Meet Alexia Vernon, founder of Alexia Vernon Empowerment. Her business supports female entrepreneurs who are looking to use speaking to grow their businesses and step into thought leadership. She also works with executives who are wanting to amplify their executive speaking skills.
Alexia started her business working as a coach back in 2007, and after two years of being in business, things were really starting to feel like a struggle.
As Alexia explains, “I was all over the place with what I was doing. I was hustling for individual clients, but I was also speaking at organizations. Things were very disjointed. I realized I wanted to focus on communication and public speaking.”
While the idea of taking her business online had occurred to her, it just didn’t seem like a viable option at the time, so she kept running her business as it was for the next several years. It wasn’t until 2014 that Alexia felt like she was ready to look at making a big change.
“My aspiration was to grow my business online and have courses with lots of sophisticated automation that was powered by Facebook ads. I felt that was what I should aspire to in order to have freedom. For a long time, I felt I should never touch anything online because I’m a true coach who works with people one-on-one. The challenge that created was that there was going to be a revenue plateau because I could only serve so many people.”
Despite this glimmer of an idea, it would still be a few more years before Alexia could make a commitment to changing the structure of her business.
Team Realignment to Create Growth
In 2017, Alexia had an existing team for her business, but she was beginning to see a potential gap that needed to be addressed if she was going to move forward with her plans for business growth.
“I had a team member who was a consultant that was handling my email marketing back-end pieces along with payments and membership. They’d given notice, and then at the same time, another team member also gave their notice. I really wanted to take my business in another direction, so having both of those things happen simultaneously at a time of huge growth in my business made it 100% clear to me that I needed somebody who could come in and really guide my strategy and operations.”
With her husband having joined the team that same year, and business revenue having doubled, it became obvious to Alexia that her team structure was no longer working the way she needed it to.
“The people working for me were all exceptional at what they did but were ultimately consultants who didn’t have ownership of the larger picture of the business. I was still managing everything, and I wanted to hire somebody who would handle the online business management part of the business. I was looking for somebody who wasn’t just there to take orders but would come in and be a leader and say, ‘I understand your vision.’”
Alexia knew exactly the type of person her business needed, and having previously met me at an event and subsequently hearing from some other business acquaintances what I had done to help them scale their businesses, she decided to reach out to me. Armed with a shortlist of possible candidates, we hopped on the phone to have a discussion.
That was the call that changed everything.
“When we got on the call, I asked her to look at a particular project that was incredibly overwhelming to me. We were moving from one very robust back-end system to another based on necessity and to have the person who was overseeing that leave was creating a lot of stress. Tressa explained how she could make the transition work and move us to a better project management platform. She laid out what could be done in the first 90 days of us working together to create more ease for me. In a moment that was so stressful, that conversation made me realize that if I decided to work with her, I’d be in the right hands.”
The decision to work together was made, and in May 2018, I joined Alexia’s team as her online business manager.
Stepping into the Role of Visionary
At the time I joined the team, Alexia had some big projects on the go. And because of that, it didn’t take long for her to see all the things we could accomplish together.
“Tressa made things feel so easy. When you’ve built your own business, there’s so much institutional knowledge, so disseminating that knowledge is one of the hardest parts of hiring consultants. But she knew the questions to ask so that she could take things off my plate very quickly. She would keep everything organized and managed so that we could more effectively run multiple projects without me being ultimately that person having to oversee it all.”
One larger project Alexia had in progress when I joined the team was a book launch. While this can be a really challenging endeavor because of the time required for promotion, I was able to take on much of the day-to-day work, which freed up valuable time for her.
“I was able to travel and focus on my thought leadership. We’d done a lot of technology upgrades in 2014 and 2015 and were starting to experience some breakdowns. In every case, Tressa was able to get in there, find a solution, liaise with clients if they might be having difficulties and figure out the short-term solution we needed to get through this period of time. She also tackled more permanent solutions, so we weren’t just plugging up leaks, but instead, fixing the actual plumbing.”
Having felt stuck for quite some time, now Alexia had the bandwidth to focus on being the visionary in her business and not only begin looking for growth opportunities but also spend more time working on what she does best: public speaking.
“With Tressa on my team, I’ve been able to meet my own goals with my speaking engagements. I’ve always been really focused on my clients, but now I can work on my own things as well. Some of the speaking gigs I’ve landed were because we were able to create materials that not only work in the entrepreneurial world but also work in the corporate world. Being organized with my own goals has been so helpful.”
Clear Communication Makes All the Difference
Adding an online business manager to your team is about so much more than just adding “someone,” and for Alexia, a big part of our successful partnership is having me there to bounce ideas off of, while I’m also looking out for what’s right for her business.
“Anytime I have an idea, I no longer feel like I have to figure out how I would make it work or what systems or partners I would need to implement my idea. I know I can go to Tressa, and she will tell me if an idea is in the best interest of my business based on the vision I have and the quality of life that I want. She’s not just somebody who says yes and does whatever you ask. She’ll challenge you in pursuit of getting what you really want.”
Now, with more than a year of working together under our belts, Alexia has seen some other tangible changes that have made a big impact on not only her business but also her personal life.
“Before I hired Tressa, I was working 50 hour weeks, and now I find myself working 30 to 35 hours. It’s beautiful. I can unplug and not work on weekends. For the first time, my business fits into my life the way I want it to. I couldn’t say that at any other point up until this year.”
With even bigger plans for the future of her business, there’s one thing in particular that Alexia feels makes our partnership work so well: communication.
“Given the work that I do, communication is so important. Tressa always communicates where she is in solving something, so you’re never left wondering what’s going on. She consistently reports in on our project management software, and she’s really good at liaising between the rest of her team and you as a client. I feel so much lighter knowing that she’s always ensuring that everything is glued together. Tressa’s communication is outstanding.”
When I asked Alexia what advice she would give to someone wondering if it’s the right time to hire an online business manager like me, this is what she had to say:
“When you start to recognize that either you don’t have systems in place to support operations, or you’ve got no time to focus on key parts of your business, it’s time to pull up your socks and take over as the CEO of your business. That’s the right time to hire Tressa and her team.”