This blog post is pretty much a stream of consciousness about my experience working with a business coach. I'm sharing it because:
a) It's something I get asked about a lot
b) I'm never ever going to pretend that I've built this business without support.
c) Maybe my experience will help you decide if you would like this type of support, and if so what they support should look like.
I NEVER thought I'd use a business coach. I was a lone wolf. A strong-minded, independent woman, full of bright ideas, and plenty of passion to make them come to life.
Besides, all the business coaches I had come across online were making more than $100k and encouraging other people to do the same. I did not see myself as part of that crowd. I started my own business because I have two boys with Special Educational Needs and they need me at home (or in meetings with their school) so much that paid employment is not going to work for me.
I couldn't imagine coaching calls with a shiny-haired business goddess who was doing yoga poses by their swimming pool, while I was working from a desk in my bedroom praying I wouldn't be interrupted by yet another phone call from my sons' school.
So I resolved to run my own race. Which I did. Like a navigationally-challenged, over-emotional hare, I expended unimaginable quantities of energy, chasing my own tail, switching directions, and rapidly making very little progress.
That's being a bit harsh on myself. In the first year of Worditude Ltd, I built my own website, created a small, yet engaged online following, and replaced my freelancing income by working with much lovelier clients (bye-bye London property agents, damp-proofing companies, and e-cigarette retailers, hello creative, friendly, intelligent female entrepreneurs).
About 6 months in, I met Nadia Finer through a mutual friend. She seemed keen to help me build my business, which frankly pissed me right off. That's my default reaction to anyone trying to help me. I get irrationally mad and even more determined to do everything myself. I've gotta be honest, it's not a strategy that's served me well over the last 35 years, and I'm working on improving it.
Still, she seemed nice enough and we became friends.
Towards the end of my first year of running Worditude, Nadia launched a 6-week long group program. It was exactly what I needed. I could show up for the calls, listen to the help Nadia gave everyone else, and learn from it - without ever having to admit I needed help. After about the fourth week of watching everyone make progress and diligently working through the program materials, I gently started to open up the possibility that maybe, just maybe, being a solopreneur didn't have to be such a solitary experience.
As a direct result of working with Nadia, by Summer 2016 I was regularly making £1,000 a week working for copywriting clients. I was thrilled at this level of success….and yet I was also completely knackered.
It was time for a change.
The materials for an online course/membership site had been sitting inside my computer for many months by this point. They didn't make me any money, and they weren't much use to the people who needed them, so I decided it was time to launch The Worditude Club. Knowing that if I was left to my own devices I could comfortably make this project last a whole year, I signed up to three months of 1-1 coaching with Nadia.
September, October, and November 2016 were the hardest months I've had since walking out on my job 8 years ago. I had no social life at all, I was glued to my laptop, and my house was even more hideously untidy than it usually is. But as I had made a considerable financial investment by choosing to work with a business coach, I was damn well going to get this membership site up, running and launched. And I did. And I opened with 38 members, which I was extremely pleased with.
I know that I wouldn't have done this on my own.
Now that big push is behind me I keep connected with Nadia through her Profit Pack group program*. If you need help taking your big business idea and turning it into a profitable enterprise, then an affordable group program like The Profit Pack* is a good place to start.
If you're thinking of hiring someone to give you support and direction, these are my top 5 tips:
#1 Be aware of your modus operandi. If you naturally balk at input from others, then an hour-long coaching call may not be all that helpful to you. On the other hand, if you tend to hide in groups, you may work better one-to-one.
#2 There's more to business coaching than one-on-one coaching. There's wealth of courses, programs, books and membership clubs out there. Find the level that feels comfortable with you.
#3 Respect your coach's time. This is what helped me get the most from the coaching services I have paid for. I knew that Nadia had spent time preparing and delivering course materials, talking with me one-to-one, writing up notes, following up with me by email or in her Facebook group. On the days when I really couldn't be bothered to do it for myself, I used Nadia as my reason to show up for my business. It felt like I'd be taking the piss to take up so much of her time without taking any action.
OK - that's all the wisdom I've got right now. I'm being cajoled into abandoning my work so I can research Playstation games with Son#2 - that's how business goes here.
* This is an affiliate link. If you join the Profit Pack via my link I get paid a small commission, but you do not pay a penny extra. You can read more about affiliate links here. I am only an affiliate for products and services I use and love.
I've super-helpfully smooshed all my Worditude goodies into one place, so you can see all the free resources available at a glance. Go get 'em here.