by: Melinda Cohan
This article is the fifth in our series, The Success Path. 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, third, and fourth articles, respectively, we went into depth about The Declaration, Transition, and Attraction Stages: what they are, what you may face when you’re in them, and what you must do before moving on to The Attraction Stage. We recommend reading the previous articles in this series here, before reading the article below:
If you’re like so many of the coaches we work with, you’re passionate about making a difference. You want to guide people to creating transformation in their lives, and the more, the better!
But you’ve gone into business for yourself because you’re seeking balance. You want to be your own boss, make your own hours, and experience the freedom of business ownership.
You may wonder if you can make a big impact and experience that freedom, at the same time.
At The Coaches Console, we are firm believers that you can – when you have the right systems in place.
When it comes to The Success Path we outlined in the first article in this series, that’s what the fourth stage, the Evolution Stage, is all about: leveraging and growing your business.
It’s about reaching a greater number of people—expanding your impact—while working less and earning more money.
Your focus during the Evolution Stage is to create and implement the tools, resources, and materials necessary to bring automation to your business, add additional revenue streams, and work fewer hours … all while working with more clients, supporting them in exquisite ways, and earning more money.
Yes! This is the sweet spot!
What you may be experiencing if you’re in the Evolution Stage:
As startup coaches traverse the Evolution Stage, they’re gaining momentum and confidence!
You have your online Client Agreement in place, as well as systems for managing and tracking your payments and finances. You’re converting a majority of your sample sessions, and you’re supporting your clients. They’re experiencing great transformation, and you’re receiving incredible testimonials and case study stories from them. Things are moving along in your business, and you’re feeling great about the lifestyle and business you’re in the midst of creating.
Now, it’s time to leverage!
The Evolution Stage is all about applying the “wash, rinse, repeat” concept to your business—so that many aspects of your business can run on autopilot.
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 Evolution Stage.
“I’m missing upcoming goals and deadlines for clients.”
“I’m starting to lose clients because I don’t have a system that keeps them engaged.”
“If I do my job well as a coach, I coach myself out of a client. I don’t know how to keep clients coming back for more when there are so many other ways I can support them.”
“I just don’t have enough time to get everything done.”
“I love the work I’m doing and I want to keep working with more and more clients, but I just don’t see how that’s even possible; I don’t have enough time!”
“I feel like there are a ton of missed opportunities that I just can’t take advantage of because I just don’t have the time.”
What you should know:
If you want to continue to grow, you can’t do it alone. Leverage your time. Get support!
Many coach-preneurs in the Evolution Stage continue to do everything on their own, from marketing to scheduling to invoicing to meeting with clients. As they begin to offer group programs, they still do everything on their own.
To these people, we say: stop! There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for you to do it all. It’s time to get help.
This is precisely the time in your business when it is critical leverage your time. How? Get help! Hire a certified VA, a bookkeeper, an accountant, and so on.
Now, we’re going to walk, step-by-step, through the three core components of successfully traversing the Evolution Stage, so that you can truly leverage your resources – specifically, your most valuable resource: time.
Here we go!
The three core components of the Evolution Stage include:
Giving Your Clients Exquisite Client Support.
Exquisite Client Support empowers clients to create new habits, and therefore, to experience real transformation!
A hobbyist’s approach to supporting her clients is just showing up for the coaching sessions and providing great coaching. As a business owner, you realize there is more to being a coach-preneur than simply showing up for coaching.
You want to provide support to your clients before, during, and in-between sessions.
Furthermore, you want to leverage your time so that you can work with more clients in less time, and earn more money.
So the Evolution Stage is not only about offering Exquisite Client Support; it’s also about doing so in a way that doesn’t take up more of your time. Although that may sound tricky, it’s not.
It’s all about streamlining and automating the support in a secure and confidential way.
The key to streamlined, automated Exquisite Client Support: replace email with a private client portal.
Many startup coach-preneurs use email to share documents and forms, provide resources, and support their clients. Traditional email is not dependable, secure, or confidential. It’s time consuming, too, and it requires you to work harder to engage and support your clients.
That’s why we consider the private portal the backbone of Exquisite Customer Support. The private client portal is a secure, confidential place where your clients can get everything they need (a welcome packet, intake forms, scheduling information, session notes, homework, and more). This allows you to automate the delivery of any and all materials they need, when they need them. Plus, it gets your client organized, which ultimately ensures they get better results on the investment they made with you.
With a great private client portal, you can:
Include a session prep form that supports your clients in preparing to make the most of their coaching session with you.
Provide content and material to clients, to support them during their transformational experience.
Provide a recording of each session, as well as a post-session recap form that supports clients in integrating what they learned into their daily life.
Allow clients to schedule (or re-schedule) sessions to avoid the back-and-forth email nightmare that can sometimes occur.
Provide a secure way for clients to have access to you between sessions for “just-in-time coaching,” whether they want to share celebrations and big wins, seek support on urgent challenges, and upload material for you to review.
The bottom line is that a private client portal allows you to be extremely professional with your clients … and it frees up your time to focus on revenue-generating activities, including coaching more clients.
Here is a real-life illustration of the results you experience when you switch from using email to using a private client portal to offer your clients that Exquisite Client Support:
“I was trying to make it all work with Word and traditional email—or snail mail—and it was too cumbersome and time consuming for me and for my clients. I chose Coaches Console because there were so many details and I needed a single, secure online place to keep track of them. The Coaches Console helped me build my business more easily, and it now allows me to do more of the coaching and less administration. My clients and I stay connected between our sessions, in a way that is more secure and personal than we could with regular email. I don’t have to remember to send them a welcome packet; my system does it for me. And it gives my clients everything they need to know, in bite-sized pieces. It stops the overwhelm for my clients, and I notice they are applying the information more consistently than before, which helps their progress.”
When you’re in the Evolution Stage, you spend less time on the back end, administrative tasks, and technology … and more time on coaching!
Now you’re prepared to work with a greater number of clients in the same amount of time. In other words, you’re prepared to have a greater impact while enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the Entrepreneurial Dream!
Getting More Clients.
This is where the “wash, rinse, repeat” concept comes into play. During the Evolution Stage, you continue to research how effective your lead generation tools are, and make the necessary modifications to ensure it’s bringing in ideal clients who are ready to work with you.
You can continue to provide free resources, fill your funnel through various marketing activities, and take prospects through your sales funnel from free gift to sample session to enrollment conversation to onboarding to engagement.
Just keep workin’ it!
Pretty soon, you’ll reach your desired number of clients and/or the level of revenue where you want to be, while working the number of hours you want to work.
Leveraging Your Time.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, many coaches go into business for themselves because they want to make an impact while enjoying the freedom and flexibility entrepreneurship provides.
Of course, there are countless definitions of “success.” Some coach-preneurs simply want to supplement an existing income, while others want to make six figures.
That’s the awesome thing about the Evolution Stage: this is where you get to decide what YOUR version of “success” is, and leverage your resources accordingly.
There’s one thing most definitions of “success” have in common, though: making more money while working fewer hours, so that’s why we’re sharing some of the best ways to leverage your time, here:
- Hire other people to take on the tasks that are not in your zone of genius. The most common first hires are a bookkeeper and a VA (Virtual Assistant).
When you’re a startup coach-preneur, it may feel difficult (or even impossible!) to think about paying someone else to do tasks that you could do yourself (even if you’re mediocre at doing them). But don’t you want to free up more of your time? When you invest in someone who is highly- proficient at those tasks, it takes them a fraction of the time that it might take you to do it.
I know, because I’ve been there (Melinda, here!). When we first started The Coaches Console, I did all the books and financial tasks for our business. I was pretty smart about it, and I could manage QuickBooks. Initially, this was necessary, because we just didn’t have the money to pay someone else to do it.
Then, we bumped into that moment: the moment where we realized I needed to spend my time marketing, networking, and selling. The more time I spent on the books and financial reports (which, of course, are vital), the less time I was marketing. So we were saving money by not paying someone to keep track of our books, but we were likely losing money in terms of bringing in new business.
Long story short, we hired a bookkeeper. And it took her 20 minutes to do what it had taken me half a day to do! True story. Not only was our cost low in hiring this bookkeeper, but it freed up a significant amount of my time to spend marketing, networking, and bringing in more clients and money.
- Create leveraged programs.
As you work with more and more clients in a one-on-one setting, you’ll naturally find yourself repeating some of the core, basic teachings and inquiries that you provide to your clients.
This is an indicator that you’re ready to create a group program so you can put multiple people in the same room (literally or virtually) and address these commonalities to the group all at once.
Now, many startups feel stumped when it comes to creating content for group programs.
But once you’ve worked with lots of clients one-on-one, you’ll be gathering research about the best process to move your clients from Pain Island to Pleasure Island effectively. Then you can easily compile that learning into a group program and work with multiple people at once.
That being said, to leverage your time, take the common questions, exercises, analogies and resources you encounter during your one-on-one sessions, and turn them into:
A DIY (Do-It-Yourself) or home study course your clients can take themselves through.
A group coaching program.
Teleclasses or webinars.
The Evolution Stage is all about leverage. So here is an exercise for doing so:
Step One. Review and analyze your last five to ten clients. Jot down what their challenges were, what their desired outcomes were, what kind of challenges they brought to your sessions, which coaching questions you asked them, and which resources you shared with them.
Step Two. Use those commonalities to create group programs.
Evolution Stage Mantra. To Leverage My Time, I Need Support.
Complete the exercises in this post, and enjoy the entrepreneurial freedom you work so hard for! If you’re interested in stepping out of your business to work ON it, rather than IN it, you may eventually choose to move on to the next stage, The Expansion Stage. (This is where you scale your business so that you can work minimal hours while making more money and a broader impact! FREEDOM!)