Sometimes I feel a stab in the heart.

Thursday, January 28th, 2016 | Business Life, Marketing with
Posted by: Kristen Beireis, Trust Marketing Expert

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?


  1. 1
    Gretchen // January 28th, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Omg Kristen — this is an amazing post!! Thank you for being so real. I think you are so right about the big factor - what a big biz is to one is playing small to someone else. It’s all about defining what our own big biz is and playing our own big game!!! And avoiding the shame we put on ourselves for feeling our big isn’t good enough. Awesome stuff!!

  2. 3
    Linda Ursin // February 1st, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I’m not interested in 7 figures or 6 for that matter. Enjoyment comes before money for me, although one of my goals is to be able to support myself and my immediate family on the business instead of my disability. I want to have ease, freedom, ejoyment while being totally me in my business.

  3. 4
    Carl Dierschow // February 1st, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Great post today, Kristen, and thank you for being so honest. There’s a lot of people who feel as you do, but feel overwhelmed by the pressure to grow and get famous and become rich.

    Some of us just want to make a difference to our clients.

    I’ve been reading a book this week titled “Small Giants” by Bo Burlingame that you might want to check out. It explores this territory of effectiveness vs. size. I’m finding it useful for my clients.


  4. 5
    Karen // February 1st, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Very well stated, Kristen! I agree with you so very much and my business is definitely NOT a hobby. We are serious about serving our clients in the most timely fashion possible and educating them on important marketing strategies. Thanks for your post.

    Hope to see you soon!!

  5. 6
    Kristen Beireis // February 1st, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I’m with you Linda. I discovered years ago that money doesn’t motivate me. Relationships, vision and creativity come way before money in my world. Thank you for sharing.

  6. 7
    Laura Neff // February 1st, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Grrrrrl, I so feel you on this one and have been bothered by the whole BIG thing for years. In fact, I had a mastermind retreat last weekend and during the course of it: a) totally owned the fact that I truly only want to work 20-25 hours/week (for the same reason as you), b) spoke out loud my deep instinct and intuitive kicks to move away from the MORE! MORE! MORE! list building/program promotion/social media/etcetcetc approach, and c) strategized around having no more than 10 awesome-paying clients at a time, cultivated through a deep and strong referral network. AAAAAH! Feels SO GOOD to take back the path of my vocational path! Right there with ya, sister. xoxoxo

  7. 8
    Kristen Beireis // February 1st, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Exactly! Our philosophy and dreams make it BIG for us. It’s so important to know what those are in order to know what you’re aiming for (or not!). It would be great to see you again, soon, Karen.

  8. 9
    Kristen Beireis // February 1st, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Two peas in a pod Laura! I love it that you’ve ditched a lot of the marketing things too!!! You don’t have to do all of that. Ugh! I hate it that marketing industry makes people think that it’s all about doing more. It’s not it’s about doing what works for you fully, deeply and consistently.


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