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7 Key Distinctions Between Hobbyists and Business Owners

Understanding the distinction between a hobbyist and a business owner 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. (Cue the ominous-sounding “dun dun dunnn.”)

But you can ensure you’re taking your coaching from hobby to profitable, thriving business by following the steps of the entrepreneurial journey outlined below, which I like to describe as rungs on a ladder:

Technician

Hobbyist

Business Owner

CEO

Shareholder

Rung 1: A technician typically someone who secures a job doing something she’s really good at, and that she truly enjoys doing.

Rung 2: A hobbyist. Most coaches/entrepreneurs have the courage to move beyond Technician, to 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 two 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, by leveraging your time and resources to get the best possible results. Create systems that generate consistent outcomes in each specific area of your business (list-building, enrolling, onboarding, supporting, etc.).

How do you leverage your time and resources? Ask yourself how you can streamline, organize, and/or automate your business’s back-office tasks so you can free up your time to focus on doing what you love while powerfully serving more clients and scaling your business.

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.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

I’d love to hear from you, now! Which of the seven distinctions I mentioned above is getting in the way of you being the best business owner you can be, keeping you “stuck” on a certain rung of the ladder? Share your answer in the comments section below!

 

Posted in: StartUp Coach

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How Many Technology Platforms Do You REALLY Need? 9 Factors to Consider When It Comes to Choosing the Technology to Streamline, Organize, and Automate Your Business

Ah, technology.

If you’re running a coaching business in today’s world, you can’t live without it.

And while your rational mind may tell you technology has the potential to streamline, organize, and automate your business, your emotional mind may feel a bit intimidated by the idea.

You need technology for so many different elements of your business: your website, lead generation, marketing, emailing, your calendar and appointment scheduling, client management, and your shopping cart.

It can be overwhelming to think about how you’re going to get ALL of these platforms set up in the first place, and then, how they’ll work together, and how you’ll find the time to manage them all.

The whole point of technology is to streamline your business so you can focus on coaching—but from where you’re standing right now, it may feel like handling the technology is a full-time job, in and of itself.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be.

You can choose the right technology to streamline, organize, and automate your business—without feeling overwhelmed.

And it’s key to get it all set up in advance, before you even start getting clients. After all, if you’re not set up to support your new client, how long do you think he or she will stay a client?

Because that’s so important, I want to make sure you have everything you need, now.


Here are nine factors to consider when you’re selecting the technology to power your business:

Can it be integrated?

What resources are necessary for managing it?

Is it designed for a service-based industry?

How complex is the setup?

Does it offer ongoing/post-setup support?

Does it offer community and resources in addition to technological support?

How much does it cost, and what is and isn’t included?

Is it overkill?

Can it offer a one-stop shop?

 

Can it be integrated?

If you’re using more than one technology, ensuring they’re integrated—that they can talk to each other—is a huge must. For every technology you add to your business, you add a layer of complexity.  If they’re not integrated, you’ll spend countless hours entering data multiple times, repeating yourself, making sure nothing slips through the cracks, and switching back and forth between platforms.

The Coaches Console is fully integrated.

The Coaches Console IS integration. Not only does it include technology for each element of your coaching business, but it also integrates those technologies, which means they talk to each other so you don’t have to be the go-between. It also integrates with merchant accounts such as PayPal, and lead generation tools like Leadpages—which means the data you enter into one platform automatically passes through to the separate technology. You don’t have to do anything with it! At every step of the way, from marketing to lead generation to conversion to support to follow-up, The Coaches Console keeps track of everything, so you don’t have to!

 

What resources are necessary for managing it?

Some of the technology platforms out there require a VA (or a team of VAs) to run them—which means you may need to outsource the running of these platforms to an expert (or more than one expert). So not only do you have to pay for and manage the technology, but you also have to spend time and money paying for the VA to operate it.

The Coaches Console is easy-breezy to manage.

The Coaches Console is designed by coaches, for coaches, which means you don’t need to be tech-savvy to manage it. In fact, if you can operate a Word type of program, or Gmail, or even a smartphone, you’ll feel tech-comfy when it comes to using TCC! Although you can hire a Coaches Console Certified VA to manage it for you efficiently and effectively (which we consider a nice bonus!), you don’t have to. Many of our coaches manage the platform themselves in just a few hours per week.

 

Is it designed for a service-based industry?

Technology platforms that are not designed specifically for a service-based industry like coaching (or similar service-based practices) often don’t include the mechanisms you’ll want to use to build and run your service-based business. They may have tons of bells and whistles, but in many cases those bells and whistles are impressive only for other industries (such as brick-and-mortar businesses or businesses selling physical products).

The Coaches Console is designed with coaches and service-based practitioners in mind.

Like we said before, The Coaches Console is designed by coaches, for coaches. We know which list-building funnel, sales funnel and conversion process work for our industry, and we not only designed our platform with those in mind, but we’ve also prepopulated and preuploaded it with over 20+ templates, agreements, messages, opt-in pages, forms, documents, products, and lead magnets that you need to build your list, convert prospects into paying clients, and support your clients exquisitely, to better ensure they get results!

 

How complex is the setup?

If you’re just launching your coaching business, the prospect of Getting Started—i.e. the initial setup of the technology for your website, funnels, support systems and so on—may feel overwhelming.

Some of the technology platforms you’re considering may require expert setup. You may have to hire a website designer or computer programmer. Others are really user-friendly and you won’t need any help at all.

The Coaches Console offers you options, based on how much or how little help you want or need.

If you’re comfortable with technology, you can set it up yourself! It’s completely user-friendly, and tons of people have gone this route and loved it. If you want a little help and a lot of love, you can join us for our Easy-Breezy Coaching Business Bootcamp, where we walk you step-by-step and click-by-click through getting everything set up, and we share some kick-ass business strategy (also known as Best Practices) with you. Or, we can do it FOR you, so that it’s all set up and ready for you to use! (Because it’s user-friendly, additional support is not required; this is just one more option we give you, so you can choose HOW you want to experience the set-up of your business.)

 

Does it offer ongoing/post-setup support?

Each platform offers a different level of support, and before you choose a technology platform, it’s great to get an idea of how much is available to you. You may or may not anticipate needing support at this point, but things can change as your business grows.

The Coaches Console offers ongoing support, in many forms, at no additional cost.

The Coaches Console offers multiple types of support and many ways to experience that support: live implementation calls to get you started, live chat to support you as you need it, a searchable knowledge base, video tutorials and FAQs, and weekly live trainings—all at no additional cost.

 

Does it offer community and resources in addition to technological support?

In order to make the most of a technology you bring on to your business, you must know the best practices and strategies that will optimize it and bring you awesome results. So, ask yourself whether you’re getting anything beyond the technology you plan to use. For example, does the provider offer an online group or a forum where you can ask and answer questions? Does it give you education and guidance on those best practices and strategies you can use to optimize it and get the results you want and need?

The Coaches Console offers a supportive, friendly community to address technology, business, lifestyle, and mindset. It’s everything you need to create a business beyond your wildest dreams, so you can live a lifestyle beyond your wildest dreams!

We offer a Coaching Lifestyle Facebook group (where we focus on Body, Mind, and Business), as well as private Facebook groups for members and Bootcampers. It’s all relevant to all the aspects of success as a coach—not just technology.

 

How much does it cost, and what is and isn’t included?

Many of the program out there start relatively cheap, but as you’re successful and grow your list and make more money, they become more expensive. What you pay for is directly tied to how successful you are—the more successful you are, the more you pay. For example, your investment might increase as you add more contacts to your list, sign more clients, or process more transactions. This means you may end up paying significantly more for a certain technology later.

You also want to pay attention to any initial startup fees, and whether or not there is an ongoing maintenance fee, beyond the fee for the platform itself. Be sure to inquire about these types of “hidden” costs, to avoid any surprises in your bank account when your payments are processed!

With The Coaches Console, you pay a flat fee, no matter how big your business gets.

As your business grows, you can rest assured that your investment level for The Coaches Console won’t.

 

Is it overkill?

As we mentioned before, some technologies were developed around the needs of businesses other than service-based businesses. Therefore, they may include (and charge you for) elements you don’t actually need. For example, some shopping technologies offer a great way to get paid, but because they want to cater to so many different types of businesses, they include many elements you’ll likely never use as a coach (but you’ll still pay for them!).

The Coaches Console offers everything you need, and nothing more.

Because The Coaches Console is developed by coaches, for coaches, it includes exactly what you need, and nothing more. And you pay for a single fee for everything: website, list-building funnels, converting features, client support, and getting paid.

 

Can if offer a one-stop shop?

When you implement several different technologies, you have to install, learn, manage, and pay for several different technologies. While each one may handle a different aspect of your business well, you’ll have to handle each of them separately. This often means you have to enter the same data and information separately (and when it changes, you have to make the change separately)—and this is where things fall through the cracks if you forget one technology. Obviously, this approach requires you to expend time, energy, money, and resources separately. Each technology adds a layer of complexity to your business management experience.

The Coaches Console is a one-stop shop where you can handle everything related to your business, all in one place.

As we mentioned in Consideration 1, The Coaches Console is fully integrated. All the different components communicate with one another, and, even more importantly, you can manage your entire business from this one place. This saves you so much time, money, energy, and possible aggravation, and it ensures none of the finite details slip through the cracks.  It’s simple, and as Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”


 

In Conclusion …

The Coaches Console is an integrated technology, created by coaches, for coaches, that includes software to manage your:

MARKETING & BRANDING:

Website
Templates
Landing Pages
Newsletters

LIST BUILDING:

Contact Management
Opt In Pages
Autoresponders

CONVERTING:

Scheduling for sample sessions
Appointment reminders
Forms

EROLLING:

Electronic Client Agreements

ONBOARDING & ENGAGING:

New Client Autoresponders
Invoicing
Billing
Shopping Cart

SUPPORTING:

Secured Client Data
Forms & Documents
Course & Content Delivery
Private Member’s Portal

OTHER:

Reporting
Training & support
Security & Compatibility
Business Building Community Forum

 

And it is designed to work on computers and mobile devices, which means that you and your clients can use it anywhere, and at any time.

Many consider The Coaches Console to be a one stop shop: their business in a box!

Plus, we offer you an amazing set of resources, for the technology and for your personal journey as a coach, to ensure you have everything you need to make the impact about which you’re passionate and to enjoy the freedom and fun of entrepreneurship!


 

Again, as a quick recap, here are the nine questions to ask yourself as you consider each of the various technology platforms you’ll use to help you make an AWESOME impact and achieve that freedom you want and deserve:

  1. Can it be integrated?
  2. What resources are necessary for managing it?
  3. Is it designed for a service-based industry?
  4. How complex is the setup?
  5. Does it offer ongoing/post-setup support?
  6. Does it offer community and resources in addition to technological support?
  7. How much does it cost, and what is and isn’t included?
  8. Is it overkill?
  9. Can it offer a one-stop shop?

Finally, I’ll take a few moments to reiterate how crazy-amazing-sexy it is to have one integrated platform to handle all the behind-the-scenes details of your business.

Imagine having one piece of technology to install and manage—a single place from which to operate your entire business. Imagine how much time, money, and energy that would save you … and consequently, how much time and energy you could devote to coaching your clients and powerfully supporting them.

That piece of technology IS The Coaches Console. It’s one integrated platform where you can manage every detail of your coaching business, in an experience that is seamless and fun for you and your clients.

Comment below with the top 1-3 considerations that are lacking in your business right now … those that, when you make a few minor adjustments, could free up your time, money, energy and resources to focus on doing what you love. If you haven’t joined the private Coaching Lifestyle Facebook group yet, do so now! Just follow this link, click “Request to Join,” and we’ll get you added ASAP.

Request to join!

 

Posted in: StartUp Coach

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Decisions, Decisions! A 10-Question “Business Opportunity Filter” to Determine If It’s a “Yes!” or a “No!”

As an entrepreneur, you have TONS of creative ideas. Right?

Maybe they’re about what you could do in your business, “if only” … Or maybe they’re about the next “best” steps to take in order to reach your goals, or how to better support your clients.

And as an entrepreneur, you also have a multitude of biz-building opportunities presented to you, probably on a daily basis.

Things like:

  • Courses or trainings
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Networking events
  • Various investments
  • New tools to add to your business
  • And more!

And sometimes, when you see one of these opportunities, it seems to be just what you’re missing. It taunts and teases you, promising to give you exactly what you need in order to achieve your goals.

Then there are all the decisions you’re faced with when it comes to the daily operation of running your business.

The bottom line: you have dozens (if not hundreds) of decisions to make, each and every day. And considering there are only 24 hours in a day, if you’re not careful, you’ll quickly find yourself overworked and overwhelmed, trying to do it ALL, and saying “yes” to everything.

So how do you know what to take on, and what to let go?

How do you decide what to go for, and what to pass on?

How do you make sure that you aren’t saying “No” to a great opportunity because your inner fears or blocks are trying to keep you playing small?

You use my Business Opportunity Filter, to determine which decisions get the “Yes!” and which get the “No”!

One of my mentors from when I first started my business (The Coaches Console) taught me how to create this filter, and it is my GO-TO TOOL for making smart choices in my business that keep me focused and propel me toward my goals.

I’m sharing it with you today because using it will help keep you focused on, connected with, and advancing toward YOUR goal of having a business (and life!) you love!


 

Creating Your Business Opportunity Filter

For each opportunity or offer you face in your business, answer the following questions to help determine whether it’s a “Yes” or a “No.” Keep in mind that you do NOT necessarily need to answer all 10 questions every time. Sometimes, you’ll have your answer after only considering a few questions. You can also pick and choose which questions to answer. All ten are available to help you through the decision-making process when it comes to those you have the most trouble with on your own.

 

Does this person/opportunity/investment advance me closer to living my Bigger Why?

Be honest: Have you created your WHY statement yet? (Hint: It’s the most important beacon in your business!)

If not, you may want to stop right here and work on that, because …

You must be crystal clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing, and why you started your business in the first place.  

Here’s how to clarify and hone your Bigger Why:

Ask these clarifying questions at least three times to get to the soul of your Bigger Why. It might not be a super-quick process, but I promise you, it’s worth it.

I even suggest framing and hanging your Bigger Why statement when it’s finished, so you can refer to it often, staying focused and inspired. That’s what I did, and mine still hangs above my desk, 13 years later!

Answering this first question will give you a pretty quick and easy “Yes” or “No” on a decision at hand!

 

If I say “Yes,” what will I be saying “No” to?

Let’s be frank:

Saying “yes” to a person/opportunity/investment requires time, energy, and resources. That means when you say “yes,” you’re saying “no” to other opportunities … overtly, or inadvertently. So consider what you’ll have to pass on, even if it’s for a short time, if you do say “yes.”

This way, you’re fully aware of what you’ll have, and what you won’t, as a result of the decision you make. When I consider this particular question around an opportunity, I really reduce the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) factor, because I can stay focused on what’s most important to ME and MY goals—instead of someone else’s.

 

Am I saying “yes” because it’s just easier than saying “no”?

Humans, especially “conscious entrepreneurs,” or “heart-based” entrepreneurs, and women!, often have a difficult time saying “no” to people. We want to make others happy. We don’t want to disappoint. AND, it can feel safer to just say “yes” because doing so appeases the other person: no uncomfortable conversations, no confrontations, no vulnerability, for you. I get it!

But this is a recipe for overwhelm. Saying “yes” to everything inevitably means saying “no” to yourself. And isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid in the first place?

Consider whether or not you’re taking what you perceive to be the “easy” way out, if you say “yes.” It may be harder to say “no,” at first, but it’s not as hard as dealing with the overwhelm—and fallout from the overwhelm—later.

 

Am I noticing synchronicity?

The Universe corresponds to your desires. So, when you’re clear on your desires and your Bigger Why, you basically become a magnet for perfect opportunities, programs, people, and/or resources that will advance you closer to your dreams!

Even better: it often feels effortless.

Pay attention to the synchronicities related to your Bigger Why. Here are a few examples for you:

  • You were just wishing for something in your mind, and whalla! A link or article pops up on Facebook that totally answers your wish.
  • You were thinking about a particular person, and he or she suddenly calls you “out of the blue.”
  • You were struggling with something that continuously blocked you from reaching your goal/dream, and then (as if by magic!) you are introduced to someone who has the exact solution you need to get past the block.
  • See where I’m going here? If you notice synchronicity around a decision, it may make it an easier “Yes.”

This is my “go to” question. If synchronicity is showing up, then I TRUST that magic in my life, and I tend to weigh out the opportunity even more.  I do my best to not argue with or resist the Universe when he/she is trying to make my life and goals easier to experience!

 

If needed, can I collaborate with others?

Does saying “Yes” to this particular person/opportunity/investment put you in a spot that requires you to grow? To develop new skills? If so, collaborating with others who are a few steps further down a shared path creates a massive opportunity for growth. If you already know people who have already paved the way for you, and who are there for you to lean on for support, saying “Yes” to an opportunity may be an easier decision.

I always say yes to at least one opportunity each year that places me in constant collaboration with people further down the path than I am (a program, a Mastermind, etc), because I know it will help me grow.

 

What happens when I harness the “as if” power?

This is all about acting “as if.” (Bonus: this is a powerful coaching question to use with your clients as well!)

If you’ve asked yourself a question 105 times, and the answer is still unclear, then act “as if” you’ve made one decision, and take away the other.

For a 12-hour period, move through your day ACTING AS IF you’ve given a resounding “YES” to the person/opportunity/investment. How do you feel? What thoughts are you having? What do you notice about your body?

Then switch! For the next 12-hour period, move through your day and ACT AS IF you’ve given a resounding “NO.” How do you feel? What thoughts are you having? What do you notice about your body?

Pay close attention to how you FEEL in both situations, and let that guide your decision making.

 

Am I willing—and able—to consistently give it my ALL?

If you’re in, be in. If you’re not, then don’t do it. Half-assing means you waste time, energy, and effort on all sides if you’re not “all in.”

So, do you have the time available to invest 100 percent? Do you have the energy for it? If you say “Yes,” will you be spreading yourself too thin? Is this a priority to me?

 

Does my soul give this a “Hell Yes!”?

Because let’s be honest: if it’s not a “Hell Yes!” then it’s a “Hell No!”

If you don’t feel a resounding, soulful “Hell Yes!” immediately, then consider whether that means it’s a “Hell No!”

If you’re only getting a whisper, or a “Maybe,” that could mean it’s really a “Hell No,” or that you just need a bit of time and awareness to expand into the “Hell Yes” that this really is for you. You’ll definitely want to walk through the other questions to decide.

Often when I use this filter (whether I’m buying a pair of shoes, enrolling in a program, or considering going out to dinner with girlfriends), I experience a “bonus” benefit, too: when I put myself in the place of a solid “No,” I can then release fears and get clear on what would need to be in place for it to be a “Hell Yes” (if that’s what I want).

 

Where am I on a scale from 1 to 10?

This is a simple and effective way to consider a decision. It involves using numbers to engage your mind and ego in the decision-making process, taking the emotion OUT of the equation for a moment, so you can be totally rational and fact-based.

Ask yourself:

“On a scale from 1 – 10 (1 being a ‘Hell no, forget it,’ and 10 being a ‘HELL YEAH, I’M IN!’), where am I on this decision?”

If you’re a 10 out of 10, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. Trust yourself and enjoy the adventure!

As a general guideline, if it’s a five or lower, you’re probably not ready. And that’s okay! At least you’ve got your answer, right? There’s freedom in and of having made a decision, either way! You can walk away and not give it another thought.

Anything under a five practically guarantees that you won’t be committed to your “Yes,” if you say it, and it will distract you from what will be most effective and fun for you. Plus, you’ll avoid beating yourself up later for making “another bad decision.” Politely decline, and walk away.

If, however, you’re somewhere between a six and a nine, ask yourself:

“What would it take for me to be a 10 on this particular person/opportunity/investment?”

And then listen to yourself! The answer will typically pop up in about one to two seconds. Don’t overthink it; you’ll just get in your own way. Take note of would make it a 10 for you, and then ask yourself if you could do whatever that is to move yourself toward a 10. (Then, do it!)

 

What will be my ROI if I say “Yes”?

Sometimes, your ROI (Return on Investment) will come in the form of money. Sometimes, it will come in other forms: indirect returns such as new leads (that will eventually lead to new clients and money), or a skill set that you needed in order to move you closer to your goals.

Other times, your ROI will be emotional currency, like when you’re able to be involved with a group of people who are aligned with your values, mission, and beliefs.

And still other times, your ROI may be in the area of self-development; you become the next greatest version of you so you can reach your goals, dreams, and desires.

As a business owner, whenever you encounter a new opportunity, always consider what your ROI will be, what form it will take, and when you can expect to see it.

Knowing this in advance will help you determine if the investment of your time, energy, and resources is worth it.


 

And there you have it! Your Business Opportunity Filter.

Answering these 10 questions will hopefully help you discover the decision that is already inside of you.

And if all else fails, TRUST YOURSELF.

 

EXERCISE:

Sometimes, even going through all 10 questions above might leave you undecided.

So here’s a quick exercise you can do “when all else fails.”

Think of a decision you need to make.

Then, (right now!), place one hand on your heart, and one on your solar plexus (your gut). Take a deep breath in. Slowly release it. Take a second. And a third. Calm your mind, and create space in your heart.

What do you hear?

Sometimes the “yeses” and “nos” are faint whispers from your soul. To hear them, you have to get quiet, at least long enough to hear them.

Some people call this prayer. Some call it meditation. However you frame it, create that still, quiet place within, so you can listen and trust yourself. You know more than you realize.

And above all else, once you make your decision, move forward unapologetically. Don’t go back and question, or beat yourself up. Be confident.

Everything we do in our business as entrepreneurs is research: every step we take, every project we create, every decision we make … all research. When you take a step—whether that step comes from a “Yes” or a “No”—it becomes research for your Biz-Building Quest.

It will inform you intellectually, physically, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually. Pay attention to that research, and adjust accordingly based on the experience of hindsight.

If you say “Yes” and realize it wasn’t the right decision, act on that new information. If you say “No” and realize you wished you’d said “Yes,” act on that new information, immediately. And adjust accordingly. Simple!

You can do this! Here’s to your next decision – with clarity!

Post in The Coaching Lifestyle Facebook community which Business Opportunity Filter Question resonated most, and why. I read everything, and I’ll personally respond! What opportunity are YOU considering right now that you could walk through each of these questions? If you haven’t joined this private group yet, do so now! Just follow this link, click “Request to Join,” and we’ll get you added ASAP.

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Posted in: Business Operations, StartUp Coach

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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.

 

Posted in: StartUp Coach

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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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“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.

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