Archive for January, 2016

Sometimes I feel a stab in the heart.

Thursday, January 28th, 2016 | Business Life, Marketing with 9 Comments

Imagine you’re going through life, doing your own thing, with a dream of creating a business that honors your passions, values and allows you to create the change you wish to see in the world.  You love your business, have big ideas of how you want it to look and are working toward making that happen.  You know you’re doing great work in the world and you look forward to continuing it.

knife-smallThis is me, most of the time.  I say most of the time, because I have moments (some days, many moments) where it’s not all fine and dandy like that. Moments like when my mastermind partner, Kristi, says “If you don’t have a succession plan for your business, then your business is a hobby.”   I don’t have a succession plan and don’t plan to create a business that has one.  In that moment I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart.  I was flooded with the feelings of shame and guilt for not living up to what a business is supposed to be.  Why?  Because the voices in my head (created by much of what I’ve learned in marketing) translated that statement into:

“You aren’t running a legitimate business.”

“Your business is less than.”

“Think of a better way to run your business or you’ll never be taken seriously.”

While I know Kristi didn’t mean it that way (see her response here), these are the kind of messages that run rampant in the online world and especially when marketing to coaches.  We’re challenged every day to step up our game and think BIG.  What exactly does BIG mean?  Generally, the definition of BIG that I see/hear from so many marketers is 6 or 7 figures, jet setting around the world, charging $10,000/month for coaching and making sure we change the lives of the masses.

We ALL, individually, have our own unique definitions of BIG.

Um, I have a very different definition of BIG.  My version is making $50,000/year, mostly staying in the Southwest Ohio area with maybe one or two trips a year that I get paid to make, charging $475/mo for ongoing coaching and changing the lives of 5 ongoing clients at a time, 5-10 others on an introductory basis and maybe one or two group programs a year with a few products.  My version of BIG  is allowing a long lead time due to having a deep connection beforehand.  My referral partners are very close friends with lots of love and sharing between us.  My business is designed around connection and building deep relationships with clients over time.  Speaking of time, I only work in and on my business 20-25 hours/wk (including calls and networking), because my life outside my business is a high priority for me.  I haven’t reached all my goals yet and for some I have no idea what it looks like yet. Every year, though, I get little pieces of my BIG business in place.  It will come.

Ask the voices in my head and they will tell you my whole plan is doomed to fail, because this is not the way to run a business.  On one hand, I could care less!  I like going against the grain and doing things my way much better.  On the other hand, when I see all these messages telling me I should be doing the opposite, it’s a little hard to swallow.  Am I insane?  Maybe.  Do I care?  Not really.  I’m pretty good at getting the voices in my head back in check, but it’s getting harder as these definitions of BIG seem to be more prevalent every day.  Or are they?  Maybe I’m just seeing them more because I’m in a place where my teenager is totally rebelling against the 6 figure track.

I wonder how many others are feeling stabbed in the heart too. There must be a better way to promote BIG to the coaching industry.  I mean, we’re coaches.  We promote individuality, owning who we are and choosing the life we want.  If every coach built the same kind of BIG business, what would that do to the coaching industry?  We need a variety of different kinds of businesses at all levels to be able to reach the masses as a whole.  I propose that we change the marketing message from “Go BIG or go home.” to “What’s going BIG mean to you?”  Who’s with me?