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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#194 Kristine Gardner Having an Impact With Metabolic Balance

This episode is about Kristine Gardner having an impact with metabolic balance

Kristine Gardener of Melbourne Wellness Coaching is a wellness coach, naturopath and Metabolic Balance Coach who is running a successful weight loss coaching business. But in the beginning, she wasn’t sure how to get traction and where to start. This interview uncovers her journey to success, and what it took to get there.

Connect with Kristine

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristine-gardener-consulting-coaching/ https://melbournewellnesscoaching.com.au/

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What she’s doing now in her business
* Starting her business and the journey
* Her business traction point
* Challenges she overcame to succeed

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#174 Your Foolproof 2022 Business Plan

This episode is about your foolproof 2022 business plan

The start of the year is a great time to make plans. But how do you make a plan that is realistic and will guarantee results?

Today, I cover the three ingredients of a successful business plan that will ensure your success.

Ingredient 1: Start with Strategy

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘plan’? The internet defines a plan as:

  1. An orderly or step-by-step conception or proposal for accomplishing an objective.
  2. A proposed or intended course of action.
  3. A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts; a configuration or outline.
In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Why starting with a strategy is so important
* How to create a structured, SMART plan
* Reviewing and course correcting

What do you notice about these definitions?

I see that they are all about taking action. And taking action is great, and important….but in the words of organisational theorist Kenichi Ohmae:

“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”

In other words, planning your actions is important, but there is a step BEFORE that.

The step is creating a strategy.

A strategy is the overall aim, objective or goal that you want to achieve.

When it comes to your 2022 business plan, you would define your primary aim for the year BEFORE you start the planning process.

I believe the best aims or outcomes are inspirational, realistic, aspirational and measurable. Here is an example.

“By 31 December 2022, I want to have helped 50 women reverse diabetes.”

If you think about this as an outcome, it meets all those criteria.

For the right person, this is:

· inspiring (ties in with a passion),

· something that can realistically be achieved with the right support, systems and effort (the timing and number and content has been done before by others),

· something to aspire to (reversing diabetes), and

· measurable (it has an end date, and a number of people).

So my question to you is – what is the overarching strategic goal you have for this year?

All of your plans will be borne out of that.

Ingredient 2: Create a Structured SMART Plan

This one is essential and it’s where a lot of people go wrong with a lack of detail, specificity and not seeking help. If you’re new at business and/or planning, you will need help with this!

Like the strategy, a structured plan has very specific actions, dates, milestones and metrics so that you can schedule tasks and check that you are on track.

Using the example I just mentioned, we can start teasing out elements of the plan.

“By 31 December 2022, I want to have helped 50 women reverse diabetes.”

In this example we can see that we need two things: a way to solve the problem, and a way to engage the clients.

Firstly, you will need to have a program and/or method for helping people reverse diabetes.

1. What is program or method you will use?

2. Has it been created yet?

3. Do you need to test it/get social proof?

4. Who else might need to be involved to help you?

By answering those questions, you can work out the actions that need to be taken, in which order, who will help you – and you can schedule those into a timeline.

Secondly, you will need to have a channel to find those 50 women with diabetes.

1. What does your market research indicate?

2. Where will you find them / where do they hang out?

3. What is your best marketing strategy that plays to your strengths – e.g. writing, speaking, PR etc?

4. Who can connect you with them?

5. What opportunities are there in your existing networks?

6. What will your marketing plan look like?

By answering those questions, you can work out the actions that need to be taken, in which order, who will help you – and you can schedule those into a timeline.

Ingredient 3: Review and Course Correction

A plan is great, but things invariably change as you progress, so you need to schedule time at least once per month to review your progress, and course correct so you can achieve your goal, or change the goal as needed.

We all find this bit hard because nobody likes changing the goals or goalposts!

Change requires a shift away from what we know and feel safe with, into the unknown.

BUT, as we know through coaching clients, the process of experimenting invariably changes the journey.

Making time to reflect, review, let go of what doesn’t work and change gears, is the absolute key to success.

In the example above, let’s assume that you did all your actions in January to find prospective clients through your networks…..but you drew a blank.

Or perhaps you thought you’d have your program finished by now and ready to pilot, but you haven’t gotten there yet and can’t find any pilot clients.

Eeek! Now what?

Well, simply go back to your plan and review it.

What didn’t work?

What did work?

What other opportunities are there to find pilot or real clients?

Who can help you get clarity on these things, so you can progress your plan?

As you can see, it’s one thing to come up with a strategy and plan, but life and business don’t go according to plan.

Your ability to problem-solve, troubleshoot, brainstorm, seek help or even pivot are what will help you succeed.

Please know this – there is no magical solution to any of these or any other problems. They require focus, attention, and work.

This is the reality of running a business, and you will gain valuable experience not just for yourself, but also empathy for your clients who are going through exactly the same process!

Summary

Today I mentioned that planning is essential for a successful business, but many plans go awry or fail.

The three ingredients for success are:

1. Start with a big-picture strategy

2. Turn the strategy into a structured, SMART plan

3. Review and Course Correct with help in order to stay on track for success.

If you need help with business planning, I have three spots available in January. Click here to book.

Otherwise, you can waitlist for my June Passion to Profit Course where we go through the foundational work behind the plan that is essential for success.

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#170 4 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome

This episode is about 4 ways to beat imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome has been a hot topic lately and I have decided to talk about it again in this episode. 

I have worked with several clients in the last year who have been struggling with imposter syndrome. And through the process of coaching conversations, I have seen a few things that have been really effective in helping people to beat impostor syndrome.

The thing with impostor syndrome is that it creates an unhelpful downward spiral. If you are plugging negative thoughts into your head, then your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is impostor syndrome?
* How to overcome impostor syndrome?
* What are the methods that I can use to overcome impostor syndrome?

That’s how our brains work. So you definitely need to learn some skills to manage those impostor thoughts and feelings.

Sure, there is no magical quick fix for imposter syndrome. But there are habits that you can form that will help to diminish impostor syndrome and keep it at bay. They’re things that anyone can use, and benefit from.

What is impostor syndrome?

Healthline defines impostor syndrome as follows:

Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.

They say that Impostor syndrome may manifest as perfectionism, struggling to deal with anything that doesn’t come easily, the belief that you should be able to do things on your own, believing you should have all the answers and be an expert, or linking your competence to success in all areas of life.

In clients I’ve worked with, these patterns come up in conversation along with a sense that they will be judged or criticised if they don’t succeed, achieve perfection or have all the answers. 

If any of this sounds familiar, then you might have a bit of imposter syndrome going on. 

I want to point something out before we go any further. If you are learning anything new in your life, you know that there is going to be a steep learning curve. There is a period where you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, because you haven’t had enough time to practice your new craft. 

I see this a lot in  my work as in business startups and coach training within a health and wellness coach training school. I work mostly with mature adults who are going through a career change and have a lot of past success and knowledge – but who see their foray into a new career as challenging and disheartening. They are so used to feeling competent and now, suddenly, they are inexperienced newbies!

Enter the impostor syndrome.

Never mind! It is 100% normal to feel insecure when you are learning new things, to doubt yourself, and to feel like you don’t know enough, or aren’t doing it well enough. That’s called learning.

Just like a small child learning to walk, falling down and then getting up to determinedly try again, you can learn to develop new skills and persist without feeling like a failure.

How do you do that? Well, I’ve rustled up some of the ways that you can move past impostor syndrome more easily.

I want to share four methods that have come up in coaching conversations with my clients that have been really effective in helping and overcome imposter syndrome. These are not one-time use methods – they need to be done consistently.

Method #1 – Schedule time to recognise success 

Self efficacy is a key part of beating impostor syndrome. Self-efficacy means that you have a sense of competence around your ability to do certain tasks or activities.

For example, maybe you know that you are a good ballroom dancer, or that you are good at making cakes.

Knowing that you have skills and strengths in a particular area confers a level of self-confidence.

That’s why method #1 for beating impostor syndrome involves reflecting on wins in your daily life, or your progress with learning a skill.

Here are a few ways you can do that.

Firstly, if you are a coach, you can start working with practice clients and develop a self-reflective practice to implement after each coaching session that you do. Focus on being objective and non-emotive in your feedback, using neutral language. 

Note what went well or not so well based on the client’s behaviour and feedback, what you feel went well, and what you might have done differently and why.

A second way to build self-efficacy is to collect external feedback.

If you are a coach, this would involve reading through testimonials and feedback surveys from your clients on a regular basis to remind yourself of the value of what you do. 

This implies that you need to be collecting feedback after every coaching session as part of your business ‘habits’ or processes.

Outside of coaching or your business, external feedback involves asking friends what they think your strengths are, or what they like about you. Ask for candid feedback from people you trust. It might feel a little uncomfortable, but you will probably be surprised about what comes back…..and delighted!

Other than these ideas, you may have access to customer or colleague feedback at work, performance review feedback or simply the kind words of a compassionate friend who always champions you.

A third way to build self-efficacy is to reflect on the value of what you do in your life.

You could consider any area of your life. For example, the importance of being a parent. What is possible for your child because you care for them, house them, feed them and get them to school?

What is possible if you continue to run your business or do your job – what good can that create in the world? Who can you help? And, by doing that work and helping those people – what will THEY be able to do?

If you are new to coaching and are concerned about the value of your services, consider what is possible if your client gets to the end of their program and has made changes in a specific area of life? And THEN what is possible for them? And what else?

In other words – use the big picture coaching questions toward the client who shows up and does their work, to see what is possible because of their work with you.

Hopefully you can see that with a few questions and reflections, it is possible to recognise skills and strengths that you have, and to acknowledge how those things can have a bigger impact in your own life, or someone else’s. 

Method #2 – Say I don’t know

My husband recently told me a story about one of his first jobs in Australia. 

He moved here from California and had no connections. Moving into a new job, he felt such pressure to have all of the answers and was really impacting him. 

One day he was asked a question in a work meeting and he said simply, “I don’t know but I’ll get the answer and come back to you.” 

He describes the sense that a huge weight was lifted from him because he could be totally honest (one of his strengths), he could go away and learn something, and he could still fulfill the request and gain probably more respect than if he had tried to bumble through an answer, as if he knew what he was talking about.

I found the courage to do this a long time ago, and it was liberating.

Think about it – nobody ever has all of the answers all of the time. If you can learn to be ok with that, you can remove at least some of the weight of expectation that you have placed on yourself. 

To get a sense of this, see if you can recall a time where someone gave you an answer that you knew was a fake. How did it feel? What did you think about that person at the time?

Now, imagine if they had been honest and told you they didn’t know, but would find out?

I’m sure you can see the difference. And if we want to be really pointy about this – in those two versions of the situation, only one is an imposter – and it’s not the one telling the truth.

Method #3 – Tap into your purpose 

What I notice with all of my clients – literally all of them – is that when they feel like an imposter, they turn inward and focus on themselves and their own inadequacies.

It becomes an emotional and sometimes judgemental conversation in their head that plays on repeat. And as I  mentioned earlier, when you are plugging those sorts of thoughts into your head, your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

That’s how our brains work.

So a way to flip that and get out of the unhelpful thought loops is to tap into your purpose.

If you are a coach and/or a business owner, then your impostor syndrome might be around your ability to give value to your clients. It becomes a conversation all about you and your inadequacies. 

But coaching is all about the client! By flipping this, you can get back into that client-centric mindset and start delivering value. 

Reflect on some of those big picture, brain-opening questions.

Why does my work matter to the world?

What could this much-needed skill change in my community?

What will happen when I become masterful – how will it help me and my clients?

Why do I want to make a difference in people’s lives?

As you can see, honing your purpose is a great way to pull away from the useless impostor thought loop and to re-focus on the big picture – your why behind it all.

Method #4 – Accept yourself as a learner 

Finally, if you feel like an impostor, it might be that your expectations are greater than what is realistic or possible right now.

Being honest and objective with yourself and getting external feedback allows you to see clearly where you are at in the learning continuum.

And sure, you might really wish you were further along – but maybe it’s time to step back and accept yourself as someone who doesn’t have all the answers, can’t do it perfectly, and is on the journey toward becoming masterful.

This is the growth mindset!

Accepting yourself as a learner gives you permission to make mistakes, be curious, learn from your challenges and build strength.

Another perspective is this – they say it takes 10.000 hours or 10 years to truly master something.

Consider where you are on that timeline. Yes, it can be sobering. But also, it’s a good reminder that your persistence in doing something you love will lead to a good outcome and, persistence in itself is part of winning in a world where so many people give up.

Summary

After several conversations about impostor syndrome, I wanted to share some insights on how to move through it more easily.

Firstly, you can start scheduling time to recognise success. This could involve self-reflection on performance, reading client testimonials, asking friends for feedback, or reflecting on the downstream value or ripple effect of what you are doing.

Secondly, you can practice saying I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you. This single act will gain you respect and will ease the pressure you’ve been putting on yourself.

Thirdly, you can tap into your purpose. Stop focussing inwards on your flaws, and start focussing outward on the bigger benefits and impacts of what you are doing.

Fourth, you can accept yourself as a learner, on a journey to mastery, which takes 10,000 hours or 10 years – whatever comes first.

Hopefully you are feeling better equipped to tackle your impostor syndrome.

I’d love to know – which one of these methods will you try first?

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#169 50-Day Program Results

This episode is about 50-day program results

Have you ever started any sort of a health change program and wondered why you couldn’t stick to it? today I’m giving you an update on my 50 day program results and what I’ve had to do to stick with it.

Backstory

Around 44 days ago I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that I would make a transformation in my health. I was sick and tired of putting up with menopause symptoms including anxiety and insomnia feeling like I was on the coffee roller coaster and just wanting to clean up my body.

I have experienced changes in my thinking, my energy, my sleep, and it’s all because I’ve developed better habits around drinking water, eating cleaner and with less snacking, drinking less coffee, and setting some boundaries.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The progress of my 50-day program
* The backstory behind the program
* What does extending mean?

Despite the good start, I do love a challenge and I have decided that, 44 days in, I am going to the next level in this program.

Before I tell you about that I’m just going to recap on some of my key results so far.

FIrstly, I have a great eating and supplementation routine and I am no longer bloated and I am energized. I’m feeling calmer and more relaxed than I have in a long time. My digestive system, liver and nervous systems are having a good rest.

Secondly, instead of trying to flog myself with exercise, I’m working (right now) on gentler forms of movement that are more in keeping with what I need right now. 

My sleep has improved dramatically. I feel more positive and hopeful. I have a clearer and more focused mind.

My skin looks better – clear, soft and dewy.

My clothes fit better.

I am clearly seeing the thoughts and beliefs I had attached to eating and drinking for what they are – not serving me, and inaccurate.

I have let go of things that are unhealthy for me with surprising ease.

It’s probably because I”ve committed to myself and given enough focus on what’s important to me, to make this difference.

And now, as I have a few days left to go – I have decided to extend my program.

What does extending mean?

Extending means I will continue and deepen my journey for another month at least.

I am giving myself four more weeks to truly understand my newly refined and tuned up body and mind, to become familiar with them, and to get comfortable here.

I don’t want to go back to my old habits, so I am setting myself a new milestone to aim for and that is giving me the period of focus that I need to learn more about myself – most importantly, how to remain consistent and committed – so I don’t slip into old habits.

In other words, I”m working on strengthening my WHY behind this.

With several sick family members right now, I know how things can go sour. It doesn’t happen overnight though, it creeps up gradually. 

That is why I am continuing on this journey.

This was a QUICK update – but I’ll be sharing some more insights soon, including some secrets to my success, and some of the things that YOU can do for yourself.

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#161 Sleep Hacking

This episode is about sleep hacking

Today I want to share a bit of my journey around sleep hacking to overcome insomnia.

I’ve had insomnia for most of my life off and on, and for me there is a clear correlation with the amount of stress that’s going on in my life. But with the onset of perimenopause, that has ramped up and there are other things that are also causing insomnia such as night sweats and even certain things that I’ve eaten or drunk.

So I’ve been on a mission to hack my sleep. 

I’m going back to my roots.

That is, biohacking is something I’ve done for many years, but I just haven’t spoken about it much in the last couple of years.

Biohacking is where you make small tweaks to your daily habit to improve certain areas of your health or your life.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What approach does one needs to take to remedy sleep?
* What you can take to supplement your need to sleep?
* What other factors affect our sleep?

I want to share with you what I’ve been doing, what I’m doing next, and how it’s all working, so that you can get your own ideas for hacking sleep for yourself or perhaps for the clients that you’re working with. 

Remember that everybody is different and has their own individual formula for improving sleep or any other area of well-being. So what’s working for me may not work for you, but it could be worth trying

The approach you take to remedy sleep and the hacks you decide to use will depend on what’s causing your lack of sleep.

Things changed

My catalyst to get back into biohacking was the onset of perimenopause around 18 months ago, when a lot of things changed for me. 

One of the first things I noticed was that my anxiety increased, and I developed insomnia again after many years without a hitch, and I had night sweats.

Through self-observation, I realised these things were related and they tended to make each other worse. The more anxious I became the less I slept, and the less I slept the more prone to anxiety I was, and the worse my night sweats, the less I slept.

Obviously none of these things are very good for mental well-being or productivity or health so I was motivated to experiment and make some changes. 

Lack of sleep tends to make you grumpy, it tends to make you crave sweet foods, and to feel too lethargic to exercise.

And all of that started happening to me.

So here’s how I worked things out.

Supplements

I actually started the process of unpacking by experimenting with some supplements. The reason I started here is because it was the easiest and fastest way to effect change. 

Firstly, I got back into a routine of taking a high grade multivitamin and mineral formulation that I have used on and off for years, because the research is clear that the more stress your body is under, the more that stress robs nutrients from your body (oxidative damage). 

I won’t go into the complex biology in this episode and will save that for later.

That was my baseline, and I also consulted a naturopath to get some specific supplements for my perimenopause symptoms. She gave me an Ashwaghanda formulation, a magnesium, vitamin B and zinc formula, and a herbal preparation to help with night sweats. 

As a result, I got fairly rapid relief from stress to the point where I was able to sleep better, and I also felt calmer during the day. That took about three weeks.

Before supplementing, I was waking up around five or six times at night with a hot flush that caused me to wake up and then stay awake. Falling asleep was not the issue, it was staying asleep, and particularly at that critical time of 1 to 3am. 

After supplementing, my sleep was more regular, I had fewer flushes, and I was staying asleep better or more easily falling back to sleep.

Stress – workload

At the time all of this was going on, the pandemic hit and I had anticipated a downturn in workload through my contracting roles. As a result I decided to take on some new private clients running a pilot program. 

What actually happened was that both of my contracting roles got a lot busier, so I was juggling too much busier contract roles in addition to my own clients. 

The other thing was that with my own clients, it wasn’t a set and forget, rinse and repeat program that I had run before. It was developmental work and consideration to get what I was doing right. I believe that creativity is the opposite of stress. When you are feeling stressed and under pressure then your ability to think creatively is compromised.

Also, going through menopause makes you realise that your capacity to do things is diminished. It’s a combination of brain fog, fatigue, and of course the insomnia and anxiety.

That’s what happened to me. 

So what I had to do was to reach out to my contract roles and talk about changing my roles, doing less of the detailed stuff that doesn’t light me up and which I find draining, and that took a load off.

Switching off at 5 pm was also a critical part of this formula for me. 

It was a hack that was well worth it. Switching off at 5 pm, I was finishing my screen time at that critical period around sunset where we want to decrease cortisol levels rather than keep them pumped up with artificial light.

This helped me to wind down, reduce anxiety and sleep better.

Before that, I was prone to catastrophizing and making everything seem worse or more urgent than it was.

By lowering my workload and switching off earlier, I had time to unwind, relax and ‘de-focus’ so I could sleep better each night.

I’ve since noticed that if I have to teach at night or if I watch an intense or scary movie, or read a thriller novel, it pushes up my anxiety levels enough that I go back to 1am wake ups.

Food and Drink

A bit of research and some experimenting on my own helped me to realise that certain things would trigger night sweats, or even hot flushes during the day. 

For me these triggers included portion size, alcohol, sugar, or more than 2 cups of coffee per day.

With portion size, I’ve worked out that if I eat after 7pm and/or if I have a meal that’s too big, I won’t fall asleep easily or stay asleep. I tend to sleep better if I’ve had a small serve of complex carbohydrate, plenty of veggies and lean protein for dinner. 

Anything that’s salty, fatty, sugary or too starchy (like a risotto) will wake me up at an odd hour, either starving, with heartburn or thirsty.

With alcohol, I have found that champagne, certain spicy spirits like cinnamon whisky, and some wines, will cause me to wake at 1 – 3am or to have night sweats. It seems related to the amount of sugar.

Having one white wine with dinner, or a white spirit, seems to be ok. But regardless of the alcohol I drink, there is definitely a pattern of increased sweating and I wake at least twice per night with this and struggle to sleep again.

I am still experimenting with sugar, but have found that evening chocolate or dessert might be a trigger for poor sleep, in the absence of alcohol, late work or other triggers. 

It’s well known that when you are a bit depressed you crave carbs, and that is related to an increase in tryptophan and therefore serotonin which improves mood – in the absence of protein which can block this pathway. I have many more experiments ahead on this, so I’ll come back to you on it.

With caffeine, I’ve worked out that I can have 1 – 2 espressos per day (I make mine with oat milk) and be ok and sleep well if I have them before 12pm.

But, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

If I’ve been awake since about 3 am and haven’t been able to get back to sleep, or if I am waking up tired and have two coffees on an empty stomach at a time when I have a lot of stress in my life, then those two coffees don’t help anything and I tend to have a peak and then a crash, followed by a jittery day and/or a restless or sleepless night.

I remember one day waking up after having a terrible night sleep, where I perhaps only had three hours of sleep. I had coffee in the morning and I had a rocket fuel boost of energy followed by a big crash and I felt listless all day.

What I’ve learned is that I have a tipping point for caffeine and I need to be careful not to cross the tipping point. If I am a bit fragile or tired or stressed and my capacity to cope with caffeine is lower and it has an amplified effect on anxiety, mood, sleep and energy levels.

The optimum time to have caffeine is 60-90 minutes after waking or around 10am. The reason is that when you wake up in the morning your cortisol levels naturally increase in response to sunlight. If you inject caffeine into that equation then it prevents your body from creating its own natural energy at that time.

Exercise

I am yet to do any experimenting with exercise specifically – remember that good science means one thing at a time. 

But for now, I wanted to say that I’ve always been somebody that likes exercising in the afternoon. As a personal trainer, I know that exercise done too late can be overstimulating and affect your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

I will come back to you on this one.

Summary

At different stages of life, we experience hormonal and physiological changes that tilt your world on its axis.

When that happens, what used to work for you in terms of your biology and physiology might change such that you need to revisit things.

With the onset of menopause, I’ve started experimenting with my body – biohacking – to help me understand my triggers for insomnia and anxiety. 

So far, I’ve worked out some important things about supplements, stress, and food and drink so I’m much more aware of nights that I AM sleeping well.

The real benefit of this experimentation is that I am super clear on my own personal formula for a good night’s sleep. I am following my own coaching framework to figure this out. 

Working with a coach can be so helpful because they can help you to work out what to experiment with, and to focus for a long enough period of time to uncover your blind spots and reveal your own secret formula for healthy sleep, weight loss, stress reduction or any other challenge that you’re facing.

If you’re looking for a coach and need a referral, please reach out and let me know.

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#159 Promotional Copy 101

This episode is about promotional copy 101

In this episode, I’m going to explain how to write great copy so that you can attract more of the right clients more easily!

Good copywriting makes the difference between ‘crickets’ and ‘conversions’.

Luckily, copywriting is a skill that you can learn. 

And as a coach, you have some ninja superpowers that give you a massive head start. The better you are at listening and reflecting, the easier marketing and more specifically copywriting will be for you.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* How to get attention?
* Which clients’ words should you use?
* How can you make it mouth-watering?

How to Get Attention

Which advertisements do YOU respond to and why? 

Most likely, you will be most engaged with promotions that use the exact images, words and phrases that you use to describe what you’re going through.

When the copy uses your exact language, then no education or translation is required – your brain recognizes your own words and immediately ‘gets it’.

This is why choosing a niche is so important! 

Different niches use different language to describe what’s going on. 

Think of two weight loss niches – young mothers and menopausal women. While there would be common ground, those two weight loss niches will use very different and specific language to describe their desired outcome, their challenges, and the obstacles they face.

A young mother wanting to lose weight might talk about ‘post-baby belly’ or ‘losing pregnancy weight’ and might also talk about wanting to be a role model to her children. Obstacles might include tiredness and lack of time between juggling family, work and small kids.

A menopausal woman wanting to lose weight might talk about ‘menopause belly’ or ‘slowed metabolism’ and might also talk about looking her best in a professional setting. Obstacles might include workload, hormonal balance and the stress of ageing parents. 

See how different this could be? It’s important to be clear on exactly who you are talking to. 

Developing a customer avatar helps you define who you are speaking to, and remembering what they say about their problem, obstacles, desired result and reasons why that’s important to them.

By using your client’s own words, you can create text that is visible and relevant to your niche so they feel heard, understood and to trust that you’re the best person to help them.

Which clients’ words should you use?

It’s important to be selective with the client words you use. Whose words would be better for copy:

the client who didn’t show up consistently and always sabotaged themselves? 

or

the words of your favourite high chemistry clients who persisted and got AMAZING results?

The latter is best, but it’s not just about a more compelling result. It’s also that you want to attract more people like them – the better-fit, more persistent client who is driven to succeed.

How can you make it mouth-watering?

Beyond the body copy of your promotion, you can add call to action text (CTA) to seal the deal, that: 

adds value 

creates accountability and 

adds a trust step.

Value is a bonus that they get for joining. For example, 

“if you join this program, you will receive a bonus free e-guide and video walking you through the simple 3-step process to foolproof meal planning.”

Accountability is the time that they must decide by – whether they’re in or out. For example, 

“Register now – this offer closes 30 June, and there are only 10 places available.”

This simply forces the person to decide now and commit or not, rather than delaying the decision and forgetting about it.

In a coaching session, we ask clients to commit to their goals by nominating the day and time they will take action. The accountability step is much the same – it requests a decision, commitment to take action and provides accountability.

Trust step is the condition they must fulfil in order to join (week 5). For example,

“This offer is only available to people who have attended my live information session.”

“A health clearance with your GP is required before you can participate.”

“Complete the program application form to see if you qualify.”

Most clients will only sign up for something if they have had some sort of a trust step or steps in place. 

In your call to action, the trust step is optional. It shows that you value working with the right kind of client, and it also meets their requirement for trust building before they sign up.

The trust step may present a hurdle to signing up, but it can also build trust, authority and encourage action. You will need to decide whether to include this aspect or not.

Summary

Good copywriting leverages your innate coaching skills including listening, acknowledgement, reflecting, reframing, goal setting and rapport building.

The easiest way to write compelling copy is to craft copy using the exact words your best, high chemistry clients use.

Then, add a call-to-action that leverages your clients’ emotions around value, accountability and their desired trust building activities. 

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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#152 7 Considerations for Choosing a Program Platform

This episode is about 7 considerations for choosing a program platform

When it comes to offering a program and content to your clients, there are SO many ways you can do it. Today, I want to help you break it down and get clear on how to choose a platform that is right for you.

What is a platform?

The word ‘platform’ refers to the online space that hosts the content for your program for both you and your clients to access.

Ideally, a platform provides content in a way that is easily accessible, visually appealing and in a logical order/layout. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is a platform and its main functions?
* What your audience wants?
* What doesn’t the platform do?

Platforms are many and varied. They perform different functions and have different levels of complexity.

Here are seven main considerations for choosing a platform for YOUR program.

What is the main function of the platform? 

Is it primarily for delivering content, or creating a community, or facilitating communication between you and your clients – or a mix of these? 

This is a huge consideration when picking a platform. It needs to be fit-for-purpose.

What does your audience want?

Do they prefer to go to a platform they’re familiar with, or something else?

This is the second biggest consideration. If they don’t like the platform you’re using, or if it’s hard to use, they won’t use it.

How user-friendly/intuitive is it?

Trialing a platform before you buy/sign up is important. 

If it’s not intuitive or doesn’t quite fit the structure you want, then it will be hard for you and your niche clients to use it.

You can ask focus group members to test it for you during the trial phase (screen share on Zoom, or send them a test link) and again once you start building it out.

How secure is it?

Platforms have varying levels of security and this is a key consideration, especially with regard to national Privacy Acts, GDPR, etc – AND your intellectual property.

Example: when you load content onto a WordPress website on a ‘hidden page’, it may be discoverable by random keyword searches.  Make sure you choose a system that doesn’t expose your IP or the confidentiality of your members.

Also, ensure you have clear disclaimers and policies about privacy, use of personal information and precautions taken (including liability).

What DOESN’T the platform do?

If you like a platform but it doesn’t cover all the functions you need, look at what it integrates with, and/or what you might need to set up as a separate system.

Examples include Zoom meetings, payment gateways, landing pages, email functionality, automation, booking links.

This will help you decide whether you need to switch platforms, and/or set up associated systems to deliver your pilot.

How tech savvy are you and your audience?

Simpler platforms (even the more manual sharing of a Google Drive folder, or printing worksheets) might suit some demographics and live audiences better. In this case, YOU will still need a digital platform to store and create files in a logical, sequential order. 

If your audience is familiar with tech, they may be interested in something more complex. 

How long will it take to set up? Do you have the knowledge? These are two important questions to ask yourself.

You can always pay someone to set up a platform for you – but this is a cost and, I think if you need to pay someone to set it up, that’s an indication that it’s too complex or big for your needs right now.

How much do your niche want, and in what format?

If your audience wants a lot of content, consider what the platform allows in terms of storage, and if web-based, how it might affect speed.

Example: website membership plug-ins are great, but a lot of video files loaded onto a website take up space and slow site loading. In this case, you’d be better to host videos externally (e.g. Vimeo) and simply provide links within the platform.

Some platforms allow hosting of a variety of content while some are restricted.

Example: Facebook groups allow live videos, uploaded videos, written content etc).

Example: you can’t upload audio files to Mighty Networks directly, you have to use a third party program like Soundcloud to store the file.

Summary

This is an overview of considerations when choosing a platform to host a coaching program.

There may be other considerations not listed here.

The message is – don’t jump in too quickly. Think about how it will actually work when you are ready to use it. Test it. Get your clients to test it.  

Pick something that is the best fit, and then, start building it out in collaboration with your focus group clients.

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#148 Identifying high chemistry clients

This episode is about identifying high chemistry clients

High chemistry clients are the people that you have a natural resonance with. They are the people that you look forward to seeing and find pleasure in being around. 

The saying goes that you are the average of the five people closest to you. So if you want to have enjoyable work with great people, then seek high chemistry clients and your whole life will change.

Let’s look at their traits, how to identify them and how to find more of them!

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Identify high chemistry clients
* Know the traits of a high chemistry clients
* Where to find your high chemistry clients

Traits of high chemistry clients

They have the same journey or history as you. 

When they tell you their story you hear that you have experienced it all – or worked with many clients like that.

They have similar values as you. Maybe it’s health, family, community, giving, or not taking any BS!

My top values are honesty, fairness and justice. So when I hear people talking about what’s fair, or being very honest about something, or if they are helping people or championing the cause, then I know that they’re my people.

I think this is the clearest trait of high chemistry clients, because values influence thinking patterns, feelings and behaviours so this sets the scene for the other things that will help you identify high chemistry clients.

They are at a similar age and life stage. Perhaps they’re a mum of young kids like you, or going through menopause, or are juggling career promotions and social activities, or need to get off the couch and back into running.

They are you, five years ago. You’re a few steps ahead in the journey. Maybe you’ve lost the weight, run the race, beat the demons or are better at mastering your monkey mind, or you’re motivated, inspired and able to talk yourself down from drama. So, they want to be like you.

They have similar fears, worries and obstacles as you. When you hear them discuss the fear they had about taking that first step, or the same limiting beliefs you get, or the schedule clashes you had to navigate, it resonates.

They think the same way as you. Maybe they also think kids should do chores for pocket money, that Labradors are cool, or that outdoor exercise is way better than indoor. 

Start listening for the signposts in your coaching conversations with your favourite clients.

Last week, I heard one of my clients saying that she likes to write down her goals and tick them off with a pen because she can see them and acknowledge them more clearly. She likes the sense of achieving things and it motivates her. 

She said that starting is hard, but once she’s started she is ok – she gets momentum. All the same for me. I know she is my high chemistry client. 

Identifying high chemistry clients

You know when you’re looking forward to something and you get that tingly feeling of anticipation, and butterflies in your stomach?

That’s a similar kind of feeling that comes up when you are with high chemistry clients.

You have almost instant resonance with high chemistry clients, like you are long lost family members or have known each other for 100 years.

I know that if a client is coming for a session with me and I’m excited to see them, I feel a sense of admiration for them, and we have a really good, deep conversation with a lot of resonance, then I’m with a high chemistry client.

The conversation flows easily, and we go deeper quickly, and there is a real sense of honesty and openness.

In contrast, if the conversation feels clunky, awkward, or stilted in any way, then I’m probably not with a high chemistry client.

Or if I leave the session wondering if I actually helped them, they’re not a high chemistry client for me (caveat – if you are inexperienced, you may feel this way all the time, so this doesn’t count!)

Finally, if I feel irritated, deflated or de-energized before or after a session with someone, then it’s likely they are not my people either.

The great thing is that when you learn to identify that feeling you get inside, it can help you to quickly screen your leads and decide if they’re in or out, based on how you feel in that initial enquiry or sales call. 

And in that case, it’s your chance to thank them politely and offer to refer them on, because you don’t feel like you’re the right person for them. 

Finding more high chemistry clients

Client referrals

The great thing about working with high chemistry clients is that they might refer their friends to you. And remember, they are the average of the five people closest to them, so it means that they will probably refer more high chemistry clients to you.

Best of all, high chemistry clients LOVE you and rave about you, so they will easily tell all their friends how wonderful you are and you will have a steady stream of leads.

I know a coach who had excellent resonance with a client, and subsequently that client referred her mother, sister, cousins and aunt to the coach for the same service. How good is that?

Friend referrals

Another way to find more high chemistry clients is to have your own friends, family and inner circle refer people to you. After all, they know you well, so they are equipped to do a good job of match-making you with someone who would be a good fit.

This is why family and friends are a great place to start practice coaching (so they experience your service) but also, you can equip them with a short statement to describe what you do (specifically) and how you help people. 

I’m talking about a simple message to share with people about how you help others. This is not necessarily your elevator pitch, it’s a much simpler statement that describes the type of person you work with.

This happened to me earlier this year. A friend referred someone to me because she could see the fit with me and how I work. She told her contact that I helped people with developing healthy habits and that I could work with her alongside her other health practitioners.

We met for an initial conversation for an hour, and went from there. As it turns out, we have a LOT in common and have a great connection in the sessions.

Preferred Locations

So many coaches ask me – where do I find my ideal clients?

This is actually a no-brainer – they generally hang out in the same sorts of places as you do.

For example, I don’t like social media much and prefer networking and referral in live conversation to meet people. I’ve never tried to find clients on social media. 

My ideal clients are the same. They tend to come to me via one of three ways;

  1. People I know refer them, 
  2. They listen to my podcast or YouTube channel and sign up for something,
  3. I meet them through my work partnerships and buy after they’ve gotten to know me.

I’ve met and engaged high chemistry clients through social engagements after conversations about a shared love of football, similar work backgrounds, or a love of nature.

You can meet high chemistry clients anywhere. You just have to have your radar up and start looking out for them, from the supermarket to the dentist’s waiting room, to the next charity event or party you go to. 

Screening to Make Sure

Even if they seem right at that initial meeting or contact, I always have a formal good fit call or chat to make sure the prospective client is someone I can give value to.

It sets the scene for a professional relationship and it provides certainty that you ARE actually a good fit.

As I mentioned earlier, your good fit call gives you the chance to hear them using the same sort of language as you or your typical client, a similar background or stage of life, and definitely the same sorts of whys. 

For example, my high chemistry client has a professional background, often in science or law. She doesn’t usually have kids or if she does, they’ve grown up. She’s driven by truth, fairness and achievement and has a career focus. She wants to have an impact in the world and is sensitive, sometimes fearful or lacking self confidence. She loves nature, data and getting to the bottom of things. She’s hopeful, optimistic, innovative and tenacious.

So when I hear those things coming up in that first conversation, I know I can truly connect with and add value to that person.

Summary

Today I discussed the traits of high chemistry clients, how to identify them and how to find more of them!

There are the things that they say that resonate, but also, there is that underlying ‘feeling’ you get that they are on the same wavelength, and someone you feel totally at ease and comfortable with.

Once you start working with high chemistry clients, they will refer more of the same to you!

You can also equip your friends and networks with some information to help their high chemistry contacts to connect with you more easily.

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#142 Interview with Michelle Hasani

This episode is about my interview with Michelle Hasani

MW: Today, I’m very excited to be talking to Michelle Hassani today and Michelle, I’m not going to introduce you. I’m going to let you introduce yourself and tell us all about your business and what it is that you do.

MH: Thanks Mel. Well, I’m Michelle Hasani and my business is Revive and Thrive. It’s about workplace wellness, leadership and lifestyle coaching. And I’ve been in business for about three years now. So my background is in leadership policy. 

I work a lot for not-for-profits, in government organizations, which is where those services will come into play. For me, starting out in business, I had been in leadership for a long time and realized that I didn’t actually loved what I was doing anymore, and I guess the flow had gone out of it. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The value of coaching
* Helping clients understand whether they have systems and structures that support people

I had an aging father who was ill and I had a young daughter at the same time so it was just a combination of things and reflecting and thinking I’m not loving what I do anymore. And there must be a better way of doing life. So following that I went and worked for the government for a little while. And for about five years and did some really interesting pieces of work.

During that time I started thinking about where I wanted to be long-term and coaching was the bit in the equation that I loved doing as a leader and as a manager. But I didn’t really get the opportunity to do it because there were so many other parameters that were influencing my time and then having had a cancer experience within the mix of that, I recognize that prevention was an important piece. 

Our health system, while fragmented, was awesome at providing treatment but not awesome at helping a person, really make behavior change or reclaim their health and wellness post-intervention of some really heavy-duty chemoradiotherapy, lots of surgeries, that kind of thing. So, often our system leaves people broken rather than cured.

So that’s kind of where I started thinking, what did I want to be doing? I wanted to help people with prevention which is far better than cure. 

MW: You’ve talked about the gaps in healthcare, and it’s an interesting thing, and people often say what’s the value of coaching, and when you think about somebody having been through such a significant journey and then being on their own in between visits to their doctor or their specialist or whatever. It’s a lot to deal with. It’s not just like you broke an ankle. It’s a it’s a life-changing experience, right? And you have to maybe rethink and re navigate your life going forward and who’s going to help you with that? 

MH: That’s where I started in terms of thinking it was one of the areas that I actually wanted to be working with people, helping them navigate the multiple practitioners that are in your world. When you have something like cancer, you’ve got multiple practitioners who aren’t necessarily talking to each other. And so that in itself presents a whole heap of other challenges in the equation. 

It’s about helping people to develop a really clear plan about what their priorities are, and how can they rebuild following that trauma of the experience. 

MW: So fast, forwarding three years now who’s your typical client? Who are you working within your business? 

MH: It’s predominantly women though I have started to get some male referrals. My model is about working with a whole organization, but I have to say that that hasn’t transpired as I thought it might. It’s still work in progress. But my main clients are coming from government employees, who are actually being seen to be underperforming or having significant health issues that are preventing them from performing, or perceived health related issues that are impacting their ability to perform at work. That’s one cohort. 

There is another who have been underperforming but they’ve been long-term employees so their employers are wanting to invest in them, rather than the ‘three strikes or you’re out’ approach. They’re looking at what else they can be doing to actually help these people reach their maximum potential. It’s quite a proactive approach? It’s actually still very experimental. 

For me, this work has extended to two government departments and I’m talking to a third, so it’s slowly developing. But we’re looking at how we can look at that as an ongoing model rather than it just being.

I have other clients who have had breast cancer and want to invest in not going back there again. So rebuilding post-treatment and and going from there.

I have a few clients who are women who run their own businesses. They work as professionals and recognize that their health and well-being has been compromised because they’re putting others first rather than self. Some of those want to progress in terms of being at a particular level in their career but that would like to go to the next step but they know that going to that next step requires them having the foundation really solid in terms of their self-care as well as their skill set. 

Because of my background, I’m able to help them build the tool kit around leadership, as well as their toolkit around their their health and well-being. 

MW: That’s interesting. You’re working with those three groups and I think I can hear some similarities between them.

MH: Yeah, there are similarities. So performance is there, people working at their optimum, whether it’s their day-to-day management of their family versus how they perform within their workplace, or whether it’s about that performance in terms of the next step career-wise and building on from where they are now. 

Some of the tools that I use with people are the same regardless of whether they’re underperforming at work, or they’re wanting to progress to the next level. The foundation for each of them is very similar, the same because one size doesn’t fit all, but it is quite similar.

MW: Interesting. We are kind of dancing around the topic of niches, but it’s almost like you’re looking at above and below the line of performance – with some coming up to that line and then some wanting to exceed.

MH: Yeah. Sometimes people don’t even know what their baseline is, you know. So that’s helping them to know where they are at right now, where they want to be and how they are going to get there, which is the whole coaching Journey. 

And when I think about a whole organization and when I go in and work with them, it’s about helping them to understand whether they have systems and structures that support people.

Not being an effective leader is actually holding them back so I talk about wellness systems but it’s as simple as their communication. It’s not just about the health. It’s about the mindset and values that organizations use and then how that plays out in terms of enabling and supporting people to actually be self-driven within context. 

MW: That’s interesting to think about the types of organizations that you’re working with. Are they generally that are more proactive and have a bit of a framework and some policies in place? Or are they people that don’t give that level of attention to their workforce, and almost need to be educated and directed a bit in that area? 

MH: It’s kind of interesting in the government because the state government is such a large beast, then there are policies and procedures, but what happens in practice is different depending on who’s leading individual teams. There’s not a streamlined consistent approach, so that’s where the work is.

With some of the smaller organizations that I’ve been working with, they might have some things in place. One in particular that I’m thinking of have done some fantastic work in terms of the documentation, but it’s then the implementation and anything leaders need to model what they’re doing. So you can have it on paper, but if you don’t have people that are walking the talk so then it isn’t congruent. 

Often there’s a lack of congruence with the environments and so it’s about helping them to recognize that this may be the aspiration, but you’re not quite there yet. 

MW: I was thinking this morning that a corporate culture starts with the individual and every individual has an impact on that. There’s definitely that role for leadership but it’s also, “how do you help the individual to take responsibility for their own health and well-being in a place?”

MH: Yeah I talk to organizations about that in my model, it starts with self, then it starts with the shared systems within an environment then it’s about enabling and equipping the leadership. Whether you’re a leader or you’re not, it all starts with being self-aware and building your own toolkit. 

Then as you build your leadership within that, you’ve got your shared systems, shared language and shared values. 

What that does is it frees up your teams to actually be self-managed. They have the confidence to be able to experiment as we do in coaching and explore different ways of doing things and it brings a freedom in environments because, you know, everyone’s on the same page and consequently creates thriving cultures. It’s like, you’re closing the gap between the leadership in the workforce, almost bringing them onto the same page and getting them talking, the same language and working together, rather than that distrust or that they don’t understand me. 

I think what I see more is that often smaller businesses are fantastic at taking care of their people but they forget to actually take care of themselves right? You know so you can have the policies and practice you can actually really give you staff days off. You can fund them to go and have fun. You know, you have a gym program for them, all of those things, but when it comes to, you know, a couple of organizations, I’m thinking of their stress levels are really high because they’re actually spreading themselves too thin. So some of the work I also do is around helping to identify what the gaps are. So one organization are recently worked with was identifying the right level of support that is needed for their growing business as well. By then being able to help them develop what that looks like. 

We don’t have to do it all ourselves. It’s sometimes knowing when’s the point same as in your coaching business, when’s the point of when you get help from others and pay someone to do a component of your work versus

MW: I’m curious to know your focus in business for the next 12 months. So if there were one or two things that you think are your priorities, what would they be? 

MH: I’m having some interesting conversations with some peak bodies at the moment around how they can provide adequate support.

A lot of services are delivered by not-for-profits and see organizations might have an employee assistance program but it’s about helping people to change the behaviors on going around their health and wellness. You can have a debriefing service, for example a lot of not-for-profits work in environments where vicarious trauma is actually an issue.

But there are a whole heap of things that you can put in your toolkit to reduce your stress, manage your health and wellness, be more open around those conversations, those kind of things. There is a space for coaching to actually support in education engagement. 

The other is around, consolidating, some of the government work and and trying to move it from an ad hoc referrals to actually looking at a system response.

For example, you can get a free physio appointment or something like that, but you co uld also have a health check or health and wellness check. How might we be able to add a service in place that’s been so that the employers are getting maximum benefit?

MW: Yes, really packaging what you’re doing and taking that out into companies. 

MW: I was talking to someone the other day and it’s all about timing. In September last year, I had conversations with a person. He’s a head of a peak body and they were worried about getting support, and decided to go a different way which is absolutely fine. Then only a week ago, I pick up the phone and say, hey, I’m just touching base to see how you’re doing and is there anything I can support you with?’ And that person said hey your timing is perfect. We need to have this conversation. So, you know, sometimes you as a coach who’s running a business, you don’t see the immediate effectiveness of those conversations that you are having. 

It’s about planting the seed and then making sure that you go back and water it. 

MW: It’s such an important point because a lot of people say, “how do I get a steady flow of clients?” and the answer is, “you have a steady flow of conversations.”

MH: Absolutely, you know, lots of people will go the social media way and you have to really know who the client is. The clients that I’m working with are of the age and professional status that are not going to pick up a service from an ad on Facebook or Instagram, you know. So they might check it out in terms of the quality of your content. Yeah. But they’re not going to click a link and book there. 

MW: That’s a very important point. Coaching is a relationship business and you’re in the you what you are doing is building relationships in both the service that you deliver and the marketing of it and it’s like building friendships. I remember moving to a town where I knew nobody, but I didn’t get on the internet and start posting and hoping to make friends and business connections. I went out and talked to people and kept showing up and kept showing up and kept showing up and eventually they figured out who I was and got to know me. It’s that repetition of showing up and adding value to them, sharing articles, asking how they’re going, following up and it’s also about making those strategic connections. 

MH: This year, I’ve done a couple of workshops for a local government, but also for the tourism industry tourism Commission of South Australia. 

Now I can’t say that immediate work has come from either of those but the relationships that I made in one Workshop, eighty percent of the people in there were in the health provision space, but they’re all relationships, you know, from that we’ve talked about setting up a meeting on an ongoing basis to come together and look at how we can actually collaborate to provide support to clients. So that becomes a referral pathway rather than a thing that you sign up a client there and then. So that’s ongoing and it’s about building that relationship again with the tourism commission. That’s about keeping in contact with the people that attended, you value-add by giving something and not expecting anything back but what might come is that referral. 

MW: It’s called the principle of reciprocity. Give first in order to receive as Stephen Covey, would say, absolutely yeah. 

MW: So, and I don’t go and deliver a workshop with the intent that I’m going to walk away with three clients from it.

I have the intent of hoping that people walk away with an aha moment that they can, then start to make improvements within their business, or within their own personal life. And then to know that if they then need additional support that it’s a phone call away and that starts a conversation. 

MW: And I guess the other thing too, is that when you go to go to any sort of event or you run an event, there are going to be people who your values are aligned with. As in “values-aligned” as a hyphenated word. That’s a bit jargony for a podcast, but it just means that you might make a couple of connections in that session that you then take offline and and can, continue and build that more intimate relationship as well. 

MH: There are some people who I know of who run workshops and sign clients before they’ve left the room and I don’t know how authentic that is. What I mean is, I personally like to process the information. And so, you know, gathering information and testing and then saying “is that what I want to be doing? Is that who I want to be working with?”

And maybe my clients stream comes slower because that’s the approach I take, but I’m actually quite comfortable with that because the people that come on board are genuinely committed to going through the process and then become long-term clients rather than it being you’ve done this short intervention and thanks very much.

MW: So, just to wrap up, Michelle knowing what, you know, now of all that you’ve done and experienced. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself the you of five years ago or three years ago? 

MH: If I just go back three years I think the thing that I would have done is I probably would have stayed working part time. I need to be in collaboration and working with people in that context. So I think what I would have done is maybe stayed employed by someone for a period of time until I had the flow of clients because it takes time, it takes a good two years not just in coaching just generally. It takes time to build a solid client base to build those relationships. 

Also, I’d say trust yourself in lots of different stuff. I originally was encouraged by multiple people to have a niche and one niche, you know, like an I think that slowed my business progress rather than looking at my whole skill set and tool kit. So, you know, like I was going mainly in that cancer space to start with, but in actual fact, our culture in Australia around paying for support in that space people get so much free stuff and there’s so much fundraising, and those kind of things, people expect to be given. I don’t agree with that but that’s okay. So I think, yeah, I think take the advice of others but then really trust your sense of where you think you need to go. 

And I think the other thing, a great piece of advice that I and I was given is, don’t build it unless you’ve sold it. One of the things I did in the beginning was start writing programs, having them ready to go, but if you actually haven’t sold it, there’s no point building it now.

MW: Right, you just need enough of a skeleton to have the confidence to go out there and promote yourself and say I’ve got this, but it’s not the complete whiz-bang finished product. 

MH: Yeah. Because you can spend a lot of time that’s not paid for so, you know, like, be really clear. I guess the advice is, be really clear on what is income-producing activity? And what’s not. Because at the end of the day, as much as, you know, we all become coaches because we want to help and support people who grow the stuff that you can do sitting at your desk like designing your website, doing your social media, all of those kind of things isn’t actually income-producing activity so it’s about having it’s been clear on what is what is your income activity and what’s not and so have a best structure. 

You don’t need it to be perfect and, you know, as we would talk to our clients about progress, not perfection, I think in terms of our business that’s the same piece of advice. I would have given myself. It’s progress not Perfection. Yeah. So and no, you don’t have to spend a lot to get your business off the ground but there’s just some key Basics that you need a good logo, good business card.

MW: And you can do that electronically, you don’t even have to have a paper form, you know, if you’ve got a fantastic LinkedIn profile. You don’t need a website until you until you’re really clear who you want to work with and you’ve done some work, it’s good to have a starting point, but then when you don’t know in the beginning. 

It’s like when I was three, I didn’t know that I was going to University and to become a biologist 20 years later, you know? So it’s that same kind of thing. You might pick a direction and keep it rubbery and also not too much in place so that you can develop it out through your experience of working with people and figuring out what you love to do. 

Thanks so much. Michelle for your insights today and I hope that everything goes as you wish it to this year and the coming 12 months. 

MH: One thing I’ve learned Mel is that it’s just being open to what the possibilities might be – to have a direction but then be grateful for the new opportunities that are presented. If you’re not open to them, you can’t actually know what they are. The space that we that you’re going to work in may not even be designed yet. So the space that we’re working in as health and wellness, coaches may not even be defined yet be open to listening to what people need and adapt.

MW: It’s very valid and the first bit you said is the important bit – listening to what people need.

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.

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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: