Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 103: Four Legal Essentials for Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Appropriate Insurance

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

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

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

Let’s talk about the professional indemnity aspect first.

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

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

This is where formal policies and procedures come in. 

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

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

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

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

Now let’s talk about public liability.

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

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

OUCH! 

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

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

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

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

2. Website Disclaimers

Do all Australian websites need a disclaimer?

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

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

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

Here is a great blog by Legal123 on this topic

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

3. Complying with Copyright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Client Data Storage Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summing it Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 102: Purpose

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

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

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

My First Thoughts on Purpose

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

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

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

Purpose Defined

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

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

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

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

Why Your Purpose Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discovering Your Purpose 

Let me be very clear. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. What is most meaningful to you?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a starting point.

2. What are your values? 

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

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

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

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

Think for a moment about different people that you know. 

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

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

With all that said – what are YOUR values? 

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

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

These are huge for me, both important and meaningful. 

They drive nearly everything that I do in my life.

2. What are your strengths?

 

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

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

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

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

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

What do people say about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do they beg you to bake your famous biscuits?

Do they seek support with massive cleanups?

Do they get your advice on gardening?

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

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

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

3. What gets you fired up?

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

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

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

Be very specific about this.

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

Pulling it Together 

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

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

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

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

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

What gets me ranty?

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

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

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

That, my friends, is my purpose.

What’s yours?

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

Summary

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

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

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

Ready to find your purpose?

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

Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 100: Client Centric Business with Bridget Healy

Today’s interview with Bridget Healy is a great example of how you can create a global brand using a client centric approach to business.

Visit Bridget and buy quality, values-led products online!

https://www.noopii.co.nz/

Ready to up-size your business?

Everything is possible with the right tools. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 97: Defining a New Normal in Business

As a result of lock down, a lot of people and businesses have been re-thinking what’s important to them, their values, and how they want their business to run.

Today, we’ll look at these related aspects and walk you through a simple process for defining a new normal.

The Need for Change

Before lockdown you were probably doing what you loved, had business goals and aspirations, a plan of attack, and you were using some marketing processes that allowed your business to hum along.

But since lockdown, our clients’ priorities have changed, and so have ours. 

Think firstly of your ideal client. 

They may no longer want a body transformation, but have decided their priority is to be healthy and mentally stable enough to support their families. 

They may have decided not to go out for coffee or food and to rather cook at home or, they may be working at home such that going out for food is no longer part of their work day.

They may be afraid of going back to the gym in case they become ill.

On the other flipside, some people may want to get outdoors to connect with nature, to grab a take away, or to redefine their health goals and weight loss approach.

To sum it up, business the ‘old way’ may not suit your customer anymore. Your business may need to rebuild customer trust if they are reluctant to attend businesses in person or you may need to pivot your messaging and products or services to speak to what’s important right now to your customer.

Also, think about what’s changed for you as a business owner.

Maybe you have realised you need more work life balance, so the way you do business needs to change.

Perhaps you’ve been forced to downsize, leave your premises or shift the balance of your work to a more online format.

Or even further, maybe you’ve decided to pivot at a bigger scale and pursue a different type of business model or a different niche.

In any case, because of all that’s changed for both you and your ideal client, you’ll need to rethink your business vision and what you want your new normal looks like, and map a clear path to get there.

What’s Important to Your Clients

A lot of people have realised that their families and significant relationships, self-care and health are more important than they used to be.

They are more aware of, and focused on, their mental health.

As a result, people are looking at at-home solutions for health, fitness and wellbeing.

People are talking about taking the pressure off, doing less, and being more mindful. There has been a shift away from the idea of big goals and more into maintaining what they have.

Since lockdown, our clients’ priorities have changed, and so have ours. 

They are shopping more online, but may be more mindful about their purchases and more price sensitive due to economic uncertainty.

They are seeking contactless or more efficient ways of buying.

Consumers may be more ready to leave their old brands and try new things.

They are more willing to buy local and support local businesses and economies, and are looking for ‘value’.

They are more values-driven in their purchases, looking for safety, equality, environmental stewardship, and businesses who are giving back or supporting their community.

In any case, the businesses who’ve done best during lockdown have been those who are actively supporting their communities.

People are risk averse and generally avoiding public social events, but may be engaging more in online communities with like-minded people to feel connected.

They are spending more time viewing media, especially video.

What’s Important for You

Remember that business owners are also consumers. You have probably exhibited a lot of the shifts in thinking and action around your purchases as your customers have.

This puts you in a perfect position to pivot, move sideways or reinvent the way you do business.

You may be ready to shrink or scale your business, to shift to an online presence, to engage with your clients on different platforms, or to rethink your value proposition.

Whatever your situation, it’s time to rethink your business vision, strategy and goals.

Defining Your New (Business) Normal

It’s typical to start any business with a vision of what you want it to stand for and become, and how you will operate going forward.

I think exactly the same process is useful here and I’d like to walk you through it.

Step 1 – Define What’s Important (to you and your customer)

Let’s start with you.

Considering what you’ve gone through, your skills and your strengths, what’s important to you right now?

How will that play out in your business?

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you run a cafe. And let’s say that you’ve realised how important family and your health are to you and in your life. That your strengths are warmth, connection and giving back.

Looking at your old business vision, you might decide that you want to pivot to a delivery or take-away model, offering a healthier menu of family-sized meals, along with a personal hand-written note of thanks for supporting a local business and some staff training on customer service and care.

Or perhaps you run a fitness studio, or work as a coach in a face to face setting. Your strengths are compassion, zest and vitality. The personal connection with clients is important to you, but is difficult in lockdown.

Perhaps your new business model will be to shift from 80% face to face services, to 80% zoom services so that your clients can connect with you from their home, and altered work hours so that you can get enough downtime from the screen.

You could still offer services or events in an outdoor setting with social distancing as allowed, or organise online fitness community events that support your clients around motivation, energy and fear.

So, what about your customer?

We know that pricing is a consideration, yet they want connection and a values-driven approach.

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes will help you work out the best way forward. 

Perhaps you need to shift your messaging. Perhaps they no longer want a “body transformation”, but are looking to “stay on track” with their eating or exercise or to be kinder to themselves, or develop consistent self-care rituals.

I had this conversation with a coach today, who has seen a shift in clients away from the idea of transformation and into staying on track and self-care, and into more of mental well- being habits than eating and exercise.

Customers want safety and convenience right now; how can you deliver that?

Customers want positivity and some fun; what could you do that offers that?

Creative thinking is required, and so your own resilience and self-care are essentials for facilitating that. After all, nothing creative comes out of a stressed brain.

Step 2 – Ask Your Customer

In my experience, most business owners don’t consult with their clients to find out what they want and need.

But the purpose of any business is to find out what customers want, and then give it to them.

Phone surveys, email surveys, written surveys, competitions with survey questions and other methods can be used to ask your customers what they want and need.

You can ask simple questions like; 

  1. How do you prefer to buy from us? 
  2. What do you like best about working with us? 
  3. What can we do better? 
  4. Is there something we don’t currently offer, that you’d like to buy from us?

I worked with a business once who added $100K revenue to their business and saved $50K on an unnecessary software just by doing a survey like this of their existing customers.

Surveys are part of your marketing; they demonstrate that you care enough about your customer to find out what they want and need, and how you can serve them.

Even better, post a thank you note to their address as a personal touch for participating in the survey.

Your customers feel heard, appreciated and valued. And they will stick with you, possibly spending more, or referring others.

Step 3 – Develop a Strategy

Most of the time, it’s best to make only one or two changes, or a few small changes to your business at a time.

If you survey your clients first, it gives them advance warning that changes may be coming.

Gaining their feedback means you can start working out a strategy that is feasible.

Your strategy could include one or two of the following:

  1. Changing your pricing strategy e.g. 
    1. discount, 
    2. packaging, 
    3. bonuses
  2. Adding a new service or product line e.g. 
    1. smaller purchase, 
    2. product to suit the at-home arrangements, 
    3. product or service to suit their altered priorities
    4. delivering services via video or 
    5. offering a low cost community membership
  3. Collaborating e.g. adding perceived value and/or convenience
  4. Convenience e.g. home delivery, online delivery

It’s important at this stage to see what others are doing and what’s working, not for the sake of comparison, but to validate the idea and give some certainty that it could work for you. 

The final steps would be to get clear on your support, resources and partners that you might need to bring it into action, and then develop a plan.

I’ll cover that in the next episode.

Summary

Today, I’ve talked about how our world and our priorities and values have shifted.

This has undoubtedly changed the way we buy, and the way we sell.

Business the ‘old way’ may not suit your customer anymore.

I’ve outlined the first three steps in a process to review and revise your business vision, to find out what your customers want from you right now, and to brainstorm some strategies to achieve it.

Hopefully, you’re clear that consulting with your customers will tell you most of what you need to know.

And if that aligns with what you want and can deliver, it’s time to pivot and make it happen.

Ready to find your new normal?

Considering what you’ve gone through, your skills and your strengths, what’s important to you right now? If you’re ready to break old habits and move forward I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 90: Working From Home

If you want to master working from home, this episode is for you. 

 I want to walk you through a four step process to set up a really effective working from home situation so you can more easily adapt to a new way of doing business.

Before we start I want to share a bit of my story with you so you get some context for the rest of this session.

Twelve years ago my husband and I did a sea change. 

We moved from our businesses with busy offices and staff, and our nearby friends and family, to the opposite side of Australia where we knew nobody and at the same time I was doing a career change.

So as you can imagine we went from being very well-connected and very confident in our skills to having no external connections with others, no other close relationships, spending all day with each other and grappling with the steep learning curve of doing something new and different then we were used to.

It took a long time for me to get my head around how I was going to operate in the world. I felt like I had lost my sense of purpose, who I was and what I stood for. 

I want to mention this because a lot of people right now are feeling this way too. 

Maybe you’ve had to give up your job or change your job, or have suddenly faced the new and uncomfortable reality of being faced with your life in the home environment as you work from home. And perhaps as part of that you’re really questioning your capacity or whether you can cope with this situation. 

My answer to you is yes you can. You can absolutely cope with this.

The secret is to figure out how to adapt, and to do your way. 

That’s what I want to talk to you about today

I want to walk you through the four steps that I went through to be able to work at home and be productive and feel connected as an example of what’s possible.

I hope this helps you to come up with your own ideas about how to transition into this way of working, yourself.

Let’s walk through the four steps!

1. Connection

Connection is the first important step, because without a sense of feeling supported, you can quickly spiral into fear, doubt and lack of confidence.

When I first moved to rural New South Wales I intuitively knew that I needed some sort of connection to feel sane and normal, and that things were working. My logical brain was telling me that I needed to make contacts for my business. 

But emotionally, I was missing the day to day camaraderie of like minded people in the office. I was missing catching up with friends and I was missing interacting with my family. 

So one of the things that I did when I first moved to a new place was to start going to different sorts of association events, social group events, sporting groups and meeting people in different contexts, so I could figure out where my people were and how best to connect with them.

For me, this was finding smart, positive people who are interested in health and wellness, who like brainstorming and being creative, and who like a laugh.

Connection is the first important step, because without a sense of feeling supported, you can quickly spiral into fear, doubt and lack of confidence.

Even if physical meetings are impossible for whatever reason, there are still plenty of online communities that you can join and be part of. 

One of the things that’s great about connection is the chance to get to know your neighbours, the people in your street, the people who run your local businesses, and those who own the coffee shop down the road. 

Even without friends in an extreme case like a sea change, these become points of contact and help you feel socially connected even if you don’t know them that well. 

Let’s be clear – when you move interstate you will be starting off with fairly superficial relationships because it’s pretty difficult to replicate the friendship of 25 or 30 years. But what I have made peace with is that you can build those relationships again in a new place or in a new context simply by showing up regularly in social situations where your tribe is.

First, you have to find them.

Beyond getting started in a new place, I think it’s really important to know that when you work at home and you’re with yourself and perhaps your partner 24 hours a day.

You can feel a bit claustrophobic, so it’s important to schedule in meeting opportunities so you can get enough connection with others. 

What could this look like for you?

It could be having a daily trip to a local cafe to write a blog. 

It could be that during the week you schedule time slots to get you out of the house and go to places where you will see people, whether that be the shop, the gym, getting a massage or any other sort of social interaction. 

Add another level if you feel that you need to be able to brainstorm ideas with other people in business. 

Perhaps then you could hire a co-working space for a day, book a room in the local library, or join your local Chamber of Commerce and meet other people in business who might like to get together and brainstorm ideas at one of these venues, or a cafe, or at someone’s home or a Zoom meeting.

All of these things are possible, it just requires creative brainstorming. 

2. Planning

Once you have a plan for connecting with people you will be able to fill that very primal need to be part of a tribe.

The next thing to do is figure out what you need to do each day. 

It sounds simple but it can be challenging when your whole environment, schedule and context has changed. 

Planning is super important if you are somebody who is used to following directions or collaborating with teams on how projects will be delivered. It’s also important if you’re prone to distraction, or to procrastinate as soon as an obstacle comes up.

The easiest way to get your planning right is to start with one month at a time. 

Within that month, block out your must do activities like taking kids to school or shopping or other sorts of life appointments.

The reason that I recommend you plan one month at time is because initially, you’re going to need to experiment with what works for you. 

You’re going to find that some days or some times a day you have more energy or more focus or more creativity than others. 

So in that first month your goal will be to understand your natural rhythm and then to adjust your schedule to fit with that. 

There are also some ways that you can proactively change your state to be focused or analytical or creative but I will cover that in a separate podcast.

Once you have your month planner in front of you, the next thing to do is to schedule:

1. any set work meetings that you have and any of those connection points that you’ve defined, and then;

2. the obvious things that you need to do like reconciling invoices once a month or doing social media posts for business or submitting monthly reports for work.

By now you should be feeling pretty good, because it feels great to have identified some concrete regular tasks to do each week and to know when exactly you will do them.

3. Now think about how and when you will check your email and social media.

You may not normally schedule that kind of thing in a normal work environment, but at home, these are rabbit holes for a lot of people. 

One idea to get you started is to think about coming up with one or two time slots per day where you will check emails and allow a bit of time after that to attend to any immediate business. 

For example you might decide that you will spend 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at the end of the day checking email, and allow another 20 minutes after each of those sessions to follow up with schedule any tasks that arise. 

So that’s 2 x 30 minute email slots, for checking and taking immediate action.

I was speaking with a client yesterday about the best time to do the morning email. 

What actually happens in the morning is that it’s often a very good creative thinking time and if you launch into email right away, it can lead you into a hyper-responsive, detailed focus pattern that stops your creativity. 

Experiment for yourself; you may find it best to do a block of work or a creative task first before you do your first email check.

4. The next step is where you need to be a little bit creative and work out how to deal with bigger, project-level tasks. 

These are bigger tasks that you need to do that aren’t so easy to identify, or quantify. 

They are usually things that you haven’t done before, that you might usually brainstorm, or that you usually have guidance and direction to complete, or that usually involve getting other people‘s opinions or advice or expertise.

With these sorts of tasks you will need to break them down into smaller steps, and identify which segments require external help, review or ideas.

I like to use the Getting Things Done model to tackle projects and I’ll explain that here, because it’s been a game changer to help me quantify and chunk down project-style jobs. 

You may have a different way of working with projects but I’m just going to explain this model now.

The idea is that you identify separate projects and I have a folder for each one and a sheet of paper or a blank document to outline what the project is and what the main steps are. At the very big picture level I have a time frame on that project and A series of main steps. Here’s an example. Let’s say that my project is to overhaul my website. And this was an actual project that I snoozed for 40 weeks because it lacked clarity and definition of the step-by-step process. 

So if my project is to overhaul my website I could break that down into main tasks of revamping the homepage, revamping the services page, and revising the blogs. I could prioritise those main steps from most to least important and then what I could do is take the main priority step and brainstorm some smaller steps within that. 

So let’s say that revamping the Homepage was my first goal. I would need to decide what that actually means. It could be that I want to read and possibly update the copy. It might be that I want to add some new photographs. 

For somebody else this task could mean that they want to totally change the layout. So as you can see doing that sort of breakdown process allows you to get clear on what the individual tasks are and it makes it easier for you to assign times and timeslots to each of those. 

For example I might decide I will allow an hour to read my homepage copy and revise it. If you’re unsure about how long something will take it’s best to add an extra hour to the end and be prepared to need to have a second session later on if required

Then what I would do is pick the very first task of the project and schedule it into my calendar. And when I do that task I would go back to my project list and identify the next task and schedule that in. 

Working in that way avoids overwhelm and it helps you to get clear as you’re navigating that project on what the tasks are as they arise. Because let’s face it we can’t necessarily know all of the steps in the right order up front and it’s possibly better to define them as you go. Our brains have a tendency to want to latch onto predefined schedules even if they stop making sense.

3. Brain Breaks

Planning aside there is something else that needs to happen when you work from home. And that is taking breaks. If you get really focused on your work and are working effectively and there’s nothing else to do chances are you’re going to work too much. 

I put my hand up this happened to me a lot in the beginning and still does sometimes. 

That’s why doing number one first and establishing those outside connections and commitments socially is really important because it gets you out of the house and gets you away from work so that you don’t overwork.

There’s two types of breaks. 

The first is taking a brain break while you’re working so that you’re not staring at your screen all day. It can be useful to put house work or other small tasks in between work tasks to give your brain a break, want to go and take a shower or to walk outside into the garden or something to give your eyes a rest and give your brain a chance to shift the focus.

The second type of break is taking a more extended break and knowing when to switch off at the end of the day and having a set lunch break. 

It’s really easy to work through lunch and to sit at your desk all day and for the slumped over desk posture become your new ‘asana’, and for digital eye strain to creep in, and to start feeling disconnected and snappy.

Discipline is often required to disconnect. Create rules and boundaries, and know that when you stick to them, you will be powerfully productive when you ARE at work.

4. Self Care

I coach a lot of business owners who work from home. And their universal lesson is that they need to do something for themself FIRST thing in the day in order to maintain emotional balance, to feel calm, and to eat well and exercise.

Many of them have learned the hard way; that when all work and everyone else’s needs come first, they start reaching for the chocolate, the wine and the weight watchers subscription, they sleep poorly and feel flat, snappy or moody.

I am thinking of several clients who do one thing for themselves before starting their day, and that allows them to do so much more and feel satisfied without needing to reach for comfort.

They typically start with either:

  1. Journaling or writing goals, or
  2. Exercise of some sort, or 
  3. Meditation, or
  4. Doing something creative or doing creative work FIRST before the meetings and clients. 

There are other options; these are just a few things that my clients are doing to stay sane, grounded, happy and productive.

Create rules and boundaries, and know that when you stick to them, you will be powerfully productive when you ARE at work.

Summary

We’ve talked about the challenges of working from home, and it may take you up to a year or more to get your head around how to make it work for you.

In this episode I’ve talked you through four steps that have helped me to gain enough connection, structure and balance ro adjust and adapt to a productive, happy work environment.

Ready to be more productive while working at home?

You can proactively change the way you function and even the way your brain works! 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:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 87: Creating A Vision For Your Coaching Business

Any time, but especially now, it’s a good time to review and revise your business vision. 

This episode explains two vision traps to avoid, and two steps to creating a compelling, inspiring, get-me-out-of-bed vision.

You might be asking – why write a business vision, and further, why would you revise it? 

Well, because your vision is a clear and vivid image or statement describing where you want to take your business and what it will achieve in the world.

It’s the thing that gets you excited. It’s a get-me-out-of-bed statement that inspires you to persist, no matter what, to overcome any obstacles that come up.

It is the outcome you seek to create, therefore your vision creates a framework for setting specific, actionable goals.

And of course, your vision may change over time, so you need to review and perhaps revise it from time to time – especially when your life and/or circumstances change.

A vision is SO important to your business because strong emotions are what drive us to persevere and what cause our customers to buy.

We need to create business vision statements that are aspirational, motivating and speak to a purpose that is bigger than ourselves.

A vision is SO important to your business because strong emotions are what drive us to persevere and what cause our customers to buy.

To get it right you need to reflect on your why – your values-based motivators; your deeper purpose, and what lights you up emotionally and touches your heart.

As you can guess, it takes some work to uncover these things. 

And that is probably why I see a lot of business owners struggling with creating a business vision – because they aren’t sure how to peel off the layers to find and explore their values and purpose.

So today I’m going to walk you through a process of defining a business vision so that you can firm that up and then, as a result, start to set and achieve meaningful, realistic goals.

I want to help you to create a vision for your coaching business that is realistic, meaningful and purposeful, so you can work every day on purpose.

Vision Traps

Before we talk about creating a business vision, I want to point out two main vision traps that people fall into. This will help you to understand why you might be getting stuck with your business vision.

The first main trap is the ‘looks good on paper’ trap.

If you’re like most people, you think that you operate and make decisions from a position of logic.  

In this case, rather than digging into what’s important to you and why, you are simply using your logic to examine some superficial facts about yourself and using those as your basis for creating a vision. 

Vision traps can happen to anyone who lives in a world of shoulds, or who isn’t that connected with their emotional side or values. Maybe you’re not sure if what you’re thinking is ‘right or not’.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say that you have had experience as a personal trainer, so it seems logical that you would set a business vision that builds around your skills in those areas.

For example, you might say to yourself, ‘I’m a personal trainer, so my business vision is that I want to help women in their 30’s to be fit and healthy and to have strong bodies that look good in a bikini.’

And let me just say – this is totally fine if that’s truly meaningful to you.

BUT maybe in your heart, you want to work with women who want to be consistent with going to the gym because they are struggling to manage stress, and they aren’t eating well or exercising as a result – and that’s meaningful to you because you’ve been in that situation yourself and it felt awful and out of control..

What I’m saying is this – If you looked a little deeper into what is truly meaningful for you, you might uncover that deeper sense of purpose, the stronger values behind the work, the bigger reasons for you to take action no matter what.

Think about how very different those two business visions might be – one around helping people to exercise, and another around helping people to manage their time, responsibilities and their minds.

The key message here is this: your past doesn’t necessarily dictate your future.

You get to choose a business vision that is meaningful and purposeful to you, in simple terms – it’s heartfelt

Sure, it may draw on any of your life experiences, skills and qualifications, but not necessarily the most obvious.

The second type of trap is the ‘this is working for other people’ trap.

It is similar to the ‘looks good on paper’ trap that I just described.

The main difference is that in this case, you’re not sure what you want to focus on, so you look at what others are doing and try to do the same thing – because it’s working for them, so it must be the right thing to do.

Notice once again how your logic is jumping in and taking over from the heart. Perhaps you are afraid of failing, or you’re unclear, or you aren’t backing yourself.

The same thing applies as for trap #1 – you need to get in touch with your feelings.

I am NOT trying to be your therapist here – just to explain what you need to do instead of using logic to define a vision.

And, I do want to say that yes, it can be useful to look at what others are doing to help you get perspective and ideas, and to help you to define what you like and don’t like.

But a business vision is a very personal thing and you probably won’t find that same level of emotional connection to someone else’s vision. 

Now that you’re aware of the traps, do either of them resonate with you?

Or are you really in tune with your heart and higher purpose, and working to that?

If you’re stuck and need help, let’s go to the next part – my process for helping you create a business vision that compels you to take action and persist.

Step 1 – Getting Clarity on Your Vision 

To clarify on the values behind your business vision, or the main areas you wish to focus on, I invite you to zoom out of what you think you know about yourself and start asking yourself some thought-provoking, coaching style questions, with a very open mind.

Here are a few of my favourite questions that can help you connect to what’s most meaningful and authentic to you.

  1. What did you love to do as a child when you were playing?
  2. What is your struggle to success story with your own health and wellness?
  3. What are your strengths and how have they helped you to change habits or maintain habits more easily?
  4. Who sees you as a role model, and why?
  5. What is your passion area of health and wellness?
  6. What really irritates you about a specific area of health and wellness?
  7. What do you feel is lacking in a specific area of health and wellness?
  8. What do people need more of? Why is that?

Using the previous example of a personal trainer creating a business vision, going through these questions might uncover things like:

  • You always struggled with body image
  • Your role model was Oprah – and you could relate to her yo yo weight struggles
  • You are passionate about helping women accept themselves and feel strong, without needing to turn to food
  • You are irritated about the unrealistic body imaging out there in the media
  • You feel that self-compassion is missing from the gym environment
  • You feel that the current advertising around gyms is disempowering and could speak more to strength, confidence and personal power
  • You want to help women to feel more confident about exercising in gyms so that they can be their fittest self

So as you can see, when you ask yourself for your opinion on things, your values are revealed in that conversation and you can uncover some more emotive statements that could be used to create a powerful, inspiring vision.

This exercise is a great starting point for creating a new business vision, or to clarify or test the relevance of your existing business vision.

Step 2 – Going Deep

To make sure you have gone deep enough into your values and motivators, you can use the Five Whys exercise.

This is really simple – it’s about digging deep to explore what’s behind the things you want to do or achieve.

It’s great to do this as an exercise for either a new business vision or an existing one – it is a reality-check that the vision truly represents what you feel, believe and stand for.

Basically, you look at the vision you created and ask yourself why five times in a row.

Those are all why type questions that might reveal values.

Here is an example to illustrate how it works.

Let’s say your business vision is to inspire women to feel confident about exercising in public so they can be strong, fit and confident role models in life.

Now you can use the five whys to see whether that really does matter to you, and what the values or motivators are behind that.

You’d first ask yourself – why is that important to me, personally?

Maybe you want to smash society’s body image issues and right the wrongs of the media.

Then ask yourself another why question, like – So what? What difference will that make?

Maybe you feel that if we all had better body image, we’d be more confident in our daily lives.

Then ask yourself something like – why does that matter?

Perhaps you know from personal experience that when you feel good about yourself, you can achieve more and be more and that feels amazing. You feel happier and healthier. Stronger.

Why is that important?

Maybe you feel that women are role models for their kids and peers, they have the power in the family unit, and they have a unique opportunity to end the cycle of body shaming.

You might then ask yourself – What could that create in the world?

And perhaps the answer is equality. Peace. Confidence. More women in more powerful roles, making the world a safer, happier, healthier place.

These are all just made up examples, but I use them to illustrate how you can go deeper into what’s important to you personally, so you can polish up your vision and make it more meaningful.

Road Testing Your Vision

Exploring the values behind your vision is designed to uncover the deeper stuff that is personal to you, so you will probably know when you get it right. 

But in case you are unsure, there are a few ways to road test your vision to make sure it is true, values-aligned, meaningful, exciting and compelling.

1. Read it aloud, with gusto.

Do you feel a swelling in your chest, or goose bumps, or feel a little teary, or hear the word ‘yes!’ in your head? 

Then it’s probably on the mark.

2. Ask a client’s opinion.

How does your client respond to the vision when you read it out? Are they visibly and audibly excited or inspired, does it resonate?

If so, then it’s probably on the mark.

3. Read it on a day when you feel tired and flat.

We all have bad days. And if you read your business vision on a ‘tired, flat’ day – does it perk you up, get you interested and fired up again?

If so, then it’s probably on the mark.

A word on perfection here – it may take you time to get it right. Maybe 3 months, or a year.

It may change over time, as your stage of business, life or priorities change.

And that’s ok. 

Review it once every year as part of your business planning process. And as long as your business vision inspires and excites you, it’s doing its first and most important job.

Then, you are ready to set some goals to achieve it.

Summary

Your business vision should be an inspiring, vivid statement that describes what you want to achieve in your business, and why that’s important to you.

A lot of people try to create a vision based on their logical thought processes, or leave their vision on the shelf for years without revising it.

Your business vision should be an inspiring, vivid statement that describes what you want to achieve in your business, and why that’s important to you

Today I talked about how important it is to bring heartfelt emotion into your vision, so that you are truly and emotionally connected to it.

That will bring energy and emotion into your marketing and help you to set relevant goals for achieving it.

Using a process of big picture questions to uncover what you want, and the five whys process to clarify the values behind it, is a great way to create a compelling vision statement for your business.

If you need help with this, visit melaniejwhite.com/contact and drop me a line, we can make a time for a free coaching call to see if this is something I can help you with.

Ready to create an awesome business vision?

You will love the feeling of having the right energy and emotion in your business! 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:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 81: How To Run A Business In Stressful Times.

This episode describes three levels of resilience and helps you to get clarity on what to do at YOUR level to keep your business on track in stressful times.

Everyone responds differently to external pressures. The way you respond depends on your personality, your thought processes and your personal circumstances.

But at the core of things, stress starts in your mind. Your perception (thoughts) determines your resilience. Resilience simply means the resources and capacity you have to cope with the circumstances around you. 

When your resilience is low, it affects your ability to make decisions, to think clearly and to be fully present with your clients – all of which are obviously important in relationship-based businesses like coaching.

When you’re running a coaching business in stressful times, there are different approaches you can take to support your wellbeing and to feel at peace with your business decisions. 

Your best approach depends on how resilient or stressed you feel. Most people will fit into one of three categories.

Three Categories of Business Owner Resilience

Category 1 – feeling resilient, seeing opportunities to be of service, and feeling ready, willing and able to reach out and help others. These people may have fewer external pressures, may be more extroverted, or could be people who have done a lot of their own coaching around beliefs and behaviours. In any case, they have the resilience to be able to cope with stressful times.

Category 2 – feeling fearful or overwhelmed, seeing roadblocks, and feeling unable to cope with the responsibilities of both business and life. These people may have more challenging circumstances, may be more introverted, or are yet to master the skills of emotional balance. They are unlikely to have enough resilience to cope with stressful times.

Category 3 – wanting to help, seeing opportunities but becoming easily overwhelmed. These people may be managing internal and external pressures but are close to capacity. They may have some skills around emotional balance and some level of stability in life. This means they feel resilient at times and are able to cope, yet can fall back into overwhelm. Their resilience is ‘inconsistent’.

These are generalisations but they may help you identify yourself for the purposes of making rational decisions about what to do with your business.

Let’s look at some approaches for each category.

Business Approaches for Stressful Times

If you’re in category 1, seize the day. Despite stressful times, you are best positioned to continue running your business or even expanding it, so that you can help others.

You may offer services that help others to;

  • Get some respite (e.g. online retreat)
  • Cope better (e.g. plans and strategies)
  • Maintain positive habits (e.g. visions and goals, accountability groups)
  • develop new habits or routines (e.g. challenges or programs)
  • create more joy, fun, freedom (e.g. uplifting classes or events)

Remember that showing up for others in stressful times takes time, energy and effective planning.

Showing up for others in stressful times takes time, energy and effective planning.

You may tend to attract clients who have similar resilience to you, but be mindful of others who are struggling and may have less capacity to cope with higher energy activities or sharing of information in a group setting.

If you are in category 2, your primary concern is your own wellbeing, stability and your loved ones. In stressful times you probably have limited capacity to truly be of service to your clients.

You may like to define a period (e.g. 2 – 6 months) to focus on your own physical and mental wellbeing, during which time you:

  • close your business temporarily (e,g, block your calendar)
  • Subcontract another coach to service your clients
  • Reduce business activities to a minimum (e.g. working with a few select clients)
  • Consider Centrelink or other options for financial support if needed. Business offsets, grants or hardship payments are sometimes available.

Remember that as a business owner you may have legal obligations to clients such as coaching out their contract, refunding them, putting payments on hold or suspending memberships.

There is also the common courtesy of emailing your clients to let them know that you are taking time off, and to let them know what to expect from you in the interim.

Maybe that’s nothing, or you may continue newsletters, or you may schedule social media posts, podcasts or have a VA do that for you. Just make sure you tell your clients how they can stay connected or when you’ll be back in touch with them.

If you’re highly stressed then it’s likely you’ll be in decision fatigue, so you may find it easiest to discuss a strategy with your business coach or mentor to help you develop a clear plan going forward.

If you’re in category 3, then your biggest priority will be emotional balance. 

That’s because you may feel motivated to make offers in the heat of the moment, or be super responsive to clients, but then realise you lack the energy or capacity to follow through with an appropriate level of service.

Your best approach will probably be to:

  • create a clear schedule of work and non work activities and stick to it (e.g. a weekly plan)
  • reduce the number of clients you see each week, and set a maximum number of sessions per day
  • pause and reflect on your capacity when a client asks for help rather than just responding  
  • pause and reflect on your capacity when you get an impulse to offer help or run and event, rather than just rushing into action  
  • Automate your marketing activities.

Remember that a successful business is consistent how it shows up. It underpromises and over delivers in value, not the other way around.

If you run your business in fits and starts, it may damage your reputation. You’re better off to dial down your activities and be consistent with them. 

SUMMARY

Those of us who serve others can fall into the trap of overhelping, overcommitting or overextending ourselves, and burning out.

The most important thing for us all as individuals is to check in with ourselves each day and reflect on how we are holding up, what our capacity is, and to maintain our own physical and mental wellbeing habits. We must do this to meet our own needs and to have the capacity to serve others.

The most important thing for any business – in good times and hard times – to be is consistent. Consistency builds a sense of trust, reliability and professionalism.

In times of stress, I encourage you to reflect on your resilience and make a decision as to what your business approach will be. Decide how long you will do this approach for. (E.g. 3 months? 4 months?) then take the appropriate actions.

The most important thing for any business – in good times and hard times – to be is consistent. Consistency builds a sense of trust, reliability and professionalism.

You can revise your plan at any time but definitely at the end of your defined time period, and get clear on how you’re feeling and what you will do next.

If you need support with your business in stressful times, these resources may help.

Summary of state-by-state stimulus measuresAustralian Tax Office information for COVID 19Business support for sole traders

Small Business NSW (includes info on financial hardship and bank loan deferment), Business Qld (includes information on economic relief, payroll tax relief,  power bill relief and support facts), Business Victoria (includes different support options including low cost business mentoring), Telstra small business supportTips for coping with COVID anxiety (Psychology.org, includes a list of resources)

Ready to navigate your business through this stressful time?

Now is a time to have a clear and realistic picture of what your business can do. If you’re looking to break old habits and get through this, I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 55: Business Models for Startup and Growth

This episode of they habitology podcast is about simple business models that you can use to run your business.

I want to talk about this from two perspectives.

  1. Transitioning from a job to a business.
  2. Transitioning from startup phase to an established business.

 

Most of us start our working lives being paid an hourly rate for a defined set of tasks in a business for somebody else’s company. So we are used to being paid by the hour. 

And then when we get to running our own business and we go through that transition we are still thinking about the hourly rate model. 

Think about working a job for somebody else. You go to that job and you are doing paid work for 40 hours a week. Your job is to show up and do a job for the business, just a part of all the work that the company does. 

For example, let’s say that you show up at a department store and your job is to sell perfume for eight hours a day at the perfume counter. Every hour that you’re there involves selling directly to clients and making sales so it totally makes sense that you are paid by the hour for that job.

But this mentality needs to change when you start running your own business.

Because suddenly you are doing more than just selling the perfume. You are formulating it, packaging it, costing it, running financial spreadsheets, finding brand ambassadors, pitching to stores, setting up an online store, and paying suppliers. 

Suddenly there’s not a lot of time left to sell the perfume! 

Running a business means you have to do a lot of unpaid business level tasks. 

You have to do administration work, you have to pay bills, you have to create invoices, you have to develop services and products, you have to do research and all of those things don’t earn any income. 

And in fact you’ll need to spend money on things like marketing and advertising. So what that means is that a portion of the work you do in a business is unpaid – it does not directly earn you any revenue. 

Running a business means you have to do a lot of unpaid business level tasks. 

You might have a few clients to begin with that pay you by the hour. But there’s no way you are going to replace your income in the long-term if you stick with that model.

So while it’s great to start your coaching business on a pay per session model with individuals in a one on one coaching environment, please know that you will need to change your model different later on if you want to scale your income and earn what you need to earn to replace money that you would earn in a job.

 

Let’s now look at TWO business models – firstly the startup service model, and then the growth business model.

The Start Up Business Model

We’re starting with the one to one service business model. 

Let’s first figure out what’s realistic and reasonable in terms of your earnings. 

I’m going to suggest that you just start by selling one core service. You might have two slightly different versions of the same service but let’s understand this-you are going to earn most of your money and income most easily by doing one thing consistently and very well. 

The reason I suggest ONE service is that it’s easier to become good at something and to create a clear marketing message if you start by keeping it simple. And all the other parts of your business will be simpler if you start by focusing on one thing. 

People who are new to business, let’s use the example of coaches, often have 10 different options like corporate and group and one-to-one coaching and 4, 6, 8 and 12 week programs. 

What does that look like to the consumer? 

If you go to somebody’s website and see one person offering all of those things, how do you judge that? For me, I don’t believe that person can do all of that and I’m put off by a lack of trust, and a lack of personalisation.

And from a business model perspective, it’s much simpler to sell one or two things, refine and test them, and become known for them. The financial and planning side is much easier.

So what I want you to do is to define a single, specific program that you can run and test repeatedly with a series of clients in your first 3 to 6 months. 

Usually you would price X number of sessions for X dollars per session and create a bit of a package that way. 

This creates a tangible offering to your audience with a tangible start and finish time and normally that is accompanied by a tangible result that they will achieve in that period of time. After all what people are buying is results. 

This type of business model X week program in exchange for X dollars is the best way to start.

Normally your goal would be to work up to seeing 100 clients per year on a 1:1 basis, perhaps over 45 working weeks of the year so you are taking off public and a few other holidays.

If each of each client paid $600 for an 8-week coaching program, for example, that’s $60K.

So in that scenario, you are delivering 800 sessions per year which is 100 clients x 8 sessions, for $60K.

Hearing this – can you see what would it be like if you kept it really simple and just offered 1 – 2 versions of something, knowing then that all you had to do was find 100 clients who would pay $600 for it?

If you like, you can offer other options, but given that you are investing a lot of time with clients at this stage in your business, and you are learning about business, I think you really want to keep it simple with your client work so you can simplify the unpaid stuff and make it as easy and time efficient as possible.

Working this way for 6 – 12 months allows you to find tune what you do, to become known for it, and become very good at it. It allows you to develop confidence and certainty on your own terms and in your own time. 

Use this period to get really clear on what you offer, the benefits of that one service, the types of clients you attract, and what they are getting out of working with you.

Then you are ready to adjust or grow.

From a business model perspective, it’s much simpler to sell one or two things, refine and test them, and become known for them.

The Group Model

The easiest way to scale your income and start earning a full-time income is to start working in groups. 

As a coach you can realistically only give enough attention to a group of 10 people at once, unless you are doing a more educational or teaching style approach where you can see rooms full of people. 

But let’s say that your ideal is to coach very interactively with a small group of people – this is an easy way to scale.

In the previous 1:1 scenario we had $600 for an individual 8 week program.

Now imagine that becomes your group program rate, and you run 10 per group.

Now you’re earning $6,000 in 8 weeks. You have 10x your income for 1/10th of the time.

If you ran 3 concurrent groups per week, you double or triple that amount. Your annual income would be in the order of $72K per annum, for around 96 sessions.

My scaled business model was just like this. 

I ran 3 – 4 x 8 week group coaching programs every school term. My groups ran on Tuesday at midday, Tuesday at 5.45pm and Wednesday at 5.45pm.

The group sessions may be slightly longer, say 1.5 hours instead of 1 hour. And you can still the same program in a few 1:1 situations if you like, probably for a higher price of say $800.

It’s feasible for a coach who has a great program that gets results, to earn around $80K per year this way.

The Premium Model

Another way to scale your business is to increase the prices of your packages because you have more experience – a specialty – and/or give a bigger result. 

In either case, you are offering more value and this transcends the idea of paying an hourly rate. Now the client is truly paying for a specific result and for access to the value of your experience.

In the Premium model, you can continue to work 1:1 or with small groups, but you significantly increase your prices so that you are charging a premium price to reflect the increased value of your services.

The way you deliver services could take a few different forms, such as 

  1. A VIP program that packages small group and individual coaching sessions, or 
  2. An intensive longer-term program or 
  3. A series of workshops.

These are just a few examples – and you would pick ONE of these to focus on.

No matter which format you choose, the model is based on doing some sort of deep intense work done to create a big transformation and you must specifically articulate the transformation and result, and the value of it, in order to be able to charge a higher price.

Usually these programs would involve highly personalised sessions, longer sessions, or the addition of coaching and/or other resources. It might include a hand-created welcome pack – it’s the real ‘chocolates on the pillow’ type of service, the Rolls Royce Service.

Your goal would be to service a few high-paying clients – often called high ticket clients – over the year.

For example, your 12 – 24 week program, VIP package or workshop series might cost $5,000 per person, and your goal is to sell your chosen Premium service to perhaps 20 clients per year. 

That would earn you $100K per year.

This is a more advanced strategy and is good for someone who is highly specialised, creates massive transformations, or is working in the richer end of the market.

The Automation Model

Another option for scaling is the Automation Model.

There are numerous ways to do this, but it is essentially a one-to-many service that might be a version or a combination of the other two models I’ve just discussed.

One way to semi-automate your program, such as an email system of worksheets or quizzes sent via automated email, supported coaching-style videos of you asking open ended questions, some self-coaching elements, and supported by 15-minute laser coaching sessions that you or a subcontract coach delivers.

This is like a group coaching model with less contact time and more self-coaching resources.

Another option is to deliver a program for people who don’t need a lot of intense coaching support, such as people who are in the maintenance stage of change, so you can see perhaps up to 50 or 100 people at a time.

You might run live webinars and use worksheets for your clients to fill in as you talk to them and ask questions of them. While much less personal, this is highly scalable. You could charge $100 per month to upward of 100 people which is $120K.

Automation models are the most advanced as they rely on technology, a strong coaching presence, good resources and an ability to stay in the coaching mode without reverting to teaching.

You are the boss and you have the flexibility to earn the income and work the hours that suit you best.

Summary of Business Models 

Let’s summarise the different business models that I’ve discussed today.

Firstly, the 1:1 model is the easiest place to start for most coaches or other service based businesses.

If you are someone who has left a job to start a business, this way will be easiest for your brain to handle as it’s basically like the hours-for-dollars model of the job you used to have.

If your goal was to work up to 100 clients per year, selling two slightly different versions of your one program, that’s an easy way to deliver a great service, become good at something and learn about running a business effectively.

That’s around 800 sessions per year, possibly 500 – 800 hours depending on session length.

When you become proficient at that, you can look at models to scale your income and reduce your time. In this scenario, you are focussed on selling value and that is what’s required to attract larger numbers and/or charge a higher rate independent of your time.

The three different options I mentioned as growth models included:

  1. The group coaching model, which is the easiest, ($80K, around 150 hours)
  2. The premium model which is for specialty and packaged services ($100K), and 
  3. The automation model which is higher tech and services many more clients at once (upward of $120K, possibly around 100 hours)

In any case, you are the boss and you have the flexibility to earn the income and work the hours that suit you best.

Ready to get your business model up and running?

I can help you work out which model is best for you, and start applying it.

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:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 51: Becoming a household name

This podcast is about how to become known for what you do in your area. I share my own experience about how I relocated to a regional community, how I became known, and the one thing I had to do to gain traction. 

These are the things I did to become known in the first 3 months in a new area.

You can do these even if you are not moving!

  1. Online research – I know it sounds boring, but you just need to spend an hour or two doing this and you will gain so much information. Go to the sensus data for your area and find out who lives there, or use the suburb information from realestate sites. Find out what the demographics are for your area so you can know who you’re working with.
  2. Network with clubs – Find out which clubs are operating in your area, then meet with people for a coffee. This will help you to find out who your tribe is, and to find out who they are already working with.  .
  3. Speak in public – You can do this in person, in community groups or online as a webinar. Speak about what you are passionate about, and make yourself known. This will help you develop relationships and find out who you have things in common with in the area.
  4. Host events – This was something I did that was really useful to interact with clients on a social and personal level. For me it was workshops, and movie nights, but it could be anything you are into that will welcome potential clients and and enable that social interaction.
  5. Attended expos – When setting up my stall, I try to use catchy things to engage people and start conversation. For example, my Tanita scale to measure body composition, bone mass etc. was a huge success. What I learnt from this is that people want to know about what’s going on with themselves, and I used this knowledge to help set up engaging activities at other events.
  6. Adult education – When I first moved to the area, I signed up to teach short courses based on private workshops. I taught from my experience,  knowledge and interest. It gave me intel on the local community and what their needs were, and helped me understand my niche.
  7. Form partnerships – I partnered with a wellness clinic, and by working out of that premises I connected with other allied health workers and got exposure from that workplace.
  8. Run a big promo event – The community I moved into needed a footpath, and had slowly been fundraising for it over a great length of time. I saw the need for this to move faster, and decided to run a fundraiser – we held a Guiness world record event for the longest bellydance hip shimmy. It turned out to be a great fundraiser, but also a great way to become known. The publicity was free – local newspapers supported the event and spread the word far and wide.

Without specificity you risk being vanilla and not standing out.

I used these things to get known – and I did.

BUT it was only when I niched down that I got traction.

I built a specific program around weight loss called downsizeme. When you have a name that is specific and clear, with a specific set of three pillars to create a specific result, then people know exactly what you do.

From there things began to fall into place.

I ran a pilot program, which is where you offer your product for free or at a reduced rate. Participants know that you are testing it so they are very forgiving of any mistakes, and are willing to give feedback to get what they want. It was a great success, and the participants told their friends about it, so publicity took care of itself.

I also consulted with a local doctor about the process, and suddenly I was communicating clearly about who I helped and how. All of the connections made prior to this began to make sense and became an integral foundation of the career path I was building.

The same sorts of stories can apply everywhere – online, or in your existing community – talk about a strong point and find your tribe.

Get out there and get known, build a profile for something. Then you need to talk about that something over and over. Without that specificity you risk being vanilla and not standing out.

Ready to make yourself known?

Let your community know who you are are what you do! 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:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 46: How to Make Time in Your Business

Let’s talk about how to make time each week in your business so that you can get more done and feel good about it.

Much like the money equation, time can be saved, but only to a certain point.

There are efficiencies that can be gained, but I want to propose that making more time is about something different.

This episode is as much a self reflection as an informational episode because I have battled with the idea of being productive and feeling like I’m achieving things and procrastinating as much as the next person.

And I finally think I have it solved.

The Time Creation Equation

A lot of entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to think they don’t have enough time in their business or that they’re not productive enough. 

That feeling you have is really just a function of two things:

  1. Firstly, your own expectations about what you can achieve, and 
  2. How much time you spend on focused, productive work.

That’s really all it is.

By being totally realistic in your expectations for what you can create and by finding out how to work in a focused and productive way you can create the time you need in your business to get done what you need to get done. 

So let’s talk about how to do that.

Your Expectations

Starting with your expectations, it’s important that you are very real and honest with yourself about how much time you actually have. 

Let’s say that you are working in your business part time and you have 15 hours available during the week.

The temptation is to think you can cram a whole bunch of things into those 15 hours.

Or maybe you expect yourself to be able to complete new or complex tasks in that time.

But there is another layer on top of that, that you need to consider.

For all of those hours that you have available you are going to have some downtime.

You aren’t always going to be feeling energized and clear-headed and decisive. 

Sometimes you’re going to be feeling distracted. 

Sometimes you’re going to be feeling flustered or confused. 

And often, you are going to be switching from one task to another. 

All of those things cost a percentage of the total working time you have available.

When you get very clear and specific about what is realistically possible to achieve each day or each week or each month, then you can cut yourself some slack. 

You’ll be totally clear on where you can spend time and you have enough room to allow the downtime or transition time that will invariably be required.

Here’s a six-step process to help you get started.

Step 1 – work out the total number of hours you have available at work each week. Only count blocks of time that are at least 45 minutes long; preferably whole days.

Step 2 – multiply the total number of hours by 80% – this is your new, realistic total hours that allow for time lost in transitions or distractions.

Step 3 – identify one major project that you will complete this week, and break it down into single, specific tasks.

Step 4 – schedule the tasks into time slots in your calendar. Put more creative tasks into spaces you will likely have more energy, and detailed or analytical tasks into spaces where you might likely be more focused. 

Step 5 – If there are any tasks that you have never done before, make some decisions in advance about how long you will try before you ask for help, or, when and who you will ask for help. For example, if you’ve never used Instagram before, you might decide to spend 2 hours trying to learn how to use it and depending on how that goes, you might schedule more learning time, get on with using it, or decide to outsource it.

Step 6 – record how you spend every 30 minute block of your working time in a work diary. This is SO important because you can only learn what works or doesn’t if you can see what you are doing right now.

Being productive requires discipline and honesty – it means saying no to yourself when things feel hard, or saying yes to yourself when you really do need a break or to revise your plan.

Being Focused and Productive

If you get the first bit right, and have clear, specific, scheduled tasks, then you should feel more focused and productive by default.

You’ll feel more focused because you know exactly what you’re doing and when. That removes any need to make decisions when you’re in the thick of work mode and your brain will love you for that. No more decision fatigue. 

You’ll also feel more focused because you have allowed for downtime, rather than cramming your calendar full of back-to-back things. Once again, your brain will love you because you’ve allowed time for it to switch from one mode to the next.

Aside from that there is one other skill you’ll need to use to be focused and productive. 

That is the skill of resisting urges

You will find that when things get difficult or confusing or if you’re feeling a little tired you will get the urge to procrastinate, do busy work that doesn’t really achieve anything or take multiple breaks in an attempt to get your motivation back. 

Sorry, but none of this will work. 

Being productive requires discipline and honesty – it means saying no to yourself when things feel hard, or saying yes to yourself when you really do need a break or to revise your plan.

Here’s what you can do instead. If you’re feeling tired it may be just the day or it might mean that you’re still expecting too much of yourself. 

Reflect on what’s really going on for you – whether you need a break right now or to re-work your scheduling in future.

If you give into the urge to procrastinate, it usually means that you don’t know what to do or are confused about something or that something is difficult, so you lack confidence in yourself or what you’re doing. 

All this means is that you need to get help or to accept and commit to some training which might set you back a little from your goal – which is totally ok.

If you start doing busy work it usually means that you’re avoiding something. Just like when you’re procrastinating, you might feel like you don’t know what you’re doing or perhaps the end might seem too big or too far away – or you’re frustrated at your lack of results – so you might just need to get some sense of achievement.

What I recommend you do in this case is to have some really clearly defined outcomes for each block of time that is a stepping stone to the bigger result that you seek to get. 

Let’s say that you’re frustrated by a lack of results generally in your business. 

What you can focus on instead is a result that you could create within an hour (the Pomodoro technique). 

Let’s say that might be developing an ad campaign, or writing the first two pages of an ebook. 

It’s not the final result, but it is a specific result that you can achieve, and, it will take you toward the bigger goal. Your brain will feel a sense of achievement around that. 

Or let’s say that you’re in that ‘I don’t know what to do’ mode or you’re lacking self confidence, and so you’re procrastinating or being busy.

What you could do instead is to make an appointment with someone who can help you – to write the email or make the call that will set the wheels in motion. 

Then you can move on to another task in your list. If you do this, then you have the benefit of finishing and other tasks ahead of time and feeling good about that achievement.

All of these strategies are designed to help you keep taking action so you can maintain momentum and feel good about what you’re doing even if things do get challenging or  frustrating or confusing.

 

Ready to make time in your business?

Do you need support to build realistic expectations and find your business truth? 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:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 44: Referral and Partnership Agreements

Having done some coaching work around agreements lately, and having been involved in many in my own business career, I thought I’d dedicate an episode to how to develop a professional partnership and ultimately, an agreement.

There are five stages in initiating, developing and formalising an agreement like this and I want to walk you through them.

Initiating Agreements

1. Values Fit

Initial meeting – explore their methods, practice, their business goals, their ethos and what they stand for. Discover the common ground. 

2. Instinct

With any new relationship, it’s important to tap into your instincts right away and notice how you ‘feel’ about the other person. If it feels right, then you should listen to that instinct.

Neuroscience proves that this is not woo woo stuff. Your primitive brain (also known as the basal ganglia) allows you to quickly pick up important information needed for survival. Any sense of distrust, risk or fear is picked up quickly here. 

Then, your slower prefrontal cortex monitors what your primitive brain has learned and it to gather a more judicious “big picture” of what is going on by taking into account more history and exerting executive control over your behavior.

So if it’s all green lights at this stage, you could move on to developing an agreement with that person or business.

If you have hesitation, explore it, and ask more questions before you decide.

Developing Agreements

3. Collaborating

The next step is to start developing agreements.

In order to build trust and rapport, you need to be collaborative and transparent.

This doesn’t mean you are giving away all your methodologies and customer lists and trade secrets.

What this means is that you start a series of back and forth conversations about the terms of how you will work together.

Along the way, use your intuition and keep testing that you are aligned. Iron out any creases along the way and explore all avenues of the relationship.

Ask lots of ‘what if’ questions.

Some questions to consider could include:

The goal of the relationship:

  • Is it about simply referring clients and cross-promoting?
  • Are you working as affiliates?
  • Are you packaging up your individual services?
  • Are you joint-venturing on a program or event?

What is included? 

How aligned are the individual services?

Who owns what? 

What happens when you start selling?

Who owns the leads?

4. Be Forthright

At this stage of the relationship, keep your eyes wide open and identify any niggles along the way, and explore them while they are still just niggles.

Keep your instincts fired up.

Use your character strengths of fairness, judgement, collaboration and also prudence. 

Prudence is important because it’s tempting to get all excited about the opportunity and rush in, but you need to let your pre-frontal cortex do its work and consider this carefully.

Formalising Agreements

When you feel that everything is kosher and you are ready to formalise your agreement, I’d advise that you put it in writing.

5. Create A Clear Agreement

While I’m not a lawyer, I’ve written a LOT of proposals and agreements and understand there are a few key things you need to include.

Please consider this general guidance only and seek advise from a contracts lawyer to ensure what you have developed is suitable for your unique situation.

Four essential things that all agreements need to include:

 

1. Naming the parties involved, using their formal business names.

You start there, by saying this is an agreement between X and Y, where X is the name of business 1 and Y is the name of business.

2. Definition of terms

In this section, you are listing the standard words or terminology that you use throughout the agreement. 

For example if you are collaborating on a workshop, you would define the word ‘workshop’ as a term in inverted commas. 

Then you would ONLY use that word throughout the agreement when talking about the workshop. Don’t use any other variations of the word.

The same goes for other things that you are talking about regularly, such as ‘the premises’, or ‘the list’ or anything else that is to be discussed as the main part of the agreement, such as a specific product, service, service provider, venue or staff. 

Keep this simple, perhaps only 3 – 7 terms.

3. Specifics of agreement

This is where you list everything you agreed on verbally at the collaboration stage.

Common things to cover include:

  • Intellectual property (who owns what)
  • Privacy
  • Confidentiality around methods
  • Fees payable
  • The period of the agreement (e.g. 6m to 1 year, single event?) as defined by a specific date range
  • How you represent each other in the public eye
  • Termination

 

Arbitration offers a flexible and efficient means of resolving disputes; note that the decision is binding. 

Be sure to make succinct, simple statements that clearly state the agreed intention.

It’s good to also mention a commitment to seek help via arbitration in the event of dispute.

Arbitration is a process in which you present arguments and evidence to a dispute resolution practitioner (the arbitrator) who helps you to resolve the issue. It’s a private process. Arbitration offers a flexible and efficient means of resolving disputes; note that the decision is binding.

 

4. Name, signatures and dates

Lastly you want to put a section for both parties names, signatures and the date the agreement was signed.

Right now you might be thinking that a written agreement is overkill, or too formal, or confronting.

And it may feel like that.

But here’s the thing: when you put your agreement in writing, you both show intent to do the right thing and professionalism.

You both show your commitment to the project and to uphold your end of the bargain.

And finally, there is every likelihood, you could totally make it work or fix any issues that come up and have a successful venture.

If things went wrong you could probably walk away unscathed.

But the thing is, there is a small chance that things could go pear-shaped and someone could sue you or try to, and if that happens, your written agreement becomes part of the evidence in a court of law showing how well each party upheld their side of the agreement.

 

Ready to build strong partnerships?

Be clear about what your agreement is and feel the difference. 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:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 43: Changing Beliefs About Money

Episode 43: Changing Beliefs About Money

Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to earn more? Or do you ever wish you could find a way to earn enough money, some day, somehow?

Our society places a strong focus on money and the perceived benefits it gives us. We’ve been socialised to adopt certain beliefs and judgements about money and how much people have.

Today, I want to invite you to blow all that BS out of your paradigm so you can get on with creating the money you want.

And when I say that, I mean that how much you want and what you earn is totally, 100% up to you. Maybe you WANT to create $25K per year and that’s enough. Maybe you WANT to create $200K per year and that’s enough. Whatever your situation, the most important thing is that you feel confident and capable of creating exactly what you need, and you enjoy the experience of money regardless of how much you make.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.

I want to explore with you how to start changing your beliefs about money so you can develop a healthier relationship with money and start giving and receiving it in a balanced and healthy way.

First let’s consider what defines your experience with money, then your values around money, some examples of beliefs that might prevent you from earning more, and finally, a simple method to shift your beliefs.

n?

What Defines Your Experience With Money?

Have you ever wondered how some people can be thoroughly content and happy, even when they have little money? Or why others, who have all the money in the world, are stressed and miserable?

The idea that money can’t buy happiness is certainly true. But that doesn’t stop us from having a fixation about money, whether it’s how to get it, having enough, or wanting more.

I think it’s so interesting that money itself is a benign object. It’s just paper and metal, and in the examples I’ve just given you, it’s pretty clear that it’s our beliefs about money that affect the value we place on it and therefore, our experience of money and how much we create for ourselves. 

Remember that a belief is a sentence that you tell yourself repeatedly until you are convinced. So when you have a certain belief about money – and a mantra that you repeat regularly – it will shape the actions you take and the results you get.

Your beliefs are what defines your experience with money. Your beliefs are what you need to change if you want to earn more. And the beliefs you have right now are often shaped by your long-standing beliefs which are also known as values.

Values Around Spending Money

Think about that for a moment in the context of spending money – and what something is worth to you.  

Let’s say that you are in a shop and you see a shirt that you like the look of. You check the price tag and then make an instant value judgement on whether that thing is ‘worth it’ or not. If you say to yourself – “That’s too expensive” – then your feeling will be disinterested and you will walk away. The result is that you won’t buy the shirt.

What about a different belief?

What if you felt that looking good and dressing smartly could make or break your business because it affected people’s perception of you? That $100 shirt would be a no-brainer for you in that case.

And so what we are looking at here is not the cost of the item, but the perceived value attached to it.

I believe that our personal values have a strong influence on our relationship with money. For example, if community and fairness were strong values for you, you might have no hesitation in sponsoring a child in a third world country. To you, this is an important contribution that you want to make.

Or, if health and wellbeing were strong values for you, you might want to have the best dentist, the best specialist and the best doctor working with you and spend money on regular checkups with these professionals.

If wealth and security are strong values for you, you might live very frugally and work hard to earn more income.

As you can see, what we value and believe has a massive influence on how we spend money, but also, how we make it.

If you place a higher value on yourself or your work, then you will find it easier to receive money. If you find it hard to see the value in yourself or what you do, then it will feel harder to receive money.

Values Around Receiving Money 

What happens when you put yourself on the receiving end?

If someone gave you a pile of money – say a prize winning or an inheritance – how would you feel about receiving that?

What if you were given money as a salary in exchange for work that you did for an employer? How do you feel about that?

What if the money came as a result of a service you personally delivered to someone in your own business?

What if the money came from something you created, like an artwork?

As I go through this list, notice that the method of earning becomes more and more personal. Some of you might notice that you started feeling more and more squeamish as I progressed. To me, that simply illustrates that, just like spending money, receiving money has it’s own set of values and emotions.

If you place a higher value on yourself or your work, then you will find it easier to receive money. If you find it hard to see the value in yourself or what you do, then it will feel harder to receive money.

Whether or not you are aware of your thoughts and beliefs around money, you can look to your body for clues about what’s going on in your brain.

When I work with coaches around price-setting, I ask them to start with their physical reactions to money to get their pricing right.

  • If your pricing is too high, you will feel squeamish and uncomfortable; it will be VERY difficult to ask your potential customers for money and it will impact your sales process.
  • If your pricing is too low, you may feel resentful and frustrated; your attention to detail and ability to deliver value to your clients will be low and it will impact your customer experience and therefore, your sales process.

This is a really simple way to work out how you feel about giving or receiving money. The values or long-held beliefs you have strongly influence what you believe right now about money. Your values form your ‘starting position’, if you like, and then you tend to build beliefs around those values that are aligned with them. 

You may like to complete the VIA character strengths test to work out your top 5 signature strengths and reflect on how they influence your spending and earning beliefs. 

Money beliefs

A belief is simply a sentence that we have said to ourselves repeatedly. It’s something we are convinced is true.

And what you believe about money and your relationship with it is the key to unlocking wealth.

My first real experience with money beliefs was in the 90’s and naughties when I was the GM and director of an environmental consulting company. Our company paid staff slightly above market rates with plenty of time and flexibility benefits, shareholding opportunities, extra earning opportunities and a bonus system. And we had 40 staff and we completed performance reviews every six months, where staff self-rated performance and growth, and we talked about progression and salary. Out of those reviews came some very interesting conversations about money based on totally different values and belief systems. Some staff member would walk into the review every six months with a well-prepared case as to why they should be given a pay rise and they pursued that assertively. 

Some staff members flustered and anxious about their pay rises because they felt they weren’t worth that much money, and they made it mean that they would have to work harder and stay back on weekends to be good enough to earn that much money. One of them came and said they’d prefer a pay cut!

Since consulting is a leverage model, we were rewarding their ability to build teams and deliver exceptional service to clients which bought integrity, reputation and greater earning capacity to the business as a whole.

They saw it as something else.

What does that tell you about money beliefs?

Limiting Beliefs about Money

The common beliefs that hold people back from earning what they’re worth, in a job or a business include things like:

  • I’m not good enough or I’m not worth that much
  • I don’t deserve it
  • I have to work hard to earn that much money
  • I’ll have to give up my personal life for that
  • People won’t pay that
  • People will think I’m greedy
  • People will compare me with X, and they’re better than me.
  • I can’t afford it.
  • I can’t earn any more, I’m at capacity.
  • I need someone to support me financially – I can’t do it on my own.
  • It’ll raise the bar and then I’ll have to maintain that.

What results do you think those sorts of thoughts create? They keep you stuck in a lack mentality, and what I call a pattern of pursuit. You keep doing the same thing over and over again, afraid of taking a risk or challenging your beliefs. So it’s pretty hard to reach the outcome you want.

One of my favourites that I’ve heard time and again from small business owners – “Oh, I’m not doing this to make money!”

What?

I have to call that out as total BS. The reason you run a business is to earn money. Sure you want to help people but you are also aiming to earn an income, right?

Your beliefs are what defines your experience with money. Your beliefs are what you need to change if you want to earn more. 

Affirming Beliefs about Money

So what WOULD you need to believe in order to create more money?

More affirming beliefs are things like:

  • I love money
  • There are lots of ways I can make money
  • I am learning to manage money
  • Money is paid where value is offered
  • I am worth it
  • I can learn skills that will add value to what I offer
  • I am good enough
  • What I do truly helps people
  • Money is just a numbers game
  • Money makes it possible to help more people.
  • Money is not about me.

Someone I know has gone from broke to millionaire about three times in her life already.

I find it very interesting to hear her beliefs around money. I have heard her say with confidence, ‘making money is EASY.’ I have also heard her say, ‘I’m not good with managing money.’

Can you see how those two beliefs link to her results?

She is always on the move, meeting people working out how to bring her products into the world, doing research and investing in her ideas. She believes that what she is doing will help people, and that it will be easy to sell.

And so far, she has proven herself right.

Then fears set in, things go wrong and the business folds; nothing do to with what is being sold, but always about how the money is managed.

Changing Beliefs About Money

If you want to create more money, you will need to start changing your beliefs about money.

You can also look at the four levels of money and from a logical perspective, get a handle on how to tweak your personal financial situation.

Then you need to look at ALL the things you are saying to yourself and rewire those mantras.

The easiest way to do this is a three step process.

First, you can journal an experience you have around money each day.

Second, you can write down the limiting beliefs that come up around the experience.

Third, you can challenge and question those beliefs, and re-write them in a more factual way.

Writing them down by hand makes it quicker and easier for your brain to ‘see’ what you want and to plug that into the reticular activating system – your brain’s GPS.

It’s essential that you truly believe your re-written statements. Otherwise you won’t adopt them.

Doing this as a daily process will subtly shift your perspective over time and open up new opportunities to create wealth.

Just like brushing your teeth, the rewards are not immediate and obvious, but over time, they will have a massive impact on what you think, feel, act and achieve.

 

Ready to change your beliefs about money?

You too could earn as much as you want! 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:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 42 – Four levels of money

Episode 42: Four Levels of Money

This podcast is going to look at practical ways to improve our own situations with money.

The other day I read a news article about a couple who paid of a $114,000 debt in 23 months.

And it got me thinking about how we perceive money and what we can actually do to improve our own situations with money.

So today I want to talk about the four levels of money and how you can work within each level to start creating more money.

 

The Basics

Let’s start with some basics. At the 30,000 feet level – the very strategic level – there is money in and money out. 

If you want to create more money, you need to have more coming in than going out.

Two ways to create more money are earning it and investing it, where investing includes saving.

Some people go straight to cutting costs to save money – and while I think it’s a great strategy and an important thing to do, remember that there’s only so much of that you can do. 

It’s finite. Therefore it’s much easier to earn more money than to cut expenses.

It reminds me of a conversation I once had with my grandmother. 

It was a very hot day, and my grandmother said, “You know Melanie, I much prefer winter. There is no limit to the amount of clothes you can wear, but in summer when it’s hot, there is a limit to what you can take off.”

The same can be said about money.

I like to think about the energy that we create around cutting costs and being frugal – for some people it may create a lack mentality.

On the other hand if you focus on creating income or wealth, (which I’ll talk about in a separate podcast), this creates more of an abundance mentality.

And an abundance mindset is what we need to create a sense of wealth, and actual wealth.

So how can you balance up your money in, money out equation to create more wealth?

Let’s talk about the four levels of money and how to set up your own money creation system.

Level 1 – Debt

The first level of money is debt.

Debt is when you borrow money and it costs you money to do this.

Depending on the interest rate on the money you’re borrowing, every dollar you borrow might cost you 2 – 25c.

That means that you get somewhere between 75 – 98c.

So if you’re someone with debt, and you want to create wealth, it should be your priority to pay off your debt as it’s costing you money to have the debt, on top of the debt itself.

This doesn’t apply to you if you have a lot of money and are using debt to offset your income. I’m not talking to you, in that case.

Level 2 – Expenses

The second level of money is expenditure or spending.

Expenses are the things you need to buy to survive and run your business (if you have one) and your life.

Depending on what’s important to you and what you value, you might live very frugally and spend money just on the basics, or, you may live a more lavish or social lifestyle that costs you much more.

If your goal is to save money, then you can look at your basic cost of living and work out whether there are areas that you can stop or reduce spending, even if temporarily.

Perhaps you don’t need a pedicure every month, or to have new designer clothes, or dinners out, for example. 

You might be better off using that money to pay off your debts faster.

But if cutting costs like this feels terrible and creates scarcity, then perhaps you could rather focus on creating money instead.

Level 3 – Income

The third level of money is income.

This is the money you earn for value you create (which I’ll cover in a separate podcast) and from any investments that you have.

We need income to cover our expenses and any debts we have. Debt should be the priority here as it costs money to have it.

At the basic level, income is created in exchange for some sort of action you take – a service or product that you sell through you own business or for an employer.

We often correlate the income we earn through work with who we are as a person. 

We tend to make it personal.

We say things like, “I’m worth more than that!” or “I’m not skilled or capable enough to earn that much money”. 

But if we focused more on the value we bring, rather than who we are as a person, then we could more easily change that equation and create wealth more easily.

Level 4 – Investment

The fourth level of money is investment.

This is where you take the money you have earned and put it into a savings, share portfolio, business or other account that pays you interest.

In other words it’s the opposite of debt.

Each dollar you invest will earn you an extra 2 – 50c. So your dollar turns into $1.25, for example.

The safest way to invest in terms of lowest risk is into a savings account or a term deposit, or government bonds.

Riskier investments are things like the sharemarket.

But one place that investment might give you a good return is in your own business if you have one.

If you have a service or product that is proven, selling well in the market and has the potential to help more people, then it makes sense that you might invest some of your income into marketing, advertising and/or recruitment to help your business grow.

The Money Balancing Act

Just to clearly state it again, I’m not an accountant or a financial advisor. And I’m certainly not telling you what to do with your money.

But know this – if you want to create more money, you will do some combination of things at each level of money to achieve your goals.

The first step would be to create a specific goal, such as a specific amount of money you’d like to create, and by when.

Ready to better balance your money?

You’re invited! The Habitology Membership is the perfect tool if you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut. I encourage you to check it out. Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 10: 9 of the Best Reasons to Target a Niche

9 of the Best Reasons to Target a Niche

Today I want to dive deep into why you might want to target a niche. 

Why define and target a niche in your business?

Here are 9 of the best reasons I have:

1. Your niche sets the scene for everything else you do in your business.

Most people in business make the newbie mistake of rushing into a big marketing effort but before you can market anything and sell anything you need to know what you want to sell, and who you are selling it to, how it’s going to help that person, what you’re going to charge them and why it’s great value. When you know those things you are ready to start marketing with confidence. Then you get clarity on what sorts of services you’re going offer, how you are going to market to them, where you are going to find them and what sort of business systems you’ll need.

2. Targeting a niche allows you to stand out and be known.

There’s a saying that goes: “If you don’t stand fo something, you stand for nothing”. If you want to be different to every other service or coach out there, targeting a niche allows you to become a specialist, you become known for one thing. It helps you build a profile, and be recognised. It’s much easier to be known and attract clients that way

3. Jack of all trades, master of none.

If what you do and the results you offer aren’t clear, then your potential client listening will question your ability to be good at those things. It raises questions of trust. Most people when seeking help are trying to solve one specific problem. You will be easier to find if you have a clear message. You can position as a specialist in one area, it creates trust, and makes you easier to find.

4. You can’t multi-task problem solving.

Remember that coaches work on helping people change their habits. It takes about 68 days to form one habit. That’s the average according to research. As a coach, you want to help people get real tangible results in the time frame that you are working with them, which will typically 6-12 weeks. They are not going to get the results they are after if you try to throw the kitchen sink at them. If you help a client work on one issue and maybe 2-3 habits around that one issue, they will get far better results than if you try to do everything and cram it in. Keep out the kitchen sink and focus on that one thing. That’s what targeting a niche is all about.

 

5. Your vibe attracts your tribe.

Whether you like it or not, you are going to attract a certain type of person. Normally that person is going to be pretty much like you, I say around 70-80% like you in terms of their age, values, journey. If you work out who YOU are and therefore who you are most likely to attract, you are going to find it much easier to find loyal clients who love you. This is especially important in coaching, where relationships and personal service and chemistry are everything in terms of your business success. Take the straight line approach, and start looking for the people who you naturally attract.

6. You can more easily create high value services.

People buy for 2 reasons: they buy because they want to solve a problem or they buy for pleasure. IOf you are working as a health or wellness coach, your are working to help solve your problem. Imagine if you went to see someone who knew exactly what your circumstances were and what you were going through and exactly what works. How would you feel? This is what I mean by high value services. If you can tailor your coaching, your tools, the resources that you use, the types of programs and services that you offer to a particular niche, they are going to feel as though you are servicing them and their specific needs. The perceived value of what you offer is going to be much higher than if you offer something general that might not tick all the boxes for them. That’s really important when it comes to pricing and earning what you want to earn in your business.

7. Finding a niche allows you to target your marketing and save you time money and the heartache of rejection.

When you know exactly who your ideal client is, you can go directly to where your client is and know that I higher proportion of people are going to take up your services because they are your kind of people. Simply by focussing on the people that you can most likely help and who are most likely to engage with you, you will feel more confident because you will get a greater response rate and more engagement, more buy in. It will save you time, money and heartache. Marketing becomes much easier when you target a niche

8. Most of a buying decision is based on feelings.

When you can relate to your ideal client and tell their story authentically, they will want to buy from you because they feel that sense of rapport and relationship. By building an emotional connection and trust with your ideal client, they are going to have stronger emotional connection with you in the beginning, which makes them more likely to buy from you

9. You can invest your heart and soul in what is most meaningful for you.

This will help you find a true sense of alignment. You will sense that you have deep meaning in your work, a purpose that is authentically you and what you are truly interested in. That means you will probably do a really good job at it. Imagine what it would feel like to turn up to work and love what you do and be totally immersed in it. Your enthusiasm and energy for what you do will in turn attract more clients to you. Instead of trying to be good at everything, just be good at everything, just be good at one thing. Figure out what you love to do, and just do that. It’s going to be way better for attracting clients and creating better outcomes.

Those are my reasons for starting out with a niche.

It makes everything clear and simple, and you can change as time goes on.

When you start out you may not be clear on who you are and who you’d like to target, but you can explore and experiment to find your niche. Put a time limit on in, I suggest around 3 – 6 months. Go out and meet people being around people and understanding their challenges and see what lights you up the best. Then take one direction and follow it for 6-12 months, give it a good go and see how it works for you.

Ready to find your niche?

You’re invited! The Habitology Membership is the perfect tool if you’re truly ready to grow a successful coaching business – and that starts with you. I encourage you to check it out. Learn more here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Do We Expect So Much of Ourselves?

Why do we expect so much of ourselves?
Why do we expect so much of ourselves?

Why do we expect so much of ourselves in our business and life?

Sure, running your own business is a fulfilling and freeing, and a precious journey of adventure.

You bring your strength, courage, confidence into the world, writing your own rules, and creating success on your terms.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Time and again, I see entrepreneurial coaches starting out but being crippled by their drive for achievement with perhaps a twist of perfectionism.

Don’t get me wrong, being achievement focused and wanting to do things right are important for your success…but only to a point.

It requires perspective and insight to make them work for you, rather than against you.

Here’s how to get it right…but first, some background.

How Expectations Work

Expectations are the conditions you place on yourself and others.

And as much as you set expectations, you also respond to expectations.

This is where things get tricky – because in business, you have your own expectations and also, those of your clients to fulfill.

How can you juggle both and get it right?

How You Set Expectations

 

When Monday rolls around, what expectations do you set for the week, and each day? And how do your expectations for business and your personal life compare?

Most entrepreneurial coaches I know want to get everything on their list finished each week.

That works well if the list is short.

But achievement-focused people tend to want to conquer Rome, by yesterday.

This is where the panic, overwhelm and brain fog kick in (and sometimes melt-downs, ‘what ifs’ and plaintive WHYS).

The reason is simple – with all that focus on work achievements, there’s no time left to meet your personal needs or for that magical thinking time (“sharpening the saw”) where creative ideas and initiatives come from.

If you’re a health and wellness coach, you may see this same behaviour in your clients at goal-setting time:

  • They set a goal to exercise 6 days per week, then only achieve 3 days and feel miserable and defeated, OR
  • They set a goal to exercise 1 day per week, then achieve 3 days, and feel on top of the world.

The achievement in either case is the same – the only difference is the expectation and the mindset that it creates.

And therein lies the solution. When it comes to setting expectations, start small.

I created a rule for myself that I would aim to achieve 3 things per week.

Those 3 things are articulated very specifically and have blocked off time scheduled in for me to complete them.

That liberates me mentally to make time for achieving in my personal life, and makes for a balanced life that feels successful.

How You Respond to Expectations

Setting your own expectations aside, it’s worth mentioning that how you respond to others’ expectations is also a defining factor in your business success.

New York Times best selling author Gretchen Rubin has determined that people have an inherent tendency to set and respond to inner and outer expectations in one of four ways.

Two of these tendency types always seem to put others first at their own expense.

If you are an Obliger or Upholder (equating to about 64% of the population), chances are you are driven to help, please, service or support other people more than yourself.

This means your stuff gets shunted to the end of the pile and may never get done.

Of course, that can seriously hamper your ability to run a business – you have no time left for essential work ON your business (non-client time) and it may also mean you have trouble asking for money.

One of the most effective ways to manage your response to expectations better is to allot specific days and times to help/support/service others. That is, you set boundaries.

It might mean that you only see clients from Monday to Thursday, 11am – 4pm.

It might mean that you only take a certain number of clients each week.

It might mean that you have set catch up times with friends/family.

Summing it up

Expectations can help you stay on track or they can drain you.

If you are achievement-focused, then you may tend to overwhelm yourself with work and other commitments at the expense of your personal life or strategic business tasks.

Try setting the bar lower and celebrating your success.

If you are someone who routinely puts others first to your own detriment, experimenting with boundaries will help you put the time you need into the business and life you want.

Try scheduling set days/times for clients, friends and yourself.

I’d love to know how you are navigating this

Are you struggling with expectations?

Contact me if you’d like to have a 15-minute conversation about switching things around.

Contact Melanie White

 

Verification