Portia R. Jackson is a rocket scientist turned online business strategy coach for millennials in corporate jobs wanting to start and grow their online business. Her love of bullet points, systems, and laughter practically started at birth and set her up for getting a PhD, marriage and raising 2 preschool-aged daughters.
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- Asana – Portia’s small business resource
- Maxwell Malts’ The New Psycho-Cybernetics – Portia’s Top Business Book
- Portia’s website
- The Mastery Journal – Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus in 100 days!
3 Key Points:
- Boredom can lead you to scratching an itch you never knew you had—causing you to pursue a new passion and journey for your life.
- NOW is our moment to act; get out there and just do it.
- Don’t let perfectionism hold you back from acting.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:05] – Portia started her journey as a scientist and she has always loved to teach
- [01:30] – It was during one of the really slow days as a rocket scientist when she realized that she needed more than this
- [01:42] – Pat Flynn’s article led Portia to EOFire
- [01:48] – Portia is one of the earliest members of Podcasters Paradise
- [02:28] – Portia’s expertise is to help women start data-driven online businesses
- [03:16] – Portia uses Google Spreadsheet to track data and metrics
- [04:30] – What was your goal for The Freedom Journal and how did you crush it? Portia’s goal was to complete her coaching certification program
- [05:00] – Portia has now served 20 clients and the majority came during her 100 days with The Freedom Journal
- [05:24] – Portia got her coaching certification program going and fully booked out her coaching practice!
- [06:30] – Portia shares one of her most important results from using The Freedom Journal
- [06:43] – Portia’s clients went from 0 to a consistent $4K/month revenue
- [08:24] – How do you define Productivity? “I define productivity as producing the desired output with the minimal amount of input necessary”
- [08:55] – Portia’s struggle with productivity is when she makes overly complicated plans to achieve a goal
- [09:43] – How do you define Discipline? “I define discipline as doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t feel [like it]”
- [10:00] – The “I’ll do it tomorrow syndrome” is what Portia struggles with
- [11:46] – How do you define Focus? “Paying attention to one thing at a time”
- [12:10] – “Shiny object syndrome” distracts Portia
- [13:14] – “Comparisonitis” causes Portia to struggle with focus
- [15:37] – Compare and despair
- [17:10] – Think big, but be realistic
- [18:08] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Lack of practical how-to advice in actually creating a sustainable business”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Do everything that you know to do and trust God to know the rest”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Reading”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Asana
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Maxwell Malts’ The New Psycho-Cybernetics
- [19:42] – Get Portia’s free list of 67 business ideas to create a 6-figure online business while still having a corporate job
- [19:58] – “Just get started”
Portia: Yes, I am –
Portia: – prepared to ignite!
John: Portia is a rocket scientist, literally, turned online business strategy coach for millennials in corporate jobs wanting to start and grown their online business. Her love of bullet points, systems and laughter practically started at birth and set her up for getting her PhD, marriage and raising two preschool-age daughters.
Portia, take a minute. Fill in the gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Portia: Sounds good, John. Well, thank you so much for having me on the show.
And I’ve had an interesting journey into entrepreneurship. As you mentioned, I did start off this journey as a rocket scientist. I’ve always loved to teach so I was like, “I’m going to be a professor.”
Decided that wasn’t really going to be the path for me. So, began my job as a rocket scientist and just – I remember, like, almost to the day when I was like, “This is not for me.” I just felt like –
John: Talk about that day for a second. Like, what happens? Like, was it some really tough algorithm?
Portia: No, it was just one of those days. See, when you’re a rocket scientist, it’s either – It’s, like, you’re really busy or it’s really slow. And it was one of those really slow days where I’m like, “I know I’m meant for more than this but I don’t know what that is.”
And so, I remember I was doing a Google search and I think I came across Pat Flynn and he actually led me to you. I think he did an article on your podcasting.
Portia: And I was actually one of the first members of Podcasters’ Paradise.
Portia: Yes. And so, that actually helped me launch my first business, through that podcast. And that is what led to me leaving my job after five years. So, yeah – so that day really was just: Out of boredom, a business was born.
John: Boredom, Fire Nation. There’s really nothing worse for entrepreneurs or, you know, side-preneurs or just people that have the hustle gene in them because, man – what’s worse than boredom? You just want to do something. And so, if your J-O-B is boring, you know you gotta find something else. You got to scratch that itch.
And Portia, what would you consider today your area of expertise?
Portia: My area of expertise is helping corporate women start data-driven online businesses. And so, what I mean by that is – I know the buzzwords these days are all about “heart-centered” and “passion-driven” but at the end of the day, we’re business owners. So, if you’re not tracking the data in your business, you’re losing money.
So, I help women figure out – and a couple of men slip in there too but primarily women – helping them figure out how you can start the business and how you can grow it in such a way that it’s not about all the emotions and a lot of things we’re hearing today but more-so, how are you making smart business decisions to maximize your profit and your impact on people’s lives?
John: Portia, you’re a ninja when it comes to tracking data. Most people are horrible at tracking data. Give us some tip, tool or tactic about tracking data that we probably don’t know but we should.
Portia: Well, I mean, surprisingly, it’s actually not that overly complicated. I just use a simple Google spreadsheet.
And so, I’ve tracked out most of the metrics that make the most impact in my business; so things like ROI – so, return on investments. So, if I’m spending X amount on Facebook ads, how much of that is returning into my business as profit?
Also, client retention. A lot of my clients come from referral, which is great, but I’m also trying to increase the amount that I get from, like, cold traffic. So I’m measuring those data – that data as well.
And also, some of those vanity numbers. You know, like your Facebook page “Likes” and how many are in your Facebook group. And those are important to track too. I just don’t put as much emphasis on those. It feels good, right? Like, everybody wants to be popular online but at the end of the day, if you’re popular and broke, it’s not quite what our goal is as entrepreneurs.
So you want to make sure that you have that data laid out and it’s really easy to share with your VA. So I just love it. It’s free and it’s useful and it’s probably one of the best tools I use in my business.
John: Are you saying we can’t use our Klout Score at the gas station?
Portia: Absolutely not, no. No.
John: So, let’s talk about your Freedom Journal journey, Portia. Let’s talk about the goal that you set and how you crushed it.
Portia: Alright. Well, this is the exciting part.
So, first of all, I love the journal.
Portia: I hoard journals and I would have to say that The Freedom Journal has been one of the most impactful journals I’ve ever bought – and I have a lot. My husband will tell you that. He’s like, “Please stop buying journals.” I’m like, “But this is the real one.”
But my goal was to complete my coaching certification program. And so, to do that, I had to have a certain amount of coaching hours and, for me, that actually translated into a fully-booked business coaching practice. And so I crushed the goal.
This year, as of today, I have served over 20 clients – and that’s actually a lot for me because I do a lot of one-on-one and interaction with my clients. I kind of go above and beyond, so it’s not just, you know, 20 clients in a week. I do a lot more for them. But the majority of those 20 clients actually came during this 100-day period when I was super-focused on what the goal way.
So, long story short, got my coaching certification program, fully booked out my coaching practice and it’s just – it’s still kind of mind-blowing when I think about it. It was just like – It wasn’t easy but it was, like, simple – if that makes any sense.
But it really just made a difference being, like, that focused on what it is that I was doing and be able to serve the clients. And not being, like, so desperate – like, “Oh, where are they coming from” because I had a plan of action to achieve that goal.
John: It does make a lot of sense because, Fire Nation, it really can be simple. Like, it doesn’t have to be easy; in fact, it feels better when it’s hard to do. But when it’s simple – and that’s the results – then you know that you’re winning. And that’s why just getting up every single morning and just following a system that you know works – maybe it’s a system, you know, that you found works for you when you were back in college or in high school. Or maybe it’s, you know, saying, “Hey,” like, “my system is broken” and finding something like The Freedom Journal or The Mastery Journal to show you another way; to show you a system that can make things happen.
And what were some of the results that you actually had occur over the journey of The Freedom Journal?
Portia: Well, one of the most important results was one of my clients – because my results, I measure it more-so in what am I doing for my clients. And so, I had one client that came in. She was brand new to online business; kind of been dabbling in it but never really got started. And, by the end of three months of working together, she was able to go from zero to creating consistent 4K months in her business. And that was huge for me because –
Portia: Huge – because, you know, while you might not be able to retire off of 4K a month, it’s a really great start and it gives you that momentum of, “I can actually do this.” And a lot of people don’t actually believe you can make legitimate money online.
And for her, that was life-changing. You know? She was a young mom; you know, married, has one kid, another kid on the way. And so, that was huge. She was actually able to leave her job.
Now, that’s not like that for all of my clients because a lot of them are, you know, higher-income earners. But to have that as one of the results was amazing because I was able to do that because I wasn’t so scurried and flustered in trying to figure out how to do all this stuff at one time. It’s because I was focused. I knew exactly what I needed to do every day to achieve my goals; thus, I was able to help my clients achieve their goals as well.
John: You have to believe, Fire Nation. And that first dollar is so meaningful.
And Portia, that’s probably why, like, you resonated with Pat Flynn so much, because you probably got to his site. You’re like, “Whoa, here’s a good dude with a family, doing good things, adding value and making money and showing it through his income reports.”
And I know that was incredibly valuable to me and that’s why, when EOFire started actually generating some solid revenue – what did we do? We started our actual income reports to show people what was working, to show people what wasn’t working; so people could emulate successes and they can avoid the failures and all that stuff in between – because that first dollar is so important. And now we’ve been doing that for 39 months and we’re not going to stop because we know it’s inspiring people to keep on rocking.
So, Portia, moving on – how do you define productivity?
Portia: So, I define productivity as “producing the desired output with the minimal amount of input necessary.” So, basically, doing less, better.
John: Doing less, better. That’s a great combo for obvious reasons. How do you struggle with the productivity?
Portia: Well, I’ve noticed that my biggest struggle with productivity is having this unconscious belief – which I found through some coaching work that I had on myself – that everything I did had to be hard for it to count as success. And I don’t know where this came from but, essentially, I found myself making overly complicated plans to achieve a goal just so it could be hard. So I guess I just felt like, to be successful, I have to make it difficult.
And that kind of limited the productivity because I wasn’t doing less, better, I was just doing more not as great. So, that was definitely an inhibitor to my productivity at first.
John: When it is simple, Fire Nation; when it feels simple but you’re still getting the results that you want, like, then you know that you’re actually getting into a mode that you can operate at a high level. Because, when it’s complicated, you know; when it’s confusing, when it gets frustrating, you can’t keep that up. Like, you have to come up with systems, with automations, to be productive on a day-to-day basis.
John: So, Portia, moving forward into discipline – you know, the root of that word being “disciple” – like, how do you define that word?
Portia: I define discipline as “doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t feel like doing it.” And I think that’s kind of an ongoing practice because there’s always going to be something we don’t feel like doing.
John: Always. And how do you struggle with discipline intraday?
Portia: Oh, it’s always the “I’ll do it tomorrow” syndrome, which I think kind of comes from my – I say I’m a recovering perfectionist – so I think it’s more-so like, “Oh, okay. Let me work on this plan a little bit more and then I’ll start it tomorrow” or “I’ll start it Monday” or “the top of the quarter” or “on my birthday”. And then, like, the year just keeps passing by and yet, the plan is still sitting, like, in a Google Doc or something. I sound like I’m promoting Google in this.
But it’s more-so, like, taking action now. Like, there is really no tomorrow if you think about it. And not to be all like “woo woo” about it but now is really the only moment that we have. And so, if we keep putting it off – and we see this, you know, with weight loss. Like, everybody’s starting the New Year with trying to lose 30 pounds and then by February, they’re, you know, at the drive-thru at In-N-Out or something. So it’s all about starting now and what can you do now, instead of, “Okay, I’m going to do this tomorrow.”
And that was a lesson – you know, it took me a while to figure out.
John: You used the word “plan” a couple times and I think that’s such an important word, Fire Nation. Because it’s one thing to set a plan but it’s another thing to execute a plan.
And that’s why I’m so passionate about The Mastery Journal because we have this whole section about “winning tomorrow today”, where the night before, you plan out your morning routine. You have an absolute start time, you have a definite end time and you crush a minimum of nine tasks during your morning routine, which – I love to say that means you’ll get more done before 9:00 am than the rest of the world will do all day – but guess what. It takes setting up a plan and then executing that step by step by step. And it’s there, on paper – it’s the next morning. It’s not next quarter or my birthday or the new year, it’s tomorrow morning.
Portia, focus – “Follow One Course Until Success” – that’s my acronym. That’s how I like to define that amazing word. How do you define focus?
Portia: I define focus as “paying attention to one thing at a time”. So, very similar to yours but it’s definitely just doing that one thing. Like, what’s the “one”.
John: What distracts you? Like, intraday – like, is it the kids? Is it something else? I mean, let’s talk about a few of your evil nemeses when it comes to getting distracted.
Portia: Okay. Well, this is definitely something I’ve studied as part of my personal mastery of myself.
Portia: And I’ve noticed that it’s been two main things that have caused me to lose focus on a consistent basis until I actually started working on it.
So, one was shiny-object syndrome – and I’m sure a lot of entrepreneurs can relate to this. But I was learning. I do – in case the PhD didn’t give that away – I just love school. I love learning new things and I love passing that knowledge on to my clients. But the downside of that is getting caught up in too much learning. Like, “Oh! Let me learn about membership sites” and then, “Let me learn about launching” and then, “Let me learn about coaching” and, you know – passive income and all these other different things.
And, you know, I spent close to about 30K over the past three years on courses and coaching and really perfecting my craft but, again, the shadow side of that is: How much – or at what point do you need to stop the learning and do more of the doing? And I think that was one part of the focus, was trying to learn too much at once instead of just being focused on one thing and kind of running with it. So that is definitely one.
And then another one that I struggle with is “comparisonitis”. And, again, I’m sure – I don’t know if this is foreign to anybody or maybe it’s just me – but, you know, I grew up being like the Type A, valedictorian, homecoming queen; like, over-accelerating or overachieving type of student.
So, when I came into the world of entrepreneurship and I see so many people having seven-figure launches and six-figure months and all this, I felt so far behind. And I remember this one night, I was sitting at my computer doing some work after I put my kids to bed and I just started crying. And it wasn’t a cute cry; it was like one of those ugly, like, snotty cries. Right? It was just like –
John: I can picture it.
Portia: I’m like, “Why is this so hard?” You know? Like, “What am I doing wrong?” Like, “What am I missing?” And I was having success but I was so busy looking at what other people were doing and not focusing on what I was doing, I was focusing on the wrong thing.
So my husband’s looking at me like, “Is this when I give advice? Do I just rub your back?” Like, “What do I do here?” And so, you know, I kind of collected myself and I was like, “Alright, P” – because that’s what I call myself when I’m doing my pep talks. I’m like, “Alright. Let’s get it together. What are we going to focus on?” Because what my coach always tells me is, “What you focus on is what you get.”
And so, when you’re always comparing yourself to others, like I was in that moment – having a little pity party for myself – I was focusing on other people’s success. I was focusing on what I was doing wrong and how hard it was. Therefore, I was attracting more of what was hard instead of focusing on, “Okay. What can I do differently to get a different result?” And then you’re more focused on solutions – so, what do you get? You get solutions.
So, snotty cry night was kind of like my turnaround moment in my business, where I was, like – I can control what I focus on, doing one thing at a time. And that’s really where I started to see some really good results. And it was also right around the time when I started using The Freedom Journal as well, so I think having that as a companion for this new, you know, “snotty cry revolution” was really beneficial for my business.
John: Wait a second. Do you own that domain: Snotty Cry Revolution? Because –
Portia: No. I should go get it, though.
John: That could be whole thing. I mean, I really believe that we all need to have, like, that just incredible, devastating moment and be like, “Wow! Okay, I just had the most devastating moment, yet I’m still here. I’m still alive. Now let’s go forward.” Like, “Let’s start going towards the clouds now.”
And comparisonitis, Fire Nation, is the worst. And Portia, you might have heard me say this before, but this is something that I believe so strongly in: Compare and despair.
John: When you compare yourself to anybody else that’s rocking it more than you, you’re going to despair; that’s just a fact. I mean, I could compare myself, you know, to Tom Brady, as far as what he’s doing in the sports world. I can compare myself to Richard Branson for what he’s doing, you know, with his billions of dollars. And I’m going to despair; like, I’m going to absolutely despair. So why would I do that to myself?
And, you know, there’s people being like, you know, “If I compare myself to John Lee Dumas, I’m going to despair.” So, why would that person despair comparing themselves to me and here I am despairing, comparing myself to Richard – like, where does it end? It never ends.
John: The one person that you should compare yourself to, Fire Nation, is you yesterday.
John: If you win that comparison, you’re winning at life and that’s all that matters.
And Portia, I’m sure you learned a lot that was valuable with that 30K that you invested but I will say this. I wish that we could rewind the clock and give you the $39.00 Freedom Journal pre that $30,000.00 because you still would have spent some money investing in yourself – because, again, there was a lot of value there – but maybe not quite 30K.
Portia: Right, right. Well, the good thing is it’s a tax write-off and I have actually applied everything that I’ve learned at this point. And, you know, it flows through, through my clients, but yeah. It’s – To me, it’s important, especially since I work with beginning entrepreneurs – they look and see, these people have been in business for like four or five years and they feel bad about what they’re doing. I’m like, “No. You celebrate that first $47.00 sale” or whatever it is that you’re doing.
Because, you know, we always like to make things look pretty and shiny online but there is another side. Like, there is hard work that goes into – or maybe focus work, I should say – that goes into building a successful online business. And I just want people to go into it with realistic expectations. I mean, obviously, thinking big but, at the same time, knowing what you’re going in to. You know?
Like, I think a lot of people think you can buy, you know, one $7.00 info product and have, like, a seven-figure business. Like, it takes a – you know, it takes work; it takes focus. And it takes a lot of the inner work too – the personal development.
John: Productivity, discipline, focus, Fire Nation. Portia’s still working on these things. I’m still working on these things. You need to be working on these three skills. The Mastery Journal is your answer for this. It is your guide to master these three skills in 100 days.
Portia, I’m actually a little scared for you to use this because you’re going to turn into, like, such a hero that I might actually start to have this comparisonitis you’re talking about, even though I know that I shouldn’t be. But anyways, themasteryjournal.com.
And Portia, don’t you go anywhere. After we thank our sponsors, we will be right back for The Lightning Round.
Portia, are you prepared for The Lightning Round?
Portia: I am ready. Let’s do this.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Portia: Lack of practical how-to advice on actually creating a sustainable business. I heard a lot of theories but not a lot of: This is what you do first; this is what you do next. And that’s actually what I got from Podcasters’ Paradise, which is why I was able to have so much success with that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Portia: Do everything you know to do and trust God to do the rest.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Portia: Reading and reading a lot of information; so, books, courses, magazines, biographies – just doing a lot of reading.
John: Can you share an internet resource with Fire Nation?
Portia: Asana – I love Asana. It’s A-S-A-N-A and it’s a project management software that I love. I run my entire life through Asana. It’s amazing.
John: If you could recommend just one book, what would it be and why?
Portia: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Malts. And I love it because it’s more of a practical and scientific – again, I like my science – scientific approach to mindset work. So I feel like it takes the abstractness that you get from thinking “grow rich” and, like, the science of getting rich, and boils it down to practical, every-day steps for the person who might be a little bit more scientific than theoretical.
John: Portia, let’s end today On Fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Portia: The best way to stay in touch with me is actually by getting my free list of 67 business ideas that you can start today, to create your six-figure online business while still working a corporate job. And you can get that by going to: portiarjackson.com/fire.
And my parting piece of guidance is to just get started. You know, as I said before, I was a recovering perfectionist but it’s so much easier to profit in business by doing imperfect action consistently. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back from your profit. So just get started today. There’s never a perfect time to start, so you might as well do it now.
John: Okay. First off, Fire Nation, if you’re in corporate America right now and you’re hearing my voice and you’re hearing Portia’s voice and you don’t go get that gift, you’re certifiably insane. Like, I’m just going to say it right now.
Portia, that URL one more time and then give us the name of it because your tagline just crushed it.
Portia: It’s “67 business ideas that you can start today while still working in a corporate job” and you can get that by going to portiarjackson.com/fire. And Portia’s spelled P-O-R-T (as in Tom)-I-A.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you have been hangin’ out with PJ and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com and just type “Portia”. Again, that is P-O-R-T (as in Tom)-I-A, in the search bar. Her Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz; time stamps, links galore. And definitely head over to portiarjackson.com/fire for that awesome gift.
Portia, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch ya on the flip side.
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