I see the stars in your eyes filled with hope for your dream business to come into reality. You truly believe that you can make it. All you have to do is get there and everything will fall into place.
You want to believe the slogans that say you can have $10,000/month in income now and make 6-figures in six months. These statements give you hope. Especially when you read about the person offering it and find out they’ve been right where you are now.
You tell yourself over and over again that you’re a coach and you will reach your goals. If they can do it, so can you. You can make it happen, therefore it will happen and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there. You’re willing to be uncomfortable, stretch and push your limits.
You continually look for whatever nibble you can get on the tree of instant stardom. Hoping you’ll be the one to make it work. No matter the cost, time or energy it takes.
You’re determined. You have great tenacity. You will not stop until you’ve successfully created a business that allows you to live out your purpose, change lives and make the world a better place.
You are an amazing coach who will change the world.
My wish for you is that you enjoy getting the word out about your business so much that it becomes second nature.
My wish for you is that you consistently touch people deeply resulting in relationships that lead to paying clients.
My wish for you is to have a foundation for your marketing that will support your values, help you make wise decisions and grow at a rate that fits your priorities.
If you were to look deep within your heart and ask the following three questions of yourself, how would you answer them?
What do you want in this moment?
What do you want your life to look like on the road to your dream?
Who do you want to be as you build your business?
You are a coach and I’m sure you’ve asked your clients questions like this, but are you asking them of yourself?
What’s your business dream? Are you looking for the fastest way to get there? If you’re anything like me. You’re impatient. I’ve always been a Veruca Salt kind of person. You remember? The spoiled brat in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ok. I may not literally go stomping around saying “I want it NOW!” However, the little girl in my head does that quite frequently.
When my Veruca Salt rears her demanding head, it sends me out searching for the fastest path to get to my destination. The road that’s been proven and worked for other people. The one with the easy to follow plan that will be exactly what I need to reach my goal. ESPECIALLY when it comes to business.
For years, I gave into my Veruca Salt. I fed her information, plans, easy to follow step-by-step workbooks. She ate every little bit of it up. Yet, I still never reached my goal. None of it got me where I wanted to go. Worst of all, I was really NOT enjoying these “plans” at all. While I may get a taste of success and enjoy that, the work to get there was draining every ounce of energy away.
That’s what happens when you go kicking and screaming down a path that isn’t yours to go down.
I’m pretty sure you didn’t get into business for yourself so that you could do a whole bunch of tasks that drain your energy. I’m pretty sure you DID get into business to help people, have flexibility and enjoy your work more than you ever did in that JOB.
Why are we in such a hurry?
There are so many juicy experiences to have along the way. The great thing about being an entrepreneur is that we get to create our own experience. So, why are we in such a hurry to get to our end goal? Why not enjoy the whole experience of growing our business?
Yes, there are bills to pay and there’s income to bring in. There’s the income you can bring in today and there’s the ultimate income. You’ll never get to the ultimate income if you don’t bring in something today. Again, why are we in such a hurry? Slow down.
When I was diagnosed with Diabetes, I didn’t jump head first into eating 1600 calories a day, walking a minimum of 5000 steps a day, doing 2 90 minute cardio events every week, getting off the couch to go somewhere every day or eating 15-13 grams of starch carb per meal. Doesn’t that sound daunting? That’s a lot do all at once!
I started with a focus. Eat only 30-45 grams of carbs per meal. In 3 months, I lost 15 pounds. So, I added a new focus, move more. After 4 years of adding in one focus at a time, I’m down 60 pounds, off my blood pressure meds and my numbers are below Diabetic levels. Some people try to lose 60 pounds in a year. I took 3.5 years. I hear people talk about how hard it was to give up their favorite foods and work their bodies all the time. I enjoyed my journey. I never felt like I was giving up anything or doing more than my body wanted to do. I just did it and it was fun.
I apply the same philosophy to my business. It’s taken me longer to get here than I would’ve liked, but I prefer to have my business and enjoy my life around it too. What’s your preference? Get there fast or enjoy the ride?
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.
This 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?
If you are like most of the people I’ve worked with, you started your business because you knew you wanted to change the world. You were determined to make it happen and then you did. Yay for you! That’s awesome! Your work in the world is greatly needed, so I’m thrilled you started your business.
If you’re like most of the people I’ve worked with, you also had a gigantic learning curve when you came into this business. You may have had some experience in marketing, but you weren’t an expert by any stretch of the imagination. When you first started out, I’m sure the task of learning marketing was very daunting. Did you ever think you’d get as far as you have? I’m sure you’ve come a long way!
I’ll bet you always have some sort of book or download you are reading. You probably subscribe to the best marketing guru e-mail newsletter lists as well. Is your bookshelf full of marketing and business books? How about those binders you’ve received at different marketing events? Are those sitting in your office as well? All that studying has probably paid off in some successful launches that have gotten your business where it is today. I’ll bet you credit one or two marketing experts with your success. You did your homework and it paid off. Congratulations!
Are you 3 or more years into your business and still hogging marketing information?
So, when are you done with your creative way of going through marketing school?
Did you switch gears at some point and have to go back to Freshman year?
Will you ever get to graduate?
When will you have learned enough?
I’ll bet you’re thinking I’m crazy for asking those last two questions. That little voice inside your head says “Never!” ”I’ll never be done. I have to keep learning or my business will suffer.”
If that little voice lives in your head, then I’m betting your business is already suffering. You see. There comes a point in every business owners career when they HAVE learned enough to at least slow down or take a break for a while. I can just hear your little voice now….”What?! Nope. Not possible!” Tell your little voice it’s ok. We’re just exploring something and that doesn’t mean you’ve committed to anything. Ok? Do that now.
I’ll put it in front of you again. There comes a point where you have learned enough. At that point, if you are still consuming marketing education all around, then you have become an Information Hog. Here are some symptoms of information hogging:
- Important e-mails from clients and joint venture partners get lost in the sea of e-mails from newsletters and lists you subscribe to.
- You have so many things you have to read that you feel behind the times and catching up seems impossible.
- You utilize technology to keep your learning with you. You take it to the gym, on walks, in the car, on the plane etc…
- You are always trying out new marketing strategies in your business.
- You add things into your marketing plan mid-stream a lot.
- You often worry that there’s a better way.
It all seems pretty harmless, right? Not so much! If you’re missing e-mails then you are missing opportunities. If you are always feeling behind and doubting your own knowledge, then what kind of message are you putting into your marketing? Oh yeah, that doubt seeps in. You could be undermining your own hard work.
If you are constantly feeding your brain information on marketing, trying new things, and changing your marketing mid-stream, how consistent is your marketing? How do you ever get good at doing one marketing strategy when you don’t stay on it for longer than one launch, maybe two? Practice makes perfect. Although, I don’t believe perfection exists, I do know that practicing over and over again does help you hone and get better results.
Not only that, how about those marketing campaigns that have a lot of moving parts? If you shift gears mid-stream something is going to be broken, missing, or not doing what it’s supposed to do. Talk about a trust killer for potential clients. They will walk away fast if they see discombobulated marketing.
One more time. There comes a point where you have learned enough. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of being an information hog, I suggest you start a 3 month marketing detox right now. Stop learning. Use what you know and see what happens.
Are you going to detox? Where are you going to stop learning? What knowledge are you going to start trusting? Leave a comment below.
FYI - Being an information hog is just one sign that you may be addicted to marketing. Read more about marketing addiction and detox at http://www.coachesmarketingsource.com/marketingdetox.html.
Did you become a coach for the freedom? I bet you were excited when you set out to leave your day job so you could jump into being an entrepreneur and run your own show. Have you found that running your own business actually demands more of your time and energy than you thought it would? If so, I’ll fill you in on a little secret…you’re normal. Well, as normal as any human can be anyway. Yup, this happens to just about everyone who leaves a 9-5 job to be an entrepreneur. There are no more boundaries set for you. You used to go into the office and come home. You used to work Monday through Friday and work was miles away. You had dedicated “work” times and “off” times.
I see it all the time. My clients come from that 9-5 structure and then start their own business only to blurr the lines between work and life. At first it was easy, because there weren’t a lot of clients. Then those clients multiply and the business grows requiring more attention. Before they know it my clients are overwhelmed, tired and complain of not having a life. I’ve been known to get e-mails from them at 1:00am or on weekends. So it’s my mission to change this pattern of overworking and sacrificing life for the sake of growing a business. Ugh! Really?! This is NOT why coaches start their own business. It’s time to change this!
And in case you are wondering if it’s possible, I’m here to show you that it totally is! Keep reading as I share with you how I work my business and demonstrate that boundaries are not only good and necessary, but that clients will respect them, thus allowing you to do business on your own terms. Let me qualify this by saying I know you know this, but are you really living it? As you read, see if you are fully setting your own boundaries.
I don’t do mornings. I don’t do some weekdays either and I only do every other Friday. However, some Saturdays up for grabs. Yes, I’m a businesswoman and I run my own business. It’s because I run my own business that I can make my own hours. Even if that means I don’t take meetings before 11:00am.
You see, I have a life. And I refuse to let my business get in the way of that. This is a very strong conviction for me because my husband and I spent a lot of time on opposite shifts and not seeing a lot of each other while I was working as a Singer/Actress in NYC. Having that experience showed me that it’s easy to get sucked into so much activity that you can miss out on what’s really important to you. So as you know I changed gears and came home from NYC. That’s when I vowed I’d never sacrifice in that way again. Today, I run my own business so I can spend more time with my husband, friends and family. If I wanted a job where I was required to be in front of a computer or on a phone 8 hours a day/5 days a week, then I’d go get an office job.
Notice this does not mean I’m out of the office completely. It just means I have open business time. On days when I don’t have things to do outside of the biz, I will get a lot done. I work on marketing and business building those days. There are times when Hubby is busy or doing something I’m not interested in…I claim that time for me and do what I want. On a weekday, I usually want to play in my business so I do. Not having calls allows me the freedom to choose what I play in each moment of those days. Hmmmmmm, have you ever had a work day where you didn’t actually have an appointment of some kind to attend to? Try it! You might like it! Did you notice I used the word “play” when I described working in my business? And here’s the secret I want you to really understand…when you create time and space, it feels like play! It’s not effort. It’s enjoyable when your business supports your life and your life doesn’t drain from it.
With boundaries there’s an internal decision to make a commitment to being a certain way. Then you have to express that and maintain it. In order to keep the trust of my clients, I set the expectations up front with them. They know there are days of the week I may take hours to get back to their e-mails. It may even take me a whole day. So, they don’t expect me to answer quickly. They also know that I will get back to them as soon as I possibly can.
Scheduling regular no-appointment days has some additional great advantages too. Hubby and I get to beat the shopping crowds by going on weekdays. We also find that it’s easy to get doctors appointments and things out of the way when we have days off during the week. So, while I may only check my e-mail 2-3 times that day, I do not have to be at my computer all day. I can go play in between. I have a life and a business too!
I only take calls 2-3 days a week and after 11am Eastern time on those days. Some of you may have questions in your mind about that kind of a schedule. I’ll answer a few I’ve heard, but if you have more…leave a comment and I’ll answer them there.
You may wonder, what about networking? No problem, I go to luncheons and after hours networking opportunities. They do both exist you know.
What if a client would prefer 8:00am or 9:00am? Or what if they prefer Mondays? Well, if they really want to work with me then they will have to commit to a different time or day. It’s as easy as that. If they choose not to then they aren’t the right client for me.
What if an amazing opportunity comes up that could seriously boost my business? Well, there are always amazing opportunities around. Maybe I’ll miss this one, but another will come along later that will fit my schedule. However, there are occasions where I’ve been known to make exceptions. It has to be super, duper, deliciously awesome, and something I want to do SOOOOO bad it’s worth bending my own rules. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.
So, what is your schedule? Do you have days of the week where you don’t have appointments? If not, try one day a week and see if your life is any different. Then try stepping out of the office for a few hours on that day…play, have fun. Just because you have a business, it doesn’t mean you have to be chained to it 5-7 days/nights a week.
What would you do with an additional 3-6 hours of time in your week…unplanned?
I bet some of these concepts are exciting and some may be overwhelming for you. I challenge you to think about your boundaries and share with me how you maintain your personal boundaries in business.
FYI - I’m doing a free call Thursday to help coaches, like you, get your foundation set so you can stop marketing as much as you do and own more of your life. Visit http://www.coachesmarketingsource.com/stopmarketingcall.html for more information.