“Oh, Crap, Now What?”: How to Avoid Overwhelm, Exhaustion and Feeling like a Fraud When Your Business Takes off Without You and the You-Know- What Hits the Fan!
by: Melinda Cohan
“She said, ‘yes!”
Kate Steinbacher, Co-founder of The Coaches Console, had just landed her first coaching client.
She was excited … and shocked. She’d just started her coaching business, and thanks to being a natural-born networker and a charming extrovert, she already had people lined up, excited to work with her.
Only, she didn’t have any systems in place for supporting her new client … or the clients she hoped would follow.
So Kate did what any typical coach would do. After she got her first, “yes”, she picked up the phone, called her mentor coach and said …
“Oh, crap! Now what?”
Like many coaches, Kate operates primarily from her right brain, creativity taking the lead.
Operating a business is more of a left-brain activity, requiring logic and organization.
(Ah yes … I’m betting you know where this is going!)
For the first year of her business, Kate let her creativity and her passion for coaching run her business. She loved coaching! She felt lucky she was getting paid to do it. In that way, she operated from the mindset of a Hobbyist. But she had the goals of a Business Owner – to make a big impact and great money.
Rather than putting systems in place (like a Business Owner would), her “official plan” was to call her mentor coach every time she ran into another part of her business with which she needed help and say, “Oh, crap! Now what?” (Sounds like a Hobbyist, right?)
From all outward appearances, this plan was working well for Kate. She was getting and supporting more clients, and she was having fun. She was professional, credible, and thriving.
But from Kate’s perspective, things looked quite different.
Her approach was costing her time and money. She was so disorganized (her own words!) that it took 3 months for her to receive money from her clients. In one situation, she was so embarrassed about her lack of organization that she waived her client’s invoice all together! (If Kate were here, she’d tell you the same story, herself.)
She struggled to manage her time, and soon became very overwhelmed and stressed trying to juggle everything herself.
This is typical for most coaches and “start-up, service-based entrepreneurs” (those who have a set of skills and/or services they offer to a group of clients).
They discover they have a passion that is really a calling. They bravely venture into entrepreneurship. They work with mentors and teachers who begin to educate them on everything, the hundreds of necessary tasks they need to start and run a business.
Then, overwhelm sets in.
There is so much to do and so much to learn, and without a system, running a business can feel incredibly stressful.
(One of our Coaches Console members described her start-up experience before she began using TCC as “holding everything together with spitballs and duct tape”!)
Seriously – combine these things …
- Learning the hundreds of details necessary for running a business
- The desire to appear professional and organized
- The urgent need to make money
- The fear of failure and fear of success
… and you’ve got the recipe for overwhelm.
Everything feels urgent and important.
Fortunately, although we can’t decrease the number of details involved in running a business, or the desire to appear professional, the need to make money, or the fear of failure, we can offer you a solution to this overwhelm!
The cure to overwhelm is to prepare for clients before you get them.
Yes, you read that right: before you have any clients, you should set up effective systems for attracting, converting, and supporting them.
Your fear-based ego may be jumping in right now, exclaiming,”But wait! What if you never get any clients? Why would you waste time and resources creating these systems if you fail?!” Or, “You need money – just go out and get clients!” Or, “You’re smart. You’ll figure this out later.”
Let that go.
Take a bit of time up front, as the CEO of your business, to learn and understand the best practices necessary for laying that foundation. Be proactive, rather than reactive.
And find a mentor who can show you the way.
Kate had a great mentor, but she was in reactionary mode. She did not take the time to become proactive, and therefore she spent her first 3 years of business stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling scattered.
We would LOVE to help you avoid those “Oh crap!” moments!
To help you become more proactive, we want to share the 5 Critical Keys to Your Thriving Coaching Business. Later, we’ll go into more depth, but for now, you can begin thinking about whether you have these keys in place.
Critical Key #1: Attract. The first step is to attract your ideal clients, so they know who you are and what you have to offer.
Critical Key #2: Engage. Once you’ve found those leads, it’s time to engage them and give them a taste of the transformation they can experience by working with you.
Critical Key #3: Convert. When you’re looking for leads, you plan to turn them into clients, right? This is where you do just that, so you can make your impact and grow your business.
Critical Key #4: Support. Once the ink is dry, it’s time to ensure your clients enjoy working with you and feel supported.
Critical Key #5: Refer. You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: word of mouth is, hands down, the fastest way to grow your business. Make it easy for your clients to refer their friends to you.
Consider this your homework! Take a few moments now to jot down some notes about these 5 Keys as they relate to your business.
Finally, be on the lookout later this month for additional resources to help you flush out these 5 Keys, identify the best practices for each, and discover how to organize and implement them in your business.