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3 Steps to Building a Responsive, Engaged List – Authentically

So, you want to build your mailing list. And not just build it, but also take steps to make its members engaged and responsive. You know authenticity, readership, and engagement are crucial to growing your business.

But.

You’re just starting out, and you don’t have any contacts! Even if you did, you aren’t sure if it’s okay to start contacting them. And even if it was okay, you don’t know what to say to them.

Hold it right there.

Help is here!

The contact list you create in your business is a gold mine. You should treat it as such: mindfully create it, cultivate it, nurture it, and protect it. Fortunately, I’m going to show you how.

First of all, chances are you have more contacts than you realize. And there is a way to have them “opt-in,” officially, so you can start sending them emails. And … you guessed it: I’m going to give you a template for what to say when you reach out!

Ready? Let’s do this.

First and foremost, you have more contacts than you realize. They’re just scattered across the many facets of your life and the many platforms on which you’ve collected them. From your high school and college classmates to your colleagues from previous jobs, to all the friends you’ve made along the way, it’s likely that your contact list is already pretty decent.

As technology has evolved in the past couple of decades, you’ve probably stored your contacts in different places: that old Rolodex, Outlook, your personal email account, your smartphone, your address book … you get the picture.

 

Collect Your Contacts and Organize Them into a Central Platform.

This is the groundwork. Go through Outlook, your smart phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, your business cards, old email accounts, maybe even old spreadsheets. Enter ALL your contacts into one central list.

Once you see this new, central list, you may be surprised that you have several hundred contacts!

The problem: they’re not official business contacts. They may be family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, or people you’ve encountered at various events.

A quick note here: even though you may be thinking these people don’t necessarily seem like your ideal clients, don’t be too quick to cull them out! Your existing contacts may not be your ideal clients, but they could provide a stepping-stone to people who are.

Ok, so you have your list of contacts. But none of them have officially opted in (signed up) to receive emails from you about the services you offer through your business.

So, let’s talk about the next step.

 

Ask for Permission to Send Them Emails.

Once you’ve got your contacts organized into one big email list, it’s time to let them know about your transition into starting your coaching business.

I call this notification the “Dear Jane” letter.

It’s a quick and easy way to get in touch with your existing contacts and give them the opportunity to opt in to your business mailing list.

It serves a secondary purpose, too, as a networking tool: your contacts can refer their own contacts to you, now that they know what you’re up to.

The “Dear Jane” letter includes seven components:

  1. The positioning and personalization statement. This is where you connect with those you know in a simple and personal manner.
  2. Your announcement. Let readers know you’re launching your coaching business, and tell them about your specialty.
  3. Your 5-Part Connection Conversation to create engaging dialog and response.
  4. An invitation to opt in and receive your lead generation magnet (also known as your free gift).
  5. The Ask. Ask directly if they are interested in what you’re up to or if they know someone who is. Ask for the referral.
  6. An invite to “Coffee.” Bring it back to a causal connection and show interest in what THEY are up to.
  7. The opportunity to unsubscribe. Including this option in every email ensures you meet spam regulations.

This “Dear Jane” letter will help you cultivate a specific contact list for your business, full of people who are interested in hearing what you have to say.

 

Take the “Quality over Quantity” Approach.

List building is not about getting a name on your contact list for the sake of having a greater number of “subscribers” and the bragging rights that come with that.

(The “Quantity over Quality” approach will get you high unsubscribe rates, frustrated people, and a list that isn’t responsive when you promote your services, events, or programs.)

When you cultivate a list of interested people, you’re then able to communicate the right message to them, quickly, prompting action.

When you share messages, tips, and resources, the members of your list will be more likely to take the next step toward reaching their desired results.

YOUR result: a mailing list that is engaged and responsive … and a business that continues to grow.

 

Posted in: Networking

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I Went to a Networking Event. Now What?

You’ve heard that networking is a great way to build your business.

“Just get yourself out there.”

“Go out and meet people.”

“You never know who your friends know.”

That’s what they all say, right?

So. You just went to a networking event. You had some great conversations. You met some really nice people. And you collected a ton of business cards.

And now you’re home, and you’re thinking … “Now what?!”

Should you follow up? Does the fact that someone gave you a card imply that it’s okay for you to contact them? Can you add them to your email list? And what do you even say when you DO follow up?

All these questions may leave you paralyzed with indecision. So you wait, which creates a time gap, and then you’re embarrassed because you don’t know what to say or how to follow up

Which leads to wasted opportunities.

It’s all so overwhelming!

Okay, stop right there.

There’s no need to panic.

I’m going to walk you through how to know whether you can email or call someone whose business card you got at an event, and how to follow up in a way that’s effective, authentic, and fun.

Okay, let’s dive in!


 

Do you know where all good follow-up starts?

BEFORE the meeting.

The very first step to successful networking follow-up is to get prepared in advance.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to networking is to fail to think about follow-up before the meeting. When this happens, you’re in reactionary mode. You’re behind the 8-ball.

The solution: shift your mindset. Go from reactive to proactive.

With decisions made ahead of time, you can network and follow up with confidence.

Before you even begin thinking about follow-up messages, you may wonder whether you’re even supposed to follow up with the people you’ve met (or the people whose business cards you’ve collected) at an event.

How to Know if You Have Permission to Contact Someone

Wow! That stack of business cards you picked up at the networking event is huge! But are all of these prospects actually prospects? Is it okay to reach out to them?

My answer: it depends how you got the business cards.

If you just went around and picked them up off a table, then, no, it’s not okay to reach out to them. The point is not to collect cards, just for the sake of collecting cards.

But, if you had a conversation with people, and they said they’d like to learn more about what you do, then yes! Reach out to them.

It’s okay to do so for two reasons:

  1. They asked to learn more.
  2. Every email message you send will include an “unsubscribe” link, which will allow people to unsubscribe or to adjust the settings of their subscription – so they choose which types of messages to receive. (By including an “unsubscribe” link, you’re also adhering to spam regulations. This means you can follow up with confidence.)

The best way to reach out to them is with a pre-written, automated email series. Even better, when you’re prepared and proactive, you can actually let people know, while you’re talking with them at a networking event, that they’re going to receive your free gift in your follow-up series, and what else to expect.

Follow-Up Email Messages

Before you even attend a networking event, create a series of follow-up emails you can send out to the people whose business cards you collect.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this follow-up is clarity (not necessarily to get a client). You want the reader to self-identify as one of your potential clients, and refer people they know who may be potential clients. It’s a great way to get people in touch with you.

The First Message

Obviously, since you’re creating this message ahead of time, it will be generalized, and it will include:

  • A “Nice to meet you” statement, for the people with whom you talked or interacted.
  • Information about the transformation you provide through your services.
  • An invitation to get your free gift. I recommend adding people to your prospect list and giving them access to the gift, without requiring them to do anything else. This will give prospects a better idea of how you serve the people with whom you work, and the transformation they experience.
  • A Call to Action, asking people to download the gift (yes, it’s best to actually spell it out – people are more likely to download your gift if you say, “Download my gift.”) Or, you can ask the reader to forward the link to the free gift on to a friend or family member who may be a good fit if he or she isn’t.
  • A Secondary Call to Action in the PS. This Call to Action will provide a link to a scheduler where people can book a sample session with you. It may say something like, “If you’re ready to overcome your challenges and experience results, book a sample session to get started today.” Of course, it’s best to be specific about which challenges they’ll overcome, and which results they’ll achieve.

The Second Message

In this message, share the top questions people have about working with you: specifically, about the transformation they experience, and how you answer those questions.

This may read like an FAQ question. The point of sharing questions and answers is to overcome common objections someone might have to hiring you (or any coach!).

Here’s an example:

Q: I’m so busy! I don’t have time for coaching. How can I justify this time investment?

A: During our work together, I’ll show you how to choose your priorities and get more of the important items done in less time, while providing accountability you may not otherwise hold yourself to.  So while you may feel short on time later, you’ll soon find that as a result of the focus and accountability, you have more free time and an increased sense of calm.

As with your first message, this one should include a Call to Action. Let readers know that if they’re ready to overcome challenges and achieve results, they can click on the link to your schedule and set up a complimentary session with you. Or, alternately, to send the link to someone who may be a good fit.

The Third Message

A few days after you send the previous message, send a third in which you share the success story of one of your clients.

I recommend this message focus on a case study or testimonial that shows your client’s before and after.

This provides social proof—evidence that you’ve walked your talk and that what you’re promising is real.

As with your first two messages, this one should include a Call to Action. Ask readers to click on the link to your schedule and set up a complimentary session with you if they’re ready to overcome challenges and achieve results. Or, alternately, to send the link to someone who may be a good fit.

Bringing It All Together

So many coaches love the social aspect of networking, but find the conversations and follow-up intimidating.

The good news is that knowing how you’re going to follow up and what you’re going to say in advance brings clarity on what to talk about and how to guide the in-person conversation at the actual networking event. And when you know the sequence of your follow-up messages, you can minimize the time gap between the networking event and their receipt of your first message, which keeps them interested and engaged.

One quick note, here: be sure to enter new names and contact information into your database within 24 hours upon receiving them. If you can’t find the time to do this, it’s a great project to outsource to a VA.

Being prepared and proactive can change the way you feel about—and approach—networking so it’s effective!


 

So remember:

  • Be proactive rather than reactive. Create your follow-up messages ahead of time.
  • During networking meetings, let prospects know what to expect. Give them a hint about what they’ll get from your autoresponder series (like your free gift!).
  • Enter new contact information within 24 hours of receiving it.
  • Assign and send your autoresponder series with a Call to Action on every message.

When you follow these steps, you’ll find networking is effective, because you’ll be growing your community, whether these new contacts sign up for strategy sessions, refer their friends to you, or just remain a part of your list. And guess what? You’ll find this process fun—and way less intimidating!

Posted in: Networking

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7 Steps to High-Paying Clients

Guest Post by Jeanna Gabellini

Many entrepreneurs dream of doing what they love and getting highly paid for it. Not me. I was so off-my-rocker excited about the process of coaching that I left my first coaches training session ready to coach the world.

The money part came later for me. I soon had more clients than I could keep straight, and I knew something needed to shift about my business model.

Attracting your ideal clients at the fees you truly desire is totally possible. You don’t even have to be good at selling.

It truly comes down to attraction, which is more focused on the being rather than the doing. When how you’re being is aligned with a business full of rock star clients, you will end up marketing in your most ideal way.

Here’s my new-school golden rules for attracting high-paying clients:

1. Know your desired outcome and how you want to feel before you exchange a single word (spoken or written) with your potential clients.

2. Be unattached to IMMEDIATE results. If the client says YES tomorrow or next year, it will still be exciting.

3. Connect to your Inner Business Expert; it trumps ANY sales strategy.

4. Realize you don’t NEED anyone or any client. When you need them, you begin to move into disconnection and lack. You say and do things that feel wimpy and desperate.

5. KNOW who your ideal client is. I mean really know who would make you say, “HELL YES, I want to play with you!” Be strong enough to say no to anyone who doesn’t fit the criteria.

6. Be aligned with your pricing. Forget what the market will bear and what your competitors charge. The only thing that matters is that you are happy with your pricing.

7. Focus on end results and how it will be when your pipeline is full of those clients who pay you what you desire. We put so much energy on HOW we will attract them that we go into our mental mind… not attractive. Leave the how to the universe, please.

Creating a buzz around what you do is pretty simple in essence. Buzz is created by how excited you are about what you offer.

If you stay in the power of the passion, you will be connected to your Inner Business Expert, which will lead you to the perfect people, ideas, promotional copy, and the perfect words to say to your ideal peeps!

Never, ever get caught up in the how and what to say. When you are connecting to your potential client’s heart and your ears are wide open, clients will be waiting in line for you. No matter how high your prices. Really.

Posted in: Business Operations

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4 Ninja Tricks for Identifying, Finding, and Hooking Your Ideal Client

by: Melinda Cohan, January 2017

As you’ve probably discovered, we love to hear from the members of our community. We’re constantly interviewing our clients, asking tons of questions about your challenges, triumphs, and everything in between.

And we want you to know, there IS a method to our madness!

You see, we ask you so many questions because we want to get to the root of how we can best serve you … which information will most effectively help you get from where you are now, to where you want to be in your coaching business.

Our research has shown, time and time again, that the members of our community are struggling in one key area: identifying, finding, and hooking ideal clients.

If this sounds familiar, you may have said (or thought) things like:

“I don’t know how to identify or where to find my ideal clients.”

“I don’t know how to articulate what I do so people get it.”

“I am not making money, don’t have enough clients, and haven’t launched my business.”

Great news: we’re here to help!

With the information we’re sharing today, we’re confident that 2017 can be your breakthrough year—the year when you finally begin connecting with the people you’re meant to serve in a deep, authentic way … the year your business explodes!

The first steps: identify, find, and hook your ideal prospects so you can turn them into clients.

But how?

Today, we want to share with you our powerful 4-step process for identifying your ideal client and crafting a free gift that not only allows you to attract that ideal client, but that also gives you the opportunity to begin making a bigger impact on those you serve—from the very first time you communicate with your prospects.

 

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Step One.

“Pain and pleasure island.”

The first and most important step in identifying your ideal client and how you can help him or her is to get clear on what we call the “Pain and Pleasure Island” points.

The most effective way to present your services as the solution to your ideal client’s problem is to show her that you can meet her where she is by articulating her challenges and struggles, that you understand what she’s going through, and that you can guide her towards making it better. It’s critical to talk not only about the challenges she’s facing, but also about the results your ideal client desires, to help her get clear on the vision for her ideal life as she reaches the goals that are so important to her. Finally, it’s key to show her that your coaching is the boat that can take her from where she is now, to where she wants to be.

Specificity is key, here, not just in ideas, but in language, too. It’s crucial that you use the same language, words, and phrases your prospects use. Otherwise, what you say may fall on deaf ears.

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Ask yourself two questions:

Question One. What are the three main worries or concerns that plague my ideal client?

Imagine she wakes up at 3 a.m., unable to go back to sleep because her mind is filled with these worries and concerns. Drill down to the actual words and phrases she would use if she were to describe these things to you.

Question 2. If your ideal client could wave a magic wand and put an end to all of her frustrations, what would her life look like?

The idea here is that your ideal clients are living on “Pain Island” with their worries and concerns, and your services can take them to “Pleasure Island,” where their frustrations have dissolved and their lives are great and fulfilling!

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin creating your free gift around tips and resources that provide insight to help your ideal clients make the journey from Pain Island to Pleasure Island.

 

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Step Two.

“Jump on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ accounts.”

Over and over, members of our community have said, “I can’t get clients. I don’t know anyone.”

We say, “Nonsense!”

You have tons of connections! Think about the contacts you have through social media, on your phone, from previous jobs, and through your friends and family. And maybe these connections aren’t your ideal clients, but they likely know people who are your ideal clients. Consider your current contacts the stepping stones to your ideal prospects.

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Make a list, and start the conversations.

Send your contacts an email (it can be brief!), letting them know what you’re up to. Be sure to mention your free gift and the transformation you provide. Ask them to pass this info on to their friends and connections who may be a good fit.

 

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Step Three.

“Identify strategic referral professions.”

Strategic referral partners are other professionals who are helping the same type of clients you’re targeting, but in different ways, in their business … and (this is important!), they may be able to refer their clients to you. For example, if you coach the owners of small businesses, they may need legal advice or help with taxes, so they can reach their desired goals of a successful business.  You may develop a strategic referral partnership with an attorney, a CPA, and/or even a bookkeeper who can introduce you to many of their clients.

So first, look for professions that serve the same ideal client you serve.

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Go back to the Pain and Pleasure Island points you developed in Step One. Then, list 10 other professions who also help your same type of ideal client, via different services.

 

pink Step Four.

“Identify your strategic referral partners.”

The first several months in a new business are all about building strategic partnerships so you can reach a greater number of ideal clients. These relationships can provide you with a steady stream of referrals.

SO many startups make the mistake of working so hard, putting all their attention on finding individual clients. When you create strategic referral partners, you’re creating relationships with key people who can introduce you to many people at once.

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Look at your contact list through a different lens. Revisit the contact list you made in Step Two, and look for people in professions that relate to your coaching goals. Are any of them in the 10 strategic professions you listed in Step Three? If they are, great! Reach out to them. If not, then consider them a bridge to the people who are in those professions.

 

It’s a New Year, which means it’s a new opportunity to start building massive momentum in your business!

The process we’ve shared here is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to growing your business online.

Because identifying, finding, and nailing ideal clients is such a huge topic, and because we hear about it over and over again in our interviews and surveys, we want to make sure you have everything you need to master it.

So if you’re ready to create a steady stream of ideal clients who can’t wait to work with you—and to make THIS the year your business growth explodes—then join us January 18th at 4pm ET (3pm CT, 2pm MT, 1pm PT) for a complimentary webinar, 8 Steps to Identify, Find, and Communicate Effectively with Your Ideal Clients, where we walk through these steps together, take the information deeper, and offer hot seat coaching to answer any of your questions.

Because we’re offering live coaching, seating is limited. So reserve your spot here, now:

Master 4 Steps & Gain Momentum <<< Join Us January 18th at 4pm ET, FREE

 

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Our Mission Now More Than Ever

by: Melinda Cohan, November 2016

If you’re like so many of the people I’ve talked to in the past couple of days—since Tuesday’s election—you might feel a bit paralyzed right now.

If you’ve spent any time on social media, or in line at the grocery store, or at the coffee shop, you’ve undoubtedly heard symptoms of a nation deeply divided; of a deeply divided humanity. Right now, there is a strong sense of “us versus them,” and “right versus wrong.”

You may feel like nothing you can do can change this. You may feel hopeless as a coach.

I have an exercise that can get you back on the path to making the impact you DO make, by serving others.

It can help you refocus – to regain clarity about why you’re doing what you’re doing – and it can help you move forward, even in the darkest of times.

And this is one of those dark times, isn’t it?

That’s why it’s a perfect time to revisit why you’re here, so you can reposition yourself, continue moving forward, and help us heal, as a country.

And I want you to know that here at The Coaches Console, our leadership team just went through this exercise ourselves, again. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting, or if you’ve been in business for a long time, like we have (13 years, to be exact). It is ALWAYS good to check in on your mission, to make sure it’s exactly what you want and need it to be.

So as the end of each year approaches, we evaluate why we’re doing what we’re doing. We develop a vision for the coming year, in relation to our mission, and we create plans for fulfilling that vision. Finally, we talk about which values we can embrace to accomplish the vision.

That’s why today, I’m sharing the following two-part exercise with you … so you too can revisit, reexamine, and refocus your mission.

Ready?

Let’s do this.

Exercise: Revisit, Reexamine, Refocus

Part One. Get Clear on Your Why.

We’ve listed three questions below; ask yourself any or all of them, because each one offers a unique path for identifying what’s most important to you. Different approaches work for different people, so answer whichever ones feel most comfortable to you.

And write down your answers, so you have them in black and white as you grow and revisit this exercise again and again.

1. What is my mission, “why statement,” or destiny?

Your answer to this question provides a “big picture” view of your business. It’s your solution to a threat to this planet and humanity. Look at what’s going wrong in the world, and consider how you feel called to help right that wrong.
This is something that may bubble up inside you, or it may be something you feel really strongly about. Either way, you’ll feel it.
It’s likely that it will reflect a common denominator of your past work and experience. For example, I worked as a florist in high school. I also had a job decorating houses for an interior design department. In a different job, I worked with companies and their businesses and team environments. In yet another job, I coached people. The common denominator: to help people live their full potential, in whatever form that takes. It’s completely unrelated to job titles, but that common denominator was at the core of each of those jobs. List your previous experiences, and determine that common denominator.

2. What makes me feel sad about humanity or the world we live in, and what would I like to see changed or improved?

3. What excites me and inspires me to make a difference?

Spending some time with these questions should give you the perspective you need to dial in on what your mission is now, and whether you may want to consider changing your focus … or to reassure you that you’re already on the right track.

As I mentioned above, our team just went through this process ourselves. We discovered that our mission is spot on, and it helped us recollect, and refocus.

And now more than ever, we know it’s critical that we keep that mission at the forefront of our minds and make sure everything we do—every client we serve, every project on which we work—is all about this mission.

Part Two. Define Your Vision.

The purpose of this part of the exercise is to help you determine exactly what you’ll do in this next year to fulfill the mission you just re-clarified in Part One.

Consider your vision for the next year.

When you close your eyes and envision your business at the end of next year, it’s December, 31, 2017, what have you accomplished that supports your mission?

Paint the picture of where you see yourself then, and, more importantly, focus on how that feels to you.

Remember, write this down.

In Closing

Now that you’re clear on your mission and vision again, remember that your courage and your mission must be louder than the hopeless voice – the gremlins – in your head.

What will you do, every single day, to make sure that little voice doesn’t run your life and your business?

What will you do, daily, to further your mission?

I’ll say it again: the world needs you now more than ever.

One last thought I’d like to share with you now:

I believe women will change the face of this planet. I believe we already are, and we will continue to do so. Further, I believe entrepreneurs will change our global culture.

When you combine those things together, you get us: women entrepreneurs.

And together, we are unstoppable.

No matter where you live or what your culture is or what situation you’re currently in, when you bring women entrepreneurs together, we ARE the transformation in this world. Your work is needed, and your business will leverage your work faster than anything.

This is why your business is so important. This is why you must nail and master your mission, your business, and get your work, your message, out there.

And to all you guys out there—thank you for being champions of the amazing women in your life!

Posted in: News & Events

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What an African Safari Taught Me About Creating Magic in My Life and Business

by: Melinda Cohan, October 2016

This month’s newsletter is going to be a little different than what you’re used to.

Why?

Because I recently returned from a South African safari, and while I was there, I experienced several lessons, as well as an incredible “aha” moment … one I can’t wait to share with you.

When a business colleague invited me and 8 other women to join her for a girls’ trip to the safari, I was SO excited.

The Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa was nothing short of amazing; in fact, I now consider one of the days the second most epic day of my life (next to my wedding day!).

Here’s what happened:

Every day, we went on a morning AND afternoon safari.

On the second day (aka the second most epic day of my life), we tracked lions. Yes – LIONS!

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I was like a kid at Christmas! I was practically bouncing out of my seat as we started out in the open-air safari truck.

That’s when I asked Africa, “What medicine do you have for me today? What gifts?”

Within minutes, the universe answered.

We happened upon a cheetah. WOW – I can’t even put into words the beauty and grace that animal exhibited.

In fact, I was so blown away, I looked up the animal totem of the cheetah, right then and there. I learned it’s about reacting in a quick and flexible way.

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Lesson One:

When you’re open to the magic of the universe- when she delivers exactly what you’re wanting, desiring or needing at the time right to your feet – you must be ready, willing, and able to respond in a quick and flexible way.

You must be totally alert when you receive what you’re asking for, to follow her lead.

Just a bit later, we happened upon a leopard. This was totally unexpected. The guide shared with us how it’s actually quite rare to see a leopard in the wild, let alone in such close proximity to the cheetah, and I was just blown away.

No really … it was like I couldn’t believe my eyes, or good fortune!

Suffice it to say, I was more than “fulfilled” by the time our morning journey ended. I thought “Wow … this has been an incredible day. How could it get any better?”

Fast forward – we head out for the afternoon safari. Despite the fact that my day had already kicked ass, I made the conscious decision to open up to wisdom.

So I asked Africa again: “What is the gift or medicine you have for me this afternoon?”

And guess what?

Minutes later, we came upon an entire herd of elephants (which, by the way, I learned is actually called a “trumpet” of elephants).

There were about 10 or 12 of them, all of 30 yards away from our truck.

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We watched them for a while, engrossed in their behavior and majestic beauty … until suddenly, the female that had been at the very back of the group (along with an old “grandpa” elephant) beelined straight toward me!

(Do you remember that scene in Jurassic Park, where the T-Rex starts chasing the jeep, and Jeff Goldblum is in the back with eyes as big as plates as he watched it racing toward him? That was ME!!)

This elephant was HUGE!

She kept right on at me, as the guide continuously reassured me that everything was fine – that she didn’t see us as a threat.

Still, I was freaking out. I mean, was he an elephant-whisperer?? How could he KNOW??

My entire body tensed up. I could hear each of her steps and see the dust “poof” as each giant foot hit the ground.

Soon, she was so close, I could have reached out and touched her.

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She approached the truck, inquisitively.

I looked into her big, beautiful, graceful, delicate, dark eyes.

She looked right back into mine.

Breathless, we looked into each other.

I marveled … she was SO big, and yet SO gentle.

It was probably only a minute or two, but it felt much longer.

Then, just like that, she turned away. (And the group collectively exhaled!)

That’s right when we realized the bigger grandpa elephant was following the same path the female had taken, heading straight toward us!

He was even bigger than she was. His ears flapped as he ran, and I had no idea if he was happy.

(Yep – I failed to breathe for a few moments, again!)

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And just like the female, he came straight toward me, right up to the vehicle.

The guide must have been a little nervous at that point, because he started the truck.

The elephant, right next to me now, paused. He stared, and I felt like he was looking beyond my eyes, into something much deeper.

Then he turned, brushed along the vehicle, and off he went.

Again, so immense, yet so delicate.

Lesson Two:

“Bigness” can co-exist with gracefulness, simultaneously.

I can be a big, powerful being and make a huge impact, while remaining delicate and graceful.

WOW.

As we headed away, I took a long, deep, grateful breath and thought, “My day is done. Complete. I’ve seen a cheetah and a leopard, and I’ve had a close encounter with elephants. This really IS the second best day of my life!”

But then something hit me.

I stopped right then and there and thought “Wait, we’re only 30 minutes in to this safari! Who am I to say I’ve had enough?”

You probably know what I did next, right?

I said, “Okay, Africa. What else have you got for me?”

And that’s when my amazing day became EPIC.

We saw a herd of giraffes. We saw a family of rhinos. We saw warthogs. We saw zebras.

We saw lions, and water buffalo, and wildebeests … “Oh my!”

We tracked lions, found a family of 4 females, and were able to get within about 20 feet of them.

Much to our surprise, we watched as they enjoyed a recent baby giraffe kill.  Yes, it was of course sad, and we experienced a mix of emotions. But the reality is that we were watching the circle of life … and despite the sadness for the baby, it was a sight I’ll never forget.

***

My friends, the entire experience was beyond my capability of describing adequately. It was CRAZY – crazy amazing!

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I had a Big 5 Day.

I saw all Big 5 predators that are so hard to hunt, and so rare to see – especially all in one go.

Unbelievable.

Later that night, we were sitting at dinner, and I thought again, “Wow. What a day. I am done. Fulfilled. Complete.”

And then again, I stopped myself.

There was still time in that day! It wasn’t over yet. So why was I putting a “cap” on my experience?

I shared my insights right then with the girls in our group, and it began a discussion in which we all expressed the same feeling: “Who are we to put a lid on our abundance … on what we’re here to receive?”

Who, indeed?

Great food. Great company. Great discussion. The experience just kept getting more and more amazing!

Soon, one of the women wanted to head home, so we dropped her off. When we heard a lion roar off in the distance, it was like a collective light bulb went off as we all had the same thought:  “It’s still going! The day is NOT done. Africa still has more to give!”

So we embarked on a night safari with our guide, and it did not disappoint.

We came upon a huge, gorgeous male lion standing right in the middle of the road. Our guide echoed our thoughts when he said, “Well, we’re not going home now!”

We followed the male lion for about 20 full minutes. All of the sudden, he stopped.

We stopped.

Our guide turned off the truck and its lights. It was pitch dark.

We knew the lion was less than a car-length in front of us, but we couldn’t see him.

Then he absolutely shattered the silence, as he let out this gigantic, loud, reverberating roar that hit me right in the heart!

Deep and guttural, I could literally feel my cells vibrate as the sound bounced back and forth between the hills.

Chills, everywhere.

I’m telling you, I was a different human being after hearing that lion.

And to think, I’d tried to put a lid on my day after the leopard!

So I broke into tears. Grateful and humbled, I couldn’t believe all I’d received and experienced.

Lesson Three – My Big “Aha” Moment:

Who am I to say, “I’m done”?

Who am I to put a lid on my abundance?

If I’d “given up” that morning, after we saw the cheetah, the leopard, and the elephants, I would have missed SO much.

I would have effectively shut off my ability to receive.

Instead, I opened myself up for more.

And I received more.

So I want to ask you:

Where are you putting a lid on your abundance? Where are you cutting off what the universe wants to give you?

Be grateful for what you have, absolutely.

But I want you to stay open to MORE.

Surrender to receive the magic the universe wants to give you.

Because it’s always willing to provide it. You don’t have to worry about the how.

In South Africa, we didn’t try to script anything or bring the animals to us. We were simply open to receive, and the universe took care of the magic.

So, every morning, I want you to ask the universe, “What do you have in store for me today? I am open to receive.”

Then, wait to be dazzled!

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“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, August 8th, 2016

“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!

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Your Niche Is NOT a Person: How to Nail Your Niche So You Can Grow Your Business and Make a Bigger Impact

by: Melinda Cohan, July 29th, 2016

You’ve heard it a million times before: “Choose a Niche.”

It’s common—and solid—advice. I know, it can be so annoying when you hear it. In fact, that advice used to make me want to punch someone in the face! But when I changed my perspective, I began leveraging the power of the niche, and I was able to grow my business and make a bigger impact.

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Why?

Choosing a niche allows you to fine-tune your marketing, to make it laser-focused and effective. It enables you to support your clients on a deeper level.

But …

So many new coaches misinterpret this advice and believe that choosing a niche means they’re confined to supporting a certain type of person; that they’re forever limited in how they can use their coaching gifts. Further, it may seem like choosing a niche forever limits your revenue. (I know, I’ve experienced this mindset, myself.)

As a result, many new coaches decide not to select a niche, believing their passion is bigger than that. (Incidentally, this is a Hobbyist’s mindset, which doesn’t work once you’ve moved up to the next rung of the ladder on the entrepreneurial scale.)

The root of this problem is in how people define “niche.”

So often, coaches mistakenly come up with a client avatar, and call it a niche (for example, if you’re a relationship coach, you may believe your niche is 30-year- old men on the brink of divorce, who earn a certain amount and have 3.2 children).

If that’s not a niche, then what is?

The dictionary defines “niche” as a specialized but profitable corner of the market.

To take it one step further, we consider a niche a set of challenges a common group of people face … and the results they desire.

When it comes to nailing your niche, then, you must identify a specific set of challenges your coaching can overcome, and results it can achieve. Then, you must find the most common collection of people who face these challenges and desire these results.

From this perspective, you can focus on a select group to make your marketing laser-focused, but you can still attract different types of people from many areas.

For example, TCC helps people overcome these challenges: not making money, struggling to get clients, and overwhelm. The results they most want: to get more clients, earn more money, and make a huge impact. When we look at all the people in this niche, we zero in on coaches. Our marketing is geared toward coaches, but we also attract many others in this niche, including nutritionists, personal trainers, consultants, massage therapists and more.

Let’s go back to the relationship coach example.

It’s your passion to support people in relationships. But your niche is not the men, or the women, or the couple. Your niche focuses on the top 3 challenges those men, women, and/or couples face when they’re in relationships … and the top 3 results they desire.

Make sense?

What’s really awesome about defining a niche in this way is that it actually frees you up to work with more types of people.

You’re not tied down to marketing to men, OR women, OR couples. Instead, your marketing focuses on all the people experiencing the top challenges and desiring the top results you previously identified.

In other words, may actually have the chance to work with men and women and couples!

Here’s where it gets even better: when you can clearly articulate your niche according to challenges and desired results, you can create more effective marketing copy for your website, sales pages, program descriptions, email campaigns, and more.

Because you’ve dialed in on those challenges and desired results, you can use the same language your ideal clients use. This conveys the message that you understand what they’re facing and can help them.

Your marketing becomes laser-focused. And when your marketing is laser-focused, it attracts, engages, and converts potential clients.

So, yes – nailing your niche is a must! It’s a key foundation to your marketing success, no matter which marketing strategy you use. (And, as a huge benefit, it will help you avoid failed marketing attempts that cost you time, money, and energy!)

How confident are you that you’re able to deliver what you’ve promised in your marketing … that you’re able to help your clients solve their challenges and achieve the results they desire?

If you want to pinpoint critical issues and identify steps you can take NOW to feel more confident about setting up, marketing, and succeeding with your coaching business, take our free Business Confidence Quiz now.

The quiz delves into the 5 critical keys to a successful coaching business: attract, convert, engage, support, and refer, and when you complete it, you’ll receive personalized tips to help you become super-confident, organized, and professional in your coaching business. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s free. Take the Quiz here, now.

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Hobbyist vs. Business Owner – Understanding the Distinction

by: Melinda Cohan, Jul 25th, 2016

Are you a Hobbyist, or a Business Owner?

Understanding the distinction is a crucial step in your entrepreneurial journey. This single insight can seriously impact the level of success you experience in your business, and with your coaching.

Failing to understand it may cause you to hit the upper limits of your success without your even realizing it … and no matter how great your efforts, you will not see the results you desire.

Over the past two weeks, I published a 2-part series on The Evolutionary Scale of an Entrepreneur, in which I described the following 5 rungs on the ladder:

  1. Technician
  2. Hobbyist
  3. Business Owner
  4. CEO
  5. Shareholder

In case you missed those posts, a Technician is typically someone who secures a job doing something she’s really good at, and that she truly enjoys doing.

Most coaches/entrepreneurs have the courage to move beyond Technician, and become Hobbyists … and that’s where they often get stuck. They fail to move on to the next rung: Business Owner.

Why?

Because while they set goals and intentions as Business Owners, they operate from the mindset and commitment levels of Hobbyists.

Here’s the great news:

When you can bring your mindset and actions into alignment with your goals and intentions, you can finally move from Hobbyist to Business Owner … and reap the rewards, which include increased cash flow, greater fulfillment, and more FUN!

As a quick note, neither Hobbyist nor Business owner is good or bad, right or wrong. They’re just 2 different ways of running a business. The point here is that to achieve the level of success you desire, your mindset must align with your goals and intentions. When you create this alignment, you experience peace, results, and happiness.

Take a look at the following chart, which outlines the distinction between Hobbyist and Business Owner in several key areas of a business.

 

business-vs-hobbylist-Long-version

Thanks to all of the above, Business Owners coach more clients, make more money, and make a far greater difference in the world.

Now, both Hobbyists and Business Owners can be great coaches.

They just have different mindsets, actions and goals for their business.

So let me ask you an important question:

Are you reaching the level of success you desire? Are you making the impact you want to make?

If you are, then exactly where you are is perfect, whether you’re a Hobbyist or a Business Owner.

If you’re not, take a closer look at the distinction between Hobbyist and Business Owner to identify where you are and where you want to be.

Then, place your attention on closing that gap, and as you move up to the next rung of the ladder on the entrepreneurial scale, you’ll start experiencing the level of success you envision for yourself, while having the desired impact you wish to have on this world.

Stay tuned for next week’s article, in which I discuss the truth about defining your niche. Here’s a hint: your niche is not a person! (Gasp! I know – and I can’t wait to share this information with you!)

Why is this an important part of this 5-part series? Well, when you move to the Business Owner rung of the ladder on the entrepreneurial scale, you absolutely must create a clear foundation for your marketing, just as you do in the back end of your business. Nailing your niche is critical, before you can even begin getting “out there” and landing clients.

Meanwhile, if you are ready to be the Business Owner you know you can be, so your business can make its biggest impact, start by pinpointing critical issues and identifying steps you can take NOW to feel more confident about setting up and succeeding with your coaching business! Take our free Business Confidence Quiz now.

The quiz delves into the 5 critical keys to a successful coaching business: attract, convert, engage, support, and refer, and when you complete it, you’ll receive personalized tips to help you become super-confident, organized, and professional in your coaching business. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s free. Take the Quiz here, now.

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The Evolutionary Scale of an Entrepreneur: Where You Really Are, and How to Step Up to the Next Rung on the Ladder! Part 2

by: Melinda Cohan, Jul 20th, 2016

Note: This is the second article in a 5-part series designed to guide you in aligning your business mindset, actions, and goals, and therefore supercharging your productivity and success. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here: Part 1 (part 3, part 4, part 5)

No matter how you envision your “success” you can follow specific steps to climb the ladder rungs of the Evolution of the Entrepreneur.

As promised, this week I’m outlining the 4 rungs of this ladder, and how to move from one to the next, so you can run your business AND live your life with the success and freedom for which you work so hard! (There is a fifth rung, Shareholder, but we’re not covering that, here, since the vast majority of coaches work their way up to the fourth rung, CEO, and stop there – this allows them to still participate in their favorite activities while their team members take care of everything else. On the other hand, a Shareholder usually views their business as an investment, and doesn’t work in it or on it at all.)

For each rung—Technician, Hobbyist, Business Owner, and CEO—I’ll list mindset (outlook), self-identifiers (this is how you’d introduce yourself at a networking meeting), common thoughts, biggest commitments, biggest fears, and driving motivations.

As you read through them, you can begin to identify where you really are in your own evolution. (After all, you have to have absolute clarity as to where you are now, so you can identify your current mindset and actions and ensure they align with the mindset and action of the rung where you want to be.)

Here we go!

TECHNICIAN. The simplest way to define a technician is someone who is getting paid to do the work she loves. In Part 1, I defined a technician as someone who is inherently gifted at something, and who may even consider this a calling. When she is doing “that thing,” she dips into the ‘zone of genius.’

Most technicians stay in a job, working for someone else, getting paid as much as they can for what they do.

Mindset:“Just let me do what I love, what I’m really good at … so I don’t have to worry about anything else.”

Self-identifiers: “I’m a do-er and have extreme focus on the task at hand.” (In this case, that task is coaching.)

Common Thoughts:

  • “I just want to {coach} my clients.” (NOTE: “coach” can be replaced here with whatever service you provide.)
  • “I can’t believe people pay me to do this {coaching}! I love it so much, I’d do it for free!”

Biggest Commitments: Safety and steady cash flow.

Biggest Fear(s): Having to get a job doing work she hates just to make money and take care of responsibilities. At the core, we can further define this as sacrificing happiness to take care of responsibilities.

Driving Motivations and Desire(s):

  • To find a great job making great money doing “that thing,” while creating a decent lifestyle around it (again, safety is at the core).
  • Financial security.

 

HOBBYIST. A hobbyist is often exploring her talents in her off-time, working for fun beyond that 9-5 J-O- B. She almost can’t believe she’s getting paid to have so much fun! That’s pretty much where it stops – FUN!

Mindset: “It’s safe to explore my talents as a {coach} in my off hours, and people payme to do this! They pay ME! I don’t have to work for another company to do this!”

Self-identifiers: “Right now, I’m just dabbling in the world of coaching. I fit this gift or calling of mine into my existing world—which means my real job, my family, and other responsibilities take priority. Still, I love getting paid for doing work I love, and this brings me great joy.”

Common Thoughts:

  • “If I can help someone, great! If not, that’s okay too.”
  • “I have a job that makes me decent money, and I’m stable while I also get to
  • “I love helping people and making an impact.”
  • “I wonder if I could do this full time as my only job and sole source of income?”
  • “I hate marketing and don’t like sales; I just want to coach.” enjoy the fun of doing this work that I love and that lights me up.”

Biggest Commitment: Safety.

Biggest Fears: The hobbyist is afraid she won’t get to pursue her calling and greater purpose because of her job, her family, and other responsibilities – at the core, she is afraid that she has to sacrifice her professional happiness and fulfillment to take care of responsibilities. She loathes marketing and sales, and hates the thought of feeling like a pushy salesman. She’s afraid she’ll run out of time, energy, money, and/or passion before she realizes her dream, or of having to get a “real” job if she fails at her passion. As a result of these fears, she often ends up stuck between being a Technician and fully going for it as a Business Owner.

Driving Motivations/Desires:

  • Actually making money doing the work she loves while making – and witnessing – the difference and impact she has on people’s lives. (At the core: being of service to others.)
  • Financial survival: because it’s “safer” financially, she maintains “real” job so she’s sure to pay the bills, and coaches on the side.

 

BUSINESS OWNER. A business owner does the work of the technician while taking consistent action to overcome the fears of the hobbyist. In other words, she gets to work in her genius zone while finding ways to make great money AND a big impact, doing what she loves.

Mindset: “I’m creating a well-oiled business machine that generates consistent results in terms of clients and cash flow, so I can do the work I love while getting paid for it AND making a big impact.”

Self-identifiers: “I have a nice lifestyle business doing the work I love while making great money and working with amazing clients!”

Common Thoughts:

  • “I feel like I have a ‘real’ business.”
  • “It’ll take too much time to delegate tasks. Besides, I can do it more quickly … I’ll just do it myself.”
  • “If it’s got to be, it’s up to me.”
  • “There’s not enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done.”
  • “I can’t believe I get paid this much to do work I love doing!”

Biggest Commitments: Steady cashflow and scaling the business.

Biggest Fears: The business owner is afraid that in order to grow her business, she’ll have to work long hours, which will take away from her family and other important things in her life. She fears burnout as a result of doing everything herself, and wonders whether she’ll overcome her fear of marketing and sales. She doesn’t know whether she has what it takes to “do this” consistently, and isn’t sure whether she’ll be able to pay herself what she wants to make.

Driving Motivations/desires:

  • Accomplishing more while doing less.
  • Working smarter, not harder.
  • Creating a “lifestyle” business that keeps her in the lifestyle she’s become accustomed to or desires.
  • Consistent cash flow and financial stability.

 

CEO. The CEO is all about scaling her business so she can work less, earn more, and make a huge impact in the lives of her clients and her team members.

Mindset: “I will inspire my team so it becomes their passion to fulfill my passion.”

Self-identifiers: “As a visionary leader, I’m a source of inspiration.”

Common Thoughts:

  • “What people, resources and technologies do we need in place in order to reach our goals?”
  • “Is this the right direction for the business?”
  • “In what other ways can we scale?”
  • “I can’t believe that other people’s passion is to help me fulfill my vision!”

Biggest Commitment: Creating a well-oiled machine that runs better without her.

Biggest Fears: The CEO worries about whether she and her team members have what it takes to implement the goals she has for her business while providing exquisite support and delivery in effortless, fun ways … or, whether they’ll kill themselves trying to implement everything! She wonders if the decisions she’s made, the risks she’s taking, and the direction she’s going will turn out to be wrong, and cause the business to close down. She worries about being able to pay her team members and herself.

Driving Motivations/Desires:

  • Scalability.
  • Wealth.
  • Creating an inspiring culture that helps people be their best.
  • The tantalizing questions: Can I really do this? Can I create a team that handles everything and that runs better without me?

 

SHAREHOLDER. As we mentioned earlier, a Shareholder usually views her business as an investment, and steps away from the running of it. The vast majority of coaches don’t become Shareholders; they still want to be involved, especially with the activities they enjoy.


Whew!

So … now that you know more about each rung of the ladder of the Evolution of the Entrepreneur, which rung are you actually on?

So often when I talk to start up coaches, their goals are in alignment of that with a Business Owner.

However, their actions and mindset are in alignment with that of a Technician or a Hobbyist. This disconnect keeps them stuck. It’s like a vicious tug of war!

On the one hand, they still desire the financial safety of being a technician where someone else pays them to do a job, or that of a hobbyist where they have the freedom of maintaining a full-time job while enjoying coaching.

On the other hand, at the heart-and- soul level, they know the only work they want to do is that which fulfills their higher purpose.

They have just enough courage to step out of the safety zone to go for it—pursue their calling—because their heart is speaking so loudly. Yet they move forward into business ownership while keeping the mindset of the hobbyist.

Here’s the thing:

As a coach, you simply have to do the work that comes naturally to you—your zone of genius. As a business owner, you have to not only do the work of the technician, but you also have to think about and plan for all those pesky (but necessary!) business details. You have to attract, engage, convert, and serve clients, get paid by them AND get referrals from them.

Being a business owner is no joke! But when you adopt the mindset of a business owner and have that outlook, things become much easier.

Alignment of your mindset, words, actions and goals creates an internal shift, and you become more committed than ever to doing whatever it takes to succeed.

Stay tuned to your inbox for next week’s article, in which I dive deeper into the Hobbyist vs. Business owner discussion, to help you understand the distinction and identify where you are (and, if it’s not where you want to be, how to reach your goals).

Meanwhile, if you want to pinpoint critical issues and identify steps you can take NOW to feel more confident about setting up and succeeding with your coaching business, take our free Business Confidence Quiz now.

The quiz delves into the 5 critical keys to a successful coaching business: attract, convert, engage, support, and refer, and when you complete it, you’ll receive personalized tips to help you become super-confident, organized, and professional in your coaching business. It takes just a few minutes, and it’s free. Take the Quiz here, now.

 

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