301: Jessica Yarborough—You Can Design Your Work Around The Life You Want To Have

Learn how you can reach or exceed your income goals!

Jessica Yarborough brings to you, our listeners, her highly successful approach to helping consultants and businesses significantly accelerate their growth. Her process is an interesting one. In today’s podcast, we talk about the challenges people face who have created courses or are selling low-end programs who are not reaching their income goals. Listen in and let’s think about how to help you build your sales, create long-term clients, and hit your income goals.

Watch and listen to our conversation here

Jessica video

What you can learn from listening to Jessica’s story

  • Research your clients
  • Work with people with proven track records to bring you results
  • Stay focused on the process.

You can connect with Jessica on LinkedIn, Facebook, her website, her blog or her YouTube channel.

Jessica Yarborough -1-1About Jessica Yarborough

Jessica is a Business Strategist and Growth Expert who specializes in advising entrepreneurs who want to build a business that’s scalable, sustainable and wildly profitable. She went from building multiple companies to leaving it all behind to backpack around the world, then became a yoga teacher and a single mother, and finally, created the successful international consulting company she now runs today.

Ready to get going and get growing? Here’s a great place to start

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Read the transcript of our podcast here

Andi Simon: Welcome to On the Brink with Andi Simon. Hi, I’m Andi Simon and as you know, my job is to help you get off the brink. I do that by looking for really wonderful people to come and speak to you about new ways to see things, feel differently, think about them, and actually do them.

So today I have Jessica Yarborough with us. What’s really interesting is that we found each other on LinkedIn. And LinkedIn is one of those remarkable places to help people see, feel and think in new ways. I think you’re going to love her story because she’s going to help you think about where you’re going and how she has some great tools and ideas about how to help you get there. So let me tell you a little bit about Jessica and then she’ll tell you her story.

Jessica has quickly developed a reputation of being one of the best business strategists and marketing and sales consultants for entrepreneurs like myself, and sales consultants who want to sell high value products and services. Her background is in international businesses and she’s built multiple companies. You are going to love today’s journey with her because it’s interesting. This is a wonderful story by a brilliant woman.

Jessica is a genius at showing entrepreneurs how to build an expert platform, rapidly raise their value, and build their credibility online to attract high-paying clients. She travels the world teaching and inspiring entrepreneurs and helping them grow their influence and income so they can have the impact that they want. This is such fun. I’m anxious to hear your story, as well as to share it with my audience. So who are you? And how did you get here? Tell us about yourself. It will be fun to share it, please.

Jessica Yarborough: Andi, thanks so much. Well, as you mentioned, and to your audience, I am a business strategist. And today I’m focused on helping scale up coaching and consulting businesses, but I didn’t start here. You know, many, many, many years ago I managed multiple companies. I actually built a startup here in San Diego but the work was intense and the hours were grueling. And I remember I actually, even though I built a company, literally, we didn’t even have desk computers on day one which was so phenomenal to build.

I actually was on vacation, and I had a spiritual awakening. And I had a moment where I realized that even though I had built something that I was really proud of, it wasn’t in alignment with where I wanted to go with my life. And now in that moment, I made one of the most empowering decisions in my life, which was to make a decision all on my own, and to follow that inner guidance. So essentially, I flew back to the United States, I walked away from my company, bought a one way ticket, and I spent four years traveling the world, going deep into personal development, spirituality, and really finding out who I was at the core of myself.

I had great adventure stories around that but I did come back to the US. After about four years, I got pregnant with my daughter and became a single mom. Okay, time to build again. And I started my consulting business literally, and raised a child on my own to build it to seven figures, and have helped many, many clients reach high six and seven figures in their own businesses.

Andi Simon: In my book, Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, there are several women who went on their own journeys. One went through Africa. One went through Europe and Israel on $5 a day. As an anthropologist, the journey isn’t inconsequential. So I don’t want to jump immediately into who you are today. Can you share a little bit about some of the discoveries during that journey that prepared you for who you became. If you can, that would be really interesting to share.

Jessica Yarborough: I mean, I will say it was probably the most magical time in my life. There’s so many insights that you can garner from looking at other cultures. One of them being how similar we really are. It doesn’t really matter how you were raised. At the core, we all have the same basic needs. Being able to learn from other cultures, their food, their spirituality. From spending time in silent meditation at retreat centers in Thailand to literally, practicing yoga in ashrams in Bali, to living in the jungles of Costa Rica. There are so many different experiences that really colored my world, about nature, about spirituality or God, connection to the earth, about human beings and our desire for love and appreciation and connection. And all of those shaped who I am today. I don’t think that I would be the business woman I am today without them. I would have been successful had I continued on my trajectory when I was younger, but I would not be who I am nor have the same depth in terms of level of fulfillment and purpose.

Andi Simon: Well, with that in mind, my hunch is you’ve brought that to your clients. So there are some things that I know you would like to share about how you approach a client and their own trajectory to begin to infuse their growth. Whether it’s a consultant or an entrepreneur, or someone inside a company trying to grow their own capabilities, how do you approach a client? And how do you bring this wisdom to them, to inspire them to maybe rethink where they’re going? 

Jessica Yarborough: Absolutely, we all need someone outside of us to help us see our own greatness. You know, hold up the mirror to what we cannot see. We are typically blind to our innate gifts. Even the most successful people I know, and I work with CEOs who have built 14 companies, and it’s hard sometimes for even them to own their brilliance, their gifts. Part of the first thing I do is hold up that mirror for them and help them not only to recognize the incredible achievements that they’ve made in their life, but to actually see the pattern of really where their strengths lie because we all can do a lot of different things. And part of growing and excelling at anything is to become an expert at anything. We have to choose what are the core things that really are our greatest gifts. What is our unique genius and then we need to codify them in a way that we can teach, we can inspire, we can transfer knowledge to others. And so that’s one of the first things I do with my clients is really help them codify, What is their genius?

Andi Simon: And do you do that in a particular process? Or is it done through conversational coaching? Or do you have a methodology that you can share?

Jessica Yarborough: Yeah, it’s phase one of my methodology. So I have five systems that I teach to scale up companies. And the first one is the foundation of everything. It’s your offer, your impact system, it’s how you’re going to make an impact in the world with your gifts. And this is the WHO understanding. Who do you want to serve at the deepest level? And that may not be who you served in the past.

We might completely reposition you. That’s the HOW. How you’re going to take your clients who are in the pain of their existing reality, they’re struggling, they’re frustrated, and you are going to essentially build a bridge to their ultimate vision. You are going to save them years of time and frustration, divorce, whatever it may be, and take them to their ultimate reality.

So codifying that, HOW, and then tying it into that WHAT. What it is you actually sell, and then bringing the WHY behind why it is what you do. All of that is absolutely necessary to the foundation of a business. What you do, who you are, who you serve, and how you do it.

Andi Simon: You know, as an anthropologist, I often work with my clients on their stories. Whether it is a corporate culture story, or it’s an individual one, we help them change. Usually, we’re helping the individuals change as well as the institution. But what you just described are the elements of a good story. And the story that we usually carry around may not be the one that’s going to take us to the next stage.

If I hear you correctly, we have to take apart the current story and begin to build that new one in such a way as we can visualize, and I use that word very intentionally. Because if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Consequently, that story and the telling of that story becomes an important part of how we begin to see where we’re going.

And then the question is, how do you get there? Because what we often find is that I get them to figure out that story, about what it is they want to be either as a person or as a company, and then how do you backward plan it. They all get stymied on the action steps, the small wins, the actual change. Sometimes I tell them it’s like theater. Life is like theater, and you know the script for Macbeth. But tomorrow, you’re gonna play Hamlet and you don’t have a script and you don’t have any time on stage. So how are we going to do this? So as you’ve developed this, is my model similar to yours? And how do you help them actually implement these things? 

Jessica Yarborough: I definitely think there are similar parallels, because we do have to have the WHAT identified and there is a story behind that. One of the first things we do after we develop that is I teach them to teach their system to tell their story. And as you know, as a storyteller, you have to be able to bring in emotion. You have to be able to also back it up with logic for those that want to justify sales. And so having that beautiful story is actually the very center of everything that we do together next: which is their messaging, their positioning, literally it is the foundation, everything that we do in my program. Beyond that comes from that original story.

Andi Simon: Yes. So once you get that in your head, then we now need to tell it and the messaging becomes really critical. 

Jessica Yarborough: Absolutely. So phase two of my system is marketing, which is your influence system. It’s how you’re going to generate widespread awareness, eager excitement and demand for your services. And there’s really three phases to that. One is an audience. You have to have the right people who are listening to you, who are going to lean in and ultimately take action and buy from you, or download something or whatever the action may be. And I think a lot of people get caught on having a massive audience,not about quality, it’s really about quantity. It’s about having the right people in there who are your dream people, and the name of the game is then relevancy.

We can do that with your messaging. Messaging allows you to really cut through the noise and to create a depth of trust and rapport without them even having gotten on the phone call with you. And so that, if you can get that piece right, which we help you with, it makes a huge difference in terms of your ability to grow your business.

And then the third one is positioning. So a lot of online entrepreneurs have what I call weak positioning. So they may know that they’re the expert, or feel that they’re the expert, but the world around them still sees them on a peer to peer level. So we have to shift the perception because someone is not going to pay you to solve their problem if they believe you are a peer. They are looking for someone who is elevated, who is a mentor, who is ahead of them in some way, who can fill that gap for them. So it’s very important that we address the audience, the messaging, and the positioning in order to elevate them as an expert.

Andi Simon: This is really brilliant. I am curious, is there a case study or something you can share with our listeners that illustrates this in some way? Sometimes we have to concretize the story. And the steps sound really very big and important. A case study might bring it all together.

Jessica Yarborough: So I have many case studies. One I’ll share is about my client, Michelle. She’s a business coach, and in the interior design industry, and she was stagnant at about $250 to $300,000 a year. She had a lot of different products, you know, too many offers. And we always help you hone in into just two, maybe three max. And she wanted to change her positioning in the marketplace and go after a high caliber market. So we really walked her through this process and helped her finally take all these theories that she had kind of spun off and put it into one really beautiful system. And she was able to take that system and scale her company to a million dollars in 12 months. And then we were able to repeat that and exceed that number just nine months later.

Andi Simon: That’s very exciting. It sounds like all the stuff was there. It just needed a new package.

Jessica Yarborough: So many people tell me when they come to me that they’ve tried a lot of different things. They’ve piecemealed it together, they’ve cobbled it together. It’s not totally reinventing the wheel, it’s taking what’s already inside you and pulling it together into a beautiful system that is sophisticated, that can elevate you and you can ultimately scale your business with.

Andi Simon: Now, are you working just with entrepreneurs or just with consultants? Are you working with a broad spectrum of people? As the audience that is listening, are you relevant for all of them? Because I think you are but I’m just curious whether you apply it in more context than just, perhaps, a consultant.

Jessica Yarborough: So my focus is mostly on coaches, consultants, trainers, speakers. I also have an agency for our clients as well. Typically, if you’re outside of the coaching and consulting world, you are working with me on a one to one level. So I do help companies in that regard. But in the past, I’ve certainly worked with all kinds of companies and all different levels from health care to nonprofit to spiritual conscious businesses. But my focus is really how can I apply the system and if you have a service based business, and if your goal is to sell high end because I don’t do courses or membership models, or any of that. I am a digital marketing expert, I can help you with that. But it’s not where I choose to play. But if you want to sell, like I said, bigger engagements and make a massive impact as you work with people on a more intimate level for that transformation, then that’s where my services come in.

Andi Simon: This is really exciting. As you’re thinking about this for the audience out there, are there two or three or four things that are really key to this that they should pay attention to? Because my hunch is that there’s a whole lot of coaches, consultants and speakers who are looking as we come out of the pandemic for a new positioning or beginning to understand what’s going on inside of the companies. Are there some real key things that we’re ready to really focus on?

Jessica Yarborough: Well, absolutely. I would look at the ladder of influence. A lot of people start out at the bottom with the generalist. You can think of this as a Jack or Jill of all trades, master of none. This might be someone who has way too many offers. They constantly change their messaging, or they’re constantly launching new things. It could also mean someone who has too many things that they claim to be: life coach, business coach, real estate agent, you know, and a dozen other things.

And what the main takeaway for your audience is, you cannot build expert authority if you try to be everything to everyone. If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing or no one to the one person that matters. And so the first key is to move from generalization to specialization and that is to pick a lane. This could be a niche, it could be a specific industry, but you have to go all in on what you want to be. It may not be who you are right now, it could be that next level thing that maybe you have a little bit of fear, a little bit of trepidation around. But you know it’s within you. You know there’s greatness. You know you’re not living up to your potential and you’re ready to step into specialization.

You can scale your business from $150 to $350,000, but there is a place where you become stagnant. And typically this is when the business owner becomes the bottleneck. They’re doing all the things. And so really, the scaling comes at expert level. And that’s when you put these five systems, I described two of them, in place and you start to move from being the hunter to the hunted online. Your name becomes synonymous with the very person that can help your ideal clients solve their problems. So if you can focus on that ascension, up the ladder of influence, you will be able to break the glass ceiling, self imposed glass ceiling, in your business and reach new heights very quickly.

Andi Simon: This is very interesting. I love the idea of going from hunting to being the hunted where people are searching for you. And they’re not only searching for your name, but for those keywords that might solve the problem that they’re looking for. And you come up because you’ve done great jobs on content, marketing, and keywords and other things in the digital world. But you also have a reputation that now is taking you to places where people are looking for you. 

Jessica Yarborough: It’s like finding what I call your Goldilocks moment: it’s just right, it’s not too cold. That’s not passive, we’re just waiting for people to come. It’s not too hot, where you are being aggressive, and you’re hard closing or you’re trying to slide into a CEO of a $100 million company and get him to watch your webinar. Just nothing. It’s the Goldilocks moment, it’s just right. There are people flowing to you, you’re still putting out some outward energy to build that credibility, but it’s that perfect moment, that perfect balance, that perfect flow state that allows you to get to the next level.

Andi Simon: I love what you’re saying even as I’m thinking about myself, because we’ve been in business for 20 years, and very successfully with a good flow. But the pandemic, it’s been fascinating because our clients have all stayed on and new ones have come in great. We specialize in helping people change. And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is all about change. And most people don’t like and don’t know how to do change. And the vacuum that’s coming out of this is they’re not quite sure what the new normal is and culture is what is the essence of who we are. But we’re not quite sure if the old will work in the new.

So it’s a perfectly interesting time for us to lend a hand to help people do what they know they have to but aren’t quite sure how to. And I often feel like a golf coach. They all want to play golf, but nobody knows how to swing the club. So that’s where we begin. But it’s a very interesting opportunity to focus.

And I love the idea of not always being out there searching, but letting people find you because of the reputation you’ve built, and the kinds of things that they need, and you can help them solve. So it’s an interesting mindset. I also like the idea that you’re not out there cold calling. It doesn’t sound like that. I can only say that LinkedIn, with all of its joy, has generated a ton of people who are taking that half hour on my signature and making appointments. And I’d say, what are we talking about? I want to do it so we can be partners. Partners on what? I have a hunch you have seen some of this as well.

Jessica Yarborough: Absolutely. And so what I would recommend doing is building stronger systems around that to protect your time and that is actually one of the keys to move up into expert level. It is to get those protective measures in place, a strong application process because people will take advantage of your time sometimes just to sell you something which is a very awkward situation to be in.

Andi Simon: I have a hunch we can talk more about those protective bridges and keep people from simply saying this would be nice, I’ll follow you. But I do think those are new things that have emerged in different ways and the times they are changing so it’s pretty cool times. Some last thoughts and if listeners would like to reach you or to engage with you, how could they do that and any wisdom you would like them to remember?

Jessica Yarborough: You can reach me at Jessicayarborough.com. I’m also very active on LinkedIn. I’m sure you’ll provide some links in the show notes. So feel free to send a connection message and just let me know you heard me on the show. And I’m happy to accept.

Just some parting words: if you’re someone that knows you have brilliance and a gift to give the world, whether you’re in your corporate job, or whether you’re an entrepreneur, definitely lean into that and know that it is possible for you to achieve whatever it is you dream up. You have to take action on it. You have to walk through the proverbial fire. But I promise you that the freedom that you want is waiting for you on the other side.

Andi Simon: And you don’t have to go on a journey for four years wandering around the world. I encourage you to do that, but if not, think of this as your journey. Right?

Jessica Yarborough: Absolutely. In fact, what I tell people, and I recommend this for men or women, if you need to make a decision, do not survey everyone around. Go rent a cabin in the woods, go rent wherever it may be, an apartment on the beach, take an Airbnb and take a few days to release it and be with yourself and your inner thoughts. And the answer that you’re seeking will reveal itself.

Andi Simon: I’m going to emphasize that because the brain is this wonderful critter. And if you put enough stuff into it, it begins to sort it all out. And some good nights of sleep, some good walks on the beach, just quiet time. The quiet mind is amazing at what it puts together. And all of a sudden you have that epiphany. Someone will say something, and you’ll go, that’s just what I’ve been thinking. And so I love your smile, because I think that’s exactly how you had your discovery as well, isn’t it?

Jessica Yarborough: Yes, like Ram Dass says, “the quieter you become, the more you can hear.” 

Andi Simon: That’s correct. And I loved it. So I’ve had Jessica Yarborough here today. What a delightful conversation. And I hope you, our listeners and our viewers, have picked up a really important part of who you are, and how to turn yourself from being on the bottom of a ladder to hunting for good clients to off-set. Having built a reputation that clients are coming to you because you know how to position yourself, tell the right messaging, and really understand how you become the authority on the right solution for them. And they’re looking for you. Can we find you? And so it’s a really important time to do this.

I thank all of you who come. Remember, we’ve been ranked in the top 5% of global podcasts, which sort of blows my mind. But that’s because all of you out there who come and listen and watch. I think the most exciting part though, is that you send us emails, at info@ andisimon.com with all the kinds of folks you’d like to hear. And we try to find them and bring them to you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Jessica as much as I have today. And I do think that she’s got a five step process. There’s nothing in the process that will help you duplicate what she’s saying. So it isn’t ad hoc, and it isn’t to sit in a room and make it up the process of discovery, of reimagining and of delivery. The action steps are extremely important. So I think you’re going to enjoy this new journey.

And on that note, I’m going to urge you to read my books: Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business — it’s almost a year old and it’s doing extremely well on Amazon and a best seller — and On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights is an award winning book about how a little anthropology can help your business grow. It’s not quite what Jessica’s talking about, but it has a little bit in there. And the case studies are going to show you how anything can help you see things through a fresh lens like today will help you have that aha moment and expand. So it’s time to expand your vision. So we’re gonna say goodbye. And thank you very much for coming today.