Five game-changing lessons I've learned about growing a successful coaching business
Since I started my business, I've had so many ups and downs. The first year was especially overwhelming and full of hard truths - each with an invaluable lesson that I needed to learn. I've put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into creating a streamlined and successful business and in today's post I'm sharing some of the things I learned the hard way, so you can learn them the easy way!
1 // Just start
It sounds stupidly obvious but to be successful, you have to get in the game and START. I hear SO many people talk 'til the cows come home about what they want to do and create but they let their inner critic suck them into procrastination, busyness, distraction, and fear and nothing happens. The harsh truth is that if you don't do something NOW (because you'll start on Monday or when you get a new computer or when you take a day off or when you have a nice office or when you learn to burp the alphabet) you're not doing anything.
I get it - bringing your big vision to life is super scary and overwhelming! But taking the hundreds of small steps needed to get there is simple, manageable, and easy. The small actions are what counts - so start where you are, and take a step in the direction you want to go in every day.
Take my business coaching clients for example - they are all DOERS, every single one of them. They don't mind being held accountable because they're ready to start. They're scared about being seen or doubting whether they are good enough - just like I was when I started out! I love helping them over every hurdle and celebrating when they bust through yet another limiting belief and see their business grow as a result. With every action they take, they become more confident, and another step closer to the biz of their dreams.
2 // Invest in one-on-one support
I have spent thousands on doing what feels like every online business course under the sun! I’ve done BSchool, the MA Business Academy and Bright Eyed and Blog Hearted just to name a few! These courses are all great with lots of helpful content, but I found I would get stuck and overwhelmed when it came knowing what to focus on and apply to my business. When I started to work with a business coach one-on-one, things really started to flow for me.
I went from scattered and overwhelmed by all the things I should be doing to grow my business, to crystal clear on my vision, mission, and how effectively manage my time, finances, and systems. I could finally put all of those great teachings into practice! Being held accountable and having someone experienced to bounce ideas off, especially when you’re starting out working for yourself, is invaluable and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone wishing to grow their biz.
Getting one-on-one help is not only amazing in itself but it's an investment in a relationship with someone doing well in your industry. This. Is. Priceless. In the coaching world, there is often the awesome opportunity to pay for the time of people you look up to. I LOVE doing this because it I feel great about the value exchange - it means I feel 100% comfortable asking for advice and tips (rather than guilty for taking up the precious time of business owners!). I've heard Tony Robbins talk about the value of one-on-one support and I love his point that you're investing in all the best bit of the books that person had read, the courses they've done, and the experiences they've had.
To grow quickly, you will need to invest in expert help for your business and by investing in one-on-one support, you'll get the most bang for your buck.
3 // Beware of big promises
Let go of wanting to coach full time, quit your day job, or earn the ‘6 figure salaries’ that seem to be thrown around a lot at in coaching courses and programs when you're starting out. Those things are definitely achievable (I'm living proof) but the idea that it'll be quick and/or easy is not always realistic and these lofty expectations can leave new coaches or bloggers feeling like total failures (when they're actually doing great!).
There is absolutely no shame in working part or even full time as you get your business of the ground. Financial stress can suffocate even the most passion-fuelled and inspired new businesses so give yourself breathing space by having another income to supplement your business. You'll probably also find that you are more efficient with the time you do have to work on your business because you can achieve a lot in a little time with the right systems and strategies.
As your biz income grows, you can pull back on your other work – trust that you’ll know when the time is right for this (you will, I promise!). Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to adapt and hustle when necessary and for most of us, that means balancing a 'regular job' while our big idea takes shape.
4 // Your 'stuff' will become your business' stuff
Any limiting beliefs you have about working/sales/money/competition/abundance/independence/worthiness/expectations and so on, WILL show up in your businesses. If you have got unconscious beliefs that you can only make money by working hard, you'll only make money when you're flogging yourself working 15 hour days until you burnout. Not ideal! If your inner critic tells you that selling is 'not your thing' or 'sleazy' you're going to have trouble marketing what you do (speaking from personal experience on that one!).
Owning your own business seems to be a catalyst for bringing all of those insecurities and limiting beliefs to the surface. The aim is to feel great and create a business that supports you to be your best self, so invest in a coach, counsellor, kinesiologist or any other support to help you regularly work through anything that comes up - in your business and your life.
When different obstacles pop up, see them as opportunities to take things to another level and a chance to let go of what is holding you back. I love to deal things head on - whether it's slow event ticket sales, low website engagement, changing social media algorithms, or anything else that can feel like a spanner in the works. If you're willing to learn the lessons quickly and invest in support to move though challenges, set backs will feel more like minor speed bumps.
5 // Master time management
Great time management, as un-sexy as it sounds, is absolutely key for anyone who owns their own business. You'll need to learn where your strengths are and where you're better off outsourcing. You'l need to get a good idea of how you spend your time and what impacts your productivity so you can set yourself up to make the most of your time.
Mastering your time is a learning curve and something that takes time and plenty of trial and error! Try this simple strategy as a starting point:
1. Make a big to-do list by writing everything that needs to get done per project (for example blogging/workshop/online course/marketing/business admin).
2. Prioritise each item based on what's most urgent (usually admin tasks) and what's most important (usually business growth tasks and creative projects) and then put everything into your digital calendar, making time for both the urgent and important tasks.
Make this super effective by working out what size blocks you work best in – is it 30mins, 45mins, 90mins etc. Do this by trying out different blocks to get a feel for what works for you. Take a 5 minute break between blocks to get up and walk away from the computer – I like to do a mini meditation, a few yoga stretches, or give my pooch a cuddle. I find even doing a household chore like hanging the washing or taking out the rubbish gives me the break I need to get back to work with fresh eyes and more inspiration.
It's fine to be flexible and move things around in your calendar but this approach means that the important but not urgent tasks (which are often those passion fuelled big projects) get done and our business continues to align with our purpose and vision.
6 // Master social media one platform at a time
Social media can be so overwhelming when you’re just getting a business off the ground – there are so many platforms to master and post on every day! My tip is to choose your favourite social media and concentrate on posting daily on that platform. Once that feels easy and streamlined, start posting more regulary on your next favourite. I started with Instagram (which I linked to my Facebook and Twitter so they still had content on them, even if it wasn't original), moved to Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and so on.
Soon enough, you’ll be posting on every platform without too much stress! There are also apps like Later and sites like Buffer that can help you schedule – especially helpful for the time-poor! Whatever you do, stay away from bots or apps that automatically post comments or like posts. I’m seeing these more and more and the generic comments are so inauthentic and cringe worthy! I find that account that use them instantly lose credibility with me.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful as you bring your new business to life! If you'd like to fast track getting your business off the ground and start sharing your passion and talents with the world, I currently have spots available for business coaching clients. Read more about business coaching here or send me an email at email@example.com for more details.