In 2013, Jenn Scalia was working for a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, doing social media and marketing.
“I came into work after New Year’s Eve and found out I was laid off,” she remembers. “That was the start of a downward spiral — I got laid off, and I got pissed off.”
At the same time, Scalia was going through a divorce. Her husband moved out of state, leaving her a single mum to their now 5-year-old son.
“It was pretty tough for me personally,” she says. “I took that and was like, ‘I’m going to create something different. I’m going to be the creator of my own life.’ I decided I wanted to do my own thing — I wasn’t sure what, but I was tired of getting laid off and letting someone else dictate if I would have money or have a job.”
Scalia moved back in with her parents (” … they thought I was going to be there forever,” she told Farnoosh Torabi in an episode of the podcast So Money), setting a goal to move back out a year later.
At first, she took on freelance jobs helping small businesses with social media and marketing. But soon, she realised she wasn’t getting the kind of traction she needed to grow her business. In all of 2013, she remembers, she only earned about $35,000.
“I was clueless,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do to get my message out there, to get people on my site, or to actually get clients.” She had been taking smaller-scale professional development courses, but mid-2014 decided to invest in B-School, an eight-week online course that teaches online marketing strategies. According to its website, in 2014, the program cost $1,999.
When she hired her own coach, Scalia says, that’s when things really started to take off. Having undergone multiple courses and training to launch her own online business, she became a business consultant and visibility strategist.
“The visibility part is what sets me apart from everyone else,” she says. “For 18 months, I was invisible.”
Now, Scalia works with clients — specifically, women who are starting online businesses — for about four months at a time each.
“First, we work on mindset and confidence, then we dive into strategy,” she says. “Typically that includes visibility online, social media presence, doing guest posts, becoming experts, writing books … whatever feels good for them to get that message out there. Some people like to do videos or podcasts. My work is about helping them understand their gifts and how they can best utilise them to make an impact.”
In her most popular product, one-on-one mentoring, she charges $10,000 for 12-15 coaching calls and unlimited email access. She also offers a Mastermind group for entrepreneurs who are more established, as well as courses, programs, and a subscription service for $30 a month where she offers tips to 200 members who can’t afford higher fees. In 2015, her business earned about $500,000 in sales, of which she brings home over 50% in profit.
She estimates that she spends 15-20 hours a week on the phone with clients, without counting emails and the hours she spends reviewing her clients’ business plans and websites. In 2016, she plans to raise her rates and focus on fewer clients.
After living with her parents for a year and three months, she moved out to her own home, where she pre-paid the rent a year in advance with the hope of buying it at the end of the year.
Scalia says most clients who come to her have a deep fear of putting themselves out there. “The biggest thing is to change your mind around what you think is possible,” she says. “If you told me 14 months ago I was going to have a half-million dollar business, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s really about changing your belief around what you think you deserve and what you’re worth, and realising how quickly your life and career can change if you believe in something.”