to be the case. Sometimes, you need someone to say I was there and look how I was able to transform my life. You can do this. If I can be on a TED Talk somewhere and talk about how to transform your life after being broken, I am going to do it. I am working on some things now to expand the company and create a lifestyle brand. I want it to be engrained in women that you can transform any part of your life. I did it.
Can women who are not divorced come to you? And men that are divorced, can they use your material as well?
I am going to be honest about the men portion. I never do anything for men because I am not a man. I think men go through a different thought process, and it is a little bit deeper. They are more apt to fall into depression because they are taught to suppress it. We will call our girls over with some wine and talk about it. So, I would not coach them because it is a little different. However, there are a few guys I know creating a similar platform. So if anything, I will refer them to those services. But as far as women starting over from an unhealthy relationship, they can come to me because it is the same feelings. They just don’t have the piece of paper to say they are married.
You’re a published author and recently began your own podcast, “Girl you’ve got your Nerve”, but do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend?
- Confessions of a WERKaholic podcast by Koereyelle
- Jesus Always by Sarah Young
- Rise and Grind by Daymond John
- Girl Boss by Sophia Omaroso
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- Gary Vaynerchuck
Can you tell me about a woman who has positively impacted your life?
My mother and grandmother have impacted me as far as resiliency goes. I have watched them go through things that should have broken them down. My grandmother dealt with two of her children that committed suicide but she continues on and keeps living. I am sure she cries, but she did not let it break her, which is crazy to me. Same thing with my mom, watching her go through a divorce and she did not struggle with it either. I will never forget. She got divorced the summer of my senior year. I was in Rockville, Maryland, and she called me and said you’re not coming back home. We’re moving, and he’s not coming, and I already packed your stuff up and enrolled you in another school. She taught me that you do not have to put up with anyone’s nonsense.
My aunt Karen Payne, taught me about being fly and educated. She is the first entrepreneur that I have seen close-up. She started her own vending machine company, KLP vending. I watched her buy her Benz in cash and a beautiful mansion in Maryland in her name, all while maintaining her integrity and without rushing her life. She is the prime example of living life your way. My aunt Karen is like wow. I am always at a loss for words.
As far as the public eye, I will watch Beyoncé documentaries back to back because she is so calculated. She is involved with every aspect of her brand. Everything aligns with the Beyoncé brand down to what she puts on her body. And no, she may not be as transparent as we want her to be, but she is professional. She carries herself well all the time. I like where we are going with being transparent. But at the same time, we need to teach our young boys and girls to be professional. Beyoncé does that well.
Maxine Waters won’t let herself be bullied. She is the epitome of “Reclaiming my time” and also, “I said what I said, and I am not taking it back.” Women like that I can respect. It just pushes me to live my life with integrity. I can build my brand and get my moment. But, I don’t have to lose myself in the process.
Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
That’s a good question because I’ve been working so much. To be quite honest with you, I love listening to live music. I was going to say I love dancing but I am so over the club scene these days and spending unnecessary money. But, I do like jazz festivals and day parties. I like adult day parties where it is not ratchet. I could still be home by 9:00PM, take my makeup off, and put my bonnet on. I love being in the park reading. I have a low-key lifestyle because I spend so much of my life working with people. When I get time for myself, I want to be by myself. Phone on do not disturb, no computer, feeling the breeze. Anything that allows me to breathe a little. I am huge on self-care and knowing how to say no.
What would you tell women who are on this journey but are thinking about giving up?
If you are thinking about giving up, you are about to breakthrough and you are about to lose your blessing. That is the first thing I would say because at the moment when you are about to give up, you are about to breakthrough. So, I need you to push a little longer. I know you are tired. But, remember why you got started and remember what you want to accomplish, because what you want to accomplish, and why you got started is way more important than you saying forget it. That is a temporary feeling and you are about to miss out on your permanent blessing.
What advice would you give to individuals following in your footsteps of entrepreneurship?
Get help. Do not be afraid to reach out to a business coach or coaching program, because you need to be in the mindset. When you are around like-minded individuals that are being transparent and willing to share with you, you are less likely to give up. So I would recommend getting a business coach. Go into it understanding that you need to stop looking at Instagram. You see the flashy, but for the most part, you are seeing the end result. Not the times we feel like giving up because it has gotten difficult. Understand that if you really believe in this, and you reach out to the right people for help, it is totally possible.
What keeps you motivated to keep going?
My daughter, and I do not like when people use their kids because at some point your kids are going to grow up and move out. But I say her because we are breaking generational curses. At 15, she creates YouTube videos and brought in $1500 last month. She is never going to work for anyone. She gets that by watching me. I taught her how to create an invoice. She sent me an invoice and made me pay full price. So she motivates me. You know what else motivates me? Breaking the narrative that each generation is living in poverty and not building on their own. I come from that, and I would like to shift the source of everything. That is where we were but that is not where we are going. I want good credit; I want to be financially stable. That is the new narrative. It sounds like I got everything together but I just got popping. I just got myself together. I have had so many people pour into me. I have been given chance after chance; I need to be able to give these women chances. At this point in the game, I am too close to the breakthrough to give up. I am doing God’s will, and it is going to stay like that.
Is there anything else you would like to say that we did not cover?
Make sure women understand this: Any woman feeling like she is not going to make it, feeling a hot mess, and reading about all these women and saying they all got their life together, understand that we were you at one point. Understand that we had to build and work and cry and a lot of us are still building and tearing up. But the difference is that we did not give up. If you are a woman reading this, once you make the decision to kick fear to the side and stay consistent, you will get your breakthrough.