In today’s episode, I’m going to talk about how you can grow your business, even if you can’t afford to work with a coach yet.
I understand that for a lot of people when you’re bootstrapping it and starting lean, investing thousands of dollars in working with a VIP one on one coach may be a little bit out of reach for you today.
That doesn’t mean growing your business and getting results isn’t possible for you.
In fact, after today’s podcast episode, I’m sure you will agree you can get the support, information and encouragement that you need without needing to invest big, especially not at the start of your journey.
Being hand on heart upfront with you, when I first started my business, I had a very shoestring budget.
I had bought into this belief system that to be successful when first starting a business, you must have a one to one business coach who walks you through that startup journey.
This belief system says that otherwise, you’ll be going around in circles for months, if not years, and will never succeed. And that if you invest, then your clients will invest. This is what the coaching industry wants us to believe about what it takes to start a business.
When I started my business, I had a very limited budget. I maxed out my credit card before I started my business, pre-booking a VIP day with a one on one business and it was US$4000.
That got me one day with a VIP coach, and that was all I could afford. I bought her signature offer after doing her free course – a low cost product, low cost course. I felt like the way they taught business was really aligned for me, and was building a business based on purpose. I found that to be very powerful and something I wanted to do.
I was launching my business and going on holidays in the same timeframe that I quit my job.
We had a three and a half week holiday booked in Europe. So I quit my job and gave a month’s notice before the holiday so instead of going on holidays whilst on leave, I just left the organisation. I worked out my one month resignation window, rather than being on holidays during that whole full week, so that I could transition and hand over all the things I’d been working on. I wanted to look after the company I was leaving.
To plan ahead, I pre-booked this VIP coaching day before we went on the holiday because I knew if I didn’t, we’d just spend all the available money on the holiday, which we totally would have.
It was arranged so that when I came back from holidays, I would be working with this coach. And she reassured me that in our VIP day, we would craft an offer and get really clear on my niche. We agreed to come up with a marketing plan that would help me implement getting lots of clients right away, and that my business would flourish because I had invested the big bucks. And I was totally bought into this concept.
I did that VIP one on one day with that business coach and at the end of that one day I had an idea of what my niche will be. I had three different offers I thought I could potentially sell to those people.
But…I had no marketing plan.
I had no strategy.
Towards the end of the VIP day I was starting to ask questions about how do I find these people? How do I get this in front of people? How do I build an audience on social media? How on earth am I going to find these people who I am picturing, and I’ve done this amazing avatar description of?
I knew every demographic of them, including what brand of yoga pants they wear, and had collected all of this information, and wondered now how do I go and find that person and attract them into my business?
And she said to me, oh, yeah, we’ll talk about that at the end of today’s session.
But we didn’t quite get to it.
Instead she offered for me to have a free 30 minute follow up two weeks later.
So I had two weeks to get out there and find these people and make these offers. I went out and signed up some clients that were mostly friends of mine that I’d already been talking to before starting my business who were interested in working with me.
Other than those people who were my friends, who’d already decided to work with me before my VIP coaching, I did not manage to sign up any other new clients.
When I met with her again two weeks later I was able to say: I’ve put in all of the homework that you’ve given me, I’ve got it all worked out. Here’s my offer. Here’s my sales page. Here’s my website. Here are the 10 posts I did on my Facebook page. I’ve done all of the homework now, so in this session, I really need you to tell me how do I get these people in the door as paying clients.
Well, at the end of that 30 minute free session, it turned out there was a sales pitch for a six month mastermind that was 12,000 US dollars.
Not once did I get any support around extra strategy.
I. Was. Devastated.
I had totally believed what everyone in the industry was saying – that you had to have a coach. But here I was, I’d spent all my money on getting a coach, and I didn’t have any results.
At the time, I really believed I needed to buy that $12,000 thing. I thought, if I don’t have a coach, then I don’t know what to do, and I’m not going to be successful.
I was in tears on this call as I explained that we’d maxed everything out in Europe, that I had already paid her with all the money I had, and that I would need money to be coming in from clients to be able to pay her more. That I was the big breadwinner in our relationship. That I had quit my job to start this business based on us having a marketing plan coming out of this coaching session.
Needless to say that jaded my experience in the coaching industry.
Out of necessity, not really by decision, I had to decline. But if I’d had that $12,000 I would have paid her right then. At the time it was about AU$15,000.
If I could have gotten a credit card for $15,000, I would have done it, because I was totally in this space of needing someone else in order to succeed.
And I had been listening to coaching books and going to webinars and following a bunch of business coaches and life coaches.
I was this close to doing another coaching qualification because I thought I needed to be at the top level because coaching was amazing. But I didn’t have the money.
Because I didn’t have the money, I was on my own. I had to learn how to grow my business and make money and get momentum without a coach.
Before I go any further – because I’ve likely offended all of the coaches listening along today – I want to say that I have since reconciled my relationship with the coaching industry. But I also think that we need to stop blindly accepting this belief system that in order to be successful, you need to have a coach at all times.
We can be a lot more discerning about which belief systems the coaching industry teaches that we want to take on board (and which ones we’re happy to leave behind).
One that I have left behind is: if you’re not decisive and make quick decisions about who you’re going to invest with, then you’re going to attract people who are indecisive as well.
That is not true.
If you want to take 48 hours to sleep on whether you want to make a purchase or not, then take 48 hours and sleep on it.
If anyone tells you that in some way makes you not a good decision maker, not a good business owner, not worthy of success, then RUN, don’t walk, AWAY from them – That is a fear-based selling tactic!
Some of the best decisions I have “slept on,” because I really needed to go through some analysis of where I’m going to get the return on investment from. And I’ve actually been way, way happier with my purchase by waiting to make that solid decision versus jumping in to buy while I’m in a heightened emotional state.
I’ve gotten way better results from some of those things versus the things I did just jump in and buy out of FOMO or because I bought into the concept that “if you don’t make a quick decision, you’re not a CEO who’s making great decisions and you’re not going to have a successful business.”
That belief system – I’ve totally left it behind.
Another belief I have totally left behind is that you need a coach at all times.
It’s actually why I have created this podcast episode for you. Because I believe that, especially when you’re in startup, you can grow your business without necessarily needing to work with a one on one coach.
I also believe in startup there are things you need mentoring on. But having someone trying to coach those things out of you is not necessarily the right approach when you’re first starting out in business.
So if you are in the camp of really wanting to start a business, but not necessarily having the funds to work with a coach, then listen up because this episode is going to help you work out a plan to get the information and support you need to grow your business without necessarily having to invest in a one to one coach.
When it comes to getting results and growing your business, I believe there are three core elements.
There is the learning you need to do, the skills and techniques and practices and strategies that you’re going to need to invest time in learning.
You also have to implement. It’s one thing to learn strategies about webinars to grow your business. But you also need to actually implement those things.
Then there is the mindset piece, and the commitment to getting some form of external support.
Let’s go through each of them in detail.
When you’re starting a business, there are going to be some things you don’t know how to do or even which things to learn. You don’t know what your options are. You don’t even know the full landscape.
There is so much amazing free content out there that can give you that information. You can search YouTube for how to start a business, how to get your first paying clients, how to grow your social media following.
If you already know what to search for, then you will find free content that will lead you to information.
But there is a lot of conflicting advice out there. And if you listen to too many gurus, (I have another episode about the many guru syndrome), or you listen to too many experts, you’re going to get too many options.
You’ll get stuck in this either vortex of not taking any action because there’s just too many things to decide.
If you’re like most women that I see, you’re going to try and implement “all of the things” and then you end up half-implementing everything – and nothing really gets working.
Then even if you do get a few clients in the door, you can’t work out which of the 37 things you implemented actually resulted in that client!
So what I recommend is picking between one and three people that you like based on the way they teach business, and the way they treat you.
Have a look at the process they take you through when you first sign up to their mailing list, the types of emails that they’re sending, and whether they are empowering you or making you feel this crazy fear that you’re never going to succeed.
And as you choose these three people, also consider using this:
- Person One – a clear business strategy person who works across most of the online industries. Choose one person who’s very marketing and business strategy oriented, who doesn’t necessarily specialise in your specific area.
- Person Two – someone from your industry. So if you’re a health practitioner, it’s another health practitioner, who teaches you how to grow your business as a health practitioner.
- Person Three – someone you just really vibe with. They might not necessarily teach hardcore business strategy or marketing but they have a really successful business. Maybe you’d love to emulate what they do, not necessarily in your industry, but you just really love the way that they do business.
This approach allows you to get a great balance of industry specific advice. You’ll get core marketing and business advice that transcends industries and doesn’t play into the mindset blocks of a specific industry. You’re getting different viewpoints.
And I would make sure that if those three people have a podcast or blog that comes out each week, you add it to your priority list to listen to or watch that every single week. If they do any free webinars or trainings, you are signing up to those and going to them.
Since it’s just one to three people, you’re not going to be overwhelmed with names, or thousands of things. Each of them may have one weekly piece of shorter content, and maybe one webinar a month, so you’re not attending to eleventy billion things. You can focus on those core things, and then turn off, unsubscribe and clear those other people.
Experiment. Maybe for a week or so, you are on 30 different lists, and you assess as you go. When you see something you don’t like, you can unsubscribe immediately, and avoid having all of this fear based language into your inbox.
Don’t second guess your decision on who you’re following. Pick your three and stick with them. Then focus on what you need to learn that is a priority for you and your business at this stage.
Maybe you hope to create an online course eventually, but right now you’re focusing on selling VIP offers one to one. So if someone you’re following is talking about how to have great sales conversations, how to sell VIP services, how they get leads for the VIP services, then that is content you will consume.
If they’re talking about strategies that are a bit beyond you right now, like launches and Facebook ads, and you’re just not at that stage of your business yet, do yourself a favor and don’t listen to it. You don’t need to listen to that one right now.
Not everything that they say needs to be consumed by you the minute that they say it. You don’t need to worry and have fear and FOMO that you’re going to miss out on some kind of important thing you should be collecting.
In three years’ time when you’re ready to do those Facebook ads, you’ll have the information there. It’ll all be out of date by that time anyway. And chances are that person is going to create more and more amazing content that’s fresh and up to date.
Stop hoarding information – you’re never going to go back to it!
So it’s one thing to learn a bunch of stuff. But it’s another thing to actually implement from the learning of that information.
As a rule, for every hour of content consumption, I invest an hour in creation. I am balancing what I consume with what I create.
If I listen to a 45 minute podcast, I will put 45 minutes aside to review what I learned from that podcast and what am I going to implement as a result, and I get in and start implementing.
As an example of this, I was listening to a podcast about email sequences and buyer behavior. It was a 45 minute podcast. I set aside 45 minutes the next day to implement an update to my email sequences for my freebies.
I actually sat down and went through my two most important email sequences. And I made three or four changes – it wasn’t a huge amount. But I felt like I’d really implemented the thing that I’d learned.
Implementation comes down to setting up a system and having that balance between consumption and creation. There’s a difference between making a commitment to yourself to balance creation and consumption and actually committing to those three 25-minute pomodoro sessions when you’ll sit down and do the implementation.
Finding ways to get that sense of accountability and implementation support for free can be really helpful, such as with a mastermind group.
When I first started my business I reached out to three people who I really admired in a Facebook group. I said to them, I really want to do some form of masterminding with other women who are growing their businesses, I think you’d be a really great fit. Would you like to be in a mastermind with me? And two of them said yes, and one of them had another friend who was interested, and so the four of us met every single week, on a Monday.
Every Monday we talked about what we did or didn’t do, and the things we’d committed to and did we do them or not? And then we made new commitments for the week ahead.
It was so good for me, because we had time to talk through different strategies why some things didn’t work for us, and also keep each other accountable to doing the things we said we were going to do. So a mastermind is great.
I’ve also got a bunch of business buddies that I connect with regularly. So some of it’s more formal and structured, ie we meet once a month, and we spend half an hour talking about each other’s businesses. Or it’s just totally casual. I’ll message them when I’m going for a walk and say, Hey, do you want to have a quick catch up?
There are lots of different ways you can buddy up with people and get that sense of accountability as well. Particularly if you have a friend or someone else in business or someone that you know, and you’re both launching at the same time, it can be really great to buddy up with them and be each other’s launch support partners.
It’s the same with running a webinar. When I first started my business, I would say to people, I need to run a webinar next month – what if we both ran our webinars in the same week? And so we’re doing all of the things together in the lead up and the follow up to that webinar.
I did that three or four times in the first year or two of my business, and it was so good because I learned from other people’s systems and their primary strategies. They learned from mine too. Buddying up with people can be really helpful.
You also want to set systems for yourself to make sure you have balance. Over the years in my business, I’ve perfected the way that I task myself and manage myself and reward myself.
A lot of it is just experimenting with what works for you, what doesn’t work for you, discovering where you’re letting things go and not following through. Identifying what the biggest wobbles are for you, and creating a system simple enough that you’ll always use it follow through.
Now in all of these examples, I’ve talked about free ways that you can do these things. But I also want to quickly acknowledge that sometimes there are group programs that get you exactly the same result for a minuscule percentage of the price. And I’ve had that experience as a purchaser but also as a provider.
For example, if someone wants to work with me as a VIP one on one client, that is now upwards of 12,000 Australian dollars.
However, they can come and join my TakeOff program for under $2,000. And in the program, there are learning modules and action items. But there are also systems and support that helps with the implementation part.
So in the TakeOff program, there are three layers of implementation.
- One is being able to talk to me and actually discuss your business with me in the group calls. They are “hotseat” style calls. We talk about your business and I get to know your business.
- The second one is the Facebook group. You can create that accountability and sense of having people watch what you’re sharing what you’re doing. It keeps you on the ball with your implementation.
- And the third thing is we have pods in the TakeOff program, which are small group masterminds. So you’ve got small group visibility as well as visibility with a coach and mentor, and visibility with a large group.
Here’s the caveat on joining group programs for starting a business though.
There are certain things that you need someone else’s eyes on your business for, and this is why I don’t recommend self-study group programs for starting a business because I’ve seen so many people pick the wrong niche. No one’s actually checking their work or giving any feedback on that niche.
Then they go running off for miles and miles thinking they’ve got their niche sorted, but they’ve never had any feedback on that niche, nor any discernment applied to that particular decision.
So if you do choose to join a group program when you are first starting your business, the one thing I would recommend is make sure you get access to the person who’s teaching the program. That can be through the group calls, or one to one support, or some form of access to them.
Being able to ask them questions and talk through your decisions is really important to get some kind of oversight. When you’re in startup, it’s very easy to go running off in the wrong direction thinking you’ve got everything sorted because you’re DIY.
And then it takes three or four months of things not quite working before you go, Oh, actually, I think my niche was totally wrong. Oh, I think my messaging was totally wrong.
If you choose to embark upon the group program way of getting that learning and implementation rather than working with a one on one coach, make sure the group program comes with some form of the expert’s eyes on your specific business and giving you feedback in some way.
You might not be able to work with a coach or VIP mentor for a period of six months, but there are certain decisions in your business where you do need to get some feedback on things.
Make sure that you’re committing to getting that support, and assess along the way where that feedback is needed. Use the free options that are available for you initially, and as you make sales, put portions of that money aside as you earn it, so that you can get the feedback you need at some point in time.
I did this when I started my business. Once I realised, oh my gosh, I need to go out and make a bunch of money and start paying off these credit cards before I can invest in anything else – From that day, I put 5% of every dollar I brought in right into a business growth fund.
And I was saving up to do a social media mentoring program, so as soon as I had $500 I knew I would join that program and learn some of the high level social media stuff because that was really my weakness in the sales process.
If you aren’t going to work with a coach or mentor when you’re first starting out, make a commitment to at least putting some of the money you make aside so you can invest in getting the right support, mentoring and guidance as you get further into your business journey.
Hopefully you found this interesting and informative in helping to create some kind of strategy to ensure that you’re growing your business – even if you can’t afford to work with a VIP coach at this stage.
If you’ve got any lightbulb moments from this or any questions, make sure you come into the Heart-Centred Soul Driven Entrepreneurs group and using #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been listening to episode number 205 and ask your question or share your comment, and we can continue the conversation over in the community.
Remember all shownotes and relevant links are over at tashcorbin.com/205.
If you would like to get some of that free learning with an implementation focus to help you get your business off the ground as quickly as possible, I also have a great free resource for you!
It’s my Fast-Track Your Start-Up training program.
It’s totally free for you to come and join, and is at tashcorbin.com/fasttrack. So come on over and grab that free training, and let’s get your business bringing in some sales as quickly as possible, so you can get the support that you need to really magnify that growth and get your business booming.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.
Hi, I’m Tash. And I am so excited that you’re here. As you may have noticed I’m a total business and marketing strategy geek and I absolutely love helping women to create online businesses and courses that are perfectly aligned with THEIR zone of genius, AND that have a super-specific and strong value proposition for their ideal clients. Connect with on social media (links below) and come join the #ladyposse on Facebook.