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Getting My Business Online
As I prepared to complete my ICF certification for my ACC, I was concurrently working on setting up my coaching practice. I have an MBA, but I can testify that this part of my journey has been a whole new level of education.
If you are a coach or planning to become one, you will more than likely have some degree of an online presence. Depending on whom you ask, some say it is an absolute necessity. (This article was written prior to the pandemic – so circumstances have definitely changed!) Either way, one has to make that decision for themselves. Having come from Higher Education, I was accustomed to having systems in place which helped me perform my duties in the various positions I held over the years. I realized that I am the institution. This is the story of how I learned from a very valuable mistake: Websites, sales funnels, etc. are not my coaching business – I am.
As I began the training part of my journey, I was grateful for the section of the curriculum that guided us to set up our businesses. Well, most of it. It definitely gave us the foundation, the “this is how things work when you have it set up.” The terrifying (or exciting, depending on my mindset at the time) was that it was up to me to discover the “it” for myself. I learned a lot in this part of my journey.
After using as much of the Microsoft Office Suite that I could, I discovered that it was not enough. I needed a central place to operate my practice. So I began to network with coaches who were a few steps ahead of me. One word of caution: be careful when you ask people how they do “it.” I lost count of how many spam emails I have received explaining how if I just invest X amount of dollars (usually a few hundred dollars, if not thousands), they would set everything up for me. No such thing, in my experience.
Mistakes Equal Lessons
The biggest discovery I made during this part of my journey, I will share with you in hopes of keeping you on the path to success and to avoid the pitfalls I fell into. You see, I closed my laptop one afternoon, feeling like an awesome coach! I had spent weeks setting up the outline for my signature program. I set up my classroom on my Life Coach Office platform. The biggest accomplishment was that I had a functioning website, complete with an ability to capture leads, send out emails, the whole thing!
I went for a self-high five as I left the coffee shop, and thought this coaching biz is fantastic! I can work in the coffee shop, and NOT be in a cubicle EVER. This was one of my biggest goals! As I reviewed my sales leads and signed clients (which were NOT there) reality hit me, I had fallen into the working in your business vs. working on your business trap. I had been fooling myself, probably as a form of avoiding the most important part of being a coach: authentically finding clients, and actually coaching. I had convinced myself that because I had spent the majority of my days setting up the technical parts (the platform, PayPal, etc.) that I was done. Soon I realized that all the automation in the world was not going to communicate the most important piece of the puzzle – Why I was a coach, how I do what I do, and what my coaching will do for my clients.
Discovery - I Am Unique!
After a brief moment of flogging myself, I realized that I had neglected to define the very basis of my coaching business and why am I a life coach.
The school where I received my training had us work through these concepts, but I allowed myself to get lost in the weeds. I took some time and did some serious self-reflection, re-read lectures and books. I set out to discover what was missing. I went through all the pieces. I had my ACC ICF certification, I had all the technical systems set up, and I finally realized what was missing – me.
You see, I had done what I was trained to do, what my mentors advised me to do, what other coaches were doing in their practice, but I was missing my authentic self. To put it simply, from the outside I looked like every other Life Coach. What I realized was that I had to find a way to communicate with those who are meant to work with me, and why they should do so.
I reviewed the work of Simon Sinek, who wrote a book called Start With Why. In it, he explains: “many companies know what they do, very few know why they are doing it”. I am happy to report that since giving myself the space to discover what makes me unique. I can communicate with authority, exactly how I was meant to work with the people I am now working with. I discovered that I am a “Navigator of Chaos”. I invite you to return to my column next month as I share just how I arrived at this title through many days of self-exploration, and how it communicates exactly who I am.