As you strive to build your coaching business, you may believe strategy is the most important component. Or, maybe you’re thinking it’s marketing or sales skills, or the coaching itself.
Well, I have news for you: the single most important component in building your business isn’t strategy or marketing or sales or even coaching.
Building your business is only 10% strategy and execution.
It’s 10% “connectedness,” or community.
And it’s 80% mindset. That’s right: a whopping 80%!
Now, you’ve probably begun to figure out that the journey of entrepreneurship is really a journey of personal development, because your business constantly requires you to learn and do new things. Which means it requires you to constantly step outside of your comfort zone. The journey of entrepreneurship is the path to you becoming the next greatest vision of the next grandest version you can have for yourself.
(Did you hear that? It was the sound of brakes squealing, of your momentum coming to a halt as you put your toe outside that imaginary circle marked Comfort Zone!)
But when you step outside of your comfort zone, you illuminate a gap between who you are right now and who you need to be in order for your desire, dream, or goal to become a reality.
It’s here that you must become profoundly comfortable with the discomfort of being an entrepreneur.
And it’s inside this space that you encounter thoughts, beliefs, and even other people who help shape you and remake you.
These things can be positive and inspiring (like mentors, processes, or information), or they can become voices in what I call The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee.
You may not have control over what the external voices say (I’m talking about your parents, your friends, your siblings, or those people on social media making judgments about you or your situation).
But you DO have control over those voices in your head … the ones that tell you there’s just too much to do, or you have to be perfect, or you’ll never be able to catch up with what you need to do.
These voices are internal blocks—what I call “villains.”
They can become so loud and strong that they actually stop you from pursuing your goal as things get messy outside your Comfort Zone. On the flip side, they often sneak up on you and sabotage your efforts without you even realizing it’s happening.
(You know this, right? Because you’re a coach, and you hold the space for your clients as they step outside their comfort zones!)
Today, I want to offer you some coaching.
I want to share with you one of my favorite techniques for overcoming these internal blocks, so you can cope with them and continue moving forward on this beautiful, fascinating journey of entrepreneurship.
It’s a three-step technique—and it’s fun!
Step 1. Become Aware of the Habits, Patterns, Actions, and Thoughts That Sabotage Your Success.
Most people go around unconscious of the habits, patterns, actions, and thoughts that are actually sabotaging their success. They do notice, however, the effects of those habits, patterns, actions, and thoughts. They feel cranky, overwhelmed, hopeless, worthless, scared or stuck, or they procrastinate or do projects over and over.
Does any of this sound familiar? Maybe you have a tendency to second-guess yourself or to put yourself down.
Take a moment to think about what’s going on in your own mind when you experience these feelings or situations. For example, as a recovering perfectionist, I used to believe I couldn’t put anything out into the world if it wasn’t perfect. Of course, this stopped me from making any forward progress (more on this in a minute).
Step 2. Release the Feelings That Accompany Those Habits, Patterns, Actions and Thoughts.
Once you reveal the habits, patterns, actions, and thoughts that you experience when you step outside of your comfort zone, you can begin to release the emotions behind them.
For example, as a recovering perfectionist, I had to work through my feelings of inadequacy.
The key here is to be gentle and loving with yourself; don’t blame yourself for the feelings.
Write down the feelings you’re experiencing when you fall into success-sabotaging habits, patterns, actions and thoughts. Then, think about how these feelings are working to keep you safely inside your comfort zone. Finally, thank each one for trying to keep you safe, and then release it. Tell it to have a nice vacation … that you’re going to take it from here.
Step 3. Replace Those Habits, Patterns, Actions, and Thoughts with New, Empowering Ones That Support Your Success.
Now that you’ve released the emotions that lead to success-sabotaging habits, patterns, actions, and thoughts, it’s time to create new habits, patterns, actions, and thoughts that support your success as you continue to step outside your comfort zone again and again—and closer to your dream.
You can do this by reframing (one of my favorite coaching skills!).
For example, whereas I once believed everything had to be perfect, I now look at every new project or task as an opportunity to research.
And I’m not always striving for perfection. Before we even begin, I assign each component of the project with a letter grade I deem acceptable, both in terms of our goals for that project and in terms of putting it out to our community.
For example, during our last launch, we were trying something brand new. I knew it wouldn’t necessarily earn an A grade, so I deemed a B- acceptable. If we could get that component out there at a B- level, we’d be successful at it.
In that same launch, we were re-doing all our free training content, and because it was training material, I wanted it to go out at an A level.
Then, as we went through the project and put out these components, if they didn’t turn out like I wanted or corrected, we evaluated why, and then made the course corrections accordingly.
Before you enter into a new project, set your expectations for each component. Using a grading system (A, B, or C) or numerical scale (1-5), determine what’s acceptable to you in terms of quality. This way, you know exactly what you’re striving for (and if it’s not perfection, that’s okay!). Then, reframe the situations that bring up success-sabotaging emotions. Can you look at these situations in a different way? For each of the emotions you experience, write down a new, success-supporting perspective.
Now, let’s have some fun!
Although I take business—my business and yours—very seriously, I like to deal with these success saboteurs in a fun, playful, cheeky way: in a way that removes the hold they can have over us.
That’s why I came up with The Coaches Console Villains and Superpowers, 13 pairs of habits, personified.
By calling attention to the success-sabotaging patterns and personifying them, we can tame them and put them in their place—using the success-supporting superpowers.
We’ll go into way more detail on this at Lifestyle LIVE! February 12-14 in Atlanta, but just to give you what you need to understand this concept, I wanted to share the Villain that hits me most often (like I said, I’m in recovery, but that doesn’t mean she’s not lurking around!).
My biggest villain is Perfect Portia.
As you probably guessed, she’s a perfectionist. She feels inadequate, makes countless revisions, and second-guesses her choices to the point that she’s paralyzed (analysis paralysis, anyone?).
But for all her negative traits, Perfect Portia is just trying to keep me safe. She’s trying to protect me from failure.
The good news is that there’s a superhero to counteract Perfect Portia.
Introducing Dr. Richard Research, who knows that every step along the entrepreneurial path is just that: another piece of research. Dr. Richard Research creates a plan, takes action, reviews the results, and makes the quick course corrections necessary to maintain forward momentum.
Don’t tell anyone, but I have kind of a crush on Dr. Richard Research. 😉
There are 12 other Villains that might be showing up in your business (and your life). And fortunately, there’s a Superhero to combat each one.
When you can consciously use Superheroes to conquer the Villains, you can begin to master your mindset—and because it’s the most important element in building your business, you can consciously make different choices, and achieve your vision for success.
As always, I’d love to hear from you on this. I haven’t yet revealed the secret identities of all of the Villains and Superheroes … but I’d love to hear how success-sabotaging habits show up in YOUR business.
For example, do you tend to procrastinate? Feel overwhelmed? Second-guess yourself? Give your services for free? Beat yourself up, emotionally? Compare yourself to others?
Comment below, and feel the freedom when you name the unspoken … let’s have some fun with this! I’ll respond personally!
As a start-up coach, how awesome would it be to just close your eyes, cross your arms, and “I Dream of Jeannie” style nod your head and poof! Magically, your coaching business is filled with great clients, running itself, organized and beautiful … while you make the difference you’re here to make.
Ahh … if only!
The truth is that starting your coaching business can be messy and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.
And that’s why today, I’m telling you a story … a Tale of Two Coaches.
In my former life, almost 15 years ago, I had my dream job. (It wasn’t coaching, then.)
I loved what I was doing – and had been dreaming of doing it since I was 13. I went to school for it and had planned on doing it my entire life.
I actually had my entire life all planned out, all the way through retirement.
But then, I was fired … and all my perfect dreams were shattered.
And you know what it’s like, right? Sometimes when it rains, it POURS.
I was recently divorced, and I was now jobless, on my own. I had responsibilities. I needed to make money fast! But like so many of us, I had no experience setting up a business – I just knew I loved to coach, and wanted to make it more than a hobby.
Kate, who was my coach at the time, gave me a big stack of papers and said, “Here is everything you need to start a business.”
That pile of papers stood between me and my success.
Imagine it, for a second. If a pile of papers stood between YOU and YOUR success, what would you do? Tackle it? Hide behind it, pretending to do “busy” work? Let it stop you from moving forward? (Answer really honestly – it’s okay, I’ll wait!)
For me, it was perfect. I’m like Monica from Friends: I LOVE to organize and make things work as effectively as possible (I’m crazy like that).
So I went through that whole pile in under a month, and piecemealed different technologies together to create a system to run my business.
Because I did that, I put a system in place that handled all the details of my new coaching business behind the scenes, while I coached.
I automated, and made sure nothing could slip through the cracks. And because nothing was slipping through the cracks, I could deliver what I was promising while I powerfully served my clients!
And guess what? THAT gave me the confidence that set me apart from other start-up coaches.
That confidence allowed me to present myself professionally. I could go to the networking events and learn the marketing to get clients. It allowed me to charge what I was worth right out of the gate, and all of this was how I had a full, booming coaching practice in under six months.
In fact, I was on track to make $50k in my first year, and I hadn’t even finished my coach training!
The best part? The entire process was FUN – I absolutely loved it!
That’s how I built my business.
Kate, on the other hand, had a completely different business-building experience.
Even early on, Kate recognized the fact that she had never excelled at things like administration, processes, or systems in business. She’s always been more of a “go with the flow” kind of woman, so it made perfect sense to her to do the same with her business.
Kate loved being a coach so much, that THAT was her flow, and she struggled in all the business-building areas … which meant she also struggled to create a thriving business.
(Can you relate?!)
Kate is naturally gifted at networking, client attraction, and sales, so it wasn’t too long before she had her first client. Along with that client came her “Oh, Crap! NOW What Do I Do?” moment.
She immediately called her mentor coach and said, “Now what do I do?” (I can only imagine her panic!)
Her coach walked her through the next steps of getting the client signed up. It became a pattern: every time Kate ran into another missing business system, she would call her mentor and then scramble to figure out the next step … always rushing to implement it right away, so she could maintain some level of professionalism with her clients.
To her clients and prospects, everything was “fine,” but behind the scenes, she was a mess!
The piecemealing continued as she solved immediate need after immediate need as she bumped into them.
Kate was stuck in REACTIONARY mode, and she lost clients and money in the process (she once told me a story about how it took her THREE MONTHS to create an invoice for a client and by then … she was so embarrassed that she didn’t send it! She ultimately waived the fee!).
Because Kate was disorganized in her follow-up, she would often just ignore it all together. This went on for three years! Kate did create minimal financial success, but everything was always a struggle. So despite being a great coach and a great marketer, Kate was a (self-admitted) terrible businessperson!
When the Two Come Together:
“When Kate met Melinda” …
Kate was quick to dub me The Goddess of Efficiency!
When I met Kate, as my mentor coach, she handed me that big stack of paper she’d been collecting for over three years and said, “Here’s everything you need!”
When I took that stack and created my newly-organized business systems, Kate said, “I want what you’ve got!!!”
And I began coaching her to organize the back-end of her business.
Realize that at THIS point, I’d only been “in business” about a month myself, so I wasn’t in the flow of attracting and serving clients. But Kate could see how much an organized, streamlined, efficient process would grow her business!
(And her crystal ball said that it would skyrocket mine!)
Kate and I quickly realized there were lots of coaches out there who didn’t know how to run a business, or didn’t like the business-end of coaching. And we realized WE could HELP them become thriving business owners!
And that’s how we became business partners. That was the birth of what is now The Coaches Console.
Fourteen years later, we’ve transformed this realization into a 7-figure business, working with thousands of coaches, and growing an awesome team, so we can continue to make even bigger impacts in the lives of many around the world!
The Moral of the Tale:
You have to be prepared, and have the back-end of your business ready to find new prospects, convert them into clients, and support them in an exquisite way to make the difference–and the income–you want to make.
Your passion and your love for helping your clients can get them the transformation they want – but if you’re always struggling in the follow-up or client attraction, you’ll never have the life YOU want.
There’s no shame in being “bad at the back-end” either! In fact, even if you’re great at it, imagine how much easier life would be if you could follow a proven system – and not have to build it all from scratch (or from a huge pile of papers and resources!).
So let me ask you:
Which coach can you more closely identify with: Melinda or Kate?
And which path do you want to take with your business?
Comment below – I LOVE hearing from you, and I read your comments! I can’t wait to respond to your thoughts and questions.
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
by: Melinda Cohan
“She said, ‘yes!”
Kate Steinbacher, Co-founder of The Coaches Console, had just landed her first coaching client.
She was excited … and shocked. She’d just started her coaching business, and thanks to being a natural-born networker and a charming extrovert, she already had people lined up, excited to work with her.
Only, she didn’t have any systems in place for supporting her new client … or the clients she hoped would follow.
So Kate did what any typical coach would do. After she got her first, “yes”, she picked up the phone, called her mentor coach and said …
“Oh, crap! Now what?”
Like many coaches, Kate operates primarily from her right brain, creativity taking the lead.
Operating a business is more of a left-brain activity, requiring logic and organization.
(Ah yes … I’m betting you know where this is going!)
For the first year of her business, Kate let her creativity and her passion for coaching run her business. She loved coaching! She felt lucky she was getting paid to do it. In that way, she operated from the mindset of a Hobbyist. But she had the goals of a Business Owner – to make a big impact and great money.
Rather than putting systems in place (like a Business Owner would), her “official plan” was to call her mentor coach every time she ran into another part of her business with which she needed help and say, “Oh, crap! Now what?” (Sounds like a Hobbyist, right?)
From all outward appearances, this plan was working well for Kate. She was getting and supporting more clients, and she was having fun. She was professional, credible, and thriving.
But from Kate’s perspective, things looked quite different.
Her approach was costing her time and money. She was so disorganized (her own words!) that it took 3 months for her to receive money from her clients. In one situation, she was so embarrassed about her lack of organization that she waived her client’s invoice all together! (If Kate were here, she’d tell you the same story, herself.)
She struggled to manage her time, and soon became very overwhelmed and stressed trying to juggle everything herself.
This is typical for most coaches and “start-up, service-based entrepreneurs” (those who have a set of skills and/or services they offer to a group of clients).
They discover they have a passion that is really a calling. They bravely venture into entrepreneurship. They work with mentors and teachers who begin to educate them on everything, the hundreds of necessary tasks they need to start and run a business.
Then, overwhelm sets in.
There is so much to do and so much to learn, and without a system, running a business can feel incredibly stressful.
(One of our Coaches Console members described her start-up experience before she began using TCC as “holding everything together with spitballs and duct tape”!)
Seriously – combine these things …
- Learning the hundreds of details necessary for running a business
- The desire to appear professional and organized
- The urgent need to make money
- The fear of failure and fear of success
… and you’ve got the recipe for overwhelm.
Everything feels urgent and important.
Fortunately, although we can’t decrease the number of details involved in running a business, or the desire to appear professional, the need to make money, or the fear of failure, we can offer you a solution to this overwhelm!
The cure to overwhelm is to prepare for clients before you get them.
Yes, you read that right: before you have any clients, you should set up effective systems for attracting, converting, and supporting them.
Your fear-based ego may be jumping in right now, exclaiming,”But wait! What if you never get any clients? Why would you waste time and resources creating these systems if you fail?!” Or, “You need money – just go out and get clients!” Or, “You’re smart. You’ll figure this out later.”
Let that go.
Take a bit of time up front, as the CEO of your business, to learn and understand the best practices necessary for laying that foundation. Be proactive, rather than reactive.
And find a mentor who can show you the way.
Kate had a great mentor, but she was in reactionary mode. She did not take the time to become proactive, and therefore she spent her first 3 years of business stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling scattered.
We would LOVE to help you avoid those “Oh crap!” moments!
To help you become more proactive, we want to share the 5 Critical Keys to Your Thriving Coaching Business. Later, we’ll go into more depth, but for now, you can begin thinking about whether you have these keys in place.
Critical Key #1: Attract. The first step is to attract your ideal clients, so they know who you are and what you have to offer.
Critical Key #2: Engage. Once you’ve found those leads, it’s time to engage them and give them a taste of the transformation they can experience by working with you.
Critical Key #3: Convert. When you’re looking for leads, you plan to turn them into clients, right? This is where you do just that, so you can make your impact and grow your business.
Critical Key #4: Support. Once the ink is dry, it’s time to ensure your clients enjoy working with you and feel supported.
Critical Key #5: Refer. You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: word of mouth is, hands down, the fastest way to grow your business. Make it easy for your clients to refer their friends to you.
Consider this your homework! Take a few moments now to jot down some notes about these 5 Keys as they relate to your business.
Finally, be on the lookout later this month for additional resources to help you flush out these 5 Keys, identify the best practices for each, and discover how to organize and implement them in your business.