Alignment With Your Divine Assignment (with Jevonnah Ellison)
In this episode, Jon and Les interview Jevonnah “Lady J” Ellison about her journey of transitioning her years of faithful ministry into a profitable business that powerfully serves business owners.
Jevonnah Ellison Interview
Jevonnah Ellison is originally from Los Angeles and now serves alongside her husband in leading a multi-site church.
In Jevonnah's words:
"I started my journey in entrepreneurship about eight years ago. I’ve been coaching informally for about 18 years, but in business for the last eight. As I began, I saw so many people, particularly ladies, who knew their life was meant for something more, many of them were in ministry.
And they knew that they wanted to do something else to help bring in income. And so now I lead a minority-owned, business-woman owned business called The Entrepreneurial First Lady, LLC, where we serve ladies who lead. We also work with some men as well, but primarily ladies who lead. We coach them in fields of entrepreneurial growth and help them to maximize their potential and show them they can create a life and a business that they love while supporting the ministry."
Jevonnah is a great example of how to niche down to a very specific audience, namely Christian women; and by speaking specifically to their needs, she reaches others as well.
Jevonnah says, “In my business worked with many pastors who also want to have a side income. They don’t want to depend on a particular family or group within the church to provide their entire income.”
“And so being able to serve different people from all backgrounds has been such a blessing for me because we all learn from each other. I've been able to lead that in the Mastermind model. We have people from all walks of life coming in there--female pastors, male pastors as well, who are saying, ‘You know what? I know I want to do something else. And I want to learn how to maximize that.’”
“So people are creating their own group coaching programs or creating their own live events. They're writing books. They're launching ideas that they've always wanted to try because they're inside a community that helps them thrive and flourish.”
One of the main focuses for Jevonnah is how to help people in ministry, specifically women, thrive in the face of very high expectations. She rightly points out that even though many pastors’ wives do not formally carry the title of pastor, they still have high expectations placed on them.
It's so important to remember that not every woman wants to be in ministry in the same way that her husband is. There are so many expectations placed on women in leadership. That's why it's so important that she knows what her priorities are.
Beautiful is a woman who is in alignment with her divine assignment.
To be a successful entrepreneur, Jevonnah knows it’s critical to have a compelling “Why”. Jevonnah’s why was given to her by a dear friend named Colette.
"Colette and I were the best of friends. We worked side-by-side actually at our church. We would always talk on our lunch breaks. We would dream. We would have dream sessions about our future; and we'd say, “One day I'm going to start this business. I'm going to write this book one day. I'm going to marry this person.” And we’d just talk and play and joke.
I’d make progress here and there. Then I'd check on Collette and I'd say, 'Hey, Colette, how are you doing with that last dream session?' She'd tell me, 'You know what? I have these great dreams, but I'm just scared. I just don't want to take that leap forward. I'm comfortable where I am. Maybe I'll try it next year or the year after that.'
Colette was 43 years old she got the cancer diagnosis. Two months later she was gone; and not just gone, but she passed on Christmas Eve; so Christmas Eve has a very soft spot in my heart.
She's only been gone eight years, but for me it seems like yesterday.
I remember when I found out she was gone, I fell on my knees and prayed,
'God, please equip me with the tools I need so no other person in my sphere of influence dies with their song still inside of them.'"
And for Jevonnah “Lady J” Ellison, everything started to snowball after that brief, but sincere prayer.
“You know, it's funny because sometimes I see so many women winning and going from a job they hate and to a life they now love, while making more money than they ever dreamed; and at the same time they’re coming into alignment with their divine assignment.”
“When I see their stories, and when I see them blossoming and thriving like that, I see a part of Collette. They are living out their dreams.”
“I thank God for that, because we do have to act today with what God has put inside us. We just don't know what tomorrow may bring. We need to cherish life and to do what we’re going to do now, and not waste another moment.”
Lady J’s latest project to help women fulfill their hopes and dreams in in a brand new book. She met so many women who expressed a desire to write a book that she decided to help them. She compares her role to a midwife, who comes alongside women to help push that dream out of them.
How To Make the Transition from Ministry to Business?
Often people with a ministry background ask, “How can I charge money for something I’ve done my entire life for free?
Jevonnah’s path to blend ministry and the marketplace serves as a great model.
- Make certain the intentions and motives of your heart are pure.
"I’m here to help push people to excellence. My purpose isn’t just to sign clients or my mastermind and make a lot of money. People can tell if you’re just trying to close the sale. I want to let people know I’m here to serve them. That’s the key.”
- Find the right mentor(s) or coach(es)
“I was working as the director at our learning center. I had a l20 minute drive to work every day, so I’d listen to the Entreleadership podcast with Dave Ramsey every single day.
I never missed an episode. A fire was lit, and it was in that process that I hired one of my first business coaches, a significant five figure investment. So as was learning all this material in the process, I was leading a weekly ladies Bible study.
- Look around you, and tap into what God is already doing.
"I didn't have a business while I was teaching this ladies Bible study. t was a part of the ministry. I still teach it to this day. We have about 700 women in that group today, but back then we averaged about 70 women that would come out in person on their lunch break every Thursday.
And we'd all just gather. Sometimes we would bring our lunch and sit around and laugh and study the word of God. We’d encourage one another and challenge one another as well. "
- Focus on serving others, and take a leap of faith.
So it was in that process where I said, ‘You know what? I'm learning about business over here. I'm just going to try and see what happens. So I had a little brochure made up and passed them out at out Bible study. Nothing fancy, and I called it my very first VIP day. Now I'm not going to get into the logistics of what that looked like. But what I did was I said, okay, I'm going to offer this to the people that I've already poured value into.
[For our purposes, we’re not going to go into all the details of how Jevonnah launched her business, but if you’d like to hear more details feel free to subscribe to the Backstage version of the podcast or our EntrePastors membership community.]
Lastly, it’s important to note that you’ll still feel led to serve without charging anyone for the services. Listen to the voice of the Lord, and do for one person what you may not do for everyone.
I think it's what we are genuinely and authentically called to; that is, while we make money in business and ministry we keep our hearts in tune with serving people.
So what's something you can do right now that would help you live the life of an entrepreneur? Determine your next step and take it;
And don't compare your backstage with somebody else's front stage. Women have a tendency to compare themselves with other women. My word of encouragement to you is, you already have what it takes. Just start with baby steps. Map out where you want to go and plan the steps to take you there.
What can you do in the next 90 days? Not the next five years; just the next 90 days, the next three months as it relates to this area of my life or of my business. Start there and then take baby steps.
Are you trying to figure out where to even start with building a business or creating some side income for your family?
The best place to start is with your own passions and unique abilities.
Our FREE 5-Step Get Started Guide will walk you through the process of determining the best starting point for you AND includes 50+ business ideas.
Developed for pastors by pastors.
PLUS we’ll send you regular emails that will continue to guide your journey as an EntrePastor.
Just tell us where to send your resources:
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.