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The secret to my success

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I waffled on this subject line for a while.  “I sound so conceited!”, “Success is such a heavy word.” Oy.

But I decided to go ahead with it because there’s a tendency in women to shy away from celebrating their success – that if we shine too brightly it will make others feel bad about themselves.

But here’s what I know to be true: You have everything you need to be hugely successful, I am no more ‘set-up’ or ‘qualified’ than you are.  I also know that by me not shying away or hiding my best self, it gives you permission to be yours.  I love hearing about other’s people’s success and how they got there because it allows me to dream bigger for myself, and if I can do that for you, awesome.

But if you just can’t handle hearing about someone’s success right now or if you’re going to use it to beat yourself up, then please stop reading.

My journey:

In the fall of 2009 I started my business with 10K borrowed off of Jonathan’s med-school loans.  I got my first 3 clients when my mother hosted a “Sugar Blues” workshop in her kitchen.  Her friends had to come (you know how it is) but I left with three 50-year old clients. Given I thought I was too young to be a coach, this was quite a shock and a great learning experience.

My first company name was “Advertising Wellness”, then “Sarah Jenks, Emotional Eating Coach” and in January 2010, I created “The Breathtaking Bride”, an emotional eating program for brides.

Getting clients was a huge struggle until January of 2011, when I first took Marie Forleo’s B-School Program and got really clear on marketing The Breathtaking Bride.  I did three workshops in NYC, got some great press and used everything I learned in BSchool to create a website the converted visitors better than Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I signed 17 clients in a month.

Unfortunately, with a wedding to plan, and a cross-country move on the horizon, I was on the verge of a mental breakdown.  I fired half of my clients, lost a bunch a money and momentum.  The reality was that I hadn’t figured out how to make my business sustainable. I either had too much time and not enough money or enough money and absolutely no time.  I had created a business I hated.

In June of 2011 I got married and moved to San Francisco in one weekend.  The move was really hard on me, and I felt pretty down and depressed my first few months in SF.  By the time the fall rolled around I signed 8 new clients, and I wanted to try my luck at creating a group program for brides called the Breathtaking Bride Booty Camp.  I loved doing the marketing and branding, but I was finding myself completely over the bridal industry.  It wasn’t the right fit for me anymore, but I felt bad ditching a brand I had worked so hard on.  It was my 3rd company in two years and I was starting to feel like a huge failure.

But, I did the Booty Camp anyways.  Thirteen women signed up, eight of them were NOT getting married.  Hmmm.  It was a sure sign that it was time to move on.

In February, 2012 I did B-School again and got a ton of clarity about what I wanted to teach and stand for.  I knew I was good at helping women create amazing lives, and in turn, it allowed them to not be so dependant on food.  Live More Weigh Less was born.  I launched Live More Weigh Less Mastery that summer and 28 women enrolled.  I was thrilled! Combined with a healthy 1:1 coaching practice I was able  to pay off 30K in debt in six months, something I thought would take me 3 years to do.  Here I am talking about the rush of paying off my debt at Marie Forleo’s Rich Happy and Hot Live Event last year:

RHH Live

I was feeling really damn good.  Bills were getting paid, we could go on vacation and going out to dinner was no longer stressful.  But the truth was that I felt exhausted and overworked.

In 2013 I ran Live More Weigh Less Mastery twice having almost 400 women participate in the program this year. I cut my one-on-one coaching down to 5 women at a time and then eliminated that program all together.  I started to realize that I could have a much larger effect coaching large groups of women.

Feeling financially abundant was amazing, but the best part about 2013 was that I learned how to work.  I cut my work hours down to about 25 hours a week (during launch time it’s around 50), and I hired an amazing team, so I only had to do the tasks I loved like writing, branding, coaching and visioning.

I made time to workout, cook dinner, breathe and play.  We went on amazing vacations to Hawaii, the California coast and Paris.  And the cherry on top? I got pregnant, and am now able to take 9 months off for maternity leave.

This new emphasis and discovery about how to have a life, birthed my and Nisha Moodley’s LIVE FREE Retreat in Sonoma that 70 women attended last fall.  We’re doing it again this year so make sure to get on the list so we can send you the information when it comes out.

A lot of people ask me, what’s the key to my success?  What are the things I did that moved the needle the most?  Here are the things that stand out to me that I think every business woman, owner or employee should focus on.

1. Master marketing.  When I look at people who have a similar practice who are still struggling with money, the only difference between us is that I took time to master marketing, and they didn’t.  There’s not a huge gap in our coaching effectiveness (there are so many great coaches out there), I just know how to run a business.  I learned everything I know through Marie Forleo’s B-School.  When you think about making 50K, 100K or 500K this year, spending the small amount that B-School costs is a no-brainer.  It’s currently open for enrollment and I can’t recommend it enough. You can sign up for it here.

2. Create a brand that is YOU.  When I first started my business, I copied everyone.  I wanted a website like Marie’s, I wanted to sound like Danielle LaPorte, I thought I needed to talk about food like Kris Carr.  When I stopped trying to focus on how I could be the same as the people I admired and instead focused on how I could be different, that’s when things took off.  But a big part of that was actually having a life outside of my business!  I needed to know who I was, what I did for fun, how I liked to dress, what I believed in order to communicate that through my branding.  And I needed to have a life that people actually wanted.  Not some fake one that I was making up.  I also spent a lot of money on my website and made sure it stood out in the crowd.

3. Get the help you need.  When I hired my business manager, Danielle, everything changed.  With her around to manage the day-to-day I could focus on the big picture, enjoy being with my clients without worrying about my website crashing and had more time to be with my friends and Jonathan.  I could do everything myself, but I don’t want to.  Companies can’t grow if you’re spending all of your time managing the day-to-day.

So what’s next you ask?  As you know, my little guy is arriving any day now, so I’ll be spending the next few months completely focused on me, my baby and Jonathan.  I’m really excited to learn how to have a life with our new addition and apply my Live More Weigh Less philosophy to my life and body after baby.  When all is said and done, I will be taking 9 months off of working, which is completely supported by the money I made in 2013.

When I got pregnant I sent Marie a thank you note for giving me my financial freedom.  She, more than anyone, gave me the skills to kick ass in business so I could support myself in taking nine months off to be solely focused on me and my family.  It is such a gift, and to be honest, I am really frickin’ proud of myself.

In the meantime, know that you are going to be getting support here on the blog from me and my Blog Babysitters every week.  And I have to say, the stuff we’ve prepared for you is pretty amazing.

This fall I’ll start gearing up for 2015 and you better believe you’re going to see fireworks and magic when the new SarahJenks.com and Live More Weigh Less Mastery comes out.

If you’re craving financial freedom, dying to create a successful business online and think B-School might be for you, you can check it out here.

In the comments below I want to hear YOUR success story!  What has your path been?  What are you most proud of?  Let’s all rise in celebration for each other.

All my love,

Sarah

35 Comments

  1. Melissa Hoffmann · February 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm · Reply

    Sarah, you are such an inspiration to me! I always love hearing your story. And I’m in LOVE with your pantsuit in the RHH Live pic! I think I need one in my life. :)

    • Sarah Jenks · February 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm · Reply

      Thanks so much Melissa! I’m so excited about what you’re cooking up this year. And yes, you totally need that pant suit. It’s Gretchen Jones from Project Runway.

  2. Sara · February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm · Reply

    WOW! This is amazing and just what I wanted and needed to hear! The synchronisms of life are amazing! Congratulations on all of your hard earned success and inspiring others to live up to their own authentic powerful selves. Empowering women to let their light shine brightly is a gift!

    • Sarah Jenks · February 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm · Reply

      Thanks so much Sara!!!

  3. Carly · February 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm · Reply

    Hey Sarah – thank you for this and congrats on the baby!!

    How did you put together your mastery course? I’m working on a 30 day program right now and keep running into roadblocks. Did you use your 1-on-1 coaching to know exactly what your clients want? How did you know it would sell and be a success? Thanks!

    • Sarah Jenks · February 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm · Reply

      Hi Carly, a mastery program is a HUGE undertaking and not something I can sufficiently help you with here. if you have not taken B-School, it is a must for you!

      To briefly answer your questions – yes, I used my coaching experience and personal experience to know what people needed and what steps they needed to learn to heal.

      And I didn’t know it would sell:) Programs are always a huge risk. Make sure you have a large mailing list to sell to. Good luck!! Make sure you know marketing backwards and forwards, it will help you sell it A LOT.

  4. Kati · February 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm · Reply

    Sarah! This is such a great reminder that success is a journey. It’s easy to look at successful women and think that they had everything perfect right from the start. It’s so refreshing (and such a relief!) to hear you talking about changing your business name and structure over the years. When things weren’t working, you got help and kept flowing to the next thing. And your emphasis on actually having a real life… It’s all incredibly inspiring–thank you, Sarah! (Also love your RHH Live outfit! ;-)

    • Sarah Jenks · February 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm · Reply

      Kati, I’m so glad this was helpful! Behind every “over night success” there are ten years of hard work. I think that’s a quote from someone famous…. Keep on keeping at it, and make sure to prioritize your LIFE. Big hugs.

  5. Jacqueline · February 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm · Reply

    You’re so right that having a life is good for your business’s life too. Ditto on the pantsuit!

  6. Lena · February 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm · Reply

    Thanks for sharing this Sarah! I also feel exhausted and mostly afraid of failure or success or something like that ;) I launched my business a year and a half ago, and when I launched my first program, last Spring, it was quite successful – I got 27 clients, so it was great. Now I’m planning a video launch, I was planning on having joint venture partners but I’m leaving that for the next round, because I’m working practically alone and there’s too much stuff to do! Anyway, it was inspiring seeing how things can evolve and knowing your tips for success. I already did b-school once but I’m thinking of doing it again this time, to see if I can take things to the next level quicker!!!
    xo
    Lena

  7. tracey · February 19, 2014 at 1:01 pm · Reply

    Soooo timely for me. I was just discussing {about 20 minutes ago} to a friend about ditching my current business and starting from scratch because it didn’t feel authentic anymore…I was feeling overwhelmed and annoyed about the thought of it and a bit like a loser. LOL I’ve also been going back and forth about B-school…I love when the universe gives out signs! Thanks so much for all your words and inspiration! Congratulations on the baby!!!

  8. renee @ using creativity to slow down + savor life · February 19, 2014 at 1:49 pm · Reply

    oh, i just LOVE this!! and i’m SO SO excited to see what blossoms for you after you becoming a mom. ever since i became a mom almost 5 years ago, i’ve grown and blossomed more into my true self than ever. i love reading this about you…i’ve been following you since your were the breathtaking bride..which i hadn’t been bride in 10 years…got married in 2004. but i just LOVED everything you wrote about and did. i even referred brides i knew to your site and your message!!

    i had no idea you were other names beforehand, and honestly, it makes me feel even more inspired and not alone. i’ve had quite the journey to finding myself…journalism, teaching elementary school, IIN, health coach turned photographer lover, turned creativity lover!! since having my daughter, i’ve finally come into what my true message here is. it’s taken me time. sometimes, i really wish i had it all figured out before i had my kids, so that way, my dreams were already put together and were just waiting for me to pick back up after maternity leave, but for me, it was my kids who helped me find my intuitive way. so right now, my dreams beyond motherhood are waiting to be dove into more once my kiddos are in school full-time. and it’s this time i’ll be taking bschool so i can give bschool my full attention.

    but right now, i blog and share my love for creativity and it’s working out just as it should in this time of my life and i can’t wait for it to become my business. my kids need me first right now. but, my insides sparkle with glee knowing what’s ahead for me…with being a mom and all. thank you for sharing your story…i see that i’m not alone in changing my path so many times…what i’ve come to learn, is if i didn’t seek out those paths and pursue them, i’d never would have connected back to ME and my true path…awesome stuff!! SO excited for your new bundle of JOY to arrive and, really, i’m SO excited to see you blossom even more into who you are with the help of being a mama!!

    • Sarah Jenks · February 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm · Reply

      Renee this is so beautiful! You seem so grounded and clear. I’m so excited to see where you take things. xoxo

  9. Rachel Swann · February 19, 2014 at 2:08 pm · Reply

    Sarah, I love your honesty here and that you have shared your setbacks and the twists and turns on your journey.

    It’s easy to think that the entrepreneurs you admire had it all figured out from day one but it’s encouraging to hear that you made it despite your setbacks and learning curves.

    Well done for finally figuring out how to create a business you love!

    R xx

  10. Jessica Zelenko · February 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm · Reply

    Wow! Thank you so much for laying out your journey step by step. I’m a fellow B-schooler and while the process isn’t easy or quick, my career coaching business is growing day by day. Thank you for being so honest and open. This is so helpful.

  11. Jadah Sellner · February 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm · Reply

    Sarah, I love this! The three 50-year-old clients had me laughing out loud. It’s so true that B-School is a game-changer and mastering authentic marketing is an essential to making a bigger impact in the world. You are going to be an amazing mama, and I can’t wait to play with you more this year! You inspire me and keep me on my toes for balancing radical self-care, play and business.

    • Sarah Jenks · February 19, 2014 at 7:37 pm · Reply

      Thanks so much Jadah! So grateful to have you in my life as a true reflection of what I stand for. And I am so grateful for my first few clients, they taught me so much and allowed me to really grow with them. Such a gift!

  12. Betsy Cox · February 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm · Reply

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m thrilled to read this post and applaud you on choosing the title! As women living in a society where we enjoy the freedom to drive, pursue education, decide who and when we will marry, we have a responsibility to step into accomplishments with both feet – no cringe factor, and own it. All journeys toward success are collaborative and it’s helpful to hear where you found valuable support. Reading about your journey, the good, bad, and the ugly, is inspiring, to know it’s never too late to bail, that you have to keep tweaking, that alignment with yourself and your ideal client base doesn’t come overnight and is always evolving… important and liberating stuff! Thank you so much. AND: Wishing you and yours all the best as you welcome your baby into the world :)

    • Sarah Jenks · February 19, 2014 at 7:38 pm · Reply

      Thank you SO much Betsy. I just love how you put this: “As women living in a society where we enjoy the freedom to drive, pursue education, decide who and when we will marry, we have a responsibility to step into accomplishments with both feet – no cringe factor, and own it.” AMEN!!!

  13. marine · February 19, 2014 at 11:56 pm · Reply

    Sarah,
    You are such an inspiration! I started my bridal hair and makeup business 3 years ago and got plenty of clients but now I am stuck because they do not come back (brides don’t get divorced and re-marry that often :-)
    i am trying to get into eyelash extensions but I am affraid it will not work…I have another part-time job and a 2 year old. I am stressed about preschool and following my dream and scared not being a full time mother….I sometimes feel like a bad mother…

    • Sarah Jenks · February 21, 2014 at 12:31 am · Reply

      Marine,

      I would consider adding another demographic to your bridal business. Perhaps entrepreneurs like me for photo shoots? Check out MelissaHoffmann.com, she’s doin’ it right.

      Also know that is matters less how you’re parenting than are you being the adult you want your kids to be. Yes they need you, but they also need you to be the full expression of you. That may mean getting some extra child care:). xox

  14. Jill · February 20, 2014 at 12:20 am · Reply

    Sarah! I am a huge fan and adore everything about you! From your messaging to women, to your style, your genuine heart and your gorgeous, round cheeks. I saw your post about hiding bc of your pregnancy cheeks and I so so appreciated your advice! Here’s my question for you: I took Amy Ahler’s Find Your Calling Course twice and know that I am supposed to be coaching women. There is no doubt that this is my calling. However LOTS of things have kept me from starting: fear, finances, time, feeling inadequate when comparing myself (I.e. how do I get from where I am today to be Amy A. or Sarah Jenks?) I am super stuck! Can you shed light on if B-school would be good for someone in my position or would it be better to start like you did and have at least a year of trial and error before I spend money we don’t have on the program.
    This round-cheeked mama wishes you all the best, as you welcome your little guy into this world and discover the aweseness of being a mommy!

    • Sarah Jenks · February 21, 2014 at 12:35 am · Reply

      Thank you so much Jill! I would never encourage someone to spend money they don’t have. The last thing you need is to add pressure. But I also would urge to really see if you can afford it:). Sometimes cutting back on a few things is easier than expected.

      I want you to ask yourself, what makes you want to do it MORE than the fear? Those things will always be there, but when you can really get clear on you WHY, then you can get excited about it. You won’t know everything in the beginning, I didn’t, but if you are committed to learning, working hard and being creative, anything can happen.

  15. Nicole · February 20, 2014 at 9:19 am · Reply

    First I want to say that you are truly an uplifting inspiration Sarah! I appreciate the time you take to communicate as well as your honesty. And your LMWL 28 day challenge this past year totally changed my heart, my mind, and my body!

    Nearly every single time I read a blog post from you, I always have the same burning question. I always want to ask but feel like it’s stupid, so I don’t. Today for whatever reason I have mustered up the courage to say, to hell with it, I’m asking!! :)

    How did you know what kind of business you wanted to start? I mean, did you always have a general idea?

    I ask because I have never been able to figure out what I “wanted” to do, more less what “fits” me. It’s maddening. I like to help people but I do not know in what way. I actually work in Marketing and have for 5yrs now and am good with people and the public. And still, with all those things…I come up with nothing. I have no idea how to figure it out! Maddening I tell you. So I’m just curious how you knew and if you (or anyone else) have any advice for my seriously ridiculous dilemma! :)

    • Sarah Jenks · February 21, 2014 at 12:40 am · Reply

      Nicole, I’m so glad you asked! I used to work in advertising and one day I thought, “I wonder if I could help women feel good about their bodies as a psychologist?” The truth was that I was still really struggling with eating and my body and that’s what I wanted the most. So I decided to simultaneously train in that area (I ended up going the coaching route instead of psychology) and heal from my own issues at the same time.

      So my advice to you is to think about what you’ve struggled with the most in your life, and what would be helpful support for that? Or what do you wish existed more than anything? Or what is a problem in the world you think needs to be solved?

      Start there and let me know what you come up with.

  16. Jenn Giles Kemper · February 20, 2014 at 9:47 am · Reply

    OK, Sarah. I always appreciate your reflections, but this? THIS? Resonates so deeply.

    Formerly a wedding and event planner, I know just the moment when I felt like I had just “moved on” and that the wedding and bridal industry was no longer the place for my work and brides were no longer “my” clients. Invested a lot in the business and the branding and scared to admit what I knew was true-that it was time to let it go? Check. Check. Getting just the right name, just the right approach to serving your clients, just the right “feel” for your brand is so much pressure to put on ourselves just out of the gate. But, no one told me that “before.” No one admitted to changing their name, freshening up their branding over time, letting their business evolve as they grew. And, I was left wondering if it was just me. I now know it always evolves, becomes more clear, and things begin to click into place when I start taking the steps and usually not a minute before. :)Way to own & celebrate your incredible work. Celebrating with you!

    • Sarah Jenks · February 21, 2014 at 12:42 am · Reply

      Yes yes YES! We cannot be hostages to our businesses. They must grow with us. After all, we create them to support our lives.

  17. Heather · February 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm · Reply

    Sarah, I appreciate your candid honesty. So many times people are afraid to be real and they want to make it look so effortless. I am curious, besides Bschool what additional training did you have in order to guide people through emotional eating (if any?). I am always looking for my next certification or training!

    • Sarah Jenks · February 21, 2014 at 12:44 am · Reply

      Thanks so much Heather:). I went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, took courses at the Psychology of Eating, studied under Jena LaFlamme of Pleasurable Weightloss and have worked with many incredible coaches, therapists and healers. I have found that the work I have done one on one, and the investments I’ve made in my personal healing have been incredibly beneficial.

  18. Celine · February 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm · Reply

    What a brave post. Thanks for pulling back the curtains and giving us an inside look, very helpful to know that this is a process and growth comes from persistence.
    Thanks, Celine

  19. Holly Chapman · February 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm · Reply

    Thank you for this Sarah! It makes it all seem so much more doable and really is not as scary when you write it all out like that. I know the mistake part shouldn’t seem so scary but somewhere deep down there is this unconscious fear of failure keeping me from doing anything (damn perfectionism!) This is exactly what I needed to hear right now to get me off my butt, or at least make me continue what I started!! Can’t wait to see how motherhood transforms your incredible work my dear! You are already an amazing mama! So much love to you in this next phase of the adventure!
    xox, Holly

  20. Christine Stephens · March 3, 2014 at 9:15 am · Reply

    Sarah you sent me an inspiring email a while back that included a morning power drink. Somehow the email was deleted and I am desperately trying to make that drink. Any chance you could reshare? Thank you!

    • Sarah Jenks · March 7, 2014 at 8:11 am · Reply

      Hi Christine, my recipe: 5 kale leaves, 1 apple (just the edible parts), half an avocado, some mint (optional), 1 cup of water, 1 ice cube, blend in a blender. Enjoy!

  21. Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health · March 6, 2014 at 11:49 am · Reply

    Ah, Sarah! I love this post! I was at RHH in 2012 when you spoke, and I remember being so in awe of your success to stand up on that stage. But I love more so hearing your journey– that it’s always much more than most people think, and always morphing with you over time. This is such a great example to see and set for others. Love you, love Marie, love all of this great feminine positive energy you guys give to the world. Thank you and enjoy every moment on maternity leave! xo

  22. Melissa Maher · April 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm · Reply

    I’m so glad I came across this article Sarah – thank you for writing it. I’m a (mindfulness and intuitive nutrition) coach new to my practice in the last few years, and going through B School as we speak, and everything you said resonated with me so much. Thank you for serving up a grounded, authentic model of how we can do work that truly makes a difference, that we love, AND that affords us the lifestyle we want to live. That’s what I’m striving for, and I know it’s possible (thank you for affirming that!). Wishing you well with the new life you’ll have on your hands soon!

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