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How To Do More Without Being Busier: This Founder Clones Thought-Leaders Using AI

By solving her own problems first, Jodie Cook scaled a brand new SaaS company to 6-figures pre-launch.

Everybody reading this has at some point wished they had the ability to be in two places at once.

That’s especially true for founders, creators, and media personalities, who get lots of requests for coaching and consulting that they often have to turn down because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Well, Hampton member Jodie Cook is changing that. Her company, Coachvox AI, helps real people train AI chatbots on their writing and creative work so that more people have access to their insights and advice.

It’s her second successful company, and she grew it to 6-figures in ARR pre-launch, without spending a penny on ads.

In this piece, she dives deep into…

  • How she systematized her first company to run without her
  • The idea for Coachvox AI, and how they built the MVP
  • Top growth channels, and lessons learned testing them
  • “Oh shit” moments that changed the trajectory of the business
  • How her career as an athlete impacts her approach to business
  • Challenges that all AI companies must overcome
  • Where she sees untapped opportunity
  • And more…

My favorite part – her approach to time and energy management. As a founder, Forbes columnist, and international athlete, Jodie’s serious about treating time carefully. 

Her example proves that you can do more with less if you have the discipline to focus on what’s actually important to you.

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Jodie Cook and I founded Coachvox AI. We make artificially intelligent coaches based on real people: creators, thought leaders, authors, and entrepreneurs. 

They have content – frameworks, books, articles and podcasts that help their audience – and they want to make more impact without producing more, or being busier.

Creators simply upload their content and begin chatting to an AI version of them. They hit publish, share the link, and this AI works on their behalf, coaching, mentoring and answering questions just like they would. It collects leads and data on their website and in their membership groups and engages with their audience.

Our creators are essentially cloning themselves. They don’t need to keep producing content. They’ve already done the hard work, now they get the rewards.

We hit 6-figures ARR pre-launch and we’re building the waitlist to open more spaces in September. We’re also raising investment to supercharge the platform and make our AI coaches seriously advanced.

Originally from the UK, I also compete internationally in powerlifting and write about entrepreneurship and AI as a Forbes contributor. I move to a different place every few months and have lived in 30 cities since 2015 with favorites including San Diego, Melbourne, Cape Town and Queenstown.

Best competition deadlift:

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

In 2021 I sold my social media agency in a 7-figure exit.

I ran that agency as a lifestyle business. I systemized it completely, which allowed me to travel the world and train.

In March 2020 I was feeling cocky. The agency was growing and functioning without much of my input. I was living in a new city for one month in every quarter, with travel plans in the diary. My lifts were all going up and I was ready for my next powerlifting competition.

Then covid hit.

In one week, the company shrank by 25%. Clients in travel, hospitality and events were having a horrible time, which resulted in them canceling their contracts with us.

Then it got worse.

The gym was forced to close and competitions were postponed indefinitely. The trips I had booked were canceled, and I couldn’t leave the UK.

Everything changed and optimism turned to pessimism.

My team was self-sufficient and ran the agency brilliantly. We had standard operating procedures (SOPs) for absolutely everything, but there was no SOP for this. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

What followed was four of the most intense months of my career to date. I got back involved on a whole new level. The (now remote) team rallied together to plan how we’d make it out the other side.


We started emailing our list every day, running webinars twice a week, and calling our entire database in a desperate attempt to replace the clients we had lost. We made digital products including courses to make up for lost revenue and we shifted our focus to industries less affected by the pandemic. I tried to outwork covid. The team did too.

It paid off. Within those four months, we not only grew to our pre-covid size, we grew another 20%. The clients that had canceled were starting to come back and more growth was ahead. I took a long hard look in the mirror to decide my next step.

As I saw it, I had three options:

  1. Go back to normal, leaving the team to run the company.
  2. Get back involved and grow it to a new level.
  3. Hand over the reins and find a new challenge.

Here’s the question that made the decision easy: “If I was starting from scratch, is this the company I’d start?” The answer was no. It was time to sell.

Form CTA

I signed with a broker who said a sale would take six months. I met 12 potential buyers, had second meetings with six, and received three offers. While the sale was going through, I wrote a book, Ten Year Career, to document the decade of lessons running the business.

Six months later, the deal was complete. My handover took two weeks and then I was free. Suddenly I had a lot of blank space in my calendar. My instinct was to fill it.

People wanted meetings. They wanted coaching and mentoring and to book me on podcasts. They wanted to talk about my book and pick my brain on how to sell their company. I wasn’t yet sure what I wanted to do, but I didn’t want to be busy for no reason. I didn’t have a team to do the delivery anymore.

So many people don’t get anything done because the goal of their calendar is to be filled. They don’t filter what gets in. I want to wake up every morning feeling excited about a day of hell yeahs, not 7 out of 10s. But saying no to the 7s (people, opportunities, places, events) can be tough.

The idea for Coachvox AI came from this problem, and answering these questions:

  • How can I help people without booking meetings?
  • How can my books and courses make more impact?
  • How can I clone myself without building another team?

The company started out as a platform for business coaching by voice note, and we began creating AI coach versions of thought leaders in early 2023. We made Jodie AI as an AI business coach prototype, and trained an (unofficial) Ray Dalio AI so entrepreneurs can get coached by his expertise for free. (We sent Ray the login details!)

Coachvox AI rewards creators who have been writing, recording and producing for years, because now they can be everywhere at once, without being busier. They can earn more and make more impact simply by leveraging work they have already done. No longer limited by time or energy, they can effectively scale themselves to infinity.

A Twitter thread on Coachvox AI

Take us through the process of building and launching the first version of your product.

We had set up the original Coachvox so creators could make more money with less time, switching from synchronous communication to asynchronous. With Coachvox AI, we were going to involve artificial intelligence and remove the need for their time entirely. We just had to figure out how to build it.

I started the tech discovery process by asking around. I asked the Bubble agency who had built our original platform if they knew any prompt engineers, and searched LinkedIn for anyone I knew working in AI. I booked calls and quizzed them on what was possible. I called a technical friend called Matt, having previously been part of the same mastermind, and he ultimately came on board as our technical lead.

The platform that is now Coachvox AI started off as pages of scribbled notes, then some janky diagrams in PowerPoint that our UX designer turned into a set of mockups. Matt and our new team built it into reality.


We started selling creator spaces from the mockups, collecting signups using Typeform and a Stripe checkout page, then opened the doors to our founding creators who trained their own AI versions.

Those early creators were friends and people we knew from networks. We looked after them as if they were agency clients, not SaaS customers. Their feedback turned into improvements and new features and we opened more spaces.

Since launch, what growth channels have been most effective for you?

We haven’t spent any money on marketing yet. In some ways, we get paid to acquire customers because my Forbes contributor profile has been responsible for 25% of our signups.

Creators find us via Forbes, Twitter, LinkedIn, AI tool directories and Google searches. They visit the website, chat to our demo AI business coach, and sign up from there. We’re applying experience in social media marketing and SEO, plus building an agency and serving clients, to Coachvox AI. A new challenge with the same toolbox, focused right now on Forbes and Twitter.

The strategy for Forbes: Doubling down on sharing what we learn about AI for entrepreneurs. I’ve been a Forbes contributor for 5 years and had 3.5 million views on my articles, but 1 million of these were in the last 6 weeks thanks to being more intentional. I write about how entrepreneurs can start an AI business and use AI tools including ChatGPT. They connect and say hey and some sign up for Coachvox AI.

The strategy for Twitter: Engaging with people in the AI space, suggesting collaborations, being introduced to their audiences and mentioned in their newsletters. Rowan from The Rundown AI and Ben from Ben’s Bites have been especially awesome, as have Kieran Drew’s Twitter course and Lara Acosta’s second opinions.

Lesson one: doing less but better. Not trying to do every single channel, but focusing all our energy on just a few. Getting help from people who know how to play that channel’s game, geeking out on best practice and being prepared to experiment and make adjustments.

Lesson two: leverage my ace cards. We all have them, but we don’t always use them. Friends with expertise who are happy to give pointers that make a difference, former acquaintances who will set up introductions, plus past networks, successes and channels that can be carried forward and used in a new way.

Did you ever have an “oh shit” moment where you thought it wouldn’t work?

The first iteration of Coachvox (the platform for business coaching by voice note) held many, “oh shit” moments where we suspected it wouldn’t work. The business model relied on our coaches getting clients, which meant we had to sell twice: once to convince them to join, and again to their prospective clients.

It didn’t take off as we had hoped. We signed up plenty of coaches but most of them didn’t have any clients on the platform. They were selling their main programs, not voice note coaching. They wanted us to get them clients, but this wasn’t the platform’s focus.

Another “Oh shit” moment came when a friend asked, “Why aren’t you telling people about Coachvox?” I was guesting on podcasts to promote my book, Ten Year Career. The host would ask about my next move and I was intentionally vague. LinkedIn was hassling me to “Update your current experience” and I didn’t do it.

After a successful exit I was feeling pressure for my next thing to be really good. Deep down I knew this business wasn’t there yet, so I avoided promoting it. But this meant it couldn’t take off, and I felt stuck.

So many people underestimate the intensity required to do something well. That intensity wasn’t there. Since Coachvox became Coachvox AI the motivation is back and I feel proud to share what I’m doing. It’s taking off because of that realization. I call it founder energy: when a founder is fully behind their mission the energy is infectious. When they’re not all-in, it’s doomed to fail.

Can you break down the keys to this business model for us? What makes it work? And What do outsiders typically not understand about your industry?

Coachvox AI is a SaaS. Our creators pay $99 per month for an AI version of them that coaches, mentors and answers questions just like they would. They embed their AI version on their website or within their member community or course.

They create everything within our platform without having technical prompting skills or knowing how to code. They upload their documents and the system turns them into AI training material.

For our creators, having an AI version of them can grow their influence as a thought leader. Their audience is bored of regular lead magnets like PDFs, free webinars and quizzes, but an AI coach based on their content will keep adding value.

Creators save hours every day not having to answer questions themselves. Their websites convert more visitors to leads. Their existing clients get more value. With an AI version of them, the creator stays relevant and more prominent in the minds of their audience. Some of our creators charge for access to their AI version, usually around $10 per month.

All of our sales come through and people find us from Forbes, Twitter, Google and AI tool directories. They come recommended from creator membership groups and networks. We’re exploring affiliate platforms.

The most common reason for failure in the AI industry is that many products aren’t much more than a few lines of code on top of ChatGPT, which means the barriers to entry are low and anyone can create the same tool. If that’s the case, bigger companies can release an update that wipes out your entire business. When Zoom released a transcript feature, it made plenty of AI meeting tools redundant, and the same will keep happening. You have to create something with depth, or it’s a house of cards.

What platform/tools are absolutely crucial for your business?

A founder’s most effective tools are their attention, energy and mental game, so I work on making the most of them, trying to subtract instead of add. The tools that really make the difference are:

  • A focus playlist on the Calm website, for deep work
  • Airplane mode on my iPhone, to remove interruptions
  • Notebooks for expanding ideas without notifications or technology
  • Discussing ideas over food with my husband and other founders

The tech stack includes Basecamp, Google Cloud Storage, Vercel, Open AI, Hey email and Jira, but the most benefit has come from what we don’t do, rather than what we do.

For me that looks like this: No Calendly, and no one can book into my calendar. No Threads, TikTok, or any social media without a game plan. No Netflix or news site subscriptions because it’s too easy to mindlessly consume. I don’t have email on my phone, I just check it in batches. No notifications. No scrolling news feeds. My phone is on airplane mode for most of the day and I don’t use it when I train.

I realize this sounds intense, but the goal is to be world class in two areas (as a founder and athlete), not mediocre at a bunch of things. Boundaries are essential for this.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

My friend Richard Reis, founder of Most Recommended Books, has reframed how I think about giving and receiving advice. If I ask him for help and he doesn’t have first-hand experience in that area, he’ll say “I haven’t done this so I can’t give you advice. Here’s someone who has, you should ask them.” Since this mindset shift, I filter the advice I take in and I don’t add my two cents unless I have specific and relevant experience for the person asking.

I enjoy reading biographies of billionaire founders including Ray Dalio’s book Principles, The Everything Store, about Jeff Bezos, Shoe Dog, Nike founder Phil Knight’s memoir and What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey. The most recent podcasts I listened to were interviews with Gymshark founder Ben Francis and Spanx founder Sara Blakely. I love stories of building businesses; I’m less interested in theory without practice.

Every Saturday morning, Ben (my cofounder and husband) and I go for coffee and pastries and debrief the week. I doodle constantly in my journal and meet entrepreneurs for ideas sessions and mini masterminds. Most great ideas come from those moments away from my laptop.

Where do you see untapped opportunity in the market? What business do you wish someone else would build that would make your job easier?

Before starting Coachvox AI came a summer of ideation, where Ben and I thought of business ideas that fit within a set of parameters:

  1. Good for the planet
  2. Location-independent
  3. In the field of human capability
  4. Within both of our zones of genius
  5. A target audience of entrepreneurs
  6. Able to run successfully with small core team (7-10 people)
  7. The potential to become a $100million company

We came up with 30 ideas (Coachvox was idea 22) and some of those we didn’t take any further should absolutely be in the world.

One is BetterFriend, a personal CRM that syncs with your calendar. After a conversation, you send BetterFriend a quick voice note about what you discussed. It populates that contact’s record, documents your conversations and helps you create deeper connections as well as sends reminders when it’s time to check in with them again.

If anyone wants to roll with this idea, be my guest. If anyone has made something similar, let me know and I’ll sign up!

What are some strong opinions you have about leadership, and how do you actually put those into practice in your company?

Every strong opinion I have about leadership comes from a mistake I have made or observed. Here are the main ones:

1. Remember who chose the founder life:

The biggest indicator of relationship longevity is resting heart rate in each other’s company. Founders have the potential to put their team on edge with their often erratic, impulsive, visionary and impatient nature. But my team members don’t want that. They didn’t choose to start a company, they don’t want to feel like everything is life or death and they don’t want to ride an emotional rollercoaster.

I try not to pass my founder urgency onto them. Everyone on the Coachvox AI team has a user manual, where they share how they prefer to communicate, how they work best, and their strengths and weaknesses at work, and we respect each other’s preferences. It’s led to a deeper understanding of how we best work together. 

2. Take extreme ownership:

I think a lot about how to empower my team to take full ownership of their role. Advice I’ve heard in the past has included giving each person responsibility for a specific metric, assigning responsibilities rather than tasks, and avoiding micromanaging in favour of training and trusting.

The Coachvox AI team is remote and in 6 different time zones. We wouldn’t function without extreme ownership. We talk about closing loops, so if someone says, “I’ll look into that,” it’s their responsibility to own that action without needing to be followed up. I try to practice what I preach. We show our workings and overcommunicate updates. In interviews, we look for examples of where a potential team member has taken complete ownership of something, including overcoming challenges.

3. Win the mental game:

Athletes don’t miss out on championship titles because of physical strength or technical ability. They miss out because they lose the mental game. Lifting, endurance and putting in the reps are worthless if you can’t stay cool under pressure. It’s the same in business.

As well as “be obsessed,” Justine Musk, Elon’s ex-wife’s advice to aspiring founders was to, “Learn to handle a level of stress that would break most people.” Running an agency gave me some experience of this. Clients came and went, that was part of agency life. There is no point losing sleep over every problem, but this requires working on being unfazed by challenges, whatever they are. I’m much better at shrugging off smaller things and letting more slide.

Where can we go to learn more?

Coachvox AI – create an AI coach version of you.

My blog - each month I share 5 ways I’m leveling up.

Say hi on Twitter @jodie_cook

Personally, I find being the CEO of a startup to be downright exhilarating. But, as I'm sure you well know, it can also be a bit lonely and stressful at times, too.

Because, let's be honest, if you're the kind of person with the guts to actually launch and run a startup, then you can bet everyone will always be asking you a thousand questions, expecting you to have all the right answers -- all the time.

And that's okay! Navigating this kind of pressure is the job.

But what about all the difficult questions that you have as you reach each new level of growth and success? For tax questions, you have an accountant. For legal, your attorney. And for tech. your dev team.

This is where Hampton comes in.

Hampton's a private and highly vetted network for high-growth founders and CEOs.

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