5 Power Plays to Get Out and Stay Out of Stuck-ville in Your Business

Have you ever been stuck to the point of feeling paralyzed and unable to move forward in your coaching business? It can become a negative pattern that looks something like this…

You send out an email or two, do a teleseminar, or make a couple of calls (all the while believing you’re “bad at this”.) If your expectations aren’t met you declare “well, that didn’t work!” That starts a downward spiral where all actions cease and you’re officially stuck.

That was me early on in my coaching business. One day I was complaining to my mentor coach about my small clientele, my micro leads list, and my dismal income. I said: “Judy, I’ve worked so hard and it’s just not happening. This must not be what I’m meant to do!”

My coach allowed a long meaningful silence to fall between us for a few moments and then she gently asked: “Rhonda, what exactly have you done over the last 90 days to get clients, build your list and income? How many times have you actually invited someone to hire you?”

I realized, as I gave her my short list of actions, that I’d done very little that could actually result in paying clients. In fact, I’d been spending most of my time on low payoff actions and unrelated distractions! That’s because I’d try something once or twice and then give up quickly with big spaces of inaction and sadness in between.

I had no plan, I had no strategy, I was shooting from the hip and hoping, hoping, hoping that some single effort would unleash an avalanche of clients ready to spend thousands on my coaching and I’d never have to market again.

My coach helped me take a long look at my scarcity mindset and loathing for marketing tasks. She helped me open my mind to see things differently. Then she had me put together a promotional campaign for the next six months and break that down into daily activities. What a huge relief it was to wake up in the morning and focus in on those high payoff tasks.

That’s when I stopped being a reluctant entrepreneur and became a true entrepreneur. But there was another sea change too… I stopped expecting everything to work out immediately. I realized that to become truly prosperous meant taking one action after another without judgment, allowing things to germinate in the unseen world and letting the Universe surprise me, which it often did!

Get Out of Stuckville

Ready for some unstoppable momentum? Here are the five things to put in play now:

1. Commit to one decisive direction
If you know what you want to do and you’ve confirmed that it strikes a deep resonant chord with your target audience, commit now to becoming a master at reaching and serving those people.

If you’re uncertain what to do or who to serve, commit to one focused direction — anything! (You know that I favor the niche market method because it requires no particular expertise, specific knowledge or skills.) Then, pursue that direction with steadfast determination.

Let the magic begin! Some of the best things in life come from simply showing up day after day and doing your best even if it doesn’t seem like your high calling or life’s purpose. This is how the Universe conspires to bring you incredible opportunities, great alliances and meaningful connections!

The only real mistake is not deciding, not committing and not taking consistent action. The Start-Stop-Stuck pattern is a form of self sabotage.

2. Play big
Play for keeps. Be as bold as you can to stand out in the crowd. Do it your way and let your brilliance shine. Okay, I know that’s a lot of “rah, rah!”, but it’s true… no one ever gets to six or seven figures by playing small.

3. Plan your work
If you don’t have a step-by-step plan for your next promotional campaign, you’re more likely to fall into the Start-Stop-Stuck pattern and end up feeling alone and discouraged.

If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking that other entrepreneurs easily get all the clients or make a huge income, take the time to watch closely what those people do. They have lots of things in play ALL THE TIME! Anyone who earns well and has lots of clients has set in motion a well-laid plan. For example, they post a series of 10 – 15 emails, use their blog and social networks to reinforce those emails, deliver enrolling webinars– all sorts of things done in concert to bring about their big results. You can do those things too with a plan.

4. Work your plan without expectation or judgment
So much is happening in the unseen world. The seeds you plant will germinate in their own time. That’s why it’s wise to plant a lot of seeds and keep watering them in faith!

Absolutely, set intention for a specific result. Vision for what you want in living color and high detail. But then release attachment. Expectations become feelings of entitlement and then quickly… disappointment. If you didn’t reap the results you wanted, ask yourself: “What ELSE can I do right now to improve my results?” Then get to it.

5. Develop the “Gift” mindset
Have you ever noticed that people who seem to expect little, but think big and act boldly seem happier? They are often healthier too. Great opportunities and money flow to them thank to their positive mental attitude.

Try this… look for the gift in everything. No matter what happens in your business or life, no matter what results you get from your actions, see the gift. Be grateful for the results that have come your way, for the clients you do have. Believe that more are on their way. Stay in action.

Share your comments and your own power plays to stay out of stuckville here.

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).

Where to Start with Your Coaching Business Makeover

Here in Colorado the new year came in on a snow-scented breeze, with an air of purpose. It feels like 2011 is off to a running start.

Is your business feeling the new winds blowing? Mine sure is. I‘ve upgraded my Ideal Coaching Market workshop and moved my membership site over to a WordPress platform. I’m about to launch a couple of new marketing approaches, and some new programs are also in the works.

Where to start your coaching business makeover

All this inspired me last time to write about reasons to make over your coaching business, and that post brought some pithy comments. One coach asked – now that I know a business makeover is necessary, where do I start?

A great question that deserves an in-depth answer, so I thought I’d address it here.

The essence of the business makeover is to systematically go through everything in your business to uncover what’s working and what’s not working, and then replace what’s not working with something better. To make the process manageable, keep your focus on four fundamentals: market, message, offers and conversion process.

Start With Your Niche

Start by looking at your coaching niche. Is it viable? That means, have you targeted a narrow niche market that is accessible to you and ready to invest in their own personal and professional development?

A New Year Means a New Coaching Business

It seems like every year I do a business makeover. Somewhere around September or October I go into innovation warp drive, and by January of the next year I have a completely refreshed business.

Right now, everything I offer coaches is getting reworked and upgraded. (Watch for specials coming soon!)

I like it. It keeps me on my toes and rings in the new year in another delightful way.

But why do I do it? And is it really such a good idea to keep changing up what I’m doing? I think so. It’s about staying aligned with what is most alive in my business. And there are more concrete reasons too.

8 Compelling Reasons to Make Over Your Coaching Business

These eight factors have spurred me and my clients to close up a program, start new ones, upgrade, and update to a new business model. Are any of these at work for you right now?

  1. You’ve realized what you love to do more than what you were doing.
  2. You’ve grown new skills and deeper knowledge.
  3. You’ve learned more from the folks you serve about what they really want.
  4. You want to scale up to serve more people, so you can leverage your time.
  5. You’re utilizing new technologies and systems.
  6. You want to model the best practices of your mentors.
  7. You’re amping up your income and profits.
  8. You’ve refined to a more profitable niche.

The most important thing is to let your business grow and evolve as you do. If you’re like me, you sometimes make changes of a lifetime in mere months. No moss gathers on you, because you’re always seeking ways to better yourself, better your life and help others do the same. That should be reflected in your business, because your business is a reflection of you.

What’s Learning You? Lessons from Your Coaching Biz

The title of this post is not a typo – what’s learning you? Before you spur yourself into your future again, take a minute to bring with you the gifts of 2010. Truly integrate what you’ve learned and 2011 will be juicier, bigger and more fun for you!

Almost everyone I know has been in a big boiling cauldron of change in 2010. You too? I feel like I’m finally out of that hot water and into the grace of enjoying what I learned in that uncomfortable time.

What I learned in 2010.
So, I want to hear about what’s ‘learning’ you. In other words, are you changed by what’s happened this year?

What has had you on your growing edge?

How have you transformed?

What were the big aha’s?

5 Things that Learned Me in 2010

I’ll start by sharing my big aha’s this year, then you jump in, okay?

Less is More

At her recent Recurring Revenue Revolution event in Las Vegas, Milana Leshinsky said something that stopped me in my tracks.

“Just because something is accurate doesn’t mean it’s useful.”

Wow! Isn’t that the truth?

Consults: The #1 Easiest Way to Enroll Coaching Clients

Are you offering consults to prospective coaching clients? If not, I hope by the end of this post you will take my 90 day challenge and find out how the habit of giving consults can bring you clients right now. In fact, I double dog dare you to find anything better to enroll new clients into your high value programs!

It’s easy to pour your time into Internet marketing, thinking that social networking and blogging alone will get you all the clients you need. But those methods are best for building a leads list and bringing you future clients. If you want more coaching clients right nowreal time connection is still the easiest, most direct and most effective way to engage new clients. And it’s fun!

Enrolling is a simple coaching skill that will do more than any other approach to get you high paying private clients. And you can easily adapt the enrollment process to preview teleclasses and public speaking, to enroll people into your group programs too.

Should I Give a Sample Session or Consult?

Enrolling Clients with Sample Sessions or Consultations

Most coaching schools recommend delivering a full blown coaching session as a sample to enroll clients. There’s nothing better for stretching your coaching skills as you’re first getting started. And, if you are vigilant about keeping your time boundaries, avoiding over-delivery, and acing the close; prospects will become your clients through sample sessions.

But, after a while, you might find that sample sessions are too time consuming. Coaches also tell me that in sample sessions they tend to focus more on their technique than engaging the client. From sample coaching, prospects often slip away from the full session feeling “done” rather than primed for long-term support.

A different approach is to set up a short, themed consult as a simple discovery process to enroll clients. You still get to use your coaching skills – asking powerful questions and listening – to quickly uncover where your prospect wants to go, where they are now, and the gap in between.

Then it’s easy to show them how you can help them bridge that GAP.

Suspending Your Disbelief Opens Doors to What You Want

Every time you try something for the first time – launch a coaching business, start a blog, speak publicly — you enter into the great unknown. For adventure seekers, the unknown is a double dog dare. For innovators, it’s where the spark of brilliance always strikes. For the rest of us, it can be absolutely terrifying territory… but it doesn’t have to be.

suspend disbelief
Everyone has fear. Some “feel the fear and do it anyway”. They consciously suspend their disbelief that they can do it, long enough for the combination of their trust, persistence and subtle energies to coalesce dreams into reality. Our favorite stories are about regular people persevering to reach their destiny despite all odds. Without super powers, people do this every day.

To get to where you want to go, first suspend any disbelief that you can arrive there.

Break Through by Letting Go of Attachment

When I was eight I thought I’d never be good at downhill skiing, because experience told me I’d never be good at any sport. Totally psyched out, I struggled pitifully. Then one day, when I wasn’t scrutinizing my general lack of coordination, I hit the zone!

And then of course, I knew I could ski. There was no longer any question of that. Before long I could make it down a black diamond and practically float down the rest of the slopes. Having crossed the unknown and come out the other side, it was easier to become a pretty decent skater and halfback in soccer. I broke through the belief that I couldn’t do sports.

Believe in Stories of Success

We all need role models to grow to our full potential. It’s helpful to know that others have achieved your dreams. And to believe with all your heart that if they can do it, you can do it too.

Something really poignant happened last week…

Is Coaching Worth Paying For?

There are still people out there who don’t understand the value of coaching. Some define coaching the way Ambrose Bierce defined consulting: “To seek another’s approval of a course already decided on.” And some people think hiring a coach is like hiring a friend to listen to you.

But then there are people like Google CEO Eric Schmidt – the lead architect of the most successful business growth story in recent history. When asked to share the best business advice he ever received, he said “Everyone needs a coach.

So, is coaching worth paying for? The answer seems to be: It depends on WHO you ask.

I think I know where you come out on this question, or you wouldn’t be staking your career on the power of coaching. But here’s my point:  Draw your clients from groups of people that believe coaching is worth the investment.

So how do you find and connect with those people? The answer may not be obvious, but it is straightforward.

Choose a Niche Market Full of Seekers

Certain groups of people, because of who they are, will readily invest in their own personal and professional development. Here are three examples of niche markets that are full of seekers: