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Episode 117: Two Types of Business Person

This episode is for you if you are starting out in your business and you really want to make it work, and you are getting ready for success but you are not sure how to make it happen.

In this episode I will give you a couple of idea on how to get it right from the get-go so you don’t compare yourself with others or beat yourself up, or feel frustrated by your blocks. There are reasons you feel like this and have these blocks. What I cover today will help you get really clear on this.

In my experience, there are two main types of business people, and therefore two types of ways to run a business.

When you know which type of person you are you are more easily going to find your best way of doing business, and follow a straight line to getting there.

Imagine yourself realising that you are a certain type of person, and a certain way of doing business is going to work best  for you and you can just follow that path instead of wishing you were like somebody else. Imagine what that would be like.

The Concept Of Knowing Yourself

As a coach, you need to develop and consistently work on self awareness. You need to know yourself. This is really important in the context of running a business – what you offer your clients you need to be doing for yourself.

Two Types of Business People

As I discuss these, you might start to identify traits and decide that you are more one than the other, or you might be a blend of the two. You might start to get some clues about what you need to do to succeed in your business.

If you’re interested in learning more, take my free quiz on business personality types.https://melaniejwhite.com/business-personality-quiz/

Or, Gretchin Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz:  https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/four-tendencies-quiz/ 

Type 1: Influencer, Self Starter, Entrepreneur, and a Questioner

This type of person is self motivated, and intrinsically motivated. Their motivation to do do business comes from within themselves.

These people are often extroverted, well networked, and often leaders. They love being in contact will lots of people and being the driving force for groups and movements, even if they are on the introverted side.

These types of personality traits tend to be very successful in their own right, and rarely rely on others to get things done. They do get help – they are the type to build a team around them. Importantly, they have that internal drive, they are driven to bring their idea to the world.

Understanding who you are is the first step to understanding what you need to do to succeed in your business.

The main challenges that these people face might be a lack of structure, or booking keeping, or being bogged down in over-analytical thinking. But they know they need to hire or involve people to do things for them. They may actively seek out a coach as a vehicle to overcoming the obstacles to their success.

If this sounds like you, you probably have a good chance of succeeding, assuming you have a valid business idea.  You may need to get some people to support you, but know that you are master of positioning promoting and being seen.

The great thing about you is that and your personality type and traits is you have a captive audience, and it’s easy for you get to know people you want to work with.

Type 2: Supporter, Manager, Obligor

The manager type may be a little more introverted and is typically quite organised. They don’t like being in the limelight or being seen in a leadership role. The may feel exhausted about networking or connecting with people/

If you are this type of person you may not be intrinsically motivated, you may not be as much of a strategic thinker, which means that you may struggle with a business vision that excites you.

If you are an Obligor type, your ability to make change or pick up habits, probably hinges on being able to do things for the benefit of others. If you are this type, you may need accountability to get ahead and succeed in your business.

This type is often not willing to ask for help or feel as though they should be able to do it on your own.

If you aren’t intrinsically motivated or can’t create a strategic vision for your business, then your success might be more difficult or might take you longer to achieve. But don’t worry – you might just need to learn to ask for help – especially when it comes to marketing.

I’ve seen this time and time again, and the ones who do succeed have often done well in a collaborative environment.

 

What does this look like in the real world?

I know someone who is a Type 1 person, and once she understands the process of how to do specific tasks or functions, she simply schedules these things and gets on with it.

Sure she has a bit of fear in the beginning, but she just gets on to get over those initial uncomfortable first steps.

She promotes herself, she challenges herself to get uncomfortable, she puts herself out there in person and online, she meets people.

She’s such a self starter, and she’s super determined to do what it takes to succeed.

She’ll ask for help for specific things along the way but is generally very self motivated and self accountable.

Now compare that to a Type 2 person, which is probably a bit more like me. I’ve been able to build my own program and run a successful business. I do all of my own research on my target market  and get very clear on how to meet the needs of my clients while working on my pilot program.

But I will say that my success in all areas of business over the years  has happened because I’ve been in partnerships and collaborations.

I’m not always a self starter. I do have a lot of internal drive, but its not as strong as a Type 1 sort of person.

And I’m ok with that.

The great thing is that because I know myself and I know my strengths, I play to those strengths. One of my greatest strengths is my ability to find partners to leverage my strengths. I may have been able to succeed on my own, but it might have taken twice as long.

I don’t need a team, but I do like bouncing ideas off people. I like reality checking my ideas, I like peer review, and I prefer to work with someone than delegating. I prefer to work alongside with someone to make sure the work suits my needs.

You’ve identified which type you are, what next?

If you are one of these kinds of people, I want you to think carefully about what your business is going to need from here.  

Who would be on your support team?

What might you need to outsource?

Which areas are you good at, and where do you need help?

If you are a Type 1 you’re more likely to be intrinsically motivated and the way you work with people and run your business is probably going to be different to if you are a Type 2.

Importantly, you need to stop comparing yourself to others.

I invite you to settle on who you are as a person, and make peace with that. Love your unique self.

 I invite you to settle on who you are as a person, and make peace with that. Love your unique self.

Identify your strengths, work on those things. Figure out what you are good at and how you can amplify those strengths and build your business in line with that.

Find the right people to support you along the way.

All you need to do is start.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 116: Explaining Your Coaching Services with Fiona Cosgrove

Talking about Health and Wellness coaches is a quite a hot topic right now, and this week Fiona Cosgrove and I discuss a few key question to help listeners really get clear on who they are, what they do and how to distinguish themselves.

Topic: How does a health and wellness coach would distinguish themselves from a psychologist, counsellor or a therapist?

Discussion: In these categories of people, these people work mainly on past issues  and how the past influences the present.  They are trained to work in many situations, but they are not trained in health information and lifestyle related behaviours.

There is a difference in the balance of power between client and professional, comparing a a health and wellness coach to the professions listed above.

Sharing or giving knowledge rather than prescribing.

Commonly people do have past issues that they want to talk about, and coaches don’t necessarily ignore those issues, but it’s not what they are trained to do.

Health and Wellness Coaching is about helping people avoid getting sick in the first place. We help people maintain their mental and physical wellbeing. We collaborate and support . If we are expert in anything it’s in healthy habit formation.

Health and Wellness Coaching is about:

  • creating a preventative space,
  • maintaining and improving habits
  • working in a collaborative and supportive way specifically about changing habits.

Topic: What if a friend questions the validity of the coaching profession?

Discussion: It’s quite common to encounter this kind of scepticism at the moment, as this is still a relatively new industry.

The first thing to do is to draw back on our coaching skills. Thank them for sharing, and question them – “what do you know about coaching?” Listen to their response, and then explain that as health as wellness coaches our role is to support our clients in lifestyle change. Changes they choose.

So many people struggle to make simple changes that will improve their health and their energy, and yet they lack confidence to make those changes. Our job is to help people believe in themselves and work out simple truths about their own lives. We help people explore, gain awareness of what’s important to them and what they want to do about it.

We don’t provide motivation, we simply support people along the way. It may be the first time someone actually believed in their ability to change, and that belief is hugely powerful.

Topic: Qualifications

Discussion: As a new industry, the area of qualifications can get quite murky. Some “coach” training isn’t actually what we are describing; it’s just misuse of the term. But standards are now being developed internationally, and memberships that hold coaches to stringent standards. In the US there is Board certification, and in Australia we have HCANZA. This means that coaches can assure their clients of their professionalism and awareness of the scope of their practice.

Any credible profession has an industry body, an association and infrastructure around quality and training, and Health and Wellness Coaching now has those things.

How do we position coaches from Allied health professionals like dieticians and exercise physiologist?

Allied health professional is the person who prescribes the treatment plan. Health and wellness coaches do not prescribe those things. We share information on safe quidelines, if we think the client may benefit, but we do it gently and we give the clients choice.

What we try to do is find out what the client wants, not what they have been told the “should” want. It’s tapping into their internal values and needs, which makes for a stronger foundation for change.

Health and wellness coaches work with a client to change what matters to them, and the client is always the one in control.

Topic: Why planning is so important.

Discussion: Our roles is also to help people figure out how to implement changes suggested by allied health professionals rather than another add-on thing to do.

As we know, the things that stop them doing them are simple things that they’ve never even thought about. Health and Wellness coaches ask the questions to find out what going on in their lives and what’s gone wrong in the past, we try to look forward to find out what could make them come undone and stop them from making the change.

Being clear on how you respond rather than react, even practicing some of these points, so you have a clear idea about how you will respond  to be really clear on your professional position.

Find the things that speak to you, that are close to your heart about what you do as a coach, and maybe what you don’t do.

 

Looking for more clarity and in confidence in what you do?

Even coaches need coaches! The Habitology Membership as the perfect tool if you’re ready to break old habits and start a new chapter.

Learn more here:

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Episode 115: Health and Wellness Coaching Prices

Are you a health and wellness coach who wants to know about health and wellness coaching prices – and more specifically, how to price your programs and packages?

This episode shows you exactly how to create yes-please pricing so that your coaching clients see your services as a no-brainer!

As a bonus, I’ve created a download for you – an Irresistible Pricing Guide – to help you take step-by-step action toward your goals.

Now, let’s talk about some steps to start thinking about and getting your pricing right. 

What Commands Price?

I’ve identified 9 things that affect pricing for a coaching business. They are:

  1. People tend to buy from people who are similar to them
  2. Around 90% of a buying decision is emotionally driven (think Rider and Elephant)
  3. People spend on things that are aligned with their values
  4. People buy to solve a problem or for pleasure – rarely for other reasons
  5. People tend to buy things that are described in words and images that are familiar with them and which speak to the desired outcome
  6. People pay more if the problem they want to solve is big, painful and urgent
  7. People will buy what they consider to be value for money
  8. Some people are price-driven and will make most or all buying decisions based on the lowest possible price they can get
  9. People will only buy coaching services when they are ready, willing and able to change.

I’ve covered these in my irresistible pricing guide and what you need to do about them.

For the sake of this podcast, let’s assume you can clearly position your prices around the discretionary income of your niche, the problem they want to solve, and the value of what you can help them achieve through coaching.

A Health Coach Pricing Guide

How do you price your services as a health and wellness coach?

I am speaking directly to hourly rates pricing here because that’s where most coaches feel comfortable to start, usually coming out of an hourly rate job role and being familiar with this.

I will talk about packaging later in this episode, and about other pricing strategies in a future episode.

Based on the 9 factors affecting pricing that I’ve described, we know that lower income people, and people who are frugal, will pay less than those who earn more and who are prepared to spend on themselves for their own personal growth and wellbeing.

This is indicated if they spend on other health boosting services but possibly not if they put themselves last all the time (think about that one).

That aside, depending on which niche you service, most health and wellness coaches who are starting out will charge a lower session rate for either individuals or groups.

Most of them feel like charging lower rates until they’re more experienced – fair enough.

Coaches who’ve been in business longer, or who have a specialised area or other skill set or qualification, will generally charge a higher rate.

And if you package your coaching program with additional services and present raving testimonials and success stories, it becomes 300% easier to demonstrate the value of your services

Here is a quick guide:

You can see the relationship between price and experience, speciality and proof of success.

No matter how many years of experience or what your specialty, social proof is a critical factor in a buying decision and it’s something that even new coaches can get.

All you need is to be in the habit of collecting client feedback AND testimonials for every program you deliver, pro-bono or paid, and to ensure you publish it on your website and/or social media platforms, brochures and any other promotional materials like webinars.

Generally graduate health and wellness coaches in Australia, without another health related qualification, feel comfortable charging in the $30 – $70 per session range.

Those with another qualification or job-related experience such as training, teaching, project management etc will feel more confident and charge $60 – $100 as a starting point.

Also recognise that it takes time to build a presence and a client base, and you need to learn not only to serve them but to keep them buying from you for maintenance or consistency.

Assuming you can do that, then you should be able to earn $30K part time, or $100K full time, within two years, if your value proposition is strong enough.

That is, the reason why people buy from you – in the context of results your client typically get, and how important those results are to them.

With a strong value proposition, I had a six figure business within 18 months of delivering my signature program, in a tiny town where nobody knew me, and you can do this too.

Beyond the prices indicated, most coaches feel confident enough to raise prices within 2 years of starting.

I have two things to say on price:

  1. The price you set dictates the quality of clients you attract
  2. You can only ask for a price you feel comfortable with.

Let’s explore those.

Quality of Client

To the first point, if you set your prices really low, you will probably attract a lot of people, including those who don’t really value coaching, or aren’t committed, or who are just buying something because of the price rather than the value.

They are sometimes called ‘freeples’ (meaning they want everything for free) or ‘cheaples’ (meaning they only buy discounted services).

Here is an important message – if you focus on price in your marketing and sales conversation, you will more likely attract people who focus on price.

So the ultimate goal is to include price in your conversation, but to focus more in the value of what you do.

I encourage you to get into the habit of thinking about value rather than price, and to set a price that is moderate and market-savvy, and offers value for money.

You may attract fewer people, but a higher percentage will be serious buyers who see the value in what you do and are committed to getting results.

Think of it this way – which type of person – the low cost or value based – is more likely to stick with their coaching program?

Which one is more likely to get better results?

Which one will have a more positive impact on your reputation, marketing, sales and referrals?

It’s a no brainer.

Goldilocks Pricing Method

To the second point, you can only ask for a price you feel comfortable with, so start where you are.

I developed the Goldilocks Pricing Method (in the guide) to help you get your pricing right – so that YOU feel comfortable asking for it, AND your clients feel happy to pay it.

When you set a price, check in with yourself and ask yourself how you feel about it:

  • If it’s too high, you’ll be scared of asking for it, which will block you from promoting!
  • If it’s too low, you’ll feel resentful and like it’s not worth it, which will either block you from promoting OR cause a lower quality client experience.
  • If it’s just right, you’ll feel like it’s good value for money.

This is a no-brainer for you as the business owner – if you feel good about the price, you’ll be able to ask for it no matter what.

Here is an important point – right now, you might be set on a certain price or rate because that’s where you feel comfortable.

But imagine how you might feel if you stopped thinking about price, and more about the value of what you offer?

I bet the bar would move on your pricing – you’d feel more comfortable with higher pricing – or you’d get there sooner.

This is not about making a lot of money, it is about positioning value not just for your own services but for our industry as a whole. 

The more people who believe in the value of coaching and can talk about it and promote it, the faster we will be able to gain traction as an industry and create viable careers.

Confidence and Conviction

The #1 secret to feeling a sense of value and to create yes-please pricing, is to develop confidence and conviction in what you do, how you can help people, and the outcomes it can create.

The sooner you believe in this, the better.

I have a podcast on how to do this even if you don’t believe in yourself and your ability right now.

Packaging Health Coaching Services 

I want to talk briefly about a more advanced strategy to really create yes-please pricing – creating a coaching package.

This is where you take your basic coaching program, and add tangible, valuable assets to increase the perceived value of the program.

These assets could include worksheets, videos, booklets, guides or other resources, including physical resources, that will help your client to make lasting change, or to make habit change easier.

Another option is to blend coaching with another professional service that you offer – and I’ll be talking about that in a separate episode.

In either case the potential client can ‘see’ the tangible value and all the things they get as part of working with you, so it feels like more value than just the coaching program and conversation alone.

But in terms of yes-please pricing, it’s also what you call your packages that makes a HUGE difference.  

Imagine yourself as a customer, being offered an ‘8-week coaching program’ versus a ‘Results program’. Which one would you want to buy?

Now imagine there were three options with increasing value.

As a client, would you be more attracted to 8-week, 12-week or 6-month coaching packages (for example), or would you be more interested in a results, success or transformation package?

Summary

As you can see, there are a few ways to build value into your coaching business and to create yes-please pricing.

We talked about the nine factors that affect whether people will buy and what they will pay in a coaching business.

I discussed a guide to pricing your coaching program if you’re starting out and how that might change over time.

I mentioned how success stories are a secret to getting sales even if you’re a new client, because social proof commands respect and trust.

We covered the importance of good quality clients – which I call high chemistry clients – and also the Goldilocks Pricing method.

I mentioned how feeling a sense of confidence and conviction will help you sell anything, because you’re focusing on value rather than price.

And finally, we covered packaging your coaching program with tangible goods and/or another service you offer, and giving it a name that speaks to the results your clients will get. 

 

Ready to get paid at your value?

If you need support to build value into your coaching business and to create the pricing that you deserve, I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 114: Client and Work Boundaries

In this episode, I talk about setting boundaries with clients and at work so that you can feel in control, confident and create cash flow and greater client success

Running your business in a 24/7 world, how do you maintain work life balance? 

In this episode, I talk about setting boundaries with clients and at work so that you can feel in control, confident and create cash flow and greater client success.

Modern World Work

Pre internet, small businesses set up as bricks and mortar businesses that relied on print marketing in the physical world and pounding the pavement to find new clients. 

Businesses were open to the public during standard trading hours and probably worked more than this, but there was a defined window of client time.

Now, the internet has created a virtual world that operates globally, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

And small businesses seem to be feeling the pressure and buying into it.

Small Business

A lot of my clients are running small businesses but they feel compelled to act like global businesses, answering emails and messages at all hours of the day and night in case they lose a client.

They’re showing up live on social media at all hours, trying to engage people. 

They’re comparing themselves to others who seem to be, in my clients’ words, ‘more organised, all over it, very productive, getting lots of business, showing up consistently all over the place and nailing it, with loads of happy clients.’

That, my friends, is a point of view, not necessarily a fact. 

We all know that things are often different than they seem to be.

But even if it were true, and that person you’re watching is seemingly everywhere and all over it, how do they do it?

Work Boundaries for Small Business

Having been in business for over 25 years, I can say that with a few well-placed boundaries, you can be the owner of an efficient, effective and profitable business.

Here are some important work boundaries that will help small businesses get established, grow and thrive.

Only Work with High Chemistry Clients

Firstly, not everyone is your ideal client. I learned early on that by saying yes to everyone who enquires, I’d have great chemistry with some clients and not so great chemistry with others.

The chemistry you have with a client DIRECTLY impacts their results, so when you work with anyone, then your business may not appear as successful.

With low chemistry clients, they’re less committed, less engaged, less motivated and the rapport is lower, so they are less likely to achieve their goals.

Now picture how that changes if you only work with high-chemistry clients. A higher portion of them will succeed, they will be more connected and engaged, they will rave about their results (and you), and your business reputation and referrals will soar.

It’s a basic formula that works.

So how do you attract and work with high chemistry clients?

Quite simply, you need to be selective by setting some boundaries about who you do and don’t work with.

You can do this by putting some filtering mechanisms in place to screen out anyone who isn’t the right fit for you or your services.

Here are three steps to follow.

Step 1: When it comes to marketing, you can attract high chemistry clients by being specific, and talking about what they are interested in, and using their specific language, pain points and desired outcomes.

Do this, and you’re more likely to build a tribe of high chemistry leads who are engaged and interested.

Step 2: When you make formal offers for a program or other service, you can list criteria – who this is for – to help them qualify themselves as a good fit.

That way, most of the work is done by them, before they even reach for the phone or message you!

Step 3: before working with any client, have a good fit call with them right up front to see if the person who wants to do your program is the right kind of person.

If they’re not, you can refer them to another coach or practitioner, or simply tell them that you don’t think you can give them the right sort of help.

Imagine yourself as the client – would you rather someone be honest up front, or find out half way through a program that this isn’t really your jam? 

In marketing, this process is often referred to as ‘creating touch points’ because the more interactions you have with clients, the more easily they will build trust and potentially buy.

I want to challenge that idea and flip it on it’s head.

I prefer to call this process as Chemistry 101 because the clearer you are about what you do and who you serve, the more enjoyable your business will be, the more enriching your work, and the more satisfied your clients will be and the better results they will get.

It just makes sense.

Establish Working Hours

I often see exhausted coaches who are working scattered hours, nights and weekends, trying to fit clients in at any given time slot. These coaches have no down time and are constantly thinking about work.

Imagine how hard it is to coach when you feel like that!

It’s so important to optimise your energy and set boundaries that allow you to do that.

Here are two things to think about.

1. Working Hours

Think about a big store like Harvey Norman. They advertise specific opening and closing hours. You can’t buy a dining room table at 9pm on a Sunday!

Establishing set working hours is setting a boundary. 

Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘yeah, but I might lose clients if I am strict with my working hours!’

Here’s the truth.

When you work with low chemistry clients, they tend to be the types of clients who are too busy, cancel repeatedly, aren’t committed, can’t fit you in and turn up late, or want you to work odd hours. 

Here’s the truth.

When you work with low chemistry clients, they tend to be the types of clients who are too busy, cancel repeatedly, aren’t committed, can’t fit you in and turn up late, or want you to work odd hours. 

You end up running yourself ragged trying to keep up with their demands and changing goal posts.

On the other hand, when you work with high chemistry clients, then your availability will probably align with theirs. They will show up on time, every time, and only cancel if something unforeseen and major happens. They are more willing to negotiate the session times and find something to suit.

Why?

BECAUSE of the chemistry – and the value they place on your service, and the respect they have for you.

2. Non Working Hours

Here’s the second part of that. Having dedicated, not-negotiable time off from work is setting a boundary.

Why?

Because if you are constantly working, not sleeping well, giving up fun for the sake of your business and clients, you’ll feel tired and start feeling resentful, disillusioned and you may start questioning your ability.

I’ve seen this way too often.

When you set a boundary around your time off, it shows off your integrity. It positions you as a role model for work life balance. It commands respect.

And more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to rest, relax and replenish your energy so that you can show up and be your best for your high chemistry clients.

Those are the people you value, and want to serve best. You can only do that if you take adequate time off.

By serving yourself in this way, you are serving your clients and offering them premium value – your best self. 

Do What You’re Good At, Let Go of The Rest

Do you know anybody who is good at EVERYTHING?

I don’t.

As a small business owner, one of the boundaries you might need to set for yourself is to focus on doing what you’re good at, and say no to the things you don’t do well. 

You might tell yourself you can’t afford to outsource things, or to buy systems that do it for you, but here’s a different perspective.

How do you feel when you are constantly doing things that you don’t enjoy, aren’t skilled at and don’t do very well?

How does that energy affect the running of your business and servicing customers?

I offer that by investing in the right support, you will more likely do a better job servicing customers and getting referrals as a result.

You will stop wasting hours on Canva, or Facebook, or MailChimp, or any other thing that you wish you could do, but can’t master, and you will have heaps more time to do important business building activities like networking, blogging or interacting in groups.

This was a turning point in my coaching business.

As soon as I outsourced design work, Facebook ads and email campaigns, I stopped spending money on courses I never finished and then felt irritated about spending on.

I stopped stressing about getting things done, or taking hours to do something that takes someone else minutes.

I figured it was way easier to pay someone $70 to do a task in one hour, rather than me spending several hours over several days, procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed that it wasn’t right, didn’t look good or might not work. For ALL of that time, I was useless to everyone and not coaching at capacity.

I can’t express what a relief it was to find someone who was like me (a high chemistry contractor) to turn my ideas in reality before I’d had a chance to even transfer the money.

Setting that boundary with myself was SO worth it.

And even if you can do it all, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Summary

Today we discussed three areas for setting boundaries in business that will make a big difference to your energy, motivation, self-confidence and ability to show up for your client.

Those boundaries are:

  1. Only working with high chemistry clients
  2. Establish working hours, and
  3. Do what you’re good at, let the rest go.

Think about your own business situation and imagine what would happen if you started moving toward these boundaries?

Setting boundaries in business will make a big difference to your energy, motivation, self-confidence and ability to show up for your client.

How would you feel if you could operate like this?

What might open up for you?

What else could change?

I invite you to consider what’s possible, and to map out a couple of first steps you can take to get there over the next 8 weeks, so you can regain control, confidence and create cash flow and better-served clients in your business.

Ready to strike the right balance?

Being clear about your boundaries will give you more time and improve what you are able to offer. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 113: The Benefits of Boundaries

Today we’ll discuss how setting boundaries around your habits, and meet your own needs first, can lead to integrity, feeling happier with life, and finding greater meaning and purpose.

Do you have one of those friends who seems to be ‘disciplined’ and ‘motivated’ to do their exercise, not work weekends, prepare their meals and spend time supporting their community – and wondered just how they manage to do it?

Do you wish you could be more like that yourself?

In this episode, I am going to unpack this with you, and talk about how learning to set healthy boundaries can create a more fulfilling, authentic and purposeful life.

Values, beliefs, standards come first

Let’s set the scene by recapping the last episode.

When you know who you are and what you want, and what’s important to you – that is, when you are clear on your identity, values and opinions – then it’s easy to define your own related standards of behaviour and living.

For example your values around health and community might mean you’re committed to walking every day no matter what, exercising 3-4 days per week at the gym no matter what, and being active in networks and groups for causes that matter to you.

With those standards clearly in your mind, you can more easily identify what you want to say no to, and how to set boundaries with other people.

It’s clear that if you want to walk daily no matter what, you’ll say no to things that get in the way. You’ll feel motivated to do it and will set yourself up for success. It’s unlikely that you’d go into work early and miss your walk, or that you’d sleep in and not be bothered.

Or if you want to spend quality time with your kids on the weekend no matter what, you’ll more easily say no to social events, switch off from work and complete chores during the week so that you have the time available for the kids.

These are just a couple of examples of what standards and related boundaries might look like.

Notice how strongly held values and beliefs set you up for consistent behaviour in the areas that matter most to you.

What does this tell you about becoming that disciplined, motivated person?

What I see in these examples – and in the thousands of hours of coaching I’ve done – is that if you want to become a certain way, you can get there by digging into your values, purpose, meaning and beliefs.

When you understand and change your mind, it’s a catalyst for massive changes in your life. 

If you’re on the fence with this – wanting to make change but unsure about whether it’s worth it, or too hard, or that you might fail, let’s examine what it takes to get there.

The ‘Do Nothing’ Approach

Firstly, let’s talk about the do nothing approach. 

We know that the human brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. 

That is, our brains tend to believe something is impossible if we lack proof – that is, if you’ve never tried or if you have failed in the past.

In those circumstances, you let your brain’s natural response take over, then you get to stay where you are in the safe, comfortable and familiar – even if it’s unsatisfying and unfulfilling.

But what happens if you choose the ‘do something’ approach?

What if you decide to do the work on your mind, to understand your values, examine and shift your beliefs and change your standards of behaviour, and start setting healthy boundaries around your new behaviours?

What You Might Say No To

Setting boundaries around new behaviours, so that they can become entrenched, automatic habits, probably means you’ll have to say no to some things.

For starters, you might have to say no to yourself. Let’s look at how this might play out in three different areas – health, work and relationships.

If it’s health behaviours that you’re working on, then you might have to set boundaries by saying no to sleeping in, that extra drink, the second serving of dessert, the block of rocky road chocolate, staying up late to watch Netflix, or that big boozy party the night before a big presentation at work.

What would you be missing out on if you said no? 

Well, you’d be missing out on stress, excess weight, insomnia, food cravings, tiredness, indifference and sluggishness.

If it’s work-related behaviours that you’re working on, then you might have to set boundaries by saying no to working after hours and on weekends, your big to-do list, and messaging clients at all hours of the day, night and weekend. Maybe you’ll have to say no to those coaching clients who want you to do sessions with them at 9pm Wednesday, or 7am Sunday  morning. You might have to accept that you’re not superhuman after all. 

What would you be missing out on if you said no, and set boundaries around your work behaviours?

Strongly held values and beliefs set you up for consistent behaviour in the areas that matter most to you.

You would probably miss out on competing priorities, disorganisation, overwhelm, stress, resentment, frustration, impatience, procrastination, self-doubt, anxiety, insomnia and feelings of helplessness.

If it’s behaviours in relationships that you’re working on, then you might have to say no to requests for help, the demands of others, tantrums, engaging in pointless arguments, and giving all your time and energy to others.

What would you be missing out on if you said no, and set boundaries within your relationships?

You’d miss out on a range of things including fear of judgement, being affected by criticism, toxic situations, eroded self-confidence, diminished self-worth. 

In addition, no matter which area you’re working on, by making change, you will probably lose overwhelm, fear, self-doubt and anxiety.

All of those things are borne in your mind, after all, and by working on your mind you will reduce the spring of negative thinking patterns that currently hold you back and start standing up for yourself, meeting your own needs and feeling better about yourself.

What You Stand to Gain

If you do this work, what do you stand to gain?

Let’s look at those three areas – health, work and relationships.

In terms of health, by setting boundaries around your new habits, you’d create the space to be consistent with those new healthy habits so you’d become more self-confident in the first instance because you’d be winning and improving. 

You’d start losing weight. Your skin would look better. You’d be energised, feeling alive and vital. Your eyes would be sparkling. 

You’d feel lighter, freer. You’d be happier within yourself because of the investment in yourself. 

You’d gain a sense of self respect, hope and optimism. You’d feel more in control of yourself, more assertive, and your confidence would build. You’d gain a sense of gratitude, and an abundance of energy and love that you could then give back to others.

In terms of work, by setting boundaries around your working hours and other work-related behaviours, you’d create the space to be more efficient, saving lots of time and probably money, too.

You’d feel more relaxed and in control as a result. That means you’d probably perform better at work, finding more creative headspace and presence to bring to your clients. You’d serve them better, and they’d feel better around you, and likely get better outcomes.

You’d get more done in less time, attract more business, and be able to grow your business for greater impact and income.

In terms of relationships, by setting boundaries you’d gain more respect from others. You’d be less affected by the opinions of others, and feel more confident about who you are and your value. 

You’d feel calmer and better able to respond to other people rather than reacting, and you’d be able to disengage from toxic situations, and handle conflict in a more balanced way. You’d be sleeping better at night. 

In all of these cases, there might be some break-ups as the differences in your values become clear. The people who are not your people may rebel against your changes, like the ‘old you’ better, or be upset that you’re no longer investing so much in their demands.

But trust me – you’d feel ok about that – because you’ve probably had enough of feeling worn down by the demands of people that you may not like, agree with or want to spend time with.

And no matter which area you’re working on, by making change, you will probably gain clarity, certainty, confidence, a sense of identity, meaning, purpose, inspiration and motivation. You will feel challenged, accomplished, satisfied and content.

Summary

There’s a lot to think about here. 

The question to ask yourself is this – if you were to start setting clear boundaries, how would your life be different?

What could be possible for your own health?

What might happen at work?

How might your relationships change?

When you understand and change your mind, it’s a catalyst for massive changes in your life. 

A couple of things are clear – when you start setting boundaries around your new habits, and meet your own needs first, then you are better equipped to act with integrity, to feel happier with life, and to find more meaning and purpose.

If you need help with your identity, values or boundaries, then hit up my contact page and waitlist for a short course I’m developing, called ‘Get To Know Yourself and Build Integrity.’ It’s a 21 day program for people who need some guidance to do this important work.

Ready to work on your boundaries?

Setting boundaries can give you more time to do what feels good and meaningful to you. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 111: Succession Planning

Early succession planning – that is, planning the way you will run your business and gradually transition out of it or sell it – has lots of great benefits. Here are FIVE that I can think of.

Today, I’m going to start with the end. And the reason is that when you’re thinking about exiting your business, after many years of service, or even just a few years, that is, you might be selling your shares out, or you might be selling your business to another company or an individual.

Then, as part of that, you’ll naturally be tidying things up and positioning your company to be really attractive to buyers, or to be able to hand the business over in a really seamless way. As part of that process, you need to be making sure that all of your systems are in place working well, you’re making sure that your business is running properly, and that all of the policies, procedures and financials are in order.

It’s not like selling a house, when you make the decision to sell him at least cleaning up waiting the garden planting and renovating so that you can put your best foot forward and make the house attractive to buy, hopefully for a high price of what it’s worth.

 And when it comes to business, sure, you could do it that way. You could say, well, we’re ready to sell it. Now let’s improve everything. You could do that without any planning.

But I want to explain why early succession planning is important. And I would say exceptional, and how it might just change a whole lot of things for you and your business. So let’s ask the question and answer the question: Why should I succession plan early?

Early succession planning or planning the way that you’ll run your business and gradually transition out of it or sell it has a lot of great benefits, and here are five that I can think of.

1. It gives you focus and intention.

Having the focus of preparing your business for eventual sale helps you to bring a stronger intention to the way that you run your business.

You’ll be focused on being professional proactively.  You’re very clear on this long term vision. It means that you’re more likely to put purposeful steps in place to succeed and to reach that goal.

You’ll be motivated to develop a clear plan of building and maintaining strong foundational systems, policies and procedures that will ultimately make it really easy for you to hand your business over someone else when it’s time.

In the meantime, it will also help you to run your business more efficiently and to take holidays when you need to. With good systems policies and procedures in place, almost any qualified person should be able to step in and hold the fought. And that’s one of the indicators that your systems in your business are robust.

As the E-Myth author Michael Gerber says  – systems drive the business and people drive the systems.

So get that set set up right and you’ve heard a lot of value to business.

2. Early succession planning helps you to create and really feel that belief in the value of what you’re doing.

Think about it, your goal is to create a business that offers value to the customers, and the more valuable your services and products are to your customers, it will be so much easier for you to sell your business later, or hand it over to management teams as you prepared an exit.

By purposely creating value for your customers, building on the value of the systems that you’ve set up, you’re going to feel good about your business. You’ll feel more confident about what you do and you’ll have a true sense of the value of your business in and of itself and to the world.

You’ll be striving for quality and impact and that will in turn attract more customers and more profit.

It’s just going to be an upward spiral of you really feeling like your business is truly worth something. And that will make it easy to ask for what it’s worth at the time, the right sale price.

3.It helps you to enjoy the journey of running a business.

It helps you to think about how you’d like to live your life in the future and how you might need to evolve on the journey to get there.

You might ask well, why is that important? Simply because most people spend their time focusing on what they’re doing right now in the immediate future without any regard to them. Then they get to retirement age and realize that they don’t have a plan. They realize that they’ve worked hard and work has been in life often at the expense of the hobbies and the health fitness, possibly also family friends sanity. Why work long and hard in order to retire, but then just finish up all broken with no energy left?

Early succession planning is a tool to help you keep focused on your vision of a future balance life of what your retirement is going to look like, and  it helps you to proactively create and update visions for your business in your life and plans to get there.

So you’re progressively spending less time on work more time enjoying your life, and gradually over a period of time putting people and systems in place to take over some of the tasks so that you can gradually move towards that really pleasurable, healthy retirement. And when you operate like that, you’ll never get stale, you’ll always be having something to work towards.

That’s exciting, something to look forward to. And you’re more likely to enjoy your work and have enough time for yourself. So there’s a lot of balance to be had.

 4. It gives you a reason to start your business and give it a shot.

If you know that there’s a financially viable exit plan ahead of you. You know that if you no longer want to do business or you’re bored with it, you’ve got an option. Think about how much a new business owner in your industry would love the ease and confidence walking into a ready  set up operational business that was systemized and you could create that.

And if you approach your business from your mindset, in the beginning, it makes you probably take a more balanced view of things and be more intentional and purposeful about creating a business, without getting caught up in that typical startup self taught like, “what if I don’t like it,” or “I’ll just give it a bit of a go and see how it turns out.”

Obviously having those sorts of thoughts means that your business won’t succeed, because you’re going to approach it with a half hearted attitude. But if you have the confidence for security of knowing that you could sell your business or lock it up, license it out for other coaches to use, it shines a whole new perspective on things.

And it can give you the impetus to give your best shot and make it work right from the get go.

 

5. It means less stress for you for you.

I think that one of the best parts of having a succession plan in place is that you’re going to be allowing yourself progressively more time over a period of years to work on the business rather than in it in an uninterrupted way.

Think of it this way, when you’re in a solo business on your own and you start your business with a big picture strategy in mind, it’s easy to get bogged down in all of the day to day detail of running all of the aspects of your business yourself.  You end up working all day, every day in well into the night. You need to stop doing that , and make plan to step away from that work ethic because it’s just goin to burn you out.

A succession plan gives you a framework for progressively extracting yourself from a day to day grind, and what you’re doing is bringing in others to do some of the work for you. It could be outsourcing, or hiring people, contractors or employees, or perhaps automating some of the work or building in leverage.

When you do that, it means it you’ll be able to step away from people focused on the day to day work that you’re doing and do work on the business.

When you’re working on the business, it means you’re able to continue adding value to it, which is just going to build profit margins income and enhance the value of your business when it comes down to sell it.

I could go on there are many more benefits like certainty about the future, confidence in what you’re doing, clarity on your direction, clarity on who your best strategic partners are going to be, and clarity on what you shouldn’t do, because it’s not part of the plan and it doesn’t align with your goals.

But I’ve just mentioned five benefits for early succession planning today. And there are others that I didn’t go into today.

So what does succession planning actually look like?

I’m going to keep it fairly big picture so you get a bit of an idea and I succession planned out of my business in Perth, and over a two year period.

I founded the company co founded it with someone else. And after 13 and a half, 14 years in the business. I knew everything about the company. So I wasn’t just going to walk away.

I had my lifestyle – my new life, I should say – planned out as a sea change. And over two years, I made progressive moves to work myself out the business.

I suggest that you keep a really simple and use the framework, if you’re starting out have a five year plan or a 10 year plan, or at a minimum two or three years if you’re in a workplace or a job or business right now that you’d like to get out of and move to something else.

Write it down two pieces of paper. If you’re new in business, or if you’re in a job, start by mapping out the next two years of productivity, quality revenue or other income goals that you need to have any plan to achieve them. For me, I knew that when I sold my shares and business I would have a certain amount of money I had to save, so that I could have a buffer and then be able to move.

So it’s easy to put away savings over three or four or five years to do that. And then to gradually succession plan out, and have financial stability when you make a plan like that.

So mapping out what those income productivity or quality goals in your business or your workplace are is the first step. And you need to identify that tipping point at which you could start to outsource your tasks, employ staff or start to automate areas of business by upgrading systems or creating rich service products.

Typically, a tipping point would be that you reach a certain amount of revenue in your business, and you have six months or more of future work ahead of you. When you’re at that kind of steady level of performance, it’s probably a good time to think about what happens next.

So that could be the first page and on the second page, you can map out some key criteria and a bit of a timeline towards succession planning yourself out of business. Some of the things you might want to write down are what sort of take home income you would need each year for years 3,4,5 or longer, based on your current lifestyle and commitments that might require you to do a budget income budget to see how much you’re actually spending. And this is something that my husband did, we created an Excel sheet and we logged everything we spent in that sheet per month. We set up a budget for every nine year living, and we stuck to a budget, knowing that we would still be stepping away from big salaries into a low income situation for at least a year

. So that was stepping out of a job and into the unknown. But if you are selling out of your business, you might just be thinking about how much revenue your business would need to generate. If you remained a partner, or perhaps if you sold it, what do you need to sell it for. So thinking about your income needs as the platform for that.

You also want to think about how much how you would maintain revenue in the business if you started to spend less time with it. And usually, as I’ve already mentioned, that means you’re going to be hiring staff, upgrading your system so that businesses more automated before requiring less manual work. Or perhaps you’re starting to really to more leveraged business model or leveraged income products.

If you’re going to do any of those, you’d need to think about which the best one would be to fit your business and then how much time and money you’d need to set those things up. That might require a little bit of research or to ask someone’s opinion. But after working in your business for two or three years, you should have a pretty good idea of the options available to you.

The last thing to think about is whether you would sell your business outright or simply hire people to run it for you so that you still maintained a stake in it.

So you might need to think about who might need to be upskilled or brought in to step into the leadership business. This might be especially the case if you’re planning on selling it too, because they’re going to need to know how to run the business. And often in the transfer business, there is a period of training and bringing the new person up to speed with things. So you want to have some pretty good training manuals and operating procedures and those sorts of systems in place. Also, you could start to think about how many hours a week you’d be working in business in year 3, 4 and  five or beyond. So you’re gradually and progressively working less and handing over that period. So identify some key dates typical, it’s useful.

Then you have the succession plan. You could define an end date if you wanted, or you could make a date to define the index.

So let’s summarize what I’ve talked about today.

I decided to talk about succession planning. And mainly from the point of view that a lot of people who started businesses get scared of doing their best in their business. They say what if I like it, or what if I can’t make it. And that way of thinking about it is going to set you up to fail.

Marketing and making friends follow roughly the same sort of process. You have to have some general conversation to build trust and rapport over a period of time – at least a few months – before you can expect anything in return. You need to give first in order to receive, as Stephen Covey would say.

Early succession planning helps you to create and really feel that belief in the value of what you’re doing.

But when you think about your exit plan from the beginning, you can see beyond that mindset, you can create an exciting vision with minimal goals for yourself. And you can get past those mental challenges. You could put a lot of effort and energy into doing great business making it a profitable businesses, that’s highly efficient and systemized. And then it’s ready for sale.

 It makes sense for a whole bunch of reasons to succession plan from the beginning. And if this is something that you’d like to talk about, or get help with, hit my website up. Hit me up on the contact page on my website and just send me an email. I’ll be happy to talk to you about what succession planning in your business.

 

Need to move forward with succession planning?

Simple changes to your business like this can be life changing! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 110: Coaching in Corporate with Christine Boucher

Today I interview Corporate Health Coach Christine Boucher on how to launch your corporate health coaching business.

Christine Boucher is super passionate about transforming the health and workplace culture of organizations, big and small, and helps coaches to bring their coaching businesses into the corporate sector.

Melanie: Christine, I’m so happy to have you here. And I’m just looking at all of your qualifications, and I can see how much work you’ve done. How did you find the time to do all of those things?

Christine: Hi Melanie! Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. I think looking back I have done have done a bit now – accumulating a few certificates under the belt, but I think I’m just driven by my passion. My passion for education, my passion and value for health, and I figure out ways to really be proficient and efficient with my time, I could sit there and watch TV, or I could, you know, read a book and learn something new. And I choose to do the latter.

Melanie: I bet love of learning is one of your signature strengths.

Christine: Absolutely. Yeah. My top three values, health, education, and adventure. And to me adventure is something like putting myself outside my comfort zone, whether that’s standing on a stage in front of a large audience or climbing a mountain, I like to put myself outside my comfort zone.

 

Melanie: Awesome. That sounds amazing. And just for the people listening, I want to read out your qualification. So everyone has a bit of a understanding of the breadth of what you’ve done. And I guess that kind of leads into what we’re talking about today is you helping coaches coaches bring their businesses into corporate, I mean, the depth of your experience, you’ve got a Bachelor of Nursing and you obviously worked as a nurse for many years, there’s a diploma of intensive care nursing, a diploma of Bowen therapy, level three health and wellness coaching. You’ve got an MBA, a Gippsland Community Leadership Program, and President of Empower Her East gippsland. East gippsland. That’s right. You have a lot going on.

Christine: Yes, yes. I’m juggling a few balls, plus, on the personal side, a single mom of two little redheads and they sit like me on my toes. How do How are your kids 12 and 13. So one in primary school, one in high school, so that you know as everyone else, it’s been challenging here, Victoria homeschooling pretty much the last six months. So I’m so happy that they’ve just returned back to school. For a few weeks before we break up for Christmas.

Melanie: You get back some business time and some me time during the day.

Christine: Yeah, that’s right. 

Melanie: Well, thanks so much for being here today, Chris. And I’m really excited to talk to you about the topic of expanding your health and wellness business into the corporate sector because I know so many people want to do this. And they just say: Where do I even start with that? What do I do first? So what do you think of some of the challenges that people face coaches face when they’re getting ready to get their businesses into corporate?

Christine: Well, if I take myself back to five years ago, when I first moved into corporate so I started as other health coaches do with that one on one model and trying to find clients and I was really struggling with finding new clients, I was struggling with sustaining the clients, I was I was struggling with bringing in a decent income. And I, you know, I really thought to myself, how can I work with more people? And how can I leverage my time? And how can I make more money in my business? And so then I started doing some group coaching.

So I would formulate, instead of doing a one on one model, or formulate small groups of women, back then I was really focused on prevention of chronic disease and coaching these women through through that and that was quite successful. But again, I was challenged by bringing these these women together and sustaining that. So I thought, How can I find a group within a group and that quite naturally led me into the corporate space where there’s groups of people within an organization that were just, you know, ready to roll, so to speak.

And so when I think back at, you know, that making that transition from the one on one into the one to many in the corporate health workplace wellness space, what I was really challenged with was: where do I start? How does this look, and what do I do? I didn’t really know how to how to begin.

And I think another thing that I was really challenged with was my confidence. You know, I thought to myself, who am I just to walk into an organization and sell my services. You know – I need to have a psychology degree, I need all this the self study. Self sabotaging talk that I had, that I was that I was saying to myself – that I needed more to enable me to do this – which actually wasn’t the truth at all.

What I had was was more than enough, I had the knowledge I had the experience. So it was I guess they were the two biggest things was my uncertainty, which exacerbated my lack of confidence, and it was just that uncertainty of how I was to make this happen and where I was to start. Probably the biggest challenges, and I often hear from other health coaches, they tell me that working in corporate health, workplace wellness, that’s just for the large health organizations to do that, you know, I’m just a solo business person, I can’t do that. Well, they tell me that, yeah, again, like I was saying to myself, I don’t have enough experience, I don’t have enough qualifications I don’t… So it’s sometimes just us as individuals, we limit out ourselves. And if we have a belief that you know, we don’t have whatever it takes, then we’re not taking the action, then we’re not getting those results. So it’s really about breaking through that mindset.

Melanie: I love that you said “sometimes,” and I would say, most of the time we have those beliefs. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t struggled with that sort of mindset. And I love that you tell it as your own story and having been there, and you totally understand what it’s like.  I think it’s really valid what you’ve said, too, I mean, there is a steep learning curve, when you learn how to coach, and then you’ve, you go through that phase of doing one to one so you can learn your methodology, you can get really become really confident in the how the program will work and what sorts of outcomes people can get. And then generally, there’s a natural movement into all what if I could do this with a group? And there’s that next step of working with groups and becoming comfortable. But as you say, then you’re faced with a choice: do you go down the track of learning how to do marketing in the online space or in your local community and having to be on that marketing treadmill, or do you get into more of a corporate environment where you have, I’m guessing, fewer clients and anymore, as in less marketing effort for more return?

Christine: Yeah, that’s right. I remember the very first client that I had, my very first corporate client. So I’d secured this client, we’d sign the proposal, we’re ready to roll. And I remember sitting at the front of my car at the front of this organization, and that fight or flight kicked in. All I wanted to do was was run I was just thinking, “I can’t do this” – this impostor syndrome, this lack of confidence, and I was on the phone with my business coach at the time I mentor, going through this, this state of mind that I was in and he said: “Chris, you’ve got the knowledge, you’ve got the experience, you know, you’ve coached people before, it’s just a different setting, you can do this.”  And I went in, and I faced my fears and I did the program. And, you know, no one found me out because I was successful. And I WAS successful. It was just that that initial hurdle, once I got into it, I’m like, I can do this. And then this is repeatable to other clientele. And as you said, Melanie, it’s you’re working with far fewer clientele, I will generally work with no more than six organizations, because that’s enough to work with at any given time. So there’s this marketing, but there was a whole lot of other turning parts that over the five years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve made lots of mistakes, and learn how to now work with corporate clients. And that’s what’s now led me into mentoring other health coaches to move from that one on that one model to that one to many model.

Melanie: That’s the thing, it sounds like a great pathway, and there’s always going to be things that you need help with. The fact that you’ve been there and helping people through – that’s fantastic. Because it’s the straight line method, is what I would call it. Like when I help people start their businesses, I think I made lots of mistakes, I help you to set up a business and bypass as many of those as possible. And you’re doing this in the corporate space. I think it’s also a very exciting opportunity for coaches right now to get into corporate. There seems to be this real shift in the way people view well being, particularly mental health and well being. Then recognize the recognition that it’s so important for employees to really bring a more targeted approach to their workforce.

Christine: 100%. It was seen as like a sort of an added value, now I believe that it’s seen as more of a norm – like a necessity. Particularly what we’ve been through this year, you know where I’m from, Gippsland, we’ve had the bush fires and then COVID. We’ve had a lot of stresses, and working with your employees and investing in your employees is essentially an investment in your business.

And the return on investment for how a general health and wellness program is about three fold. I’ve managed to get some of my clients six plus fold, when we calculate what it’s costing the organization, when they tallying up things like absenteeism and presenteeism workers compensation claims, staff turnover – all those things as a result of mental health and well being and physical health and well being emotional health and well being… if they’re not taken care of is a significant cost to the business. And by the employer looking after their staff, looking after their mental, physical, emotional health and well being is really an investment in their business. The return on that is productivity and having the emotional intelligence within the organization. So there aren’t issues with with relationships, and helping to keep that net mental health base. They’re able to manage their their stresses, and they’re able to focus on the job.

So this, therefore, is no accident. It’s a significant return on investment, by investing in your employees with a health and wellness program. And health coaches are well set up and suited to sort of slip into this organization, this corporate world. They have the expertise, they have the knowledge and sometimes just perhaps need a little bit more guidance on the business acumen to deliver that and make that happen.

Melanie: There’s two things really that come to mind as you’re speaking and one is this. It’s almost like now is a golden opportunity to step into this space, there’s never been a greater need, or a greater awareness of the need for coaching in corporate health. And the the other thing I hear is that the way you’re talking about the benefits to the organization, I think that’s a big gap for coaches to really understand. How do I get people to buy coaching?What is the language around them, the marketing of what you do, and the positioning of the benefits… I’m imagining that is something that you bring to what you teach coaches?

Christine: Yeah, 100%. So they’re not purchasing the coach or seeing the coaching, they’re purchasing the outcomes of benefiting what’s in it for them. And that’s what they care about. And that’s what we really need to focus on, when we’re utilizing our language through, the sales conversation or language within our copy copy within our marketing, and to really portray the those outcomes and those benefits. So that it’s, it’s a no brainer for them to invest into your program, so that they reach those outcomes and move away from their pain points and move away from what it’s costing their business into where they want to be, which is healthy, energetic, happy staff that are that are really performing optimally and that are really productive. And therefore, that’s going to be most financially optimal for that organization.

Melanie: I would imagine that makes the sales conversation a whole lot easier as well.

Christine: Yeah, that’s a big component of what I teach, because there’s a lot of turning parts in that. And several years ago, I did some training around the psychology of selling. And it’s really helping them to shift, to hold them in the pain point of where they are at with that emotional or that logical challenge or problem, until they’re wanting to move away from that. And then you’re showing them that emotional and logic future that they can potentially have.

And you’re what comes in between that cognitive dissonance. So you’re bringing them from that pain point to where they ultimately want to be in the future. And you’re helping them to realize that they need you.

That’s a really big point because it takes in working in the corporate space it takes really can take quite a bit of time to build those healthy, strong relationships, that trust and rapport. So once you have the opportunity to sit in front of the decision maker and have that sales conversation, it needs to be seamless – it needs to flow. You don’t want to get all the way to that sales conversation and have it fall flat. You want to get them across the board, so that you can help them with your services, they can gain the benefits from working with you. And therefore it’s beneficial for your business’s health coach because you’ve got a sustainable ongoing long term client where you’re making good profits from.

Melanie: Yeah, it’s a great explanation, and I teach much the same concept when working with coaches in starting up their own business and working directly with with B to C. It’s that whole use of the coaching approach in your sales conversation to take them from the “pain point” to the desired outcome. And so positioning is part of what you teach, and I guess I don’t want to reveal all of your secrets about how you work with people, but I know that you are running a webinar. It’s Thursday night this week. Is that right?

Christine: Yeah, that’s right. So Thursday, the 22nd 7:30 Australian Eastern Standard Time. So it’s really a webinar for health coaches that are interested that have been considering it, or maybe I’m sure, just to come along, and I’m just going to really be touching on the basics, we’re going to be looking at basically what you can earn working in the corporate health workplace wellness space, as opposed to that one on one model, we’re going to be looking at, you know, how to get the corporate client to really love what what offerings you have, what services that you’re already delivering, and how that can be transported into the corporate space. And we’re going to talk a little bit about just basically how to get started how to get your first corporate client.

Melanie: Okay, fantastic. They’re very important things. And I bet a lot of people are really interested to know what you’re going to talk about. Are there any prerequisites, Christine, for coming along? Do you have to be at a certain level? Or, you know, anything else like that?

Christine: I think it’s important, if you’re serious about moving into corporate health and workplace wellness, that you have an established business, and that you have some coaching hours under your belt. I don’t think you can expect to sort of just get your certification and walk straight into the corporate sector, I do believe that you need a some experience under your belt. But having said that, if you’re just curious and interested, maybe this is something for you later, and in the future, by all means everyone’s welcome to come along to the webinar and hear about it. Because I know when I first started in corporate health, you know that the biggest thing for me was just to make that decision. Did I really want to move my one on one and quite successful business into the one to many in corporate health? And so it really took me some time to get very clear that it was the direction I wanted to go in, to get into that mindset to then transition my business in into corporate health. So the more clarity you have, and the more certainty you have around something, it makes a whole lot easier to achieve, if that’s the way that you want to go.

Melanie: It makes perfect sense, and actually, as you were talking earlier about all of the fears, and the imposter syndrome, and all of the things that come up for people, I was wondering if those sort of things are just simply a lack of knowledge of how it actually works. And when you understand the mechanics, which you’re obviously going to explain in your webinar of what’s involved in getting into the corporate space as a coach, what are what are the main things you need to do? I think kind of dissolving some of those myths and getting clarity on the process will help people to say, yes, that’s for me or not, for me, at some point down the track. And, and therefore, as you say, having that even if you’re not ready to step into that now, understanding what’s involved would be really important and almost like part of your vision for your business, if you have clarity on Yes, I know what’s involved in being in the corporate space. And that’s where I want to take my business, how much easier then does it take? Is it for you to align all of your personal and professional development plans to go down that path?

Christine: Yeah, 100%. If you if you know where you want to go, and you have you have certainty or have some sort of clarity around that, then you kind of reverse engineer and you can put all those steps into place. What do I need to do now to achieve that ultimate goal? What resources do I need? What education do I need, what mentoring what support and then you could put all those things into place to help to expedite that process. So I’ve developed a whole program to help coaches move from that one on one into the corporate house, and it just sort of came about quite organically. It’s just all the mistakes I’ve made, like speak to the process. And as I was doing, and I thought, well, I wish I had this when I first started. I really do and would have really guided me along the path so much so much quicker. But um, yeah, I just love it.  I love seeing the transition. I’ve put some other health coaches through and to see them come out the other end and actually start to sign corporate clients and start to make some good money in their business. It’s really exciting. I love seeing that transformation.

Melanie: Yeah, and I guess that’s the message. It’s powerful. You’ve done it. You’ve been there. I don’t think anyone else is doing what you’re doing, Christine. It’s such a valuable service that you offer. And I love it that you’ve got this webinar. It’s a free webinar, right?

Christine: Yeah, that’s right. It’s a free webinar, it goes for an hour, and I’ll be giving away some free resources at the webinar. Since I help coaches get started – if they’re interested, if they’re serious, then there’s going to be lots of value there.

Melanie: Great. And even if they’re not sure, then obviously it’s a place to get clarity on whether that’s something they’d like to do in the future.

Christine: Yeah, that’s right.

Melanie: Absolutely. And of course, now is a very good time to think about it and to plan for it, because I think we’re at the tipping point of a big move into coaching in the corporate space being taken a lot more seriously. And there’s going to be a lot of opportunities coming up for people who are positioning themselves in that way with the right skills and knowledge to do that.

Christine: Yeah, there seems to be really significant demand. And particularly, there’s a lot of investment from the government, a lot of funding going around, particularly in the mental health space and sector. And that falls through into organizations, of course, and as I said before, with everything that we’ve experienced this year – there seems to be a really significant demand. And what I’m noticing more of is the that kind of that tailor made program, as opposed to that sort of generic program that a lot of the large organizations might offer. So to be an individual and to really listen and understand the challenges of that organization to tailor made a program that fits that organization to reach those outcomes and achieve those benefits of is of great value.

Melanie: That’s the coaching approach. It makes it hard for anyone to copy you. And it makes you stand out and really deliver value. Thanks so much. We’ve covered so much today. Christine, is there anything else you want to add? Before I point people to the registration link, which hold attached to this Show Notes for this episode, and all of your social media links? Is there anything else you want to say?

Christine: Yeah, f you know if this is something you’re interested in or perhaps you’re unsure about, or you want to perhaps learn a bit more about… by all means, come on to the webinar, jump into our Facebook group health coaches in corporate health we are a group of over 300, like minded people who are interested in some are breaking through. Some are doing it, some are actually quite experienced in that area. So it’s just a real community of people supporting each other in transitioning into that space.

Melanie: Sounds like a great place to be, and thank you so much.

Anyone listening who’s interested, I’m going to put all of these details in the notes, and I advise you to get in touch with with Chris before Thursday, the 22nd of October, otherwise, the Facebook group is the place to go if you’re listening to a recording after that date.

Christine: Thank you. It’s great to have a chat and have a lovely week.

Melanie: You too. Bye for now.

Interested in corporate coaching?

Follow the links to learn more about Christine. I can also recomment the Habitology Membership as the perfect tool if you’re ready to break old habits and start a new chapter. I encourage you to check it out. Learn more here:

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Episode 109: Overdrinking Coaching with Sarah Rusbatch

Today I interview Sarah Rusbatch about alcohol consumption and how and why she is developing her coaching business in this space.

Melanie: Hi, Suzanne, lovely to have you here on the podcast today.

Sarah: Hi, Melanie, it’s lovely to be here.

Melanie: Thank you, and I’m really interested in talking to you, because you’re developing your coaching business at the moment, and you have a niche that you’re quite connected with, and it sounds like you’re very passionate about making a difference in this area. So, I thought it would be a great way to illustrate one of the many ways that coaching can be applied and also to find out a little bit more about your vision, and we’d like to take your business. Does that sound okay?

Sarah: Yeah, sure, that’s fine.

Melanie: Alright, so could you tell us a little bit about your niche to start with?

Sarah: Sure. So my niche is working predominantly with women because I guess that’s what relates to my own story. That’s where I can kind of picture my ideal clients sort of being in that same area as where I was, who have got to a point where perhaps they’re drinking more than they want to. They’re drinking to a point that isn’t making them feel so good about themselves anymore, but because we do live in such an alcohol centric society, it’s actually really hard to, to stop doing that when it’s become quite a habit. When it’s become something that everyone around you is doing all of the time, and that everyone expects you to be doing when you’re socializing. It’s something that I addressed in myself, I stopped drinking about 18 months ago.

 

Sarah: And it really did have a massive impact on my life in so many ways, and I’m now really passionate about spreading that word and letting people know that there is actually another way to live.  Of course, I appreciate that for some people, they’re absolutely happy with the level that they’re drinking, and they don’t want to change that. Of course, I’m not preaching and that’s definitely not my philosophy. But when I was contemplating and giving up alcohol, I didn’t have anyone at that point talking in the way that I’m talking now and showing me the way I had to really look for that. So I want to be that person for other people who perhaps do want a bit of help and a bit of support with addressing how much they’re drinking and how to reframe that.

Melanie: Right. And as you describe that I’m hearing, it’s clearly not somebody who’s ready for Alcoholics Anonymous, and it’s not somebody that’s enjoying a bit of social drinking. It’s somebody that you said, I think is feeling like within themselves, they are just drinking a little bit too much and it’s having an impact on how they feel about themselves.

Sarah: And it’s something that’s where I’m from in the UK, it’s been talked about a lot, and they call it an alcohol use disorder, or grey area drinking. So it’s that whole area where people don’t identify themselves perhaps as alcoholics, which I think is a whole other conversation of what IS an alcoholic. But I think that people who are not drinking every single day, they don’t have a physical dependence to drink every single day, but they are definitely drinking more than the recommended guidelines. And they’re definitely using alcohol as a crutch to perhaps help either relieve stress or escape emotions that they’re feeling that they don’t want to be feeling, or finding that once they start drinking, they really struggled to stop, and they’re always having more than they ever set out or intended to for that kind of area, which is definitely where I was before I thought.

Melanie: Okay, so it’s just that little bit past the comfortable level, and noticing that it is a problem. And I think one other thing I heard you say was that they’re people who are going out socially, and there are these expectations of others that perhaps they don’t know how to manage. They don’t know how to set boundaries, in a social context, perhaps.

Sarah: That was one of the hardest things for me was how other people reacted to me, and I was really shocked. I didn’t think it was anybody else’s business, or that anyone would be in any way concerned as to whether I was drinking or not. But they really were, and people had a lot to say on the matter. And I would get told, “let’s catch up when you’re drinking again”, and “when are you going to stop being so boring?” Yeah, things along those lines. And because I think that we are just in a society where it is just expected that any social occasion will have alcohol. And I think that there’s a stigma around if you don’t have alcohol, you’re not going to have a good time. And that’s what I’m really keen to show people that you can still have a really active and full social life without alcohol.

Melanie: Mmm, interesting. And how did she feel when people were saying those things to you?

Sarah: Horrified. It was… it was really hard. It’s hard to, to not drink. And it’s really hard when your friends are making you feel like they don’t approve of you not drinking, and they’re not being fully supportive. There was a lot of debate around, a lot of people would say to me: “but why don’t you just have one?” I was like, “Well, A why is it any of your business, whether I have one or not? And B and I’ve never been someone that really wanted to ever just have one.” Like, I’ve always loved having a few drinks, and I’ve always had one or two more and more. And for me, it was so much easier to have none than to just have one or two. But people… some people just really didn’t get that at all.

Melanie: It’s interesting, isn’t it? It says more about them than it does about you. It’s they’re uncomfortable with you’re not drinking, and they feel like they need to do something to make themselves feel better, is how I kind of look at that.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely.

Melanie: Yeah, I can think of two occasions a bit like that, that stand out for me and not for me directly, but with others. I remember maybe seven or eight years ago when Facebook groups were first a thing, I was in this group called “Clean Eating”, I think it was called. And one of the moderators came into the group, and she had 30,000 members, it was a huge group. And she said she’d gone out on the weekend and said she didn’t want to drink and was trying to drink less alcohol. And one of the friends said, “What are you pregnant?” And “what’s wrong with you?”, “Why aren’t you drinking?” and “What’s wrong with you?” And I thought, wow, that’s that’s amazing. And  then we had this whole discussion on the thread about judgment. And then, more recently, one of my clients stopped drinking for eight weeks, because she was eating a special way trying to lose some weight. And one of her friends was pressuring her and saying, “Why are you drinking?” And she said, “Well, I don’t want to drink for eight weeks.” And she said, “Well, why not? Why can’t you just have one?” – that same thing you’ve said, and she was saying: “Because I don’t want to.” And they ended up having a falling out. They’d been friends for 20 years. And the friend could not accept that her friend was not drinking for eight weeks. Yeah, she took it personally. It was incredible.

Sarah:  Yep. And I just wasn’t expecting that, when I stopped drinking. It was it was my journey, and my thing. And in quite a lot of sober groups that I in, people say, well, if you turn around and said that you were stopping smoking, people would be like, “Good on you! Well done!” Or if you said, “I’m giving up cocaine,” I would be like, “Well, good for you.” As soon as you say alcohol, it’s the only thing that you can give up and people say “Oh go on!” It’s quite astonishing, isn’t it?

Melanie: I agree. And actually, to be fair, I have heard this same conversation in my in my weight loss program that I’ve run in the past where people would come in and say, “I don’t eat that food” or “I don’t want any cake,” and people say “Go on, Just a skinny slice won’t hurt… why no? What’s wrong with you?”And so I’ve have heard that’s similar conversation around food. And once again, I think it’s more about the person who is not is eating the food or drinking the drink that feels uncomfortable about are now it’s just me, they’ve got no one to share the guilt, as I call it.

Sarah: Absolutely, absolutely. And at the beginning, I used to have to kind of get my readymade little black book of excuses, though, that I was prepared for when I would start to get grilled and sometimes I couldn’t be bothered. And I’ll just say “I’m on antibiotics.” Or I’d say “I’m training for a triathlon.” And “I just don’t want to drink for a little while because I’ve got to get up early to train.” But I just got to the point where I was like, why should I be having to justify in that way and actually lie about the fact that I just don’t want to drink just so others can accept my reason? If it’s a reason that they can understand that they’re okay with it. But if you’re just saying I’m choosing not to drink, a lot of people don’t understand that.

Melanie: It’s almost like just saying “no thanks,” is really all you need to say, I guess is what you’re saying.

Sarah: Yeah. So that was definitely an interesting part of the process for me.

Melanie: And what sorts of symptoms were you experiencing? Like, if you’re thinking about the types of people you’re working with? And they are, where you were in the past? What sorts of things would they be noticing as signs or symptoms that they need to do something or that they are ready to do something?

Sarah: Yeah, so I think for me, and as soon as I hit 40, it was that typical thing of I started to get really bad hangovers. I’ve never really got hangovers in my 20s and 30s. I had pretty much sail through it. And then it was as if I as soon as I hit 40 I started to get really bad hangovers. It was really affecting my sleep. So I would just have even just having two glasses of wine, I would be awake at 3am and just restless and just couldn’t get back to sleep. And depending on how much I had had to drink, I might have a dry mouth need to get up and have water, but it was really affecting me. And I’m someone that really needs my sleep. So that was having been a real negative impact the next day because I was tired and grumpy. I definitely started to feel a little bit depressed The next day, which I’d never had before, I would have a bit of anxiety. And I would sometimes worry about what I’d said the night before. And I would sit kind of ruminating over it, which I’ve never done before. And it was just something that just in my 40s It felt like it had gone from drinking had been something that had been fun, and something that I did with all of my friends. But then I could see that my body was starting to give me signs that that there had to be some other way.

And I just felt like even just having a small amount of alcohol, I would feel so rubbish the next day, and I wasn’t being the mom that I wanted to be I wasn’t being the wife that I wanted to be. I was kind of getting through the weekend, but not being present in the weekend, if that makes sense. And then it would be back to school back to work.

I never really drank during the week. So that was that. But you’re so busy, you know, keeping your head above water with kid’s activities and work and pick up and everything else. So the week would go by and then it would be the weekend again. And there has to be another way to live than just having this low level feeling of a bit of anxiety, a bit of depression and bad sleep tired making bad food choices, because I was a little bit hungover. So not eating the food that I wanted to be eating that I knew made me feel good. Then with that came a bit of guilt. So all of that started to happen and that was when I kind of had those first signs of going, maybe this the alcohol is the thing that needs to change, because everything led back to that.

Melanie: It’s interesting, you mentioned food, there was the food or consequence of being too tired to want to make healthy food? Or was that while you were drinking, you are making unhealthy choices or combination or something different?

Sarah: No, it was definitely the next day. So I was never someone that ate and drank at the same time – I just drank. So I wasn’t someone who would sit, you know and get out all the biscuits and the crisps. Alcohol just never made me hungry. Whereas I know with others, they get munchies and chips. But for me it was the next day. And maybe because I hadn’t eaten much like before. And the next day, I would just crave really bad food. And because I was tired and feeling a bit rubbish I couldn’t not give into that craving. And so it was, you know, eating the foods that I would never normally eat, and that that didn’t make me feel good about myself either.

Melanie: Mm hmm. Yeah, I can relate to that. I can think of times where I’ve, but but not exactly that way, like the next day, I may not eat that well. But for me when I have too much alcohol, then I want carbs, I want sugar, which obviously makes the sleep worse. So I remember even as a young person drinking one night with my boyfriend, and we’d had a full dinner, it was midnight, and I ate a whole family pizza to myself.

Sarah: Yeah.

Melanie: At midnight, like, that’s a lot of pizza. And yeah, I just had this intense craving for carbs  – I couldn’t stop eating it, I was so full, but I just kept going and going. And I think part of it was that maybe the lack of inhibition around the alcohol, which is something you’ve alluded to in it maybe in social context as well. But then this craving as well as not having an off switch was a diabolical combination.

Sarah: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Melanie: And so how much do you think? Well, maybe it’s not possible to put a limit on our amount on it, but what does somebody in this zone actually drink? Is it… How many standard drinks a day? Or is it sit number days? Or does it not really matter is in a particular trend you’ve noticed?

Sarah: I don’t think it matters. I think it just is whatever is the number for you. That is crossing the line of being taking you feeling comfortable and happy with how much you’re drinking to the point where it’s having a terrible effect, and that might that number will be different for everyone. And some people drink every single day and a bottle or two of wine a night. Some people might only drink on a Friday and have two or three bottles and then feel so terrible for the three days after. So I don’t think there’s any rule around that.

I think it’s just when you are questioning yourself. Am I drinking too much? That probably means you are if it’s even come up as a question at all.

Melanie: Yeah, that’s a great, great way of looking at a great indicator is your own concern that you feel yourself stretched outside your Yeah, healthyzone ort your comfortable zone or whatever that is. And I heard you say earlier you’d have a couple of glasses of wine only and then not be able to sleep from three o’clock. Yeah, so that’s an indication to I guess there’s also as you’re in that, or if you’re in that perimenopause, or menopause age, you’ve got all of this other stuff going on. And it just seems to compound things like the hot flashes. I know if I have alcohol, one glass of anything. I’m gonna get hot that night, at least once my cup of tea flushed.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. ‘ve just finished reading a book on perimenopause that pretty much says that if you want to kind of have the least impact of some of those symptoms, then cutting out alcohol is one of the first things to do. Because when your hormones are so imbalanced, and your body just can’t also cope with having to break down the alcohol that you’re taking in, and that will then have, you know, more of a knock on effect on things like hot flashes, and impact of sleep, impacting mood, things like that.

Melanie: It’s quite an important time of life, I suppose to I mean, if you’re going through hormonal changes, and that’s women and men go through menopause, you know, in their 40s, or 50s. You kind of feel like you’re at a crossroads, you’re saying: “Am I going to continue doing what I’m doing and head down the path of setting myself up for chronic disease? Or am I going to take the initiative now and nip things in the bud?”

What are your thoughts on that?

Sarah: I totally agree. And I think that most people who I know, who are asking themselves that question are in their 40s, or 50s and have just to have got to that point where perhaps the hangovers haven’t been as bad before, and then they’re starting to feel worse, or what might be a whole host of reasons… it might be that they’re wanting to lose weight, it might be in lots of different reasons. But it definitely has got to the point where alcohol is not serving them anymore in the way that it used to just be a fun social aid to increase your fun on a night out. It just then becomes a bit different, and you start to see the negatives of it, whereas before you haven’t.

Melanie: Right, so that the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives. Yeah. Feel good in the moment and feel terrible for the next three days?

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And that was one of my techniques, which now that I’ve started learning and doing the coaching qualification, I’ve realized I was using but I didn’t, couldn’t put it into words at the time, which was always talking that in many of those sober groups or playing it forward. So when you have that real craving of wanting to have a drink, play it forward, how are you going to feel that next morning, like when you wake up, with the hangover? You’re not going to get all the things done that you wanted to do, you’re going to feel all these different things. So that was always the thing that I would do was, you know, the cravings still come even now.

And it’s been 18 months since I have a drink and you know, in a certain situation after that glass of wine now, but then all I have to do is think how nice it will be at three in the morning when you’re wide awake, and think about when the kids are jumping on the bed and think you know, and then when you start to do that you actually realize for the fleeting moment of happiness or joy or whatever it is that you get from that glass of wine… Is it worth it? And in the end, for me, it passed that tipping point where it wasn’t worth it.

Melanie: So good. So you’re talking about really looking at the longer term gain rather than the short term? Fix or, or benefit? Yeah, yeah, looking longer term and how it’s affecting you.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. But I wish that I’d had more support to articulate some of that when I was going through it. Because I’ve realized now through the coaching that I’ve been doing that that’s exactly what I was doing, and there’s so many of the coaching techniques that I’ve realized now can be applied to this situation. And that’s why it’s got me so passionate and excited about it, because I can see how much support it could give to other people who were in the same situation that I was.

Melanie: Yeah, absolutely. And just building on that something you said is that you still have cravings now and I guess that what came to mind when you said that is that whole micro habits or atomic habits, as James Clear calls them. You know, if you think about something like smoking and all of the situations in which someone smokes, when they wake up after a meal when they’re drinking, when they’re stressed before bed, you know, there are all those little tiny situations where someone might be triggered to have a cigarette or want to crave one. And all of those are micro habits that need to be unraveled and rewired.

And it’s the same with alcohol, right? You drink when you’re tired you drink when you’re stressed. You drink when you’re this or that and you get this immediate feeling good feeling and your brains fighting with you saying I want that good feeling and you’re going no you can’t have it and then there’s deprivation… but there are all of those many situations that you may not even realize are a trigger for you. Not just the visible ones, but the unconscious ones too. Right?

Sarah: Absolutely. And I think that it’s the more that you practice –  we call it like flexing that silver muscle -it’s kind of like the more you practice “The Firsts” all those firsts – the first Christmas, the first holiday, the first girls night out, the first hen weekend, just any of those things. And once you get through it, it’s just another thing that you’ve done to kind of retrain your brain to, to condition yourself that you can go and do those things without alcohol and you can still have a really good time.

Melanie: And so Suzanne, how are you feeling now that you’ve been sober for 18 months? What’s the difference in your life?

Sarah: So many! So the differences are, I think we’ve lost a lot of weight because I haven’t had the Sunday morning trips to Maccas, for the Bacon and Egg Mcmuffins and the rest of it. So I think I’ve lost about 12 kilos now. And I have always been an an exerciser. But I am definitely getting more of the results from the exercise and enjoying it more. I think before I was exercising, as a kind of punishment for the alcoholics, you know what I mean?

Whereas now I think I exercise as something that I just absolutely love and enjoy. I would say that I sleep so much better, I have more energy, and more present and more connected to my kids. I’ve done a lot more work on myself, to understand myself and what things trigger me and what doesn’t, because I think when you stop … And, and so, yeah, all around I’d say that I’m just a more content person than I was before.

Melanie: It sounds like the only cost really has been that occasionally. There’s a sense of missing out. Absolutely.

Sarah:  Yeah, and I have to make that decision.

Melanie: It’s an interesting topic, and I love that you’re working in this space. I think so many people don’t have much else in their lives. And I remember it other than alcohol and social occasions around it. And I remember going to do a job once. And I met a girl who would who’s 18 and when there was a lull in conversation, she would start talking about this awesome time when she got so drunk and so sick. And so this and I thought “Is that all you got?” All she could talk about were all these famous war stories of when she’d drunk too much and vomited everywhere. And, yeah, that wow, that’s the conversation you’ve got. Yeah, you know, to me, that was a really important moment to say, do I want to be like that? Or I’ve been like that myself in the past and had that kind of a conversation. But to hearing it from the other side, I thought, yeah, I think I could aspire to something better.

Sarah: And that was definitely it for me as well. I’m 42 years old, I thought,  is that all I’ve got? I just like going out and getting drunk on a Saturday afternoon is like, is that my hobby, like just drinking? And that was definitely, you know, a question to ask. Myself, and then stopping drinking, it’s definitely allowed me to explore the things that I love doing and want to do more of. I’m just devouring books all the time and, and lots of friends in my sober circles if have taken up theater, one has started learning tap dancing… people have gone back to uni, but like everyone is just having this whole new lease of life, energy and time that they just never had before.

Melanie: And so I guess, apart from strategies that you would help people to discover and develop, I’m guessing a lot of your work is also helping people to build confidence and courage to set boundaries, to help them come up with safe ways to be a little bit uncomfortable in social situations and still feel okay about not drinking. And there would be a lot of work around that area I’d imagine.

Sarah: There is and I think that if you’re prepared for the obstacle before it happens, you’re halfway there already. I definitely think that’s an area that I would be looking to help people identify what the obstacles will be before they reach them so that they’re better prepared to deal with them when they arrive.

Melanie: And it makes me think that one of the great benefits is that you become a role model for others, and you help others find if you’re a non drinker in a social situation. It’s like you help others to find their voice and their courage to stand with you. If they’re kind of feeling the same. And you’re saying, hey, well, I’m not drinking tonight, but I’m still gonna have fun. That just might help somebody else who’s been feeling the same way. Right?

Sarah: Yeah, and the massive sober community online, like through Instagram, and through various Facebook groups, I’ve met people who I’ve just instantly connected with I can reach out to them anytime. I’ve never met them in real life, but I’ve just been on such a journey with them over the last 18 months or so. And even if it’s not physical, but just knowing that there’s someone there that you can send a quick message and that that definitely helps.

Melanie: And so Suzanne, thank you for explaining what you’re passionate about why and what difference it’s made to alive. And it’s really clear to me, and I hope to everyone that listens to this, how many ways people may need support, and now can get support going on a journey to drink less or to stop drinking. And so if people are interested in finding out more about what you do about joining your Facebook group, or getting on your email list, or whatever that is, what what’s the best place for them to go to get in touch?

Sarah: So I’m running a challenge at the moment, sober October, and which is I think we’ve got about 3540 people in the challenge. Everyone’s been hugely supportive of each other, some people have never gone more than three or four days without alcohol before. So it’s their first time of doing something like this. So that’s called the SLR wellness, sober October challenge. And I’m on Instagram, SLR wellness. And then I’ve got a Facebook group called the Women’s Wellbeing Collective, and that group was looking at everything to do with health issues for women in their 40s. So that’s looking at pre menopause hormone imbalance, nutrition exercise, and then for those that want to talk about it, and the area of alcohol free as well.

Melanie: Fantastic. So lots of ways that you’re available to get to know people and support them to get started on a journey of getting healthier. Thank you so much for being here today, Suzanne, and I’ll put all those links in the notes and hopefully, some people who are on the fence thinking about their relationship with alcohol, especially in the lead up to Christmas, they’re gonna reach out to you and have a chat.

Where you can connect with Sarah:

Sarah’s facebook group “the women’s wellbeing collective” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/342319476897067/?ref=share

Link to sober October: SLR wellness sober October 2020 https://www.facebook.com/groups/870302750042381/?ref=share

Link to the Perth meet up group for ladies who want to socialise without alcohol: SLR wellness Perth meet up group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1093211501076062/?ref=share

Link to Sarah’s Instagram page @slrwellness – install the app to follow her photos and videos.

https://www.instagram.com/invites/contact/?i=jyvp6068ofy9&utm_content=gygtk7h

 

Do you need support to change your life?

Would you like to hear more about the Habitology membership? It could be the change you are looking for. Learn more here:

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Episode 108: AmIOK?

This episode is about taking care of your own mental well-being. 

 I want to start by talking about the RU OK campaign in Australia and then to talk about the need to manage our own mental well-being as well.

RUOK?

R U OK? is an organisation whose vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide.

Their mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.

Their goals are to: 

  1. Boost our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and downs
  2. Nurture our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others
  3. Strengthen our sense of belonging because we know people are there for us
  4. Be relevant, strong and dynamic

I love that the RU okay campaign exists. It gives us all an opportunity to think about the people around us and consider how we can offer support. 

It means that we are proactively reaching out to check in with people and to help them to speak up about what’s going on for them so they can get help.

I had a conversation with somebody one-day who I knew was severely depressed and going through a major incident and I had reached out to say are you okay. 

It was a difficult conversation because I hadn’t yet trained as a coach and this person was very upset but I was concerned about their mental well-being so I did the best that I could with the skills that I had at the time. 

Months later that person phoned me and said they were considering suicide the day I had called – they were getting ready to do it – and the conversation we had stopped them from taking action and caused them to reach out for help. 

Truly, I was taken aback that the conversation had had such a powerful impact on that person and it made me thankful that I’ve been able to help but also concerned about my skills and education and knowledge in this area.

So where and how do you start getting these skills?

What if you’re not a coach or working in a support capacity but want some basic understanding and skills?

Mental Health First Aid

It’s worth mentioning the mental first aid course.

Several organisations deliver this course: Mental Health First Aid Australia says that: 

Each year 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness. Many people are not knowledgeable or confident to offer assistance. Physical first aid is accepted and widespread in our community, however most do not cover mental health problems. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) teaches people the skills to help someone who they’re concerned about.

What About Me?

All of this got me thinking recently about the fact that there are many campaigns that are outward directed – helping us to check in with the other people about their own mental health and well-being.

But just as important is the ability to be self-aware and identify our own mental health challenges.

As a coach, I know that one of the main reasons people hire coaches is simply that they lack self-awareness of how they are thinking and operating in the world, and what their habits are.

People are either too busy to notice themselves and reflect on their behaviour, needs and wants, OR, they notice an issue coming up for themselves but say ‘she’ll be right, I’ll just push through.’

The old ‘she’ll be right attitude’ is a mask that many Australians have been wearing for a long time.

In either case, most people simply don’t know HOW to check in with themselves or to ask for help.

They say, I’m okay, don’t worry about me, everything is fine. I don’t need any help, I’ll put on my big girl pants or I’ll pull up my boots and I’ll just get on with it. 

I can totally see how we came to be that way. That attitude comes from the hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves, hard-working people who founded modern society in our nation.

Think about it – once upon a time, not that long ago, we were a nation of pioneers in a new country who travelled long distances, lived off the land and managed many hardships to establish towns and cities. We were the kind of people that pitched in and did things and got on with things and to build a great nation.

But these days, there is a changing of the guard.

We have the rise of Gen Y (with more of a values focus, in my opinion) as dominant players in the workforce and leadership positions. 

We have an increase in multiculturalism in our society, and a need to consider people with different cultures, ethics and values.

And we are giving more attention to well-being, health and mindfulness. 

With all of this going on, we are starting to realise that the old ‘she’ll be right attitude’ is a mask that many Australians have been wearing for a long time.

The old stigma around mental health issues, not wanting to show any weakness or to be judged, has to come off.

We have to learn how to ask for help.

But first of all, we must be self-aware enough, to know when we need to get that help.

AmIok – a new paradigm 

I propose a concept that sits alongside RUOK, to acknowledge that it’s just as important to check in with yourself rather than to ignore the warning signs and push through. 

I want to ask you to think about a new paradigm. 

The AmIOK paradigm. 

Certainly check in with the others and ask are you okay, but at the same time give yourself the attention to – how am I travelling? 

Am I ok? 

And if not, what do I need, how am I feeling, what’s my capacity, and what do I need to do differently? 

I had this experience myself recently. 

I noticed a few things were becoming difficult for me. 

I was starting to avoid certain situations and certain tasks that I didn’t like. 

Normally I can do tasks that I don’t like or don’t enjoy, but when I’m stressed, under a lot of pressure then I go into avoidance of those basic tasks. And to me that is a sign that I need to step back and check in with myself. 

Other signs that I need a break or to get help are that my cooking is boring, I’m not sleeping well, and I feel frustrated, and starting to look for more coffee.

Basically, I lose my enthusiasm and creativity. 

When those things start to ebb, I know it’s time to take a break or to get help.

Summary

RUOK is a wonderful initiative that helps us to lower the risk and rate of suicide, by reaching out to others.

It’s important to check in with yourself rather than to ignore the warning signs and push through. 

Mental Health First Aid is a great training course to gain basic skills.

I propose a new paradigm – AmIOK? – as a means of learning to give our own needs more attention and to get help sooner rather than later.

Ready to pay more attention to your own needs?

It’s OK to be not OK, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. If you need help to feel more in charge of your life, I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 107: Just-ification

What you say to yourself matters. It has consequences. Learn how to rewire your reticular activating system in this episode for a calmer, less rushed, more grounded way of living.

How are you going right now? How are you feeling?

There’s been a lot going on in my life lately and it seems to be the same for a lot of people I’ve spoken to.

Today I want to talk about a topic related to hard times, but that is also relevant at ANY time. 

I want to help you to identify when you’re telling yourself some fibs, playing small and talking yourself into overwhelm, so you can quickly back out of that rabbithole and get back on track.

Sound ok?

What is Just-ification?

A few years ago, I remember a point in the year and in my life where I was feeling low, harried, and overwhelmed.

For a little while, everything felt hard.

I felt swamped by urgent deadlines.

I felt like I had to push through things and rush to get things done and meet targets.

I was rushing from one appointment to the next, doing some things at the last minute, and racing out the door to simply meet friends for coffee!

Yes, as you can see, the key theme here was feeling pressured and rushed.

Of course, if you’ve listened to my previous episodes, you know that this stuff that we ‘feel’ happens because of what we tell ourselves.

And this is where I noticed something interesting about my language – when I felt like this, I was always using the word ‘just’. 

I was saying things to myself and others, like:

  • I just need to finish this document (to justify my working late)
  • I just have to do this job, then I can come out and meet you for coffee
  • I will just squeeze in some quick emails in this 5-minute break before I have to leave for an appointment
  • I just need one more minute

This pattern in my language, and variations on it, made me realise that they were metaphors for how I was living. 

With most of the ‘just’ statements that I thought or verbalised, I was unwittingly loading myself up with JUST one more thing.

And I was justifying behaviours that were causing me to rush through life and become overwhelmed and overloaded!

I’m sure you can see the pattern.

Do you do this too?

Is your language full of just-ifications that are creating stress, unnecessary busy-ness, a sense of being rushed and pressured?

Your Words Are Instructions

Just-ification is a real thing (to me at least), and it has me wondering what other language clues there are to indicate when we are talking ourselves into stress, strain, drama or heaviness.

What are you telling yourself about your business or your life?

What are the words that you use regularly, and what do they mean to you?

“Be careful of what you say, because your body will hear you and obey.”

If you say openly that you are playing small, procrastinating, ‘not ready yet’, I can’t do that, I’m no good at that, or any version of this kind of self-talk, please be aware of the implications.

When you say things to yourself, I believe you are giving your body and mind instructions on how to behave.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Let’s say you describe yourself as a chocoholic, or a workaholic, a sweet tooth or an insomniac. At that moment, what kind of instruction are you giving your body and mind?

What kind of information is getting plugged into the reticular activating system in your brain – your brain’s GPS?

When you make any sort of written or verbal assertion, your RAS takes note and filters in everything that fits with that assertion, and at the same time, filters out anything that doesn’t fit that paradigm.

On that basis, let me ask you this – what kind of behaviour are you condoning or even actively promoting for yourself?

What kind of claim are you making about yourself as a person, and what does that say about your identity?

Lots of questions from me today, but I have to say how important this is.

 Summary

By virtue of the way our brains work, specifically, your reticular activating system, when you think or say something about yourself, your body responds in a way that reinforces that statement.

I coined a phrase years ago while teaching a bellydancing class, that sums it up.

“Be careful of what you say, because your body will hear you and obey.”

Ready to have better self-talk?

What you tell yourself matters. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 106: Essential Advanced Business Systems

Today I want to talk about essential advanced business systems that you will need to set up once you’ve been working in your business for at least 6 – 12 months.

On the last episode of his podcast, I talked about essential start-up business systems that you need in your first few months of operation.

The systems I describe today will help you to get organised and deliver a more professional, efficient, and seamless experience for your clients.

Before starting

Before you build more advanced business systems, it’s best if you have some experience under your belt, and have a fairly good understanding of your niche and ideal client, and some experience with working with clients.

What I’m saying is this – it’s only through experience and market research that you can get clear on how you like to do your work, what your ideal clients like or dislike, where you connect with them and how they like to buy from you. 

Imagine setting up a complicated sales funnel on a social media platform and then finding out your clients don’t like that social media platform and don’t spend any time there! 

That would be wasting time and money.

To get some clarity on what your ideal customers want, just ask them! It’s called market research, and it’s one of the best ways to start client-centred conversations with the people you wish to serve. It’s good marketing.

When you are doing pro bono sessions or your preliminary programs, weave in a few questions to learn more about them.

Do they prefer to meet you on Zoom or on the phone? 

Would they visit a website to download information as part of a membership or not?

Are they involved in Facebook groups or not, and how do they use Facebook? 

Do they spend any time on LinkedIn or Instagram and how do they interact there? 

Who do they follow, and why?

Do they really want to learn about something specific and to get help with that, or do they just want someone to talk to?

Do they like to read blogs, watch videos or listen to podcasts?

Do they subscribe to email newsletters and what sorts of topics do they like to hear about? 

You have to keep doing this research on an ongoing basis in your business so that you can keep your finger on the pulse in terms of what your clients want and need.

That way, everything you do will be on point, and meeting their needs. It means you’ll be able to give excellent customer service.

Now let’s talk about three advanced systems that you might need in the next 6 – 12 months!

1. Your customer relationship management system (CRM)

A CRM is usually made up of one or more software programs that improve how you interact and do business with your customers. 

CRM systems help you manage and maintain customer relationships, track sales leads, marketing, and pipeline, and deliver actionable KPI data.

When you have a system or systems that work well and are easy to manage, it can streamline the administrative processes in the sales, marketing, and service delivery areas of your business so that you can focus on engaging with prospects and working with clients. 

The foundation of every software based CRM is an email list. It’s what you can do with that list, and how you can engage with the list, that makes a CRM different from just a regular email program.

This is one of those systems that has a LOT of features that you’ll only really make the most of if you have a good understanding of your niche and ideal customer, and are prepared to set aside blocks of hours for training to help you set up and use the system.

Here are some examples of how you could use a CRM;

  1. Track how people are responding to your emails and interacting on your website, what they are clicking on or not clicking on, and then to follow up with them depending on how they interact.
  2. Set up an online sales funnel – e.g. a landing page to advertise a specific service, and the page has a built in buy now button that captures payment, delivers a welcome email and signs the buyer up to a DIY program or membership that they purchased.
  3. Develop a membership that can be embedded in your website and give members access to surveys, quizzes, blogs, member forums and events calendars within the membership.

These are 3 common examples of how you can use the integrated features of a CRM to do specific things in your business. Of course, you need to know who your ideal client is, what they want and whether they’ll buy it from you before you’ll get any value out of having this sort of system.

A lot of software companies claim to have an all in one system that “does everything”, but in reality I have found that each software I’ve looked at covers their own select suite of business functions.

Some options that are popular include: 

  1. Active Campaign email system which has facility to upgrade to a CRM to track leads and enquiries, 
  2. Kartra, which includes inbuilt landing pages, email automations, pre-built sales funnels, a membership platform, and quiz and survey functions are coming soon.
  3. Clickfunnels, which is a similar product to Kartra but has been around longer
  4. HubSpot, which is focused on email communications, ad management, booking sales calls, live chat facility and providing quotes. 

Some of these have free or low cost trials, and I highly recommend taking up the free trial option before you dive in.

Here is a link to the $1 trial for Kartra.

2. Your Document Management System (DMS)

If your office is strewn with paper and post-it notes, with duplicates and different versions of things, then you probably need to set up a document management system. 

Even if you don’t have a lot of experience in business or clients, you can start setting up a DMS once you have a feel for how you like to work with documents.

A DMS is simply a standardized way of receiving, tracking, managing and storing all of your business documents. It can help you store data securely, and maintain version control and ensure all your documents are current.

A DMS means you can find anything quickly and easily because you have a logical system and process for all the documents you handle.

You can set up a manual DMS with file folders, file dividers and a lockable filing cabinet!

But there are software programs to help you set up a digital DMS that helps you to organise and manage your documents.

If you have completed my Passion to Profit training, we cover this in Module 6 of the program, in business systems.

Here’s an example of how it works.

In my business, I use Dropbox, a cloud based platform, to store all of my documents.

I organise my documents into several main folders: 

  • Business assets (all the content I develop)
  • Policies 
  • Procedures 
  • Templates
  • Registers

All of my admin, financial, IT, legal and marketing guidelines fit into those folders.

One of my key registers is an Asset Register, which contains a hyperlink to every video, blog or landing page or booking page that I have created. It’s like a library catalogue for all of my intellectual property which makes it easy to search for and find resources to give to my clients.

I also have dedicated folders for Marketing, Advertising and Training Courses.

My client folders are stored on Google Drive as I find this easier to share with people because we can both have a document or spreadsheet open at the same time and work on it together. 

It’s pretty straight forward to set up a document management system – the main thing is that you find a way of filing everything that is logical to you, so that you can use it in the same way consistently.

3. Your Continuous Improvement System (CIS)

 

A continuous improvement system is a way to constantly evaluate and improve the efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility of your business systems and the delivery of your services.

There are four parts to a CIS:

  1. You have some performance goals, and a way of monitoring or tracking progress and performance toward those goals, e.g. customer satisfaction, total sales per month, new enquiries etc.
  2. You take time to review this data and evaluate how you are tracking as compared to your goals
  3. You reflect on your data and identify areas for improvement if relevant.
  4. You schedule those improvements, which might include revamping a program you wrote, hiring a specialist to help with an area of business, or doing a training course to learn how to do something better or at a more advanced level.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say that you want to deliver a pilot coaching program to a group of target clients so you can deliver a high value experience to them and be sure it’s exactly what they want and need.

You’d have some specific goals around the customer experience and quality of service you deliver, and you might measure that in two ways:

  • Asking the customers specific questions each week about their experience, and
  • Asking them to complete a survey for the whole program, at the end.

The customer feedback would include things like how they liked the process of being signed up, your between session communication with them, the coaching process, and the support and resources they received.

You might also do your own coaching log after every session, and a formal post-program review for yourself to gauge how you felt about the program, what could be improved and to see how your own impressions compared with the participants’ feedback.

Then, you can reflect on all of the internal and external feedback and decide what you want to change to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and perceived value of the program, as well as the customer experience.

This is just one example but it’s an important one.

You can use the same process for your financial processes, marketing campaigns, sales strategy and any other areas.

Summary

When you have had a bit of experience in your business, you can create a more professional, efficient and seamless experience for your clients and yourself!

One of the triggers is that you find yourself spending as much time bumbling around with administration as you do working with clients, unsure of where to spend your energy, and lacking any sense of organisation. You want to feel focused and do more of the work you love to do, and less of the boring, clunky administrative stuff.

Or maybe, you simply want to do things a little easier and free up more time, and you now have some income to invest in automating some of the manual things you’re doing. 

Today I’ve outlined three advanced business systems that you can use in your service-based business to achieve any or all of these aims.

You want to feel focused and do more of the work you love to do, and less of the boring, clunky administrative stuff.

You can start with two of them right away, but I recommend getting more clarity on your niche, ideal client and your own work processes before investing in a CRM.

If you are looking at CRMs, I recommend using their free trials and allow several hours of training over two weeks to properly assess if something is right for you, before you buy it.

If you need help with business systems and are ready to create your own rinse-and-repeat way of doing business, hit me up on the contact page and we can talk about how I might be able to help you get this up and running, quickly and easily.

Ready to get your business systems up and running?

Having the boring bits taken care of will give your business the space it needs to thrive. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 105: Best Essential Business Systems

This episode details some of the best essential business systems available, as well as low cost software options that will help you to get started and boost efficiency.

I’ve just finished the latest round of my 12-week Passion to Profit business training course for coaches. 

I find that a lot of students in this course are unclear on which systems they need to set up a streamlined, professional, tickety-boo coaching business, how those systems can save them time and money.

So in this episode, I want to walk you through four of the best essential business systems that all businesses need, plus to talk about some low cost software that will help you to get started and run your business more efficiently and effectively.

In the next episode, I’ll talk about more advanced business systems.

But for now, let’s dive in.

1. Your Financial System

The first system I want to talk about is your financial system. 

Every business needs a financial system – sorry to be Captain Obvious here!

Your financial system needs to perform several functions, including things like: 

  • tax-compliant invoicing, 
  • reconciling bank statements, 
  • keeping track of business income and expenses, 
  • keeping track of capital purchases, 
  • budgeting, and 
  • keeping track of debtors (people who owe you money) and creditors (people you owe money to).

When you start out, it’s possible to do most of these things in spreadsheets or word processing software on a cycle of regular tasks that you put into your calendar.

This is a really low cost way to go.

But there are two problems with this method: 

  1. You need to know what all the moving parts of your financial system are, in order to be able to do them properly, and
  2. It is a very manual process and one that can be fraught with mistakes.

In my experience, most people don’t like finances or spreadsheets very much. So your options are to get a bookkeeper to help you with these regular financial tasks, OR, to find a more effortless way to do the financial tasks. 

After all, why would you use a cumbersome, difficult system to manage an area of business that you don’t particularly like?  It’ll just make things harder and will be an energy drain.

I have come to believe it’s actually way better to get straight into a software that will help you to run your books in a way that is accurate and time-efficient and that makes your business look professional.

I have two recommendations for software; one free, and one paid.

If you are ready to commit to subscription for a software that does the work of your bookkeeper and accountant, and can even be accessed by them, then I recommend Xero.

But if you can’t afford that yet, I suggest looking at a free software that does all of the essential financial functions that Xero and similar softwares can perform.

That software is called Wave Financial and you can do basic accounting, invoicing and receipts in the free subscription.

2. Your Payment System

Most accounting systems are designed to manage the books but not actually take payments, so I want to talk about your payment system now, as a kind of a subset of your financial system.

There are lots of ways to collect payment and a lot of people who are starting out will usually take either cash or direct debit.

Those are fine, but there are three issues with taking payment like this:

  1. A lot of business owners feel uncomfortable about asking for money and more manual payment systems bring those conversations to the forefront e.g. you have to physically ask for money in a session.
  2. Manual payment systems require a lot more time to administer, additional forms, and good planning to reconcile your books. 

Probably by now I’ve convinced you that an up-front payment system is way better.

I’ll talk about how to get payment up front in a moment, but first, we need to talk about the system for collecting money – also known as the payment gateway.

A payment gateway is a means to receive money – it is the middle man between your customer and your bank. 

Online platforms offer a great way to collect money in many different ways and there are a lot of options available. 

I personally use Stripe and Paypal, which are two payment gateways that are secure, well known and trusted. There are other gateways for collecting money, but I like to use those that have the best reputation.

The great thing about Stripe and Paypal is that they work internationally, they can collect payment in a variety of different currencies, and they only charge a fee per transaction rather than on subscription.

They also integrate with a variety of websites and booking forms, which means no tech headaches for you – everything in your client onboarding process can happen at once!

You will need a business bank account to use these platforms, and can use them to collect payment even if you don’t have a website. 

You can manually enter customers and send invoices from either system.

But let’s talk about automating things!

3. Your Booking System

You can manually book people in for sessions in a diary or a spreadsheet, but there are two main problems I discovered with doing this: 

  1. You can accidentally double book yourself, and
  2. You can accidentally overbook yourself.

Picture this – two people want to talk to you, and you offer them both a few time slots. 

But you realise afterwards that you aren’t actually available in one of those slots, and then one of your clients wants to book into that time, so you need to go back and break the news.

Argh! Not very professional.

Further to this, if your booking system is separate from your payment system then it means multiple manual, administrative steps to get bookings and payments sorted out.

And then, there is the challenge of manual reminders, and sometimes needing to chase overdue or declined payments which can feel uncomfortable and take up your valuable time and energy.

Luckily, there are booking systems that take the pain out of things and help you take bookings and payments at the same time up front, including all your client contracts etc, so that you can simply get it all done at once without needing to lift a finger!

I like using Acuity scheduling because it integrates seamlessly with my payment gateways Stripe, Paypal, and it ALSO does reconciliation for me automatically in Xero.  

In fact, Acuity links with a whole bunch of different webinar, email, accounting, website and CRM platforms. Those linkages are available with paid plans, although there is a free scheduling version available too.

But for around $150 per year, it’s a steal for a software that saves you hours of time.

4.  Your Coaching System

Finally, there is your coaching system, the last part of the essential business systems that you need to run a service-based business.

When I talk about your coaching system, I mean the sequence of documents that you might use in a coaching program that you deliver, from worksheets your clients use to set goals, to any emails you might send afterwards.

I tried a few different coaching software programs out there (and there are about 30 different kinds) but I didn’t want to pay upward of $30 per month for two clients, increasing from there, for a software that didn’t do what I wanted and overlapped with some things.

Maybe that’s just me and my Rebel tendency, but I decided nothing fit the bill therefore it wasn’t worth the fees.

SO I set up my own system using Google Drive and Google Forms, Sheets and Docs.

I use google forms for questionnaires and quizzes, client feedback surveys and my own coaching log. These forms dump all the answers into a Google Sheet for each form, so everything is consolidated automatically.

I use Google Drive to create sharable client folders and as a place to share Docs and Sheets used to contain notes, plans, schedules and other important information.

There are other ways to do this, but I find the Google system is easy to navigate, cloud based and all in one.

For example, you could use Word and Excel to do these things but the form/quiz function isn’t as easy to set up and run with.

Taking Time to Learn

Don’t expect to buy a software and ask someone to teach it to you. That won’t work, and it will be a long and frustrating process.

If you want to use a software, do the free two week trial (or whatever they offer) first and test it out to see if it suits your learning style, and makes sense to you.

Use the help videos and blogs to help you learn how to use it. Don’t ask someone else to do it for you. Set aside several 1 – 2 hour slots over two weeks to have a good go and understand it.

As the future manager and owner of any business systems, you need to start developing these skills right from the start unless you plan to outsource these things.

My litmus test for anything is if you can’t get the hang of it within two weeks, it isn’t the right system for you.

Summary

When you start your business, you want to run it as efficiently as possible to eliminate mistakes and reduce arduous admin tasks by using simple, efficient and effective systems.

Today I’ve outlined four of the best essential business systems that you can use in your service-based business to run a start-to-finish client process, from onboarding and taking payment, to running sessions and closing a program.

The right software will help you to run your books in a way that is accurate and time-efficient and that makes your business look professional.

Use the free trials and allow several hours of using the free training and help videos over two weeks to properly assess if something is right for you, before you buy it.

Then, you can say goodbye to tedious paperwork and manual, laborious, error-laden spreadsheets, and hello to some efficient and effective systems that give you confidence, professionalism and a rinse-and-repeat way of working.

If you need help with business systems and are ready to create your own rinse-and-repeat way of doing business, hit me up on the contact page and we can talk about how I might be able to help you get this up and running, quickly and easily.

Ready to get automated?

Using software will help you to simplify the tasks that you don’t love. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 104: Purpose Case Studies

These case studies present a more organic approach to finding your purpose – an alternative to the method described in episode 102.

Today I want to continue the conversation about purpose. I would like to invite you to do some deep thinking work about what matters to you, where you come from, what your journey has been and why you do what you do.

I talked about purpose in episode 102 and walked through a process for discovering your purpose. 

Perhaps you will see yourself in this journey. Perhaps you will be clearer by the end of this episode about what is most important to you and what your contribution to the world really is.

The first thing that I want to say is that unless you already know what you want to do and are clear on that, a big part of discovering your purpose is discovering yourself. It’s a process of self-awareness and self reflection. 

So if you want to get really clear on your purpose, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where you’ve come from, what you’ve achieved, what you love to do and what’s most important to you.

Here are a few examples of how that could play out.

The first story is about someone who is super good at organising and planning. This person was trying to figure out her purpose and her niche. 

What she has come from is a life of needing to help out in the family and get siblings and family members organised. She’s come from a place of needing to be self-sufficient with her schooling and study. So organisation is a natural strength and skill that she has.

Through a process of being organised, this person has been able to juggle work and study, family commitments, and to start up and run a business. People come to her when they’re stuck and not sure where to turn, she helps him to get clarity and to make a plan to start taking action – normally starting with getting organised first.

What she loves to do is see the relief on people‘s faces when they get stuff sorted out. And what’s most important to her is having a great routine for her own self care and well-being – in other words being self organised – so that she can show up with energy, confidence, and a sense of calmness.

Example number two is somebody who comes from a public service background, and who has had a lot to do with project management. She comes from a very formal work environment, working for the government, and is very familiar with the policies and procedures.

She was recognised among her peers as one of the best project managers in the division, largely because of her great attention to detail and love of doing things properly and finishing things in a high-quality way. She loved doing that type of work but not necessarily the role that she was in. 

She wanted to start her own business because that’s what she loved – the creativity of building a business and the control that she could have by owning the business rather than working for someone else.

So her purpose is to bring that detailed focus, high-quality and finishing aspects to helping people get their business admin sorted out in a really professional and structured way.  She does tasks for you as a VA and holds you accountable to getting your stuff delivered so she can do her job of making you look really good.

If you want to get really clear on your purpose, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where you’ve come from, what you’ve achieved, what you love to do and what’s most important to you.

Example number three is somebody who really values spirituality and connection, is very honest and values driven, and comes from a religious background.

She’s become known in her community as a connector as an empathetic listener, and has a wonderful support.

She loves maintaining a spiritual practice of her own and she loves helping others to do the same. What’s important to her is creating peace and calm in the world and a sense of connection with people supporting each other.

So it’s really clear that her purpose is to coach people in groups around their spiritual practice and the impact that they can have on others by being in a place of calmness, self-care and resilience.

Example number four is somebody who has lost over 50 kg. She has had a journey with food, her body and her emotions over many years and has struggled with her weight. 

She has been through cycles of weight loss and then re-gain, and finally realised that her secret to moving forward into a permanent healthy weight situation was simply to manage her mindset – in other words her thoughts and beliefs about herself and food.

What’s important to her is family, relationships, creativity, freedom of expression. Food and weight and her challenges with mindset was stifling those things for her.

What she loves to do is help other women who are busy, ambitious and overcommitted, to do less, be more organised, reduce stress, and find healthy ways to manage their emotions.

Her purpose is to help women to stop over eating and to start living their lives so that they can show up for their loved ones in a really present connected way.

Example number five is somebody who has always loved cooking, even as a little kid. She was always creatively experimenting with food, trying out new ideas. She also spent many years battling low-grade health issues and anxiety. She realised that her gut health was an issue and that she was feeling sluggish and tired because she wasn’t always making healthy choices or cooking the healthiest food.

She experienced a significant improvement in her health by following a plant based diet. And as a result of this and her love of cooking she realised that she loves interacting with people and helping them to avoid chronic disease and take control of their health by eating more plants.

What’s important to her as a value is health, and also spirituality. She regularly meditates and practices yoga and this fits really well with her beliefs about food and health in a holistic sense.

She feels passionate about helping people realise that a disease diagnosis is not a life sentence, and that they can make significant improvements simply by eating more plants more often.

So she feels that her purpose is to educate people about healthy eating, and to coach them around adopting lifestyle habits that will help them to feel more connected to themselves, but also to nip any looming health issues in the bud.

As I work through these examples I realise that I have many hundreds of stories like this. Of people who have figured out their own journey, their own values, what lights them up and what’s important to them in the world.

The stories are shortened and simplified. They don’t reflect the many years of searching or wondering what they’re here for.

What I can say is that if you zoom out from your life and you look at the major highlights, the struggles, and the lowlights, you might see some things that help you to get closer to defining what your purpose is.

Ready to find your purpose?

Finding a way to use your strengths to do something you love can be a life changing! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 103: Four Legal Essentials for Business

Are you unclear on how to be legally compliant and protected in your business? 

Today I want to answer some questions that have come in from students in my Passion to Profit business training program and from some of my private business coaching clients, about the legal essentials of business.

I’m sure you’re aware of why it’s important to operate your business in a legally compliant way, so I want to introduce you to some of the basics that you need to have in place to do that.

In this episode I’m going to list four legal essentials for business that you need to be aware of, so that you can operate your business in a safe, professional and compliant way.

Just a note that I previously published an episode on must-have legal agreements for coaching businesses, and you can listen to that episode here.

I am hoping to secure a special podcast guest on this topic in future – stay tuned.

1. Appropriate Insurance

Any practitioner needs insurance that’s appropriate to their profession and level of risk associated with it, which could include the sale of products. 

There are two types of insurance that you normally buy in a package:

  1. Medical Liability / Professional indemnity, and
  2. Public liability.

Let’s talk about the professional indemnity aspect first.

This is designed to protect you if someone sues you for loss, injury, omission or breach of duty from using your health coaching services. 

In partnership with taking out indemnity insurance, it’s essential that you work within your scope of practice and can prove that it’s your intention to work that way and that you actually ARE working within scope.

This is where formal policies and procedures come in. 

Policies state your intention and include statements of your scope of practice and the standards by which you deliver services and/or products. 

Any practitioner needs insurance that’s appropriate to their profession and level of risk associated with it.

Procedures back up your policies by outlining the specific steps you take to ensure safety, quality, privacy etc in your day to day operations. 

Note that policies and procedures are only evidence if you are actually running your business in alignment with them!

Now let’s talk about public liability.

This is designed to protect you if a third party sues you for accidental injury or damage sustained while using your service.

Imagine that you are holding a workshop in your home and someone trips on your extension cord and smashes their nose on the side of a table and needs costly medical attention.

OUCH! 

That person might decide to sue you to cover their medical bills, claiming that you didn’t take due care to provide a safe environment.

Apart from ensuring safety basics for any events or services you deliver, such as putting a slip-proof mat over your cords and tucking them away safely out of reach of people’s feet, it’s essential that you have public liability to cover you in this situation, and many others that fall under the banner of liability.

It’s important to ensure that your policy includes legal defence costs so that you have adequate legal support to defend allegations made against you arising from your Health Coaching advice or business operations.

If you run a coaching business, then I recommend checking out insurance cover via our industry association – Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association.

2. Website Disclaimers

Do all Australian websites need a disclaimer?

Your website needs disclaimers to prove that it is fit for purpose and to state the intention of how the information you provide should be used.

Remember that you can’t control how people interpret your words and ideas. 

So if you give opinions or advice, even inadvertently, a reader may decide to sue you because they experienced loss, misfortune or health issues after reading one of your blogs, or buying one of your DIY products, and misinterpreting the application.

Here is a great blog by Legal123 on this topic

They say that “every website contains information, and in most instances there is a specific intention for the information on the website. A disclaimer will help prevent a viewer suing the website and owner for any loss suffered from taking this information and interpreting it in the wrong way.”

3. Complying with Copyright

According to the Australian Copyright Council, copyright is free and exists the moment you create something in material form. There’s a great fact sheet that I’ll link to in the notes.

In other words, the programs, resources and client worksheets that you create automatically have copyright applied.

When it comes to your website, the whole website is not protected but all of the content you create and add to it IS protected by copyright.

And if you decide to quote somebody or use somebody else’s images or words, you need their permission to do that otherwise you are breaching copyright.

So, what about all those great free images that you get from places like Unsplash.com to use in your blogs or on your workbook covers?

Some sites like Unsplash say that you can use images for free, but they do prefer you to attribute authors in your blogs, and they have a couple of conditions on use.

In the design platform Canva, you can access free images and have freedom of use, but there may be conditions on how paid images may be used in a commercial setting.

The takeaway is – if you are using images, text or music that someone else created, you may need permission to use it but you will need to check the terms of use for that item.

In any case, make sure you include a references section with a hyperlink to the source in any published material that draws on others’ work.

4. Client Data Storage Security

Life was easy before the internet. You simply needed a lockable, fireproof filing cabinet and a pledge to keep records safe and secure for 7 years, before archiving them until the 15 year mark at which point you would shred them.

If you operate in the hard copy world, this is still valid.

But if you’re working online in any capacity, you need good digital security.

There are two parts to client digital data storage and security: 

  1. Making sure that clients sessions are stored on a secure cloud platform if using, and 
  2. Ensuring security of your own PC.

Regarding platform security, I want to share this blog that seems to be independent and gives a great comparison guide. It rates OneDrive as the best for security and privacy as compared with Dropbox and Google Drive at the time this podcast was published.

Even if you’re not using the cloud to store client information, you need to ensure that your computer and digital data are secure.

Individual businesses may be less likely targeted/attacked by hackers, but it’s no guarantee.

Two things you can do to beef up your security are:

  1. To share files with clients via a secure upload/transfer program like wetransfer, then move them to your C drive (off the cloud) or a plug-in external drive that you can lock away in a cabinet.
  2. It’s also critical to have a firewall, virus and malware software to reduce or eliminate the issue of hacking. Malwarebytes is a free online, trusted tool for scanning for and eliminating malware.

Summing it Up

Aside from business law, which I’ll discuss in a future podcast, and legal contracts, which I discussed in a previous podcast, there are four essential ways to ensure that your business is legally compliant and protected. They are:

  1. Appropriate insurance, backed up by policies and procedures
  2. Website disclaimers
  3. Complying with copyright, and
  4. Client data storage security

I have included links in the notes that will help you with these areas. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve been in business and around contracts for a long time and have seen things go pear shaped for others – as well as having a couple of near-misses myself and am grateful I’d done the right thing in both cases to protect myself from client misuse.

Putting the necessary legal infrastructure demonstrates that you’re serious about your business and about operating to a high, professional standard. 

Let me be clear – most of your business activities are probably safe, compliant and harmless. 

But I encourage you to safeguard that by putting the necessary legal infrastructure in place to get your business up to an appropriate standard of legal compliance and protection.

Aside from anything, it demonstrates that you’re serious about your business and about operating to a high, professional standard. 

Ready to get savvy about all aspects of your coaching business?

Knowing what to do can make it easy. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 102: Purpose

This episode is all about purpose, and how understanding your purpose can change your life.

Our self-coaching topic for the Habitology membership in September is PURPOSE. 

Today, I want to talk about what purpose is, why it’s important, and how to figure out your purpose so you can live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

My First Thoughts on Purpose

This is one of the earliest memories of asking my mother a question; ‘Mummy, why am I here?’

I was about three years old and was stuck on the reason for my existence. This floored my  mother and she had no idea of what to say. She was concerned about why I was asking such deep questions. 

Fast forward to today, and I am on a path to fulfilling the purpose I identified several years ago.

Purpose Defined

According to Dr Paul Wong, purpose and meaning are linked.

Purpose is simply the reason you exist, while meaning is the intention or reason for doing something – in other words, the beliefs that sit behind your purpose and cause you to take action toward it.

Some people refer to it as ‘your why’ – the big reason why you do what you do in life.

So why is purpose important, and how do you figure out what your purpose is? 

Why Your Purpose Matters

There are lots of reasons why your purpose matters. Here are a few.

Beyond Blue has a great fact sheet that I’ll link to in the notes.

They say that your sense of purpose is the motivation that drives you toward a satisfying future and helps you to get the most from the things you do and achieve – large and small – right now.

When you know your purpose, you feel enthusiastic about waking up. You have plans, intentions, the drive to keep going, motivation and importantly, resilience.

Positive psychologists say that knowing and working toward your purpose helps you to identify and use your strengths, to grow, to feel happy and to thrive.

Think for a moment about the flow on effects of that.

Imagine yourself being someone who knows what they want and how to get it. 

Imagine that you are clear on what you will be doing today, next week and next year, and why you will be doing that.

How does it feel, right now, to think of those things?

By now you should be feeling motivated, alive, vital and all warm and fuzzy, thinking of that result that you could create by having a purpose.

That said and done, let’s talk about how you discover your purpose.

Discovering Your Purpose 

Let me be very clear. 

You can’t necessarily just discover your purpose and live happily ever after. 

For a lot of people, discovering their purpose is a journey that takes time, reflection and life experience. Having said that, there are some things that you can do right now to start getting clarity about your purpose. 

Knowing and working toward your purpose helps you to identify and use your strengths, to grow, to feel happy and to thrive.

Remember I said earlier that your purpose – or the reason you exist – is driven by your reasons for doing something – that is, your beliefs and values.

On that basis, a good starting point for discovering your purpose is to explore your values, character strengths and beliefs.

I also believe you can access more information about your purpose by reflecting on your hobbies, past experiences and successes, times you felt proud, moved, and motivated.

In other words, the times you feel most moved and emotional in life are probably sign posts that you’re close to discovering your purpose.

There are plenty of online quizzes you can do to discover these things about yourself if you’re unsure.

But let me ask you some questions now, to help you get the idea of how it works and to start narrowing it down.

1. What is most meaningful to you?

 

At the big picture level, you can start working out your purpose by figuring out what is most meaningful to you.

According to Psychologist and researcher Dr Joel Vos, there are five main sources of meaning:

1) Materialism: finding meaning through your animals, possessions, professional successes, finances, nature, leisure activities, sexual experiences, health, and/or sports.

2) Self-growth: finding meaning through resilience/coping, self-insight, self-acceptance, creative self expression, self-reliance, reaching daily goals, and/or self-care.

3) Social: finding meaning through feeling connected with family and friends, belonging in a specific community, contributing to society, and/or taking care of children.

4) Transcendent: finding meaning through purpose in life, personal growth, self-development, the temporality of life, justice and ethics, religion, and/or spirituality.

5)  Being here: finding meaning through your own uniqueness, for simply being alive, connecting with others and the world, and/or freedom.

Reflect on yourself right now – are your interests spread across these areas evenly, or do one or two stand out for you?

This is a starting point.

2. What are your values? 

Now, reflect on your values, or what’s most important to you.  

Values are things that are important to you and that you feel strongly about.

A rough definition of values is that they are the principles by which you live your life. They guide all of the thoughts and beliefs you have and actions you take.

When you live in alignment with your values, in other words, when you are being authentic, then you are living in integrity – which simply means your behaviour is consistent across all areas of life, driven by your values.

Think for a moment about different people that you know. 

You probably know some people who place high value on achievement and spend all their time striving to innovate, or get ahead. Others you know may be passionate about creating community, and others are focused on spirituality.

It’s great that we’re all different and have different values, because each of us contributes in some way to humanity, the world and our human ecosystem.

With all that said – what are YOUR values? 

If you’re unclear on this, I will place a link to a ‘defining your values’ booklet on my website that you can download to help you get some clarity. 

I think about what’s important to me, and it’s definitely being of service, achievement innovation, and fairness. 

These are huge for me, both important and meaningful. 

They drive nearly everything that I do in my life.

2. What are your strengths?

 

The next step in working out your purpose is to consider your strengths, as these are the things you’re good at, and which you use to overcome challenges. 

Strengths are things that you role model for others – that means others come to you to get help with the things that you’re masterful at – so they are also part of your purpose.

Strengths are strong character traits that you use often in life, and in most cases you’re using those strengths to help you succeed or overcome challenges.

Strengths are defined as things that you are good at AND enjoy.

You can take a VIA test and work this out but better still, ask your closest friends and family to describe three of your greatest strengths.

What do people say about you?

I collect words that people say about me in my coaching log. The list I have says that people think I’m calm, non-judgemental, persistent, productive, creative, inspiring and knowledgeable.

If you’re still unsure about your strengths, you can reflect on the qualities you like most in others, as a clue to what your values might be.

For example, if you admire people who are honest and forthright, then you are probably that way yourself, and they are probably strengths of yours.

Another way you can work out your strengths is to reflect on what people rely on you for.

Do they always come to you for help with sorting out their messy schedules?

Do they come to you for a friendly ear when they’re down?

Do they beg you to bake your famous biscuits?

Do they seek support with massive cleanups?

Do they get your advice on gardening?

Everybody has something that people turn to them for. What is it for you?

People often come to me when they’re doubting themselves, overwhelmed or unclear. 

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve helped people write resumes, or reviewed blogs or marketing copy, or are unsure about something – and I’ve helped them to acknowledge and get perspective on their strengths, achievements and their greatness.

3. What gets you fired up?

Finally, purpose is ignited by passion. The things that you get fired up draw on what is meaningful, your values and also your strengths, so even if you aren’t clear on those other three areas, your passion can be a very good indicator of your purpose in life.

Zoom out from your thoughts for a moment and think about what gets you ranty.

What is the injustice that you feel emotional about, or the outcome you’re passionate to see?

Be very specific about this.

Think about situations or injustices or exciting innovations or visions that get you fired up.  What are they?

Pulling it Together 

I’ll give you an example of how to pull this all together, walking through these four steps.

For me, all areas of meaning are important to me, but self-growth and contributing to society are big.

Below that, my core values are being of service, achievement, innovation, and equal opportunity. 

Feedback says my strengths according to the VIA test are creativity, gratitude, perspective and fairness. Client feedback is that I’m calm, non-judgemental, persistent, productive, creative, inspiring and knowledgeable. I think I am innovative and have a pioneering spirit and I value achievement.

People come to me when they lack self-belief, when they are bogged down in overwhelm or self-doubt.

What gets me ranty?

Well, I get ranty about the fact that we waste so much food. I get ranty that there are people who could be healthier if they just knew what to do and had support to do it, that we could solve our nation’s health issues if people ate better and were less stressed.

I get ranty that there are people who have amazing businesses that could help so many people – if those business owners just had the self-belief and the means of getting their greatness out into the world.

If I pull this all together, a few things are clear: I am passionate about creating health and wellbeing in the world, but I realise I can have the greatest impact in the world by helping people start business in the health and wellbeing space, and to believe in themselves and back themselves.

That, my friends, is my purpose.

What’s yours?

For a lot of people, discovering their purpose is a journey that takes time, reflection and life experience.

Summary

Finding your purpose can seem a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

But if you follow this four step approach – to look at the pillars of meaning, to define your values, to get clear on your strengths and to find out what makes you ranty – then you’re well on your way to finding the answer.

If you need help to figure out your purpose, join the Habitology membership now, because September 2020’s self-coaching topic is finding your PURPOSE.

Ready to find your purpose?

Our September intake is all about finding your own purpose. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 101: Two Hot Marketing Success Tips

In this episode I’ll be sharing two powerful aha moments that my clients have had this week, so that you can get really comfortable with marketing AND do it with confidence, and sell your stuff like a boss.

This past week I have had two really interesting conversations with a couple of my clients about what marketing is and what marketing isn’t and how to get into the right mindset to really embrace marketing and do it well. 

These conversations were eye openers for my clients and it helped them to totally get a different perspective on  marketing, so I wanted to share them with you here today. 

The tips are to help you 1. feel totally comfortable about marketing and how to do it, and 2. To sell your services with a sense of conviction.

Tip #1 – a comfortable marketing perspective

One of my clients is SUPER good at connecting and networking with people, yet she has always shied away from the idea of ‘marketing’

I explained to her that, essentially, marketing is exactly like the process of making friends.

You need to invest in friendships and earn the right to be a friend before you can ask them to help you move house, or babysit your three kids for a weekend, right?

So in the same sense, marketing is a process of getting to know your kind of people who have a common problem and interest. And it’s about networking with colleagues in the same way, having general conversations on points of interest and staying in touch.

You’re staying connected with those friends (potential clients) and talking about things that matter to you both. 

You can do this on an email list, or in a FB group, or via a WhatsApp feed, or a meetup group, or whatever way you want.

The point is, whichever way you choose to build and maintain a community of ‘friends’ (prospective clients), you need to show up consistently and talk to them about what matters.

By being a good friend – supporting them, offering help and value, helping them stay motivated or inspired – they will want to reciprocate.

So every now and again, when you DO make an offer, free or paid, they’ll either want to buy it, or recommend it to others, because they think you’re amazing.

Once I’d explained marketing this way to my client, she had a massive shift and it suddenly opened up so much understanding and possibility for how her marketing could look, going forward.

Tip #2 – celebrating success to sell more, more easily

I have helped several clients with sales conversations recently and there seems to be a common theme – the feeling of I’m not good enough.

Sound familiar?

Most of us are taught that we shouldn’t be boastful, or that we should be humble, or that we shouldn’t talk ourselves up.

I totally agree! Humility is an important and attractive trait.

BUT you can be humble AND promote yourself at the same time in an authentic way, so that you can sell more easily.

The main obstacle most people face is that they’re stuck in the ‘I haven’t done anything amazing’ headspace.

The way to get around that is to celebrate your success – then the authentic sales copy will come tumbling out.

Here’s an example.

I was speaking with someone trying to reach people in a new niche, and she was feeling pretty disheartened by what she described as a ‘lack of ideal clients’ in her latest program.

With some coaching conversation around her successes, it was revealed that she had more clients than she thought. In fact, 50% of her current clients were her ideal clients.

Further, those 50% of clients were all very well networked and could introduce her to potential opportunities in the corporate space.

Celebrating success created a fresh perspective on things.

Coupled with Tip #1 above, suddenly a whole new world opened up for this client of mine, in terms of marketing and she left our session feeling energized, excited and very proactive about connecting with people (instead of marketing) and expanding her niche.

By celebrating her own wins, she was able to see what she had achieved and how to go out and talk about the wins of her clients so she could attract more of the same.

I had two other experiences like this in the past week and it made me realise that I had to share this with you!

In all cases, it all comes down to that good old coaching question – what are you making this mean?

The facts of the situation never change – it’s your interpretation of them – or what you make them  mean – that affects whether you feel like a loser or a winner.

The great thing is that you can control your thoughts.

And to succeed in anything, in business or life, you need to believe in yourself and your methods. 

In Summary

Marketing and making friends follow roughly the same sort of process. You have to have some general conversation to build trust and rapport over a period of time – at least a few months – before you can expect anything in return. You need to give first in order to receive, as Stephen Covey would say.

Marketing is a process of getting to know your kind of people who have a common problem and interest.

In addition, when you celebrate your successes, you see valuable wins which can help you to either feel more confident in talking about what you do, or even better, to help you speak about the results your clients achieved, so you can attract more of the same.

It all comes down to your thinking patterns – they rule your results.

If you want to master your thinking and beliefs about your business, visit melaniejwhite.com/habitology and join my monthly membership where you’ll gain the skills, structure, support and confidence you need to take action and get traction in your business.

Ready to get more comfortable with marketing?

There are habits can help you sell more easily! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 100: Client Centric Business with Bridget Healy

Today’s interview with Bridget Healy is a great example of how you can create a global brand using a client centric approach to business.

Visit Bridget and buy quality, values-led products online!

https://www.noopii.co.nz/

Ready to up-size your business?

Everything is possible with the right tools. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 99: Money Values

Today we’re going to talk about how your money values affect the quality of clients you attract and how to hack your own brain to improve both!

Today‘s episode is a short one, but a powerful one.

There is a pile of research that shows the old adage – that ‘like attracts like’ – is true.

An article in the Huff Post, written by PhD Margaret Paul, provides a great summary of how and why this occurs in relationships.

This is very relevant to today’s episode, because let’s face it – your life and your business are FULL of relationships, including relationships that are based around money.

I want to read you a direct quote from the article:

“While no one deliberately seeks out someone who is closed, negative and needy, if this is you, this is what you will attract into your life. If you want a loving relationship, then you need to do the work of learning how to take emotional responsibility.” 

Dr Paul’s antidote for attracting the wrong kind of people into your life is to take stock of the way you treat yourself, and to work on your own mind, thoughts, feelings and actions.

Who Are You Attracting?

Start by looking at the types of clients you typically attract.

Are they penny pinchers? 

Are they fearful of spending money? 

Do they find it hard to say no?

Do they see spending on themselves as wasteful, or a risk?

Let’s first acknowledge that this is NOT a sustainable business model.

But further, if your clients behave like this then it is a pretty good indication that your money values are similar and you’ll continue to attract people like this.

What you say to yourself repeatedly is both an instruction to your body on how to act, but also, it creates or reinforces your beliefs.

If you don’t value yourself, if you find it hard to ask for money, or if you just want to help people who have nothing, then you’ll remain stuck in this space and it will be difficult to build a business, let alone a viable one.

So, what’s the answer?

It’s that you’ll need to work on your thoughts so you can change your own beliefs.

What you say to yourself repeatedly is both an instruction to your body on how to act, but also, it creates or reinforces your beliefs.

The first question I’d invite you to ask yourself is – is business really for me?  I recommend thinking long and hard about whether you are willing to do the mindset work required to run a successful business.

This means actively working on your self-talk and your self-worth, so that you can start to change your money values over a period of time – perhaps a few months.

If you feel that this is definitely what you want – not to work for someone else but to truly run your own business, then let’s talk about what you can do in the meantime to start shifting your money values.

Becoming Buyable

Even if your money values need a bit of work, there are some things you can do right now to help you communicate value to your clients – and yourself – more easily.

1. Describe services as affordable and set prices that feel good to you, right now.

The word affordable has a positive ring to it and creates openness around pricing for both you and your client.

Now, to get your pricing right, I developed something I call the goldilocks pricing method, and it works like this.

If your fees are too high in your own mind, you’ll feel scared to ask for the money and it will block you from selling. Your clients will sense the doubt in you and it will transfer to them!

If your fees are too low in your mind, you’ll feel resentful about being paid too little and it will show up as negative energy around your product.

Remember that this pricing is relevant right now, and that you can revise and increase it whenever you like.

2. Communicate value, not price

When we focus on talking about price, we draw attention to the price, and it becomes the main event and the main factor affecting someone’s decision to buy or not.

It’s WAY better to prove the value of what you offer.

To do this, you can talk to potential clients about the value of what you’re doing in terms of:

what it will save them e.g. they’re no longer going to spend $100 per week on wine

  • what they might be able to let go of e.g. no more toxic relationships, or may be able to come of medications with doctors help
  • the value of tangible elements e.g. physical resources that are included such as a welcome pack, a journal etc
  • what it’s worth e.g. testimonials, where clients gush about the value of working with you and how it’s changed their lives
  • what they will gain e.g. typical results from other clients, outcomes they wish to realise that are valuable to them.

3. Make charity a longer term goal

I have seen people start businesses with the sole aim of helping those who are less fortunate – and not wanting or being able to charge very much – then failing in business because they couldn’t meet their income needs.

Quite simply, it’s better to make your money first, then you are way better positioned to help people who are less fortunate!

Summary

Today we discussed the fact that like attracts like – it’s a proven phenomenon.

That means if you have poor money values, you will probably attract those kinds of clients into your life and it will hinder your ability to build a profitable business!

The first thing to ask yourself is whether you are really cut out for business – whether you are prepared to do the mental or mindset work required to do it justice.

And if you are, then changing your self talk around money will be a priority for you. 

In the meantime, how can you attract clients who are willing to pay?

Coaches help people accumulate good habits that will help them achieve. 

Firstly, by describing your services as affordable, and setting a price that is comfortable to you, using my goldilocks method.

Secondly, by shifting the conversation away from price and onto value.

Thirdly, for those of you who want to help the disadvantaged, it will probably be easier if you create profitable business first, then make charity your longer term goal.

Coaches help people accumulate good habits that will help them achieve. 

Ready to change your money values?

You can change your relationship with money by changing the way you think! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 98: Consistency with the CARE Model

Today I want to walk you through a model I’ve developed – the CARE model – to help you be consistent with self-care and build resilience.

As I mentioned in episode 96, resilience is the ability to adapt to and cope with life’s challenges with ease, and to bounce back and thrive in spite of them.

As I’ve mentioned previously, if resilience were money, it would be a $50,000 buffer in your bank account. In other words, building resilience requires a regular investment in your own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

One of the challenges people face is being consistent with self-care.

You know what it’s like – the kids need something urgently, or you get loaded with extra work, or your partner wants you to spend some quality time with them and your exercise session or meal prep or book chapter gets shelved – yet again – for later.

In the short term, that’s ok, but if that keeps happening, then you’re adding nothing to your resilience bank account, so your ability to cope with stress, be creative, make decisions is going to decrease.

Now is a great time to decide how you want to respond to stress in the future – whether it’s a downwards spiral or to lift yourself up out of the chaos you feel.

And assuming you want to choose the latter, then you will want to choose some self care activities that are absolutely not-negotiable, and that you can be consistent with.

Let’s look at a simple, five-step process to get it right – the CARE model.

Self Care to Build Resilience

Self-care is any activity that builds and maintains your physical, mental, and emotional health and it’s therefore essential for building resilience.

It could be described as a more positive set of habits that can create an upward spiral rather than a downward one.

Some self-care activities that build resilience could include exercise, being in nature, painting, gardening, singing, reading, cleaning up or getting organised, cooking and eating healthy nutritious food, speaking aloud, writing, drawing, playing with your pets, sleeping well, doing puzzles or playing games, speaking to friends or families, being part of a community. 

A friend of mine came up with a novel self-care activity recently.

She sat with her partner and they looked through photos from their 2018 European holiday, while reading their travel diaries together and reflecting on the memories of some wonderful experiences.

Reflect on your own life for a moment – how would you rate your current level of self-care? Are you attending to it as much as you’d like, and in ways that you enjoy?

Here are some clues that you might need more or different self-care habits:

  • You’re experiencing insomnia
  • You have food cravings
  • You are overeating or overdrinking
  • You feel stressed
  • You are short of breath, feeling rushed or have fast resting pulse
  • You have aches and pains
  • You feel run down, tired or unwell.

Any of these indicates something needs to change!

To that end, what are some creative self-care activities you can think of that would help you to build resilience?

Step 4 is to ask: What does my ideal self-CARE routine look like to meet all my needs?  

Now, for each of the activities you’ve listed, use the CARE model.

Is the activity:

  • Convenient – does it fit easily into your existing lifestyle?
  • Attractive – do you want to do the activity? Would you enjoy it?
  • Realistic – can you enjoy a benefit from as little as 5 minutes up to 50, depending on available time? Does it fit in?
  • Energizing – do you feel good afterwards? Remember, this could be accomplished, productive, uplifted or have a calm energy.

Score each activity according to this model.

If an activity ticks all those boxes – great! 

If an activity doesn’t tick all those boxes, it could become a source of guilt, so you’ll want to change it or replace it.

Firstly, look at any activities you currently do and ask yourself how you could change them to fit with the CARE model.

Then, look at any new activities and ask yourself how you could make them fit with the CARE model. 

Step 5 is to develop a realistic, not-negotiable schedule.

Start with what’s already working – the things you are currently doing consistently.

Schedule those into your calendar, making sure you feel at least 9/10 confident that you could do them each week, in that time slot.

Now, consider whether you have room for any more right now, and can add to your self-care routine without stress, pressure or guilt.

If you can’t, keep your routine as it is and review it in a couple of weeks.

If you can, then consider one or maybe two things you could add, even just once or twice in the coming two weeks, to build more self-care into your life.

It takes about 12 weeks or 86 days to habituate a new routine on average, but often much longer.

This is a gradual process, and you’re building up your self-care activities in a way that is low-pressure, comfortable and achievable. 

Remember:

  1.     Keep it simple – rather under-commit and exceed your own expectations, and
  2.     Be extremely specific about what you will do and when so you always win.
  3.     Build your habits gradually, starting with what suits your current capacity.

Summary

Self-care is any activity that builds and maintains your physical, mental, and emotional health and it’s therefore essential for building resilience.

It’s a positive set of habits that can create an upward spiral rather than a downward one.

When people struggle to be consistent with self care, it’s usually because they expect too much of themselves, try to do too many different things, or do things they think they should rather than what they like.

Self-care is any activity that builds and maintains your physical, mental, and emotional health and it’s therefore essential for building resilience.

I described a CARE Model to help you overcome those obstacles, and to help you get clear on the habits that will be sustainable in the long term.

Then, there was the five-step process I outlined to help you implement habit change on your own.

What I’ve described today is exactly how a Health and Wellness Coach works. We can support you to become motivated and self-accountable for building your own realistic, not-negotiable self-care routine that will build resilience, capacity and a better quality life.

Ready to be consistent with self care?

Habitology can give you the support you need to create your own realistic self-care routine that will build resilience and improve your quality of life! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 97: Defining a New Normal in Business

As a result of lock down, a lot of people and businesses have been re-thinking what’s important to them, their values, and how they want their business to run.

Today, we’ll look at these related aspects and walk you through a simple process for defining a new normal.

The Need for Change

Before lockdown you were probably doing what you loved, had business goals and aspirations, a plan of attack, and you were using some marketing processes that allowed your business to hum along.

But since lockdown, our clients’ priorities have changed, and so have ours. 

Think firstly of your ideal client. 

They may no longer want a body transformation, but have decided their priority is to be healthy and mentally stable enough to support their families. 

They may have decided not to go out for coffee or food and to rather cook at home or, they may be working at home such that going out for food is no longer part of their work day.

They may be afraid of going back to the gym in case they become ill.

On the other flipside, some people may want to get outdoors to connect with nature, to grab a take away, or to redefine their health goals and weight loss approach.

To sum it up, business the ‘old way’ may not suit your customer anymore. Your business may need to rebuild customer trust if they are reluctant to attend businesses in person or you may need to pivot your messaging and products or services to speak to what’s important right now to your customer.

Also, think about what’s changed for you as a business owner.

Maybe you have realised you need more work life balance, so the way you do business needs to change.

Perhaps you’ve been forced to downsize, leave your premises or shift the balance of your work to a more online format.

Or even further, maybe you’ve decided to pivot at a bigger scale and pursue a different type of business model or a different niche.

In any case, because of all that’s changed for both you and your ideal client, you’ll need to rethink your business vision and what you want your new normal looks like, and map a clear path to get there.

What’s Important to Your Clients

A lot of people have realised that their families and significant relationships, self-care and health are more important than they used to be.

They are more aware of, and focused on, their mental health.

As a result, people are looking at at-home solutions for health, fitness and wellbeing.

People are talking about taking the pressure off, doing less, and being more mindful. There has been a shift away from the idea of big goals and more into maintaining what they have.

Since lockdown, our clients’ priorities have changed, and so have ours. 

They are shopping more online, but may be more mindful about their purchases and more price sensitive due to economic uncertainty.

They are seeking contactless or more efficient ways of buying.

Consumers may be more ready to leave their old brands and try new things.

They are more willing to buy local and support local businesses and economies, and are looking for ‘value’.

They are more values-driven in their purchases, looking for safety, equality, environmental stewardship, and businesses who are giving back or supporting their community.

In any case, the businesses who’ve done best during lockdown have been those who are actively supporting their communities.

People are risk averse and generally avoiding public social events, but may be engaging more in online communities with like-minded people to feel connected.

They are spending more time viewing media, especially video.

What’s Important for You

Remember that business owners are also consumers. You have probably exhibited a lot of the shifts in thinking and action around your purchases as your customers have.

This puts you in a perfect position to pivot, move sideways or reinvent the way you do business.

You may be ready to shrink or scale your business, to shift to an online presence, to engage with your clients on different platforms, or to rethink your value proposition.

Whatever your situation, it’s time to rethink your business vision, strategy and goals.

Defining Your New (Business) Normal

It’s typical to start any business with a vision of what you want it to stand for and become, and how you will operate going forward.

I think exactly the same process is useful here and I’d like to walk you through it.

Step 1 – Define What’s Important (to you and your customer)

Let’s start with you.

Considering what you’ve gone through, your skills and your strengths, what’s important to you right now?

How will that play out in your business?

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you run a cafe. And let’s say that you’ve realised how important family and your health are to you and in your life. That your strengths are warmth, connection and giving back.

Looking at your old business vision, you might decide that you want to pivot to a delivery or take-away model, offering a healthier menu of family-sized meals, along with a personal hand-written note of thanks for supporting a local business and some staff training on customer service and care.

Or perhaps you run a fitness studio, or work as a coach in a face to face setting. Your strengths are compassion, zest and vitality. The personal connection with clients is important to you, but is difficult in lockdown.

Perhaps your new business model will be to shift from 80% face to face services, to 80% zoom services so that your clients can connect with you from their home, and altered work hours so that you can get enough downtime from the screen.

You could still offer services or events in an outdoor setting with social distancing as allowed, or organise online fitness community events that support your clients around motivation, energy and fear.

So, what about your customer?

We know that pricing is a consideration, yet they want connection and a values-driven approach.

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes will help you work out the best way forward. 

Perhaps you need to shift your messaging. Perhaps they no longer want a “body transformation”, but are looking to “stay on track” with their eating or exercise or to be kinder to themselves, or develop consistent self-care rituals.

I had this conversation with a coach today, who has seen a shift in clients away from the idea of transformation and into staying on track and self-care, and into more of mental well- being habits than eating and exercise.

Customers want safety and convenience right now; how can you deliver that?

Customers want positivity and some fun; what could you do that offers that?

Creative thinking is required, and so your own resilience and self-care are essentials for facilitating that. After all, nothing creative comes out of a stressed brain.

Step 2 – Ask Your Customer

In my experience, most business owners don’t consult with their clients to find out what they want and need.

But the purpose of any business is to find out what customers want, and then give it to them.

Phone surveys, email surveys, written surveys, competitions with survey questions and other methods can be used to ask your customers what they want and need.

You can ask simple questions like; 

  1. How do you prefer to buy from us? 
  2. What do you like best about working with us? 
  3. What can we do better? 
  4. Is there something we don’t currently offer, that you’d like to buy from us?

I worked with a business once who added $100K revenue to their business and saved $50K on an unnecessary software just by doing a survey like this of their existing customers.

Surveys are part of your marketing; they demonstrate that you care enough about your customer to find out what they want and need, and how you can serve them.

Even better, post a thank you note to their address as a personal touch for participating in the survey.

Your customers feel heard, appreciated and valued. And they will stick with you, possibly spending more, or referring others.

Step 3 – Develop a Strategy

Most of the time, it’s best to make only one or two changes, or a few small changes to your business at a time.

If you survey your clients first, it gives them advance warning that changes may be coming.

Gaining their feedback means you can start working out a strategy that is feasible.

Your strategy could include one or two of the following:

  1. Changing your pricing strategy e.g. 
    1. discount, 
    2. packaging, 
    3. bonuses
  2. Adding a new service or product line e.g. 
    1. smaller purchase, 
    2. product to suit the at-home arrangements, 
    3. product or service to suit their altered priorities
    4. delivering services via video or 
    5. offering a low cost community membership
  3. Collaborating e.g. adding perceived value and/or convenience
  4. Convenience e.g. home delivery, online delivery

It’s important at this stage to see what others are doing and what’s working, not for the sake of comparison, but to validate the idea and give some certainty that it could work for you. 

The final steps would be to get clear on your support, resources and partners that you might need to bring it into action, and then develop a plan.

I’ll cover that in the next episode.

Summary

Today, I’ve talked about how our world and our priorities and values have shifted.

This has undoubtedly changed the way we buy, and the way we sell.

Business the ‘old way’ may not suit your customer anymore.

I’ve outlined the first three steps in a process to review and revise your business vision, to find out what your customers want from you right now, and to brainstorm some strategies to achieve it.

Hopefully, you’re clear that consulting with your customers will tell you most of what you need to know.

And if that aligns with what you want and can deliver, it’s time to pivot and make it happen.

Ready to find your new normal?

Considering what you’ve gone through, your skills and your strengths, what’s important to you right now? If you’re ready to break old habits and move forward I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here: