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Finding Leads, Converting, Enrolling (video)

I thought you might appreciate this…

A couple of months ago, Andy Key, a member of The Coaching Lifestyle Facebook group, started a thread asking people how they got their first client.

I mean, this thread got CRAZY! (It was probably one of the hottest threads in the group, ever!)

What really inspired me about Andy was how he kept asking great questions—digging deeper and deeper into what people said.

The thread got so much involvement, and it was so much FUN, that I decided to interview him, solo, and I could give him personalized advice on actions he can take now to start building a client base.

Watch it here—because I’m confident my advice to Andy could help YOU, too! Not to mention the questions Andy asks me just might be the same questions you’re wishing you had the answers to…

Also, in the video, I mention our upcoming live event, Lifestyle LIVE! scheduled for February 12-14 in Atlanta—where you’ll learn more deeply about the stuff Andy and I talked about in this interview and absolutely everything you need to fall head-over-heels IN LOVE with your business.

You can learn more here: http://coachesconsole.com/live/.

Melinda: Well hello everybody its Melinda here with the Coaches Console. I’m here I’m joined with Andy. It’s so great to meet you Andy and I really appreciate you coming on. You know you started what might be one of our hottest threads in the in the coaching lifestyle Facebook group by one simple question.

I think it was back in November the beginning part of November when you asked it. The question was super simple how’d you get your first client? And my gosh, just da, da, da, da, da and everything that followed from that. And I loved watching people would respond and you are like, yes okay that’s great and now tell me about this.

Okay that’s good information and you were just like digging and digging and digging and like really wrapping your mind around all the valuable information that you are getting from the group. Andy, this is the first time we’ve met. I was just so inspired by your question, your I call it chomp like when you are like I want this, I want to know this information. I love that. I wish all new coaches had that. So tell me about yourself because we’ve never actually met before right now. Tell me about you and your business like what stage is your business in?

Andy: Okay well obviously since I asked that question I’m kind of struggling getting my first clients. I’ve been trying to get into the coaching business for about a year now. It’s kind of a long story, my life was headed in a completely wrong direction and I found out after 33 miserable years that I needed to go full-out entrepreneur.

Melinda: I know that experience as well like you are going down a certain path and all of a sudden you are like oh no that’s not going to work anymore, we are going to have to go a different direction.

Andy: Yeah, I know, right?

Melinda: Yeah. It kind of sucks like in the moment it really sucks and then there’s like this point of exhilaration and then it sucks again and you are like, oh god what have I done?

Andy: I don’t know, I think it’s liberating mostly even though of course the entrepreneurial life has its stresses and all, I prefer it that way. But anyway, having studied self-development galore since 2014, I came I came upon the term of confidence coaching and it just resonated with me because what I found is that confidence is the way I see it the number one common denominator in everything that is related to self development.

There’s always this element of what level of confidence am I on here and there is a strong correlation between successful self development and high confidence. So even though confidence coaching may sound a little vague it makes sense to me and I and I know that it’s a huge up-and-coming niche. When I looked at it about a year ago and I started getting into it, I could find about maybe 10 or 20 confidence coaches by a regular Google search.

Since then not more than eight or nine months later that number had risen to more than 100. I think that would be a good tip-off that that confidence coaching is the way to go. So that’s what I’m trying to get into. I’m kind of kind of finding some ways in, I’ve been working with one beta client, a girl I found in my mastermind group but hey if it works—

Melinda: How did you find her because that was your question you posted in the group? So it was in a mastermind group that you were in.

Andy: Yeah, I’m in a mastermind group and I simply offered some of the other members free coaching because they were struggling with some things that I might be able to help them with. One of them said yes and so I’ve been kind of working with her. So that’s one thing I’ve been doing.

Another thing I’ve been doing is that I’ve been fortunate enough this December to get on a Christmas calendar giveaway in another coaching group so I’ve had the opportunity of giving away free sessions to a number of people, just pretty much anyone who said yes basically. And so I’ve been doing a couple of free sessions there as well.

I’ve only been getting positive feedback so far which only confirms my notions that I’m able to do this and even though I don’t have a certificate yet I’ve been reading enough books and taking enough courses on coaching that I do have the necessary foundation for being able to do it.

Melinda: Yeah. One of the things I noticed when I was looking through the thread because you talked about in your mastermind group in another group they were doing a giveaway and you kind of got involved in that. Some of the other responses that I noticed that were pretty prominent were people doing webinars, people going to networking groups, Facebook groups.

A lot of people are active in Facebook groups and friends and family, the people that are in your closest sphere around you. And that’s just getting out there, talking about what you are doing I mean that’s the first step. And I saw a lot of people saying you know just get out there and start talking about it, just get out there and start talking about it but you were like, how do I find those people to get in front of?

And it just begins. I know when I started my business 15 years ago now, you just start and you get in front of maybe one person or a small group and then something will happen and transpire there and that will lead to this conversation or this introduction or this idea over here.

And then that spawns and now you are over here because of another conversation or an idea. You slowly begin to get in front of different people in different ways. It’s just the consistency, that’s one of the things that I wanted to share with you, I didn’t see that in that thread but consistency is what makes all of the difference.

And that’s what I see a lot of people, they’ll try something one or two times and be like, oh that didn’t work let me throw that out the window. And then they are like okay let’s go try this thing over here, oh look that didn’t work. Most people give up before they give enough consistent action to see results. So I just wanted the opportunity to share that with you that whatever you are finding that resonates with you keep doing it consistently, consistently, consistently.

Andy: Right, right. I think that’s an important point because not everything resonates with everybody so there might be some things where I’m kind of going to go okay I’m not going to do that anymore because that simply doesn’t resonate with me.

And I think when you are starting out like I am you might not have that experience of consistency exactly because you are trying a lot of different things to see what resonates with you. So that consistency might not be there for me right now but you make a good point.

Melinda: It’s what I call the research phase, you are like okay let me try this.

Andy: Exactly, yeah.

Melinda: That’s right. Let me do this a little bit more and you try something else you are like, yeah no, not so much. It’s like a buffet like when you go to a great restaurant that has this amazing buffet. You try something and you are like that’s disgusting, I’m never going to eat that again and you don’t go back there. Marketing is actually the same way.

Now the next person that walks up to the buffet are like, oh my god that’s the best thing I’ve ever ate and you are like, well, interesting. But once you find that thing that resonates with you consistency is what makes a difference. As you locate that thing don’t give up too quickly stay consistent with it. Like when I started what I discovered was I love networking. It lights me up.

It’s how I’m built. It’s not that I taught myself to like it, I just love it. I could not get enough of going to networking groups. I just loved going there, I loved connecting people with resources, I loved connecting with potential people that could give me clients and introduce me to people and I just I love that way of doing business.

It was a good three months of consistent action every week, every day of every week before it became like this big snowball that started spinning crazily. But during those three months it’s like whoa, that’s okay I’m and a lot of people in that window. For some people it’s a few weeks, for some people it’s three months, for some people it might be longer. But a lot of people will give up too quickly and you just keep going just keep going and be persistent and consistent.

Andy: Right. That’s another great point.

Melinda: Yeah. And that’s one of the things you know, I think it was, who was it Sandra what’s her last name? Joan Belle and Sandra got in this interesting dialogue because when you are thinking about how do you find your first client now this is where we have to take off the hat of the coach, right? So you love coaching, you love helping people become confident in whatever area they are in. We have to put on the hat of the business owner.

Andy: Right.

Melinda: Right? And so it’s not only about—and speaking of confidence this is an interesting point, when it comes to marketing, marketing is not only about how do you find the people and then talk about it and then introduce the conversation to enroll them. But it’s also once they say yes what happens after? And I thought that was interesting. I don’t know if you saw that in the thread but they were talking about after you convert somebody what happens next?

Andy: Oh yeah, I remember that now, yeah.

Melinda: And it’s interesting because I’m a systems geek and I love efficiency and effectiveness and process. That’s how I operate. One of the things that I see more times than not with startup coaches like yourself is they don’t pay attention to that. They are like, look I’ve just got to find people to talk to, I’ve got to get a client, I’ll worry about that later.

But here’s what happens and this is the other reason I wanted to hop on Zoom with you is like okay heads-up about this because I don’t want this to happen to you. When they don’t think about when somebody says yes then what’s next, when you don’t think about that or plan for that in advance you have this oh crap moment. You are like, oh shit they said yes right?

And then you are like, I don’t know what to do next. Now you’ve got to go back to the Facebook group like, okay somebody said yes now what do you do? It’s like how do you get them signed up, how do you schedule the first call? And now all these other questions come up.

We know these are there even though we may not pay attention to them and when we don’t have even just a broad idea about what happens after somebody says yes, people dig their heels in on marketing. They slow down their efforts on the front end of things on getting out there, talking with people, being consistent in their action because they are like oh god they might actually say yes and I have no freaking idea what to do.

And we want to look professional because they are going to hire us, they are going to pay us for the services that we provide so we want to present this professionalism. But if we are in this oh crap, I don’t know what to do then there’s this unconscious digging in the heels that really people sabotage their marketing efforts and I see it all of the time.

So you don’t have to know every single answer of every single thing after somebody signs up but you do have to have an idea. So when you are talking with your beta person from your mastermind and they are like oh my gosh, Andy like this is amazing, I think I want you to actually be my coach like for good, like let’s make this a real thing.

Then you just flow, you are like, okay great here’s how it’s going to work and you can just flow right into it. Now that enrollment conversation is a much easier conversation and doesn’t have to be a sales pitch or a hard thing that you are having to sell. It’s just like okay well here’s how this works.

That’s why a lot of people say I don’t like enrollment conversations, I don’t like selling because they haven’t answered what happens after somebody says yes. I wan to throw that out there to you to make sure that while you are still doing your consistent stuff wearing the head of the business owner you are also paying attention on what happens after somebody says yes.

Andy: Right. Well that is a good point. I have been talking to a few people about that so I do have well for example some payment options for international clients and I have been taking some courses for example by Christian Michelson whom you’ve probably heard of.

Melinda: Yeah.

Andy: Okay, yeah I thought so. I’ve done a few of his courses also and he teaches this stuff as you know. So it’s not that I’m exactly clueless as to as to what happens after we enroll them.

Melinda: Awesome. You don’t have to know every single answer to every how do I do this question but you have some idea or else like I said you’ll dig in your heels. Unconsciously you’ll be saying I don’t want to do that because they might say yes.

Andy: Sure, I mean I think it’s one of those areas I think where right now I’m at a stage where it’s not perfect but it’s not supposed to be perfect either at this stage. It will be probably at some point but not right now. That’s not what’s most important right now. What’s important right now is getting those clients and then we can always fine-tune stuff later, you know?

Melinda: Yeah and we call it like in our bootcamp we teach the villains and superpowers so we have this one villain that we teach and her name is Perfect Portia. That’s a lot of entrepreneurs because they think it has to be perfect before they get out there.

Andy: No, no, no.

Melinda: So I admire that you are like, no let’s take this imperfect action, let’s take action, let’s improve, let’s research, take more action, improve and just have this constant never-ending improving instead of perfection, perfection, perfection and then run out of time, energy money and passion before you ever get anywhere.

Andy: Exactly. There’s a good saying that goes like this, it’s not supposed to be art it’s supposed to work. That’s kind of what I try to live by.

Melinda: Yeah and a lot of us, I know I was in this boat and it sounds like you might be too. I was fired from my job. I had a very small window of time where I was like I’ve got to make money people, I got mortgages, I got bills, I got utilities, I got responsibilities so I’ve got a small amount of time to make this work. And like you said it’s not art it’s got to work.

Andy: Exactly.

Melinda: So get out there, research, do it, improve. That’s a beautiful, beautiful approach so kudos to you. That takes a lot of courage to do that. You paved the way beautifully by asking the questions. That’s how it is like let’s ask this out. That was awesome. One of the other things that that I really loved in the in the thread that I just wanted to pull out was who was it, Becky?

Andy: There were so many people participating I don’t remember one from the other, sorry.

Melinda: But there was somebody in there that was talking about how when she’s talking to somebody that might be interested in what she’s up to she cites examples. Whether it’s just a real client that she’s worked with like Susie was struggling with X and then she got this result.

She talked about that or if it’s a general example that conveys an idea. But that right there is one of the powerful then you don’t have to sell anything. When you can have those examples whether they are specific like the two people that you are working with, the one person from your beta, from your mastermind it’s like okay what were the struggles and what’s the transformation when you can articulate that in a very succinct way and you are talking with other people?

It’s like it reminds me of my client da da da. She was doing this and now as a result she’s experiencing XYZ. The more examples you can give, now people don’t have to understand coaching, they don’t have to get it, they don’t have to know how it works. They just have to know that’s my struggle and I want that transformation so you are the guy I should be talking to.

That’s where when you are talking with people, when you are having those sample sessions, when you are having those enrollment conversations, the more that you can share real stories of your own, your clients or other people that you know the less selling you have to do. It’s like I’m just presenting to you, this is real-time information folks and people are like yeah I want that.

Andy: Right. There’s a saying that people don’t buy coaching they buy results.

Melinda: Yeah, we were talking about that. One of the posts that I made somebody else started this thread what are you selling? And I was like, no, you are not selling, remember that thread?

Andy: I remember, yeah.

Melinda: Yeah, I was like I don’t think this is what you were going for but what you are selling is transformation, what you are selling is results. And the more that you can convey that nobody has to understand what coaching is, nobody has to get confused as like oh what sports?

Like none of that ever has to come up. It’s just like here’s the transformation that’s provided and then they get to say yeah I’m ready for that. And you can help them get clear on their commitment. That’s really all an enrollment conversation is it’s like do you really want this transformation, are you committed to it and how clear are you on that commitment?

And when you are ready I’m here for you. That right there that is your enrollment conversation, that’s it. You can bring the right coaching skills to the table and do that so I’m going to put you on the spot like we haven’t rehearsed any of this, I didn’t send you any questions like we are making this up right now.

Andy: Right, go for it.

Melinda: My question for you is what is the transformation you provide? I know you talked a little bit about being a confidence coach that’s the kind of coaching you do. But what really gets you excited?

Andy: What gets me excited?

Melinda: Yeah.

Andy: Well, being an upstart I obviously haven’t worked with a lot of people yet. But what makes me excited is I think and this is something that I hadn’t really thought about before. But when I noticed that I make a difference in people’s lives for the better, when I noticed that there’s a change in their ways of thinking.

They have this kind of aha moment where they go, oh yeah, I hadn’t thought about that before but that makes perfect sense. Being able to provide that for people I know they are providing it for themselves it’s because it’s their own ideas, we are just helping to dig them out. But I think that one point is just when I experienced that the first time I was like oh yeah, this is it baby.

Melinda: When you experienced it the first time what is that oh yeah baby, what’s behind that?

Andy: It only confirmed my idea that that I’m headed in the direction I’m supposed to be heading in. I’m supposed to be doing this definitely. Having tried to get into coaching for so long and not having done any actual coaching, I’ve had my doubts actually but having that happen that was like, okay yeah, boom, that was it. That was like the confirmation that I needed.

Melinda: Let me reframe this, what you just described is—and I’m taking notes so when you see me looking down like I’m actually taking notes.

Andy: Yeah, I was I was thinking that.

Melinda: And so what I just heard you say was that what like just completely lit you up, is the way I describe it, was this confirmation I’m heading in the right direction.

Andy: Exactly.

Melinda: With my life purpose.

Andy: Exactly.

Melinda: Okay, so that’s one little nugget I pulled out. Let me just ask that question again, for you on your journey when you experienced, what else, what other impact did that have on you?

Andy: What other impact it had on me? You mean like in other areas of my life?

Melinda: Sure.

Andy: I think it gave me a sense of calmness and maybe a greater sense of confidence myself, a sense of okay well there’s a doubt there just got eliminated. This means that this will free up some of my energy to pursue other ideas for example do this and that or do X or Y or Z. I think it gave me some excess energy that I hadn’t had before.

Melinda: Yeah and what I heard you not say in that phrasing was greater confidence that I can do this. Is that true?

Andy: Oh yeah. You didn’t hear me say that but definitely that was—

Melinda: Like it was woven in there?

Andy: Sure.

Melinda: Is that real thing for you?

Andy: Oh, definitely, definitely yeah.

Melinda: So one of the things when we are first getting started it’s like we just know we want to do this thing. It excites us, we are like yeah, we have got to do more of this, right? Whenever you are finding your first client or finding—and what you asked was not even how do you find your first client?

But what I noticed in the digging that you were doing by the additional questions it’s like okay that’s great that you found that client but how did you get in front of them to even start talking to them? That’s what we call leads, building your list, growing your list, finding new leads, finding prospects, list building.

All that kind of stuff is what we talk about in the industry and so that’s like the precursor to getting clients. It’s like, okay we’ll figure out how to get clients but how do I get in front of these like who are these people and how do I find them? That’s the list building, that’s the power of having a list.

And it doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be oh I’ve got to have 18000 people on my list. No, you can have five people on your list, you can have 55 people on your list and you just start talking about it. What I love about that is what I noticed people were saying over and over again is you have to know who these people are and where they are hanging out.

And so what I love about what we just went through based on your own experience was the people that you want to talk to are people that want confirmation that they are heading down the right path of their life purpose. They want a greater confidence that they can do their dreams and live their purpose. And you want to find people that want to free up their energy to pursue their ideas and turn them into something. Those three things that’s exactly what you just said, right?

Andy: Right.

Melinda: You are going to have this recording. You can grab that and use it and so as you are out talking to people whether you are at the supermarket, on the sidelines of a sporting game, at some concert, at a festival. Like wherever you go in your life and somebody asks, so Andy what do you do? What I never want you to say ever again is, oh I’m a coach. That’s never your answer.

Andy: Obviously we have to call it that at some point but yeah we could we could postpone that somehow, I guess.

Melinda: When new coaches start out and say, so Andy what are you doing? Oh, I’m a confidence coach, usually you are going to get one of three responses. Oh, that’s nice and then they change the subject or they’ll say, oh my gosh what sport how cool is that?

Or they’ll say nothing and just walk away. That’s the experience, it’s like wow we are setting ourselves up for failure and to have crappy conversations. So rather than answering the question what do I do with who I am and what’s my profession, to answer the question with well I provide transformation for people looking for those three things.

And then you can give an example, for example I’m working with one person right now. She was struggling with this and now she’s experiencing this or my own story, I was struggling with this and now I have this experience and I got boom, boom, boom. That’s how you start talking to people.

Andy: Right. I have a question about that or two, if that’s okay. Do you use that phrase to provide transformation yourself?

Melinda: Yeah.

Andy: Okay and so do you elaborate on that or you don’t need to?

Melinda: You do not need to at all. People don’t care about how, they only care about the results.

Andy: Right, the why is more important than the how of course.

Melinda: We care about the how and so we are seeing this like right now the coach hat just got put back on it’s like but wait I’m a coach that’s the most important part is actually the coaching that’s done and how it works and the way it goes and the transformation.

We care about that because that’s our zone of genius but the people that we are talking to when I say well through my coaching I provide transformation and then I talk about they don’t hear all that. What they hear is the result, result, result. It’s like oh my gosh, my neighbor was just talking about struggling with that thing and so they pick up on that. We hear the other stuff. They don’t hear it like we do.

Andy: Okay, okay well that that makes sense. I just think there might be some cultural differences as well or sub-cultural differences when you talk about these things. I think coaching is a bigger thing in America than it is in certain European countries.

I’m from Denmark for example and it’s not very easy to talk about coaching over here. People still think it’s like kind of a some neo religious woo-woo thing. And so I have an idea that, well I haven’t tried talking to people about providing transformation yet but I think people might react kind of the same.

Melinda: Instead of transformation use the word results.

Andy: Yeah, okay, sure.

Melinda: That is straight to the point. And so if somebody were to say so hey Andy what do you do? The response might be something like, you could even say through my coaching or through the work that I do one-on-one with people the results that they get are these, something like that.

Do you see how that goes? So it’s like you say a little bit about through the work I do one-on-one with people or because people don’t care about coaching you are not selling coaching. And it sucks because it’s our passion and when we can eliminate this from emphasizing in a conversation because what they are interested in are the results.

Andy: To me it’s just a matter of I don’t mind not calling it coaching, it’s a matter of semantics really. And I think what would make me happy is just to know that I’m kind of marketing myself in the best possible way. I think whatever I need to call it would be the nice thing to know.

Melinda: Through work with one on one clients or through my group programs or through my coaching, just a brief mention, the results that my clients get or I help my clients and then talk about the results.

Andy: Right, right. That is so helpful, thank you so much. I have another question about that, if you don’t mind. When I’ve been talking about this confidence coaching stuff some people have given me this objection kind of or a good counterpoint what you might call it but confidence for what?

Melinda: Exactly so this is interesting.

Andy: Yeah, it is.

Melinda: So that’s the other thing. You’ll start to hone in on this so right now if I just take those three things based on your journey because that’s really all we have to go on right now because you haven’t started working with clients. You are still kind of researching where do I want to be here?

So if we just start with your journey confirmation that I’m going in the right direction with my life purpose, greater confidence that I can do this and to free up my energy to pursue my ideas. In that sense greater confidence with my life purpose like that’s where you are starting right now.

That will morph and change and expand. It will kind of move in different directions as you keep researching and evolving. I’m 15 years later and it’s still ever evolving. But for right now that’s what you have to go on. So confident, area of life purpose because that’s what you are like, yeah man let’s do this!

Andy: Yeah, yeah. You make a good point, however one person told me that this sounds a lot like life coaching.

Melinda: So what?

Andy: I don’t remember what I answered that person but I don’t think so what would make for a very professional answer.

Melinda: No, I’m just telling you so what? There are a lot of objections that people have and with something like that to say with the work I do what I want is to teach the life skill of confidence. That’s where I put my emphasis. Because then that skill is transferable while I love working with people on discovering their life purpose it also is transferable to a lot of areas of their life. So you’ll have that in the recording as well.

Andy: Right, I appreciate that, yeah. And it makes perfect sense to me also but I think it’s a matter of me needing to frame it in ways that make sense to other people who don’t necessarily know what I’m talking about.

Melinda: Like right there is the gem of the whole conversation is we know what we are saying that doesn’t matter. When we are talking with somebody what they are running through their head is what’s in it for me and they’ve got to understand it. So we’ve got to be able to articulate in a way that they can understand the value that it could have on them or the people they know, absolutely.

Andy: Boom!

Melinda: Yeah, awesome. So when you are getting out in front of these people you’ve got a lot of ideas from the thread and what you are already discovering about how to find these people and then it’s just you’ve got two or three here and then it leads to two or three more there and ten or twenty here and five or ten there and 50 here.

Consistently it continues to grow and expand and then it’s important to be able to articulate not the coaching but the results, the struggle and the results and being able to communicate that in a way that people understand it. And now it just becomes an invitation are you committed to making this change and getting out of the struggle and getting into these results?

When you are committed I’m your coach and I’m here for you. Then enrollment just becomes powerful coaching which I love when that happens. I wanted to thank you for this, for the thread that you’ve started and for just your persistence in digging and diving. This is such an important topic.

We focus here at the Coaches Console and the Coaching Lifestyle community on the startup and the reason I ask what stage you are in you know a lot of people they are still in their job and they are just dreaming about having their own business. They are dreaming about being an entrepreneur and you are like nope I made that step, here we go.

Andy: A lot of people in the in the Facebook group?

Melinda: Yeah, in the Facebook group. They haven’t left their fulltime job. They want to but they haven’t left yet. Some people have gotten fired like me, some people have left, some people are at the very beginning stages or they’ve been doing this one or two years, a majority of the people in our community is in those kind of areas in their business.

And this is such an important area this is what stops people from leaving those jobs and living into their passion and their purpose and their potential. So I wanted to hop on here and I just want to take a quick moment because we are doing a lot of this, we are going to dive deep into a lot of this at the live event.

I don’t know if you’ve been seeing our posts inside the Facebook group but we are doing a live event. It’s here stateside it’s in the state so it’d be a little bit of travel for you but we are going to be doing it in Atlanta over February. This whole idea of list building or how to like where do you find those people like that whole idea we are going to spend a session talking about that.

So it’s like how do you unpack that, how do you figure that out and get some momentum there? We are going to be talking about enrollment conversations, the four objections that you’ll hear all the time, we are going to be talking about that. We are going to be talking about what to do after and it’s what we call onboarding like bring on a new client.

So we are going to be covering a lot in three days to help people get that momentum and to have the focus for the whole year to come. I just wanted to let you know and all the people listening in to know that what Andy and I have done here we are going to be doing a lot of this at the live event in February.

You’ll see the link below. If you haven’t claimed your ticket you can do that but it’s so important, the questions that you are asking Andy in that thread I mean that’s where it begins. So again I really want to thank you for asking those questions and not giving up. It’s like okay somebody give me an answer, okay that’s good but now I’ve got three more questions.

Andy: You know, thank you because you provide the group and you provided this opportunity for me so I’m very grateful for that. I think I’m just doing whatever I think it takes because I am not giving up I mean this is it, this is what I got to do, right?

Melinda: And that’s a level of commitment so you can even speak to your own clients about this. Whenever I do an enrollment conversation another little thing that I love doing is I love saying on a scale of 1 to 10 how committed are you to making this change in your life?

Andy: Yeah, I do that too.

Melinda: I love scales, I love numbers, I love that kind of thing yeah because it cuts the emotion out and it’s like let’s get really clear real quick.

Andy: Quantification and hard core.

Melinda: Yeah, we are not messing around. And so you just said like you are a10 out of 10, I’m not giving up, I’m going to do whatever it takes. You are going to be so successful I already know that because you are going to do whatever it takes. Thank you for being in the group, thank you for asking the questions, thank you for being persistent and just thank you again for this time. I just thought this would be fun to kind of unpack it a little bit more and hopefully it was it was valuable.

Andy: It was.

Melinda: So if you are listening in to this, this is going to be posted on the Facebook and the Coaching Lifestyle. If you are listening in I’d love for you to post your favorite frames below. It’s one of the things that we do to wrap up. I do this with all my coaching clients at the end of every bootcamp session.

We do with our boot campers every time we have a team meeting it’s like what are your favorite frames. So Andy, I’m going to ask you, I’m putting you on the spot again, what is a favorite frame it doesn’t have to be the favorite frame but what’s a favorite frame, like a nugget or a gym or a takeaway that stood out from our conversation here?

Andy: I got a lot of positive confirmations of things I’ve learned along the way that I think I’m right. I think the latest big thing that I’ve learned that you have confirmed here on this call is that it takes consistent action and that kind of doing it half-assedly is not going to work for anyone.

Of course you’ve got to find out what makes sense to you and what kind of approaches resonates with you. But you’ve got to do some hustling and you got it you got to stick to it and you got to find out. You’ve got to make sure if it really works or it doesn’t. That was definitely a great takeaway for me.

Also the fact that you mentioned that it took you three months of working everyday for every week of three months. Having those really specific things like you just mentioned, really getting specific about it, I kind of loved that because it kind of gives me an idea of what to expect.

When you when you don’t know that you are like, shit, am I going to do this for a week or a year or two or what? So just getting those specifics down that’s invaluable so thank.

Melinda: My pleasure. And for everybody listening in, post your favorite frames below, I’d love to keep this conversation going. Or if you have additional questions from what Andy has shared or stuff that I’ve shared or whatever’s come up for you, post your questions below and we’ll kind of keep this dialogue going because this is where we all learn.

This where we learn together, it’s where we grow together and in this community, this collaboration this is where it happens. Not isolated, not hiding behind our computers but connecting together. So post your favorite frames, post your questions, claim your ticket if you haven’t.

I’m going to see you at the live event. We are going to dive into even more of this here early on in the year so that you feel confident about going through your whole year and getting results and doing the work you love. Andy, thank you again. I appreciate it. I will see you in the Facebook group. Keep us posted on your success and keep asking those question.

Andy: I will.

Melinda: All right, bye everybody.

Andy: Bye.

Posted in: Professional Development, StartUp Coach, The Coaching Lifestyle Podcast

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The Declaration Stage: Commit to Creating the Success You Dream About

by: Melinda Cohan

This article is the second in our The Success Path series. In the first article, we explained that The Success Path is a five-stage path coach-preneurs journey, as they go from coach, to startup business owner, to CEO.  To navigate the journey successfully, it’s important to complete each stage before moving on to the next. In the exercise at the end of the first article, we helped you identify where you are now on The Success Path, and what you need to do to continue on this journey to whichever stage you consider your final destination. We recommend reading the first article here before reading the article below: The Start-Up Entrepreneur’s Success Path: The Critical Process of Mapping Your Route to Success


 

Have you ever jumped off a cliff, or even a diving board, into the water? There’s that moment, when you’re standing there, looking down, hesitating … and then you just do it: you commit. You commit to making that jump.

When it comes to The Success Path we outlined in our last article, that’s what the first stage, the Declaration Stage, is all about: making the deep, soul-level commitment to do whatever it takes to create the success of which you dream, even if, at this time, it seems counter-intuitive or counter-logical (I mean, who jumps off a cliff?!).

If you’re in the Declaration Stage, your focus is to gather what’s necessary to make the move from full-time job to full-time business. That includes having a financial cushion, so you’re able to make the transition without that feeling of desperation that it has to work RIGHT NOW, or you might go under water.

Many coach-preneurs in the Declaration Stage try to go it alone – to figure it all out by themselves. When they begin to get overwhelmed, gremlins creep in and stop any forward momentum.

With guidance, support, and a mentor to show you the way, you can lean in and “borrow” their courage until you locate your own. We’d like to share some of our guidance, here.

What you may be experiencing if you’re in the Declaration Stage:

As startup coaches traverse the Declaration Stage, they may feel nervousness, self-doubt, and trepidation. And it’s understandable! Starting a new business is a huge step out of your comfort zone.

To illustrate those feelings, I’d like to share a few snippets from actual conversations I recently had with startup coaches.

“Melinda, you told me, ‘No brand, no business, no problem,’ but I’m starting to think this isn’t possible and I’m just not ready for this yet. I think I need to figure out a lot more stuff before I’m ready to get going.”

“Melinda, I am scared to death! Like literally, it feels paralyzing to think about moving forward with my business. I don’t think I have what it takes to do this. What if it doesn’t work? What if I go for it, and it fails?”

“I don’t have any money. I need to make some fast, and I want to start my business. Can you tell me how to create a business when I don’t have any money?”

What you should know:

Most startup entrepreneurs, who begin in the Declaration Stage, simply don’t know what they don’t know. And that’s okay—you’re not supposed to know what’s involved to start and launch a business.

All you’re supposed to do at the beginning is make that commitment to learn what you need to know, and to do what you need to do, to build a successful business.

If you’re telling yourself you should know everything, right away, you’re going to feel stressed out and overwhelmed.

It’s natural to feel nervous, so be kind to yourself as you start this journey.

A mentor once told me, “Melinda, you must get profoundly comfortable with the discomfort of being an entrepreneur.”

By being the very thing we are, we naturally live outside our comfort levels all the time! It’s just the nature of being an entrepreneur.

This very nature, which drives our passion, is the very thing that can cripple us if we leave it isolated.

That’s why it’s so important to declare that we’re entrepreneurs at heart, and to dare to live outside our comfort zones … because that’s where our greatest passion and impact lies. And the best way to get comfortable constantly living outside our comfort zones is to surround ourselves with like-minded community, invest in a great mentor who can lead us along the way, and have massive compassion for ourselves. Oh, and make FUN a #1 priority in how we do everything!

So, make the declaration! Make the commitment! Breathe deeply, be present, and get the support and guidance you need to lean into the discomfort of being an entrepreneur. Give yourself permission to keep moving forward.

Now, we’re going to walk, step-by-step, through the three things you should do in the Declaration Stage.

Here we go!


 

How to move through the Declaration Stage effectively:

You may believe that the first thing you need to do as a coach-preneur is to get clients. This is actually backwards thinking! This may sound counter-logical, but getting clients is actually one of the last things you should think about. (Stay tuned for more on this – an upcoming article in this series will delve into this topic more deeply.)

As a coach, it’s important to be and look professional. If you hit the streets and start looking for clients before you’re truly ready, you won’t look professional at all—you’ll feel overwhelmed, nervous, and full of doubt. That’s why we want to make sure you have all the knowledge you need to move through the Declaration Stage effectively! Keep reading to discover the three things you must do during this stage.

 

Get clear on your WHY statement.

Why are you making this jump? Why are you starting a business rather than coaching as a hobby, or working for someone else? What is truly driving you to start a business doing what you love?

Dig deep!

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is a giant leap out of your comfort zone and into a cold pool of water! Because you are moving continuously farther outside your comfort zone, it’s easy for gremlins, doubts, and uncertainties to get the best of you. They try to push you back toward your comfort zone.

You WHY statement is like a lighthouse beacon! It gives you direction, as you swat away those gremlins, doubts, and uncertainties … like the very ones I’m getting right now, as I write this post, even though I’ve been in business for 14 years:

  • “What if no one likes this?”
  • “I shouldn’t put this information out there, no one will read it; everyone is too busy anyway.”
  • “This really isn’t going to help anyone get clients; just forget it.”

And then I picture Dahalia or Deni, or Margarita, or Tony and the very thought of the people I’m helping reminds me of my WHY statement, which compels me to keep moving forward.

Your WHY statement carries you through with focus, determination, and consistency as you move forward.

Exercise.

Create your WHY statement. Then frame it and hang it on the wall where you work, so you see it every day. For 14 years, my napkin with my vision and WHY statement has hung on my office wall. I refer to it often as my fuel when I hit doubt and uncertainty.

Then, post your WHY statement in the comments below – I’d LOVE to read it.

 

Get prepared, financially.

Most entrepreneurs operate in the creative, intuitive, nurturing side of their brain, and they often believe structure is limiting. However, in the case of starting your business, organization, structure, and preparation bring about the greatest amount of freedom, and the quickest results.

It’s simple, right?

When you don’t have things organized, and processes defined (and by “processes,” I mean a series of steps you take to get a certain result) in advance, it’s like you’re “shootin’ blind.” I might as well ask you to put on a blindfold, wad up a piece of paper, and hit that goal. You can’t see it – you have no idea where it is – so how in the world will you hit it?

Sure, there’s a chance you might get lucky, and hit the mark.  But why leave it to chance?

When you have a bit of organization, and defined processes and steps already in place, you can clearly see your target goal, you know what it takes to reach it, and you simply repeat those defined steps over and over, to consistently reach your goal.

When it comes to your finances, it would be ideal if you could set aside a cash reserve of three to six months’ worth of your required, necessary, vital expenses (not the nice-to-haves, but the absolutely need-to-haves, like a roof over your head, food on the table, and clothes on your back).

Many entrepreneurs are hoping to leave a full-time J-O-B to start a full-time business, but without a financial cushion, you’ll likely feel desperate, or stuck and filled with trepidation, which may stop you from taking the action necessary to make your business dreams a reality. You’ll quickly run out of time, energy, passion, and money before you realize your goals

So, for a short time, commit to living carefully, when it comes to finances—be diligent in your expenses, protective of your spending and savings—so that you can eventually experience money freedom and momentum.

What if you don’t have this cushion and you can’t create it from your existing situation?

I recommend choosing one of two options:

Option One. Get a bridge job to help you create this cushion. A bridge job is a short-term, often part-time gig that is simple, requires little effort, and allows you to leave work at work. Its sole purpose is to allow you to save up enough money to create the cushion.

Option Two. Talk to your current boss about the possibility of creating a situation in which you go part-time for him or her, so you still receive a consistent income while freeing up some of your time to begin creating your new business.

Either way, looking at your job as a means to an end is liberating, and your situation will no longer feel like it’s strangling you!

Exercise.

Determine your absolute, necessary, fixed expenses each month, and then save $1,000 fast! Then, create and set aside 3-6 months’ financial cushion into a savings account. This may require a simple, part-time bridge job in the interim. This doesn’t delay your pursuits (rather, it catapults you toward them faster).

 

Get prepared, organizationally.

As I mentioned above, many startup coach-preneurs believe they must rush out and get clients, first thing. Taking that a step further, these same coach-preneurs believe that if they’re going to get clients, they need to have an official business—which means they need a business name, a logo, and a website.

Hold it right there.

This, too, is backwards thinking. Yes, creating a website, a logo, and a company name creates a strong business identity. But there are other things you must do before you complete these tasks.

Exercise.

Follow these steps to create a solid foundation for your business identity and brand to stand on:

  • Set up an LLC, S-Corp, or some type of business entity to provide protection for you personally and your personal assets.
  • Open a business checking account. Deposit $25 at a time until you save $1,000.
  • Obtain a P.O. Box for your business.
  • Create a dedicated office space, even if you’re working from home.
  • Schedule intended office hours.
  • Write a business plan that includes your goals for number of clients, revenue, and initial marketing plan.
  • Learn the best coaching business practices necessary to locate prospects, convert them, engage them, support them, and get paid by them.

Again, make the declaration! Make the commitment! Breathe deeply, be present, and get the support and guidance you need to lean into the discomfort of being an entrepreneur. Give yourself permission to keep moving forward, to believe in your dream, and do whatever it takes to pursue your dreams.


 

Declaration Stage Mantra.

As you go through your day, think these thoughts to continue to create magic, strengthen your courage, and keep moving forward.

My timing is perfect! Otherwise I’d be doing it differently.

I’ve never done this business thing. I am not supposed to know what to do, but I can align myself with those who do; and with their support, I am creating big magic and big success, fast!

I am profoundly comfortable with the discomfort of being an entrepreneur.

I am living like no one else so I can live like no one else.

And please share! Post your preferred mantra (from above or one of your own) in the comments below.

Go out there, and create magic!

Complete the exercises in this post, and then move on to the next stage, The Transition Stage. (You won’t want to miss this, because we’re talkin’ list growing, baby!) 😉

Watch your inbox for the next article in this series, which gives you everything you need to know about navigating The Transition Stage.

 

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The Start-Up Entrepreneur’s Success Path: The Critical Process of Mapping Your Route to Success

by: Melinda Cohan

Every start up coach or service-based practitioner must go through the same five steps to reach the point where she or he is running a thriving business.

These steps reflect the 50,000-foot perspective: what your entire journey looks like.

Each of them is a building block on your journey to running a thriving business. So you also can’t “half-ass” them. You can’t ignore them. And you can’t skip any of them! Skipping them to reach the destination more quickly doesn’t equal success. In fact, if you do skip ahead, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have to go back and revisit the earlier stages.

A quick note: you know you’re off-roading if you haven’t yet created consistent results from the beginning stages and are already incorporating intermediate or advanced strategies. That is what ultimately creates overwhelm!

Because we love you, and because we love making things easy breezy for you, we’ve put the content we’re covering today into an awesome, beautiful, downloadable chart you can get for free, below.

It’s our hope that by reading the rest of this post, answering the questions at the end, and studying the chart, you’ll be able to see where you are now on a clearly defined path to success, and the journey to where you want to be. This is a visual representation of the idea that you’re moving through a process.

Side benefit: your world will feel less overwhelming or chaotic, because you won’t be spreading yourself too thin, trying to accomplish too much from too many stages, all at the same time. This approach takes enlightened discipline and a diligent commitment to yourself and your dreams (and it’s so worth it!).

So go ahead! Download your chart here, and then come back and keep reading (we’ll wait for you):

Where Are YOU On The Success Path? <<< Download Your Chart Now

Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty!

First, we’ll describe The Success Path and each of its Five Stages, and then we’ll give you an exercise to help you determine where you are now on the path, so that you know what to do to continue moving toward your dream business as quickly as possible.


The Success Path

As a new business owner, it’s helpful to see the path you’re taking to build your biz. Think about when you use your smartphone to map out your route to a particular destination. You enter your current location, and then your desired destination. Then, your mapping app calculates your route, and shows it to you.

Clear. Easy breezy. Right?

Why is it then, that many startup coaches or practitioners blindly pursue their passions without knowing, in advance, the route they’re going to follow, or the path that lies ahead?

When they do, they end up feeling lost and scattered, unsure of how far they’ve traveled, or how far they have left to go.

The Success Path solves that problem by showing startup coaches and practitioners the route they’ll be taking.

Let’s go over each of the Stages of The Success Path now, and then look at how they relate to the learning process.

Declaration Stage

Goal: To make the deep, soul-level commitment to do whatever it takes to create the success of which you dream, even if, at this time, it seems counter-intuitive or counter-logical.

Focus: Gather what’s necessary to make the move from full-time job to full-time business.

Blind Spot: Not creating a financial cushion to bridge the gap from J-O-B to business results. Your cushion should cover three to five months’ worth of essential, fixed costs necessary for survival. This way, you can proceed on the Success Path without that horrible feeling of desperation to make money immediately, like RIGHT NOW. If you can’t set aside the cushion in advance, consider getting a “bridge job”—a part- or full-time, low-stress gig—to help with these expenses as you get clear in your commitment, vision, and goals.

Transition Stage

Goal: To build your list.

Focus: Create the components to identify, find, attract, and engage prospects, and implement the funnels, strategies, and best practices to grow your list.

Blind Spot: Pursuing your business—specifically, trying to go out and get clients—without knowing, in advance, all the pieces and best practices you’ll need in it, which results they drive, and why they’re important; for example, what it takes to find, engage, and convert prospects into clients (Stage 2 is where a coach should focus on collecting names and building a list). Knowing these things brings order to the otherwise chaotic, overwhelming task of running a business. Take time, up front, to know what needs to happen, when. Otherwise, everything feels urgent, and you feel pressured and fearful.

Attraction Stage

Goal: To get paying clients.

Focus: Create and implement the tools, resources, and materials necessary to enroll and onboard new clients.

Blind Spot: Neglecting to prepare for enrollment conversations. Here, “prepared” means having your client agreement and onboarding process in place BEFORE you show up for the enrollment conversation, so you’re able to leverage the “yes” when someone decides to work with you. If you don’t have these things ready to go, a new client may have to wait hours or even days until they’re officially onboarded. That means you risk creating a time gap that allows their gremlins creep in, causing them to get cold feet. On the other hand, when your client agreement, autoresponders, and client portal are in place, everything is seamless, and your new client experiences immediate engagement … and you can leverage his or her, “yes.”

Evolution Stage

Goal: To leverage and grow your business.

Focus: Create and implement the tools, resources, and materials necessary to bring automation to your business, add additional revenue streams, and work fewer hours while working with more clients and earning more money.

Blind Spot: Not getting help and support. As you begin to leverage your time, you need to bring on support in implementing and orchestrating everything in your business, including groups, programs, and events. This support comes in the form of team members: a certified VA, a bookkeeper, and so on. If you want to continue to grow, you can’t do it alone. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Expansion Stage

Goal: To scale your business.

Focus: Build your team, expand into new markets, and work minimal hours, while making more money and a broader impact.

Blind Spot: Attempting to do things in the same way you always have. What got you here won’t get you there. This stage requires you to evolve your internal systems and processes in order to manage the new ways you work with clients, and run your business and team.

Now, let’s look at how these stages relate to the learning process.


The Four Quadrants of Learning

We want to share with you the four Quadrants of Learning; in other words, the process you go through from the moment you launch your business to the moment when you’ve mastered it!

This is important to know because as you move yourself through The Success Path, you’ll go through a learning process—an evolution as a coach-preneur. In addition to knowing how to move along The Success Path, we want you to understand that learning process and evolution, because it will require you to step out of your comfort zone and into the next greatest version of yourself (and as you know, “out of your comfort zone” can feel uncomfortable … which is why we wanted to give you a heads up about what to expect).

These quadrants represent the emotional, behavioral and energetic journey you’ll experience as you move through the stages of The Success path.

Quadrant 1: Unconscious Incompetence. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?  You’re just going through your day, nice and easy. Ignorance is bliss!

Quadrant 2: Conscious Incompetence. You encounter something (an experience, a desire, a dream) that sets you on a new path. You now know what you didn’t know before, but you aren’t sure what to do about it. This is where overwhelm begins.

Quadrant 3: Conscious Competence. This is where you bring understanding and order to the chaos. Because you’re still learning new concepts or strategies, mastery requires discipline and effort. With concentrated focus, you get the results for which you’re working.  Things can be uncomfortable here. Most that are not cut out for the journey of starting and running a business often retreat back to their comfort zones here.  In this stage this is where you become profoundly comfortable with the discomfort of being an entrepreneur. As we mentioned earlier, growth as a coach-preneur will constantly require you to step out of your comfort zone—and that’s actually a great thing as you step into better and better versions of yourself. So it’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable (we say this with love!).

Quadrant 4: Unconscious Competence: Habits are formed! What was once confusing or overwhelming is now second nature.


How It All Ties Together

When an entrepreneur first starts down The Success Path, her commitment to starting a business, pursuing her passion, and going for her dreams catapults her out of Quadrant 1 and into Quadrant 2. As she gets guidance and support, she sorts through Quadrant 2 and finds herself in Quadrant 3. And as she continues on The Success Path with continued guidance, support, and accountability (and connected to community), and moves forward toward her dreams and goals, she turns her new actions into habits, moving into Quadrant 4.

The Exercise: Where Are YOU on The Success Path?

Choose one answer – yes or no – to each of the following questions.

1. Are you still in a full-time job?

2. Do you have cash reserves set aside?

3. Have you created your WHY statement?

4. Are your contacts organized into one place?

5. Are you clear in describing your ideal client’s urgent challenges and desired results?

6. Do you have a free gift and lead generation system in place, that consistently grows your list each month?

7. Are you using a New Client Agreement as part of your enrollment conversations?

8. Is your onboarding process in place and automated?

9. Is it easy for you to get paid and track your finances?

10. Do you offer group coaching programs, teleclasses, mastermind groups, etc.?

11. Do you have a team?

Scoring

If you’ve left your existing job and/or have confidently answered yes, with confidence, to questions two and three, you have completed this stage and are ready for the Transition Stage.

Questions four, five, and six relate to the transition stage. If you answered yes, with confidence, you’ve completed this stage and are ready for the Attraction Stage.

Questions seven, eight, and nine relate to the Attraction stage. If you answered yes, with confidence, you’ve completed this stage and are ready for the Evolution Stage, if you want to keep growing.

Questions ten and eleven relate to the Evolution stage. If you answered yes, with confidence, you’ve completed Evolution and are ready for Expansion!


Whew! That is a lot of information, right?

We know it’s a lot to take in, and that’s why this is the first post in a series of posts about The Success Path.

Next, we’ll take a deep dive into each Stage (Declaration, Transition, Attraction, Evolution, and Expansion), so you can learn more about where you are now and what you need to do to move toward Expansion!

This information will be most valuable if you know where you are on The Success Path, so be sure to complete the exercise above before we move on! And meanwhile, don’t forget to download your The Success Path graphic, here, if you haven’t already:

Locate Your Stage, Visualize Your Path <<< Get Your Graphic

 

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