by: Melinda Cohan
This article is the third in our The Success Path series. In the first article, we explained that The Success Path is a five-stage path coach-preneurs journey, as they go from coach, to startup business owner, to CEO. To navigate the journey successfully, it’s important to complete each stage before moving on to the next. In the exercise at the end of the first article, we helped you identify where you are now on The Success Path, and what you need to do to continue on this journey to whichever stage you consider your final destination. In the second article, we went into depth about The Declaration Stage: what it is, what you may face when you’re in it, and what you must do before moving on to The Transition Stage. We recommend reading the first and second articles here before reading the article below:
Article 1: The Start-Up Entrepreneur’s Success Path: The Critical Process of Mapping Your Route to Success
Article 2: The Declaration Stage: Commit to Creating the Success You Dream About
If you were going to build a house, how would you start? Would you declare, “I’m ready!” and then run out to the unimproved lot and start nailing boards together? If so, you’d probably have a pretty ramshackle shelter, right?
The truth is, if you were going to build a house, you would first create a plan. Then you’d lay a foundation, right? A foundation gives your house a solid base on which to stand, so that it will be sturdy and safe!
When it comes to The Success Path we outlined in the first article in this series, that’s what the second stage, the Transition Stage, is all about: building a foundation for your business. It’s about getting prepared.
Your focus during the Transition Stage is to create the components to identify, find, attract, and engage prospects, and implement the funnels, strategies, and best practices to grow your list. Why? Because your list is the foundation for your coaching business.
Many coach-preneurs in the Transition Stage pursue their business—specifically—try to go out and get clients—without knowing, in advance, all the pieces and best practices they need, which results those pieces and best practices drive, and why they’re important.
With the right systems and processes in place, you can lay the foundation—incorporating the various pieces and best practices—for a successful business that is profitable and allows you to make that impact you dream of.
What you may be experiencing if you’re in the Transition Stage:
As startup coaches traverse the Transition Stage, they may begin to gain confidence. Although you know you have a lot to learn, you’ve put in place the pieces necessary to transition from full-time J-O-B to full-time coach-preneur. (Woohoo!)
You’ve got some cash reserves set aside, you know WHY you’re doing this whole coaching thing, and you’re READY to hit the ground running!
If there’s one word to describe you, it’s “enthusiastic,” and that’s great! (But, proceed with caution! More on this in a moment.)
To illustrate the feelings you may be experiencing, I’d like to share a few snippets from conversations I recently had with startup coaches who are in the Transition Stage.
“I don’t know how to reach people or start building a list from the start!”
“I don’t know how to reach people that I don’t already know.“
“It seems like I’ve been spending a lot of time doing things for my business every day. I mean, I’ve been busy ALL day. But I dread each week that I still have a lack of prospects, and I don’t have any momentum in this area, so I just keep myself busy hoping something will make a difference and somehow, someone will want to hire me.”
What you should know:
There’s a difference between being ready and being prepared.
Preparation brings order to the otherwise chaotic, overwhelming task of building a business. This means you take time, up front, to know what needs to happen, when!
If you don’t, everything feels urgent. You spend a lot of time just keeping busy, hoping something will pan out, and you feel pressured and fearful—and your investments in terms of time, energy, money, and resources may not pay off in terms of the business-building results you want to see.
The very first thing you must do during the Transition Stage is to find and engage prospects so that when you are ready, you can effectively convert them into paying clients. How do you do that?
List building. Your email list is your goldmine: your Number One Business Asset. Hands down, it’s THE Number One Most Important System when it comes to laying that foundation we talked about.
But we’re not talking just any email list. You see, your list is only effective to the degree that its members are:
Made up of your ideal type of client.
Excited and ready to receive the wisdom you have to share.
If your list is sloppy, created for the sake of having names in a database or a bigger number about which to boast, or if it’s scattered across multiple platforms, you’ll struggle to have enrollment conversations that lead to paying clients.
Now, we’re going to walk, step-by-step, through the four elements of effective list building, which will ensure you move through the Transition Stage efficiently.
Here we go!
How to move through the Transition Stage effectively:
Build a great list! Here are FOUR elements of a great list that converts.
Element One of a Great List That Converts: It’s Made up of Your Ideal Clients.
We mentioned above that the Transition Stage is all about growing your list. To be specific, though, we want you to keep in mind that you must focus on the QUALITY of the list you’re growing. That old adage—quality over quantity—is certainly true, here.
Let’s play a game!
I have built out two mailing lists, and you get to choose one of them to start sending communications to.
List A: The list size is 5,000 contacts, made up of a collection of people who may or may not be similar to the type of ideal client you’d like to work with. It’s in the general ballpark, anyway. These people may not be spot on, but there are 5,000 contacts! When you send out an email offering a free resource, 120 of them might open the email and click through to check it out. And about 60 unsubscribe on each send.
List B: This list has 1,800 contacts. It’s a solid list made up of the exact type of person you’d love to work with. When you send out an email offering a free resource (the same one as above,), 420 of them open the email and click through to check out the resource you’re sharing. And because this list is made up of exactly the type of client you want to work with, facing the exact challenges you can help transform into results through your coaching, only six unsubscribe.
You’d choose List B, right? (Right?!)
Yes, your ego may want the bigger list. It sounds so impressive to say you’ve got 5,000 people on your list! But, what’s more important at the end of the day? Size, or results?
(If you’re thinking size, you may want to do some self-coaching around your need for your ego to take charge of your business – and I say this with LOVE.)
Transition Stage Pitfall: Letting your ego get the best of you. In an effort to alleviate the fear they’re experiencing during the early stages of their business, many startups allow their ego to get the best of them. They want to make themselves look better by boasting that they have a larger list. But if that list is doing more harm in the long run, who does that really serve?
Bottom Line: When you focus on quality, when you put your time and attention into adding ideal clients to your list, and you’re fierce in protecting the types of people who are on your list, you end up creating a strong list that grows quickly. The people you add to your list want what you have. They tell their friends, and you grow your list faster, with less effort.
You CAN have it all: quality and quantity!
Element Two of a Great List That Converts: Its Members Are Excited to Receive What You’re Sharing.
This is where preparation is absolutely critical. You want your list to be filled with your ideal clients, right? Well, how do you make that happen?
You offer them lead generation tools that are aligned with addressing the exact challenges they’re facing, and the transformation you help them experience when it comes to those challenges.
Lead generation tools are free gifts that you give people in exchange for their email addresses. They may take the form of downloads, checklists, free reports, or blueprints. They’re also a great opportunity for the people you DO know—your existing contacts—to refer their friends to you, to give people you DON’T know a taste of the transformation you provide.
Here are five components of an effective lead generation tool – the tool:
1. Clarifies the steps necessary for the ideal client to get out of the challenges he or she has felt stuck in.
2. Conveys an understanding of why those steps are critical.
3. Provides the promise of a different possible future … and how creating those results in their life will positively impact their world.
4. Paints the picture of what it would look like NOT to pursue a path of change (and how this will negatively impact their world).
5. Gives social proof that what you’re sharing actually creates the transformation, or the end results your ideal client desires.
Transition Stage Pitfall: Telling them the HOW. Your lead generation tool should never include the HOW. Explain the WHAT and the WHY. If they want to know HOW to actually go about making the changes, well, they have to hire you to get that information. 😉
Bottom Line: The more clarity that’s present in your lead generation tool, and the more effectively it conveys the information to your contacts, the more ready they’ll be to receive and engage in what you share with them! And, as a sweet bonus, their life will be better for having read it, even if they never hire you!
Element Three of a Great List That Converts: Your List Is Organized.
This almost goes without saying … almost. It is SO important that you have your list of contacts organized in one place. You’d be surprised how many people overlook this simple, but major element of list building.
For example, one of my private clients had her contacts scattered across seven different platforms (her smartphone, an old email account, a spreadsheet, Facebook, and a couple others).
This type of disorganization in the back end makes it extremely difficult to communicate with your people … and consider how much time it takes to repeat a single message seven times and send it out seven times in seven platforms!
There are two general ways to organize your contact list when you’re first starting out (and keep in mind that as your list grows and your business evolves, you’ll likely add a deeper level of organization to this segmenting):
1. By status type:
• Prospects: your ideal clients, or those who may know your ideal clients.
• Hot leads: people who have booked a sample session, are very curious and interested in what you’re doing and how it can help them transform, but haven’t made the commitment yet.
• Active clients: paying or pro-bono clients who are actively working with you in some capacity.
• Inactive clients: former clients who are no longer working with you.
• Buyers: people who have purchased other programs from you, beyond your one-on-one coaching packages.
2. By segment.
• Marketing/networking events
• Referral source
The more organized your list is, the better you can communicate the right information to the right people to get the best conversion possible.
Transition Stage Pitfall: Diving into emailing your contacts without first putting the systems in place to organize them and streamline your communication process. Again, this is where preparation is key! The time you take to put all your contacts into one program, and to segment them appropriately will pay off in huge time, money, and energy savings almost immediately.
Bottom Line: Get organized! You’ll be glad you did. Not only will you be able to reach the right people at the right time, but you’ll continuously improve the quality of your list as you tell people only about the things in which they’d be interested.
Element Four of a Great List That Converts: Its Members Are Responsive.
A responsive list is a healthy list!
But what does it mean to have a responsive list? It means that when you send out communications of any kind—resources, promotions, referrals, content, a video—you get the best response. People open your emails, click through to the pages you’re linking to, and take the call to action you provide.
Creating a responsive list is centered upon your ability to send them quality, varied information, consistently. That means sending emails that:
1. Are different from one another, and arrive regularly.
2. Share great content.
3. Share great resources (created by you or someone else).
4. Introduce them to another helpful resource—one that helps them overcome challenges that impact their success in the areas where they’re working with you.
5. Provide fun, inspiring, or challenging personal stories so people get to know you outside of business.
Transition Stage Pitfall: Many startup coach-preneurs don’t want to seem “pushy” or “too salesy,” so they shy away from creating regular follow up. They fear being overbearing, so they go to the other extreme, and it’s radio silence, instead.
Bottom Line: While we recommend mixing up the type of content you share with your list (to keep them intrigued and engaged), we also want to remind you that consistency is queen! Send regular communication to nurture your list and build your relationship with its members.
As you now know, the Transition Stage is all about preparation.
So here are four steps to getting PREPARED!
1. Go to the various places in which you have your contacts scattered (consider them all: Gmail, Yahoo, Excel, Outlook, your smartphone, Facebook, LinkedIn, that pile of business cards on your desk). Put those contacts all into one central place. For Coaches Console members, this is as easy as importing the contacts from various platforms into one organized, segmented list in your Console System.
2. Group your newly organized contacts/prospects by status type.
3. Group your newly organized contacts/prospects into segments, as outlined above.
4. Send a “Dear Jane” letter, telling all your contacts what you’re up to, the ideal type of client you’re looking to support, and the transformation your services provide. Then, ask them to opt in to your free gift or sign up for your newsletter, if they’re looking for what you have to offer!
Transition Stage Mantra.
Benjamin Franklin said it best: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Confucius said it pretty well, too: “Success depends upon previous preparation.”
Choose one of these and live by it!
In the Transition Stage, the more you can focus on growing a quality list—one that is organized, engaged, and responsive—the deeper you’ll build the know-like-trust factor. When people know you, like you, and trust you, they’ll book a sample session! Then they’ll hire you, re-hire you, and refer you to their friends, colleagues, and family members.
So many startups rush straight to trying to get clients, without taking a bit of time to build a quality list and build the relationships necessary for that sense of trust. After all, that’s what great coaching is – nurturing and supporting and being of service to those we love … and that especially includes the members of your list.
Being in business is a long-term game, and when it comes to coaching, it’s all about taking time to intentionally create a solid, kick-ass mailing list that will bring you results now and in the future.
Complete the exercises in this post, and then move on to the next stage, The Attraction Stage. (This is where you finally get to go out and attract the clients who need your life changing work! It’s going to be epic!)
Watch your inbox for the next article in this series, which gives you everything you need to know about navigating The Attraction Stage.
by: Melinda Cohan
This article is the second in our The Success Path series. In the first article, we explained that The Success Path is a five-stage path coach-preneurs journey, as they go from coach, to startup business owner, to CEO. To navigate the journey successfully, it’s important to complete each stage before moving on to the next. In the exercise at the end of the first article, we helped you identify where you are now on The Success Path, and what you need to do to continue on this journey to whichever stage you consider your final destination. We recommend reading the first article here before reading the article below: The Start-Up Entrepreneur’s Success Path: The Critical Process of Mapping Your Route to Success
Have you ever jumped off a cliff, or even a diving board, into the water? There’s that moment, when you’re standing there, looking down, hesitating … and then you just do it: you commit. You commit to making that jump.
When it comes to The Success Path we outlined in our last article, that’s what the first stage, the Declaration Stage, is all about: making the deep, soul-level commitment to do whatever it takes to create the success of which you dream, even if, at this time, it seems counter-intuitive or counter-logical (I mean, who jumps off a cliff?!).
If you’re in the Declaration Stage, your focus is to gather what’s necessary to make the move from full-time job to full-time business. That includes having a financial cushion, so you’re able to make the transition without that feeling of desperation that it has to work RIGHT NOW, or you might go under water.
Many coach-preneurs in the Declaration Stage try to go it alone – to figure it all out by themselves. When they begin to get overwhelmed, gremlins creep in and stop any forward momentum.
With guidance, support, and a mentor to show you the way, you can lean in and “borrow” their courage until you locate your own. We’d like to share some of our guidance, here.
What you may be experiencing if you’re in the Declaration Stage:
As startup coaches traverse the Declaration Stage, they may feel nervousness, self-doubt, and trepidation. And it’s understandable! Starting a new business is a huge step out of your comfort zone.
To illustrate those feelings, I’d like to share a few snippets from actual conversations I recently had with startup coaches.
“Melinda, you told me, ‘No brand, no business, no problem,’ but I’m starting to think this isn’t possible and I’m just not ready for this yet. I think I need to figure out a lot more stuff before I’m ready to get going.”
“Melinda, I am scared to death! Like literally, it feels paralyzing to think about moving forward with my business. I don’t think I have what it takes to do this. What if it doesn’t work? What if I go for it, and it fails?”
“I don’t have any money. I need to make some fast, and I want to start my business. Can you tell me how to create a business when I don’t have any money?”
What you should know:
Most startup entrepreneurs, who begin in the Declaration Stage, simply don’t know what they don’t know. And that’s okay—you’re not supposed to know what’s involved to start and launch a business.
All you’re supposed to do at the beginning is make that commitment to learn what you need to know, and to do what you need to do, to build a successful business.
If you’re telling yourself you should know everything, right away, you’re going to feel stressed out and overwhelmed.
It’s natural to feel nervous, so be kind to yourself as you start this journey.
A mentor once told me, “Melinda, you must get profoundly comfortable with the discomfort of being an entrepreneur.”
By being the very thing we are, we naturally live outside our comfort levels all the time! It’s just the nature of being an entrepreneur.
This very nature, which drives our passion, is the very thing that can cripple us if we leave it isolated.
That’s why it’s so important to declare that we’re entrepreneurs at heart, and to dare to live outside our comfort zones … because that’s where our greatest passion and impact lies. And the best way to get comfortable constantly living outside our comfort zones is to surround ourselves with like-minded community, invest in a great mentor who can lead us along the way, and have massive compassion for ourselves. Oh, and make FUN a #1 priority in how we do everything!
So, make the declaration! Make the commitment! Breathe deeply, be present, and get the support and guidance you need to lean into the discomfort of being an entrepreneur. Give yourself permission to keep moving forward.
Now, we’re going to walk, step-by-step, through the three things you should do in the Declaration Stage.
Here we go!
How to move through the Declaration Stage effectively:
You may believe that the first thing you need to do as a coach-preneur is to get clients. This is actually backwards thinking! This may sound counter-logical, but getting clients is actually one of the last things you should think about. (Stay tuned for more on this – an upcoming article in this series will delve into this topic more deeply.)
As a coach, it’s important to be and look professional. If you hit the streets and start looking for clients before you’re truly ready, you won’t look professional at all—you’ll feel overwhelmed, nervous, and full of doubt. That’s why we want to make sure you have all the knowledge you need to move through the Declaration Stage effectively! Keep reading to discover the three things you must do during this stage.
Get clear on your WHY statement.
Why are you making this jump? Why are you starting a business rather than coaching as a hobby, or working for someone else? What is truly driving you to start a business doing what you love?
Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is a giant leap out of your comfort zone and into a cold pool of water! Because you are moving continuously farther outside your comfort zone, it’s easy for gremlins, doubts, and uncertainties to get the best of you. They try to push you back toward your comfort zone.
You WHY statement is like a lighthouse beacon! It gives you direction, as you swat away those gremlins, doubts, and uncertainties … like the very ones I’m getting right now, as I write this post, even though I’ve been in business for 14 years:
- “What if no one likes this?”
- “I shouldn’t put this information out there, no one will read it; everyone is too busy anyway.”
- “This really isn’t going to help anyone get clients; just forget it.”
And then I picture Dahalia or Deni, or Margarita, or Tony and the very thought of the people I’m helping reminds me of my WHY statement, which compels me to keep moving forward.
Your WHY statement carries you through with focus, determination, and consistency as you move forward.
Create your WHY statement. Then frame it and hang it on the wall where you work, so you see it every day. For 14 years, my napkin with my vision and WHY statement has hung on my office wall. I refer to it often as my fuel when I hit doubt and uncertainty.
Then, post your WHY statement in the comments below – I’d LOVE to read it.
Get prepared, financially.
Most entrepreneurs operate in the creative, intuitive, nurturing side of their brain, and they often believe structure is limiting. However, in the case of starting your business, organization, structure, and preparation bring about the greatest amount of freedom, and the quickest results.
It’s simple, right?
When you don’t have things organized, and processes defined (and by “processes,” I mean a series of steps you take to get a certain result) in advance, it’s like you’re “shootin’ blind.” I might as well ask you to put on a blindfold, wad up a piece of paper, and hit that goal. You can’t see it – you have no idea where it is – so how in the world will you hit it?
Sure, there’s a chance you might get lucky, and hit the mark. But why leave it to chance?
When you have a bit of organization, and defined processes and steps already in place, you can clearly see your target goal, you know what it takes to reach it, and you simply repeat those defined steps over and over, to consistently reach your goal.
When it comes to your finances, it would be ideal if you could set aside a cash reserve of three to six months’ worth of your required, necessary, vital expenses (not the nice-to-haves, but the absolutely need-to-haves, like a roof over your head, food on the table, and clothes on your back).
Many entrepreneurs are hoping to leave a full-time J-O-B to start a full-time business, but without a financial cushion, you’ll likely feel desperate, or stuck and filled with trepidation, which may stop you from taking the action necessary to make your business dreams a reality. You’ll quickly run out of time, energy, passion, and money before you realize your goals
So, for a short time, commit to living carefully, when it comes to finances—be diligent in your expenses, protective of your spending and savings—so that you can eventually experience money freedom and momentum.
What if you don’t have this cushion and you can’t create it from your existing situation?
I recommend choosing one of two options:
Option One. Get a bridge job to help you create this cushion. A bridge job is a short-term, often part-time gig that is simple, requires little effort, and allows you to leave work at work. Its sole purpose is to allow you to save up enough money to create the cushion.
Option Two. Talk to your current boss about the possibility of creating a situation in which you go part-time for him or her, so you still receive a consistent income while freeing up some of your time to begin creating your new business.
Either way, looking at your job as a means to an end is liberating, and your situation will no longer feel like it’s strangling you!
Determine your absolute, necessary, fixed expenses each month, and then save $1,000 fast! Then, create and set aside 3-6 months’ financial cushion into a savings account. This may require a simple, part-time bridge job in the interim. This doesn’t delay your pursuits (rather, it catapults you toward them faster).
Get prepared, organizationally.
As I mentioned above, many startup coach-preneurs believe they must rush out and get clients, first thing. Taking that a step further, these same coach-preneurs believe that if they’re going to get clients, they need to have an official business—which means they need a business name, a logo, and a website.
Hold it right there.
This, too, is backwards thinking. Yes, creating a website, a logo, and a company name creates a strong business identity. But there are other things you must do before you complete these tasks.
Follow these steps to create a solid foundation for your business identity and brand to stand on:
- Set up an LLC, S-Corp, or some type of business entity to provide protection for you personally and your personal assets.
- Open a business checking account. Deposit $25 at a time until you save $1,000.
- Obtain a P.O. Box for your business.
- Create a dedicated office space, even if you’re working from home.
- Schedule intended office hours.
- Write a business plan that includes your goals for number of clients, revenue, and initial marketing plan.
- Learn the best coaching business practices necessary to locate prospects, convert them, engage them, support them, and get paid by them.
Again, make the declaration! Make the commitment! Breathe deeply, be present, and get the support and guidance you need to lean into the discomfort of being an entrepreneur. Give yourself permission to keep moving forward, to believe in your dream, and do whatever it takes to pursue your dreams.
Declaration Stage Mantra.
As you go through your day, think these thoughts to continue to create magic, strengthen your courage, and keep moving forward.
My timing is perfect! Otherwise I’d be doing it differently.
I’ve never done this business thing. I am not supposed to know what to do, but I can align myself with those who do; and with their support, I am creating big magic and big success, fast!
I am profoundly comfortable with the discomfort of being an entrepreneur.
I am living like no one else so I can live like no one else.
And please share! Post your preferred mantra (from above or one of your own) in the comments below.
Go out there, and create magic!
Complete the exercises in this post, and then move on to the next stage, The Transition Stage. (You won’t want to miss this, because we’re talkin’ list growing, baby!) 😉
Watch your inbox for the next article in this series, which gives you everything you need to know about navigating The Transition Stage.
by: Melinda Cohan
Every start up coach or service-based practitioner must go through the same five steps to reach the point where she or he is running a thriving business.
These steps reflect the 50,000-foot perspective: what your entire journey looks like.
Each of them is a building block on your journey to running a thriving business. So you also can’t “half-ass” them. You can’t ignore them. And you can’t skip any of them! Skipping them to reach the destination more quickly doesn’t equal success. In fact, if you do skip ahead, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have to go back and revisit the earlier stages.
A quick note: you know you’re off-roading if you haven’t yet created consistent results from the beginning stages and are already incorporating intermediate or advanced strategies. That is what ultimately creates overwhelm!
Because we love you, and because we love making things easy breezy for you, we’ve put the content we’re covering today into an awesome, beautiful, downloadable chart you can get for free, below.
It’s our hope that by reading the rest of this post, answering the questions at the end, and studying the chart, you’ll be able to see where you are now on a clearly defined path to success, and the journey to where you want to be. This is a visual representation of the idea that you’re moving through a process.
Side benefit: your world will feel less overwhelming or chaotic, because you won’t be spreading yourself too thin, trying to accomplish too much from too many stages, all at the same time. This approach takes enlightened discipline and a diligent commitment to yourself and your dreams (and it’s so worth it!).
So go ahead! Download your chart here, and then come back and keep reading (we’ll wait for you):
Where Are YOU On The Success Path? <<< Download Your Chart Now
Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty!
First, we’ll describe The Success Path and each of its Five Stages, and then we’ll give you an exercise to help you determine where you are now on the path, so that you know what to do to continue moving toward your dream business as quickly as possible.
The Success Path
As a new business owner, it’s helpful to see the path you’re taking to build your biz. Think about when you use your smartphone to map out your route to a particular destination. You enter your current location, and then your desired destination. Then, your mapping app calculates your route, and shows it to you.
Clear. Easy breezy. Right?
Why is it then, that many startup coaches or practitioners blindly pursue their passions without knowing, in advance, the route they’re going to follow, or the path that lies ahead?
When they do, they end up feeling lost and scattered, unsure of how far they’ve traveled, or how far they have left to go.
The Success Path solves that problem by showing startup coaches and practitioners the route they’ll be taking.
Let’s go over each of the Stages of The Success Path now, and then look at how they relate to the learning process.
Goal: To make the deep, soul-level commitment to do whatever it takes to create the success of which you dream, even if, at this time, it seems counter-intuitive or counter-logical.
Focus: Gather what’s necessary to make the move from full-time job to full-time business.
Blind Spot: Not creating a financial cushion to bridge the gap from J-O-B to business results. Your cushion should cover three to five months’ worth of essential, fixed costs necessary for survival. This way, you can proceed on the Success Path without that horrible feeling of desperation to make money immediately, like RIGHT NOW. If you can’t set aside the cushion in advance, consider getting a “bridge job”—a part- or full-time, low-stress gig—to help with these expenses as you get clear in your commitment, vision, and goals.
Goal: To build your list.
Focus: Create the components to identify, find, attract, and engage prospects, and implement the funnels, strategies, and best practices to grow your list.
Blind Spot: Pursuing your business—specifically, trying to go out and get clients—without knowing, in advance, all the pieces and best practices you’ll need in it, which results they drive, and why they’re important; for example, what it takes to find, engage, and convert prospects into clients (Stage 2 is where a coach should focus on collecting names and building a list). Knowing these things brings order to the otherwise chaotic, overwhelming task of running a business. Take time, up front, to know what needs to happen, when. Otherwise, everything feels urgent, and you feel pressured and fearful.
Goal: To get paying clients.
Focus: Create and implement the tools, resources, and materials necessary to enroll and onboard new clients.
Blind Spot: Neglecting to prepare for enrollment conversations. Here, “prepared” means having your client agreement and onboarding process in place BEFORE you show up for the enrollment conversation, so you’re able to leverage the “yes” when someone decides to work with you. If you don’t have these things ready to go, a new client may have to wait hours or even days until they’re officially onboarded. That means you risk creating a time gap that allows their gremlins creep in, causing them to get cold feet. On the other hand, when your client agreement, autoresponders, and client portal are in place, everything is seamless, and your new client experiences immediate engagement … and you can leverage his or her, “yes.”
Goal: To leverage and grow your business.
Focus: Create and implement the tools, resources, and materials necessary to bring automation to your business, add additional revenue streams, and work fewer hours while working with more clients and earning more money.
Blind Spot: Not getting help and support. As you begin to leverage your time, you need to bring on support in implementing and orchestrating everything in your business, including groups, programs, and events. This support comes in the form of team members: a certified VA, a bookkeeper, and so on. If you want to continue to grow, you can’t do it alone. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
Goal: To scale your business.
Focus: Build your team, expand into new markets, and work minimal hours, while making more money and a broader impact.
Blind Spot: Attempting to do things in the same way you always have. What got you here won’t get you there. This stage requires you to evolve your internal systems and processes in order to manage the new ways you work with clients, and run your business and team.
Now, let’s look at how these stages relate to the learning process.
The Four Quadrants of Learning
We want to share with you the four Quadrants of Learning; in other words, the process you go through from the moment you launch your business to the moment when you’ve mastered it!
This is important to know because as you move yourself through The Success Path, you’ll go through a learning process—an evolution as a coach-preneur. In addition to knowing how to move along The Success Path, we want you to understand that learning process and evolution, because it will require you to step out of your comfort zone and into the next greatest version of yourself (and as you know, “out of your comfort zone” can feel uncomfortable … which is why we wanted to give you a heads up about what to expect).
These quadrants represent the emotional, behavioral and energetic journey you’ll experience as you move through the stages of The Success path.
Quadrant 1: Unconscious Incompetence. You don’t know what you don’t know, right? You’re just going through your day, nice and easy. Ignorance is bliss!
Quadrant 2: Conscious Incompetence. You encounter something (an experience, a desire, a dream) that sets you on a new path. You now know what you didn’t know before, but you aren’t sure what to do about it. This is where overwhelm begins.
Quadrant 3: Conscious Competence. This is where you bring understanding and order to the chaos. Because you’re still learning new concepts or strategies, mastery requires discipline and effort. With concentrated focus, you get the results for which you’re working. Things can be uncomfortable here. Most that are not cut out for the journey of starting and running a business often retreat back to their comfort zones here. In this stage this is where you become profoundly comfortable with the discomfort of being an entrepreneur. As we mentioned earlier, growth as a coach-preneur will constantly require you to step out of your comfort zone—and that’s actually a great thing as you step into better and better versions of yourself. So it’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable (we say this with love!).
Quadrant 4: Unconscious Competence: Habits are formed! What was once confusing or overwhelming is now second nature.
How It All Ties Together
When an entrepreneur first starts down The Success Path, her commitment to starting a business, pursuing her passion, and going for her dreams catapults her out of Quadrant 1 and into Quadrant 2. As she gets guidance and support, she sorts through Quadrant 2 and finds herself in Quadrant 3. And as she continues on The Success Path with continued guidance, support, and accountability (and connected to community), and moves forward toward her dreams and goals, she turns her new actions into habits, moving into Quadrant 4.
The Exercise: Where Are YOU on The Success Path?
Choose one answer – yes or no – to each of the following questions.
1. Are you still in a full-time job?
2. Do you have cash reserves set aside?
3. Have you created your WHY statement?
4. Are your contacts organized into one place?
5. Are you clear in describing your ideal client’s urgent challenges and desired results?
6. Do you have a free gift and lead generation system in place, that consistently grows your list each month?
7. Are you using a New Client Agreement as part of your enrollment conversations?
8. Is your onboarding process in place and automated?
9. Is it easy for you to get paid and track your finances?
10. Do you offer group coaching programs, teleclasses, mastermind groups, etc.?
11. Do you have a team?
If you’ve left your existing job and/or have confidently answered yes, with confidence, to questions two and three, you have completed this stage and are ready for the Transition Stage.
Questions four, five, and six relate to the transition stage. If you answered yes, with confidence, you’ve completed this stage and are ready for the Attraction Stage.
Questions seven, eight, and nine relate to the Attraction stage. If you answered yes, with confidence, you’ve completed this stage and are ready for the Evolution Stage, if you want to keep growing.
Questions ten and eleven relate to the Evolution stage. If you answered yes, with confidence, you’ve completed Evolution and are ready for Expansion!
Whew! That is a lot of information, right?
We know it’s a lot to take in, and that’s why this is the first post in a series of posts about The Success Path.
Next, we’ll take a deep dive into each Stage (Declaration, Transition, Attraction, Evolution, and Expansion), so you can learn more about where you are now and what you need to do to move toward Expansion!
This information will be most valuable if you know where you are on The Success Path, so be sure to complete the exercise above before we move on! And meanwhile, don’t forget to download your The Success Path graphic, here, if you haven’t already:
Locate Your Stage, Visualize Your Path <<< Get Your Graphic