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.
As you begin the process of setting up your coaching business, you may be realizing that the running of your business can be just as time consuming as the actual coaching, if not more so!
You know it’s part of running a business, but you definitely prefer the coaching part of the business!
When it comes to running a business, there are many, many moving parts: that is, if you want to grow your business into a thriving, profitable, world changing venture (and I am pretty sure you do!).
I call these moving parts Best Practices: finding new leads, growing a contact list, converting prospects into paying clients, and getting paid while providing those clients with exquisite customer support.
If you don’t consciously learn and implement these Best Practices, then you often end up creating random steps in reactionary mode as various things come up. The back end of your business is clunky, at best.
Here’s a brief rundown of Best Practices in the five core areas of your business:
The #1 Way to Generate New Leads: Create an opt-in form with automated follow-up email sequences.
The #1 “Keep in Touch” Marketing Strategy: Post articles, consistently, on your website.
The #1 Way to Convert Prospects: Offer effective enrollment conversations, or sample sessions.
The #1 Way to Quickly Onboard New Clients: Create online client agreements and a private client portal to provide and drip content and material over time.
The #1 Way to Support Clients in Creating Optimal Transformation: Provide exquisite client support.
The #1 Way to Get New Clients: Word-of-mouth marketing, or referrals, through an automated testimonial- and referral-gathering process
For every Best Practice, there are 27 core elements required to implement each of them. And within those 27 core elements, there are innumerable nuances as you apply and optimize them. This applies no matter whether you want five clients or 25 clients.
Of course, for each Best Practice, there is also a great technology you can use! And for every technology, you’ve probably received a recommendation from a colleague, a mentor, or a friend. You likely have a list of seven or ten different technologies, right?
When you get right down to it, being a coach-preneur almost requires you to be a technology master as you ensure those technologies are working together.
But is that really how you want to be spending your time?
A recent conversation I had with my friend, Christy, illustrates this perfectly.
Christy is burnt out at her job in higher education. She’d like to start a business helping teens live their lives fully in this world. As she began to think and talk about her new passion, the sparkle came back to her life. Her passion transformed her.
She was excited and tuned in to her higher calling.
Synchronistic things began to happen for her. One day, she sat next to a woman on a plane and shared her desire to start a new business. When that woman heard Christy’s story, she said, “I’ve had my own coaching business for years. Here’s everything you need to get started.”
She went on to list out innumerable “necessary” technologies, including those to accommodate:
A contact list
As Christy told me what this woman had advised, my heart sank.
While the woman had given Christy hope that her dream was possible, and she’d also given her specific tangible resources she could use to make that dream reality, Christy didn’t realize the path she’d just put herself on.
At The Coaches Console, we believe there are two paths a coach-preneur can take when setting up his or her business:
1. The Piecemeal Path
2. The Proactive Path
Christy’s enthusiasm, fueled by the woman on the plane telling her that her dream was doable, meant she was ready to do whatever it took to make her business work. She was one step away from blindly embarking on any journey just to see her dream become reality.
In other words, by exploring all these different technologies, Christy was headed down The Piecemeal Path! This is a trap many startup coach-preneurs experience because they don’t know what they don’t know.
Christy was about to spend hours and hours learning between seven and nine different technologies, which, when combined, would cost her between $349 and $532 per month!
Her excitement and enthusiasm were blinding her to the long-term effects of following this path.
When you’re on The Piecemeal Path, you’re asking yourself, “How can I address this one part of my business?” You’re taking a microscopic, small-scale view of your business, solving one immediate problem at a time. And one by one, you put in place systems to address each part—email, lead generation, content delivery, scheduling, etc.
=> The result: you end up using several technologies—seven to nine on average! Not only is this time consuming, but it’s also expensive, and can cost hundreds of dollars per month.
If you’re like so many of the coaches we work with at The Coaches Console, you don’t want to spend all your time on technology—you want to spend it working with clients, creating programs, and being supportive.
To get to that place, consider asking yourself a question that’s different from the one above:
“How can I address ALL the necessary parts of my business?”
Exploring the answer to this question requires you to take a broader, longer-term view of your business. Answering that question puts you on the Proactive Path. The Proactive Path requires you to spend a bit of time up front to understand the Best Practices I mentioned above, as well as how they all work together in an integrated way (well-oiled machine, baby!).
Once you understand those elements, and put a system in place to streamline and execute them, you can generate consistent results.
That system is The Coaches Console.
You see, The Coaches Console is the answer to that question, “How can I address ALL the necessary parts of my business?”
It’s one, pre-built, integrated technology, specific to the coaching industry, that enables all the parts and pieces of your business to become a well-oiled machine that’s always working on your behalf, generating consistent results on an ongoing basis.
It frees up your time, money, and energy so you can put them towards tasks and activities that positively impact your bottom line and the transformation you provide to your clients.
So, now, I’d like to ask YOU a question:
If you had to choose between working harder and working smarter, which would you choose?
I’m pretty sure you’d choose to work smarter—that’s why you’re here, right?
To work smarter and accomplish more in less time, with less work, it’s optimal to have one platform that can handle all the elements of your Best Practices for you. It’s even better when that platform is pre-built for coaches, and is meant to serve as the foundation of a growing, thriving business.
By taking the time, up front, to learn how to work smarter, using a single platform, you’re saving yourself tons of time, energy, and money in the future as you grow a coaching business with a streamlined, organized, automated back end!
Complete this two-part exercise to determine how much time and money you spend on managing the various technologies you’re using now.
Write down every technology you currently use for your business, and its cost, from website hosting to shopping cart, to online calendar to course and content delivery. Use the Technology Comparison Chart for ideas. Add up their monthly or annual costs to determine how much you’re spending all together.
For one week, track the time you spend managing the different technologies you’re using. Multiply the number of hours by your own hourly fee to determine how much the management of these technologies is costing you in billable hours. Or, if you pay a VA to manage these technologies, write down the number of hours you’re paying her for. Then, consider this: on average, members of The Coaches Console report spending just two hours per week managing their Console Systems. That equates to roughly 20 minutes per day!
If you’re ready to work smarter, and to follow The Proactive Path to a streamlined business that allows you to focus on coaching, supporting, and nurturing your clients—and making a big impact and a great income—then go here to download your complimentary Technology Comparison Chart, which is designed to guide you in streamlining the back end of your business!