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The Transition Stage: Where the Magic—a.k.a. Preparation—Happens

by: Melinda Cohan

This article is the third 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. In the second article, we went into depth about The Declaration Stage: what it is, what you may face when you’re in it, and what you must do before moving on to The Transition Stage. We recommend reading the first and second articles here before reading the article below:

Article 1: The Start-Up Entrepreneur’s Success Path: The Critical Process of Mapping Your Route to Success

Article 2: The Declaration Stage: Commit to Creating the Success You Dream About


 

 

If you were going to build a house, how would you start? Would you declare, “I’m ready!” and then run out to the unimproved lot and start nailing boards together? If so, you’d probably have a pretty ramshackle shelter, right?

The truth is, if you were going to build a house, you would first create a plan. Then you’d lay a foundation, right? A foundation gives your house a solid base on which to stand, so that it will be sturdy and safe!

When it comes to The Success Path we outlined in the first article in this series, that’s what the second stage, the Transition Stage, is all about: building a foundation for your business. It’s about getting prepared.

Your focus during the Transition Stage is to create the components to identify, find, attract, and engage prospects, and implement the funnels, strategies, and best practices to grow your list. Why? Because your list is the foundation for your coaching business.

Many coach-preneurs in the Transition Stage pursue their business—specifically—try to go out and get clients—without knowing, in advance, all the pieces and best practices they need, which results those pieces and best practices drive, and why they’re important.

With the right systems and processes in place, you can lay the foundation—incorporating the various pieces and best practices—for a successful business that is profitable and allows you to make that impact you dream of.

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

As startup coaches traverse the Transition Stage, they may begin to gain confidence. Although you know you have a lot to learn, you’ve put in place the pieces necessary to transition from full-time J-O-B to full-time coach-preneur. (Woohoo!)

You’ve got some cash reserves set aside, you know WHY you’re doing this whole coaching thing, and you’re READY to hit the ground running!

If there’s one word to describe you, it’s “enthusiastic,” and that’s great! (But, proceed with caution! More on this in a moment.)

To illustrate the feelings you may be experiencing, I’d like to share a few snippets from conversations I recently had with startup coaches who are in the Transition Stage.

“I don’t know how to reach people or start building a list from the start!”

“I don’t know how to reach people that I don’t already know.

“It seems like I’ve been spending a lot of time doing things for my business every day. I mean, I’ve been busy ALL day. But I dread each week that I still have a lack of prospects, and I don’t have any momentum in this area, so I just keep myself busy hoping something will make a difference and somehow, someone will want to hire me.”

What you should know:

 

There’s a difference between being ready and being prepared.

Preparation brings order to the otherwise chaotic, overwhelming task of building a business. This means you take time, up front, to know what needs to happen, when!

If you don’t, everything feels urgent. You spend a lot of time just keeping busy, hoping something will pan out, and you feel pressured and fearful—and your investments in terms of time, energy, money, and resources may not pay off in terms of the business-building results you want to see.

The very first thing you must do during the Transition Stage is to find and engage prospects so that when you are ready, you can effectively convert them into paying clients. How do you do that?

List building. Your email list is your goldmine: your Number One Business Asset. Hands down, it’s THE Number One Most Important System when it comes to laying that foundation we talked about.

But we’re not talking just any email list. You see, your list is only effective to the degree that its members are:

Made up of your ideal type of client.

Excited and ready to receive the wisdom you have to share.

Organized.

Responsive.

If your list is sloppy, created for the sake of having names in a database or a bigger number about which to boast, or if it’s scattered across multiple platforms, you’ll struggle to have enrollment conversations that lead to paying clients.

Now, we’re going to walk, step-by-step, through the four elements of effective list building, which will ensure you move through the Transition Stage efficiently.

Here we go!


 

How to move through the Transition Stage effectively:

Build a great list! Here are FOUR elements of a great list that converts.

Element One of a Great List That Converts: It’s Made up of Your Ideal Clients.

We mentioned above that the Transition Stage is all about growing your list. To be specific, though, we want you to keep in mind that you must focus on the QUALITY of the list you’re growing. That old adage—quality over quantity—is certainly true, here.

Let’s play a game!

I have built out two mailing lists, and you get to choose one of them to start sending communications to.

List A: The list size is 5,000 contacts, made up of a collection of people who may or may not be similar to the type of ideal client you’d like to work with. It’s in the general ballpark, anyway. These people may not be spot on, but there are 5,000 contacts! When you send out an email offering a free resource, 120 of them might open the email and click through to check it out. And about 60 unsubscribe on each send.

List B: This list has 1,800 contacts. It’s a solid list made up of the exact type of person you’d love to work with. When you send out an email offering a free resource (the same one as above,), 420 of them open the email and click through to check out the resource you’re sharing. And because this list is made up of exactly the type of client you want to work with, facing the exact challenges you can help transform into results through your coaching, only six unsubscribe.

You’d choose List B, right? (Right?!)

Yes, your ego may want the bigger list. It sounds so impressive to say you’ve got 5,000 people on your list! But, what’s more important at the end of the day? Size, or results?

Results!

(If you’re thinking size, you may want to do some self-coaching around your need for your ego to take charge of your business – and I say this with LOVE.)

Transition Stage Pitfall: Letting your ego get the best of you. In an effort to alleviate the fear they’re experiencing during the early stages of their business, many startups allow their ego to get the best of them. They want to make themselves look better by boasting that they have a larger list. But if that list is doing more harm in the long run, who does that really serve?

Bottom Line: When you focus on quality, when you put your time and attention into adding ideal clients to your list, and you’re fierce in protecting the types of people who are on your list, you end up creating a strong list that grows quickly. The people you add to your list want what you have. They tell their friends, and you grow your list faster, with less effort.

You CAN have it all: quality and quantity!

 

Element Two of a Great List That Converts: Its Members Are Excited to Receive What You’re Sharing.

This is where preparation is absolutely critical. You want your list to be filled with your ideal clients, right? Well, how do you make that happen?

You offer them lead generation tools that are aligned with addressing the exact challenges they’re facing, and the transformation you help them experience when it comes to those challenges.

Lead generation tools are free gifts that you give people in exchange for their email addresses. They may take the form of downloads, checklists, free reports, or blueprints. They’re also a great opportunity for the people you DO know—your existing contacts—to refer their friends to you, to give people you DON’T know a taste of the transformation you provide.

Here are five components of an effective lead generation tool – the tool:

1. Clarifies the steps necessary for the ideal client to get out of the challenges he or she has felt stuck in.
2. Conveys an understanding of why those steps are critical.
3. Provides the promise of a different possible future … and how creating those results in their life will positively impact their world.
4. Paints the picture of what it would look like NOT to pursue a path of change (and how this will negatively impact their world).
5. Gives social proof that what you’re sharing actually creates the transformation, or the end results your ideal client desires.

Transition Stage Pitfall: Telling them the HOW. Your lead generation tool should never include the HOW. Explain the WHAT and the WHY. If they want to know HOW to actually go about making the changes, well, they have to hire you to get that information. 😉

Bottom Line: The more clarity that’s present in your lead generation tool, and the more effectively it conveys the information to your contacts, the more ready they’ll be to receive and engage in what you share with them! And, as a sweet bonus, their life will be better for having read it, even if they never hire you!

 

Element Three of a Great List That Converts: Your List Is Organized.

This almost goes without saying … almost. It is SO important that you have your list of contacts organized in one place. You’d be surprised how many people overlook this simple, but major element of list building.

For example, one of my private clients had her contacts scattered across seven different platforms (her smartphone, an old email account, a spreadsheet, Facebook, and a couple others).

This type of disorganization in the back end makes it extremely difficult to communicate with your people … and consider how much time it takes to repeat a single message seven times and send it out seven times in seven platforms!

There are two general ways to organize your contact list when you’re first starting out (and keep in mind that as your list grows and your business evolves, you’ll likely add a deeper level of organization to this segmenting):

1. By status type:
Prospects: your ideal clients, or those who may know your ideal clients.
Hot leads: people who have booked a sample session, are very curious and interested in what you’re doing and how it can help them transform, but haven’t made the commitment yet.
Active clients: paying or pro-bono clients who are actively working with you in some capacity.
Inactive clients: former clients who are no longer working with you.
Buyers: people who have purchased other programs from you, beyond your one-on-one coaching packages.

2. By segment.
• Demographic
• Marketing/networking events
• Referral source
• Niche

The more organized your list is, the better you can communicate the right information to the right people to get the best conversion possible.

Transition Stage Pitfall: Diving into emailing your contacts without first putting the systems in place to organize them and streamline your communication process. Again, this is where preparation is key! The time you take to put all your contacts into one program, and to segment them appropriately will pay off in huge time, money, and energy savings almost immediately.

Bottom Line: Get organized! You’ll be glad you did. Not only will you be able to reach the right people at the right time, but you’ll continuously improve the quality of your list as you tell people only about the things in which they’d be interested.

 

Element Four of a Great List That Converts: Its Members Are Responsive.

A responsive list is a healthy list!

But what does it mean to have a responsive list? It means that when you send out communications of any kind—resources, promotions, referrals, content, a video—you get the best response. People open your emails, click through to the pages you’re linking to, and take the call to action you provide.

Creating a responsive list is centered upon your ability to send them quality, varied information, consistently. That means sending emails that:

1. Are different from one another, and arrive regularly.
2. Share great content.
3. Share great resources (created by you or someone else).
4. Introduce them to another helpful resource—one that helps them overcome challenges that impact their success in the areas where they’re working with you.
5. Provide fun, inspiring, or challenging personal stories so people get to know you outside of business.

Transition Stage Pitfall: Many startup coach-preneurs don’t want to seem “pushy” or “too salesy,” so they shy away from creating regular follow up. They fear being overbearing, so they go to the other extreme, and it’s radio silence, instead.

Bottom Line: While we recommend mixing up the type of content you share with your list (to keep them intrigued and engaged), we also want to remind you that consistency is queen! Send regular communication to nurture your list and build your relationship with its members.


 

Exercise.

As you now know, the Transition Stage is all about preparation.
So here are four steps to getting PREPARED!

1. Go to the various places in which you have your contacts scattered (consider them all: Gmail, Yahoo, Excel, Outlook, your smartphone, Facebook, LinkedIn, that pile of business cards on your desk). Put those contacts all into one central place. For Coaches Console members, this is as easy as importing the contacts from various platforms into one organized, segmented list in your Console System.
2. Group your newly organized contacts/prospects by status type.
3. Group your newly organized contacts/prospects into segments, as outlined above.
4. Send a “Dear Jane” letter, telling all your contacts what you’re up to, the ideal type of client you’re looking to support, and the transformation your services provide. Then, ask them to opt in to your free gift or sign up for your newsletter, if they’re looking for what you have to offer!

Transition Stage Mantra.

Benjamin Franklin said it best: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Confucius said it pretty well, too: “Success depends upon previous preparation.”

Choose one of these and live by it!

In the Transition Stage, the more you can focus on growing a quality list—one that is organized, engaged, and responsive—the deeper you’ll build the know-like-trust factor. When people know you, like you, and trust you, they’ll book a sample session! Then they’ll hire you, re-hire you, and refer you to their friends, colleagues, and family members.

So many startups rush straight to trying to get clients, without taking a bit of time to build a quality list and build the relationships necessary for that sense of trust. After all, that’s what great coaching is – nurturing and supporting and being of service to those we love … and that especially includes the members of your list.

Being in business is a long-term game, and when it comes to coaching, it’s all about taking time to intentionally create a solid, kick-ass mailing list that will bring you results now and in the future.

Complete the exercises in this post, and then move on to the next stage, The Attraction Stage. (This is where you finally get to go out and attract the clients who need your life changing work! It’s going to be epic!)

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

 

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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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Marilla Arguelles, NewTake Films

“I could NOT have done this without the Bootcamp and Support Team’s help!  They’re the best!”

Presenting Bootcamp STAR Graduate – Marilla Arguelles, NewTake Films

Marilla is one of our Top 11 students in this past session—the “cum laude” of the bunch who launched her businesses with our support and who is now thriving!

Marilla offers coaching to public school teachers who want more for their underachieving, underfunded students.

Redesigning Schools (And Jobs)

Pt. 1 of a blog for teachers who are searching for practical ways to incorporate moral and philosophical concerns into modern education.

More and more commentators today, along with the parents of most students, seem to agree that the primary goal of education is preparing students for the workforce. (Hopefully well-paying jobs that offers security and gratification?)

Yet according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor “Today’s average college graduate will have at least 3 – 5 career changes in their lifetime, and 10 – 14 job changes by age 38.”

Generation Opportunity, a conservative nonprofit advocate for millennials, releases a monthly “Millennial Jobs Report” that slices official labor data and tracks unemployment rates for younger workers. From January, 2015 to May, 2016 the percentage of 18 – 29-year-olds decreased slightly from 15.4 to 13.8 percent, still way above the official national jobless rate of 5.4 percent.

So it’s likely that some, if not most, of these unemployed are the same young people protesting the enormous debt they’ve incurred on higher education.

They’re not just temporarily in debt. The Digital Revolution has massively increased job insecurity.

Over the next two decades 50 % – 80% of jobs will be loss to globalization due to increased use of computers and robots.

Pretty shocking, even if you’re someone who believes the goal of education is not job preparation. Someone who believes the goal is the ability to make important choices about our leaders, our economy, resources, and moral issues. Wait a minute, “moral issues”??!!!?? we’re not going to open that bucket of worms, are we?

Well, yes, but not in the popular sense of the term. Who’s questioning the morality of our food supply and distribution, or skyrocketing profits in pharmaceuticals, real estate, and arms sales?

Will Allen is. He’s the former star basketball player turned Urban Farmer who was featured on the PBS Newshour, 2/1/16 and also on the PBS TV series Road Trip Nation on 2/1/2017. Will is the son of sharecroppers who never dreamed he’d go back to farming until he realized that he could create a thriving urban business/job training program in Milwaukee. He’s a genius at providing meaningful education and job training to disempowered youths through community based service learning, not shutting them up in classrooms.

Will founded Growing Power, is a national nonprofit organization and land trust that helps provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe, affordable food.

I was particularly struck by the depth and breadth of true education that Growing Power’s Youth Corps provides through its year-round, youth leadership program of very sophisticated, cutting-edge agriculture demonstrations:

  • building and maintaining aquaponic systems,
  • soil remediation through raised beds,
  • hoop house construction,
  • vermiculture, and
  • the operation of Growing Power’s retail store.

Peter Drucker, the “founder of modern management” and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, predicted that universities won’t survive.  “The Future is outside the traditional campus, outside the traditional classroom.”

Sounds like a good thing. In our next blog we’ll take a look at how two well-established, highly respected schools that provide such nontraditional courses, including tractor driving! One is a prestigious private school for teens in New England, whose boarders pay $55,000/year. The other is a rural Southern College that’s listed on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of the Top 300 Best College Values of 2017. None of the students pay tuition.

I look forward to sharing them with you and hearing your thoughts about these alternatives. Send them to info@newtakefilms.org, or to me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/marilla-arguelles-6b238aa/

Marilla Argüelles,
For NewTakeFilms

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Marilla Argüelles is the founder of NewTakeFilms, and helps teachers reform and promote public education. As a teacher, artist, and activist, she’s had a full but challenging life, learning a lot (good and bad) about education, the current medical profession, and nonprofit management. Having navigated uncharted waters for most of her projects she knows firsthand how exhausted and isolated teachers can feel, especially when they’re overwhelmed by a lack of resources, and administrators who prioritize test scores over student satisfaction, involvement, and achievement. Learn more about Marilla.

Get your free copy here of Marilla’s Free Gift: 5 Ways to Inspire Successful Service-Learning and Guarantee Student Success. Use Film and Visual Media to Prompt Thoughtful Discussion and Showcase your students at their best

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Kelly Heithold, Wellbeing Connexions

“Must keep moving one step at a time ! [In Bootcamp], I gained clarity on my Niche and now I have a website I am feeling great about.”

Presenting Bootcamp STAR Graduate – Kelly Heithold, Wellbeing Connexions

Kelly is one of our Top 11 students in this past session—the “cum laude” of the bunch who launched her businesses with our support and who is now thriving!

Kelly offers wellbeing coaching that helps stressed out professionals reduce stress, get healthy and have more energy to enjoy their lives.

“Hello? hello? …I think we lost our connection”

Every day we connect with our phone, our internet, our technology. And it can be very upsetting and create chaos in our day when we lose these connections.

But have you lost your most important connections? Do you feel connected within yourself – body, mind and spirit? Do you feel connected to the people and things that matter most to you?

Research has shown that people are healthier and live longer when they feel connected. This connection may be to people, to pets, to meaning and purpose in life or even to nature.

Yet many of our lives are so busy and harried that we don’t have time to connect with what is most important to us and to what makes us feel alive. In fact, sometimes we have even forgotten what IS most important to us and what does make us come alive!

Every day I talk to people who just want to feel better.

They tell me, “I want to lose weight, look better in my clothes, control my stress, sleep better, have more energy, or be healthier so I can be around for my kids and grandkids.”

The bottom line is we all want to look good, feel good and have energy to enjoy our life to the fullest.

The reality is that our world is filled with long commutes, long work hours, pressure to perform and deliver at work, easy access to junk food, automated everything, and a bombardment from technology.

It’s a balancing act to take care of those we love, do a good job at work and try to take care of ourselves. Too many times we are the last on our “to do” list. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that.

I created Wellbeing Connexions to help people make the connections to what it is they need to do to reduce stress, feel healthier and have more energy.

And making successful connections in order to change is not always easy. But if nothing changes…nothing changes. Every journey, every change starts with the one small step.

So I ask you, “What is the smallest thing you can do that will make the biggest difference in your life right now?”

Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? …Can you hear yourself? Are you listening now?

Check out stress reduction, health and wellbeing coaching with Kelly Heithold at www.wellbeingconnexions.com

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Kelly Heithold has a MSE degree in Exercise Science and Education and is a Professional Certified Health and Wellness Coach through Wellcoaches® School of Coaching.  She has taught kindergarten through college level, worked in public health, and managed worksite wellbeing programs for fortune 500 companies. Additionally she has been a health and lifestyle coach for a health management company, coaching individuals at all levels in over a dozen companies and organizations. Find out more about Kelly.

Get your free copy here of Kelly’s Free Gift: Get Calm, Get Clear, Get Control

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Patricia Maples, Executive & Conflict Coaching Solutions

Added 5 new clients during Bootcamp… and is adding a coach to her team to handle the growth in business!

Presenting Bootcamp STAR Graduate – Patricia Maples, Executive & Conflict Coaching Solutions

Patty is one of our Top 11 students in this past session—the “cum laude” of the bunch who launched her businesses with our support and who is now thriving!

Patty offers Executive and Conflict Coaching Solutions.

7 Tips on Surviving the Presidential Transition

I think you will agree that it’s a challenging time for leaders throughout the country, especially for those in public service. While it’s only been a little over a week since President Trump took office, we’ve seen unparalleled discord and friction about new executive orders and decisions across the country, and throughout the world. If you are a senior career executive in the Federal sector, you may be in for a ride. Your job is the retain, motivate, and engage your best performers, especially during this time of transition, hiring freezes, uncertainty as to future staffing levels, and heightened staff emotions. The highest level career executives in your agency will soon, if it hasn’t happened already, be involved in introducing new political appointees to the mission and work of your agency and hopefully together navigate new strategies and policies that will impact your mission, programs and operations. Now more than ever it is time for you to support your career staff by adopting proven disciplines that have stood the test of time during periods of upheaval and uncertainty. You will want to minimize stress.

Here’s a seven tips to help you during these challenging times.

1.  Remember it’s an honor and a privilege to be responsible for important government programs and efforts, and to supervise and be responsible for staff. Below is the oath you took when you first became a civil servant – I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God. 5 U.S.C. §3331. This is truly a profound statement and intention. As an Executive Coach, I challenge you to exemplify the highest standards of personal integrity and conduct so your employees can model your behavior and make you and your organization proud.

2. Stay calm and remember the Federal sector has successfully survived presidential transitions before. Continue to focus on the mission of your organization, rather than on personalities, commentaries, or narratives.

3. Focus on what you can control. Exhibit strong leadership qualities so you can be the best leader you can be. As a career executive, you can use your subject matter expertise and historical perspective when presenting invaluable information up the chain of command to ensure continuity for the programs you have been working or to shape any new initiatives that are introduced.

4. Communicate, communicate, and communicate with your staff. Let them know what you know and what you don’t know. Check in with them regularly, be a listening ear, and offer positive suggestions on how to weather the imminent future. Embrace humor and levity as much as possible.

5. Strive to be a courageous follower, as well as an exemplary leader. Remember all of us are graced with strengths and saddled with weaknesses, regardless of title or educational accomplishments. What can you do to help new arrivals, political appointees or not, navigate the challenges you are facing together? Political appointees often do not have experience working in government or understand the processes that make an agency run. Your expertise and ability to navigate the government terrain is critical.

6. Take time out to facilitate wellness by practicing spiritual and exercise disciplines, and nurturing social and family relationships. Try to work reasonable hours incorporating moments and days of reflection and rest. Encourage your staff to do the same.

7.  I invite you to take a peak at available resource guides that provide detailed information on presidential transitions, specifically the Senior Executive Association’s A Handbook on Presidential Transition for Federal Career Executives.

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Patty Maples is founder and VIP Coach with Executive & Conflict Coaching Solutions. She is a professionally trained Coach, with a background in mediation and facilitation and 25 years of Federal human capital expertise, and possesses a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution, and pending certification from the International Coaching Federation as an Associate Certified Coach. She possesses an extraordinary human capital background having worked in multiple Federal agencies, including the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health, and as an independent entrepreneur. Her niche is executive and conflict coaching, supporting leaders, especially public servants, who are challenged by situations in their workforces that require exceptional interpersonal skills in working with subordinates and colleagues with differing interests and goals. Especially in this time of Presidential transition, she knows first hand that the public sector needs to retain and engage the best and the brightest, and the power of the first level supervisor to make this a reality in each Federal agency. Patty believes people should live their lives with purpose and passion, and loves serving others through coaching, leadership development, and quality of life improvement. She excels at helping leaders identify and meet ambitious goals, resolve differences before they become disputes, and live powerfully beyond measure. Learn more about Patty

Get your free copy here of Patty’s Free Gift: A Handbook on Presidential Transition for Federal Career Executives

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Rev. Dr. Patricia Keel, Spirit Matters Coaching

After learning about packages & pricing, she raised her prices and clients are now paying in full!

Presenting Bootcamp STAR Graduate –  Rev. Dr. Patricia Keel, Spirit Matters Coaching

Patricia is one of our Top 11 students in this past session—the “cum laude” of the bunch who launched her businesses with our support and who is now thriving!

Rev. Dr. Keel offers transformational life coaching, spiritual coaching.

3 Wisdom Tidbits from a 70 Year old Rock Star

I turned 70 last week and now I am a Bootcamp Rock Star! How great is that?  I feel I’m getting younger and more engaged and involved in life everyday. I love my life. I’m off to India for a 9 day Spiritual Journey. My life is a frigging fantastic miracle. Oh JOY!

It wasn’t always like this. For a long time it was a Bumpy Road of overwhelm, stress, resentment, fear, confusion, frustration, anger, cluelessness. I was pretty much a mess through my 40ies. I’ve been waking up a little more each year. They say, “With age comes wisdom,” so I have three life tips to share. Tidbits of love from me to you, learned the hard way, but solid advice if you’re willing to experiment and try them on.

Before we look at the 3 Tips I have for you, let’s see if my wisdom and advice will be useful for you. Are we a match?

If you’re at all like me, you see yourself as a thoughtful, conscious woman. You have it mostly together at home and at work. You’ve read lots of self help books over the past few years, probably gone to therapy to help solve your problems, or marriage counseling for your relationship. You have some kind of spiritual connection. And you understand the power of the present moment, even if you can’t find it. Maybe you’ve listened to Eckhart Tolle or Deepak  Chopra on Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays. You’ve tried yoga and meditation, but that hasn’t calmed the restlessness inside you.

It’s hard to pin down, to explain what’s happening. There’s maybe a feeling of anxiety, scattered thinking, a little confusion and some self doubt. You feel something is UP for you – a change, a shift, a something different in your life, but you’re not clear WHAT it is, HOW or WHY it is happening, what to do about it, and more importantly do you want it, are you ready for the change?

For some women the shift happens first in our relationships. We find that the person we are closest to, our spouse, our partner, a family member or close friend begins to bother us. We find ourselves more and more sensitive to little comments or we tire of their same old jokes. Routine behaviors, petty small things start to annoy us. We find ourselves taking their comments personally and become defensive or aggressively fight back. Or we retreat and find ourselves avoiding certain conversations or even cutting that person out of our lives altogether.

Over time our connection and sense of trust and closeness fades. We begin to wonder why were are in the relationship if it is going to cause us so much pain and suffering. Clearly the other person has changed, and not in the direction we expected. We want them to be they way they used to be.

These are early warning signs. For some this is the ultimate rationale we used for initiating a divorce, or shutting a friend or family member out of our lives. Stress in the relationship seeps out into every other area of our life. It can lead to sleep issues, as we stay awake analyzing a particular situation over and over in our minds. Our health begins to suffer. It can lead to loneliness and isolation as we pull away from others so that we don’t have to address what is bothering us. At worst we drop into anger, resentment, fighting and arguments in front of children, further destroying the family as our relationship continues to self destruct. Ultimately we feel alone, at a loss to deal with what is happening.

For other women the first signs of an internal change, a shift occurs at work. It might be that we’re not satisfied with the career path we have chosen. We find fault with the system or with our boss or staff. We aren’t feeling fulfilled in the day-to-day routine of our job. We come home exhausted with little or no energy to enjoy our family or friends, even yoga class doesn’t revive us. We feel we are living for our paycheck. What seemed exciting when we first began is now routine, even boring.

We feel we‘ve outgrown the work and are no longer making a contribution. Discontent in the workplace leads to potential challenges and power struggles with our co-workers. Lack of enthusiasm and energy feeds our sense of lack of purpose.

Each of us needs to feel we matter and that what we are doing in the world matters. When this need is unfulfilled we find ourselves in the limbo of a life transition. Conflicting demands for financial resources, family obligations, and our inner discontent at work can cause major upheaval in many areas of our lives.

For some women the problems and issues we are trying to solve in our relationships, or in our work and career are complicated by low energy, low mobility, and body pain. Adding the physical pain and emotional stress of an injury or chronic condition to everyday life can further reduce our available internal stamina to step out and consciously make changes in our lives. Chronic health issues can mirror chronic issues that have not been addressed in the emotional and spiritual body. Victim consciousness can develop when there is a sense of helplessness combined with physical pain.

For some of us the discontent we feel is directly connected to a spiritual crisis. Perhaps the death of a parent, or serious illness in the family brings us into deep questioning of our faith. We question our existence and what is the meaning of life. All these existential questions that can never be truly answered can take us into a depression and bring with it a deep sense of separation and disconnection with life, from ourselves and our spiritual source.

Can this be all there is? Not a pretty picture! Yet so many of these challenges and more are faced by women everywhere. Do you see yourself? Is this discontent and longing part of what you struggle with every day?

Are you this woman? I was her 25 years ago: two divorces, 2 kids, different dads surviving as a single working mom, overcoming addiction, changing careers at age 45, going back to school at age 55, starting a church in Berkeley and discovering my passion and purpose in my early 60ies.  I know that feeling, that inner discontent, I had it bad and tried to fill it with Chardonnay, dating men I really didn’t love, and staying in a job I hated. I spent lots of money on therapy and read every book in the self help/change your life section until I finally found a path that felt right. Eventually I finally found someone and something I could resonate with and that brought me some relief from my own craziness and my self-destructive behavior.

What if you could stop feeling like you had to do it all?

What if you could let go of some of the stress in your life and get a good night’s sleep? When was the last time you woke up feeling happy and ready to enjoy your family and your work? It’s what you deserve.

What if your relationships were built on companionship and sharing, rather than competition and judgment? What if you could really trust yourself and your partner?

I know this is possible for all of us, and it is a goal of mine to support women on the path of happily ever after. The AFTER doesn’t mean we have to leave a relationship, or a job, it means we have to see what is happening inside us and be willing to fully accept it and experience it. We have to wake up to ourselves.

So here are my 3 Tidbits of Love from my 70 years of trial and many errors

  1. Every perceived problem is calling forth some higher quality inside you. Your greatest challenges are your biggest opportunities for growth. Rather than rush to solve your problem, first look inside and see your perception and perspective.
  2. Don’t look to change the outer world to solve your inner discomfort, your stress and pain. Look in the mirror to find what is bothering you and feel it fully. What people, situations, and challenges bring the most intense feelings? These are your best teachers. Be humble and don’t run away.
  3. Stillness and silence create an inner and outer stability that form a foundation for you to assess where you are. In the stillness you can to listen for guidance and experience the subtle energies inside your body, From that place of calm center you have freedom to move forward in the direction of your dreams.

I am so happy to share with you. Let me know how it’s working in your life, patriciakeel@gmail.com. I have lots of free audios and online radio archives that you can listen to and find more support. I also offer weekly Livestream video broadcasts of the Oneness Meditation and here is the link to watch an archive or join me live. My podcast Relationship Fix airs on iTunes, Stitcher and many podcast channels. .  I am taking a group on a 2 week spiritual course to India in June, 2017.  My online webinars, courses, and coaching programs are on my SpiritMattersCoaching.com. Sign up to receive my free gift Taking the Next Step: Courage to Change, or a complimentary half hour Jumpstart session to see if working with me is a fit for your life right now

On my last trip to India, June 2016
Oneness University in So. India

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rev. Dr. Patricia Keel has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Matthew Fox’s University of Creation Spirituality, now known as Wisdom University. Her doctoral project was based on bringing the Art as Meditation focus of Creation Spirituality into Unity churches with a dynamic 7-week program series called Living The Creative Life, based on Eric Butterworth’s book. Patricia has been creating curriculum for churches since 1995 as Founder of SpiritMatters, a church growth program company.

Since retiring in January, 2011 from her role as minister at Unity of Berkeley Patricia has been traveling to India 14 times to participate in courses, trainings and deepening processes at Oneness University, a small spiritual school in southern India. She also traveled to Shantikunj, an ashram in northern India operated by All World Gaitri Pariwar. Learn more about Rev. Dr. Keel

Get your free copy here of Patricia’s Free Gift: Taking the Next Step COURAGE TO CHANGE, Oneness Meditations online

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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

“She said, ‘yes!”

Kate Steinbacher, Co-founder of The Coaches Console, had just landed her first coaching client.

She was excited … and shocked. She’d just started her coaching business, and thanks to being a natural-born networker and a charming extrovert, she already had people lined up, excited to work with her.

Only, she didn’t have any systems in place for supporting her new client … or the clients she hoped would follow.

So Kate did what any typical coach would do. After she got her first, “yes”, she picked up the phone, called her mentor coach and said …

“Oh, crap! Now what?”

Like many coaches, Kate operates primarily from her right brain, creativity taking the lead.

Operating a business is more of a left-brain activity, requiring logic and organization.

(Ah yes … I’m betting you know where this is going!)

For the first year of her business, Kate let her creativity and her passion for coaching run her business. She loved coaching! She felt lucky she was getting paid to do it. In that way, she operated from the mindset of a Hobbyist. But she had the goals of a Business Owner – to make a big impact and great money.

Rather than putting systems in place (like a Business Owner would), her “official plan” was to call her mentor coach every time she ran into another part of her business with which she needed help and say, “Oh, crap! Now what?” (Sounds like a Hobbyist, right?)

From all outward appearances, this plan was working well for Kate. She was getting and supporting more clients, and she was having fun. She was professional, credible, and thriving.

But from Kate’s perspective, things looked quite different.

Her approach was costing her time and money. She was so disorganized (her own words!) that it took 3 months for her to receive money from her clients. In one situation, she was so embarrassed about her lack of organization that she waived her client’s invoice all together! (If Kate were here, she’d tell you the same story, herself.)

She struggled to manage her time, and soon became very overwhelmed and stressed trying to juggle everything herself.

This is typical for most coaches and “start-up, service-based entrepreneurs” (those who have a set of skills and/or services they offer to a group of clients).

They discover they have a passion that is really a calling. They bravely venture into entrepreneurship. They work with mentors and teachers who begin to educate them on everything, the hundreds of necessary tasks they need to start and run a business.

Then, overwhelm sets in.

There is so much to do and so much to learn, and without a system, running a business can feel incredibly stressful.

(One of our Coaches Console members described her start-up experience before she began using TCC as “holding everything together with spitballs and duct tape”!)

Seriously – combine these things …

  • Learning the hundreds of details necessary for running a business
  • The desire to appear professional and organized
  • The urgent need to make money
  • The fear of failure and fear of success

… and you’ve got the recipe for overwhelm.

Everything feels urgent and important.

Fortunately, although we can’t decrease the number of details involved in running a business, or the desire to appear professional, the need to make money, or the fear of failure, we can offer you a solution to this overwhelm!

The cure to overwhelm is to prepare for clients before you get them.

Yes, you read that right: before you have any clients, you should set up effective systems for attracting, converting, and supporting them.

Your fear-based ego may be jumping in right now, exclaiming,”But wait! What if you never get any clients? Why would you waste time and resources creating these systems if you fail?!” Or, “You need money – just go out and get clients!” Or, “You’re smart. You’ll figure this out later.”

Let that go.

Take a bit of time up front, as the CEO of your business, to learn and understand the best practices necessary for laying that foundation. Be proactive, rather than reactive.

And find a mentor who can show you the way.

Kate had a great mentor, but she was in reactionary mode. She did not take the time to become proactive, and therefore she spent her first 3 years of business stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling scattered.

We would LOVE to help you avoid those “Oh crap!” moments!

To help you become more proactive, we want to share the 5 Critical Keys to Your Thriving Coaching Business. Later, we’ll go into more depth, but for now, you can begin thinking about whether you have these keys in place.

Critical Key #1: Attract. The first step is to attract your ideal clients, so they know who you are and what you have to offer.

Critical Key #2: Engage. Once you’ve found those leads, it’s time to engage them and give them a taste of the transformation they can experience by working with you.

Critical Key #3: Convert. When you’re looking for leads, you plan to turn them into clients, right? This is where you do just that, so you can make your impact and grow your business.

Critical Key #4: Support. Once the ink is dry, it’s time to ensure your clients enjoy working with you and feel supported.

Critical Key #5: Refer. You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: word of mouth is, hands down, the fastest way to grow your business. Make it easy for your clients to refer their friends to you.

Consider this your homework! Take a few moments now to jot down some notes about these 5 Keys as they relate to your business.

Finally, be on the lookout later this month for additional resources to help you flush out these 5 Keys, identify the best practices for each, and discover how to organize and implement them in your business.

Posted in: Professional Development

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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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