Did You Skip This Crucial Step in Your Coaching Business?

I hope you didn’t. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to pick up that step because it will dramatically affect how much you earn and how hard you work.

We all happily stumble into exciting opportunities that become significant turning points in our coaching business. There’s a lot of grace in moving with the current… but it’s helpful to at least pick the river that will take you to where you ultimately want to go.

Making conscious choices, planning your work and working your plan, and setting intentions for the big milestones in your life are part of a prosperity practice. Deviating from the plan here and there is cool (but spazzing out all over the place is not so cool).

In my last post, my friend Erika Kalmar talked about the importance of business planning. Unsexy as that may seem, what I know for sure is that she’s absolutely right. Business planning helps you take AIM and take your business seriously.

Who you serve is the critical first step in your coaching business - Rhonda Hess

But it’s not the first step…

The 1st Crucial Step is Choose a Smart Coaching Niche: Decide specifically who you serve and what transformation you provide (that they urgently want). Stand for something and someone. That’s how you stand out.

Without that clarity, your business plan will be sketchy at best, your website will be bland and your offers won’t compel people to invest.

Are you leading your coaching business to long-term sustainable success? Or are you just taking stabs and hoping for the best?

Business Plan, A Neglected Factor – 14 Reasons Why You Absolutely Must Have One – by Erika Kalmar

This is a guest post by my friend and colleague, Erika Kalmar, the Coaching Biz Start-Up Strategist …

One of the often seen mistakes of coaches is that they start setting up their business on the wrong end. Sometimes it is due to overwhelm, at other times due to lack of planning, but conclusion is – many coaches do not start where they should be, the #1 step they would need to take and this is preparing a business plan.

So what, you may ask? Everyone is free to choose their first steps, right? Some might feel starting up with their website, others with their Facebook Fan Page and again others might jump straight into creating their products.

The thing is – if you also belong to this group of people, then you are not following a long-term plan but acting on a short term strategy basis, working on a to-do item on your list.

Do you see where I am getting at?

Business Plan, A Neglected FactorHow will you know that this strategy or to-do item will really fit the big picture, the vision of your business – and most importantly, that this is the best way to fulfill your business vision?

Because this is exactly what is happening if you tackle individual steps instead of the “big picture” first – you are working on short-term goals, hoping that it will ever contribute to your long-term one (that you might not even be aware of at the time).

Build Your Coaching Client List Faster with This Simple Tool – by Kenn Schroder

This is a guest post by my friend and colleague, Kenn Schroder, the Coaching Website Specialist…

One key to growing a big list fast is to make sure your opt-in form is very prominent and very easy to use.

Many coaching websites tend to, with very low effectiveness, place the opt-in box low on the home page or buried within the site. This is not ideal for building a list.

Enter AWeber’s “light-box” style opt-in form.

In addition to being a sweet email list management service with great support, AWeber has a very nice form generator tool that enables you to create your opt-in forms.

One such form is the “light-box”.

Does Your Coaching Website Have the 3 Client-Winning Keys?

By the time I created my third coaching website, I realized that a website should be more than an online brochure. It should do a lot of my marketing and enrolling work for me. And then I had a paradigm shift – my website should feel like home to my target market rather than just be all about me and what I do.

Whoosh! As soon as I aligned my website so that it spoke to the people I was serving, my list built exponentially and so did my income.

I often hear from coaches that their website’s just sitting there, doing nothing for them and they don’t know why. Many say they don’t really know what’s on their site without looking.

Sound familiar? If that’s you, I understand because once upon a time I put my website in the hands of my web designer, let go and hoped for the best. I truly thought that I could set it and forget it. Wrong. A website is a living thing.

client winning websites - Rhonda HessIf you get clients primarily from the Internet, as I do – or if you’d like to, it’s critical that your website is the HUB of your business.

Now, I have a blog for my main website. With all the fresh content and social network plug-ins, it’s a happy command center for my business. Most everything I do, plus all the clients and joint venture offers I attract, come and go from that hub. It’s like a busy airport and I’m really proud of it. (My site won the Best Coaching Blogs contest in 2010 and received Runner-Up honors this year, as well.)

There are three “secret” ingredients every website must have going for it to be a client winning site, one that:

Why it Pays to Be Vulnerable in Your Blog

When was the last time you wrote something truly vulnerable and shared it with the folks on your list?

Be Vulnerable in Your Blog, Rhonda HessI hope it was within the last week. You may think I’m crazy for saying this (or you may think it’s a no-brainer), but –

Your blog is the perfect place to show a bit of your humanity… to let your tribe in on some of your mistakes, as well as how you overcame them.

There are two BIG reasons why you want to be vulnerable with your tribe:

  1. Showing that you’re vulnerable builds trust and understanding. People will like you better and want to connect if they get a sense of who you are under all that “expertise” or skill.
  2. Being real is more fun and… well, more real!

When I started writing for coaches in 2001, I had this idea that I needed know more, seem perfect, and be the “wise one”. I wrote a lot of how-to articles full of good stuff, but I missed the opportunity to show more of myself and relate to my audience.

So when I hear coaches say they don’t know enough to serve their niche market, it reminds me of me back then. But that’s just a lie we tell ourselves.

Of course, some of your blog posts will educate the people in your niche market. Some will correct mistakes or take them step-by-step through how to do something. But your tips will land more deeply if you also share how you got there — which is almost always about fumbling into competency, right?

5 Ways to Captivate Visitors to Your Coaching Blog

I’m getting the chance to read lots of other coaching blogs lately. One reason is, my blog is competing in the Best Coaching Blogs contest hosted by Julia Stewart of the School of Coaching Mastery. There are some great blogs being showcased there! If you haven’t already, check it out. There’s a link below this post. (And of course, I’d love your vote and comments, if you are so inclined.)

Plus, I’m working on a new learning system called Client Winning Websites & Blogs. It’s a step-by-step blueprint (with lots of examples) to launch well, get known and attract fans fast. (Coming soon.)

Captivate the attention of visitors to your siteIf you’re using a blog to attract clients, or you would like to be, what exactly do you want your blog to accomplish? For a moment, think about this from an outsider’s perspective.

Every new visitor to your site is deciding, within seconds, whether it’s something they value or not. So if you want your audience to grow, you must captivate them as soon as they arrive on your site.

Are you making sure that when your ideal prospects visit your site, they immediately feel seen, heard and understood by you?

Here are the five most important ways to captivate your audience on your blog:

# 1   Resonate Quickly with Your Target Market

There is a set of cues that in seconds tells your web visitors whether they want to stay on the site or bounce off. As a website owner, your job is to optimize those cues so your ideal clients are attracted to engage with what you’re offering. Blogs have the potential to do this best, because fresh relevant content builds connections with your audience.

These 3 critical cues determine whether visitors stay or bounce. They need to be immediately evident without scrolling when someone arrives on your blog (or any website):

The Best Low Cost Method to Build Trust with Your Tribe (& Build Your List & Income Too)

I’ve been blogging since 2009. Of all the tools I’ve used to grow my coaching and mentoring business, blogging shines the brightest.

Admittedly, it’s a slow build strategy. So if you’re looking for a one hit wonder, this isn’t it. But you can’t be in “big splash” campaign mode all the time. That has a high cumulative cost in time, energy, and losing folks off your list If they’re not ready yet. It’s exhausting for you as well as your tribe. And big launches suck up lots of hours for your team too.

I’m not saying not to do big launches. They rock! But… everything in balance. You need a “steady-drip” strategy to continually touch the lives of your tribe in a way that is highly effective at building trust.

Rhonda Hess Build Trust with Your Tribe The same point applies to joint ventures. You can get a big boost to your list from a joint venture, but the connection is deeper and more resilient when people have a reason to follow you over time. A blog provides that touch point with people in ways that ezines cannot.

Before launching my blog, I put out an ezine for 10 years. It created some fans, but didn’t allow for much two-way communication. I often felt like I was talking to a wall.

In just a few months of blogging, I felt a huge shift in my business. My list was expanding with every post, and that translated to my income as well.

But the biggest advantage of blogging comes with more satisfying and long-term relationships. Readers can share comments and tweet out my posts to their friends. That brings me in deeper connection with them, as well as drawing people to my website that I would have never found if I wasn’t blogging.

Timely Tips That Can Catapult Your Coaching Biz to the Next Level Fast

Are you working too hard to promote your coaching, but still wondering where your next client will come from? Maybe you’ve been wondering how you can keep this up if you don’t get more income…

If so, you’re not alone — most coaches deal with these same problems in their coaching businesses, especially in the first five years or so. But there are coaches who have plenty of high paying clients. They get great referrals and have long term clients that pay them well. Those coaches must know some marketing tricks that make all the difference.

Well, they are coming together next week in The Easy Biz Telesummit: Summer School for Coaches — a series of FREE telecalls to help you learn those tricks fast!

I’m honored to be in the lineup of 12 business experts among some other folks you’ll recognize and enjoy, including Andrea J. Lee, Michael Port, Kim Clausen and Michelle Schubnell. Each of us will be sharing our best ideas for what makes marketing EASIER. We’re all about helping you avoid the kinds of mistakes we made early on, and we’ll share with you exactly what you need to know to succeed today.