I remember when I learned the biggest lesson as an entrepreneur which came in the midst of me being a complete failure.  I have to tell you from the outside, I looked very successful.

This was back in 2010, 17 years after I started my business. Back then, I had a nonprofit working with African American teenage girls, and I had a for profit working with women to start and grow your purpose driven businesses. And at that time in 2010, in my nonprofit, we had 10 chapters in 10 states and we were growing by leaps and bounds. In my for- profit company, coaching women, I had an 100% full coaching client roster. I couldn’t take another client.

I thought, since I can’t take on anymore clients, I’ll write a book that can give my principles to women, and that can also be a fundraiser for my nonprofit.  When the book was released, I started getting invitations to speak all over the country.

Finally, there I was doing the very thing that I had dreamed of when I started my business in 1993. I loved every single minute of it. But – I was only making $13,000 a year in my business. $13,000!  I had a really great job that felt more like community service. And, yes, I had a daytime job to pay for my nighttime calling. But I started my business so that I could get paid to do what I love.

And I remember this moment like it was yesterday. It was November 7, 2010. It was on a Sunday evening after I had just gotten home from another speaking weekend and my daytime job, by the way, I was an adjunct professor at Boston University at the time.

I remember sitting on my couch, exhausted and realizing that one the classes I taught was on Monday morning at 9am and I haven’t looked at my syllabus. I don’t know what I’m supposed to teach tomorrow.

I was thinking to myself, “I can’t do this anymore.”

At that point, I said, “Lord, if this is really my purpose, you better show me something.”

I realized in that moment when I was exhausted. I realized I had taken myself as far as I could take myself.

Soon after I prayed that prayer, I remember in that moment hearing about this webinar and on that webinar they invited us to an event. I paid to go to that event. That event cost me $500. I bought my plane ticket because the event was in California, I lived in Boston. That was another $500 and then I spent at least $1,500 on my hotel room because I went by myself. I couldn’t afford it, but I couldn’t afford not to do it.

Something happened at that conference, I began to see all the things that I didn’t know and all the things I needed to add in my business.  I hired a coach. Up until that point in my business, I had been putting in sweat equity.

What do I mean by sweat equity? I kept thinking, “Okay, I’m going to work more hours.” First, I started with four hours on Saturday. Then I moved it to all day Saturday because, keep in mind, I had a job and my bonus children were little.  I only had so many hours in my day that I could spare to do my business. I worked the extra hours at night. Then I moved it to the weekends.  And no matter how many hours I added, nothing shifted. All I was doing was more of the same thing. I don’t know how I thought something was going to be different.

By the way, that coach I hired that I met at that event cost me $30,000. I was only making $13,000 in my business, but again, I was willing to risk it all to gain it all and that’s exactly what I did.

On that first coaching call with my coach, what she did was she showed me, ME. She said, “Nicole, didn’t you tell me you’re an adjunct professor, that you taught at USC for four or five years? And now you teach at Boston University and what you teach is program development?” And then she asked me, “And didn’t you used to have a consulting practice when you lived in LA? You work with heads of state. You work with celebrities. You work with nonprofit CEOs. You work with small business owners. And what you did was you went into their businesses and you develop programs.”

Now, the next thing she said didn’t just change my business. It changed my life. She said, “Nicole, you don’t have any programs in your own business.” That one conversation gave me such clarity!   I begin to see how my brilliance could bring in revenue. I built a blueprint from my brilliance that night.  The same blueprint I had used as a professor, the same blueprint I used in my consulting practice.

I began to use that in my own business and within six months, my revenue grew from $13,000 to over $200,000.

That’s why I’m excited about what I now teach and coach women in my business. I committed to God that I would hold the space for women to be able to bankroll their brilliance and be a light on their path just like my coach was a light on mine.

This feature was submitted by Nicole Roberts Jones

photo provided by Pam Perry

Nicole Roberts Jones is uniquely gifted at one thing – drawing out what’s best in YOU and helping you take your Brilliance to The Bank. A veteran of the entertainment industry, Nicole worked in Talent Management and Casting before shifting her talents to become the Founder & CEO of NRJ Enterprises. 

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