Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Dr. Marissa Layton. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Dr. Marissa, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Alright, so you had your idea and then what happened? Can you walk us through the story of how you went from just an idea to executing on the idea
My path to entrepreneurship dates back to circa 2016. After completing my Master’s Degree I was on the job hunt. I had specific things I looked for in a company and culture was at the top of my list. I loved consulting and wanted to work for a company that would continue to make me fall in love with being a business developer and strategist. At this point I had done a few major projects for my Master’s program and an apprenticeship. I also wanted to work with a company that valued my pursuit of higher education and would provide a work-life balance so I could still prioritize school (I was pursuing my doctorate at the time). After several interviews and a short time working with a small consulting firm in the area, I was unhappy. I decided I wanted to be in control of my life, time, and career.
It didn’t take me long to leap. I registered my business, found a website developer, and within a week or so announced my new business to family and friends on social media. Once my website was done, I sent an email out to business peers and mentors. Over 5 years later and I’ve had the opportunity to work with multi-billion dollar organizations, Fortune 500 executive leaders, and dozens of small Black business women 1-on-1.
Every single day I wake up excited about working – that’s the cheat code. Entrepreneurship is already hard enough, don’t take the leap if it is not something you are passionate about. If you really want to go from idea to sustainable execution, you need a why that is deeper than money.
You also need to have a clear plan of action – research your target audience, industry, and market, develop your marketing and sales plan, know your numbers. The goal is to be sustainability, profitability, and scalability, and winging it will only take you so far.
Lastly, build a solid tree. Naturally, entrepreneurs are creative and full of ideas, but if your creativity is misplaced it can negatively affect you successfully going from idea to execution. Decide what your tree is (a.k.a your main source of income). Once your tree is firmly planted in the ground, then begin to build branches off of that tree before building another. This way you are establishing multiple income streams from a consistent income source before launching a new idea.
Dr. Marissa, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I am a corporate consultant and business coach. One of my clients once called me the “Olivia Pope for businesses,” and I laughed but essentially that is what I do – I fix businesses. My team and I provide strategic solutions to multi-million and multi-billion dollar companies around the world who need assistance in strategic planning, leadership development, employee engagement, and operational effectiveness.
As a global business manager, I missed out on the opportunity to work with small businesses, so I started coaching and creating digital products as a way to service small business owners and non-profit founders.
There are a lot of business coaches out there. There are a lot of business coaches who, like me, have hands on entrepreneurial experience and want to share their knowledge. However, what sets me apart is my entrepreneurial experience is in the field of business development. Prior to being an entrepreneur, I served as a strategic planner, business analyst, and consultant – building businesses is literally what I do. Not only do I have hands-on entrepreneurial experience and expertise in business development, but my education is in organizational development. My knowledge and resources are endless and I am so proud to be able to pour into business owners daily.
I am proud to say that I have helped women build 6-figure businesses, transition into full-time entrepreneurship, and most importantly create legacies for their families. My ultimate goal is build millennial, women millionaires, one business at a time.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
The hustle is irrelevant if you work yourself to death – that has been my new motto for the last couple of years. When I first started my company I would work 22 hours day. No exaggeration. I would literally work all day, then go tutor, go home take a shower, and then go be a night nanny. I was building a cushion so I could be my own business investor, but at what cost? I was literally working myself to death. I had to unlearn the hustle mentality that we naturally gravitate to as new business owners. I had to learn how to create balance and prioritize rest.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
For corporate consulting, utilizing my network, connecting with executives off line (business leagues, chamber meetings, and networking events), and showcasing my expertise in a workshop for company leadership.
For coaching clients, Instagram has been a main source of lead generation, but my email sales funnel has been the main source of conversion. I strongly encourage entrepreneurs to create a lead magnet and attach it to an email sequence. This allows you to capture, engage, and nurture potential clients through an automated workflow so your time, energy, and resources can be focused on marketing/ brand awareness.
Marketing is reach and sales is conversion. I think it is important for entrepreneurs to understand the differences between how you get the attention of new clients and how you secure new clients. Successful marketing tactics results in high reach. Successful conversion tactics results in high sales. You need both to be successful in obtaining new clients.