Making a Strategy: Growing and Operating Your Business with Sharla Jacobs

I'm Madeleine!

I’m a small-town girl from Switzerland, rebel entrepreneur, warrior for freedom and visionary with big dreams. Passionate about: Live music, deep conversations, and desert landscapes.

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Today, I am so excited to welcome my dear friend Sharla Jacobs to share about her journey of breaking through the ceiling of static growth, making a strategy, and finally achieving the expansion she and her husband Jesse Koren wanted to accomplish. We’ve known each other for nearly two decades—in fact, I started out as a client of theirs long before they came to me—and I am thrilled to have her share her story with all of you. We’re going to discuss making a strategy (both operational and growth strategy), Sharla’s experience with our program, and what it can do for you, too. Without further ado, let’s dive in…

Who is Sharla?

Sharla Jacobs and her husband and business partner, Jesse Koren, have been called “the #1 Source for turning Coaches and Holistic Practitioners into 6-figure transformational leaders.” In the past 18 years, Thrive Academy Members have earned hundreds of millions of dollars collectively.  In fact, I was a client of theirs back in 2006, and it was completely life-changing. And now I get to return the favor: Jesse and Sharla are working with me to strengthen their operations and start making a strategy so they can scale up their business next year!

On the surface, it seems they’re just teaching practical skills and templates to coaches and holistic practitioners so they can attract more clients and have their first $10,000 month. However, what they’re best known for is providing deeply transformational experiences for people who know they’ve also got to work on their inner game if they want to create a thriving business.

Whether you want a thriving private practice or you want to step into Transformational Leadership, Thrive Academy is the place to be. I cannot recommend them enough.

That said, let’s get into the discussion about making a strategy.

Sharla’s Story

Madeleine: I just thought it would be really fun to chat a little bit about you, about your experience, about what it took for you to get to seven figures, and how you got to the point of needing to work on making a strategy. What made that possible for you?

Sharla: Great question! We started out strong at six figures; we made $175,000 out of the gate the first year, then went up to 365, then 732. And then the recession hit. Thankfully, we held pretty steady—we were a little lower than 700,000 that year. I believe it was 2009 when we finally hit 1.2 million. And now we’ve been at multiple seven figures for quite a few years! As for how we did it…there are so many reasons that it’s nearly impossible to pick just one, but one of the key things is really having a clear offer that creates value that people want. You want to be able to say, “I know exactly who I help. I know the exact problem I’m solving. I know the results I can help them get.” Then, once you’re clear on that, you turn it into an irresistible offer! There’s so much more that I could say, but if I had to pick one thing, it all comes back to the offer and all of the building blocks that lead up to the offer.

Operational Strategy

Madeleine: So, you got to multiple seven figures and then plateaued out. What are the new challenges that you were faced with after hitting the seven-figure mark, and when did you realize you needed to start making a strategy?

Sharla: We really were in a stuck place where we just couldn’t seem to grow past a certain ceiling, and it wasn’t for lack of quality in our team! We had amazing people that were really dedicated. The problem was that Jesse and I were too busy to show up as leaders. We didn’t know how to lead our team or start making a strategy to produce results that were consistent and reliable. We had three managers that handled everything, and if something came up, they would just take care of it. But because we didn’t have solid systems in place and hadn’t put much into making a strategy, there were many questions that should have come to us that ended up being answered by our managers, and decisions being made that we really should have been making. So while we had a team full of dedicated, committed people who were showing up, there were things that Jessie and I really wanted to do to start making a strategy to grow the business. And if we weren’t doing the driving and making a strategy for it ourselves, it wasn’t going to happen.

 Around that time, we saw some turnover. I was super sad to see key players leave Thrive, but it offered an opportunity to really dig in and start making a strategy to change how we operated. So we did bring in a couple of people that had a lot of experience as COOs and made a strategy for that. One of those people had a lot of experience in big corporations. We were super starry-eyed because of their resumes and their experience, but this is a bit of a cautionary tale: you need more than a good resume when searching for a good fit for your business. While these people brought a lot of value when it came to making a strategy, we brought them in to create a foundational structure where we had our SOPs, our operating manuals for everyone, where we could keep expenses manageable, and where everybody had their KPIs. We wanted everybody to be very clear on the results that they were supposed to produce. And after about five months with each of them, we just didn’t get that result. This is one of the key differences about working with Madeleine—her team has a very clear process for making a strategy. We’re doing it step by step. We’re working on job descriptions and SOPs right now. We know KPIs are next. So we know exactly where we are in making a strategy, and we have your team to lead it, and it’s working so well. And this is after us trying to work on making a strategy on our own for probably like 8 to 10 years!

Growth Strategy

Madeleine: One thing we do at 7 Figure Freedom that I feel is quite unique is that we focus on making a strategy, but we also bring in the done-for-you project managers to install the strategy to be developed. How has that been for you?

Sharla: Here’s the thing: I could talk about making a strategy all day long. If I heard somebody talk about their business, within 5 minutes, I could tell them how to go about making a strategy really easily. I would see exactly what they need to start making a strategy. But training someone on how to implement that strategy is a whole different ball game, and that’s where your team coming in and actually helping us get the work done and guiding the team has been so crucial. See, I don’t want to be an operator. I’m in the role right now. I’m holding the role of integrator or CEO in the company. I’m a bottleneck, in that we’re going to be getting somebody in here to take over that role. But if it were up to me—again, we’ve known that we should do some of the things that we’re doing now for many, many years as far as making a strategy for operations—we’re finally getting it done because your team is coming in and helping us with making a strategy. So that’s operational strategy, but let’s talk about growth strategy. So when I talked about those two COOs that came in, the first one gave us two incredible gifts when it came to making a strategy. One of those gifts was this concept: “We need to make it easier for people to sign up and harder to leave.” When COVID hit, we had to scramble to take the systems that we did have and turn them into online systems, and we had to start using Docusign to do all of the sign-ups. And it was this big long process, such a pain in the butt, which made it difficult to sign up; and after people would complete their original contract, that was it. We only had so much to offer, and it was easy for them to finish what they’d signed up for and never come back. And so, we had to work on making a strategy that would do two things: make it easier to get in, which we implemented in the enrollment process at our event. And then we had to start making a strategy that would make it harder to leave. We had to figure out the answer to the question, “How do we create so much value that it would be ridiculous of them to leave?”

How 7 Figure Freedom Can Help

Sharla: Since starting to work with 7 Figure Freedom, I feel like we’re finally growing up. We’ve been in business 18 years; our company’s brought in around $28 million. And I just now feel like we’re finally acting like adults in the way we run the business and the way we’ve started making a strategy. We were such dictators before; we were blessed to have people who cared so much and loved the mission enough to really show up and get things done for us even if we weren’t clear on our expectations and hadn’t wrapped our heads around making a strategy yet. They cared enough to figure it out. But this is such a different experience. We’re clear on the outcome we want. We’re clear with the results we want the team to be producing, and we’re making a strategy for that to happen instead of having to drive it ourselves all the time.

Time to Strategize for Success!

Now you’ve heard how making a strategy can streamline your business, how having these strategies in place can help you break through that ceiling on your income, and how 7 Figure Freedom can help you attain it! Thank you for coming along and meeting Sharla today. I hope this has inspired you to start pursuing the breakthrough you’re looking for.

If you want to make sure you never miss an episode, come follow the 7 Figure Freedom Podcast on Spotify, subscribe on Google, or head over to Apple Podcasts. In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram or in the 7 Figure Freedom Club Facebook group so we can chat about what you got out of this episode!

Are you wondering if you’re ready to take the next step in your business? Curious about whether you’re a good fit for our services? Take the free business assessment quiz to find out! And if you want to learn more, you can visit my website or schedule a call with me today. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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