Britt Baker & Laurie-Anne King Of Dow Janes: Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue

An Interview With Sara Connell

Sara Connell
Authority Magazine

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We settled on a narrow customer acquisition strategy and honed in on it with a laser sharp focus. We didn’t waste any resources on other ideas that might not pan out. Devoting so much time and money into one product and one customer acquisition channel helped us create something excellent and effective. We knew that what we had was quality.

As a part of my series called “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Britt Williams Baker and Laurie-Anne King, the Co-Founders of Dow Janes.

Britt and Laurie-Anne have been best friends for over a decade and started Dow Janes in 2020 to level the financial playing field and get more women+ to invest. Britt — a Harvard Business School graduate with a knack for making savings fun — and Laurie-Anne — a behavioral science guru who knows how to help people implement new habits that stick — created an online financial education platform that teaches women+ how to get out of debt, save money, and learn to invest. So far, they’ve enrolled over 6,000 women in their online financial foundation curriculum, the Million Dollar Year.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Britt: Sure! My parents taught me about money early, so personal finance was always something I knew a lot about. After I graduated from Harvard Business School, my girlfriends came to me asking me how to invest, so I started an investing club and ran it out of my living room.

It only took a few sessions for me to realize that most people weren’t actually ready to invest. They didn’t have the systems in place to save money or learn how to budget, so I had to re-group and break down the basics before they would be ready.

I brought on my best friend, Laurie-Anne King, to teach a session on saving money. Laurie-Anne had recently become a self-taught personal finance expert with a unique approach to budgeting.

Laurie-Anne’s lesson on budgeting was a huge success. She essentially flipped the idea on its head for a lot of people. A lot of people think of budgeting as this restrictive thing, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be an empowering and personally aligned exercise. We didn’t quite know it at the time, but this essentially became the Dow Janes formula. Now, we turn stressful money concepts into easy, self-affirming habits. That’s what we call a feminine approach to finance.

Can you share the most interesting or funniest story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Laurie-Anne: I was 8 months pregnant when Britt asked me to start the business. Our pace at the beginning definitely reflected that. We took as slow and stress-free of a route as possible — and the results were effective. The lesson in that is that work doesn’t have to feel hard. We did some of our best brainstorming over the phone while I was in the bath. We owe our entire branding strategy to our hot tub planning sessions. Obviously this is one of the perks of building a business with your best friend, but the principle still holds true — as long as the work gets done, we don’t really care how it happens.

Britt: I’d add that another lesson we learned is the value of starting slow. When you have an idea that you’re excited or passionate about, you want to jump in as fast as possible. But looking back, we owe a lot of our success to the ground work we laid before we even launched. We did tons of customer interviews to identify what people wanted from the program. We then spent weeks defining and refining exactly what would be included to make it most effective.

I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?

Laurie-Anne: The book that has impacted us the most in this business is The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. The title sort of gives this away, but the main premise of the book is to really narrow your focus. Finding one thing to hone in on can help you move faster and more effectively.

We ran into a little tension early on around this idea. Britt came to me originally because I had already built a successful online course on a different topic. I had seen what worked and what didn’t. The strategy I had in mind was boring, but I knew it was effective. Britt and my husband suggested tons of great ideas along the way, but I knew we had to stay focused on this one. And in the end, putting everything we had behind this one strategy brought us success.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Laurie-Anne: Yes! We’re launching our second program very soon. Our first product helps women achieve financial control and security. We take clients through a lot of foundational work to help them build a healthy relationship with money. The second product is about teaching women how to achieve financial freedom. Some of the inspiration behind this second product came from my own life.

I had my second child four month ago, and even after maternity leave, I didn’t feel ready. I was lucky because I run my business and so I had a say in when I went back. I felt for all of the women who don’t. Financial freedom gives you the power to choose how much time you work, and how much time you spend with your kids or doing other things. We want more women to be able to make those choices for themselves.

Awesome! Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Let’s talk about what you are doing now, and how you achieved the success that you currently enjoy. Can you tell our readers about the business you’ve created?

Britt: Absolutely! Dow Janes is an online personal finance education platform designed to help women+ build wealth and achieve financial security. Our mission is to eliminate the financial gender gap and empower women to live with financial confidence, security, and abundance.

Laurie-Anne: We owe our success to one excellent product and one effective customer acquisition strategy. We’ve had a singular focus since the beginning, and that’s helped us ensure that what we’re offering is very high quality. Our targeted research and planning helped us build something that we knew people needed.

There’s an urgency to money. It can take a while to figure out you’ve got a problem with your finances, but once you do, it becomes a top priority. We figured out a way to tap into that need while creating a product that customers really want. Over 6,000 people have enrolled in our online program. We also offer tons of free resources — we’ve taught our free online class to over 100K women and we offer free financial tips on Instagram, where we have 70K followers.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Britt: At Dow Janes, we bring in a holistic approach to finances, which means we tie in the psychological and emotional elements of money, before getting to the practical. We know that people have to address their relationships to money before anything can really change.

Finances can be really intimidating, especially if you didn’t receive a lot of financial education growing up. All of this stress and uncertainty can make it hard to know what to do and how to do it.

Our goal was to help people change their lives quickly, so we focused heavily on how to make our program actionable. We’ve found success in essentially turning personal finance from a big unknown into a step by step checklist. We break things down easily into bite sized pieces so that people can’t help but take action.

Laurie-Anne: I’d also add that the holistic element plays out in a few different ways. We help women connect to their own stories, but we also connect women to one another. So many of us struggle with the same issues but go at it alone. People come to us and realize that how they feel is quite normal. We built Dow Janes to be a safe space to work through underlying money feelings and figure out your finances, without having to do it all on your own.

What was your vision when you started this business? What’s the WHY behind the work that you do? (Please share a story about this if you can.)

Laurie-Anne: Before currency existed, we were trading for basic goods. Money was literally invented to make our lives easier. That’s what it’s meant to do. But for so many people it’s something that makes life way harder. That’s really the vision behind Dow Janes. We feel that life is hard enough as it is, without money being a big stressor. We all deserve to be doing what fulfills us. Our vision is that people aren’t stressed out by money and can be doing what drives them and living their best lives.

Money becomes a burden when you don’t have financial education. I know that first hand. In my early professional life, I was working more than I ever had but was still living paycheck to paycheck. I was $40,000 in debt. I struggled to imagine a debt-free future. It got to a point where I knew that something had to change. As a self help junkie, I learned everything I could about personal finance. Like so many people, I hadn’t fully understood how money worked and wasn’t using it properly. Getting a financial education transformed my life. I paid off my debt, built multiple passive income streams, and two successful businesses. I’ve experienced how much better life is when you are in control of your money. And we want that for other people.

We’d love to explore the traits that help you achieve your success. What were the mindset obstacles that you had to overcome in order to reach the place of earning a million dollars? Can you tell us what you did to overcome them?

Britt: When you’re starting a new business you have tons of great ideas. And as amazing as it would be to pursue them all, you can’t. Over the course of the first two years we felt pulled in all different directions, but had to stay the course. By not letting ourselves get distracted by things like content marketing or SEO — which can be huge time sucks in a business at the beginning — we first wanted to make sure we had a viable business model. We stayed focused on one excellent product and one marketing strategy, which allowed us to hit our goal of getting to $1M in revenue in the first year.

What were the external obstacles that you had to overcome in reaching these milestones? And how specifically did you overcome them?

Laurie-Anne: We had a lot of early success with our marketing strategy. For about 8 months, it was working well and then suddenly, it stopped. Out of nowhere. We had invested so much in this one idea, and didn’t have a back-up way to get customers. Rather than switch paths, we doubled down on this strategy. We went back in to test and optimize and ended up investing even more into it. In the process, we discovered that we needed a new angle.

Up until this point, most of the marketing surrounding our company was centered around the self-care aspect of finances. When we went in to troubleshoot what had happened with our ad account, we learned that maybe there was a better way to sell this course. The angle we came up with brought us back to the original Dow Janes investment club. We turned the spotlight away from all of the work people would have to do before investing and towards the end goal of the program, which was getting women invested. We didn’t change anything else. The product was still exactly the same. There were still a lot of steps women had to take before investing, but the new marketing focus changed everything. Abandoning the emotionally driven angle for one that was focused on results brought our numbers back up.

Was there ever a point where you wanted to give up on your journey to creating a million dollar business? How did you work through that panic point? Please share a story.

Britt: We were lucky in that Laurie- Anne had already built a successful online business. Not only that, but she’d built it in a much less grounded market. We already knew what was possible, and that helped drive us. We also had first-hand experience with just how transformational our vision was. We both understood how liberating financial freedom was and Laurie-Anne had experience on the other side. Our desire to help women achieve what she had created for herself fueled us through any moments of doubt. We knew that we had something good on our hands and weren’t going to stop until we got it into the hands of as many women as possible.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Britt: The only reason I could even entertain the idea of starting this business was because I was taught personal finance growing up. My parents taught me the basics, my granddad taught me how to invest, my grandma how to save. It was all around me growing up. I was lucky because I got an education that most people don’t get when they’re kids. A financial education is something that everyone should and deserves to get. My family background allowed me to share my knowledge with those who never did.

Laurie-Anne: I’m incredibly grateful to be doing this with my best friend. We get to lift each other up, vent, and joke when it gets hard. Our business often feels like we’re doing a school project and we got assigned a great group! In reality, it’s a lot of hard work but it’s easier to do it with a friend.

Great! Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”. Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Solve a problem

If your business doesn’t solve a problem, you don’t have a market. We identified the problem before we built the business — that was essential.

Back when Britt was hosting her Dow Janes living room meet-ups, she realized that people wanted to invest, but didn’t have the tools or education to do so. As more and more people started asking when the next Dow Janes meeting was, she knew there was a market for this business. People would say “I heard about Dow Janes” “I want to join” “Can I bring a friend?” and it was clear that we were doing something that people wanted. This ultimately became the launching pad for our female-focused financial education platform.

2. Start at home

We didn’t have infinite resources at our disposal. We couldn’t afford to waste money on a product that people wouldn’t buy. So we decided to start small with our friends and family. We pre-sold our product through a Facebook post to our networks before putting any money into building it. We settled on a goal of 25. If we sold 25 we would invest more time and resources into the idea. We knew we were onto something when 40 people bought it. This gave us the assurance we needed and was a source of motivation.

3. Focus

We settled on a narrow customer acquisition strategy and honed in on it with a laser sharp focus. We didn’t waste any resources on other ideas that might not pan out. Devoting so much time and money into one product and one customer acquisition channel helped us create something excellent and effective. We knew that what we had was quality.

4. Mentorship

We couldn’t have created Dow Janes without the help of others. But we also wanted to keep a hands-on approach to the business in the early days. Mentorship was a huge part of how we struck that balance. There’s value in understanding every part of a business. We avoided outsourcing because we wanted more opportunities to learn. When you’re building something yourself, roadblocks become an opportunity for growth rather than just an inconvenience. For example, when our marketing strategy began to falter, Laurie-Anne began training with a marketing mentor. For over 6 months, she did daily training on how to run her own ads. Rather than let an external team handle our problem, she took the time to find a solution on her own. Now we’re prepared if something similar happens in the future.

5. Pivot when necessary

We had to try something new after our customer acquisition channel stopped working. Rather than start from scratch with a whole new approach, we pivoted slightly. We kept selling the same product in the same way, but adjusted the language in the marketing. And it worked! People came in with this new angle, but the strategy and the customer acquisition funnel remained the same.

We are sure that you are not done. What comes next? What’s your next big goal and why? What plan have you put in place to achieve it? Why is it a stretch for you? What will achieving it represent for you and for others?

Britt: Our next big goal is to launch our second product. We want to take women through the entire journey of a financial transformation. This starts with building a strong financial foundation, which our first product does. But it doesn’t end there. Our next step is to help women create financial freedom for themselves.

Our vision is that money isn’t something people have to worry about; instead we want money to be something that allows people to live with freedom and choice. Our second product will focus on creating passive sources of income and other strategies to create financial freedom so people can do what they want with their lives.

Building this second program will look a lot like the first: tons of research and a sharp focus. This time around we’re adding more partnerships and hiring more people to help run the business. We’ve accomplished a lot with a very lean team, but with additional products and more partnerships, it makes sense to grow and hire full-time employees. That transition is going to be a stretch because until this point, we haven’t had to do that much people-managing. It’s exciting to think about all that we’ll accomplish in this next chapter.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Laurie-Anne: I would love to see a world where all women have each other’s backs. There’s often such an unnecessary element of competition between women. The beauty of Dow Janes is that people know that they’re surrounded by allies. There’s nothing but support from all sides. It takes a community of supportive, loving, and nonjudgmental people to feel comfortable pursuing your goals. That’s what I want to see more of: women lifting each other up and supporting one another’s goals.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

Britt: Oprah! Who doesn’t want to meet Oprah?! To me, Oprah represents the ultimate example of creating a life of meaning, using it to change other peoples’ lives, and having an outsized influence on the world in the process. She’s such a role model and inspiration to me. Gosh, meeting Oprah would be the dream!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedowjanes

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dow.janes/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dow-janes

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us and our readers. We know that it will make a tremendous difference and impact thousands of lives. We are excited to connect further and we wish you so much joy in your next success.

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Sara Connell
Authority Magazine

Empowering Leaders To Become Bestselling Authors And In-Demand Speakers In Less Than A Year