This short episode is part of the Start Smart Series. I share 4 ways to get relief from feeling alone and isolated in your coaching business. And, I make a plea to all coaches to be good to each other in your peer groups. Let’s help each other grow instead of strutting and competing.
Coaching Can Be a Lonely Business
There are so many upsides to having your own business. But the biggest downside to operating as a solopreneur is that you’re … well, solo.
That is, unless you do something intentional to change that. And I’m hoping that after this podcast you will take some action so you don’t feel lonely in your business.
Being an entrepreneur is different than any job you’ve ever had. At first you’re slogging through tasks without a team, a sounding board or even a water cooler connection.
Soon, you will have a steady flow of coaching clients and that will energize you.
Before you reach that place, the isolation you’re experiencing now not only feels bad, but it also isn’t good for you.
Isolation is a contracting force. The longer you go without support, the more your momentum is quashed. It might have you questioning your decision to become a coach.
And, prolonged loneliness can turn into depression.
Look, everyone feels like this at first. But don’t ignore it. Take some conscious actions until you feel sustainable relief.
It’s time to reach out.
Community is The Solution
And you have choices!
When I emerged as a life coach in 1998, I immediately joined the Denver chapter of the International Coach Federation. That helped a lot. It’s especially meaningful to be in the company of other coaches.
Now if you’re not near a city with an ICF chapter, join some Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
Think about it. What professional groups could you join?
Peers Will Keep You Inspired
Once you’ve joined a bigger group, take it a step further by creating or joining a smaller sub-group of peers. Keep your eye out for kindred spirits. Reach out to people you connect to energetically or philosophically.
You could even form a support group with the people in your coach training program.
I’m an introvert, so while the professional groups were helpful, I knew I needed a more intimate group. So, I co-created a peer community with 5 other local new coaches.
We kept each other on a professional path, laughed and learned in a co-facilitated arrangement.
Mostly it was a social scene — a potluck and some wine plus a discussion topic.
For a while we studied a business book together — still a favorite of mine — called The Power Path: The Shaman’s Way to Success in Business and Life by Lena & Jose Stevens. Once or twice we played Robert Kiyosaki’s Cash Flow board game.
I know this for sure … if I hadn’t had that group, I would have given up on my coaching business.
If you do start your own group you’ll be able to set the ground rules and the tone of the group. You can pass the leadership role around. The idea is to be equals and help each other.
One of my clients told me recently that she joined a Meetup group but stopped going because the coaches weren’t being real. Everyone acted as if they didn’t need anyone else to succeed.
Well, success largely comes from helping hands.
And here’s the thing … if you’ve chosen a smart coaching niche to stand out in the crowd, you won’t have to compete. Instead you can be generous and refer ideal clients to each other.
Imagine how much more enjoyable that would be than having to pretend to be an island.
So let’s be good to each other! It’s a fellowship.
By the way … I’ll be talking in my next series all about choosing a smart and narrow niche.
Subscribe to this podcast so you’ll hear about the Smart and Profitable Niche series. You can do that where you’ll find the show notes for this episode at prosperouscoach.com/4.
As Seth Godin recommend in his latest book — This is Marketing — you want to choose the smallest viable market for your business. A quote from that book …
“If you don’t have the guts
to be a meaningful specific,
why do you think you’re going to succeed
as a wandering generalist?”
That’s both up in your face and true!
The Pros and Cons of Business Partnership
If you’re an introvert you might prefer having another coach that’s in the same place as you as an accountability partner. I’ve partnered a few times over the years with one like-minded person and we kept each other moving on big projects.
There are other types of partnership to consider.
Some of my clients have asked me if it would be smart to seek out a partner for their coaching business — another coach to share the decisions, marketing and costs of the business.
Sounds good doesn’t it? At least in theory. If everything lined up perfectly.
In general, you’re better off partnering with another coach only after each of you has fully established. You both have a strong following and are financially successful. Then, you’d join forces to create a new entity and expand.
It doesn’t work well for two new coaches to throw in together.
Why is that?
When what you’re selling is ultimately you … you have to learn to communicate your value in an irresistible way to attract ideal clients. That takes time and practice.
Think about it …
If you don’t yet know what your secret sauce is, your unique coaching style or the psychographics of your target audience … If you don’t yet have messaging and offers that resonate with your audience or know exactly what they want so much that they’ll invest in your help to get it … then you can’t hope to successfully mix it up with another entrepreneur.
At this stage of things you wouldn’t have all that figured out.
You’re in a developmental phase. So get help from a mentor to help you niche, brand and get a solid business model together customized to you, your audience and your offer.
To partner where you’d share a website and marketing, you’d need to be wholly sympatico in your approach and message while also having crystal clear separation between what each of you deliver. You’d need to serve the same audience but in completely different and yet complimentary ways.
As an example, if you and your partner were both business coaches serving solopreneurs and one of you specialized in branding and messaging while the other specialized in social media marketing and Facebook ads, that could work. Because there’s solid expertise and a pathway for the client to get help from both of you.
Business partnership seems like it would ease the way. But it isn’t always rosy. I’ve known coaches who partnered only to later divorce bitterly because they both could not thrive.
Usually one person, the dominant person, does well while the other sucks wind.
So, consider going “partner-light”. Share office space, some equipment, memberships and software. But don’t try to share your business at this point.
Simulate a Job-Like Environment
Consider joining a co-working space if you’re in a large enough civic area. While it is a monthly fee there are lots of amenities and opportunities for connecting with other entrepreneurs. I’ll share a couple of find-a-coworking-space links in the show notes.
Or to create an office like environment without the monthly costs, spend part of your time working at a coffee shop or library.
I tend to break free from my office on Fridays and go where they serve my favorite chai and have lots of work nooks. While it’s not an intentional community, it’s still a social scene, and perfect for writing content or doing admin.
And don’t forget setting up some regular coffee or lunch dates will colleagues or friends.
Whatever your choice, do something intentional today to find or create your community. It will help you keep your head on straight and make building your coaching business a lot more fun.
Mentioned in this episode:
Rhonda’s favorite all time business book: The Power Path: The Shaman’s Way to Success in Business and Life
Robert Kiyosaki’s Cash Flow board game
The Next Episode: The Simplest Coaching Business Model