Achieving post divorce success

Tamsin talks to multi seven figure business woman Lisa Johnson. Lisa is a passive and semi-passive income coach. She is twice divorced and has come back from the depths to develop the lifestyle and business she has today. Lisa’s story is an inspiration to many. It’s great to be able to share it with you.

Lisa Johnson is a multi seven-figure business strategist who makes 90% of her money through passive or semi-passive income streams. In one launch alone during the global pandemic in 2021 she made £2.5m in a week - earning £1m in the first hour of sales! After a tough childhood spent in social housing, Lisa went on to have successful careers in law, banking and the entertainment industry. Her background in overcoming obstacles has helped mould her into a bold, straight talking coach, who is never afraid to be an authentic and outspoken truth teller. She has spoken on the BBC’s Women’s Hour and is a Thrive Global Contributor. She has been featured in national newspapers and magazines including The Telegraph, Psychologies, The Guardian and Fast Company. A feature on Lisa in Forbes magazine garnered over a quarter of a million views in a week. Lisa is a huge believer that everyone can become a success no matter their background, is an ambassador for the charity BulliesOut and is known for her anti-bullying campaigning online. Lisa lives in Bedfordshire, UK with her husband and twin sons but coaches around the globe.

You can find Lisa on

Instagram ­

Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.

You can contact Tamsin at or arrange a free initial meeting using She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK

Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd


(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)

Tamsin Caine 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. In series four, we're going to be talking to various different professionals and authors who have gone through divorce and dissolution of a civil partnership to talk about the future, and how you can start helping things to look much more positively. And we have some fantastic guests lined up. But if there is anything specific that you would like us to cover, please do get in touch. And you can contact me through our website, www dot smart And I look forward to hearing from you soon. Enjoy. Hello, and welcome to the smart divorce Podcast. I'm delighted to be joined today by Lisa Johnson. Lisa is a passive income specialist. And I'm actually on one of her courses at the minute. And when I heard her story, it made me realise just how much that she hopefully will be able to help you guys by just telling her story. So she's she's been divorced twice. And, and her story is amazing. So we talked today about her journey from poverty to a multi seven figure business. And I really hope that you find her story inspirational that you find. It helps you to start thinking about your new chapter and the things that you would like to achieve in your life. And it doesn't need to be a multi seven figure business. And Lisa will tell you that that's not where she started in her dreams. You know, she couldn't even have thought about that. And I'm sure you're in the same position. But I'm really hope you enjoy our conversation today. Let's jump in.

Hi, and welcome to the Smart Divorce Podcast. I'm so chuffed to be joined today by Lisa Johnson. If you've not heard Lisa before, where have you been? But Lisa is a multi seven figure business strategist who specialises in helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses using passive and semi passive income. And she is everywhere on social media, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. And I am currently going through her course. Although I am one of the many of us who are massively behind. But I'm not going to talk about that today. What we are going to talk about is that Lisa has, like many of you now been divorced, in fact she's been divorced twice. And she has come out the other side and achieved incredible things. And I wanted to talk to Lisa because think she's hopefully going to give you guys who going through it some hope that things can work out for the better. So welcome, Lisa, thank you for joining me.

Lisa Johnson 1:18
Thanks for having me.

Tamsin Caine 1:19
That's an absolute pleasure. And so I heard your story a little while ago when I was doing one of your challenges. Because I'm a glutton for punishment. And I followed your challenge to the letter and made it all the way through the end.

Lisa Johnson 1:25
Not everyone does so well done.

Tamsin Caine 3:19
Thank you. I was quite pleased about that bit. Not doing as well with the with the one to me course. But yeah, so you told your story and that yes, you're a multi seven figure business woman now. But it's not always been like that for you has it?

Lisa Johnson 4:04
no there's there's been a lot of adversity in my life. But I'm a huge believer that adversity actually can feel our success. So things that are bad at the time and that you feel like you can't get through at the time of which that's happened to me a multitude of times has actually been the things that when I look back on I realised have made me who I am and where I am now.

Tamsin Caine 4:31
Yeah, absolutely. Like these things definitely make you stronger. And one of the things that we always talk about in these podcasts is is about you can come through the other side of divorce and and have a really positive experience. So would you share with us? I know a new you've been through divorce twice and and they weren't. They weren't great experiences at the time. Would you be willing to share those with us?

Lisa Johnson 4:58
Yeah, so the first The first time I got married, I just turned 18. I think it was like couple of days after my 18th birthday. And I had a chaotic childhood where my, my dad bought me up as a single parent from the age of 11, with my sister and we were born into poverty. So we lived in council housing on an estate. And I then got bullied throughout my whole childhood because of I was poor, and I got a scholarship to a private, very affluent school. And so I've been bullied my whole life really up until this point. And then my dad got married to somebody who already had nine children. So there's 12 of us suddenly, 12-13 at any one time living in this like,

Tamsin Caine 5:47
Oh, my word.

Lisa Johnson 5:48
So the first person that came along, showed me any interest, I also grew up in Mormon. And so there was no dating or, you know, going out drinking alcohol or anything like that it was quite a strict religion. And so the first person that came along and showed me any interest at all, I married after, like, a few months, and he was a lot older than me. And, yeah, by that point, I was attracting people who were bullies, because my whole being was he was comfortable with that situation and was used to that situation. And he was one and I didn't know that until I was married. And so it turned into a bit of a domestic violence situation, which I got out of when I was 21. It took a long time to leave. And I think that I viewed because of my upbringing. And because of like, what my religion had taught me, I view divorce as like failure, like, this is a bad thing to do. So I stayed for much longer than I should have, because I didn't want that failure. And it was only my dad and my sister, like, who got me out in the end because they could see what was going on. And, and I managed to get out of that situation. But I think that because of my self esteem was so low throughout my childhood and adolescence, because then you know, I was 21. So far, it's not been like a good game.

Tamsin Caine 7:08
Flipping. even imagine, I mean, I work with so many people who are going through who are in abusive relationships and and now to get out of when you say something, 40 something 50 something... to get out of it when you barely even an adult.

Lisa Johnson 7:28
And didn't like myself very much. Because people had told me my whole life, that I was nothing that I would never make any of myself because I was poor, because I didn't have a mother. So I wasn't very well groomed, you know, all of these kinds of things. And they told me, I was stupid. And I knew I wasn't. But I'd heard it even from my husband, I'd heard it from so many people that I started to think it was true. And that just attracts you more and more to the wrong people. And eventually, I I actually got to a point after that, when I got my first job, I was bullied in that job, because I was so I was so I think I probably came across as quite aloof. Because I just felt awkward around people, I was terrified of groups of people. And so I just like be on my own all the time head down. And that probably made me seem like a very easy target. So in my first job, I got bullied by a gang of girls there. And I was so used to it by this point. But my boss pulled me in when I was 23. I was 22 or 23 and said, Look, we're going to have to sack you because we can't sack the entire workforce. And we're worried about your safety, which I'll find new now what I knew that like I knew them I knew now, I would be a millioner, like just

Tamsin Caine 8:44
be employers in that, literally.

Lisa Johnson 8:47
But I left and so I had this situation where I went home that day, to this one bedroom, like bedsit, having been divorced already having been bullied my whole life having been bullied at my first job, not knowing what I was going to do, and didn't really want to go on. Like, I was like, okay, I'd rather not be here. This does not, this isn't gonna go my way. And so it took a bottle took some pills, and was like, right, let's just end it like who will care? And then this tiny voice, like in in me was going, what if they're all wrong? What if all those people that have told you that you'll never make anything of yourself that you'll never get? You know, find the right person that you're never make any money that you'll always be struggling? What if that's all wrong? And how are you even know? And so I decided to give myself a test. So I thought, okay, let's test this out. If I can do something hard, well that I perceive as hard, then I will allow myself to live and it will mean that they're wrong. Because if I can do one hard thing, it means I can do more things. But if I can't do it, then they're right. And I'll allow myself to go with without any kind of like, guilt, or anything like that, so I gave myself this test. And then I thought almost the tests gonna be like, what's the hard thing to do? And I'd left school with nothing at age 16, because I never went to school because the bullying. And so I said, Okay, well, I'll do a degree, right? Don't worry about a levels or anything like that, I'll go straight into a degree. And I'll do it while I work full time, I'll go and get a job, like an obvious Junior type job admin assistant type job. And I'll do this degree. And I was like, what are the hardest ways to do and I looked it up. And it was medicine and law. And I had no interest in medicine. But because I've just been sacked, I had quite an interest in law. And I was like, right, I'm going to do this law degree. So I went and got an admin assistant job, and I enrolled in a distance learning law degree with Northumbria University, where every year, I would, they would send me a load of books in September, and then every May, I would go there for a week, take all the exams. And that happened for four years. And so every night after work, I would go home, and I would study for three hours on my own and just get it done. And after four years, I graduated with a high two, one, I was one mark offer first. And so I'd proved to myself that actually everyone was wrong. And if I could just be left alone to get on with stuff, I actually would be able to do the things I needed to do. And it just gave me a bit more confidence and raise my self esteem. And so then I kind of clawed my way up a corporate ladder, I went into law didn't really like law, just thought, well, I've got the degree now went into investment banking. And so after that first divorce, only a few years later, I was I was in investment banking, earning really good money, like 60 to 80 grand in investment banking. And so I proved that you can come out of that. Like, okay, let you know that no matter what's happened to you in a marriage, you get to decide yourself afterwards what you want from them, and no one can stop you because it's just you. And then got married again. When I was around 34. And this time, I got married to a party animal because I had been so sheltered I think, in my childhood, that I was suddenly had this newfound freedom. And so I got married to somebody that was really interesting, really exciting, or is the life and soul of the party, which is all very well, until three days after you get married, you accidentally get pregnant with twins. No twins in my family. So then, it was like we wouldn't know each other enough, you know, to, to do that that quickly. And so the babies were born and my life completely changed. And his didn't, it just carried out how it was before. Because it could so he was still going out every night partying, doing all the things and that was at home with these two babies that weren't screaming the whole time. And you know, kids weren't on my agenda. Ever. There weren't something that I planned for

Tamsin Caine 13:03
them twins

Lisa Johnson 13:04
and twins.

Tamsin Caine 13:05
I mean, your twins are absolutely adorable. But... Oh, my word. Yeah. Pretty much doing that on your own because I wasn't my hubby's out been party animal. Yeah, have any choice because somebody got

Lisa Johnson 13:20
exactly. And so I then went back to work at five when they were five months old. And realised very quickly that the relationship wasn't sustainable. And I jumped into something because I thought it was, you know, this is great, this is fun, I feel happy. I've you know, all of the things that have happened to me have led me to that point. And realised that actually what I needed was just to be me, and to just find my way on my own and be a single parent. And so he agreed. It was a nice amicable divorce. So we split up. And actually, he's become a much better father. Since we've split up like he, he is really good with the kids. Every tick, we had joint custody for the first few years, like three, four years, and then I moved away. So I have them full time, and he sees them every other weekend. But it was then that I went back to work and was like, Okay, now suddenly, I can't see my kids and I'm a single parent, like, I'm a co parent, but most of the time, it's just me. And yet I'm going out to work at six o'clock in the morning. I'm coming back at 10 o'clock at night and I never see them. So I knew that I'd written my story before. So it was time to rewrite the story again. And so I thought well, the only thing I can do really is go and get a job near my house so that I can at least see them you know before and after. So I got this went straight right the way back down to being an office junior admin assistant. Here's what I'd done before. They were the only jobs available and I at least got to see them, but it meant going from a really good salary At 20,000 a year on my own with two more mouths to feed. And so I very quickly got into debt. And within a year or two, I was like 30,000 in debt. And, you know, my entire family, really everyone I've ever known for my background has lived hand to mouth has always been a bit in debt. So it seemed quite a normal thing for me to do. But in this job, I got bored, because I was like, used to doing a lot more things. And so I got a bit bored and well, maybe I can start a business. And I was 38. When I started my first business, as a wedding planner made every mistake under the sun lost a lot more money than I made. And so after the first year, I realised that you know, is now like 35,000 in debt. And if I wanted to make something of this, I needed to learn about business and do this properly. So I started while I was there to learn everything I could about business, and I turned that business around. And then after two, or about two or three years of doing weddings, I realised that I had a knack for teaching other people how to make money in business. And so when I was 40, like four years ago, I started Lisa Johnson, my consultancy business, and everything changed from them. So, you know, I started out with 35,000 pounds in debt in that business. And now make 4 million a year. And it's only been four years. So my whole life has changed. And in that time I met somebody else I've married my soulmate person I should have been with right from beginning but you never know until. And that's the funny thing. Like when you get divorced, you don't think you're ever going to meet the right person, especially if you get divorced twice, you're like sworn off it. I don't think that the right person is out there for me. And I'm really bad at making judgments about people. So maybe I need to not, but when the right person comes along, it's so different, like the support that I had, and him wanting to champion me all the time, rather than it being a competition in our marriage, which is what it felt like before. And yeah, you know, like, he works for me, he's in my business the whole time, he's the stay at home dad to his step sons. So we have an amazing team relationship now.

Tamsin Caine 17:21
there's just so many of those parts to that story that kind of made me think that this is his felt like fairy tale, isn't it. But I know that it's not really a fairy tale, because it's, it takes hard work, doesn't it and, and it takes understanding the business and kind of having been through your course and, and your talent, like I know, there's so much to it. And it's, it's a huge amount of dedication, that's, that's got you to that point. But it's, it is a lot of belief, isn't it,

Lisa Johnson 17:54
it's a lot of belief. And I had to completely turn around my confidence because after you know, after every divorce, that there is a confidence, massive confidence dip in your own ability and your self worth. And so I think that you have to be really strong in your belief in yourself. And the way I kind of do that is I kind of think of your self worth, like, like you have a shield. So if you if you write down everything you don't like about you and we all don't like things about ourselves, like so many things. And you write down the things you do like about yourself and that you are good at. And you take all of those things bad and good and decide that you're going to love yourself with both like even with the bad things that you're trying to change. And that is what creates self worth. And then when someone says something bad about you, or when someone makes you feel like crap, whether it's a ex husband or whatever, it won't go in because you you already know who you are. And so you say, Well, I'm not gonna I'm gonna learn from it, but I'm not going to take it on board. But simultaneously, if someone says something good to you, you have to do the same. You can't only decide to take on the good, not the bad. So you know, as a entrepreneur, and a woman, it's a roller coaster. Sometimes if people say something nice to you, your self esteem goes right up and your confidence goes right up, they say something bad or you get a complaint or someone you know makes a bad comment at you it goes down and what you don't want is that roller coaster. You want it to always be flat and the only way you'll get that is by this intrinsic self belief that you have about yourself and your your knowledge and your traits and the bad parts about you that stays intact. Nothing extrinsic should be able to touch that.

Tamsin Caine 19:39
I think that's an that's amazing advice. I do think that I think you make it sound very easy not

Lisa Johnson 19:49
to get to that point.

Tamsin Caine 19:50
Yeah, absolutely. Confidence is a really tricky thing, isn't it? And it sounds like there wasn't a huge amount of confidence. They're from like, an early age. So it's not like, when people looking at you today good to go. Yeah, she's she's ever known what, what it's like to not feel good about yourself. But that's not the case is it?

Lisa Johnson 20:15
People had seen me even like 15 years ago, walking down a street, if there was a gang of women, I would cross the road because I was so not confident to be able to walk past them. Like, my confidence was really low. And it's, it's gone up more and more and more. Because as the years have gone on, I've realised that the only person that has a say in you, is you, not anybody else. And I'm glad that I did that work on myself. And it was work, you know, I had to work on myself every day. But I'm glad I did it. Because now being in this online world, I get more bullying and I've ever had, but it just doesn't affect me in the same way.

Tamsin Caine 21:00
Yeah, I think that's it. So lots of people I know. And lots of people I talked to who as adults have the kind of look of somebody very confident, were bullied at school have been bullied at work. I mean, I was bullied at school. And I think it's, it's fairly commonplace. And it can be, we'll pick on whatever when they find they'll find a chink in the armour and and once they've got it that will just be like, pick pick, pick it up, right, you know, is, is only you who can change it. And I think when you when you do go through divorce you you are at that all time, like why, you know, it's like this, this should be easy, but it's not a new set before about it feeling like failure. And I think most people feel like that when they come out divorce because it kind of feels like well, I've stuffed up this.

Lisa Johnson 21:57
Yeah. And it isn't a failure. Every single thing we do in life is a learning. And actually what we know the reason that, like you said, like people who have been bullied or people that have been through adversity, they seem to be the ones doing well in things like business, and they seem to be the more confident people now as adults. The reason for that is simply because most people if they do something hard as an adult, if there's an obstacle in their path, and they want to get somewhere, let's say they start a business, but there's an obstacle in the way. If you've not been to adversity, you give up at that point, you go, Oh, well, I tried. If you've been through anything, whether it's divorce, bullying, anything like that, that has been, you've had to work hard to get through it don't stay intact, then what happens is you see an obstacle and your brain already knows that they have to find a way through it, round it, undo it. But you will get through it because you've been through worse. Yeah. And so that's why people who have been through hard things in their life end up doing amazing things and living extraordinary. Yeah,

Tamsin Caine 22:59
no, absolutely right. I want to talk for a few minutes, minutes if it's all right about passive and semi passive income. So a lot of the people that I work with, they perhaps the lesser lower earner of the couple. So when they go their separate ways, their lifestyle, however much they try not to, you know, you go from one house, when you both live there to two houses, there is less money, it's it's kind of a fact of life on foot shape. But one of the things that we've talked about is okay, well, what about looking for a promotion? What about looking for a new job? What about doing something different? What about side hustle or thinking about some passive income, and I know this is your area of expertise, because it's why I'm on your course.

Lisa Johnson 23:50
So a lot of the people that I work with are women that have suddenly found themselves in a position where they don't have money from something else anymore, whether that's because of the pandemic that happened or because they're going through a divorce or whatever. And you can, I think if people realised how much money they could make, just from the knowledge that is already in their head, I'll give you an example. One of my clients, you probably know her, Danny, she, when she was a client, when I first met her, she was doing speaking gigs, not doing good singing gigs. She was a singer. She's got kids, she was living in an area she didn't want to be living in, and had to make money. And actually, when you are in a position where you have to make money, you will do the hard things that it takes to make it and she came to me and I said, you know, if you are good at singing, that means that you have a really good stage presence, you understand about confidence on stages. And she said, Oh, yeah, I could teach people how to do that. Like, oh, let's do that. Then. She's made over 300,000 pounds in 18 months from, you know, from using the knowledge she already had in her head and she'll make a million by next year. You can see it going up and up and up. And it's because she has the confidence to know that the knowledge in our head isn't common knowledge in which we always think that everybody knows what we know. But it doesn't have to be a business skill, like lots of women say to me, but I've never actually, like been in business, or I've only had like certain types of jobs. There are things you know how to do that others want to know. So like for me, I can tell you, I could write an ebook on how to get around Disney under two under two, which is the first book I wrote, I could probably write a course on how to potty train twins, because I've done it. So it's all about the things you've done yourself the experiences that you've had, that makes you the expert in a room. So what can you teach somebody else that just needs that bit more knowledge of what you know?

Tamsin Caine 25:47
Yeah. And I think that's really, that's really interesting. Remember? I can't remember when it was you said it, but but it's not. It's not something that you have to be feel like you're an expert at, you're just like, no more than the average in the room.

Lisa Johnson 26:07
Yeah, you don't. It's i My definition of an expert is the person that knows the most about a particular subject in an average room? Because that is what an expert is. It doesn't have to be like, you see people online, and they're like, Yeah, but they know everything. Like, for instance, if somebody knew about fitness, they could say, oh, well, I can't teach anyone because Joe Wicks exists. Or they could realise that that means that there's a lot of people that want to know how to do it, there's already a market there, so why not have your share?

Tamsin Caine 26:34
Yeah, absolutely. And, and it's about thinking about all the things that that you do know about. And we, you know, each individual knows loads of things about, about some things, but, you know, anyone can't know everything about, a subject?

Lisa Johnson 26:49
No, and you need to know, if you have to think back to jobs, you've had, like people say to me things like Yeah, but I've only worked in like PR and advertising, I might you know, how many people who are entrepreneurs would like bite your hand off to know how to get an article published, or they say things like, Well, I've only ever worked in a call centre and are like, that means you know, everything about the customer experience and how to get sales. Like, you all know, something, it's bringing that stuff to the fore and learning how to sell it.

Tamsin Caine 27:17
Yeah, absolutely. And, and you can do this without huge commitment all the time. So that's the idea of the passive and semi passive income business. It's not a kind of, doesn't have to be a full time commitment. On the side of your office job.

Lisa Johnson 27:37
That is what most people start off with, they and I did Tim so they do a side hustle. And then as it grows, they decide whether they want to leave their jobs. Some people just always have the side hustle. It takes it there's a lot of hard work in the beginning with passive and semi passive things you do to grow an audience and those kinds of things. It becomes passive later on down the line. But it's worth it. Like it's changed my life. I work 30 hours a month, you know, and get time to spend with my kids

Tamsin Caine 28:06
Yeah, and that is that is really important. And, you know, even if we've got people listening, who are like, well, you know, I can't ever imagine in that moment, it's not about necessarily generating a seven figure income. It's, it's about generating what you need to live the life that you want to live, isn't it?

Lisa Johnson 28:25
Well, my success at the beginning was I never thought I'd get to seven because that wasn't the plan. My I wanted to earn 2000 pounds a month, so that it allowed me to be earning what I was earning pre divorce. That's all I wanted. That was my success factor. And then you always find more success factors afterwards. That doesn't even have to be money. It could be well, I want to work three days a week, and spend two days being able to take the kids to school. You know, things like that doesn't always have to be about money.

Tamsin Caine 28:56
Yeah, it's about whatever motivates you. I think that's, that's really brilliant. Lisa, thank you so much. And how can our listeners get hold of you if they want to join one of your courses? Learn more about passive income? Where do they find you?

Lisa Johnson 29:12
The easiest way is Instagram at Lisa Johnson strategist. You'll see behind the scenes of me and the kids and everything that we go through. And do I'm very open about what it takes to run a multi seven figure business that you won't see any like perfect pictures and friendships just as being as but I believe that the more real and raw we can be and the more we talk about the issues that we have had in our lives, and that goes for everyone listening, you're going through something that means you can help someone else who goes through that eventually, then the better because then it becomes less taboo.

Tamsin Caine 29:46
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you for your words of wisdom. And do check Lisa out on Instagram because her Instagram feed is utterly hilarious. her courses brilliant so I could kind of strongly recommend that as well. So thank you Lisa

I and I hope you enjoy that that episode of the smart boss podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go into the website www dot smart Also if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify and you wouldn't mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce and dissolving a civil partnership. Also if you would like some work further support we do have Facebook group now. It's called separation divorce and dissolution UK. Please do go on to Facebook search of the group and we'd be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care


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