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E#221 How to Find a Good Small Business Coach to Suit Your Needs

This episode is about how to find a good small business coach to suit your needs

When you’re running a business on your own, it can be super helpful to have someone to help you to develop your strategy, work out your priorities, learn new skills, and overcome the obstacles to taking action. But if you’re shopping for a business coach, how do you find the right person? Here are 8 things that can help you find a good small business coach to suit you and your needs. 

By the end of this article, you will have a checklist of things that you can use to evaluate potential business coaches that you might want to work with to help you make the right choice. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Why chemistry is essential
* Key skills, traits and services to look for

1. Check the Chemistry, Rapport and Coaching Presence  

Like any close working relationship, chemistry is key. Check their being skills and presence in the conversation, the match of energy, and that they’re speaking the same language.  

Your best business coach is someone who is not overbearing, they MUST be a good listener and able to respect and acknowledge your needs and ideas and understand your point of view. 

Doing some sort of a strategy session or a good fit call gives you the chance to get the sense of their coaching presence and being skills, how that person is being alongside you. Here are some questions to ask yourself:  

  • Are they come to they help you to feel calm and settled?  
  • Do they show up with empathy and warmth?  
  • Can they be playful?  
  • Are they connected and truly there and listening to you?  
  • And what’s going on for you?  
  • Do they have that presence in the conversation?  
  • Do they match your energy?  
  • Do they speak the same language?  

These are some of the things that you need to feel when you first meet somebody to see if they’re the right person for you. 

Probably what I would steer away from is somebody who is more energetic than you to the point that it’s a bit overbearing or energy draining. That can be really challenging, if you’re working with a business coach they must be a good listener and they must be able to respect and acknowledge your ideas and needs and understand your point of view.  

I say this from my own experience at having talked to potential so called business coaches who were much higher energy than me and were quite overbearing and pushy. And I decided not to work with them because I could see that they weren’t really invested in me and what I needed, they were more invested in telling me what they thought I shouldn’t do.  

Any coaching relationship needs to have that two-way connection if you know what I mean.  

I think the other part of that is it’s not just somebody who fits well and has that chemistry, but they also need to be kind of firm, but fair. And what I mean is that they’re honest with you, and then give you direct feedback.  

It’s really important because you don’t want to be heading down the wrong path in your business, for example, but have your coach not saying anything. Or perhaps knowing that you have a knowledge gap or a lack of experience and trying to draw an answer out of you when actually they could tell you straight up that something is unlikely to work and then work with that. 

Having said that, a good business coach has the skill of drawing out your own ideas, they honour your needs, your strengths, your skills and your wishes rather than trying to make you do things their way. 

A good analogy of this is parenting. We sometimes see parents who want their kids to do the things that they could never do themselves. They end up steering their child to do things in a certain way or to be a certain thing.  

This comes back to the whole idea of coaching presence. It’s really about letting you (as the client) to choose the agenda and helping them to use their skills, strengths and insights to do business in your way. After all, it’s your unique method, your unique persona, your personality, that makes your business different from everyone else’s.  

2. You align with the service being offered – mentoring vs coaching vs teaching 

When you’re looking for a business coach, you need to be really clear on and aligned with the services that they’re offering. People who call themselves business coaches often share different sorts of ideas and information and they work in different ways.  

There are three main ways that a business coach works; 

  1. They mentor you and share what works from their own experience,  
  2. They coach you, drawing the answers out of you and helping you develop your strengths, or  
  3. Teaching which is instructing you how to do certain principles, processes and techniques.   

You need to figure out what you want. To do that, ask yourself these questions.  

  • Do I need or want to learn from and build on someone else’s example? 
  • Do I want to have my own ideas bought out of me, and fleshed out? 
  • Do I want to learn specific principles, processes, skills and techniques? 

You might want someone who is skewed towards a specific area, for example, you just want to learn how to run an Instagram profile and build a big following on Instagram. So that’s clearly around principles, skills, and techniques, and perhaps someone else’s experience.  

But if you want to look at your whole business you might not be looking for that kind of a person.  

Get really clear on what your goal is for the business coaching and then evaluate how suitable they are for you, by asking them questions about how they work with people.  

Most people need a blend and also, bonus points for someone who is agile and experienced enough to coach you around confidence, self-care, resilience and mindset as needed.  

After all, business is rarely independent of feelings and emotional balance. Your business and your emotions are intrinsically linked because your business is your baby, plus as a coach, you’re potentially dealing with vicarious trauma, health issues, mental health, and compassion fatigue.  

So if you’re running a health and wellness coaching business, part of what you need is also to maintain that emotional balance. It’s ideal if your business coach has the skills and experience to help you around those softer skills of business, but also your own health and well-being so that you can maintain your own emotional balance and show up for your clients.  

Some coaches do what’s informally known as ‘moaching’, which is they call themselves a coach but they actually mentor and coach.  

In summary, consider whether you want mentoring, coaching, teaching, and mindset or health and wellness aspects as well for emotional balance. 

3. Qualifications and experience 

Qualifications can be helpful but what really matters is that they’ve done it themselves, even better if they’ve done it in multiple settings.  

This is because different industries have different ways of operating businesses and their depth of experience and knowledge is likely to be greater and less restricted.  

For example, a health and wellness coaching business operates very differently to a traditional business. Many of the principles are the same. But until you’ve worked in a health and wellness coaching business, you don’t really see that it is quite unique. You might find a business coach who has worked in other areas (e.g. selling programs online, or working in another industry) but may not have the same relative and relevant experience.  

I’ve even seen people who have very high-level business qualifications, like an MBA, Masters of Business Administration, not really understanding some very basic principles. I’ve seen that same thing in different areas of science too. In summary, qualifications can be a useful indicator that somebody’s done training and hopefully that translates to skills and knowledge that can help you.  

But in my opinion, the most relevant qualifications are related to coaching, and experience in working with clients themselves and running businesses in the same industry is the best thing to look for. 

4. Proof of success (and acknowledgement of failures)  

Failure gives important lessons, so if someone hasn’t failed, they may not have as much depth of experience or be able to empathize and connect. 

So many of my clients say they have felt heartened by hearing about my failures, and it’s helped them feel more hopeful about their own chance of success. 

Similarly, though, proof of success is important. For example, a business coach might have run their own business successfully or helped others to do the same. They should be able to show examples of either of those.  

An important point about business coaching and coaching, in general, is that success is actually dependent on the person doing the work themselves. So if you’re working with a client, and they don’t succeed, but they haven’t done all of the work, or they haven’t put in all of the efforts, or they haven’t been the kind of person who’s been able to attract people, it’s not necessarily a reflection of the person who was coaching them. 

In any field, there’s going to be probably a small proportion of the total population of people who are successful. When you’re talking to somebody about their successful clients, as a business coach, what you can realistically expect is that only a small percentage will be superstars. Many will be in the middle of somewhere, and a few will have failed or not completed things.  

That’s a really honest evaluation of the client base of a business coach. For the most part, there might be a few exceptions to that. But I would say the signs are in any coaching, area, even health and wellness, you might find a few people who are really significantly successful in their client cohort. 

A good coach will be honest about that, and not promise you that you will be a superstar because of them. That’s a really important point because it is actually up to you to make the business work. 

5. Connections and referrals 

A good business coach can connect you with other people who can help them or help you find clients, and they can refer people to you who will refer you to others.  

That means a good business coach has an established network of professional and personal contacts, who can somehow help you grow your business. Ask them about their connections and network to see what sorts of connections they have and how they are relevant to you. 

6. Alignment with proven business principles – but flexible, not cookie cuttered  

A good business coach will have alignment with proven business principles. But they would ideally also be flexible and not have a cookie-cutter mentality.  

Think about it this way – yes, there are rinse-and-repeat ways that are successful, but they don’t work for everybody. There are principles that are proven to work and some that don’t. So being really clear about that is important.  

You can ask the business coach questions like: 

  • what sorts of principles do you follow in business that are proven and reliable?  
  • how do you work with people? Do you make them follow a specific method? 
  • Do you have flexibility in how you help people set up their businesses?  

A great example of this is I’ve been involved in groups with people who run, how to run Facebook groups or how to nail it on Instagram or to be a public speaker in order to build your business. But that’s all they do, and they say that’s the only way to do it.  

That means if I don’t want to build a business in a Facebook group, I don’t have any other options for working with that person. They might say that they do work with people in other ways, but they tend to have these specialisations or biases towards certain methods.  

Plus, these are specific marketing tactics, which often don’t cover other important aspects of business. 

I believe that it’s better to work with someone that uses general principles but can draw on examples that might be relevant for you, or point you in the direction of specialist marketing courses so that you can build business your way using proven principles.  

Having said that if you want to smash it on Instagram, then definitely get that specialty training. Just know that that’s about marketing and it’s only ONE part of running a business.  

We know in coaching that when people come up with their own ideas, they’re more likely to stick to them, right. It’s this combination of flexibility within a proven framework. 

7. Helps you create accountability around your goals 

A good business coach helps you to create accountability around your goals. This means that you have clear SMART goals at the end of each session as in actions that you’re going to take an outcomes from the session, but also that you have a method of being accountable to yourself. 

Now that might sound a little odd, because you might think that part of the role of the Business Coach is to help to keep you accountable, and it is. 

But if you want to grow as a person, if you want to become successful in business then you need to learn to become accountable to yourself. A coach can help you to develop that skill of self-accountability is really important, as well as helping you be accountable to setting and achieving your weekly goals.  

In other words, business coaching it’s not a forever relationship. It’s a relationship where you grow. And you might even outgrow that business coach after a period of time. 

8. Has the strengths that you lack 

Finally, look for a business coach that has strengths that you lack. The reason that you’re going to a business coach is because you have questions, you have stumbling blocks, and you have things that you’re finding challenging. Ideally, you’re going to work with someone who has really great skills in that area.  

For example, when people work with me, they say that I helped them to get clarity, feel hopeful and excited and develop the systems and processes they need to make their work and their business run efficiently and effectively.  

They’re all strengths that I have. I’m a listener and a summarizer, I like structure and I like getting to the heart of the matter quickly. That means I ask questions that probe and help people clarify what they want and need and why and how they’re going to get it.  

I’m very process-driven myself, I like a few simple steps to achieve an outcome. That means the people that come to me tend to like structure or want more structure and want to figure out how to integrate their business into their life so that they can have a work-life balance.  

So those are my strengths. And that’s what I tend to help other people with.  

Whatever you’re looking for, it needs to be ideally with someone who has a strength in that area to counteract the challenge that you’re having. Rather than somebody who just can do a few different things and a bit of everything, but doesn’t really specialize in a certain area, you’re going get a lot more value out of your business coach, if they have those certain strengths that you lack. 

Summary 

There’s a lot to think about when you hire someone for any sort of professional service. And when it comes to building a business, there are several principles you can use to find a business coach who is right for you. 

Today I shared 8 principles: 

  1. There’s good chemistry (rapport and relationship) and coaching presence 
  2. You’re clear on the offering: mentoring vs coaching vs teaching 
  3. Appropriate qualifications and experience 
  4. Proof of success (and acknowledgement of failures)  
  5. Connections and referrals 
  6. Alignment with proven business principles – but flexible, not cookie cuttered  
  7. Helps you create accountability around your goals 
  8. They have the strength that you lack 

If you are looking for a business coach and are interested in exploring a potential coaching relationship with me, please reach out to book a good fit call to see if we could work together. I am taking on a few individual clients from late January, 2022. 

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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E#220 Rebecca Taylor – Coaching Compassion Fatigue

This episode is about Rebecca Taylor – coaching compassion fatigue 

Are you curious about what compassion fatigue is, the signs of compassion fatigue, and how to coach around compassion fatigue? 

We answer these questions in today’s interview with Rebecca Taylor of Exploring Wellness with Coach Bec. Bec is a vet nurse with 13 years’ experience in vet clinics and animal shelters and a recent graduate of Wellness Coaching Australia. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is compassion fatigue?
* What are the signs of compassion fatigue?
* Compassion fatigue vs burnout – what’s the difference? 
* How are you getting traction as a coach?

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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E#214 Six ways to boost your professional credibility

This episode is about six ways to boost your professional credibility

Are you finding it difficult to gain credibility with other health professionals? Are they confused about what you do, or facing lots of questions about your qualifications? Today I’ll outline six ways you can boost your professional credibility so that people understand what you do and have trust and confidence in your qualification, training, skill set and capabilities.

I wanted to create this episode today because I’ve had two conversations recently that really got me fired up.

In one conversation, a recent graduate who is out marketing her services said she’d been constantly questioned by professionals about her qualifications – not by potential clients – but by health professionals.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What professional credibility mean
* Why people question your qualifications
* Six ways to boost your professional credibility

In the other conversation, a seasoned coach is starting a degree, following what I would call professionally bullying – being told by a health professional that she isn’t qualified enough to have enough expertise in wellness, and needs to do higher education.

After I got up from pounding my fists on the floor, I decided to develop this episode to help you to understand why these sorts of things happen, and what you can do about it.

What professional credibility means

To set the scene, let’s define professional credibility.

It can be simply defined as your education, experience, performance and demonstrated professional development in a particular field.

This definition gives some clues about what it takes to be a credible professional that is trusted and respected. Let’s dig a bit deeper.

Why people question your qualifications and professional credibility

According to an article in the Organisational Behaviour in Health Care book series, “…professional credibility is a source of legitimacy.” The chapter says that when professional credibility is combined with leadership, you can create respect and trust by peers, and engagement with followers.

So, when people question your qualifications or professionalism, they are looking for evidence that you’re trustworthy, capable, and skilled.

In a healthcare setting, it’s understandable that people might question anyone’s professional credibility because you may be dealing with people in health critical or l

complex medical or psychological conditions, and other professionals with significant experience in patient care and medical systems.

Somebody showing up with a coaching qualification may not fit into their paradigm.

In Australia, Health and Wellness Coaching is a relatively young profession and people don’t understand what it is or how it fits with existing medical frameworks, or within health professions.

Part of the challenge is the range of untrained and unexperienced people giving themselves coaching-related titles and offering services that are clearly not coaching related.

Another part of the challenge is the diversity of coaching professions around – you can be a life coach, a wellness coach, a health and wellness coach, a health coach, an executive coach….and so on. What’s the difference? Which is the appropriate setting for each one?

I’ll address these three issues in a moment.

But to finish up this section of today’s topic, I wanted to say that there is something of a turf war going on in Australia. I have heard of this first-hand from a psychologist a few years ago, who told me that psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors are fighting about who is credentialled enough for what.

Let me ease your mind a bit by saying that professional skills are important, our profession definitely needs some good promotion and PR, our scope of practice needs to be clear, but please also know that human ego and professional bullying exists and is potentially always going to be there, no matter how well known, recognised and accepted our profession is.

In fact, the reason I left my previous career as a biological scientist is that I was sick of all the egotism, barrow-pushing and bullying that was going on in my industry back then. I wasn’t personally affected but I was disheartened by the behaviour, generally.

That said, there are things going on and that you can do to move past the questions and to gain the credibility and respect you deserve.

Six ways to boost your professional credibility

Let’s look at 6 ways you can start boosting your professional credibility.

HCANZA – Look for the Logo

If you’re a regular listener of this podcast, you might remember an episode I did in May 2022 called how to boost your professional credibility. This episode was about showcasing the health coaching profession at the inaugural conference of our industry association, Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand association (HCANZA), and how attending could give you ideas on how to communicate what health coaches do, and what our profession is achieving.

As a current board member of HCANZA, I can say that HCANZA is working hard in the advocacy of our profession at the highest levels of government, insurance and medical sector in Australia and New Zealand. HCANZA serves multiple purposes, including building the knowledge, understanding and reputation of health coaching in Australia and New Zealand. We are running a Look for the Logo campaign that educates the public and health professionals on how to choose an appropriately qualified health and wellness coach.

If you are a member of HCANZA, then you have access to resources to help you also advocate for our profession, and to promote yourself in a professional way. Hot off the press, HCANZA members now have access to a 25 page booklet called The Doctors Guide to Health Coaching, authored by Sandra Sheinbaum from the Institute of Functional Medicine and provided to HCANZA members for the purpose of awareness-building, advocacy and promotion of our profession.

If you’re a current member, this would have been sent to you by email and it’s available in the member toolkit. The document has been sent to 2,000 doctors in this past week.

Professional branding

Whether we like it or not, first impressions count.

That means that any imagery, documents, flyers, email footers, social media pages, websites etc that you have need to look professional.

Professional branding can cost as little as $200 or up to $15,000 but before you leap in, you need to work out your target market and ideal customer and get to know them intimately.

Why? Because your branding colours and styles need to appeal to your specific demographic, psychographic and desired feelings.

Before tackling branding formally, when you are getting started, at least develop a professional looking email signature and a formal LinkedIn profile with a professional headshot and a well written bio on it.

Mentioning your qualifications, training and HCANZA membership is valuable for your professional standing and to raise awareness of our industry association.

Your main goal initially is to have consistent visuals and messaging across any promotional material. If you start with LinkedIn and an email footer, and any other online presence, they should all look similar, use the same fonts, and have the same feel about them.

If you are a HCANZA Professional member, log into your account and look inside your member toolkit for tips on creating a professional bio, getting noticed on LinkedIn, where to use your HCANZA logo, and crafting an elevator pitch (who you work with and the general area – e.g. I help professional women in their 40’s who are struggling with menopause). We also have a HCANZA-badged brochure that talks about the benefits of working with a HCANZA-accredited coach.

A clear value proposition

When you can clearly and confidently describe who you work with (elevator pitch) and how you help your niche (value proposition), it lends credibility and professionalism – and legitimacy.

A value proposition describes the tangible results someone will get from using your products or services. I did an episode unpacking how to do this recently using a tool called a Brand Ladder, which you can listen to, here.

A value proposition might be longer than an elevator pitch and speak more specifically to the tangible results. For example, comparing to the elevator pitch I just mentioned, a related value proposition might be something like:

“I use an evidence-based methodology help menopausal women to become aware of what impacts their menopausal symptoms, and to develop health-giving routines to help them reduce their symptoms naturally and feel healthy, productive, energized and calm”.

When you can clearly explain how you help people, they see the value in working with you.

It’s clear that you know what you’re talking about, and that you are confident in what you do and how it helps people.

Endorsement

Personal or professional endorsements are great ways to build credibility. If someone else likes and trusts you, and if you have proven success, this builds your legitimacy as a coach.

Endorsement can take on various forms, such as:

· Being a HCANZA Professional member and listed on their website

· Client testimonials (on your website or social media platform – or a widget like TrustPilot)

· Client case studies

· Professional recommendations (LinkedIn is a great example)

· Media references

· Employer references

· Corporate or business client case studies

Even as a new coach, you can cover at least some of these.

Professional networking

While networking itself isn’t necessarily credibility building, the act of consistently showing up in professional networking spaces creates visibility and recognition and helps you to build relationships with like-minded people who can become your allies and advocates.

For example, when I started my weight loss coaching business, I made an effort to send introductory letters to prominent health professionals in my area and meet several of them for coffee afterwards.

I also attended various events and presentations in my local area such as Medicare presentations, health expos and health practitioner lunches, where I could leverage those initial contacts and become known in the area.

Also, I started my business by running a pilot program that involved my clients seeing their doctors or health professionals for a health clearance before starting. This gave those professionals firsthand experience in the success of my coaching program, and therefore professional endorsement and recognition.

In the end, GP’s and podiatrists, chiropractors and diabetes educators were referring people to me for weight loss, having seen improvement in my clients weight, BMI, blood pressure, insulin, etc.

You can do this in your local area (four or five surrounding suburbs) or nearest health hub.

Publishing and speaking

Finally, being published in online articles, interviewed on the radio or podcasts, published in print newspapers or magazines, all give you visibility and credibility.

After all, nobody will publish you or interview you if you’re not credible.

While this is a marketing activity, it also gives you a chance to be seen, heard and known by different audiences, so they can validly assess (in their own minds) how professional you are.

Summary

Today we talked about the challenges we face in being recognised as credible professionals. The truth is, no matter how experienced and qualified you are, someone will always take a shot at you or doubt your credentials.

That aside, there are six things you can do to boost your professional credibility right now:

· Being a HCANZA member

· ensure you have professional branding

· develop a clear value proposition

· gain endorsements

· professional networking

· publishing and speaking

Passion to Profit

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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E#209 How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?

This episode is about how long does it take to form a habit?

Are you thinking about making change but lacking in motivation, and wondering how long it will take to form a new habit that happens automatically and effortlessly?

By knowing how long it takes to form a habit, it can help you to manage your expectations, decide if you are ready to start, and hang in there long enough to be successful.

I’m sure you know what it’s like. At some point in your life, you have wanted to lose weight, or tone up, or establish a better sleep routine, but it can be hard to get started when you’re not clear on how long it will take, and whether you have enough time and energy to even start.

If you search the internet for “how long does it take to form a habit”, you will find a range of answers. Today I want to share the most recent research to answer this question, with caveats included!

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The Architecture
* What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?
* What Type of Person Are You?
* What is Your Situation? What is Your Mindset?
* What Does the Research Say?

The Architecture of Habits

To set the scene, let’s look at the architecture of habits. I have done a deep dive on this in previous episodes, so for now let’s recap.

Firstly, any habit has a cue or trigger – something that causes it to happen.

Then there is a routine or process that you go through.

Then, there is a reward you receive by going through the process.

The craving for this reward can motivate you to keep coming back.

What this means for you is that if you want to change a bad habit or form a new habit, you need to work the elements of this ‘habit loop’ to help you get there faster.

Let’s look at how to do that, with some examples.

What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?

Firstly, consider that the type and complexity of habit that you want to change. Let me give you two examples from my own life so you can see the difference.

If it’s a simple habit you want to form like flossing your teeth once per day, then you can bet that it will happen a lot sooner and become automatic more easily compared to a more complex habit.

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me he had started flossing his teeth each night. This is something I’ve wanted to do for teeth hygiene reasons, but never quite found the motivation and

momentum to be consistent. This is probably because I found it to be a rather fiddly and sometimes painful task, and I had told myself that I hated flossing my teeth, or that I couldn’t be bothered.

But as soon as my friend mentioned he was doing this, I decided that I’d have a go too. I didn’t tell him or anyone else – I just decided one day that I would have a competition with myself to do it every night for 12 weeks, as an experiment to see whether I could turn this into an automatic and effortless habit.

The trigger part of the habit was easy – I would floss before brushing my teeth each night. This is called habit stacking, or as I like to call it, piggybacking. I simply put a package of floss next to my toothbrush and voila, I remembered to even think about doing it each night!

I got off to a good start and in the first few weeks, I realised a few things.

Firstly, I realised that each night I was approaching this habit in the wrong way.

When I got ready to floss, I noticed that I was thinking about how annoying this was, or how I didn’t feel like doing it, or how yukky and gross it was – unhelpful thinking! Instead, I decided to come up with more neutral or positive thoughts as I was flossing. I started thinking things like “I did another night! Yay!” or “This is good for my teeth!”

Secondly, I realised that if I was going to be consistent with this, I would have to be clear on the process. I had recently been to a new dentist, and they’d provided some written instructions on how to brush and floss your teeth. To make it more interesting, I decided to geek it up and deep dive into technique, trying to bring some fresh energy and interest into the process.

I learned about flossing on angles and how long it should take.

Those two things kept me going in the beginning.

Then I started thinking about the reward in earnest, rather than just having that sense of achievement. Sure, that was a reward, but I also ran my tongue over my teeth and made a smug ‘ah’ sound, really celebrating the clean teeth and how I was maintaining the dentist’s good cleaning work.

Something funny happened about 11 or 12 weeks into the routine. I had had a late night and a few drinks and was getting ready for bed. And even being so tired, I realised that I simply couldn’t go to bed without flossing my teeth before brushing.

It was a huge win! I could celebrate more than just the fact that it had become automatic and effortless – I also wanted to floss my teeth because I had created an attachment to the rewards of achievement and cleaner teeth (as opposed to the old rewards of getting out of a boring task).

Now compare that with something like giving up smoking. Smoking is something you do multiple times per day, and your desire to smoke might be triggered by multiple different things.

I smoked socially in my late teens, and in earnest when I was 21 years old after a stressful series of events. It had become a coping mechanism and a way of fitting in socially (these were the rewards).

After a year, I decided it was ridiculous to smoke and I wanted to give up but it was difficult! This wasn’t just one habit loop – it was many habit loops happening in tandem.

For example, there were various cues or triggers for smoking.

After breakfast. While driving. After lunch. When stressed. While hanging out with certain friends. While drinking alcohol. At a pub or nightclub (a common hangout when I was this age). At the end of the day as a pleasant wind-down ritual on the balcony of my unit. Looking cool in front of boys (or so I thought).

Coupled with the perceived rewards of coping better and looking cool (yes, I am groaning about these), I also had a serious nicotine addiction by now so had chemical drivers.

This habit was a lot more complex than teeth flossing!

In the end, I dismantled my smoking habit one piece at a time.

Firstly, I switched from menthol cigarettes (tasted better) to plain cigarettes and the worst-tasting ones – in other words, I made the habit more unpleasant.

Next, I substituted those cigarettes to ones that tasted bad AND had the lowest nicotine.

Then, I started delaying my first cigarette. So instead of around 9am, I would wait until 10am, then 11am, then after lunch.

By now I was smoking fewer per day, so I started buying smaller packets.

I started hanging out with different friends – friends who didn’t smoke. This was a game changer for this habit because it removed temptation and also helped me frame a healthier identity – by hanging around people who placed a higher value on health.

I was going to nightclubs to dance instead of smoke. I was going to the beach in the daytime instead of pubs to play pool.

By the end of about 6 months, I was down to one cigarette per day – the one on the balcony late afternoon. This was the hardest one to give up because I had a positive ritual and feeling of me time. However, I made the decision to stop and do something else at this time.

Voila, the habit was gone.

I had cravings for a while, but it was easier to ride them out once I got this far.

As you can see, more complex habits take longer to break or form and are more involved.

Some people go for substitution for gum or other things, but for me, I wanted to break the habit and rewire all the different areas of my life rather than swap one vice or habit for another.

What Type of Person Are You?

Complexity aside, I think a lot comes down to the type of person you are.

If you are motivated, focused, achievement oriented and proactive, it’s probably easier for you to form a new habit or break a bad habit.

Some people have more addictive personalities – and I am one of these (as revealed in a genetic test I had done a few years ago to look at disease risk factors).

Some people like putting others first and even at their own expense, which can get in the way of forming new habits.

These are all factors that affect your ability to form new habits and the time that it takes.

What is Your Life Situation?

Your life situation impacts your ability to form a habit and the rate at which it happens.

Why? Because making change is hard. It requires a lot of focus and energy from your brain, and brains like taking the easy, low-cost, low-effort route.

That means if your life situation is busy, overwhelming, stressful, painful, difficult, or involving major shifts or even crises, forming a new habit is going to be pretty difficult. Not just in terms of starting but in persisting.

The best time to form a new habit is when there’s little stress in your life, when things are on an even keel, and when there aren’t many other pressures in life.

This is not always possible, but at least you can clear the decks to make time and energy to focus on doing something new, or something different.

The less stress you have, I believe the faster and easier change will be.

This is where working with a coach can be so helpful, because they help you make the time and create the focus, and clear the decks, so that you have enough brain power for forming a habit.

And not too many at once!

What is Your Mindset?

Finally, your mindset is a critical piece of the puzzle.

You heard me say earlier in the teeth flossing and quit smoking examples, that I had decided to do it. And after 13 years of coaching, I can say that the majority of my clients use similar words.

They say that they have decided, or they are in the right headspace, or they are really ready. There is determination in those words.

And to be successful and persist for long enough so that you can form and automate a habit, you need to have a good enough reason which is meaningful to you, because this is your motivator to keep going.

What Does the Research Say About Time Required to Form Habits?

I’ve just given you a lot of backstory about habit formation that sets the scene for discussing the research.

A 2009 paper by Phillippa Lalley et. al. was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

The study involved 96 volunteers over 12 weeks. Those volunteers chose an eating, drinking or activity behaviour to carry out daily in the same context (e.g. after breakfast).

The time it took to form the habit and for it to become largely automatic was 18 – 254 days, with an average of 66 days (9.5 weeks). A huge range!

It is known that behaviour is likely to become habitual when it is frequently and consistently performed in the same context, this study found that a habit could be formed and become automatic even if it was missed a few times.

More recently, a longitudinal field study considered how self-control capacity affected the development of habits over a period of 90 days.

Contrary to expectations, self-control capacity did not seem to affect the habit formation process and opened the opportunity for future research.

The recent research reveals a few keys to easier and potentially faster habit formation and habit automaticity:

· Habit strength increases steeply at first then levels off

· The more often the behaviour is completed, the quicker the habit forms

· The more inherently rewarding the behaviour, the easier it is to form a habit

· If the environment is comfortable (no threats/obstacles), habit formation is easier

To me, these findings back up my experience with my own habits and with clients.

The recipe for success seems to lie in the goal-setting process and the situation, as described earlier.

If you clear your decks to make time, set specific goals around behaviours that are rewarding, and you commit to doing them frequently, you will more likely succeed.

Having the support of a coach will probably help you get there faster!

Summary

Today we talked about how long it takes to form a habit and covered some of the factors that influence the timing and ease of habit formation.

There is a lot of scope for future research in this area, with the most recent studies having shown that your capacity for self-control is not critical to the process!

Rather, the intrinsic reward, frequency of behaviour, commitment, environment and in my experience, situation, mindset and personality, might all play a role in the timing.

 

References

Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H.W.W. and Wardle, J. (2010), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998-1009. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.674

van der Weiden Anouk, Benjamins Jeroen, Gillebaart Marleen, Ybema Jan Fekke, de Ridder Denise. (2020). How to Form Good Habits? A Longitudinal Field Study on the Role of Self-Control in Habit Formation. Frontiers in Psychology 11. URL=https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00560

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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E#205 How to Develop a Magnetic Value Proposition

This episode is about how to develop a magnetic value proposition

A lot of coaches find it hard to really communicate the value of what they do in their marketing and craft a viable value proposition. Today, I want to unpack the ‘brand ladder’ with you – a helpful marketing tool that helps you define what motivates people to buy and craft a compelling value proposition that is guaranteed to attract new clients.

Before you develop any marketing strategies to get out there and start becoming known, liked and trusted to attract clients, you have to know what to say and how to describe the value of what you do. A solid brand ladder will make all the difference. It’s what will rocket fuel your opportunities.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is a Brand Ladder and Why Do You Need One?
* The Five Step Brand Ladder Process
* Crafting Your Value Proposition

What is a Brand Ladder and Why do You Need One?

In all marketing and advertising, we want to write, speak or engage with emotion and values that are aligned with what the clients want to feel and be, because this is appealing and attractive to them.

If you listened to my last episode, you might have heard me mention that 90% of a buying decision is based in emotion, and only 10% is based in logic.

So, how do you create that emotively based value proposition?

Brand laddering is one exercise to help you uncover the right language to develop your value proposition. This tool helps you to unpack the mental and emotional process your potential client goes through as they are becoming engaged to buy, and it leverages coaching concepts including positive psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and unpacking the “why behind the why”.

They start from outlining your service’s most important feature, then it’s benefits, the emotional value to the person, and how those benefits and values might change someone’s life.

The Five-Step Brand Ladder Process

Let’s walk through the five-step brand ladder process, so you can use this to create compelling copy and a rock-solid value proposition that is irresistible to potential clients.

Bottom Rung – Features

Features are the factual statements about your service, about what it can do or what it includes, and why it’s the best choice.

This rung answers the question – “so what is this program, and who is it for?”

If your service is a coaching program, then factual statements might include:

· Weight loss program tailored to women in their 40’s

· 8-week, evidence-based program to help you reduce stress at work

You can hear the points of difference here – firstly both are specific to a problem, the weight loss program is tailored to a specific group, or the 8-week program is evidence-based.

These types of statements speak about the strengths or differences of your service and therefore why it is a better choice.

You will notice that the wording is specific, not general. That way there’s no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. This is important for all rungs of the ladder.

Second Rung – Functional Benefits

Next are the functional benefits that these features provide. These are the end results of what the service can accomplish for your client.

This rung answers the question – “so what do I get?” or “what’s in it for me?”

Functional benefits are things that help people to:

– Stay connected – e.g. friends, family, socially

– Save money – e.g. reduce time, add value, track success, reduce costs

– Make you smarter – e.g. build skills, support, information, step-by-step process

– Help you be healthier – e.g. prevent, restore, mental health, lose weight, exercise

– Work better for you – e.g. faster, safer, evidence based

– Help you take action – e.g. awareness, motivation, confidence

– Simplify your life – e.g. efficient, easier, time-saving, streamlined, organised.

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· Making simple changes to your eating habits to help you achieve a healthy weight

· Learning how to better manage your schedule and leave work on time, so you can switch off more easily and have the energy for friends, family and fitness after work.

Notice once again that the language is specific to the client and what their daily life experience might involve. Market research and conversations with your client can help you get there.

Third Rung – Emotional Benefits

Next are the emotional benefits that these functional benefits provide.

This rung answers the question – “how will this make me feel?”

It’s a bit like peeling off another layer of the why in a first coaching session, asking “so if you were to achieve that vision, how would you feel?”

Emotional benefits are commonly things like:

  • Curiosity for knowledge – e.g. competent, smarter, aware
  • Sense of optimism – e.g. motivated, successful, inspired, special
  • Feeling comfortable – e.g. relaxed, nurtured, compassionate
  • Feeling free – e.g. alive, excited, exhilarated
  • Getting noticed – e.g. playful, popular, sexy
  • Feeling liked or self-assured – e.g. friendly, happy, fulfilled, confident, empowered
  • Staying in control – e.g. respect, safe, trust, reliable
  • Feeling myself/my values – e.g. honest, standards, purpose, family, authentic
  • Feeling revitalised – e.g. active, more energized, youthful, getting the old me back
  • Having a sense of pride – e.g. leadership, overcoming, accomplishment

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· This program is designed to help you feel more confident, comfortable in your own skin and aligned with your values

· By mastering your work schedule, you’ll feel more in control of your time, gain a sense of achievement and have a more relaxed time with the ones you love.

Notice how we are tapping into the client’s aspirations here. We are not promising that the program does this – we are saying how they might feel if they can get on top of their obstacles.

Working with your niche clients to help them create a vision can help you to work out these ‘feeling words’ more specifically.

Fourth Rung – Transformational Benefits

Next are the transformational benefits that are possible when a client can make lasting change.

This rung answers the question – “how will this change my life?”

This is like peeling off yet another layer of the why in a first coaching session, asking “Why is this vision so meaningful for you?”

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· I’ll be a better, healthier role model for my kids and know that I am doing the best for my health

· I’ll have better, more meaningful relationships with my family, have more fun in life, and perform better at work.

Notice how we are tapping into the client’s deeper values and motivators here. Reflect on how you feel even just listening to these transformational benefits!

(Sometimes) Fifth Rung – Social Impact

Some brand ladders have another layer – related to social impact of the company or even of the person using the company’s services.

This rung answers the question – “how does this change society?”

In a coaching context, this might only really apply to specific niches, but it could also speak to the values of your business and it’s greater mission in the world.

For example:

· XYZ Coaching is on a mission to put an end to diabetes and other avoidable lifestyle diseases. This is your chance to be part of the change and inspire your friends and family with healthier choices for a healthy weight.

· Burnout is a global problem. For every program purchased, we will donate $10 to Beyond Blue, an organisation that supports and advocates for better mental health.

By now, your potential client will feel on a high and be excited to work with you!

Crafting Your Value Proposition

So, how do you use this information to craft a value proposition?

It’s about pulling together the key elements of the ladder into something that speaks to the value of what you do.

Using the weight loss example:

If you’re a woman in your 40’s who is struggling to lose weight, XYZ coaching will take you through a step-by-step process to make weight loss easier. You’ll finally start to feel more comfortable in your own skin and be the role model you want to be for your family.

Using the stress management example:

If you’re sick of feeling overwhelmed by workplace stress, this evidence-based program will help you to manage your time better and feel more energized so you can switch off more easily and have more quality time with the people and things you love.

Summary

The brand ladder exercise is a great tool to help you unpack a statement that truly conveys the value of what you do – your value proposition – and taps into your prospective client’s emotional drivers.

You can build a brand ladder using the words your clients use in their initial vision sessions, by peeling off the layers of the why.

Assuming that you have the best intentions for your client and will do your best as a coach, this is an authentic way to get excited about what you do and the difference you can make in the world.

It helps you to stand out and be emotionally engaging to the right people.

And if you get this right, you’ll easily have more clients heading your way.

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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E#204 How to Better Explain What You Do So You Can Attract More Paying Clients

This episode is about how to better explain what you do so you can attract more paying clients

A lot of coaches have trouble explaining what they do, what health coaching is and how it works. And that’s why I want to get a bit ranty today. We’ll talk about the #1 reason why you may NOT be getting the leads you want, and how best to explain what you do so that you can confidently speak to people and attract more paying clients.

Advocacy vs Niche Marketing

I want to start this episode by talking about advocacy versus niche marketing. The problem I see is that a lot of coaches are so stuck on telling people what health and wellness coaching is BUT they’re not really communicating the value of health and wellness coaching. Let me explain

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Advocacy vs Niche Marketing
* Appealing to Emotions
* Brand Laddering
* How to Attract Paying Clients

For starters, people buy things that they believe will get them a result.

But if you are trying to explain your services in terms of how your profession works, then you’re not really talking about how you help the individual or the results they will get.

For example, imagine a doctor explaining how doctors work. He might say something like:

“Well, patients come to see me when they’re not feeling well. They come in and make an appointment and then we sit down and go through the health history, and I work out what’s going on with them now and I may prescribe medication or treatment that will help them to get better. They might come and see me again in a couple of weeks to make sure everything’s been resolved and that’s how being a doctor works.”

Now, I know that’s a really obvious example, but it illustrates what some coaches are trying to do when they’re explaining Health and Wellness coaching to people.

When you talk about helping clients to set visions and create goals and make lifestyle change, then you’re talking much more about how professionals in our industry work within a session with a client.

For the sake of clarity, let’s call this type of explanation “advocacy”.

The term fits pretty well with the dictionary definition of advocacy, which is “the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal.”

How do you know if you’re going down the road of ‘advocacy’ in your marketing?

Well, your copy would include words that focus more on our profession. The language you use would be broader and perhaps more about you as a coach. If you are using more thinking, factual or logical words to describe what you do. He might be also talking about qualifications and standards, professional affiliations, or the science behind what you do.

Let’s be clear – There is a role for advocacy in your marketing particularly if you are talking to other health professionals for the sake of building relationships to gain referrals. But you are not likely to get clients this way directly, because you were not speaking to them emotively in their language.

This is why I’d like to talk about niche marketing now.

Niche marketing is very different to advocacy. In niche marketing, your language focuses more on person, not the profession. You’re using more feeling words and specifically, the words that your clients used to describe their pain points and desired feeling-based solutions. You’re talking about their unmet needs, their perceived problem, how that plays out in their daily life, their desired solution and your value proposition. As a refresher, a value proposition is defined as a basic statement that communicates the benefit you promise to deliver to your customers post purchase.

This is how the hypothetical doctor might discuss his value proposition to a prospective client.

“I’m a Doctor who specialises in helping people who have just been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or diabetes. I understand that being diagnosed with this might be a shock and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you are confused about your treatment options, mediation and their side effects, or which areas of your health require attention.

I understand how worrying this can be, especially with your work and family responsibilities at this time of your life. As someone who has treated metabolic conditions for 10 years, I am here to help you to navigate your condition, understand what’s going on in your body and take action to prevent the progression of this condition by taking action to lower your cholesterol, reduce your waist circumference, normalise your liver function and improve your physical and mental health.”

Can you hear the difference in the language? Of course, doctors don’t usually describe their work like that or use emotive language.

But if you had a metabolic condition and you heard those two descriptions, one based in more advocacy language and one about the challenges that someone with metabolic syndrome faces, which one would be more appealing?

Which one of those doctors would you trust more?

Appealing to Emotions

As I mentioned earlier, if you want to explain what you do really clearly and in a way that grabs attention then it’s important that you appeal to their emotions. And to appeal to someone’s emotions, talk with emotional words about things that they are emotionally engaged with.

You want to tell a story, but not just any story – you want to tell the niche client’s personal story.

You want to use descriptive and emotive words, and real examples of what the person might be thinking, living, experiencing and feeling. This portrays your understanding of them as a person and not just as a prospective client. This naturally brings a flavour of empathy, compassion, understanding and relatability to your words and messages.

Imagine how confident you’d feel knowing you had something that engaged people at their very heart and soul!

Brand Laddering

So how do you work out how to describe what you do in a more emotive way?

Brand laddering is one exercise you can do to bring more emotive language into your marketing copy, and to make it more about the person than about your profession. I will talk about that in the next episode, but the premise is that it helps you peel of the why’s behind the service.

It helps you to unpack the mental and emotional process your potential client goes through as they are becoming engaged to buy.

It works just like our very own coaching process of exploring the whys. As coaches, we explore a client’s challenge and desired solution with them by asking several why-type questions to uncover their values, motivators and drivers.

More in the next episode! But first, let’s back up a step and talk about a four step process to help you improve the way you describe your services to potential clients.

How to Better-Attract Paying Clients

If you want to get better at attracting paying clients, you will need to switch out of advocacy marketing and into niche marketing.

Here are four steps to better-explain how you work, and more easily engage paying clients.

1. Conduct LIVE market research interviews with your niche to hear what they are emotional about, and to hear the words they use to describe their problem, desired results and bigger why outcomes.

2. Create a brand ladder that captures the key words from these interviews, moving beyond the ‘features’ of what you do and into the emotional and transformational benefits.

3. Use this to craft a value proposition that clearly explains the tangible emotional benefits that your niche client wants.

4. Ask some of your niche clients for feedback on the value proposition. Why do they like it or why not? What does it mean to them? What would be more appealing, if anything?

Engaging people in your niche for feedback is ALWAYS, 100%, the best way to get your marketing copy, your explanation of what you do, and any descriptions of your services, spot on.

If in doubt – contact a business or marketing coach for support!

Summary

Today we talked about what coaches typically do wrong when describing what they do as a profession, and why it doesn’t work.

We compared the more factual, profession-based ‘advocacy’ approach to marketing, versus the more emotive, client-focused niche marketing approach.

Your ability to attract clients is all about appealing to their emotions. If you want to attract more paying clients, try following my four step process:

1. Conduct market research interviews with your niche

2. Create a brand ladder to draw out the more emotional, why-based words

3. Develop a value proposition using more emotive, client-focused words

4. Practice it on your niche before sharing your insights in your marketing

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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E#202 Should I Show Pricing on My Website?

This episode is about should I show pricing on my website?

This is a question that comes up a lot – should I show pricing on my website, or is it better to not have pricing on my website? This episode covers the pros and cons and helps you make this decision.

Recently in my Passion to Profit course, I had a conversation with my current students on whether to include pricing on your website. We had a great brainstorm on the topic including how individuals felt if they were in the customer’s shoes, and I wanted to share some of the insights here.

What do your clients like?

The really easy way to figure this out is to ask your existing clients or practice clients what their opinion is. A client-centric business always starts with this approach.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Getting client feedback
* Price Lists on Websites – Benefits and Inclusions
* Why you might not include pricing on your website

You can either send them a direct message, email or even have a conversation with them and just say “hey, I’m winding whether to include pricing on my website. Would this make a difference to you?” Done just ask any clients, ask your favourite clients. After all, you want more of those, so their opinion matters more!

If you don’t have any clients yet, then think about your own buying preferences, after all, your ideal client is probably a lot like you are in terms of their values.

Imagine that you were going to buy a coaching program from somebody, and you were looking on their website to see what their packages were all about. Would it make a difference if there was pricing there, or not?

Price List on Websites – Benefits, and What to Include

What are some of the upsides of including pricing on your website?

Well for starters, it might seem like you are more authentic, and have nothing to hide. It might seem like you’re very upfront and honest.

Most people assess value based on typical outcomes or results, but pricing is often part of the decision, especially if the person doesn’t know you very well or doesn’t have enough proof or trust that you can help them actually succeed and get results.

If you are going to include pricing on your website, you’d need to make a few things clear. These include things like:

1. What is included in the price (features written as benefits)

2. What are the different package and pricing options? (not too many)

3. What are the payment options?

Let’s unpack these a bit.

What’s included in the price

When we are talking about what is included, it’s tempting to think about features, like workbooks, coaching sessions, etc. And while these are all valuable things, there are ways to describe them that communicate the value clearly.

I call these ‘features written as benefits’. This is where you list a feature and explain why it’s important.

Here are two examples:

1. 8 x 1:1 coaching sessions to give you the support, self-awareness and accountability you need to work out what to do, problem-solve, celebrate wins and become consistent

2. A 20-page workbook to help you develop an action plan, stay motivated and see results

Doesn’t that sound way more exciting than just saying ‘8 coaching sessions and a 20-page workbook’?

I would use this as full descriptive text that goes into detail of what the program includes.

In keeping with consumer protection law, please make sure you are not promising a result that you can’t deliver. Rather, talk about how the feature is intended to help them.

Packaging and pricing options

In terms of pricing options, if you decide to show pricing on your website, make it really clear as to what’s included in each option so the person can see how they’re different.

It’s helpful to include a diagram showing three options and listing what’s included in each.

You can also outline what the market retail price for each option is, and what you are selling it for (e.g. valued at $900, price is $600). This highlights the value of what you are offering without discounting (stay away from that!)

People normally choose the middle of three options, and this is typically your core or main program.

Payment options

In terms of payment options, if you are going to put pricing on your website, it’s important that people know how you will charge them and whether there are options.

For example, is it one payment up front, or three easy payments, or something else?

Sometimes people are interested but don’t have the money upfront, so would potentially buy if they knew there was a payment plan available.

You don’t have to offer a payment plan! And if you do, make sure you have clear terms and conditions, and make it easy for them. This is a whole other podcast, for sure!

Why You Might Not List Pricing on Websites, and What to Include

There may be circumstances where you don’t want to put pricing on your website, and that’s totally ok.

Firstly, a person who sees pricing listed on your website might decide then and there, based on price that they don’t want to work with you – before you have any chance to talk to them about their needs and wants.

That means you potentially lose a customer. Of course, if they are price driven, they might not be the customer you want to work with!

Another consideration is that your program options might be fairly customised and it could be too difficult to communicate easily on a website or landing page.

For example, you might have two or three options for a package that really require an understanding of the person in order for them to make the right choice, so a conversation is necessary first.

Similarly, there might be pre-requisites for a client to complete before they work with you. For example, with my weight loss program DownsizeMe, I required all clients to have a health clearance from their GP before signing up, and that might dictate whether they would buy the program at all, and/or which option is best. I also had this program available via licensees in other states who might have charged different prices, so I didn’t list the price on the website.

If you don’t list pricing on your website, then what should you include?

There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but there are a few things I think are essential to still get enquiries for your services.

Firstly, lots of recent, positive testimonials or ratings are a good starting point. This tells the reader that a lot of people have succeeded as a result of your program, and what they liked about the program. It gets them hopeful and excited, and shifts them into the mindset of ‘value buying’ rather than ‘price buying’.

Secondly, you might like to explain why you don’t list pricing. For example, saying that there are pre-requisites, or options that can be highly customised, or other reasons, would be important to allay any fears of ‘hard sales’ in your website visitor.

Thirdly, you still need to communicate the benefits, value and comparison of your program options, indicating where any tailoring might occur. At least people can see what they’re getting for their money, and you are shifting them into that value-buying mindset.

Fourth, the way you position the enquiry is important. I provide a booking link to a 30-minute good fit call or give them the option to send a contact me message. In my reply, I tell them it’s a chance to see if they’re suitable and if we have the right chemistry – if not, I will be honest and refer them to someone else, rather than set them up for failure. This feels really authentic to me and has been accepted by everyone who has followed this pathway. And there are several I’ve said no to!

Fifth, it can be helpful to put a short video of you on your website (or at least some bullet list points) explaining why you developed this program and who it’s for, and not for. This helps people see that you’re not just desperate for anyone and that you truly are seeking a good fit and to work with the right person – that way, they are more likely to succeed and you’ll both be happy.

Finally, if you want to, you can provide an indicative price range or a statement like ‘programs start from $ (amount)’ so the reader at least has a ballpark guide. This can be effective for getting them over the line.

Summary

It was interesting to have a discussion with my Passion to Profit students on whether to include pricing on your website or not.

We discussed:

· The benefits of including pricing on your website

· The reasons why you might not show pricing on your website, and

· Things to include in either case to position your services and options appropriately.

If you need help with pricing, reach out to me via my contact page for a good fit call.

For enquiries about my Passion to Profit course, click here.

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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E#197 Business Pivoting – Do I Need New Branding and Social Media Pages?

This episode is about business pivoting – do I need new branding and social media pages?

Recently I was asked whether pivoting your niche requires you to set up all new social medial profiles and pages, separate from your existing ones. Let’s talk through this today and summarise a few key points.

No matter who you are, when you start your business, it will take a long time before you truly, deeply understand your niche. Even if you have your own lived experience with your niche’s main problem, your experience of it will be different from theirs.

And as you know, being on a journey yourself means that more and more layers of the onion (as we call it in coaching) are peeled away revealing the true meaning and beliefs behind our habits, thoughts and actions.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is your brand?
* How to evolve your brand – Option 1 – the Tweak
* How to evolve your brand – Option 2 – the Happy Ending

And invariably, as you peel off those layers and learn more about yourself and your niche, you will likely become more specific about who your niche is. You may even pivot your niche because you finally understand who your best clients are or because you may have outgrown the niche clients that you started with, or realised that some aren’t as committed as others and you want to work with people who are totally all in.

What does this mean for your business?

In short – it probably means you need to rebrand.

What is your brand?

You’ve probably heard the word branding being used in a marketing sense. Your brand includes the images, personality, position, values and traits that your business is known for. Your brand is designed to attract the right type of customers to your business.

When you start your business you have an immature brand, because you have somewhat limited knowledge of your niche and ideal client.

Your brand matures and evolves as you get to know your ideal client.

What I mean by that is that you start using their language in your marketing, using more images that look like them, sharing personal anecdotes that resonate with them, and connecting more deeply. Maybe your customer journey has evolved.

As a result, you set up your website and social media accounts to appeal to those people.

So if you pivot your niche or evolve it substantially, what do you do with all those social media pages?

Do you create new pages and run them in parallel?

Do you move to a different social media platform?

Do you close everything down and relaunch?

How to evolve your brand – two options

Right up front I’ll be clear that I’m not an expert in this – but I have heard the same stories from some true experts.

And here’s the general agreement on how to do it.

Option 1 – Tweaks and specificity

Let’s start with option 1 – you’re going to be more specific or make some upgrades but essentially work with a similar type of client.

Start telling your people that things will be changing around here.

Let them know you still love your followers but they’ll notice you sprucing things up and maybe talking a bit differently or more specifically than you have in the past. Or let them know that you are having a complete change and revamping everything!

If you’re doing a similar version of what you currently do, then let them know that you’re still the same amazing business owner, and you’re still there to serve them as you are right now.

It’s great to email your list and send a personal message about the exciting new change, and create a similar version or a live or reel saying the same thing on social media. Repeat the messages over about a 4 week period so everyone hears about it.

Share your new vision and mission and be excited about it to generate momentum and get your audience Re engaged with you.

It’s important to also know that if your audience don’t feel connected to the new way of doing things, that’s ok, you won’t be offended if they unsubscribe or unfollow. After all, we all outgrow things in our lives, and that’s ok.

After the four weeks, you can start introducing your new branding, messaging and images and weaving it into your posts and communications.

Or, you can make it fun and create anticipation by counting down to a relaunch, and make an event out of it!

Option 2 – The Happy Ending

What if you’re totally pivoting to something completely different and no longer want to work with the old niche, or you’re discontinuing some services?

This is option 2, and it means you’ll need to break up with them, in a way, to draw a line in the sand and be very clear that you are making a complete change.

Still make the announcement and share your new vision, share stories about the good and bad times, and all the success, but draw a line in the sand.

Let them know whether there is a cutoff date at which old programs finish or a date at which you’ll wrap up with certain clients, or you might decide to continue working with some of your original clients simply because you love them.

Whatever you choose, make a clear decision and be transparent and consistent about it.

Don’t create false hope or set weak boundaries. Be honest and upfront about your plans. People will respect your honesty.

Someone who has done a full pivot really well is Denise Duffield Thomas. She ran lucky bitch boot camp for many years and then let everyone know she was closing it down and pivoting into a money mindset course. She closed down her old website and social pages and started fresh – and that makes sense if you are doing a complete and total rebrand into a different area.

Denise had a last hurrah celebration and a big goodbye, and everyone still loved her. Some people left, and some stuck with her, but everyone respected her efforts over the years and her honesty.

Summary

Today we talked about how to pivot your business in a way that is seamless and considerate of your audience – whether that pivot is minor or major.

There are a series of steps to take to make it work properly – but no matter what you do, consultation with the audience is an important part of pivoting without upsetting or losing your audience.

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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E#190 Fear Vs Faith-Based Business

This episode is about fear vs faith-based business

Today I want to talk to you about running your business from a position of fear versus a position of faith. This is such an important conversation to have. If you’re operating from a place of fear, it can really hurt your business. But if you can switch that and operate from a position of faith that you’ll succeed, of optimism, and hope, then it’s a totally different ball game.

If you’re a new coach, if you have just graduated with your qualification, and you are getting ready to start your coaching business or practice, it’s a really exciting time. You have so much opportunity ahead of you!

You have so much enthusiasm about making a difference in the world!

But for a lot people starting out as a coach in business, there is this challenge around self-confidence self-worth and self-value.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What a fear-based business looks like
* HFlipping the Switch
* What a faith-based business looks like

Impostor syndrome is incredibly common.

And that’s why today I want to talk about the impact of starting your coaching business from a position of fear, verses starting your coaching business from a position of faith.

I want to give you some practical tips and tools to help you come from a better place, so that you can build your coaching business easily more quickly and to be more successful.

What a Fear-Based Business Looks Like

I want to start here so that you can see the impact of having this fear-based mindset on both your ability as a coach, and on your business.

From a business perspective, a fear-based approach reduces your ability to make money, attract clients, and get ahead.

A fear-based mentality is a little bit like a circular reference. It might start with impostor syndrome – who am I to coach? I’ve never run a business before – how will I ever succeed?

You might be comparing yourself to others who have spent 10 years of blood, sweat and tears to build their business.

And as a result, you feel like you won’t get things right, or you’ll fail or you won’t be able to find enough clients, or you won’t be good enough.

That puts you into this repeating cycle of not taking action and worrying about the action that you do take – giving your brain the proof it needs that you’re not good enough.

There is a confounding factor in this cycle that I want to alert you to.

Here is a pro tip – If you start working with practice or paid clients who are ready, willing and able to change – even desperate to change – chances are they will love coaching with you and get great results.

A lot of coaches starting out with this fear-based mentality want to find anyone with a pulse!!

But, if the client is not ready, willing and able, they’ll probably be resistant, disinterested, unfocused and uncommitted.

The kicker is that YOU will feel like the failure, but it’s actually probably not you!

See how this fear-based ‘I need any clients I can get!’ mentality is hurting your self-value and self-efficacy – and your business?

The fear-based approach sets you up to start looking for – and finding – evidence of failure. In other words, if focus on your fear of failing, then all you will see is the evidence that this is true.

How does this kind of mindset affect your ability to start marketing your business?

What happens to your ability to proactively go out to meet new people, talk about what you do with confidence, or become a specialist in a particular niche area if your head is full of this negative stuff?

I know that when I started my own coaching business, even though I had been incredibly successful in other businesses, I had that same mindset.

I kept asking myself questions like, where will I find clients, and what if they don’t get very good results, and what if I can’t make a living out of this, and what if I’m no good at this, how would I ever know?

What happened is that I started to get more and more agitated and wound up about not succeeding, and I started to doubt myself, and feel threatened and judged by everybody around me who knew what I was trying to do.

I felt disheartened. For the most part what was going on for me was that I didn’t have a specific enough niche, so people didn’t understand my messaging, and I wasn’t going to the right places therefore to find the people who I wanted to work with.

If this sounds like you, then stick with me because now I’m going to talk about flipping the switch and having a more faith in yourself, and having a more positive attitude to your business so that you can start attracting clients more easily and becoming a better coach more quickly, and make more money.

Flipping the Switch

A turning point for me was doing some research to find out that there was a need and I want in my community. Identifying a need isn’t enough. After all, lots of people need help, but not many are

ready, willing, and able to seek and pay for help. So I had to find those people who were motivated to change and were willing to pay to get my help.

As soon as I did this, everything changed. And it’s a story I have seen time and time again with other coaches who have been successful.

As soon as they committed to one thing that they knew people were willing to pay for, everything changed.

If you do that, you create an upward spiral of thinking and acting positively – and this is how that can play out for you.

My second pro-tip for this episode is to create a little roadmap of how to beat the imposter and get started. Here’s how.

First of all, find some practice clients to work with who REALLY want to change and are ready to do so.

Then, invite interest to be part of a pilot program, which is a safe, confidential environment for you to be imperfect, for them not to expect the world, and to get their honest feedback without too many expectations upfront.

Be vulnerable and let them know it is a test for both of you, and that their opinion and feedback will really help you to help others in exactly the right way.

If you get that combination right – the right people and a test environment – then invariably those first pilot clients will stick with your program and finish it, and then, they will more likely to succeed.

And THEN, they will refer others to you!

Imagine how you would feel having coached a handful of people who really wanted to change, and then were able to succeed and feel and look amazing?

What would your mind be telling you in that situation?

Would it be telling you that you were a failure or that you weren’t any good or that your results weren’t worth the money or anything like that?

Of course not. And that’s the whole point.

Once you start working with the right people and getting some initial results and focusing on them rather than your fears and inadequacies – a totally different region of your brain lights up.

It’s the region associated with positive emotions, optimism, and hope.

What a Faith-based Business Looks Like

For me when I started my coaching business, as soon as I got those clients that were successful initially, I started wondering where can I find more of those people, and how can I share those wonderful results, and how can I help those people to continue to succeed?

The initial results that my first successful clients got totally shifted the language in my head. And instead of focusing on me and my supposed shortcomings, I started to focus on the possibilities of change in my business.

And pretty soon, most of my language was very different.

Instead of asking why can’t I? I started asking how can I?

I had the confidence that what I was doing was working. And I started to look for more opportunities. Everything just unfolded as it was meant to because I was moving forward in my mind.

I was believing in what was possible based on some initial results. And I was totally focused on pursuing opportunities knowing that I had something of value to offer, rather than being frightened of speaking to anybody in case I couldn’t figure out the words to describe what I was doing or in case I couldn’t prove my results.

This is such an important episode. It takes courage and a bit of confidence to take those first steps into your profession, once you get those couple of important wins on the board it gives you the confidence to gain momentum to keep going and getting traction and continue taking action in the right direction.

Your brain will switch from how will I ever do it, into where do I go next?

Of course you will probably need support to face and work on your fears, and probably your own personal and/or business coach.

But please know this – as Henry Ford said – If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

Summary

Today I covered the difference between a fear-based versus a faith-based coaching business.

One involves getting bogged down in everything you can’t possibly do or succeed in, and keeps you stuck there. And unless things change, you’ll probably fail in your business and as a coach.

But, if you commit to a more faith-based approach, where you develop faith in your method and in your ability to succeed, and you put your clients first and find the right people, it will flick the switch in your brain and reveal a positive path of traction, momentum and success.

Today, I walked you through a simple plan to develop a faith-based coaching business.

What are you waiting for? Go out and get started.

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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E#188 3 Reasons Why Knowing Your Niche is Valuable

This episode is about 3 reasons why knowing your niche is valuable

Why does having a niche and knowing your niche matter in business? Simply, because it allows you to quickly build trust, and rapport and be seen as a specialist or expert, and therefore attract clients more easily. Today, I’ll outline three reasons why knowing your niche is valuable, with some examples, and how you can get to this level yourself.

While marking assessments in my Passion to Profit course, it became clear that some students knew their niche really well. I’d like to showcase the value of knowing your niche by sharing some of the insights presented by students.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Speaking Their Language In Your Marketing
* Matchmaking Relevant Program Content
* Referrals, Referrals, Referrals

Reason 1 – You Can Speak Their Language in Your Marketing

When you understand what your niche is going through each day, you can easily demonstrate that and tell their story in your marketing.

When asked about the type of content they would create for the niche, one student really understood that her audience (busy professionals) were very capable people but often felt alone. They are the type of women that have role models and like learning from other successful women, and they like reputable, fact-based information sources.

Her ideas for content included expert interviews with or by other women, fact-based news and statistics, and some self-assessment tests.

These content ideas are perfectly matched to a professional, capable niche and will likely create better engagement.

Her niche are readers who trust published information written in more formal language, and who expect more professional standard of information.

To that end, she has self-published a book, has developed a newsletter and will be creating a series of videos that match what they need and want.

This coach has also identified that her busy professional audience wants to wind down and get ready for a fun and inspiring weekend, so she plans to create content on Thursdays for posting on Friday – just in time to end the week on a positive note.

What happens when you know your niche so intimately?

You know what they want, can anticipate when and how they want to receive it, and what they need and want to hear.

This builds trust and rapport, and makes you the logical choice as the right person to work with.

When you get to the stage of a ‘good fit’ call, they have often already decided you’re the one they want to work with, because you ‘get’ them and speak the same language.

Reason 2 – You can Matchmake Relevant Program Content to Your Niche

With a niche of busy, stressed professionals, this same student decided that the flavour of her content should be short and to the point (time efficient and easy to read).

In her marketing and her programs, she’s developing shorter forms and surveys using via electronic links to complete and submit online with the press of a button, rather than lengthy documents to fill in.

Her niche tends to feel negative or frustrated, so she will focus on positive statements and reframes to help boost their spirits and bring a bit of spark to their day, and a supportive group that helps them to feel connected and engaged.

Reason 3 – Referrals, Referrals, Referrals

What comes to mind when you think of a specialist?

When I hear that word, I think expertise, a higher price, someone who knows exactly what I’m going through and what I need, and someone who is equipped to help me with every little thing.

Niching down and being more specific allows you to be good at something specific – to become a specialist.

When you run a coaching program that is tailored to a certain type of person, using the content, words and imagery that they more personally relate to, they will more likely commit, persist and succeed with your program.

Of course, this assumes that you have screened and prequalified them first as someone who is ready, willing and able to change!

There is a saying that goes, you are the average of the 5 people closest to you.

What does that mean, in the context of THIS conversation?

It means that your successful clients have at least five friends who are just like them.

In other words, they know at least five people who are also in your niche.

If they have had the experience of personal, specialist experience from someone who ‘gets’ them and even better, has been on the journey or worked with lots of people like them, they will tell ALL their friends, which means referrals, referrals and more referrals.

In my previous weight loss coaching business, I would invite my finishing participants to let their friends and colleagues know about my coming information sessions, and to invite them to attend.

That alone ensured that my next information sessions were fully booked, and resulted in 95% conversion rates on the night.

Summary

Niching down is important not just for client attraction and engagement, but also for client success and results and even better, referral to more people like them (who are your ideal client).

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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E#187 How Exercise Improves Mental Health with Zac Jefcoate

This episode is about how exercise improves mental health with Zac Jefcoate

Today, I interview exercise physiologist and health and wellness coach, Zac Jeffcoate to discuss the links between exercise and mental health, the cost of prevention versus injury management, and how the powerful combination of individualised exercise and coaching can empower improvements, save money and improve quality of life at the individual and workforce level.

MW: I’m pretty interested to start by hearing a bit about what you’re really passionate about.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The links between exercise and mental health
* Why changes are difficult, and how to overcome resistance
*  How individualised coaching and exercise programs can improve health and save money
* The importance of simple steps

ZJ: Well, firstly, that question gets asked a lot, and the way I answer that is, the passion for me is providing exercise and movement. Initially in my career as an exercise physiologist, we can impact people’s lives really positively. And as I progressed in my career, I found that it’s not so much what exercise does, but it’s more the fact of what exercise, obviously, how it improves the quality of life, and how people actually fit that into their day to essentially get to an outcome.

So my passion is actually educating people on the benefits of exercise my solution and what I kind of not sell them what solution is that exercise is a modality that fits into their lifestyle.

And it’s really important that we look at how diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation, and meditation fit into a physical mental model. My passion is really the profession, I’ll be honest with you. It is exercise physiology. And beyond that, it’s obviously providing education to anyone who wants to hear.

MW: Wow. And it sounds like you have quite a broad experience. We were talking just before we started this conversation about all of the things that you’ve done. Can you give us a quick recap of your world tour of Australia?

ZJ: Yeah, well, just I mean, I’ve, I’ve got a bit of ADHD probably. So I do a lot of different things.

Initially, when I graduated in 2008, I was offered a job in mining. Unfortunately, I turned up and I tried a uniform on and the guy said, Sorry, Zac, there’s no work here. We’ve lost the contract that’s mining.

It was a humbling experience. My rejection was the redirection to go on a journey, and I set up two AP clinics in medical centres. They’re a great company so did that for about five years. At that time, I was an ABC radio host, and had a skit on ABC.

I then worked in Surf Lifesaving as a performance coach and as a Cert IV lecturer in fitness. Then, after five years, I went into the Northern Territory in Tennant Creek, and I worked over there for about three months with a company called Body Fit. We provided access to exercise physiology in remote and rural indigenous communities. That was a great eye-opener.

And then after that, I went to Melbourne for a number of years and work down with Angelo and the team in Melbourne, in rehab, and then I had come back to Perth, to take on the role in rehab services.

MW: Wow, you’ve seen a lot of the country and by the sound of things, a lot of different sorts of people in different contexts regarding exercise.

ZJ: Yeah. And it’s the same message. And I guess the challenge is what you know, the message that you’re trying to portray, it’s about linking that to your target audience, or linking that in terms of value. So how does someone who’s recovering from kidney disease take your message, as opposed to someone who’s just been guys diagnosed with anxiety and depression?

So how do you as an AP, or as a health professional, essentially get buy-in or trust with the client? And that’s a hard skill, to be honest with you.

MW: I guess that’s where the coaching approach comes in for you.

ZJ: Definitely. Yeah. And the coaching principles. More importantly, that the client-centred approach is you really have to understand that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, essentially, the empathetic approach. Second to that, what is it about what you’re offering do they think they need?

I mean, I’ll be honest with you, a lifestyle change is hard. And this is why it’s about the clients we have the range on the spectrum in terms of their levels of health. And it’s really important that when you coach them through each week or each session, they understand that your guiding principle of coaching is really important because of how you do your initial assessment, how you do your follow-ups, and then essentially how you educate them all comes down to that kind of format and modality that needs to really be targeted to them.

MW: I can hear that it’s very personalized, even down to the level of each individual client. That’s what you’re saying?

ZJ: Yeah, a tailored approach. So we don’t do cookie-cutter assessments. You can have two of the same people come in with the exact same diagnosis or a similar history and you need to treat them differently. The approach of, well, for example, the One-Stop approach doesn’t work, especially in coaching and health and wellness, the individuality.

So it’s really important that you understand, this is essentially going through the need to understand the biomedical markers of the person, you could ask them the physiology, and you have to understand the drive and direction in their psychology behind their motivation and their habits. You have to break this down, because what your intervention and what you’re trying to provide a solution won’t necessarily hit the mark if you can address those factors.

MW: It sounds like you have to be across a lot of stuff, generally. And then as well, on top of that the individual needs of the person or being able to identify those and be client-centred at the same time.

ZJ: Yeah, it’s difficult. And I’ve been doing it for 14 years, and I probably am still learning a lot, it probably took me at least a number of years to actually understand how to relate, also understand how to say what, when, and also how to formulate a plan to best suit my client. And this is life experience, number one. Number two, it’s understanding your trade, knowing what you can offer and also really having a thirst or a passion to continue to keep learning.

MW: It’s so important. Absolutely. I wonder if we could talk a bit about mental health because really, in this spotlight at the moment, there’s obviously a link between exercise and mental health. But I’m not sure that a lot of people really understand that link very well. So could you talk to us a little bit about that?

ZJ: Well, I mean, the link, over let’s put it this way, it’s definitely gotten a lot better in terms of the awareness, I think we have to be mindful with exercise and mental health, that there’s a component that they actually go hand in hand. But remember physical health, mental health, what comes first.

I think the main thing is understanding that from a, I guess from a medical model, so for example, in the GP, it’s about providing the lifestyle change. And then from a health coaching, and from a wellness perspective, you’re not just focusing on one part.

So the link between exercise and mental health is actually quite been studied a lot in the last probably three to four years, the rates of depression, anxiety, in particular, schizophrenia, and bipolar.

Also, there’s a lot of evidence in relation to exercise and how it modulates the brain improves, obviously, the feel-good hormone reduces cortisol, which essentially over time, what it does, it gives it a more locus of control, or competence to the client, about what they can and can’t do.

I’ll talk to you from a purely physiological point of view from the way the body responds. It improves oxygen. That’s the first point of Go.

So as we improve oxygen, when hemoglobin, obviously, blood flows for the body, that increases natural feel-good hormones, you need to do that in certain way over time to get a benefit. And the first thing I look at with mental health is called dose-response.

For example, you go walking for 10 minutes, get enough response for your body and change. It’s no different than medication now, where you’ve been diagnosed with depression, and you have 25 milligrams of sertraline or Zoloft. Does that do anything for the body? So it’s this it’s no different.

The second thing is looking at what is it about physical health that when you’re faced with a mental health condition or concern, why does that always go on the back burner? What is it about exercise and movement and eating? Well, so why does that always go to the bottom? And this is the crux of understanding that we need to break the relationship down so people can see the value.

Liking what you read so far? Listen to the whole interview by clicking the links above.

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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E#185 How to Write a Magnetic ‘About Me’ Story

This episode is about how to write a magnetic ‘About Me’ story

Do you want to attract more clients to your business – and the RIGHT kind of clients?

As part of my Passion to Profit course, I ask my students to write an About Me story as a critical part of their marketing. In this episode, I’ll explain how to write it in a way that attracts the right kinds of clients more easily, and with fewer objections.

What An About Me Story Is – and Why It Matters

Statistics show that your About Me story is one of the most-read pieces of content on your website.

So, what is an about me story?

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What an About Me Story Is – and Why it Matters
* Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover
* How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients
* Four Steps to a Magnetic About Me Story

It’s the story that describes your journey from tragedy to triumph, to arrive at where you are today.

It is an emotive story that captures four important things:

  1. Who you are as a person (your personality)
  2. How do you relate to your niche (your story)
  3. Your values
  4. The position and value of your business

In his 2015 book called Dotcom Secrets, founder of Clickfunnels Russell Brunson describes this as an Attractive Character Avatar – a public persona that people immediately relate to and connect with.

Why does the about me story matter?

Well, because first impressions count, and your About Me page is often the first thing people look for on your website. A well-written story builds connection, rapport and trust with the reader.

Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover

Remember that people buy you, not your service. There are four things that your About Me story must cover in order to build trust and rapport in the reader. It must show the reader:

1. What they have in common with you – in terms of age, stage of life, problem, values, journey and personality

2. How deeply you understand their day-to-day struggles with the problem

3. That you are a role model for success, giving them hope and a sense of what is possible and achievable for them

4. That you have more than just professional expertise, but personal lived experience with an issue – and how best to overcome it.

Think about how much trust that generates!

How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients

Think about any more generic About Me story that you’ve read on a website or one that is full of qualifications.

How did you feel when you read it?

A dry, boring, linear account of your academic history can cause readers to skim at best, and switch off at worst.

Yes, qualifications matter, but it’s personal engagement that actually sells.

By telling a heartfelt, emotive story of tragedy to triumph, the reader will see themselves in your words.

They’ll know that you ‘get’ how they are feeling.

They’ll get to know you a bit more personally, and to understand your personality, values and approach.

By the end of your relatable story, the reader should be clear about how aligned they are with you, and whether you are the right person to help them or not.

In other words, a well-written story can either attract or repel the reader – so you end up with enquiries from people who are pre-sold that you might be a good personality fit for them – and very few mismatches or tyre kickers!

How To Write a Magnetic About Me Story

Start by doing some exercises to prepare to write your story.

If you haven’t had a journey yourself, you might have had experience with many clients in a niche, or friends and family around you with a certain problem.

Your About Me story can convey your story OR your experience with others.

You might like to think about and write some notes about:

  1. Your best and most likeable personal traits
  2. A clear journey that matches the niche you work with (your story, or someone else’s)
  3. Your strengths and values
  4. What matters to you most or your vision
  5. Your struggles (or your client/friend’s struggle) to get there
  6. What the turning point was (for you or your client/friend)
  7. How it felt to make the decision, and what the decision was
  8. The success and how it felt

Once you have done this, you probably have all the elements to write a great story about a journey that you or others have had.

It needs to be real, emotive and compelling.

Here are some tips for getting it right.

1. Start with a defining event

You can draw the reader in with a specific event that triggered a chain reaction.

For example:

“The year I turned 35, I was living my best life. I was travelling extensively for work, partying hard, and playing golf and tennis. Then I married my best friend and we knew we wanted to have kids right away. It would be the icing on the cake of a perfect life.

But after 6 months of trying, we were unable to get pregnant, and it was then that I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Suddenly my world collapsed, and we were faced with some hard decisions about what to do. We were facing expensive treatment, a hormonal rollercoaster, and no guarantee of success.”

Notice in that example, I outlined how good life was, and how this one specific event was so big that it stopped the person in their tracks.

It covered specific events in a timeline and described all the emotions that were felt along the way. Remember, this could be your story or the story of a client that came to you for help and succeeded (written in the third person).

This part helps the reader connect with you as a person on a similar journey, or who has helped people like them. It is where resonance and trust start.

Are you someone that they could relate to and work with?

2. Define the emotional turmoil

Next, you want to talk about the pain of this – the cost of the struggle. This highlights the personal reasons why getting help and seeking a solution are so important. In doing this, you get to share your values and motivators, which might be the same as your client.

For example:

“We were told by the specialist that if I went ahead with treatment, life would change dramatically. I would need time off work and our income would drop.

I would have to deal with uncomfortable side effects of the treatment. It would make me more emotional, and it would change my body.

My husband and I talked about the consequences. He would have to be the main income earner, and on top of that I would be relying on him for more emotional support.

We would have to decide whether we really wanted kids badly enough to go through with these massive changes and this uncertainty.”

Notice in this example, I am talking about that initial stage of diagnosis and talking about things that the reader with this problem might be going through. The reader who relates to this would be thinking – YES – this person gets it!

This part helps the reader connect with their version of the problem, and to weigh up how big of a problem something is for them right now.

Is the reader going through this too, and are they ready to make a decision?

3. Describing the turning point

Whenever there is a problem that someone is facing, they weigh up the pros and cons of change before deciding what to do, as we heard in that last point.

Humans are driven to avoid pain, so when there are more benefits to change than not, it creates the motivation to act and seek help.

Describing the decision-making and action in detail – what you realised, what was decided, how it felt and what the next steps were – helps your reader to make their own decision, and get some ideas on what getting started might look like.

It also gives them ‘permission’ to ask for help. After all, if a competent role model like you sought help – then the reader might be able to do it too!

On the other hand, what happens if you were to write about how you did it all yourself? It might be off-putting for the reader. They might feel that it’s too hard, or they’re not good enough to do it themselves!

If you manage to weave in the importance and value of getting support, it could help the reader to find the courage to reach out to you. This is important from a marketing perspective (not so much the resonance of the story itself).

For example:

“Being undecided was an excruciating place to be. We needed to make a decision one way or the other, and we both felt so much pressure to choose the right option – but we had no idea what it was! We had so many unanswered questions.

How would we pay for the expensive treatment?

Were we up for this, financially and emotionally?

Could our marriage handle it?

Or could we face a life without kids?

What would that look like?

As our next specialist appointment drew nearer, we decided to go for it. But it would be hard on our own, and between specialist visits. I would need to make sure I was doing everything possible to make my body healthy and better equipped to handle potential pregnancy.

My specialist recommended a health coach who specialised in optimising health for women trying to fall pregnant.

She was amazing – not just in helping me be consistent with positive habits like eating well and exercising safely, but also with the emotional support I needed. She helped me to set boundaries at work so I could finish earlier, get more rest, and also accept that I needed to slow down!

I have achieved so much in so many areas of my life, but without the support of my coach and the community she offered, I would have truly struggled with so many things.

Notice in this example, I am talking about the fear and questions, the process for getting support, and how the support benefitted the person.

This part helps the reader to understand that help is available, and how it helps them get through this situation. It helps to generate hope and optimism, relief and other positive emotions.

4. Amplifying the outcome

Change is hard, and it is often a struggle. It requires focus, dedication and persistence, and to set time aside.

A person will only go through that if there is a reward at the end – and if it’s the reward they want.

Your ability to articulate that clearly, at the end of your About Me story, is essential for helping someone feel ready, willing and able to change – and that you are the right person to help them.

If your reasons and benefits are the same as theirs, they will likely reach out to you for help.

For example:

“Fast forward two years, and we have an amazing little girl who is healthy and happy. We managed to fall pregnant on the second round of treatment, and my coach was invaluable for helping me keep my physical and mental health in check.

 

I went on to study Health and Wellness Coaching, because I wanted to help women like me who were taking that leap of faith, to do so with their best foot forward.

And even though I’m a qualified coach now with a Professional Certificate of Health and Wellness Coaching, I still check in with my coach every 2 – 3 months. I am healthier than I’ve ever been, thanks to her ongoing support.

Right now, she is that objective, non-judgemental person who helps me to navigate the challenges and the joys of raising a baby while running my business. She helps me make better decisions and to be consistent with the habits that keep me healthy and happy.

I have been working with my own clients for 12 months now and am so excited to be doing this important work.

I am so excited and relieved that things worked out. Finally, we get the family we wanted, and we are even talking about baby number 2! For us, making this decision was the best thing we’ve ever done.

If you are reading this story and going through this right now – please take your time to think about all the angles of your decision.

And if you have taken that deep breath and decided to go for it – please know that there are people who can support you and help you through it, regardless of the outcome.”

This part fast forwards to the joy and reinforces the benefits and importance of getting help. It speaks to what’s possible, helps them to connect with the desired outcome, whether you are the right person, and once again, to work out if they are ready, willing and able to do the work.

Summary

Today we discussed what an About Me story is, why it matters, and four things it must cover.

If you get it right, you will build trust and attract the right clients to your business, and they will be ‘pre-sold’ that you are the right person to help them.

There are four parts of a magnetic About Me story:

1. A defining event

2. Defining the emotional turmoil

3. Describing the turning point

4. Amplifying the outcome If you need help to write an About Me story, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July 2022, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business. Click the link to learn more about the program.

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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E#182 Three Ways to Find New Customers Even If You’re Just Starting Out

This episode is about three ways to find new customers even if you’re just starting out

Have you been watching other coaches online and wondering how they’re attracting all these clients, while you’ve just got crickets?

Today, I’d like to share three super easy ways to find new customers even if you’re just starting out in business. Your core coaching skills are a key ingredient!

When you’re starting out in business, it feels like you have all these things to do and yet you don’t have any clients. It’s a strange kind of limbo. You’re probably posting all sorts of things in an effort to stand out, yet nobody’s liking, commenting or watching

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The Evolution of a Niche
* Leading With Your Why
* Why Listening is Critical
* Niche Content Marketing – Getting It Right

What do you do?

If you’re like most people, you think you need to do another course or learn how to do social media marketing. But like most things, the problem is waaaay upstream of these things.

Let me explain.

Meredith Hill said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

What this means is that if you are speaking broadly and generally, using generic content that covers a lot of topics or problems, then it’s hard for the audience to understand who you are and who you help. People might glance at your content and scroll right past it because it doesn’t speak to them.

Consider the analogy of fishing. Your broad, general content is much like someone standing on the beach with a hook and a pilchard, hoping to catch a fish, but catching nothing.

Next to you, there’s a person who is smashing it online. They’re like the fisher who knows what they can catch at that particular beach, and they have the right hook and bait to catch that fish. If they’re catching tailor, it’s probably a gang hook with a pilchard. But if they’re trying to catch a mulloway, fresh or even live bait like yellowtail is better.

Hopefully, you’re getting the picture – the more you know about who you want as a customer or client, the easier it is to be visible and connect with them in your marketing.

This is what ‘finding your niche’ is all about, where your niche is a problem that exists, that certain types of people are desperate to solve, and will pay money to get help with.

Just like the fisherperson using a specific rig and bait to catch a certain fish, knowing your niche means you can go online and speak about specific topics to attract specific types of people who have specific problems – and in doing this, you stand out like a beacon to them, making it easy to be seen, trusted and purchased from.

So, how do you get started?

The Evolution of a Niche

If you’re in the process of career change, have just completed a training course in a totally new area and you’re starting a business, with no prior experience – please take a moment to acknowledge that that’s a pretty steep learning curve!

And just like you can’t go out beach fishing for the first time and expect to know everything about tides, weather, gutters, rigs, and which bait to use, please know that you can’t expect to know or perfect your niche and connect with them easily when you’re first starting out!

Your niche WILL evolve over time. The way to even start defining your niche is by actively speaking to people, using your coaching skills in daily life, and working with practice or paid clients.

Your clients are your teachers. You can start to notice common trends in the conversation, which people you have the best rapport with and how they describe their problems.

This is the evolution of a niche.

As you get more and more experience in using your coaching skills, you will get more and more clarity about your niche.

In my experience, there are three levels of niche clarity:

1. You are totally clear on your niche.

This is usually because you have been engaging in your own or other groups about this problem, have a lot of experience with clients who have a specific problem, or have been on your own journey as part of a group.

2. You have some level of clarity on your niche.

This is usually based on a passion you have or experience with a specific problem area that is meaningful to you. In either case, you can do market research to further your understanding of your niche person and problem, and work out what they want your help with, so you can find the common ground.

3. You have a great idea but have no clue on who would need or want it.

If you’re really stuck wondering how to attract customers, you’ll need to get started with something. Beyond working with practice clients there are three ways you can start to work out your niche and attract new clients online, beyond just doing practice coaching.

1. Start with your why

When posting online – any kind of post – focus on your why, values and passion area.

One thing’s for sure – when you get ranty and fired up about something, some injustice or area of need, that sense of conviction will be appealing and attractive to the right people. It’s the values and beliefs that we have in common with others, that create attraction between us.

In other words, people form relationships because of shared values. When you lead with your why you put your values on display. This gives people an insight into who you are, and they can work out if you are someone they would like to know more about.

By zooming in on your why, you can find some things to talk about and start to create ideas on specific topics of interest.

The key word here is specific. Having a why of ‘wanting to help people’ is pretty vague. Be more specific at least about an area of health and wellbeing, like weight loss, or exercise, or mental health.

Assuming you are on a social media platform where people can search for content topics easily, you can experiment with why-driven posts to see which ones get the most engagement.

2. Start listening and reflecting

Once you have identified a few topics, do a little live and online research to gain opinions and insights, and to see how engaged other people are with those topics.

For example, if you’re getting ranty about impostor syndrome, or weight gain after 40, or anxiety in menopause, what are other people saying and thinking about those things?

Take your coaching skills out into the world and ask people for their opinions. Notice how fired up they are too – or not. See the problem from their point of view.

How big of an issue is that thing for them? Why or why not?

What is their magic wand solution?

What possibilities might open up, if they could solve that problem?

As you do this work, notice the physical shifts you experience. Notice which topics or particular conversations excite you, grab you by the heart, or make you irritated.

And most importantly, notice how your sense of clarity and confidence develops as you talk to people about what matters to them.

3. Explore niche content marketing

The third way is to explore what’s in the news and social commentary about niche content that’s already out there. This is a slower, longer-term game compared with live conversations.

Think about whether online research is an initial project to help you understand your niche, or whether you will continue building information and content over time as part of your marketing. If you have skills and strengths in research, detail and writing, then this might be a good strategy.

Here are some questions you could ask yourself while exploring niche content online:

  • What are the most popular angles being talked about?
  • Where is the gap?
  • Do you agree, or disagree? Why?
  • Which posts or episodes make you irritated or frustrated? Why?

Write down all the things you like, agree with and disagree with.

Then, look for qualified facts to back up your views, for example, from Google Scholar, or recognised institutions.

Check in with yourself to work out which topics are most meaningful and interesting to you. These are the ones that will create a natural energy that is attractive to your audience.

Based on the topic or related topics you have identified, develop some blogs, live videos or podcasts that map out the problem, and outline 2 – 3 things that back your position.

Then, you’re ready to promote these topics to your audience – but not all at once!

For example, let’s say that you are really into natural methods of managing and avoiding stress, and you are super interested in managing the nervous system.

You’d talk about one or two related topics per month over a series of months.

Start your first month talking about one topic in-depth online and offline – in this example, let’s say you focus on comparing different breathing techniques to manage stress. You could find research papers and share the findings, and also your own experience.

Note which conversations or posts get the most interest.

In the second week, start refining the conversations to focus on the specific parts of the topic that are most popular. For example, you might find that people have been talking about the 4-7-8 technique because it’s been in the news and was developed by a Harvard-trained medical doctor, Dr Weill, so you could ask for people to comment on their experiences or insights about the technique. This will get engagement and organic reach.

If you wanted, you could collate all your insights from the month and do a live presentation or in-depth blog at the end of the month. Invite people to attend, invite comments and/or sharing through your networks. The next month, you might start talking about something that goes a bit deeper, like polyvagal theory, which is related to and goes deeper into the topic of the first month.

The first thing that happens here is that by posting on specific topics, you will either attract “your people” – the people who like and trust you based on your messaging and promotion – or you will attract people who are curious and interested in your topics.

You will also be ignored by people who aren’t interested – but that’s a good thing!

This process takes you closer to understanding and clarifying who has the problem that you can help to solve, and what the problem means to them in their lives.

Over the series of months and topics, you will find out which topics are most interesting to your audience, what types of people like each topic, what their main challenges are, and you will be closer to defining your niche.

Over a longer period, you can refine your content and topics to meet the audience, and you can also go back and update older content you created so it is more up-to-date and polished.

Summary

When you’re new to the business, it can be easy to compare yourself to others and wonder why they seem to be so successful, when you’re just getting crickets.

If this is you, remember that your clients are your teachers. By using your coaching skills in daily life, and by working with practice clients, you will start to get a deeper understanding of the people you want to work with, and what sorts of common problems they have that you can help with.

At the same time, you can do three things online to fast-track your understanding.

You can:

1. Develop posts and content built around your why (be specific)

2. Start listening to what people say (live and online conversations) and reflect on the trends, and which topics and people light you up.

3. Explore niche content marketing, by assessing what is in the news, what is a hot topic right now, and which posts irritate or inspire you. Then, start developing content around specific topics that are relevant and meaningful to you and your potential audience and start getting a sense of their reactions.

Live conversations take the least amount of time, whereas online research is more time-consuming and takes longer to engage your niche. Reflect on your skills and strengths to help you decide which way to go.

Welcome to the evolution of your niche! If you need help to understand, define and connect with your niche, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business.

References

Balogh, A. Polyvagal Theory: A Simplified Explanation. Swan Counselling website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.swancounselling.com.au/polyvagal-theory-a-simplified-explanation/

Cuncic, A. October 2021. What is 4-7-8 breathing? Very Well Mind website accessed 28.2.22 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-4-7-8-breathing-5204438

Shatto, R. May 2019. Here’s Why Shared Values Are so Important in Couples, Experts Say. Elite Daily website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/why-are-shared-values-important-in-relationships-experts-weigh-in-on-this-common-thought-17917975

Passion to Profit Program: Wellness Coaching Australia Website https://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/business-resources/passion-to-profit/

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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E#181 The Skills of Connection

This episode is about the skills of connection

If you want to operate a business, any business, but especially a coaching business, your ability to connect with people is a key skill that you need to learn. I want to share some insights on the skills required to build connections and some tips on how to become better at connecting with prospective and actual clients.

What is Connection?

Connection is the attachment and relationships we form with others. It is essential to human survival, and it helps us feel aligned with ourselves and others.

Connecting with others helps us to build trust and rapport – and these are two VERY important criteria for someone to buy from you.

Think about the last time you bought a service – price aside, why did you buy from that particular person?

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What connection is
* The skills of connection
* Practicing and developing the skills
* You don’t need a marketing course to learn connection
* Putting yourself out there

Chances are, it was because you felt a connection – a sameness, or alignment of values or experience – that helped you to have enough trust to want to work with them.

I have a couple of my own examples.

Once, I hired a business coach who was younger than me and who had only been in business for two years. She has the specific experience that I didn’t have, but the whole time, I had discomfort and uncertainty around her overall business knowledge and therefore, her value as a professional. It was a short-term arrangement.

Much later, I worked with a business coach who was a similar age and had a specific experience that I didn’t have….but she is a lot more like me in personality. She also has 10 years of experience in her specific craft with a proven track record, a coaching qualification, a team working for her, and a book published. It was also a short-term arrangement, but I constantly refer others to her, promote her and would willingly go back to her, and may even approach her for a strategic alliance in future.

The subtleties of our personality fit, values and professional ethics are incredibly influential and powerful in our business relationships. Knowing how to connect is therefore critically important.

It’s about more than just attracting clients – it’s also about knowing who ISN’T your client.

What are the Skills of Connection?

Strong connections are built on good communication, common ground and a common, meaningful purpose.

If you want to build your skills in connection, you need to know what the skills are and find ways to practice them.

Skills

The skills required for creating connections could include:

  • Active listening (being able to listen intently to what is being said – without thinking of what you will say next)
  • Empathy
  • Asking positively-framed, big-picture questions
  • Reflecting back on what you hear someone say
  • Reframing, i.e. even though (negative), there is still (positive)
  • Having respect for the other person as the expert in their own life
  • Seeing the other person as resourceful and able to find their own solutions
  • Being able to identify shared values or beliefs in something
  • Clarity on your vision and values
  • Leadership
  • Self-regulation (the ability to regulate your emotions & behaviours regardless of what others say or do)
  • Trusting yourself

You may notice that these skills relate largely to the ICF core competencies #4 – cultivating trust and safety, #5 – maintaining presence, and #6 – listening actively. I’ll include a link so you can access them and see the full details.

Being able to truly listen to and understand another person is a key starting point for building connection.

But that last point is also important – it’s trusting yourself and feeling confident enough to initiate conversations.

What do I mean by this?

Well, consider how own confidence affects your ability to start conversations. How important is that for you?

What helps you to feel more confident?

I would hazard a guess that it’s about three things:

1. practising the skills

2. developing self-efficacy in your skills, and

3. regular exposure to new people.

Let’s talk about how to do that.

How to Practice and Develop Your Connection Skills

No matter what your starting point, you can learn and improve your communication skills and become better at making connections.

Practising the skills can be done in a number of ways. I will brainstorm a few ideas with you here.

1. Pick one skill and polish it up

This is a good method if you’re a fairly confident person and a self-starter kind of person.

Firstly, you can choose one of the skills (like active listening) and practice it over the next week with someone you live with or someone at work. Then at the end of each day, write a reflection on how you went, and what you learned.

Once you feel you have made some progress you can dive deeper, or you can pick another skill to add to the mix.

Remember, it’s not just about mastering the skill – it’s also about making it a habit, so don’t rush this process. It takes around 83 days on average for a habit to become automatic – take your time and do it well.

2. Watch and learn

This is a good method if you’re a bit less confident or are a kinaesthetic or interactive learner.

Secondly, you can research coaching or other videos, or identify people you know who have a skill you want to learn and watch how they do it.

All animals learn through mimicry and play, including humans!

Setting aside time each week to study and observe others is a great way to ‘see how to do it’ before you start practising for yourself.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube that can help, or your coach training organisation may have sample videos for you to watch and deep dive into.

3. Find a mentor

This is a good method if you lack experience and are not very confident in yourself or your skills.

There are plenty of coaches around who offer free or paid mentoring.

Practising your connection skills at a more professional level is incredibly helpful if you want to get some live feedback and tips as to whether you’re doing it right.

4. Join a Community of Practice

Community of Practice (COP) is something that many coaching associations offer as an opportunity to build and practise specific skills with other coaches.

For example, ICF members have access to free and low-cost sessions, 1 – 2 hours long, where you learn about and practice specific core competencies.

I recently attended one of these that was free to ICF members or $50 for non-members. It focused on maintaining presence, ICF core competency #5, and it was a lot of breakout room work for practice conversations with other coaches of varying levels of experience.

I gained a lot of insight into how I can improve my presence and got practice with building connections.

You Don’t Need a Marketing Course to Learn Connection

I know I said earlier that connection is an essential skill that you need to run a business – but you’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about marketing training or courses here.

That’s because connection is useful in marketing, but I feel it’s better developed in a more personal environment that focuses on core communication skills – like the coaching industry offers.

Putting Yourself Out There

Although you might be shuddering at the thought right now, the next step is to start meeting a wider circle of people to practice your skills.

Your ability to build a business relies on your ability to build new connections that might connect you with potential clients, or who might be potential clients themselves.

Finding ease in communication and conversation can break down a lot of those confidence barriers and make it much easier for you to start approaching people you don’t know, or don’t know well. To help you on this journey, I suggest you go back to episode 56 of this podcast, about icebreakers. Once you have polished up your connection skills, learning how to start conversations is a logical next step.

Summary

Today, we talked about connection and its relevance in building your coaching business.

Connection is defined as the attachment and relationships we form with others, and it is something that builds trust and rapport – two very important criteria for having someone buy from you.

The skills of connection are simply related to many of the core coaching competencies, particularly in terms of building trust, maintaining presence, and listening.

You also need to trust yourself and feel confident enough that you can have conversations with people – and the only way to build that trust and confidence is through practice.

We covered four ways to practice and develop your connection skills, including:

1. Picking one skill (at a time) and intentionally practising it

2. Watching and learning from others

3. Finding a mentor

4. Joining a community of practice.

It may seem like you need to learn marketing skills in order to learn about connection with potential clients – but this simply isn’t true. It’s the coaching competencies and practice that will help you develop good communication skills, and marketing becomes an extension of that skill set.

From there, learning how to break the ice will equip you to go out into the big, wide world, and start building connections with your newfound skills.

THIS is actually the secret to building your business.

References https://coachfederation.org/core-competencies https://anchor.fm/habitology/episodes/E56-5-Steps-to-Engaging-Icebreaker-Conversations-e57458

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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E#175 Does Your Business Need a Website?

This episode is about if your business needs a website?

A lot of graduate coaches get focused on having and launching a website because we are told that having an online presence is essential to business success.

But is this important? Does your business need a website?

Let’s talk honestly about this so you can take a breather and get clear on exactly what you need to do, and when.

The Reality

There are two realities when it comes to business websites.

Firstly, you need to know a lot about your intended audience, and you need to have spent enough time on income-generating activities to know the value you bring to your audience.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The two realities of business websites
* A simple website readiness quiz to work out if you’re even ready for a website
* Some ‘for now’ options that are just as good, if not better!

Secondly, when you hit ‘publish’ on the website, it will end up on page 7 gazillion on a Google search. Nobody will know it’s there – so you will need to have a plan to promote and market your website.

What this means is that if you are fairly new to the business, and/or lack client experience, you have a lot of work to do before even considering building a website.

Otherwise, you risk spending a huge amount of time and money on something that won’t generate you any income, delays your getting experience and reviews, and isn’t visible to the outside world.

I have prepared a website readiness quiz to help you get clarity on where you are at. See how you go with answering these questions and check your score at the end.

Website Readiness Quiz

Let me ask you a few questions before we answer this question.

1. How long have you been running your business – or are you brand new?

2. Do people know what you are capable of?

3. What sort of people do you attract?

4. What does your business stand for?

5. Do you have clarity on your niche?

6. Do you truly know and understand your niche client?

7. Can you describe your niche client’s problem and solution clearly, in their words?

8. Do you know their specific desired outcomes in their words?

9. What format is your program?

10. Which dates are you running your program this year?

11. What is your lead magnet for the program?

12. When are your marketing campaigns running – and on which channels?

13. How and where will you promote your website?

Here’s how to score yourself for these questions.

If you could answer all 13 questions clearly and easily, then your business is probably ready for a website. You have a clear offering, clarity on your market, what they want help with, and probably some level of traction and proof of success.

If you could answer 7 or more questions clearly and easily, your business is not quite ready for a website. You need to do some pilot or beta testing, market research and/or planning to truly understand how to position your business on a website, and/or where to promote it.

If you struggled to answer even 7 of these questions, your business is clearly not ready for a website. You need to do or get help with many of the business basics, to develop a blueprint for success, get some experience and start earning an income before you are ready to create a website.

So, If Not a Website, Then What?

It’s super easy to create an online presence and credibility without the time and expense of a website.

Three cheap, very effective options are:

1. Create a professional-looking LinkedIn profile for your business, with good quality photos and descriptions of how you help your clients. You can also ask clients to give reviews on this platform which lends credibility, trust and social proof.

This option is great if your business targets clients in professional roles or corporate settings, or where your leads come from professional networks such as allied health.

In these cases, professionalism is especially important, and a good LinkedIn profile can convey this.

2. Create a professional-looking Google My Business profile for your business, same as above. You can ask clients to give 5-star ratings on this platform which boost your Google visibility.

This option is great for businesses targeting a local area (e.g. your local shire) and/or if your marketing strategy will focus on publishing, guest blogging, blogging, SEO or other online strategies.

It can be an easy entry point for more introverted people who feel exhausted at the thought of daily interaction on a social media platform, or for those who are not on social media.

3. Start a social media following (e.g. Facebook or Instagram).

This option is great if you love being on social media and are a people person, love being in groups, and are extraverted or get a lot of energy from others.

It suits clients who are extraverted and love engaging online, being active in groups, and getting value from a lot of support and interaction from you and their peers.

Summary

Does your business need a website? As you can see, it depends on which stage of business you are in.

If you are brand new, without a track record, it makes sense that you choose a quicker, easier option to gain online visibility.

Then, when you have a track record, experience, a better understanding of your niche, and some social proof – you will have all the information and clarity you need to launch a website that will actually work for your business.

If you need help with understanding your audience, enquire about my February or June Passion to Profit Course intakes, where we go through the foundational work behind understanding your clients, your best marketing strategies and marketing channels.

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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E#163 Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Decline

This episode is about early warning signs of mental health decline

October is mental health month, and I am in the thick of Mental Health First Aid training. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a fabulous course that equips you with some basic skills to more easily identify and directly help people who are struggling with mental health.

In celebration of this important month, I decided to share some of the common early warning signs of mental health decline.

A Few Facts

Let’s start with a few basic facts.

Mental health challenges affect your brain, your body and your behaviour. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* A few facts about mental health
* What are the signs of mental health decline?

Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. It can affect your brain, shrinking the hippocampus, and subsequently decreasing your memory, mood and learning ability.

The early warning signs and symptoms of chronic stress and subsequent mental health decline may be subtle and highly individualised. 

They may not be detected or reported until a crisis state is reached, and in that sense, it can be difficult to identify people who are at risk (1) .

Physical and Physiological Signs of Stress and Mental Health Decline

  • Tiring more easily 
  • Being tired all the time
  • Feeling sick and run down
  • Headaches
  • Persistent/resistant muscle aches and pains
  • Increased or decreased reaction times
  • Changes to sleeping patterns
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Dishevelled appearance
  • Gastro-intestinal issues.

    Behavioural Signs

    Behaviours associated with mental health concerns include:

    • Not getting things done
    • Unusual emotional responses
    • Inappropriate complaints about lack of management support
    • Inappropriate focus on fair treatment issues
    • Inappropriate complaints about not coping with workload
    • Withdrawing from colleagues
    • Reduced participation in work activities
    • Increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and/or sedatives
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Indecisiveness
    • Difficulty with memory
    • Loss of confidence
    • Unplanned absences
    • Conflict with others
    • Inappropriate use of grievance procedures
    • Increased errors and/or accidents.

    Many of these are ‘invisible’, may be easily mistaken for other conditions, or could be interpreted as non-significant, single events. It is only in a face-to-face (or virtual) interview with a mental health professional, who looks at a cluster of symptoms, that mental health concerns may be assessed and properly diagnosed.

    Outside of a clinical setting, or when workers are remote, it is difficult for peers, managers, clients (or for the individual themselves) to identify mental health risks.

    The stigma around reporting mental health issues is part of the issue, and this is indicated by the underuse of employee assistance programs (EAPs). 

    We know that 20% of people of working age will experience a mental health concern in any given year, yet typically only 5% of employees (across all sectors) access EAPs for mental health concerns[4],[5].

    For these reasons, mental health diagnosis is often reactive and comes too late, when things are at a crisis point.

    Filling the Gaps

    It can be tricky to know what to do when someone you know or love has these sorts of signs or symptoms.

    The best thing you can do is let them know tactfully, and directly, that you have noticed a change in their behaviour, and to ask how they are feeling.

    Better still, enrol for the Mental Health First Aid course. It’ll equip you with skills to better deal with your clients, your friends, family or coworkers.

    Summary

    Mental health can decline secretly and silently, affecting your brain, your body and your behaviour. Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. 

    The journey from not coping with stress to mental health decline can be subtle and highly individualised, and hard to see until it’s too late. 

    Today, I  described some of those signs and symptoms, and talked about mental health first aid, a course that can equip you with the skills to identify mental health concerns early on and help people in need to take charge and get back on track more easily.

    [1] https://returntowork.workplace-mentalhealth.net.au/

    [2] https://mhfa.com.au/

    [3] Robert M. Sapolsky. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide To Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. 3nd Rev Kindle, 2004. W. H. Freeman ASIN B0037NX018

    [4] https://www.pwc.com.au/about-us/insights/non-executive-directors/mental-health.html

    [5] https://www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au/finding-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-workplace/16285/

    [6] https://www.ihealthcareanalyst.com/government-initiatives-public-awareness-propel-preventive-health-care-technologies-services-market/

    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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    E#143 Just Be Yourself and Be Authentic in Marketing with Natasha Berta

    This episode is about just being yourself and being authentic in marketing with Natasha Berta

    MW: Hi Natasha. So great to see you and thanks for being here on the podcast today.

    NB: Hello, it’s lovely to be here, we’re so smiley. If you’re listening on the podcast, you’re not going to see our gigantic smiles of happiness to see each other but if you’re watching the YouTube version of this clip then you might.

    MW: Now, I just love chatting to you and I think a lot of people listening to this would have heard our last session. But can you just introduce yourself just in case there’s a new listener that doesn’t know how awesome you are.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Marketing
    * How people think and handle their marketing

    NB: Oh yes. I have a little tiny marketing agency called Connected Marketing which I’ve just branched into having a team in the last couple of years and it finally just felt weird to not just be called Natasha Berta anymore because I was saying I was doing things but actually just was helping so that’s exciting. And I would say that I mostly focus on our online presence. And so by that, I mean your website or your social media or however it is that you connect with your audience and also growing your audience and I love doing that with Facebook ads. Jess helps with things that people don’t want to do like turning their blog in 250 million social media posts and spreading them all around the universe.

    And what else do I mean? I love email marketing. I love all the tech of marketing I would say, mmm, that’s the bit you all hate. That’s why I’ll get you guys and your team to do my stuff.

    MW: Yes, I hate all that stuff.

    NB: A lot of people do not like it and no wonder because it’s like minutiae and you just want to get on and do your work, like your zone of Genius stuff.

    MW: Right. And I guess anyone listening to this podcast is going to be like me and think I’ve got to create posts and what a drag. So I make sure I put your details in the show notes.
    And so, we are going to get a bit ranty today, right?
    NB: Probably we’re going to talk about that old, imposter syndrome, that all that old judging yourself, comparing yourself to other people and say “well, why do you think you have to be like everybody else out there?”
    What’s your first thought when you hear that, if you don’t have a strategy, you’re going to be like a little boat in a big sea just getting tossed around. You know, like the times that I get that, I imposter syndrome, like “what should do – this or that is” when I don’t have a proper plan and then I’m very vulnerable to, you know, marketing of people trying to sell me things or I’m taking advice from multiple people and just getting really confused and I would say it’s so important.
    It doesn’t mean you have to do what I say or you have to do what Mel says, or you have to do what any big-name person says. It’s just that you should choose one and just give it a red-hot go for, probably at least three months, maybe 12 and that when I have a strategy, I feel so impenetrable.

    I see people’s marketing and I’m like, it’s like an Iron Man suit or something. Like I just, it just washes off me and I don’t feel any compulsion to leap at it. I might look at what they’re saying and be interested but it’s so easy for me to resist because this my plan is to create a bunch of small courses and to leverage my business through selling courses on a one-to-many level. So I’m trying a different kind of leverage. I’ve tried a few different things and this is my year of making little courses and selling them one-to-many.
    So because I know that that’s my strategic move for this year, there have been a couple of funny things. Like I saw the Big Shiny tender for the $5,000 website or $15,000 pitch to someone and I start with her for a few days and I just thought, actually no – I’m doing this course thing, if I start bridging out and getting distracted I’ll go off course.
    And then my, my strategic plan hasn’t gone as well because I diluted my attention. So, I feel really excited that this year, I’ve got a fantastic strategy that I’m in love with, I’m fully committed to, and yeah, I’m undiluted.

    MW: Funnily enough, that’s my strategy for this year.
    NB: I think it depends on what stage of business you’re at. So, I think it’s helpful to build up one-on-one clients first.
    MW: Absolutely with one-on-one first.

    NB: And then once you’re fully booked this, an obvious next step is to scale and grow.
    MW: And I think the other thing too, is that it’s easy to get wrapped up in somebody else’s success. But you also have to look at your own things. Like I see so many people go “I need to have a Facebook group and I need to be in there every day and I need to learn how to do that.” But if you hate Facebook, you’re going to hate showing up for work every day and it’s like, why do you have to be like everyone else? Why can’t you just do it your way? Like for me I’ve figured out what I like to do is podcast and turn that into a Blog and have your team, put it out there on social media as snippets on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. So that’s what I do. And I lead people to an information session or a free call.
    I’ve stopped doing my email newsletter list which some people might say, oh, that’s terrible, but I’m doing it my way and I’m going to roll with it for the next 12 months and see what happens.
    NB: I’ve just posted about this last week on social media as well, especially for people who either have another job and then their coaching or consulting little baby business is sort of a side thing or if you’re a mother and any kind of business of your side thing, you can’t follow certain people on social media because they don’t have kids or they don’t have a side hustle, they have 40 to 60 hours a week to dedicate to their business baby and you simply cannot achieve. What they can achieve in half the time with this psycho-emotional pressure of this other thing like for parenting.
    It’s very intense having other people in your life and if you have another business then you’ve got or, you know, or a job, you’ve got all those people take your energy as well. So it’s just noticing what’s your energy resource of time or money and making smart choices with that and just turning some people off like you just have to choose not to follow certain people.
    Now, when I think certain people, I just scroll past. I’m like, I like you. I love you. I dig what you’re doing but you cannot serve me right now. It’s going to mess me up if I try and take your advice.
    MW: So that’s a really important point that you’ve kind of touched on a couple of times now is that you’re clear on what you’re doing. And you’ve got to keep that front of mind and let that guide your decisions as in, “No, I’m going out of my lane if I follow that person know I’ve got a switch that off. No, I got to stay focused on what I can do.
    NB: And I think a key piece that backs that is the business Vision which I know you are so good at covering like I’m really clear about what kind of business I want. What kind of days I want? How sustainable? I want my business life to be?
    Two years ago when I would do business Vision, it would be really vague and I just didn’t get it, but I guess after a long enough in business, you have enough days where you’re cracking your own whip, you’re not eating, you’re not exercising, your burning yourself out that you come to a point where you’re like oh that’s my vision for my business is actually to feel good to eat well too, rest myself and for it to be sustainable.
    And something that I actually want to even do next year.

    MW: That’s such a good point and you know, you wonder why do people fall in the hole? When you create a vision at first and you’re not familiar with meeting your own needs, even like health and wellness coaches, who know this stuff, still do it, right. But they’re comparing themselves with people who’ve got a 10-year established track record in business and they go “I’ll never be that person.”
    But it’s like any other part of health and wellness. It’s like somebody who wishes they could lose 30 kilo and they’re comparing themselves with a size 8 person or somebody that says, oh, I wish I was fit as that marathon runner. They’re just looking at the end result after hours and hours and hours of persistence and hard work.
    And I think that’s that important part of the vision is to say, maybe I aspire to that but what I want to achieve now, and what I need to do to get there, what a my strengths like, you can definitely learn by the way, somebody else does something but you don’t have to follow their exact process to the letter and like in health and wellness coaching, we say, oh there’s no cookie cutter approach.
    And yet when it comes to marketing and business, everyone wants to follow a cookie cutter approach, it’s so funny.

    NB: Well, that makes me think of that like weight loss as a metaphor. It’s like everybody has a different Constitution. Like I’m only five six but I weigh 85 kilos. I’m not that fat honestly at the BMI just the nightmare for me. But even if I lost 30 kilos, I would still just look like I would, I would still just look a lot like this, you know, like maybe my tummy and my bum would be slimmer. My face would be a tiny bit slimmer and I’m just never going to be a size 8.
    So business-wise, if I look at someone who’s really great at networking, who’s really extroverted, who has loads of time and just loves going and hang out, who’s got all the fancy frocks? Who’s just that kind of front person. Like, constitutionally I’m not like that, like, I’m really sensitive. I’m probably a little bit introverted and I know what I need.
    I need lots of downtime and my digestive stuff gets in the way of me like, you know, because I’ve got some gut healing stuff to do or, you know, I’ve got food sensitivities or whatever. So in the same way like yeah I don’t know I guess if you look at someone who’s doing well and you want to align your vision with that, I guess it’s worth doing that kind of Abraham Hicks thing. Whether you’re into that or not of like you know they say we’re just out and about and we’re just kind of information.

    Yeah, look at someone who’s famous and rich and has a great business and you sort of want to collect them into your life like in, you’re going to sort of register that like that’s part of my future Vision.
    It’s worth being super specific and just noting like oh which bits are really actually achievable. Like if I don’t have a 40 hour a week, ten thousand dollars a week business does that can that actually fit inside my life container with me the way I am? Like,
    That person’s possibly constitutionally quite different to me. So yes, notice what they’re doing and pick like cherry pick the bits of their life, that you really.
    MW: Yes, yes, absolutely. And it’s so funny. I recently went to Grace Lever’s doing weekend because someone said to me, you could totally do what Grace does.
    And I thought, well, I’ll see what she does. And it’s this huge production. This huge event with a team and three or four hundred people online. And a lot of selling and while I can see the appeal of the business and how it works and what she’s able to achieve, I’m not that person and I don’t want to do that.
    And I think a lot of people get stuck in “I should be like this, and I should do it like that, and I wish I was like that person.”
    But you also have to be honest with yourself and go I’m not that person. Yeah, I mean, and I can do that, like, I actually don’t want that.

    NB: I reckon you’re actually smarter than her at least and like, at least, as good as hers. And, and so, maybe that’s what the person has seen. They are seeing some kind of echo of that. Your advice is as good or better than hers, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be her.
    NB: One thing I learned was when I was doing Kate Bush dancing a few years ago. So fun. So you’ve got like 20 or 30 women in a room together all doing the Wuthering Heights choreo and she split the group and she said okay so half the group will perform in the other half could watch them.
    So I was in the first group to perform and I was the whole time just thinking that because you can see yourself in the mirror is I’m so stumpy, I’m so lumpy, like like the way I move is not like Mica led the dance persons like, I don’t know if mines really that good.
    And just all the self-talk of performing and just hated it and sat down and watch the other people. And then I noticed that each woman has her whole own beautiful way that they dance, and it’s not like Mica. But each woman, like, I just cried. I just cried and I cried because I realized that the way I take in information and the way I am body in this life and then the way I express in this life is as each of those women and we all contain that like we are all a very unique filter that ingests information and then creates it and expresses it out in such a moving and beautiful and wonderful way.
    And we don’t have to be or it’s just actually not possible or desirable to try and fit in someone else’s frame. It’s just gross.

    MW: It’s true. And as you’re just describing that I was thinking about the people that you naturally attract and I do honestly, believe and what I teach in my passion to profit program is start. They’re like, who are you attracting? Who are the people that are naturally drawn to you and resonate with you? They’re the ones with the similar personality or the complementary personality, the shared values, are the people that are going to buy your stuff?
    If you’re trying to be somebody else, you’re not going to attract those natural connections. You know, you need to be yourself and be authentic.
    The best marketing is authenticity, is my catchphrase, and, and you’re going to get those right people because, you know what, Brooke Castillo says. You can be the juiciest peach in the bowl, but some people like bananas.
    NB: So, stop trying to pretend to be a banana and be a juicy peach December. That makes me think, you know, I’ve seen some people lately and I know what they’re like in real life and then I see their videos on social media. I’m like, why is she acting like that?
    And I think I got a couple of friends and a client who does that and like why is she talking like that? She never talks like that in real life and it just confuses the crap out of me? And I think yeah, what are you going to attract? If you show up like that, like that’s not you. That’s not the you that I know.

    But then I know that there are these hurdles particularly with marketing oh you need to do video. Yeah, you need to do video but you know, maybe there’s other ways like if you’re a great writer, maybe there is another way you can get around it. Because if you’re not able to embody on video just as your natural self, I don’t know how that’s supposed to work and I know my first video was in a Facebook group and I could not stand it. I literally wanted to delete it straight away and then we’ll how do, you know, don’t delete it because I had cut. I was a mummy. I was thinking the mummy and I had piles of washing behind.
    And me, and I could not stand to listen to my own voice. I could not stand my own physical appearance, like it was just a visceral and I got through that. And then I posted my first public video and a troll, some trolled me. And he said, you know, the reason I left the city, you like a parasite on the face. Okay, I’ve heard about this because I was in a supportive business group and I’d heard that if you start getting trolled on your videos, it’s a good sign, it means you’re showing up, you know, don’t take it to heart. So gratefully, I mean, it still hurt, but greatly I was able to kind of divest from that instead of clean. Just kind of set that free, but there were definitely hurdles but now I’ve just done so many videos. Like, sometimes it’s, I don’t even care how it sounds.
    Sometimes, I watch my own videos back and I listen to myself and I’m like, that’s pretty good. Like now, I’m in a place where I’m really okay with it. Plus I have a video on YouTube that has 50,000 views that is me with wet hair hunched over with all my jowls with bluetac photos in the background and it’s had 50,000 views.
    So I’m like, okay you it really is about the value that you give and that video is how to put faces in circles in canva. If you Google that might come up and it just literally gives people the information that they need in that moment. So, you know, people could check out our how to blog to grow your business course.

    Think about their SEO and think about what are the things that people are typing in because that can be a great way to just organically get some people to find you. If you know what they’re asking for, you can create content to slot that in but where I was going with that was a bit of a little segue little appendix and coming back to the intestine of the conversation.
    MW: You were talking about video and I did want to add to that. That audio is just as good. Like, there are so many people that listen to podcasts on the way to work and staff and while they’re walking and if you have an awesome voice and you love talking, why not do that instead? I mean, we both know somebody that hates being on video, but loves doing podcasts.
    Actually it’s not me because I’m on video and I love video but we know somebody you and I and she doesn’t actually do a podcast but she does audio really well.
    NB: That’s right. And that is the key piece. Really easy with content. If you’ve got one piece of content, you’ll be amazed what we can tease out of that. Even if it’s a three minute audio that we can get tons of social media posts out of that.
    There’s this great app called headliner. That will turn audios into little videos so you can actually turn audios into videos. I mean it’s not you it’s just a static photo with an audiogram over the top like a wavegram and that makes it a video and it still gets great reach, the robot loves them because it thinks they’re a video. So yeah you don’t have to get on video but you do need to find a way to share your Juju.

    Like all the good things you have to do is to find a way to share that consistently. I mean you just showing up on the regular really moves the needle. Hmm.
    MW: And also, getting on the stage a little bit too. You know, you can submit an article to Mamma Mia online. If you are a good writer and you get a bigger audience there or like Sarah Rusbatch has done some ABC and other radio interviews, a lot of people listen to the radio.
    I’ve done radio before, as well. I had a Weekly Wellness session on our local radio station here in the country and people would come up to me in the street and go “Oh, you’re that person on that wellness segment.” You get in everybody’s ears, in their brains.
    Even though videos really popular people have busy lives, I can’t sit still and watch a video.
    NB: Yeah, it’s very difficult as a mother and I would say, like, I’m just reading them how to break up with your phone, and there are people who they don’t want to be on social media.
    I mean, I never really wanted to in the first place. It was my work. I’m happy to do it for work. But in terms of how I receive information I might read your blog, you know, I might be more inclined to read your email then to find you on social media now, so it’s worth knowing that you don’t have to do the social media thing.
    Leonie Orson, who is massive, recently just quit social media and I mean, she’s already very established. So I feel like she’s in a different position.

    MW: Yeah. You could definitely make it work.
    NB: It doesn’t have to be cookie cutter there. It’s a big fat experiment. That’s what nobody wants to hear.
    You need to try something, but give it a good chunk of time and then re-evaluate and go again. That’s what I do. That’s what you do.
    MW: I built my first coaching business face-to-face, without anybody looking at my website or social media. It was all talking to people. And it’s the quickest way to connect because you’ve got all the benefit of the visual cues and the body language.
    And if you’re afraid to get on video, get out there in person and talk to people and I guess the, you know, the common theme we’re coming to here is you have to kind of know who you are and what you stand for and build up a level of confidence to put yourself out there, whether it be online or in a blog or face-to-face.
    Like I’ve met people who say I’m so terrified about posting my first blog and what happens when people read it? And as we know, you’re on page 7 million of Google and no one’s going to see it anyway until you share it.
    NB: I can totally relate and I started writing a bit more now and I’m coming around to writing and I think there’s loads of options, and you know, if you need a safe space, what can be nice is to share a blog, or your first piece of content with just a few trusted colleagues or friends but maybe don’t send it to the wide world. If you are feeling really tense and I think that’s the thing.

    You break down those barriers with little achievable steps and then actually your body realizes, I’m not going to die. Like I’m not in the savanna. I know I am not actually going to die and once you’ve done it a few times, then you just kind of ease up about it and you know that you’re safe and you know that it’s an okay thing to do here. And it’s, you know, it’s also that evolving Journey. Like what works now you might get sick of it. Like I did a lot of email list, newsletters and then I went actually, this is hard work for me. I don’t want to do this.
    MW: It means a learning experience, the whole thing. Think about what you were like when you were a kid, I don’t know about you, but I was incredibly shy and I didn’t want to speak to anybody or be seen by anybody. And I’ve had to do a lot of work to overcome that, but I went to Melbourne last week and did a pitch in front of a room full of people and I loved it – so good. I just thrived on the opportunity to do it and I thought, wow.
    Remember if I took my ten year old self had looked forward and said, what are you going to be doing in the future? I never would have guessed that.
    NB: Yeah. And the other thing that came to mind for me is like, if you’re 30, you have enough life experience to help anybody who’s in the early 20 years, mid-20s, you’ve got enough experience to help anyone who’s in their late teens. Like wherever you are, you have already got enough experience and like, even before I had a Commerce degree, I had enough life experience.
    If I’d known I could have totally just become like a personal transformation coach or something. We all are sitting on a ton of knowledge and care and love and ability to support other people. And that’s really valuable and it’s what makes you, YOU.
    Your unique life experience and your interpretation of that and how you process things and how you overcome challenges, that’s what people buy at the end of the day, right?
    They believe you to be credible because you have these skills and strengths and experience. And I think also, there is an energetic resonance there. Like, you call it, the, what do you call it?

    MW: The high chemistry clients.
    NB: There are people that just need to work with you and you could almost like, be teaching them to make bread or you could be teaching them to change a tyre. It kind of doesn’t matter because you guys just need to hang out. There’s some kind of catalyst for change in your relationship and quite, possibly leave for both of you. So yeah there’s lots of levels you know the way we need to hang out with each other that’s often where the niche is.
    MW: A lot of people think about or teach that you should start with a niche and then drill down and I think it’s totally reasonable to say instead, “who’s the person that you love being around?” and then to go and see what all these people have in common that you can help them with. Because ultimately, why would you want to work with people that drain you?
    NB: Exactly. And nobody wants that. There are those right people in your personal connections that you could give a free session to who would write you a testimonial who are already high, chemistry people in your life that would love to help you. And yeah, so you’ve already got six potential clients, just, you know, even if you’re a pretty low-key person.
    MW: I think we just solved the problems of the world to know that was gonna happen. Now it’s easy to be captain hindsight to look back and say these are the things that work but I guess from our experience we’re saying to people at the beginning of that journey or who are trying new things, just do it your way, give it a good crack given enough time and get help if you need and especially get help from Natasha Berta at Connected Marketing.

    NB: I’ve got heaps of cool courses now on like all good things for newbies as well. I just doing MailerLite and MailChimp at the moment and it has been really fun – I’m excited.
    So, I’ll be polishing all of those up and rehashing, some old Instagram, and it’s just actually been really fun. Just talking about little nibbles of things.
    MW: Super fun, bitesize learning to empower your growth.
    NB: Oh, I need your copy team!
    MW: Thanks so much for making the time today to catch up!

    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 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.

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