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A business coach who quit her 9-to-5 and now makes $1 million in profit a year shares her growth strategy

headshot of Jereshia HawkJereshia Hawk.

Mecca Gamble

  • Jereshia Hawk is the founder of Leverage, an online coaching business for women of color.
  • She quit her engineering job to pursue coaching full time and started by identifying her clientele.
  • To grow from there, she hired a support team and started shaping the business to run without her.

In July 2017, Jereshia Hawk quit her engineering job at Consumers Energy to grow her online coaching business, Leverage. Since then, Hawk has given hundreds of women of color working as entrepreneurs and coaches the tools to design, market, sell, and scale their own group-coaching programs.

Hawk knows firsthand the challenges her clients have to navigate because when she started coaching, she didn’t know how to turn her knowledge of marketing, sales, and promotion into a profitable product.

After seeking out online communities for coaches and learning the basics, Hawk started by selling PDFs and digital courses. She went on to launch a $60-a-month group-coaching program in 2016, but the model was unsustainable and required her to trade too much time for money. About nine months into business, Hawk hired a coach to teach her how to develop a more viable strategy to package and deliver her expertise while maximizing her income.

Now Leverage is a seven-figure brand. She shared with Insider the growth strategies she used to transform from a new entrepreneur into a million-dollar coach.

Shifting from expert to teacher to coach

For coaches, expertise is the product. Hawk struggled at first to package her knowledge in a way her clients could connect with and replicate. As her client list grew, Hawk learned how to deliver knowledge based on what people already understood and which gaps she needed to fill for them.

“In the very beginning, you have to go from being an expert to learning how to be a good coach,” Hawk told Insider. “You have to become consciously aware of where your competencies are, know how to articulate them, and learn the practice of meeting your clients or prospects where they are instead of where we assume they are or where we wish they were.”

Hawk refined her ability to teach by spending a lot of one-on-one time with clients through “done with you” training, where she worked alongside clients to reach their goals, and “done for you” training, which gave clients complete strategies and tools to apply themselves. These coaching approaches helped her understand her clients’ knowledge gaps and pain points.

Once she mastered teaching, Hawk shifted her focus to empowering her clients to be able to maintain those results on their own. Hawk said this was what coaching’s all about — unpacking what you teach your clients and documenting it in a curriculum that exists beyond you.

“It’s going from, ‘I know how to do this,’ to, ‘I know how to do this with somebody,’ to, ‘I need to learn how to teach this in a way that somebody else can get the results without depending on me,'” Hawk said. “That’s a phase that people really skip through too quickly in the online space.”

That evolution is essential for coaches who want to stop simply trading money for time and grow their businesses beyond themselves as individual service providers.

Continuing from coach to CEO

Once she had coaching down, Hawk turned her attention to the larger goal of financial freedom. She envisioned Leverage as a pathway to financial independence and generational wealth for herself and her family. To achieve that, she needed to evolve from a coach who managed the day-to-day aspects of her business to a master of operations and scaling.

Once the company hit $300,000 in revenue, Hawk shifted her focus to creating customer lifetime value and earning seven-figure profits. She started by building her team and hiring program coaches so she could effectively serve more clients, but she admitted that trusting others with her business was a difficult step.

“I was very uncomfortable in the beginning,” Hawk said. “My ego also had to work around that. But that’s the only way that I could increase the client load without diminishing the client experience or hurting their results.”

Hawk designed her curriculum for additional program coaches to teach the material and support a client to get the same results as when she led the coaching herself. She also hired from a pool of former clients who had gotten positive results through the program and were invested in the community already.

Maintaining work-life balance

Hawk hired a marketing coordinator who could support her with copywriting, video editing, and developing, scheduling, and repurposing content. She also works with what she calls her “support team,” which includes a therapist, a housekeeper, and a business coach.

“As a coach or business owner, you have to learn how to manage yourself. You don’t have a boss or somebody to report up to,” Hawk said.

As her business grows, Hawk continues to prioritize daily physical activity, date nights, massages, and other self-care activities. She also created boundaries between work and her personal life by avoiding reading business and self-help books before bed and using a separate phone for work that she doesn’t charge on the weekends.

$1 million and beyond

Hawk’s next step is to extend the relationship with her clients by hiring a content-curriculum designer and more experienced program coaches. She’s also brought on a client-success coordinator to monitor and maintain the client experience.

“We have our first client about to approach $1 million, and she’s done it in less than three years of following our process,” Hawk said. “I want more of that — to provide a greater depth of value and community to our existing clients and increase the lifetime value both for us and for them.”

Hawk is also working on getting Leverage to run without her constant attention, which includes standardizing her business processes, creating an executive-leadership team, and onboarding strategic contributors. Hawk also wants to develop an investment philosophy and strategy that aren’t related to coaching and give herself the opportunity to relax and enjoy her success.

“The next goal will be how the business can grow without me being responsible for sales,” Hawk said. “We can’t make all this money and then not do the things we said we wanted to do once we achieve it. So I’m trying to find more comfort in doing the things I’ve always desired.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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