29 Nov

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 4

woman and man sitting at outdoor cafe in a coaching session

This post is part four of a series I am offering to coaches that are new to entrepreneurship and are setting up an online business for the first time.

Next Step: Keep coaching clients!  

7 reasons why continuing to coach clients is so important while building your online business.

1. It’s a Good Way to Keep Your Skills Fresh:
Coaching keeps your skills fresh so you can stay on top of your game. It can be easy to lose sight of this when building a business, so work to find clients and keep coaching while you build your business. Also, for coaching skills to work, they have to be practiced -regularly. The ICF Core Competencies are action oriented standards, not just great ideas. The fact of the matter is that many of us need the ongoing practice. You gain expertise with time, training, lots of practice and determination.

2. It’s Good for Branding:
It’s necessary for building your brand and your coaching identity. Imagine if you had to say to a potential client “Yes I an effective coach and I have a great website but I haven’t coached in 6 months” vs. “I have a successful business and coach clients regularly”. Ask yourself:  what is the impression I want to leave with prospective clients? One of value, success and curiosity or one of ambivalence and doubt?

3. It’s Important for Building Experience:
Keep client coaching as the #1 goal on your list. It helps you gain valuable hands-on experience to build a better coaching practice and better business. As you learn what works and want doesn’t you can improve your coaching and your practice. Maybe doing speaking engagements at 9am and then coaching clients from 9pm-midnight isn’t a good schedule for you. Or maybe it is. You’ll only find out by trying things out.

4. It Keeps You in Action:
Coaching keeps you in action – yes that thing we as coaches tell clients they should do! Are you just an advice giver or do you practice what you preach?

5. Coaching is Inspiring:
The process of coaching can be inspiring and motivating for coaches as well as clients. There are lots of benefits for coaches when they coach clients, like gaining insight, building confidence and idea generation for business expansion. It also feels good to actually help another human being. Being in action keeps you fluid in your business model. Not to mention increases the possibility of referrals from clients that have had an amazing coaching experience with you! And that is a great networking tool you can develop as you coach more clients.

6. It Helps With Work/Life Balance:
This is which is vitally important for new entrepreneurs. You’re starting an online business. That’s a huge endeavor, so pacing is important. This is not an overnight thing. It can be easy to fall into the routine of spending hours every day sitting at your computer to develop your business while moving away from coaching clients. Keep your eye on the end game: Coaching.  When that busy start-up schedule gets interrupted to coach clients, it’s a good reality check and reminder that the priority is really coaching; you are there to be of service to others. And it’s a gentle reminder that you have a life outside of starting a business. Keep a good eating habits, a consistent exercise schedule and regular sleep schedule to your energy and focus is at its optimum.  Keep your hobbies and interests, and get out socially. Networking is a great way to take breaks from the business development aspect and also connect with others. This can be especially true for those of us that are more on the introverted side and like to be alone. Balance will only bring success to your business. I know it can often feel like there is so much to do and not enough time, but I can tell you that the time will be there for you when you return to it.

7. It’s Good for Coaches to be the Coachee:
It’s vitally important as coaches that we not only have industry knowledge and skills training to coach others but also the experience of the coaching process for ourselves. It’s good for us to have experiential knowledge of what it feels like to be a client, how good it feels to achieve our own goals, experience what it’s like to be vulnerable with a total stranger, how important it is to have ongoing support, and how beneficial the coaching process can be for both client and coach. The experience of being coaches, especially on an ongoing basis will be become imbedded in your experience and identity. Having your own coach or mentor will lead you and your clients towards success!



Resources

Books:

37 Ways to Boost Your Coaching Practice: Plus, the 17 Lies that Hold Coaches Back and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Steve Chandler.

Articles and Blog Posts:

Coaching: A crazy good experience by Steve Chandler on iMindShift.com.

5 Reasons Why Branding is Important for your Small Business by Jenna Bruce on MediaSpaceSolutions.com.

Why Coaches Need Coaching  by Andrea Sharb on Confederation.org.

Essential Coaching Skills on SkillsYouNeed.com

How to be a Life Coach: 7 life coaching tips from a successful life coach by Stefan James on ProjectLifeMastery.com.

22 Reasons You Should Hire a Life Coach to Help You Achieve Your Goals by Nicolas Charlet on NicolasCharlet.com.

ICF Codeo of Ethics on the International Coach Federation website.

ICF Core Competencies on the International Coach Federation website.

ICF Code of Ethics

Videos:

5 Secrets to Starting a Life Coaching Practice with Master Coach University on YouTube.com.

I have No Experience, with Marie Forleo on YouTube.com.

27 Nov

7 Reasons Why You Should Create a Website for Your Coaching, Consulting, or Writing Business

two women working cooperatively at computer screen to build website for coaching, consulting or writing business

If you are asking yourself if you need a website for your coaching, consulting or writing business, it’s a good conversation to have. Many entrepreneurs will say it adds ease, visibility and profitability to their business, but it’s not for everyone. Some people really don’t need it. It will depend on the business strategy you use for your business, how much you plan to use the website and what products and services you will be offering.

If you are new to the digital online world and are trying to decide, here are 7 reasons why you should create a website for your business:

1. You don’t need a lot of money to do it. Contrary to the advertisements online and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) packages offered by many marketing businesses, it may look like you need tons of money to create a website, but in reality, you can actually set-up and maintain a website with very little cost associated. There will be some cost up front in the domain and hosting parts of the set-up (and an annual renewal fee) but after that you can decide how much you want to invest financially in this part of your business.

I strongly recommend doing research before investing in marketing companies. You will receive lots of offers of services from marketing companies. Tread carefully. There can be complicated long-term contracts involved and when just starting out you will be budgeting. Marketing services can be expensive and at the beginning might be overkill for a fledgling business.

Some businesses run on a very minimal budget. Some people take classes, read materials, gather information and then create and manage the website all on their own. Others use services or outsource with contractors. There are a lot of ways to create and manage a website. You get to decide what you want to spend your money on. My advice is: do what works for you.

TIP: Be careful outsourcing services. Many online advertisers try to convince you that you have to have services like theirs in order to draw visitors to your site. That’s simply not true. The best tool to draw people to your site is actually you! (see my next post about this). If you’re going to use an online business to help market your product or services, research them first. Look for testimonials, talk to customers that have used their services, and look for reviews about their products and their service.

2. It’s a platform for your business in a digital world. If you are going to sell anything on the Internet, you need a platform to do it from. It’s like a digital business card, virtual office and warehouse all combined. People need a way to find you and your services beyond your business card, local flyers and phone number.

3. It’s a digital communication tool. Your website is a digital business card so others can find you. That kind of advertising is free and valuable!

4. It’s good branding. When you start telling people what you do, especially on social media (for example you post something on Facebook or on Twitter), people who see your comment might check your profile and continue on to your site. Your site can be the extension of that conversation, telling them more about who you are and what you are offering.

5. You can capture a much broader audience, nationally and internationally. Across the world, people are seeking businesses that offer what they need. You can find most anything with a simple click of a button. Expand the possibility of drawing more visitors and potential customers to your website (taking into account a local, national and international audiences).

6. It creates a space for you to create a Blog and write posts. It’s like an online filing cabinet and reference library all in one! Having a blog can definitely help build a business. It does not lead to overnight success but developing an online persona and being perceived as an “expert in your field” is a necessity. Writing a blog is great way to show your personality and expertise. It’s also a great way for people to learn who you are and what you are offering. Google loves blogs and consistently updated website content. You don’t have to be Mark Twain or Alice Walker, you just have to learn the basics of writing online and start posting! Post regularly and consistently.

7. A website gives you a platform to build a mailing list and create marketing email campaigns. Campaigns may include a newsletter or announcements about products and services you are offering. Companies like MailChimp.com offer one tier of services that are free to help you with this. As you expand your products and services, you will have this list of potential clients available at your fingertips to market to.

Related posts

Series on Entrepreneurship for Coaches

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Resources

Books:

Start your own coaching business: your step-by-step guide to success (start up series) by Entrepreneur Press.

Articles & Blog Posts:

Here is an online basics article on Creating a Website from the Business Queensland website guide to Internet Start Ups.

Does Your Small Business REALLY Need a Website by Mindie Burgoyne from SOS Web Design, LLC.

How to Start a Small Business in 10 Steps by Alyssa Gregory on The Balance.com.

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Rand Fishkin and Moz Staff on Moz.com.

21 Business Blogging Tips From the Pros from the SocialMediaExaminer.com

A Quick Guide to Blogging for Beginners from JonAllo.com.

06 Nov

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 3

Picture1

This post is part #3 of a series I am offering to coaches that are new to entrepreneurship and are setting up an online business for the first time.

Next Step – Decide what you need

Apparently clients don’t magically appear in front of you. I tried that approach and it doesn’t work. You have to start somewhere. The coaching industry is a booming business so we can deduce that the clients are out there and the potential is there to make income. You just have to go find them because right now they don’t even know you exist. I know, it’s a shocking thought isn’t it? You and I both know how amazing you are and what a great coach you are, they just don’t know it yet. But they will.

Take a look back at the answers you wrote to the questions in Post #1.

Note: If you really don’t know how or where to start, you can always consult with someone. There are experts out there that specialize in certain industries, like building websites or creating online marketing programs. They will give you their perspective and recommendations, usually at a price. It can be good to gain someone else’s wisdom and experience, but it may cost a pretty penny and not be the best recommendations for your business.

Tip: Exercise caution when outsourcing.

You’ll have to start making some choices. There are no wrong answers or ideas; it’s more a matter of deciding where you want to put your energy and your business resources right now. Remember, this is a creative process and things will always be changing. Change is ok!

This is just the beginning. If the strategy you try doesn’t work or doesn’t feel right to you, try another one. It’s your business and you can do what ever you want!

Tip: Don’t give up! In the world of entrepreneurship, failing is just as important as succeeding!

Things to consider before you write a business plan:

#1: Decide whom you will offer your services to. If you’re like me and want to offer your coaching services to a variety of people, you can do that.

One option is to create different websites and offer services to different populations. It’s doable and can be a lot of work.  There are experts on the Internet that know how to do that and offer their services (see the reference list at the end of this post for a few).

If you really want to do life coaching, I recommend you stay focused on that and start with one niche within the coaching industry. This group will be your primary niche. By focusing on one niche you can stay on track with your business goals and not get bogged down doing other things, like creating and managing multiple websites. You can always add other things later as you expand your business, especially if you find winning marketing strategies!

#2: Find out what their need is. What is it they are looking for? Are they small business owners that have a high turn over? Dentists that need help with stress management? Perhaps they are stay-at-home moms that want to loose weight?

*The trick is not offer a service, but rather a solution to their problem. Your future customers may not know what they are looking for but are more likely to respond if they see an answer to a question they have. They need to be able to relate to you. What you’re offering has to resonate with them.

In order for a small business to be successful, it must solve a problem, fulfill a need or offer something the market wants.”

~ From TheBalance.com

Tip: Research the market, specifically the market within your niche.

#3: Find a way to get access to those prospects.  Some ways to do this include: networking, speaking engagements, mailings, or advertising on social media. If there are conferences, social groups or forums where prospects are likely to be found, those are other ways to introduce yourself.

Some professionals have a such a great network they don’t really need their website. For this type of coach, it’s more of an after thought. Some coaches, like me, have to find and create the opportunities for find prospective clients. Industry experts recommend setting up multiple avenues to get referrals from. In other words, different opportunities for clients to find you. The Internet can be a resource. In this way, a website is really important. I spend a lot of time on my website and it’s been totally worth it. If you’re planning on speaking engagements and sending out post cards through the mail, you’re money might be better spent on those things rather than having a snazzy looking website, or paying a 3rd party a monthly fee for some online advertisement that people probably won’t see.

#4: Decide if you need a website: most people need an online presence for their business, but not everybody does. You can create a website inexpensively just to get it up and running or you can set it up as a platform to advertise your services and other products you will be offering. Something to keep in mind:  once you create the website, you will have an opportunity to expand your business by offering other things, like books, trainings and programs. It can become a valuable resource for you.

#5 Think about how many clients you would like have (daily/weekly) and how many hours you would like to coach each week or month.

#6 Decide if you are open to the idea of other sources of income. This could include a “day job” or other ways to make money online.

5 Tips to help get you through this process:

  1.  Don’t get stuck, be flexible and open to changes as needed.
  1. When you feel stuck in this process, take a break. When you come back around, try a visualization exercise. Picture your business, what you want to offer and see how you will do that.
  1. Keep reading, growing and adapting as needed.
  1. Decide which tasks you can do yourself and what you can outsource (i.e. online marketing campaign).
  1. Consider other ways to bring in revenue, like: freelance writing, blogging professionally, writing a book, creating webinars, starting a podcast, or offering workshops and training.

Tip: practice positive self-talk daily!

Your affirmation checklist:

I am an awesome and creative entrepreneur!

I can do this! I am flexible, determined and will see this through!

I am creating a successful business!

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RECOMMENDATION: If you find, after reading this, that you are stuck or just frustrated with your idea, or don’t’ know how to get started, you might want to think about hiring a Life Coach. I know, it’s yet another thing that costs money, but I’ll share something with you – surprisingly I have found it to be the one thing that has been invaluable in building the foundation and success of my business. My personal coaching is what has made my business successful. As a coach I have worked with many coaches to either help them turn their idea into a viable business or help them launch their business. I can offer you a working relationship where you gain insight, accountability and can develop your own strategies to build your business. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, even for a short time. You are your business!


Related posts

Entrepreneurship for Coaches: 6 tips to move you towards a successful coaching business

4 Tips for Starting a New Business

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Resources

Books:

101 Coaching Niches: Detailed explanations of what real coaches do within top niche markets by Glenn Livingston, PhD.

Start your own coaching business: your step-by-step guide to success (start up series) by Entrepreneur Press.

Blog Posts:

How to start a business online from Entrepreneur.com

How to start a small business in 10 steps from TheBalance.com

How to start a successful life coaching business from CoachingTrainingWorld.com

Does your small business REALLY need a website from SOSWebDesign.com.

The ultimate guide to finding your profitable niche from NicheHacks.com.

 

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