Ep 118 – How Coaches Devalue Themselves Which Keeps Them From Earning Well

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Episode Transcript

This episode is a story about a coach whose business has yet to pay off 5 years in.

If you’re in a similar situation where your coaching business hasn’t paid off after years of significant investment I hope this will be an AHA for you.

A few weeks ago, a past client of mine re-emerged. She was clearly frustrated about the lack of income from her coaching business.

Feeling defeated but also at an important crossroads in her life she was considering whether she should shutter the business we created for her a year ago or pivot somehow.

I invited her to have a call with me.

And by the way, this generous coach gave me permission to share some of our conversation with you. For her privacy, let’s call her Sherrie.

Sherrie was acutely aware of the large investments she had made over 5 years to learn how to coach, to create websites, to purchase mentoring to build her business and more.

It’s not unusual for a coach (and by the way other entrepreneurs too) to invest large amounts of money and time to get their business off the ground.

I myself spent over $75000 before my business reliably paid off. I have recouped those investments several hundred times over now. But it took me a while.

Looking back, I can easily say that much of my own financial investment was frivolously rather than strategically spent. I purchased many bright shiny objects in the form of training, applications, VAs and experts.

I was thinking … “Maybe THIS will be the thing that makes me successful!”

However, what was really missing for me was about mindset — I was treating my business like a hobby rather than treating my business as a business.

I was going through the motions week after week but not crossing the important thresholds. I was acting like a perpetual student. Episode 82 is all about this. Check it out if you haven’t heard it already.

The truth is if you want to earn as a coach you have to take the risk to get serious about your business.

Back to Sherrie …

For our call, I instinctively knew that my role wouldn’t so much be as a business mentor for Sherrie, which is my usual role with my clients. I felt that pure coaching was called for.

While I always use coaching skills in the work I do with my clients, most of my sessions with clients are more consultative, guiding them to strategic choices and actions based on my expertise about successful coaching niches and coaching businesses.

A couple of months after Sherrie launched her new business targeting a unique and viable audience the pandemic hit. And many in her audience were caught in the front lines as essential workers.

Being a person with a caring heart, Sherrie swung into action to help … offering her time for free.

She said that over the last year she didn’t have any opportunities for enrollment and she felt she couldn’t charge for two reasons:

  1. Her audience was beleaguered (that was Sherrie’s word) with the events of the pandemic.
  2. There were many free services for this audience being offered by non-profits.

As we coached, Sherrie had an insight that I thought was brilliant. She realized that doctors, nurses and therapists all offer services to beleaguered individuals and they are paid well for those services.

I gently shared with Sherrie that opportunities for enrollment are something that the entrepreneurs create themselves.

This is important … if you are not creating opportunities for enrollment and then asking for fees that pay you well, you have essentially shut the door on potential income.

When you step into the role of CEO for your business you realize that it’s up to you to bring the opportunities for enrollment and step into your power to ask for fees that pay you well. No one else will do this for you.

I checked in with Sherrie about income she’d made previously as a coach before she hired me. She described $60/hour fees for a few clients during her certification period.

She said: “I unquestionably knew that the amount was too low.” And that was when she owned the fact that she had been habitually undervaluing herself.

That’s the coaching gold of our call right there. No one can assign you value. You assign value to yourself.

So, what about you? Have you been undervaluing yourself? Have you shrunk away from creating enrollment opportunities and asking for fees that pay you well?

Every coach has to shift from FREE to FEES. It’s a threshold you must cross. Check out Episode #86 which is called When and How to Stop Coaching for Free.

And, if you’re charging too little to earn well that’s another threshold to cross. You can do it! If I can you can.

Sherrie and I went on to talk about a way she could strategically pivot her business.

And Sherrie wisely knows that the pivot won’t be the thing that causes her to succeed financially. It will be when she consistently:

Stands in her value + with a business mindset + and creates enrollment opportunities + then charges fees that pay her well.