Jessica Nazarali of her self-named site, Jessica Nazarali is a business and success coach on a mission to help ambitious women transform into 'It Girl entrepreneurs' through coaching and online courses.
Jessica started her journey to online entrepreneurship making $50 here and there on her health blog until her business exploded after she began offering coaching services. Jessica sat down to talk to us about her journey to self-employment, what being an 'It Girl' means to her, and how online courses changed her business.
Here's what she has to say...
Ashley: All right, Teachable tribe, I'm Ashley Hockney over at Teachable. I run our blog and our Make Change newsletter, and I'm thrilled to be sitting down with Jessica Nazarali. For those of you who don't know her, Jessica, do you want to introduce yourself?
My name is Jessica Nazarali, and I help coaches, consultants, and solo professionals to market their services online and to really be their own "It Girl" in their lives. I essentially help people to get their message out to more people so they can do more of the work that they love.
Where's the best place to find you online?
You can go to JessicaNazarali.com, and then I have social media, that you can hit me up on there as well.
I think a lot of us are trying to ditch our day jobs, ditch the cubicle, the grind, and start our own businesses, or have and are growing. How did you kind of make that transition to escape the cube?
So it started from creating a blog in 2011. I didn't know it was going to turn into a business in all honesty, but it was kind of part of my journey and how I got to where I am today. So I started a blog which was about health and wellness and positivity, and I grew that blog for a period of 18 months.
After blogging 5 days a week and building up a following, other people started to ask me if I would help them create their blog, and that they had a message to share, and they wanted to help get it out to the world. So I said yes, and I started coaching. So for about a period of seven months, I was coaching on the side and still working my day job, and I had so many fears and doubts - "Would it actually work?"
And then over time, I guess that I proved to myself that this could be a legitimate business, so I had the confidence to quit my job. And then from there onwards, my coaching has really grown and expanded as my experience and qualifications and, yeah, just as I've grown along in the process.
I know that's so difficult, we've all been there, where we're getting off of work between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and trying to make something happen. How did you manage that?
So in the beginning, I was working five days a week in my full-time job. I was fortunate that I didn't have much of a commute, like I lived in the same suburb where I worked. So that really helped, that I could go home and do work in the evenings. So it was essentially working in the evenings and on the weekends.
I mean, I look back now and that probably was the hardest part of this whole journey of getting things going, because it was just the lack of time and the juggle. But I really just kept on reminding myself that this wasn't going to be like this forever and it really was an investment in my future, and so that made it easier to keep on going.
And I think something that also really helped that I tell my clients all the time, especially if you're in a job, you need a virtual assistant, like you need somebody helping you, even if you're not making that much or any money in your business. You're working at a job, so obviously you have some money. Allocate it to somebody who can help you with things that you can't necessarily be doing if you're in a 9-5 job.
So, reading your website, I kind of saw "The It Girl," right, all this time you're talking about this It Girl, who she is, and how to become that. Can you tell me who is the It Girl? What does that mean for you?
I believe that every woman has it inside herself. It's that person you are when you're feeling confident, you're feeling happy, successful, you're surrounded by cool girlfriends doing awesome things. It's that moment, say, like when you walk into a bar or you walk somewhere and it's like, "Yeah, I own this, I've got this," and I really feel that through starting a business, you can lead a lifestyle and you can impact people and you can have that confidence that actresses, musicians, and models have.
But the coolest thing is when you have, say, a coaching or consulting or an online business, you can give that to yourself. You don't need to marry someone rich, you don't have to be an actress.
You can create it on your own terms. So, for me, being an It Girl is just being confident, having fun, and living the life that you want to live and not by playing by somebody else's rules, and the tools to really do that, I believe, is through having a business.
And through having a business, you really have the opportunity to have an untapped ceiling when it comes to how much money you make, and that means that your fund can really get bigger and bigger.
And I think the more women who are financially empowered, just the better the state of the world is going to be, in general. It's something I'm really passionate about.
Preach I'm all about that. So, to get back to your specific business, I guess you started with your blog, and it's kind of expanded. What was that journey for business growth?
In the beginning, like I said, it was a blog. I was selling other people's ebooks on healthy cooking and things like that, so I was making maybe $50 a month, hardly anything.
And then when I started coaching, things took off relatively quickly. I started selling these coaching packages for $497 a month, and over a period of about six weeks, I became sold out, which was just amazing, so cool. That really came about from already having a following that I had developed over those 18 months. So then when I released the products, people would eagerly await.
So I think that really is a testament to building up an audience, building up a following, creating community, creating trust. If you do that, there's going to be people who are going to be interested in purchasing from you.
So that was my first foray into coaching, offering the $497 products. And then from there, it really grew until the stage where I was then offering a three-month coaching package, a six-month coaching package.
Yeah, absolutely. So when you first started selling these coaching packages, were they consulting? Were they online courses? What did they look like?
When I first started coaching, it was all one-on-one because I really wanted to have the opportunity to work with clients in a one-on-one situation and really see what they needed.
I think there is something really special about working with people one-on-one, whether you're offering services, coaching, or consulting, because you see firsthand what people need help with the most. And then once you've established that, you can then go on and create a group program or info products and you can "take it to the masses," so-to-speak.
I believe if you do that too soon without really testing it out on a core, small group of people, you could end up creating a course that, actually, nobody wants.
So, in the beginning, it was all one-on-one coaching. Especially for a period of close to 18 months, I did only one-on-one coaching. And then I got to the stage where I was pretty much fully booked out, had nowhere else to go, I had like 20 clients, I said "Okay, something really needs to change."
So I created a group program, which was based solely around the number one challenges I've seen my one-on-one clients have, and that was around finding clients. And so I released my first group program, and, yeah that was a really awesome experience, to be able to work with multiple people and just test out what I was teaching on a larger scale.
Awesome. So, that makes sense for how you got into courses. Being at Teachable, where we are pretty much course-focused, how have those impacted your business and why do you or do you not suggest creating an online course?
Online courses have totally changed my business. I launched my first course in January 2015, and it really was a game-changer for me. I got about 35 people in my first course paying $2,000, and so that was over $70,000 a month in my group coaching, which was amazing. I was at the stage back then where, literally, a few days a week were just back-to-back one-on-one coaching.
So to get to the stage where I could coach the call and there could be 35 people on there, getting their questions answered and learning from me, it was a really, really incredible experience. So I definitely recommend to anyone, once you're at capacity or you feel like you're approaching that, that group courses are a fantastic way to reach more people and make a big impact.
One thing I loved was that when I started looking up your courses, they were $997, and here at Teachable, we hear so many people tell us, "I need to charge under $100 for my course. I can't charge that much, it's too much." Especially with women, it kind of is that impostor syndrome where they're like "Oh, I'm not worth that." So I was really happy to see that you were charging a lot for your online course. How did you pick that price point?
That's a really interesting question, and it's something I hear a lot, that women feel like they can't charge so much for a particular course, or nobody's going to pay that.
I really think in the beginning, you need to start with where you're at. For example, if you, in the beginning, only feel confident charging a lower amount, maybe work with one person and charge that amount. And have that experience working with them.
I find, 9 times out of 10 when that happens, that I'll work with a client and they'll see firsthand the transformation that they have, and then that gives you a lot more confidence to put up the price the next time around.
Maybe you do a beta round of your program where you invite five people into your program for free, and then you ask them at the end, "How much would you pay for this course?" I find doing that can be a great way to be able to charge a higher price quite quickly.
I think, women in particular, we hold onto a lot of beliefs from our childhood, from what our partner believed in to what our parents believed in about money, so I think if we come back to what's true for us, and ask ourselves, "How much is my time worth? How much is this course worth?", looking at all the outcomes, the benefits, what everybody's going to get out of it, "How much would I pay for it?"
But again, there's nothing wrong with starting off smaller at a lower amount and then increasing it as you get more confident.
What has been the biggest struggle and what are you doing to overcome it?
My biggest challenge when it came to starting my business was probably the fear of what other people thought.
In the beginning, I had a lot of concerns about what people were going to say, judgments, criticisms. And I hear it a lot from my clients as well that we're so worried about people judging us, or what they're going to say, that it can prevent a lot of people from even taking that first step of sharing their website, putting out an offering, or sending that newsletter.
I got the realization that people were going to judge me and comment on what I was doing regardless of what I do. So there were probably people back then commenting on the fact that, I don't know, like I could have a better job, or I shouldn't be living where I'm living. People always come up with reasons. People are always going to talk if they want to talk.
So I realized that I might as well have people comment and make judgments about me living how I want to live and how I want to live my life, than them make judgments and me not even be happy with what I'm doing.
I think some tangible steps you can take as well is just to really surround yourself with people that do get you, and maybe they're starting a business as well, or they already have a business, or they're at least supportive of what you're doing.
I found that helped a lot, becoming friends with other bloggers, and other people who had online businesses. It just made me feel, I guess, less crazy for wanting to do what I wanted to do. And then the people who made comments or the naysayers, what they were saying became less and less, because I started to build up a really great support network around me.
What has been the best part of running your business?
Definitely the amazing people that I've had the opportunity to meet. I think my life would be completely different if I didn't have my business, because I would say probably a large amount of my close girlfriends, close friends, they have a business as well, and I met them through starting my business.
I would say another great aspect of it is just having freedom over how I spend my time, when I work, how much I work, just being in charge of how I set my schedule and being in charge of my day.
For me, that is something, when I was working a job, I hated. I hated the fact I needed to be somewhere. I needed to be here in the office at 8:30 a.m. in the morning. I was like, "Well, why can't I work from home?", or "What if I want to start later this day and work back later?"
I always really struggled with not having freedom over my time, so having that now is amazing. And I think being financially empowered, and being in charge of your money, and making money, and choosing to allocate it to causes I believe in, hiring team members or investing it.
I think it's such a cool thing to be able to do now, be your own person. That's actually what it's about.
What are your plans for the future? Like, what is next for you?
This year, I'll currently be in North America. I'm spending half the time in North America and half the time in Australia, which is where I'm originally from.
And my plan is really just to focus on growing my group program which is called "It Girl Entrepreneur," and it really gives you all the deeper foundations that you need to go out there and be a successful coach, consultant, or solo professional on your own terms.
The big focus for me this year is doing best better, so my goal is just making the program as best it can be, really improving the marketing, everything that I'm offering.
I think so often as entrepreneurs, we can get distracted by everything, like "Oh, I could do this project, or I could do this program." I'm like "No, let's just make this as good as it can be." So that's my number one focus.
And I also have a not-for-profit initiative, which is called "It Girl International." It's a program for everyone who takes one of my paid programs. I sponsor a woman in the Philippines to take It Girl International, which is a program that helps women become virtual assistants or freelancers, so they can, as well, experience this freedom and independence that we've been speaking about.
That is so cool.
Yeah, so that's really cool. I'm super excited about that program. I'm actually going to the Philippines in July to host an event there and meet everyone in the program, and so I think that's going to be really, really cool. So they're my two priorities for this year.
Oh, that's awesome. That is something I actually haven't heard of a lot of people doing, which is so cool. Before we let you go, what is your last bit of advice for everyone trying to quit their day jobs?
Well, I feel for you. I've been there. I know how frustrating it can be, and how you know you're at work, but you're really in another place because you're so dedicated to the business that you're growing. So my advice would be to get as much support as you can, so get a virtual assistant.
I actually hired a virtual assistant for two hours a month. I was working full-time. I couldn't afford more than two hours a month. But I'm glad I did just that because I quickly started giving her more and more work, as I saw change and I saw that I was accomplishing so many more things, because she was working on my business when I was at work, so really switch that switch and get support.
If you're saying "Well, I know can do this by myself," or, "I've got time on the weekends," it's like, you really don't have that much time when you're working full-time.
And just, like, really hustle, like focus on getting clients, focus on bringing in money, because when you start to bring in clients and bring in money, it's going to be easier for you, so then maybe you could work maybe four days a week, or maybe three days a week. And it will also just build your confidence when you start working with clients because you see that what you're doing is really possible, so it inspires you to keep on going.
So outsource, delegate, and just really focus on bringing in income and client-generating activities, because that's going to just encourage you to keep on going.
To find out more about Jessica go to www.jessicanazarali.com
Jessica was interviewed as a Change Maker - a featured entrepreneur in Teachable's weekly email newsletter - Make Change Weekly. The Friday roundup features curated content to make money outside of the 9-5. To sign up for Make Change, enter your email below.