I know… the idea of business planning gets a big groan from most entrepreneurs. What I know for sure is that coaches who do some planning usually do better financially than those who don’t. My first big profit year came for me the first year I planned my business.
Start with a discovery process. The result is a solid jumping-off-place for a more fun and profitable year.
Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself
1. What are your personal goals for the year?
What is your theme for this year? It could be about the phase of your business or about a mindset you want to cultivate. Mine for this year is EASE.
What are the best times for your vacations? Always get family and me-time into your calendar first. I like to plan 3 weeks off at a time, even if some of it is stay-at-home time.
How do you want your work time to flow? For me, Mondays – Wednesdays are open for clients and consults. Thursdays are for business development. I’m off Friday, Saturday and Sunday!
Have you ever felt like your potential clients are giving you a mixed message? They grab up all your free stuff — your irresistible offers, free discovery sessions, articles and other goodies — but too few hire you, buy your products, or enroll in your programs.
It’s clear they need help. They seem to be attracted to you and your message. So what’s missing?
They aren’t properly motivated to invest in what you’re offering. All 5 of these things must be aligned for your prospect to say YES to you!
1. They truly want the outcome you’ll help them reach.
Are you speaking clearly to exactly what they most want? This is easy if you’ve niched to a unique target audience. If you’re selling what you do — coaching — you’ve failed to provide a link to an outcome they want. Draw out of your prospects the specific tangible and emotional outcomes they most want, then speak to how your coaching or program helps them get there. A set of powerful questions asked during enrollment helps them tap into what they really want with all of their heart.
Fear can be a great ally. It puts you on notice that you’re at the threshold of realizing more of your potential. If you step through the threshold, despite your fear, you’re likely to never look back because action replaces fear with inspiration. Your creativity and motivation take over and propel you forward.
Sometimes fear speaks loudly and literally paralyzes you, even though some part of you knows you were meant for this next step.
When I’m afraid, I want to run away! If I slow down long enough to be with what I’m feeling, I realize that what I’m running away from isn’t tangible at all. It’s merely a thought.
“It’s fear of outcome, not the outcome itself that causes pain.
– Larry Crane, The Release Technique
Fear is inevitable. Everyone feels it. So the goal isn’t to stop feeling fear, but rather transform it and be back on your way as soon as you can. Try this quick step-by-step process to get your mojo back on line.
Once I would have said “no”. Fresh out of coaching school in 1997, I was a purist and believed a coach has to be in real time connection with their client for coaching to be effective.
Now, 15 years into coaching, I’d say “yes” as one of several ways you effect change with clients. Sometimes small incremental shifts have a huge impact. Those kinds of shifts are absolutely possible through online coaching.
Think of it this way, have you ever read a passage in a book that transformed your thinking? Then you know that a powerful question or message can do the same thing online.
If you’re determined to do good in the world while doing well financially, then it’s worth asking whether you should choose a coaching niche or not. There are some very compelling reasons why you’d want to niche as well as a few circumstances where niching would not be right for you. I’ll cover both in this post.
In the “pro” column, targeting a viable coaching niche opens wide the doors of opportunity and prosperity by helping you:
Solidify your brand.
Earn more by specializing.
Become well known quickly.
Break through filters and capture more attention.
Get more of the right kind of referrals.
Build “social proof” with colleagues and future clients.
Focus and leverage everything you do so you can work less.
Stand out in the crowd of service providers.
Positively impact a unique group of people.
Since the nineties, when coaching became a profession and consulting of all types burgeoned, there are more solopreneurs in the world than ever before. That means niching is more of an advantage than it used to be. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to get your share of attention from potential clients if you don’t stand out strongly in some way. Your niche helps you stand out in the most complete and long lasting way.
Like many, I am still reeling from the heart-wrenching tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school last Friday. The grief and shock of an event like that is unspeakable. And I know that we are all praying for the families and for healing.
What else can we do? Resolve to seek light in the darkness.
Much hyped as a prophecy of the end of the world, I choose instead to see this as the end of the world as we know it and the birth of a kinder way of living on this planet. An elder of the Mayan nation states that the prophecy actually calls on all people to unite and change the way we live, in order to usher in an age of harmony, prosperity and peace. Others have picked up this view, calling for acts of love to help “gentle the birth” of a new era of peace.
The best tool I know to gentle any transition is mindfulness. Rather than covering up the pain we feel, learning to be with it and to believe that, paradoxically, tough times hold a priceless gift for us. If we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in the pain, or the story of the pain, we honor ourselves and can return attention to what we want our lives to be.
We know this: mindset and action are the make or break factors in our success on any given day. The trick to doing well while you do good for the world is a continual improvement of both.
A fun way to evolve and thrive in business is to pay attention to the archetypes — day to day pattern of thoughts and behaviors — you employ. Here are 4 archetypes I see in myself and other service entrepreneurs such as coaches. See if you recognize your current default archetype among these.
The 4 Archetypes
The Perpetual Student is driven by scarcity to grab each new shiny program, but failing to implement much, falls into overwhelm and paralysis from over -consumption (the in breath) without execution (the out breath).
The Perfectionist agonizes and second guesses minute behind-the-scenes details holding back from connecting their offers to their target audience and postponing the results they most want.
The Hasty Executive is fast to action on every idea, but hasn’t thought through what their audience really wants or how they’ll monetize their offers.
The Brave Heart – is 100% committed to their own success raising courage to implement what they learn even through fear and knowing the value of mistakes. Because they value their time and think through the pathway to the results they want, they reap more rewards, both in joy and income.
I’m in awe of the power of loss as a catalyst for transformation. Whether from the loss of someone you love, a chronic or potentially terminal illness, moving your home, losing a job, ending a career — all these things can throw you into an altered state where you naturally reflect more deeply on your life.
My mom, AJ Hess, died in December. The beautiful memorial my brothers and I created to honor her was this past Saturday. l feel matured to have witnessed my mom’s transition from this life. Somehow I feel released to be more fully myself. And I’m so grateful, not only for everything she did for me, but also for the way she braved her passage as she braved her life. The force of her will, even in the fog of Alzheimers, was awesome.
Her death has also caused me to question what my highest self wants of me now. Evolution is potentially one of the greatest gifts of loss. And I feel in good company. All around me, friends, clients and colleagues seem to be going through sea changes spurred on by tough events in their lives.
In honor of my mom, I wanted to share some of the powerful questions I’ve been asking myself.