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.
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:
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,