Hello There, Entrepreneurs!
Welcome to Tanner Enterprises, founders of the Florida Professional Entrepreneur Network (FL PEN)! We are glad to have you here with us. Our history of entrepreneurship begins with the story of my father, Allan C. Tanner, of Nicholls, Georgia.
I was always a curious spirit who navigated my way through life exploring various careers. From working as a police officer in law enforcement, a nursing service technician in the medical field, and a volunteer firefighter for the Southwood Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) in Waycross, Georgia, to working in various capacities of the hospitality industry, such as an air cargo agent at American Airlines (AMR), a hotel auditor at Holiday Inn, and a cruise line guest port services agent for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. But my main passion has always been insurance and financial services, with over 40 years of industry experience in insurance sales. Today, I have a sole practitioner business called Tanner Insurance Agency where my areas of focus are home, auto, watercraft, and life insurance sales and consulting.
Like father, like son, John had followed in his father’s footsteps and also began exploring various jobs too, but was unhappy answering to bosses and uncomfortable not having the ability to right the ship when inefficiencies were observed.
The entrepreneurial spirit and love of travel had bitten me too, as I soon learned while exploring various jobs in my youth. As soon as I was five, we moved to Miami. We were taking trips to Honduras and Georgia every year, so I got to explore new cities and discover how people lived in other parts of the country and the world. I joined the Army Reserve at 17, and went off to El Paso, Texas for boot camp. Afterwards, I was fortunate enough to begin working in retail management by the age of 18, but I didn’t like having to follow someone else’s rules; I wanted to create my own. And I was very much into the performing arts at the time. By the age of 20, I was represented by 7 talent agencies in south Florida and was cast as an extra in several major motion pictures. Within a year, I had starred in an indie film called The Horizon Bleeds. In 1998, at age 24, I was one of twenty-five students admitted into the FIU Theater program. But, I did not like being a “starving artist” and so I joined the Navy in 1999. At the end of 2000, I was discharged (long story) and returned to college for a couple of years. In early 2002 my brother began teaching me the appraisal business and I ended up loving the freedom and challenges the career provided, so I stayed in it until November of 2010, I was licensed as a real estate appraiser in three states (FL, GA, and TX). By the end of 2004, I set up my own company, Appraisal South.com, Inc., later known as Tanner Valuation Group, Inc., where my team and I appraised over $500 million worth of residential and commercial properties. That was a great chapter of my life, but it came to an end due to the Great Recession.
Beginning in 2009, John pivoted into education, became a substitute teacher, and returned to college to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality management.
At the time, I had tried to get into law school, but was turned down by all 6 schools that I had applied to. My mom had worked at Royal Caribbean for twenty years, so it seemed like a good idea to study hospitality management in the hopes that I could also work for RCCL after earning a master’s degree.
In 2011, John accepted a full-time position as a high school english teacher at Keys Gate Charter High School. But John’s interest in attending law school grew more resolute, so he reapplied to 4 law schools and was offered admission into three.
I began attending Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville in 2015 because I felt that Miami was too noisy to focus and Knoxville, Tennessee was too cold for me.
John graduated with his J.D. in December, 2018 and passed the Florida Bar exam the following February, but was unfortunately not admitted into the Florida Bar due to several discrepancies in his background investigation.
The stress of waiting on the background check and the barrage of requests for supporting documentation was gut-wrenching. I felt like I was in a training camp for the UFC, but I was the punching bag. When I received the final rejection letter, I was relieved more than anything. I wanted it to finally be over and now I could move onto to being my own boss and do something creative with my life – it’s refreshing to be an entrepreneur again!
Shortly thereafter, while working as an independent Uber driver, John had a serendipitous encounter with a local Jacksonville film producer, Jared Rush, whom John had shared his vision with.
I knew of a few real estate brokerages that were using mini movies to market luxury properties and I always wanted in on the game. I did some research and learned of a film company that were the industry leaders for this type of film production, but they were very expensive; their prices ranged from $5,000 to over $25,000 – way out of my league.
John envisioned creating a competing film production company that also specializes in marketing luxury properties, but at a much more affordable price. He wanted to implement a 3-tier pricing model, starting at only $1,000. Within a few weeks, Jared introduced John to his partner and film director, David Petlansky at the Volstead in downtown Jacksonville one evening and the three gave life to REX Cinema Productions.
Meanwhile, during the summer of 2019, Sebastian Tanner had just graduated from high school and desired to follow in his father’s path of working in the real estate industry. Like his father and grandfather, Sebastian had the entrepreneurial spirit! John suggested that they work together in real estate and network marketing so that Sebastian could have more freedom by developing a system of generating passive income through recruiting real estate agents and co-hosting entrepreneurial seminars.
By early October, the Tanner trilogy partnered up to create Tanner Enterprises, a professional network consulting company whose mission is to help professional service entrepreneurs build a tribe of like-minded entrepreneurs by sharing their story, helping them gain popularity by adding value to their communities, and, in return, they would earn more referral business.