My Journey to Passive Income – Interview with Lisa Johnson
If you want your brand to rise to superstardom, you need creativity, passion, hard work and patience.
We are really excited to welcome to Brand You Magazine an incredible woman who knows all too well that the way to the top can be full of pitfalls and success doesn’t happen overnight. Her background in overcoming obstacles has helped mould her into a bold, straight talking coach, who is never afraid to be an authentic and outspoken truth teller. Lisa Johnson is the founder and CEO of Lisa Johnson Coaching and she’s going to tell us how, in just a few short years, she has gone from being £30,000 in debt to a multi-millionaire. Her brand has become a household name with entrepreneurs eager to scale their businesses using passive income from memberships and courses.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. After a tough childhood growing up in a low-income single-parent household and being mercilessly bullied throughout her teenage years, Lisa graduated with a law degree and went on to have a successful investment banking career in the city. With the arrival of twin sons, she needed to be closer to home and decided to set up her first business as a wedding planner – but admits that she ‘made all the mistakes’ in her first year because she had no idea what she was doing. Defeat wasn’t an option, she found a coach she liked, learned all about business and went from no clients to fully booked in five months. As inquiries about her business growth continued to flood in, she discovered she had a knack for helping businesses make money without making it complex and full of jargon. Lisa set up her own consultancy business and within six months she hit six figures and every programme she launched was sold out.
Read on to find out more….
Hi Lisa. Understanding how to find extra ways to earn money and to build a more diverse set of income streams makes absolute sense, like moving online, especially with our recent experiences of navigating through the Covid financial storm. How has this impacted the way you run your businesses and the type of people you work with?
I was already talking about how everyone needed to do this and Covid made people realise why I was always shouting about making money online! Some people who had been making good money offline came online during the pandemic and now they want to stay online. They are making more money but in an easier way, so it’s enhanced their business. It also means we’ve helped more businesses than just coaches, and we now work with fitness experts, accountants and lawyers, who have historically just worked offline. It’s fantastic to see so many people adding more to their income and business.
“All passive income means is you are no longer trading your time for money.”
You’re known as The Passive Income Queen. Can you tell us about the different ways business owners can work with you to create passive income streams?
One to Many™️ is my signature live group programme, a step-by-step method to add passive and semi-passive income streams into your businesses. Last year’s launch was the biggest group programme course in the UK, making £1 million in one hour during the masterclass and £2.5 million in total. I also have a mastermind group and work with people 1-2-1, but spaces are limited. I try to offer accessible ways to work with me as I believe everyone should have the information to help them get ahead in business, so I also have a membership called You Can Sit With Us, for just £49 per month. It has a training academy, live sessions with me, networking and selling opportunities; lots of connection and collaboration happens in that space.
Would you agree that these business models are, in fact, extremely far from being ‘passive’ so the word can be a little misleading?
No I don’t. But let us make no mistake that when you start your passive income journey, you won’t just go to sleep and wake up to find money pouring in from the sky. It’s going to be really hard work in the first year. All passive income means is you are no longer trading your time for money. You are building assets in the first year that will become passive income in future years. However, if you already have an audience, you can achieve passive income from day one. The thing that takes time is growing the audience and most people don’t have that in place when they start working with me, so that’s what really takes the time.
You’ve said you believe showing up for yourself and your business is crucial when creating a passive income stream. What would you reply to those who say, “But I don’t know enough”?
Everybody thinks that, but your knowledge is not common knowledge. If anyone has ever said to you, “I want to pick your brains,” you do have knowledge that others want to know. There are lots of different ways that you can use your knowledge to make passive income. and it doesn’t have to be just about business or something to do with money. What else do you know? What life experience do you have that could enable you to make money? It could be anything you’re good at or have a passion for.
“Evolving and listening to my audience been key.”
You were one of the first women in the UK to set up a ‘one-to-many’ online business model. What’s been your secret to keeping up with its fast evolution?
Evolving and listening to my audience has been key. The online world moves so fast; what worked last year won’t work this year, so we have to be constantly looking forward and adapting. We’ve always been at the forefront of innovation, rather than copying what everyone else is doing.
You’ve recently relaunched your membership model to include men! No problem with that, but we’re curious. Tell us why?
As a business owner, I work with both men and women, but my membership was female only: WHY?! I had to make those changes because I believe everyone has a space at the table.
Got it! So what’s the story behind the new name?
When I was younger, I went to a prestigious school on a scholarship placement; there was only one other person I knew there from my primary school, so I sat by her even though we didn’t really know each other. After about two months,she had become the popular girl and one day she said, “Why are you at this table? You can’t sit with us, you’re not like us. You need to sit somewhere else.” That moment has stayed with me throughout my life. So when I looked at my membership, I wanted somewhere we could say, “Actually, you CAN sit with us. Everyone is welcome here”.
What has been the most successful marketing platform for you?
Social media by far, particularly Facebook groups. I made my first £100,000 just from my Facebook group. An email list is crucial and I wish I’d developed that earlier, but the real marketing for me isn’t about conventional marketing tactics, it’s about showing up as you are. Not trying to be something that you’re not. If an audience can trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you. The only way to build that trust is to show up authentically.
“There are lots of different ways that you can use your knowledge to make passive income.”
You’re now smashing all the records. How does that make you feel?
I had a wedding business for years before I set up as a business strategist, so my ‘overnight success’ has taken ten years so far. I do think you can get to your success quicker by learning from other people; that’s why I’m really open about the mistakes I’ve made, so people can see and learn from me. Quick isn’t always best, it’s not a race.
I’ve noticed how much your personal branding images have changed, from a rather formal, corporate look to a far more relaxed, serene Lisa smiling at us from exotic locations around the world. Does this reflect a change in your own mindset to become more authentic and transparent?
I think I have always had that even when my brand was a little more corporate. What’s really changed is what I believe freedom to be. I think most of us believe that freedom is about being exactly who we are, travelling where we want to and spending time doing the things we love, with the people we love. So it didn’t make sense for my brand not to show those things happening. While you will still see images of me in meetings and with clients, a lot of my time is spent with family and friends in amazing locations. I also don’t believe that you should not show wealth, or feel embarrassed by it. It helps show others what’s possible – but not just for the sake of just showing it – there should always be a reason behind it.
Money is still very much a taboo topic! What do you see as the money blocks women often have that stop them from feeling either comfortable receiving money or investing in themselves?
I think the biggest one is that we’re told from an early age that money is difficult to get and that we shouldn’t be greedy. Those two things alone mean women can really struggle to make money. So many women have blocks with money because if we think money is negative, why would we try and get it? We might think we are going after it but our subconscious mind might still block it. As a child, money caused so many problems in my mind and came with negative connotations. I also thought, and I think others do too, that people who had money were not good people. Rich = bad. Especially for me, as I was so bullied by rich people at school, so I’ve had to do a lot of work to get over the mindset that people like me can’t make money. Even if you have grown up with money, you will still have a money story. There will be something in your past that you have connected to money. Whether it’s that you never see your parents because they are working so hard or parents who argue over money, there will be a money story that has had an impact on you. That’s why it’s so important to work on this.
“Money is not going to change who you are or how you feel.”
Did your younger self ever think you would be financially secure?
No! My younger self thought that the generational poverty that has been in my family for years would just continue to be handed down. It was only when I grew a belief in myself and realised that someone in this chain had to change the story that I knew it had to me. Once I did that, everything changed. Now my children won’t have the same generational poverty that my ancestors had.
What difference has having money made to your life and how do you enjoy spending it?
It hasn’t made me any happier, let’s be really clear about that. Money is not going to change who you are or how you feel. What it has done is opened opportunities for me to be able to spend more time with my family and also given me the ability to support other people in my family and help friends out, which I’d always wanted to do. That’s the biggest change it’s made for me. I spend money on many things but mainly travel. I have a normal car, I buy my clothes from New Look and Primark, but I’ll spend a lot of money to go to an amazing place.
You’ve become quite a globetrotter and enjoy travelling the world with your family. Tell us about your most memorable experience.
Too many to mention! We go to around 12-15 countries a year but my latest holiday in the Maldives with my twins was pure paradise! The love of my travelling life though will always be Las Vegas and I’m taking my children there for the first time in May.
Interview by Olivia Marocco – founder of Brand You Magazine
Lisa Johnson, founder of Lisa Johnson Strategist
Lisa is a business strategist who helps ambitious people like you to create passive and semi-passive income streams. She wants you to have a business model that ticks the boxes for creating a ton of income and impact, without you having to spend your life at your laptop.