Lisa, 43, is a successful business coach today.
Lisa Johnson went from £30,000 in debt to a multimillionaire.
A 43-year-old mother from Hertfordshire grew up in a slum with her nine-year-old twins and was bullied for being poor.
But, she says, the experience propelled her to a successful career.
You grew up on council land, how did you feel about money then?
I thought it was that elusive thing you have or don’t have. And it seems that is not the case. Before high school, I didn’t know anyone who had money, and I actually thought they were bad people, because if someone drove by in a nice car, everyone I knew would roll their eyes or call them a show-off.
Did you ever think you would be financially secure?
No, I haven’t. I can’t imagine people becoming like that unless they were born with it. I had no basis for people to start with nothing and then make money, so I didn’t even know it was possible.
Money has always been something to fight over, to covet or to lose.
Because you were poor, you were laughed at, what happened?
I got a scholarship to a private school for girls when I was 11. Up until that point, I thought most people looked like us and didn’t have much, and I was happy about that.
From day one, the other girls could see that I was not like them. I had a second-hand uniform, free lunch tickets, and my father, who was a single parent, picked me up on the back of his motorcycle. Some of the girls were taken to Bentley’s.
How serious is the situation?
Things were bad. At the girls’ school, it was mostly verbal. I was always the only one not invited to parties, I usually didn’t eat with them so I didn’t have to sit alone, I was never invited to parties.
It had a real impact on the way I thought about people with money, and it took me years to change. Eventually I begged to change schools, which I eventually did, but it got worse.
I was in my first year at a mixed school then, came from a posh school, and the bullying became more physical. I left school as soon as I could and didn’t live up to my potential in the exams because I didn’t want to be there.
The bullying didn’t stop Lisa from going to law school and starting her own business.
So what stopped you?
When I think back to those days, I don’t know what drove me. The bullying continued into early adulthood. I think I attracted him because I had no self-respect. Even at my first job, I was intimidated by a bunch of girls.
I may have seemed awkward or other-worldly, but in reality I was just afraid of girls. But something in me wanted to prove everyone wrong. I wanted to show that I was worth something – I just had to give it one last chance, so I went to law school in my spare time.
What was the lowest point?
The boss at my first job called me and fired me. He said he was doing it for my own good because he saw how the bullying had gotten worse, that he was concerned about my safety, and that he couldn’t fire all of his staff.
I went home to bed that day – I was 21, divorced, with huge debts and no job, and I thought I would be over it. I didn’t see how I could do it. But there was still a small part of me that thought everyone could be wrong. I thought I’d check…
How did you do that?
I challenged myself. I told myself that if I could get a full-time job and a full-time degree, they were wrong and I would never listen to anyone else’s opinion again. I got a job as an administrative assistant and graduated from law school.
For four years I went to my room every night after work to study. I took a series of exams in May. Four years later, I was 2-for-1 legal.
How did you come to start a wedding business?
I worked on the company ladder for a number of years. I knew law wasn’t for me, but I first ended up in investment banking as an executive assistant and then worked hard to become a risk analyst. I enjoyed the moment I unexpectedly became pregnant with twins.
I gave up a well-paying job and found a job closer to home as a social worker so I could see my kids before and after work. Then I realized I could get a side job… and I decided to get into the wedding planning business.
Did you make a mistake?
In this first year of work, I made all the mistakes. I had no idea what I was doing. But I learned so much from them. At the end of the first year, we realised that despite all the work I had done because of the marketing expenses, I had not made any money and was £30,000 in debt.
I decided to learn everything I could about the company and how it works. In five months, I turned the business around and made it profitable.
A tropical island is next on Lisa’s wish list.
And that’s what led you to become a business strategist …. 1Б9…
So many people asked me how I had started the wedding business, and organically I began to teach others everything I had learned about the business.
Just over three years ago, I realized that my passion was to help people develop and grow their online businesses. I gave up my marriage business and started my own coaching business. This time I knew how to do business.
I earned £100,000 in the first six months, £220,000 in the first year and over a million by the end of the second year. I’m only at the end of my third year and I’ve brought in £3m this year.
You’ve Proved People Wrong…..
I thought about the people who told me I couldn’t do things and that encouraged me.
What did you get with that money?
Freedom. Before the pandemic, I could work from anywhere in the world and spend a lot of time traveling to luxury resorts and showing my twins everything I hadn’t seen before.
I don’t have to work at all during her summer break, and for me, as a mom, that’s it.
What is the biggest misconception about money?
That you have to work hard for it. You don’t have to work harder, you have to work smarter. Now I work 30 hours a month.
What would you buy now, without money?
A tropical island. I’m going to Necker Island in September to meet Sir Richard Branson, restrictions permitting, so I’ll be looking for clues in that time.
Learn more about Lisa Johnson Coach.
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