Christa Colson – Founder & President, See Agency

Since 1997, Christa Haberstock Colson has blurred the line between Talent and Agent by living large on both sides of it at the same time. On the Agent side of the line, for over two decades Christa has dedicated herself to the management, consultation and representation of the busiest professional keynote speakers and the finest corporate entertainment anywhere, booking millions of dollars annually in talent into corporate and association events.

In 2009, Christa founded See Agency, an elite team of Corporate Event Professionals, Speaker Managers and Agents. See Agency is now one the industry’s fastest-growing speaker management agencies, twice awarded spots in the top 20% on the Inc. 5000, the List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies. In 2018, See Agency ranked on the Dallas 100 List of the 100 fastest-growing private companies in North Texas.

Christa received the 2012 Above and Beyond Award and the 2016 Dottie Walters Helping Hands Award by the International Association of Speakers Bureaus. Christa is currently serving on the Board of Governors for the Association. She has presented across the US and Canada to audiences of professional speakers, and has appeared on TV, radio, and podcasts. She is currently writing her first book of ‘bookability secrets’ to help professional speakers remove their own barriers to bookings and win more business.

And on the Talent side of the line?

Christa Haberstock Colson is an accomplished Recording Artist, having written, performed and produced award-winning songs which received radio play in the US, Canada, and West Africa. Her music has won regional and international awards, earning critical acclaim “from people who know stuff.”

Christa is also a successful Improviser and Actor, co-founding Dallas’ premiere all-female improv comedy troupe, Heroine Addiction. In 2012, she co-authored, Recipes for a Funner Life.

She has also done time as a Stand-up Comedian, voted a Top 4 finalist and Wild Card Pick in Edmonton’s 2007 Last Comic Standing. Later that year, she was invited to open for Caroline Rhea and Kevin Nealon.

Christa continues to work on an assortment of diverse projects, including various web series and voice-over work. Her short-film performances are being shown to great reviews at Film Festivals across the US.

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, she now resides in Dallas, Texas with 1 handsome husband, 2 or 3 perfect children, and a collection of brutal yet entertaining careers.

How did the concept for See Agency come about?
At the time, there were so many new “agencies” and mediums to find a speaker; however, many of these “agencies” were not the true definition of an agency. I wanted to create something that was the true definition of an agency. So much so that I turned to the dictionary, looked up the word “agency,” and saw my company. On that page it said, “see: agency.”

How was the first year in business?
As you would expect: rocky, scary, and so many late nights staring at a laptop and a terrifying bank account.

What was your marketing strategy?
Bureaus. The very place I started. I reconnected with colleagues in the bureau industry and used their wisdom and expertise to package speakers perfectly. I came from their end, I knew the challenges they faced, so I hit them with all my marketing efforts. It really was a no-brainer at the time.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
Faster than I could have ever expected. All the happy growing pains were felt! Thank God, too. I was bootstrapping this business with two small children, a stay-at-home spouse, and no plan B.

How do you define success?
If you asked me at the beginning of See Agency, I would have said success is being able to do good, have fun, and make money. Now, my definition of success is being able to do good, have fun, and make a difference. If you are doing the right thing, the money always comes (eventually).

What is the key to success?
Believing in your work, finding your passion, and putting the two together. Also surrounding yourself with people who are going to encourage you and keep you accountable throughout the process. Pride comes before the fall, so accountability partners are a big piece of the puzzle.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Don’t ignore the obvious. The right answer is so often right under your nose. Really. And it doesn’t get any less humbling when you see it and how OBVIOUS it is.

What are some quotes that you live by?
Well, the same thing as above: don’t ignore the obvious. Also, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

What are some of your favorite books?
The Bible. And my speakers’ books. I have to say that.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
A few things push me to keep moving. One is my family. I’m a hunter and I provide for my family. I always have. Their future and well-being is first and foremost in my mind. Secondly, this business is my baby. And I LOVE it. You don’t give your babies up easily (see first point). Last, but not least, my amazing See family – my Foxes (yes we named ourselves foxes) and our speakers.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
You aren’t going to ever feel like you’re qualified. Embrace that. It will keep you from falling into pride. Speaking of, when you start actually seeing good things happen, stay humble. Remember the people who helped you and help others. Oh, and remember there is someone following right on your heels to draft in your success and maybe even steal your clients. I hate to say it but you really can’t trust everybody. Find the ones you can trust and spoil them rotten. Every day create, pivot, surprise yourself by succeeding at stuff you didn’t think you could do. And also speaking of that… fail. Over and over. Keep failing, and then you’ve become an entrepreneur. LEARN from the failure. If you aren’t learning from every interaction you have, you are wasting resources. It’s not easy – so be prepared to step into the ring and get punched in the face a few times. Don’t worry, slap some ice on it and get back in the ring. Or dirt. Or whiskey. Whatever works.

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Interviews are conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.

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