#13: How Lisa Johnson made $3 million in a week with her coaching business

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure, where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

Today we are talking with Lisa Johnson about how she became successful with online courses and challenges, earning over $3 million dollars in a week in 2021 during one launch alone, and how facing adversity early on helped her grow to where she is today.

Lisa Johnson is a multi-seven-figure business strategist who makes 90% of her money through passive or semi-passive income streams.

Learn more about Lisa: https://www.lisajohnson.com/


Bryan McAnulty: Welcome to the Creator's Adventure, where we interview Creator's from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. My name is Bryan McAnulty. I'm the founder of Heights Platform. And today I'm talking with Lisa Johnson about how she became successful with online courses and challenges.

Earning over 3 million in a week in 2021 during a single launch alone. And how facing adversity early on helped her grow to where she is today.

Hey everyone. We're here today with Lisa Johnson, a multi seven figure business strategist who makes 90% of her money through passive or semi passive income stream. In one launch alone during the global pandemic in 2021, she made over 2.5 million pounds in a week earning 1 million pounds in the first hour of sales.

So after a tough childhood spent in social housing, Lisa went on to have a successful career in law banking and the entertainment industry. And her background in overcoming obstacles has helped mold her into a bold, straight talking coach who is never afraid to be authentic and outspoken truth teller.

Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Johnson: Hi, nice to be here.

Bryan McAnulty: So my first question for you is I wanna go into a little bit about your story. When did you decide to become an online coach and how did you get started?

Lisa Johnson: So I never really decided to, it found me . So I, I had twins unexpectedly when I was in my late thirties and I was working at the time.

I'd kind of gone from, from being an office junior to really dragging my way up in the corporate world to be where I was, which was a risk analyst in the investment bank in London. And then just as I thought I was doing really well, I got pregnant and I was on my. At the time. And so I went back to work when the kids were five months old and kind of thought they'll just fit into my life.

It will be fine. I'll go back to work. And obviously it just doesn't work that way. I was leaving the house at six o'clock in the morning. I was coming home at 11 o'clock at night and I wasn't seeing them. So I had to make a decision to do something differently. And what I decided to do was just get a job, a really easy nine to five job near where I lived.

And I. It was like a admin assistant. You'd call it a PA kind of job. So I went back to doing that, which was about a fifth of the salary that I was on. And while I was there, got a bit bored and so started thinking of other things I could do to make money, to make up the, the shortfall. And I didn't really know what to do.

I didn't know anybody that had a business or, or knew how to create anything. So I started off with wedding planning and it was only when I'd helped a lot of people plan their weddings. And I was starting to make money from that, that people a couple of years later started saying to me, how did you do it?

You know, what have you learned about business that you can help me with? I wanna start a business. I wanna do these things. And I started just telling people what I'd learned. I was a proper. Kind of self development junkie. At this point, I was reading all the books, going to all of the webinars, learning all the stuff.

And so I was able to teach other people what to do. And they then started to make a lot of money, which surprised me as much as anyone that I had this gift for explaining to people how to have a business without all the jargon that's out there and in a simple way. And so then people started coming to me, offering me money to help them with their businesses.

And it was only then I realized this is a lot easier than being a wedding planner being on my feet for 48 hours every single weekend during the summer. And so four and a half years ago, I just. okay, this is what I'm gonna do. I'll help people with business strategy and, and off it went

Bryan McAnulty: well. So I guess, yeah, wedding planning, I guess, can be a pretty lucrative business, but you're, you're really tied down to that schedule with it.

Lisa Johnson: Yeah. And it's not actually that lucrative, you would think it would be, but because it takes around 250 hours to plan a wedding, you can only take on so many, you know, per year. And so there's always a ceiling. So

Bryan McAnulty: what you're doing now gives you a lot more time with family and everything, I guess, as well.

Lisa Johnson: Absolutely. I work 30 hours a month. Now I used to work 80 hours a week then.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. So in your bio, we read that you mentioned having a difficult childhood and experiencing bullying, and today you're an ambassador for the charity bullies out and are known for your anti-bullying campaign online. So can you tell a little bit about like how your past experiences affected both your personal and professional life of.

Lisa Johnson: Yeah, I mean, it was a big thing. So when I was younger, I grew up in poverty. So I was in like the rough counselor states in, in England. And so when I was 11 years old, I got a scholarship to a private school. So it was a really good. School that prestigious school everybody wanted to go to. And it was really expensive and I didn't have to pay anything.

And so I thought it was a great opportunity. I was 11 years old. However, you know what kids are like. They were all very rich. I was very obviously very poor. You know, I had secondhand clothes. I had the only person that was going into the lunch line to get free meals. Everybody got picked up in their Bentleys and their Porsche.

And I got picked up on the back of my single father's motorbike. So I got bullied from day one and that bullying continued until I was 16. And at the age of 16, one of the bullies held a knife to my throat while everybody, all my, or the classmates kind of. Go did her on, I guess, and, and stood around.

And that had such a profound effect on my life. Even in adulthood, I was very scared of groups, of, of girls, of groups, of women. And it's taken a lot of trauma coaching to turn that round. But what I knew I could do once I started making a lot of money is how can I help other people who are like me?

Because it took me a long time. You know, get that self-belief to be able to put out anything, let alone to, to make the kind of money I do now. And so I looked for a charity and bullies out was perfect. Cause it doesn't just help the bully. It helps the the bully, it helps the bully. And I think that's really important.

Now we understand that hurt people, hurt people and that's always why it's gonna happen. But yeah, it's kind of been a massive thing for me because I now look back and I truly believe. Adversity can fuel your success. And I don't believe I would be successful. Now, if that bullying hadn't happened to me, cuz I think it's made me be able to get to a new obstacles that maybe other people would've stopped at.

Yeah. It's really interesting.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. I do definitely believe myself that having some kind of adversity really gives you this drive that others just may not have because they like you, you get to a point and some. I don't know. I, I think everyone's experienced something in their life where you feel like it, it has to be different.

It has something has to change something that you want to improve. And that really forces you to say, I have to make this change in my life or, or go through this growth in my life.

Lisa Johnson: yeah. And you make it non-negotiable, you know, every time I was terrified for whether it's standing on a stage for the first time or any of the things that you have to do in business that are kind of scary.

Sometimes I would look back and think of those people telling me I would never make it, and that would make me do it. So actually they really helped me like in the long run. And they think if we can see the positives in the adversity that happen to us, it can make such a big difference to what we do.


Bryan McAnulty: great. So before you became an online coach, you had a well paying corporate job. Why did you decide to, to quit apart from, I guess maybe you've kind of already revealed it before about having the twins, but what would you say to other people in a similar situation if they have a pretty good job now?

Yeah, but they're thinking of quitting to pursue their passion.

Lisa Johnson: Yeah, I think some of it was, you know, the twins and needing more time with my family. But even before that, I had got to a kind of point where you wake up one day and you kind of go is. Is this it like, I've worked really hard to get here and I've got here and it's not quite what it's cracked up to be like, where's the freedom.

And all I ever wanted was freedom. I wanted to be able to travel. That was my big thing. And I couldn't because my boss would say, you're only allowed 20 days holiday a year. I'm like, you know, how am I ever gonna do the kind of travel I want to is 20 days holiday a year. And so I think that the, the big thing is have a look at the life you're leading.

Now, if you are in Corporate. Does it fit your expectations of what, what you want out of life? For some people? It absolutely will. Yeah, but for so many more of us now, it. Isn't what we want. And we wanted something different. I knew I wanted an extraordinary life and I was never gonna get that working with somebody else.

And so the push for me, I think I'd always been thinking about it, but the push for me came when I had a family and realized that actually they're only gonna be little once and I wanna spend that time with them, but I also still wanna make a lot of money. I don't want it to be a, okay, I'll be a stay at home mom situation and not make any money.

I wanted to have both. And I believe you.

Bryan McAnulty: awesome. So the first business that you started was not the coaching, but actually the wedding plan company. And we saw a live stream that you did, where you talked about nicheing down and you gave this great example of how you did that with your wedding planning company, where you turn your business around simply by focusing on this narrower niche.

So can you explain to us a little bit more of the importance of nicheing.

Lisa Johnson: It it's so important and I really never realized it when you first go into business, there's so many things that you don't really know. You just kind of feel like people set up a website and, and everything will just work out. And one of the things that I really didn't understand was nicheing was ideal client, this idea of having an ideal client.

So when I started, I just got a wedding wedding website up and said, Hey, I'm a wedding client. I will do any wedding. I don't care whether it's a bomb wedding or an a broad wedding. I'll do it.

Bryan McAnulty: Well, I, I think actually like new new business owners tend to go the opposite way because they think, oh, well, I have this brilliant idea.

Ideal client. I don't need that. I can help everyone.

Lisa Johnson: Everyone. Sure. Yeah. And I did too well. I think we all do. We're like, I'll help everybody because then you're not pigeonholing yourself. Mm-hmm and you are not turning away work because it seems like a ridiculous thing to do to turn away work. You want everyone to come to you, but I realize very quickly that if you do it that way, you are only ever competing on one thing and that's price.

So when people came and interviewed me for my wedding planning services, They would wanna know how much I was. And all they were doing is comparing how much I was to the next 10 people they were speaking to. So everyone then just undercuts. And the only way with that is to go down. Like there is no way of making more money that way.

And then I got a coach, my first coach, and she said to me, I. What do you really wanna do? Who do you really wanna work with? And I said, well, I really wanna work with people that want warehouse weddings, like these brilliant hipster weddings that are almost anti wedding, like ultra cool. Without any flowers or without any boring ceremony, just something really fun.

And she said, well, just do that then. And that was terrified. So if I just do that, there's probably. 2% of people getting married that want that. So if I just do that, how am I ever gonna find clients? But I did it anyway. And we wrote all of the copy for the website or the branding. Everything we did was just speaking to this one ideal client in this niche.

And it changed everything. Yes. We only got maybe 5% of the industry that those 5% would only come to us. So it didn't matter on price. We put our price up three times. It didn't matter. They only wanted to work with us because they knew that we completely understood what they wanted and that we were set up just for them.

And if you think about that, even in coaching, I've done the same thing. So you know, lots of people say, I wanna help you have freedom. You know, I wanna help you build a business where you have freedom and you work for. I've niche it to, I wanna help you make passive income for memberships and courses so that you really do have freedom and work for yourself.

And. That nicheing changes everything. Because when you, you know, think about when you are looking for a product, if you're looking for something you want the exact solution to your problem, which is what selling really is, is finding the exact solution to your problem. If you have a really sore tooth and you go into a, a pharmacy and they have six bottles on the wall that.

Get rid of pain fast and they're all one pound each, but then there's one that there's get rid of toothache in 30 seconds. And it's 10 pounds. You will buy the 10 pound bottle because it's solving your problem the fastest. Definitely.

Bryan McAnulty: That's great. So on your website, you mentioned that when you started growing this business, you actually didn't spend any money on ads.

And I think this is really a big one that Creator's are gonna wonder about. I feel that new entrepreneurs sometimes make the mistake of getting involved in ads and trying out ads too early, thinking that this is the way to grow a business. So how did you do it? Can you share one or maybe a few of your favorite marketing strategies?

Lisa Johnson: first. I'll tell you why I did it because I was that entrepreneur that made the massive mistake in the first two months of her business and decided to go into Facebook ads. I lost 27,000 pounds in the first two months of my business on Facebook ads, because I didn't know what I was doing. I chose somebody that didn't know what they were doing to manage the ads.

And so I was then terrified to use ads and decided instead I was gonna do everything organically. And I did up until we hit, a million million pounds. Then we started using ads. But to get to that million, what I did, the main thing I did was I opened a Facebook group. And for the first six months of my business, That was literally it.

I had no brand, I had no website. I had nothing. I opened a Facebook group. I went live in it nearly every day, even if it was just for two minutes or five minutes to teach something, to give some kind of value, whether it was something that I'd made a mistake on in my wedding planning business or something, I'd learnt from a book in my new business.

And that got people. Talking, you know, people would come in and say, have you seen this Facebook group? There's a lot of information in there and I'd put it all over my emails. I would put it all over my personal Facebook page. Every time I went and did a talk anywhere, even if it was like a really local one with 10 people in, I would tell them about this Facebook group.

And so people came in and I didn't sell anything for five months. I was just going in. I was giving value. In month six, I made my first 100,000 pounds from just that Facebook group. Wow. By the end of the year still just had a Facebook group and I'd made 220,000 from it. I didn't do anything else. Now, if I was to go back, I would start a list earlier then I did an email list.

Mm-hmm but at the beginning, that's all I did. I didn't do anything else. I think sometimes. I don't think business is complicated. I think people make business complicated and actually all you need to do is have those ideal clients that we just talked about in one place, give value to them and then they'll buy from you.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, I think, the lesson here is, I, a lot of entrepreneurs, I think I'm guilty of it myself. I think the good tip is to think about what did you do today or throughout the. That is somehow getting in touch with the people who are gonna potentially buy from you. Because if you say like, okay, I'm gonna launch this thing.

I need to build the site. I need to build the emails. I need to build the Facebook group. I need to, to build the course, to build all these different things you get so hung up in building it and maybe you enjoy building it. And that's great. But if you don't do take some kind of action to actually communicate with the people who might buy from you in the.

Then it's going to make it, you're making it harder on yourself because you're spending more time than without having that potential revenue.

Lisa Johnson: And it's overwhelming, especially if you're one of those kind of people that want everything to be perfect, then you'll never do anything. You'll just be paralyzed.

Whereas if you're just gonna do something, you'll fix it along the way. You'll make it better along the way. And you don't have to do everything at once. It just makes everything much easier. I'm all about simple.

Bryan McAnulty: Cool. So your main product offerings are an online chorus, a live group, coaching program, membership and mastermind.

Which one of these would you say drives the most revenue for you now?

Lisa Johnson: by far my one to many program, which is a group coaching program for 12 weeks. We only release it once a year, but within an eight month period in 2020 to 2021, that one course made as 4 million pounds. Wow, it's it. And I think the pandemic was good for that.

I think I've been banging on about passive income or at least, you know, leveraged income for a long time. And, people were like, yeah, yeah, one day I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna do the one to many model. And then suddenly the pandemic happened and everyone was like, ah, okay. and then they needed.

Bryan McAnulty: or so, yeah, I wanna ask you about passive income because you mentioned passive income a lot and, and you also just mentioned leveraged income.

So to me, I, I usually look at it as passive income is something that is not that it's not real maybe, but it's, it's not the way that most people describe it. And a lot of times it really is leveraged income, maybe that you're actually creating. So can you go into a little bit more about your thoughts on this for the kind of person who's watching this and saying.

Oh, well, like Lisa's just telling me about this passive income. She's just full of it. It's the that's not true or whatever. So what would you say to someone like.

Lisa Johnson: That they're right. Let's, let's talk about that because there's this myth that passive income means you're somehow going to go to sleep and money is gonna rain down on you in the night, and you've done nothing that couldn't be further from the truth.

So all passive income means is not trading time for money. It's more passive than that. However, in the first year of doing this is such hard work, cuz you are gonna be, you know, growing an audience and writing the course and marketing it and all the other things you need to. passive income only becomes passive once the asset you've built in that first year.

Is making money on its own. So for instance, now that I've written, that course it's written, everything's done. The marketing is all done. It's on autopilot. And so I literally can go to sleep and money will come in overnight, but that takes time. And I, it's not a, you know, passive income. I wish we could call it leveraged income, but if we do, no one knows what I'm talking about.

That passive really means. Building an asset first and making passive income from it later. And so we are talking about years, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Don't even think that you're not gonna be doing anything in year one. Most people give up in year one because it's harder to make passive income in year one than any other kind of business.

Is it worth it? Absolutely. Great.

Bryan McAnulty: So in this online course, you said your biggest course, you think is the the one to many. It looks like you're going to be launching that again soon. Can you explain a little bit of what you actually cover in this course?

Lisa Johnson: Yeah. And, and the reason I started this course was because when I started, I wanted to learn how to do memberships courses, you know, eBooks, affiliate, marketing, all of that kind of stuff.

And I bought a course and the course was on how to create a course. And it was great. Did the course, and I was like, great. I've got the course now. You've got no audience to sell it to you. You have nobody to sell this product to. So I bought another course about how to grow an audience and how to nurture that audience on Facebook and an email list.

And that was great. And then I had absolutely no idea how to launch this. You know, I'd seen people launch online, didn't know what I was doing. I bought another course about launching. Then I bought another course about sales pages and how to write one. And I was like, this is ridiculous. None of these things actually give you it all at one.

And so one to many is the complete thing. It's 12 weeks of literally from the beginning, let's work out what your idea could even be. Because a lot of my clients, they know a lot of stuff, but their knowledge isn't common knowledge, but they don't realize that. So. You know, whether it's some of my clients teach hula hooping in a course, some teach fitness, some teach business, some have memberships about dating sex.

You know, anything that you could possibly think of. There is a membership on it out there, and it's about working out what your thing is. Them writing it then launching it and growing an audience all at the same time and remarketing it because there's no point doing passive income. If you're only going to do it once that's not gonna be very passive for you.

So how do remarket it over and over again by using the testimonials from the people that you've made, happy your clients. So that it works time and time again. And so we put that together and we realized that people then hated the tech, you know, or people are like, I hate the tech. So we made them a, a sales funnel as well.

So we have a whole team that makes them a bespoke sales funnel that goes in it. So we just try and make it as easy as possible for people to learn the knowledge in a digestible step by step way, because I think it can become really overwhelming in this industry. If you try and do everything at once,

Bryan McAnulty: right?

Yeah. There's so much to learn as a, a new entrepreneur or business. And that's kind of my philosophy as well. I want like the ideal, the ideal life of the creator is to be able to just do that thing that you enjoy and not have to worry so much about the, the tech side and the, the things that are annoying.

Of course, in any business you're gonna, if you wanna be successful, you're gonna have to, at some point do something that you're not happy with, or like not happy with, but that you don't like, or that you're not comfortable with doing. But ideally if you can eliminate some of those things to focus on what you enjoy that's best.

Lisa Johnson: Yeah. And eventually you just hire a team to do all of those things so that you don't have to .

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, exactly. And I think you made another good point about like the range of things that people can turn into a course or a membership. People may get stuck in the beginning thinking, well, what do I build this business about?

And then. They jump from thing to thing that they hear somebody else is having success with, even though it's not really what their current expertise actually is without remembering that they have something already, that almost everybody has some kind of unique skill or something that they're really passionate about, that they know something a little bit more than other people that they could turn into a business.

Lisa Johnson: Yeah, I think it, everybody does. And the, the biggest reason that people don't start something is they don't think they're the expert, but actually the definition of an expert is the person that knows the most in a particular, on a particular subject, in an average room, not the internet or the world, you don't need to be the, the biggest guru.

You just need to know more than the next person, which we all do on some subject.

Bryan McAnulty: I like to say also that in fact, like, if, if you're worried about that as a creator, and if you are that ex absolute expert, it's actually can, in some ways be a detriment because when you're trying to teach somebody who's brand new to the subject, You might be so far away from it that you forget some of those old problems that somebody had when they're just starting out.

Where if you more recently actually got past that, maybe you're not the very top of your field, but you've gotten to this point that other people want to get to. Now, you can actually serve them better because it's all fresh in your mind of what that person may be

Lisa Johnson: going through. Yeah, exactly. And, and never worry as well.

People say to me all the time, there's already somebody doing it. There's already someone doing this course. That's a brilliant thing. You know, no one wakes up in the real world and says, I wanna be a hairdresser, but there's already somebody that's a hairdresser, but online, for some reason, we get so worried about that.

And we shouldn't be because it means they've already done their market research for you. Yep. You know, you know, the marketable course to do, and therefore people will buy from you because you are unique and you're different to how anybody else teaches it. So we can have many, many people making money from the exact same topic.

Yeah, because

Bryan McAnulty: really the whole world is your audience. And especially if it's something like you mentioned the example of hula hooping membership. So if you are someone teaching something, that's this really obscure or niche topic like that, and you can find someone else doing it, then they've proven it for you.

They've proven that you can actually turn that into a business.

Lisa Johnson: Yeah. It's more worrying if you can't find anyone doing the thing that you want to do, because there's usually a reason for it.

Bryan McAnulty: Exactly. So one of the questions that we like to ask everyone who comes on this show is if you had the opportunity to ask our audience something, what would you like to know from our audience or ask our audience?

Lisa Johnson: I would want to know if they were to really think about it. What are the three things that they have knowledge on that they could make money from?

Bryan McAnulty: That's great. So. Are these three things? What, what would you say is the goal of that though? So can are these three things that the person could potentially turn into a course or membership?

Lisa Johnson: Yeah. And that's how it starts. People need to first think what do I actually know? And the way to do that is to just get a huge piece of paper and write down any life experience that you've had, because it doesn't have to be about business. Not everything has to be, you know, I can sell a course on how to make money.

I have clients who, who sell courses on narcissistic abuse, you know, or how to use a camera. If you're a five year old. So many different things that people know, and they don't realize they know it until they sit down and write a huge list of everything they've ever done in their workplaces. Everything they've done in life, that other people haven't done, any hobbies they have and what they've done in business.

And then you can really start to go, oh, I'm passionate about that. I can definitely make money from that one thing.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. All right. Well, Lisa, that was all the questions I had for you today, but before we get going, where can people find you?

Lisa Johnson: the easiest place is Instagram at Lisa Johnson strategist.

You'll find me there on Instagram stories most days. All right.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Lisa Johnson: No worries. Nice to be here.

Bryan McAnulty: If you enjoyed this interview and want the chance to ask questions to our guests live tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premier on the Heights Platform, Facebook page, to learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out the Creator's Adventure dot com until then keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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