Category Archives: For Coaches

28 Sep

7 Reasons Why Networking is Important

 

group of people at a table backlit with a large window in backgroup

 

Undervalued and not really emphasized too much in training programs, networking is the most highly recommended actions by experts for starting an online business and for creating sales.

Here are 7 ways Networking can help you grow your business:

 

  1. Networking is a way to build your online business, get your name out there and develop new business relationships. In person, people get to see who you are and hear your story.
  1. It’s also a great way to practice your “elevator speech”. That’s a 10 second introduction about who you are and what you are offering. The more you do it, the better you’ll get! What’s unique about in-person networking vs. something online is that in-person networking give prospective customers the opportunity to ask you questions directly. In turn, you get a first-hand opportunity to overcome their objections. Face-to-face is something special, they get to see you, how you respond, gauge your passion and interest, see how motivated and interested you are and get excited with you.
  1. It can help you personally and professionally, by connecting with other businesses in your geographical area. There are numerous stories out there about how successful business owners have connected with others in their neighborhoods and communities which has led to their success. Not only can building relationships create a feeling of camaraderie but it’s also a way for you to gain other’s trust. When you are perceived as an industry expert, they will be more likely to refer to you for that particular product or service.
  1. It’s a good way to have a list of referrals ready for clients if needed. Some call it the “top 100 list”. That’s a list of experts and business referrals you can create to have at the ready if a client should ever need a referral. Not only can you offer support to your client by doing this but you also get the chance to bring someone else potential business. It’s a good feeling to know you are offering a warm handoff by passing your client onto someone you know and trust.
  1. It gets you away from the solo and sometimes isolating life of sitting at your desk. This can be especially true for introverts . . . It’s good to do, often and regularly. You can get outside, get a cup of coffee or a meal, listen to a speaker, give out some business cards, chat a little and know you have helped move your business forward.
  1. Connecting with others helps with the innovation aspect of your business. Innovation is what keeps many online businesses alive – it’s the ability to stay current and fresh with trends about what customers are really looking for and actually buying. Sometimes it’s questions or feedback from someone within the industry, sometimes the information comes from someone in a totally different industry. It may be customer you run into that offers valuable feedback which generates an idea. Being in a networking situation opens the possibilities up.
  1. It keeps your routine fresh by continually engaging you in business development. Meeting new people, having a new conversation with a person may not only lead to a potential sale, but helps you get better at your business. Talking about it, writing about it, and explaining it can help you gain clarity about what it is you are offering and why. As you get clear about it, so will your customers.

Resources

The Importance of Networking: 6 Reasons Why You Should be Networking

6 strategies to improve your business networking skills

10 Important Benefits of Networking

Three Reasons Why Networking is Important, Especially for Small Business Owners

The 30 Second Elevator Speech

Elevator Pitch Examples and Writing Tips

 

Home Alone: Fighting Isolation in a Home-Based Business

Networking for Innovation

 

5 Ways to Build Your Business Network

 

28 Aug

8 Must Reads for Starting a Coaching Business

picture of flowers, book, and a cup of tea

As a Life Coach, I can safely say I have read a lot of books- to not only learn about the necessary skills required for life coaching, but also to learn how to set up an online business. I have found that there are so many more skills needed to craft your art as a coach besides getting certified and setting up a website! Honestly there have been very few reads that I found helpful and would recommend. The ones I love, I’ve listed here to help you on your journey of entrepreneurship as a coach or consultant.

Enjoy!

 

  • 2. SuperCoach: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life
    by Michael Neillsupercoach

    I recently signed up for Michael Neill’s online newsletter because I find his material so positive and inspirational. This next book is one I will actually buy as a gift for other coaches because it offers such a great perspective from an experienced master in the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

  • 6. Beyond Goals: Effective Strategies for Coaching and Mentoring
    by Susan David, Ph.D, David Clutterbuck, and David Megginson

    cover beyond goals
    I also discovered Susan David on Youtube, much to my surprise. I was looking for subject matter on emotions and up popped her TED talk about emotional agility and resilience.Millions of global views later, she is becoming one of the leading voices in Emotional Intelligence as a psychologist, author, speaker and researcher.  I am so pleased to see her voice, wisdom and research being heard.  Way to go Susan!Watch the TED talk, The gift and power of emotional courage, on YouTube.

 

And there’s the list! And I’m sure there are so many more books to add to this list. If you have some you’d like to share, feel free to add them in the comment section below.

18 Jul

Do You Need a Digital Marketing Agency to Help Your Online Coaching Businesses?

I recently had an opportunity to interview Matt Adams, the founder of Online Growth Guru, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses set-up, manage and grow their online presence for profitable results.  

Karen(K): What is a digital marketing group?

Matt(M): This is a group which offers services and expertise to other businesses to help with elements of website development, social media management and SEO, which means making sure your website shows up when potential customers type your services in to Google or other search engines.

These services are often used by businesses to grow their brand through platforms reliant upon the internet. Often by investing in a long-term strategy on the web allows businesses to create an inbound sales process that works on autopilot. But it does take time and hard work to get to that point.

K: Why is it important to invest in this aspect of the business? 

M: Investing in digital marketing and making slow but steady progress towards online growth is super important.

When done correctly, and with the right strategies, your website can become a lead generation machine. That means your business development efforts can be reduced as more leads come via a website.

However, it does take time and if you don’t want to learn it yourself, you will almost definitely need to invest. I spent hours learning during my first business, which got me to where I am today.

K: How much should they invest in a 3rd party company like yours to help them?

M: When using a 3rd party marketing company, charges can vary. They may be offered in the form of hourly rates. They may also be offered in the form of task-based improvements.

It’s difficult to say how much you should spend as it really depends on your goals. The important thing to say is that some business owners, who want immediate success, use Pay Per Click, which means they pay every time someone visits their site. However, this is a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

Therefore, focus should be put on mixing up marketing techniques, that include content writing, email collecting and promotion of the website to 3rd parties. Technical & strategic SEO is also key from the very beginning

To make this decision, define your goals, speak to various experts to see what they think and then work towards a plan that allows you to gain returns asap, while working towards the long-term objectives of the business.

In general, look at it as ongoing monthly cost/investment as opposed to a costly project-based task.

K: How does a new coach or consultant start this process of using a company like yours?

M: To begin using a digital marketing agency, it’s important to be prepared for a long-term journey rather than immediate success.

Many consultants say they can get you to the top of Google quickly, that’s generally because there are lots of sneaky ways to manipulate the algorithm of search engines.

What’s important is that your digital marketer talks about the opportunities in terms of quick wins as well as long term goals.

For example, you might be able to write pages that target long-term searches e.g. ‘How to hire a coach’ and be on the front page quite quickly – a great quick win.

But a long-term goal could be to reach the front page of the search term ‘business coach’ – which is a real competitive keyword. But with the right strategies in place, it’s achievable.

Another important asset of a digital marketer is that they talk in your language. Many technical experts try there hardest to talk in technical language that the average business person doesn’t understand.

However, when digital strategies are explained with a business person in mind, they can make absolute sense.

Many of our clients trust me because I explain things in a way which make sense to them. The technical stuff is then just left to me.

K: How do they know companies like yours are real and can help them?

M: A company like Online Growth Guru can help coaches to understand the importance of digital marketing and the business aspects to SEO.

You should get a feeling that the company you hire is trying to understand your industry, target markets and products or services. That way you know they’re genuine.

They should help you line up the business strategy with the digital strategy so that you don’t invest thousands of pounds before receiving any return on investment usually in the form of traffic or leads – which is often the mistake made by business owners. Thinking they need the perfect $10,000 website before making one sale – it’s the biggest misconception in the industry.

“I say: Build something simple, generate traffic, then improve in small bites every day. And this is what your marketer should be telling you, too.”

~Matt Adams, the founder of Online Growth Guru

If you really want to know whether they are real, take time to listen to what they say and attempt to understand the logic behind what they are doing. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially in the early days.

K: Thanks Matt for your time and expertise. In conclusion, if you’re looking for a way to grow your business and build a solid marketing platform, a good digital marketing agency can not only save you valuable time and energy but provide you in a clear direction in the digital world of online business.

Find out More:

You can learn more about Online Growth Guru and their services on their website here.

Or email Matt directly at: matt@ogguru.com.

 

26 Jun

Coaching Corner: Who is the Expert?

BLOGG
What is an Expert?

“a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority”.                                                             www. Dictionary.com

Is there a place for expertness in coaching?

The industry standard in coaching is that the client is the expert. Simple enough. But in consulting the expert is (obviously) the consultant because they are offering specific expertise that is needed. And what if someone is using a blended coaching style? What does “expertness” look like in that case?

The real question to ask is, what role do you think expertness plays in your work as a coach? Do you lean towards answering questions for clients? Letting the client find their own answer? Are you quiet or noisy? Are you defining things for them? Prompting the outcome of the conversation? Creating space for the client to explore? Strategizing for them? Impatient and talking right over them?

New coaches often come into the coaching arena with years of expertise and skill sets. For many it’s not their first career. It often is a career shift that can be an easy transition from what they were doing before. It’s also new. It’s a new career. A new role. The role of coaching often blends naturally with a person’s people skills, ability to listen, offer of support etc. The industry naturally attracts consultants, human resource professionals, and others in the helping professions, like counselors. And there can be a confidence building period.

Often as new coaches, we want to be perceived as confident and competent (otherwise why would clients come to see us right?) As coaches, we each naturally bring our own needs and agendas. The need might be a desire to help others, a need to perform, and, perform well in the role of coach.  It might be a need for connection, or to offer something unique to another’s experience. A coach might lack confidence and in some way be seeking confirmation they made the right career choice, or confirmation that they are doing it “right”. It might be a subtle urgency to bring in income, which is. struggle for many new coaches. Whatever the needs or desires are, they can present in a variety of ways, often appearing in the form of advice giving and expertness.

And it’s not always conscious.

When coaches bring their own agendas into the coaching experience, without any awareness around what they are saying or why, there is a shift in the relationship. Often, advice-giving and expertness are quick fixes as a pat answer to the goal the client is hoping to achieve. The coach might feel really good about coming up with strategies and solutions to help a client, but ultimately, they are only partial answers for the client and they are probably offering more help to themselves.

In reality, it’s often much harder to steer clear of advice giving and having the answers. There’s a quietness and confidence that the coach can bring into the relationship, creating an enjoyable experience for the client. It requires an awareness and stillness that can be hard for some to muster. It’s a skill set that has to be made conscious, then developed and practiced. And it is definitely a learning curve for many of us.

So why is the client the expert?

As human beings, we are born with innate wisdom and the ability to problem solve. We naturally seek, discover, question and learn. Some of our abilities include gaining insight and literally putting “two-and-two” together in a short amount of time. In truth, all of us have the capability of being an “expert”. And when we don’t have that information, we have an innate ability to seek it out – by reading a book, taking a class or finding a teacher, consultant or expert to teach to us what we need to know.

Coaching offers a very unique dynamic, similar to some counseling approaches, that allow the client to find their own wisdom and understanding. In the realm of coaching, this is the “pure coaching” style. Only answers are offered and questions are used to help the client discover the answers to their questions. When a coach develops a philosophical and/or theoretical approach it becomes a mindset which plays out within the relationship. It shifts the coach’s approach.

The client’s narrative, their experience and their process are automatically brought into the coaching relationship when the client seeks out and connects with a coach. They bring an invitation to the coach. “Listen to my story”. The invitation might sound like a need to tell a story, or a desire to find an expert who has the answers but more often, they are really seeking someone to hold the space form them, in a safe way while they sort things out and come up with the answers that will best suit them. The story line might sound interesting and easy to follow and solve, but the work is often within the client. It’s easy to follow the client’s story and get wrapped up in it, but true coaching is really about the process. The client’s process. The process is about what is happening in the client and includes the dynamic between coach and client.

It may be a laser session, or a coaching relationship that lasts for years. Coaches have a unique opportunity to create a space for clients to explore and learn about themselves and their own experiences. The client has the opportunity to gain their own insight and understanding with the help of someone who is offering them their undivided attention and support – and not their expertise or judgement on the client’s subject matter. They have a chance to bounce ideas off of someone else and process (out loud in relationship) what is happening for them in a very real, in the moment, kind of way, with someone who will hold and truly honor their inner experience, whatever that might be.

Creating this type of space for the client is where the catalyst for change within us dwells. When we are free to explore and be our true authentic self, not only is it validating and empowering but it allows for creativity and ideas to foster and grow. And that’s where the client’s expertness grows. Clients are the experts in their worlds, as they should be.

My father used to say, “trust the process”. One of the best things a coach can do is trust the process in a coaching relationship.

Are you being the expert without knowing it?

One of the beauties of coaching is that as coaches we can coach each other. There is value and experience to be gained from being coached by colleagues or even a supervising coach. We need the feedback to improve our experience, gain understanding and better our skill set. We also need to know when we are experting and plowing through our client’s experience.

When a coach offers a safe space for client’s, with openness, non-judgment and non-expertness, they are offering a client the richest opportunity to grow in. And there aren’t that many relationships like that out there in the world.

The real question is, what kind of coach do you want to be?

How do you, as a coach, avoid becoming an “expert”?

  1. Get clear on why you are coaching and what you are hoping to get out of it.
  2. Clear your mind, let go of expectations and work on being fully present, in the moment with the client. Release expectations.
  3. Clearly outline to the client what your role is, and more importantly, what you approach is. This helps educate the client about the coaching process itself and also helps them set a realistic expectation about the what they can expect from you as a coach.

And then trust the process. Coaching can be an incredibly satisfying and rewarding experience for coaches and clients.

Resources:

What is Life Coaching from TonyRobbins.com.

How does Life Coaching Work? The Coaching Process from the LifeCoachHub.com.

What is Life Coaching? from LifeCoaching.com.

Lessons from a Life Coach from ExperienceLife.com.

 

09 Feb

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 8

desk with a phone, notebook, computer mouse and with laptop computer showing a product page,

This post is one 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: 10 Ways to Build Your Online Coaching Business

There are a lot of small steps in a variety of areas needed to create a successful online business. Here are just a few additional industry ideas and recommendations.

Please note: You’ll find that part of starting an online business includes time for research and learning, so at the bottom of this article is a list of resources, I highly recommend reading. They are listed in order of the subjects mentioned in this post. Some of them are in “list” format so they are chock full of valuable tips, links, and information. Each of my posts has a list at the end so feel free to go back and look at each reference list when you are searching for information on that subject. It may save you valuable time and energy!

  1. Practice your “elevator speech”. Get really good at pitching your service in 10 seconds.
    • Be sure to have a business card ready too!
  2.  Create multiple products and services to offer to clients.
    • This offers clients multiple buying opportunities
  3.  Try writing an e-book!
  4. Create a membership site: offer something to clients that give them your expertise in a format where they will stay for a period of time.
    • This could include offering a free e-report, or a choice of a series of posts from your site, a consultation with you etc.
  5.  Try a Co-Marketing Partnership. Visit Hubspot’s blog for this post which has info on Com-Marketing.
  6.  Try an affiliate program – a mutual form of advertising. This offers you an additional source of income when you refer someone to someone else’s product or service and gives you visibility.
  7.  Try joining a forum or coaching directory.
    • o They both offer access to interesting people along with a way to learn or add to skills
    • o This can also be a way to network indirectly.

    Contrary to coaching industry suggestions, I recommend doing most of your networking where you’ll find clients, not where other coaches are – like tradeshows for your client base, industry networking events, etc.

  8.  Be a guest on someone’s blog or podcast.
  9. Interview other “thought leaders” for your blog or podcast.
  10.  Yes, the next suggestion is to try creating a Podcast!
  11.  Take advantage of all the e-Learning that is available online. Learn how to market and how to sell. People like Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy offer sales programs that can teach you how to generate leads and close a sale.

Tip: practice positive self-talk daily!

Your affirmation checklist:

I am coming up with new business strategies every day.

I am creative and innovative!

I have products and services that clients need.

_____________________________________________________________

Note: This is the last post for this series. If you have questions or are looking for additional resources, please leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read these posts!

_____________________________________________________________

Below are some resources I have used to create my business.

Resources

Books:

Coaching and Consulting Made Easy: How to Start, Build and Grow A Profit-Pulling Coaching Business By Turning Your Knowledge Into Money (Marketing Made Easy)
by Brian T. Edmondson

Audible Books by Brian Tracy

Videos:

Message Map: How to Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds/Forbes

Marie Forleo & Tony Robbins: What it takes to have an extraordinary life

Brian Tracy

Products and Services:

Chandler Bolt: Self-Publishing School

Ziglar Sales Program

Sales Training Programs by Brian Tracy

Articles & Blog Posts:

The 30 Second Elevator Speech

33 Ways to Get More Clients

How to Drive Sales With Multi-Product Pins

Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Write an E-book for Your Business

Why I Write and Sell E-books (And Why You Should, Too)

What is a Membership Site?

6 Quick Tips to Mastering High Ticket Affiliate Programs

How to Find a Life Coach You Love

Coaching Federation Coaching directory

How to Start Your Own Podcast

An Experienced Freelancer’s Guide to Finding Clients

Tradeshows by Industry

What to Sell in 2018: How to Find a Product Niche and Start Selling Online

2017 Income Report: How We Grew Our Online Store And Highlights For The Year

26 Jan

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 7

desk with phone, computer, notebooks and reference books

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

5 Starting Tools for an Online Business

  • Create a website
  • Create business cards, stationary
  • Decide what advertising materials you need
  • Create a digital marketing strategy
  • Start Networking

First step: Create a Website

There is a lot of information on the internet about this topic. I would decide first if you really need a website. See my post “7 Reasons Why You Need a Website” (insert link here)

Creating your own website is something that can be time and energy intensive so it’s good to decide if you want to take that on or outsource it. You have the option to have someone else create and manage it for you if you can afford that in your budget.

Next step: Create Business Cards and Stationary

There’s a story floating around out there about a famous business owner who wrote personal notes to everyone he met. And yes, over the course of decades it became thousands of notes he wrote. Having an easy way for people to reach you is a good idea, and business cards are cheap and easy to make. Also having some type of notepad with your logo and business name, along with note cards and stationary will bring a look of professionalism to your business. Order a return mail stamp with your business name and address for finesse!

3rd Step: Decide What Advertising Materials are Needed for Immediate Use

Companies like Vistaprint.com and Staples.com offer reasonable prices with templates and print options. Canva.com is also very popular right now and offers a variety of services. It’s easy to hand out business cards, post cards or flyers at business networking events. For industry fairs, you may need a poster board, marketing materials and promotional items to entice potential customers to your table.

Tip: If you get a chance to attend an industry event – fair, convention, speaker series, see if you can be a sponsor and host a table at the event to advertise your services. Create a package of services, create flyers and put them on your table. People like things that are free, so gifts are good. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. They also like to know what you do and what their buying options are. Get the pitch down you are going to use. PayPal has options where customers can purchase from you right on the spot with a swipe of a credit card so plan to have sales and get the equipment to take payments. Also start a mailing list. It’s a way to draw people into you sales funnel. I use raffles and people love to sign-up for those!

Next Step: Create Your Own Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital what?

“At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.”
http://www.jeffbullas.com/day-life-digital-marketer

How will you advertise your product and services? Online advertising? Regular mail? Cold calling? Networking? Word of mouth?

There are lots of ways online to advertise your business: SEO, social media platforms, ads on websites or e-zines, guest blogging for others, interviews, videos, and affiliate marketing, just to name a few.

Any digital campaigns you create will be based on your target market, how big a campaign you want to create and how long you want to run it for. Budget should be a factor because advertising can become costly. Industry experts say it’s much more effective to offer speaking engagements and attend networking to actually capture the client that will make a purchase.

Tip: Regarding Social Media platforms: experts recommend picking a few strategies and trying them out. In other words, don’t try to learn it all or cover all media platforms. And they recommend to not throw a bunch of money at it to start. This is an area than can easily become a money pit. It’s better to pick a 1-2 platforms to start, advertise and connect there with people. This is part of the process that takes time – time to learn and time to implement. See how your competition maneuvers on social media. As your business grows you can always add platforms and automation later.

Last step: Start Networking!

Get out and meet people, join forums, networking groups, join speaker series, anything that will put you in front of potential clients. Networking also gives you a chance to create a mailing list, necessary to building long term client prospects. It is also a way to keep people informed about what you are doing on a regularly basis.

Tip: Go where your customers are, not where other coaches hang out.

Your affirmation checklist:

I have products and services that clients need and want.

I have a great marketing strategy!

Lots of clients are coming my way!


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 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 a 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!



Resources

Books:

Building a Website for Dummies by David A. Crowder.

Digital Business and E-Commerce Management, 6th Ed. Strategy Implementation & Practice by Dave Chaffey.

Million Dollar Coach: The 9 Strategies That Drive a 7-figure Coaching Business by Taki Moore

Content Marketing Secrets: How to Create, Promote, and Optimize Your Content for Growth and Revenue by Marc Guberti

Blog Posts:

26 Tips for getting started with social media marketing

15 step guidelines to create your perfect digital marketing strategy

How to create a social media marketing content plan in 7 steps:

Choose a website builder: 17 top tools

07 Jan

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 6

 Dollar Sign Entrepreneurship

This post is part 6 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: Set-up a system to manage the financial aspect of your business

Did you know that lack of profits and poor financial strategies are two of the top reasons why 40-49% of online businesses fail within the first 4 years? Spending time on this aspect of your business is one of the best gifts you can give yourself to get your business started right!

4 Steps to Get You Started:

  1. Conduct market research
  2. Talk to industry experts – find out what their challenges and successes were when they were starting out
  3. Create a budget
  4. Make a list of costs associated for all the things you will have to purchase for your business. Write them down, in case they are needed later on for business, accounting and/or tax purposes.

Ways to do this:

Step 1: Get information
Successful business owners frequently tell me that setting up a system for managing their finances correctly and efficiently from the start save them time and money. The good news is there is so much information out there today between websites, books, consultants and industry experts, it’s easy to get started. And basic information is readily accessible.

Step 2: Consult when necessary:
I am not an expert in business management, law, finances or accounting. This are areas I strongly suggest consulting with an industry expert about.

Tip: If you are on a budget, there are consultants in various industries that offer workshops or even reading materials (like on their websites) for free.  Some offer consultations for free or at a discounted rate. Check speaking engagements or classes in your area. Professional organizations are also great places to gather information, meet industry experts and find leads for a variety of topics.

Step 3: Decide when to invest time, energy and money into an area of your business
Invest in a good program if it will help you manage one aspect of your business while providing ease and support. This will free up your time up for other things. For example: Quicken now has an online monthly membership program for bookkeeping. Every month you pay a fee and with the click of a button you can manage all sorts of aspects including budgeting and bill pay.

3 areas to set-up: budgeting, invoicing and basic accounting

  1. Budgeting basics

budget is a financial plan for the future concerning the revenues and costs of a business. However, a budget is about much more than just financial numbers. Budgetary control is the process by which financial control is exercised within an organization”.        -Tutor2U.net

How do you create a budget for an online business?
When I was researching start-up costs, there was quite a variation in reporting how much money it would take to start an online business. To me, that’s good news because it means you can create your own budget and cost structure and decide how much money you want to invest in your business.

Overhead can include things like: website hosting fees, marketing services, costs for advertising and marketing materials, professional training, outsourcing services (like consultants), licenses, and taxes.

What I know from experience is that you can get a website up and running for fairly cheap. Additional costs will depend upon a variety of things like: the goods and services you are offering, the market need, the competition, and additional business expenses you may have to spend money on.

For example, for online services (like coaching, writing, or consulting), initial costs can be lower because you don’t have to buy, store or manage inventory, but you may have to pay for online advertising, online directories or join professional organizations which can add up. Compare that to a business that sells online products, there are different costs associated like manufacturing, shipping, sales, staff and inventory management.

I also found that things moved to another level of detail when my company became an LLC and I had to set-up a business bank account (specifically regarding reporting, profit, loss, and taxes). Again, I recommend taking time to gather information and learn what the options are for your particular business.

Written Exercise:  If you have already created a business plan, you might have some idea about how much this venture will cost you. If not, click on the link below and complete the questions and then create a simple business plan.

TIP: Try a start-up calculator like this one from BusinessKnowHow.com.

Take a look at the numbers. Just remember: this is a “dry run”, things can change, so be flexible and creative. Start small if you need to (for example you may not need a huge social media campaign to get started, perhaps that type of PR launch could happen a year of two down the line). Once profits start coming in, it’s much easy to allocate money in your budget to specific things. Keep strategizing and looking at options. Be creative!

  1. Basic accounting options for a new online business

Here are some helpful posts:

Bookkeeping for Small Business

Bookkeeping and Accounting Basics

  1. Invoicing and record keeping options for small businesses

3 simple ways to do this invoicing and record keeping for small businesses include:

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Hire a book keeper
  3. Find online programs or software that are great for small businesses. For example:

PayPal Invoicing offers invoicing convenience.

Quickbooks is another program that is very successful and has products for small businesses. They offer a monthly membership.

Tip: practice positive self-talk daily!

Your affirmation checklist:

I am allowing money to come into my business for success.

I have a smart financial plan in place!

I can create a cost structure that is doable and achievable.


 

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 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 a 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!


Resources

 

Books:

Start Your Own Business, Sixth Edition: The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need

You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want

Small Business Financial Management Kit for Dummies

Blog Posts and Articles:

Five Reasons Why Market Research Matters (and Five Tips to Using It) on MarketingProfs.com.

Start Up Statistics – The Numbers You Need to Know on SmallBizTrends.com.

Success rate: What percentage of businesses fail in their first year? on USAToday.com.

How to Identify and Engage with Industry Experts on Seapoint Digital.

Budgeting for Your Online Business on SelfGrowth.com.

10 Online invoicing services for small business owners on Entrepreneur.com.

10 Essentials for Setting up Your Accounting Function on EarlyGrowthFinancialServices.com.

Best Small Business Accounting Software 2017 on BusinessNewsDaily.com.

Inventory Management 101: How to Manage Small Business Inventory on SquareUp.com.

6 Professionals You Should Talk to Before Starting Your Business on Intuit.com.

SBS.org: How to build a small business on SBA.gov.

Posts for the Self-Employed on MileIQ.com.

08 Dec

Entrepreneurship for Life Coaches, Part 5

picture of table with hand on a computer and notebook in the foreground

This post is part 5 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: Creating a business plan

It’s good to have what you are doing on paper, especially for a business. A business plan is basically a formal outline of all the aspects of your business. It covers the who, what, why, when and how. It’s a good written exercise that will not only help you structure your business but also provide an outline for banks or investors should you choose to seek a bank loan or funding.

“In its simplest form, a business plan is a guide—a roadmap for your business that outlines goals and details how you plan to achieve those goals”.

-Tim Berry, BPlans.com

For big businesses, a larger more comprehensive report is often required. But for small businesses, it’s considered more of an “action plan” outline.

It’s good to remember that not all aspects of a traditional business plan may be applicable to your business venture. If banks or investors need additional information, they’ll be sure to ask for it.

What do you put into a Business Plan?

“What’s included in a business plan, and how do you put one together? Simply stated, a business plan conveys your business goals, the strategies you’ll use to meet them, potential problems that may confront your business and ways to solve them, the organizational structure of your business (including titles and responsibilities), and finally, the amount of capital required to finance your venture and keep it going until it breaks even”.

-An Introduction to Business Plans, Entrepreneur.com

 

A Few Key Parts to a Business Plan

Summary:
An overview of the business idea you have in mind.

Cash flow:
“Complementing the balance sheet and income statement, the cash flow statement (CFS) – a mandatory part of a company’s financial reports since 1987 – records the amount of cash and cash equivalents entering and leaving a company”.

Find out more in this article about Cash Flow Statements by Reem Haekel on Investopedia.com.

Market Forecast:
“The main goal of market measurement and forecasting is to serve as an aid in the decisions that marketing management has to make”.

More info about The Importance of Market Measurement and Forecasting, on Article1000.com.

Sales Forecast:
This is basically about how much you plan to sell – how many products? How many sales? What portion of the market will your garner?

More info on how to estimate expected sales of a product prior to having launched it on Quora.com.

10 Things to Consider When Creating Your Business Plan

  1. How would you summarize your business?
  2. Who will you be offering your product/services to?
  3. What is your customer’s need?
  4. What solution you are offering for that need?
  5. What kind of market research did you do?
  6. How will you get access to your future clients?
  7. How will your business be initially funded? Is that sustainable? For how long?
  8. What are you marketing and sales strategies?
  9. How will you grow your business?
  10. Do you have an exit strategy for the future?

Tips When Creating a Business Plan

 Don’t get stuck – be flexible and open to changes as needed.

Keep reading, growing and adapting as your business develops.

Decide which tasks you can do yourself and what you can outsource.

Consider other ways to bring in revenue, like: freelance writing, blogging professionally, writing a book, creating webinars, starting a podcast, or offering workshops and trainings, or maybe moonlighting in another industry until your business generates income. 

Practice positive self-talk daily!

 Your affirmation checklist:

 I can create a workable business plan with ease!

 There is an abundance of money and resources in the Universe.

I’m taking one more step towards building my business.


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 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 a 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!


 Resources

 Books:

How to Write a Great Business Plan (Harvard Review Classics), William A Sahlman

Gutsy Glorious Life Coach: How to Turn Your Life Coaching Practice into a Soulful Money-Making Business by Lin Eleoff, Esq. 

Blog Posts and Articles:

What is a Business Plan? on BPlans.com.

Business Plans: A Step-by-Step Guide on Entrepreneur.com. 

Build Your Business Plan on SBA.gov.

Tools of the Trade, AmyPorterfield.com. 

8 Common Business Plan Mistakes on BPlans.com.

What is a Cash Flow Statement? on Investopedia.com.

The Importance of Market Measurement and Forecasting on Article1000.com.

Balance Sheet Definition and Examples on TheBalance.com.

Videos:

Business Model Canvas Explained by Strategyzer on YouTube.com.

Additional Resources:

How to Get Your Business Funded on BPlans.com

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.

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