This is the second installment of the Center’s new Impact on Innovators series in which we reconnect with some of the innovative, inspiring founders who are a part of our entrepreneurial community. Through this series we will shine a spotlight on the incredible entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the Center’s programming and, as a result, are growing their businesses and thriving as leaders. Today, let’s learn more about Vicki Johnson and ProFellow.
Vicki Johnson first started interacting with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center through the multitude of free expert resources and offerings provided for entrepreneurs to facilitate their journey. As a working mother, inspired by her time as a Fulbright fellow and Ph.D. student, she began her entrepreneurial journey full-time in 2016 where she used these tools to help build ProFellow. Vicki created her company with the mission of providing easy access funding opportunities and guidance for the competitive application process of professional and academic fellowships. As a solo entrepreneur, she sought mentorship to move her company from being just profitable and more “at working scale”.
In the summer of 2018, Vicki joined Milestone Makers, a 12-week immersive experience wherein a small cohort of entrepreneurs is selected to receive individualized business mentoring, coaching, training, and resources all at no cost. The goal is to help entrepreneurs set, hit, and celebrate milestones critical to company growth. Participants are matched with coaches and mentors who are leaders in their industry and given access to customized resources that meet each founder’s needs.
“The program and particularly the mentorship I received shifted my mindset around making money through my business. This might sound ridiculous, but I was more inclined to ‘serve’ than to ‘sell’, which was really holding me and the business back.” Working with the coach provided through the Milestone Makers program, Vicki was able to transform her mindset so that she was able to simultaneously serve and sell her services all while increasing her profit. Her experiences with her coaches, mentors, and cohort helped better her confidence in her services and she was able to redesign her original business approach. Vicki built her network and made new connections within the entrepreneurship community in San Francisco as well as with those within her industry.
In the 12-week Milestone Makers program, each participant defines a milestone they can achieve during those three months. Vicki’s milestone was to “build a new source of scalable revenue through an online course” through which she was able to “launch a pilot course and begin generating new revenue.” But the real success came much later. Her online course has doubled her income and exceeded the yearly revenue generated from her former business model.
Through the success of the new model developed during the program and by diversifying her services, she has fortified her business. “It’s helped to make my business more recession-proof, so my company has been able to weather the economic uncertainties of the pandemic.” Through the program’s applicable guidance and personalized mentorship, her current business model continues to serve both the company and her clients.
Although her experience with the Milestone Makers has concluded, she continues to participate with the Center’s offerings, stays connected to her network of entrepreneurs, and has even nominated Alison Mountford, a Milestone Maker in recently graduated 2020 Winter cohort. She would recommend the program to any entrepreneur who wishes to benefit from both business mentorship and executive coaching. Today, you can find Vicki continuing to build and run ProFellow, as well as her course and mentorship program, Fully Funded.
To learn more about the Milestone Makers program, click here.