If you haven’t read How to Build a Successful Coaching Practice – Part 1: The Foundational Element, you can read it here.
One of the biggest assumptions coaches make when they launch their coaching practice is “build it and they will come.” Unfortunately, this passive strategy never works. [Crickets, anyone?]
As a result, a large percentage of coaches struggle getting clients and making enough money to pay the bills. That freedom-based lifestyle everyone loves to brag about? Yeah, not happening.
There are several key elements that need to converge in order to have a sustainable coaching business (I talked about the foundational element here), and piecing them all together in a way that works can take time.
As a coach, it can be challenging to hold a clear holistic vision of your work and stay focused on the day-to-day activities that bring in revenue and clients. In fact, that’s where most people get stuck.
I see coaches spend too much time on activities that don’t bring in revenue (like growing your likes on your Facebook page or writing blog posts for a nonexistent audience) instead of focusing their efforts on the right activities that will really move their business forward and bring in cash.
First, if you want to get out of the cycle of having to create clients month after month, you’ll need to have clarity on the short, mid- and long-term activities that will create a sustainable business.
I call these essential areas of focus the 3 Pillars of a Successful Coaching Practice, and we’ll talk more about it in upcoming posts, but for now, let me just say that having those 3 pillars in place will ensure that you get out of the cycle of “I don’t know where my next client is going to come from” and get more organised and focused, which will create a strong momentum towards your objectives (financial freedom being one of the them).
However – and here’s the good part – there’s one very specific activity that, if you focus on it RIGHT NOW (and do so consistently), will bring in a steady flow of clients.
Building your network – a.k.a. lasting relationships that can bloom into fruitful collaborations and referrals.
Think about it: most coaches that have a docket full of clients right when they launch either:
- Have a sizeable network they are regularly in contact with;
- Are part of one or several groups or associations of likeminded peeps;
- Are cultivating relationships with peers from past work; or
- Are highly social, love attending events and love connecting with new people.
(I see you cringing at the last one, my sweet introvert friend.) =)
Here’s the thing:
Hiding behind your computer will NOT bring a fresh stream of clients – not at the beginning, anyway.
Launching an online business is THE LONG WAY to making money, and, unfortunately, most online gurus won’t tell you that.
So, if you’ve invested in online business training, put a lovely website together, started blogging and creating content, tried to grow your list, and worked hard at building your social media presence but haven’t seen any traction yet, you’ve ignored one of the most important thing of all: nurturing relationships with humans
Spend a few hours each week connecting with other lovely human beings.
NOT connecting to sell your services or plug your programs but connecting genuinely from the heart with the intention of serving and building long-lasting relationships.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
1.) Send an email to friends or colleagues you haven’t spoken to in a long time, and ask them what they’re up to. Be genuine and curious. Look for ways to support them, help them succeed.
2.) Research people you’d LOVE to work with, learn everything about them. Be a detective! Think of creative ways to enrich their lives, and reach out with resources that could be useful to them.
3.) Show up for others in the same way you’d like them to show up for you. In other words, what are you modelling? Are you all about me, me, me, take, take, take, pitch, pitch, pitch? Or are you modelling generosity, kindness and service? Are you inspirational, uplifting and fun to be around? Be intentional in how you show up.
4.) Are you lurking in Facebook groups, reading what everyone’s posting, never commenting, never writing anything for fear of what others would think? Engage in your community, join the conversation – heck, START a thread of your own! Hiding serves no one, Boo, and it’s not getting you clients.
5.) Do you ever share other people’s work? Take the time to shower with love and praise someone who’s made a difference in your life. You’d be surprised at how appreciative even well-known peeps with a huge following are when you acknowledge their great work.
6.) Write a testimonial for someone you loved worked with. This works not only for a coach, copywriter, photographer, accountant or nutritionist who changed your life but also for your own clients.
7.) Surprise someone by sending a thoughtful gift. It could be a handwritten card, a fresh bouquet of flowers or a book you know they’d love. It’s not about the amount of money you spend; it’s the gesture that counts.
As always, I want to invite you to be creative, to have fun and to tap into your own inner guidance for inspiration on how to nurture your network and develop mutually beneficial relationships. I’m giving you a few ideas to get started here, but, ultimately, the more you learn how to tap into your own inner CEO, the more creative ideas you’ll have to grow your business.
Have fun, follow your intuition and take lots of inspired action,
PS: How to Build a Successful Coaching Practice is a special 5 part series. Make sure you sign up to the list to be notified when the next articles come out!
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With Caroline’s guidance, I was able to set strong foundations for my coaching business, create one-on-one clients right away and move towards my dream confidently. — Veronique Stevens, Health Coach & Nutrition Expert veroniquestevens.ca
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