** This is a continuation of a multi-part series on how I’ve built my coaching business. If you missed part 1, check it out here. **
Welcome to Part 2 of my series: The Making of a Coach.
I like to think of my life as BC (Before Coaching) and AC (After Coaching).
My entire life changed when I discovered the field of coaching and said YES to an extensive coach training program.
This was March 2008.
In November 2007, I quit my $175,000 a year job as a conference producer in New York City while in the midst of a 200-hour yoga teacher training program.
At that point, I didn’t know much about the field of coaching. It hadn’t yet exploded onto the internet or in our collective conscious like it has now.
But as fate would have it, I met a woman in a workshop led by Jonathan Fields who was a yoga teacher and creativity coach.
At that point, I was really trying to figure out what the heck I was doing with my career since I had quit my corporate job and was trying to figure out the next step in my work.
I considered becoming a teacher with Teach for America, training to become a nutritionist with IIN, taking a corporate fundraising position with St. Jude Children’s Hospital, becoming a marketing executive for a branding firm, going for my 500-hour yoga teaching certificate, and selling yoga apparel at lululemon in my neighborhood.
Pretty diverse options, right?
That’s my Gemini mind at play!
Having babies was in my future so this was a consideration for my new career path.
What would allow me to make a great impact in the world with my gifts, earn a fantastic income AND have a flexible, freedom-based schedule with me calling the shots?
When I heard the word “coach,” my curiosity was piqued. My body took notice and something inside me shifted as I contemplated this path.
Just what was this “coach” thing?
I madly researched coaching schools and found one that spoke to me to the tune of $9,000 and 10 months of hard-core training.
Throughout the course, I evolved into what I had always been deep down inside: a COACH, a GUIDE, a TEACHER.
I learned to listen holographically, ask open-ended questions, reframe situations, work with different levels of energy … the list goes on.
Most importantly, I found myself again after spending much of my 10-year career feeling like I had taken a wrong turn.
I LOVED coaching.
Loved what it did for both coach and client.
Having known so much about psychotherapy after working with my fantastic therapist for several years, I appreciated how coaching shifted energy quickly in high-functioning clients who were committed to their growth.
Everywhere I went, I would tell friends and strangers what I was up to and that’s exactly how I got my clients.
I didn’t have a website or email list or newsletter until July of 2009 – 17 months into my coaching career.
So getting clients at the beginning of my coaching business involved me spreading the word about what I was doing to anyone who would listen and handing out my trusty business cards.
I did a lot of 30-minute “complimentary” coaching sessions by phone and was able to convert a good number of prospects into paying clients.
I’ll never forget when I got my first paying client! I was still in coach training and I was simply over the moon that this gal – a friend of a friend – was interested in hiring me as her career coach. Know where I met her? At my friend’s birthday party! Easy.
I took it as a sign from the Universe that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
When I first started, I would coach my clients 4 times a month at around $300 a month. This was the holy grail of coaching. If you could sign a client who wanted the 4-time-a-month package, you were doing a happy dance!
To accommodate different commitment levels and budgets, I also would offer 2 sessions a month at around $200 a month. I’d assign homework between sessions and would be available for email coaching.
Honestly, it felt like free money because I loved the work so much.
After signing a number of clients into multi-month coaching packages, I realized we had a problem.
And that problem was this: the model that I had been taught in coach training was not going to work long term. It was truly a broken model for a gal like me.
Sure, I was having fun coaching my clients. I was making a difference in their lives and I was earning some money.
But I got pregnant with my first baby in May 2008 (yay!) and I knew I wouldn’t be able to coach 5 days a week for hours at a time once my baby was born. I also knew that even IF I wanted to keep this schedule, the money simply wouldn’t add up to what I desired for my family or lifestyle.
Up to this point, I wasn’t even coaching full-time. I was pulling in MORE money as a freelance consultant as a conference producer (this is the job I used to do when I worked in corporate) and this took up about 75% of my work week.
But I LOVED coaching and I didn’t love being a conference producer anymore. I was doing it simply to help pay the bills as I built my coaching business.
So I started thinking about what I could do to LEVERAGE my time more effectively, step away from my freelance consulting work, and generate more income as a coach.
The year is now 2009 and my first baby Sean had just entered the world in early January.
I joined a new mom’s support group to help me navigate the world of motherhood, which was a God-send.
I eventually got the idea to launch my own new mom support group on the Upper West Side with a company called babybites (now called mommybites) as there was a major need for it.
This support group concept took off! We ended up launching groups for working moms (I know – all moms work!) and entrepreneur moms, too! And I trained other women passionate about supporting moms to lead their own groups too. It was truly amazing. I like holding space for women to grow.
It was during these groups that I saw the magic of women coming together to support each other. I saw the magic of soul sisterhood. This is truly where my love of group coaching was born!
At this time in mid-2009, internet marketing was getting some of my attention.
I had launched my website (I paid a designer $1,000 to build this for me) and published my first monthly newsletter and started growing my list on Constant Contact.
I was on Facebook and involved in some online networking groups.
It was in one of these online networking groups that I met a gal who had a shared interest in supporting moms online.
She knew A LOT more than I did about online marketing, CRM software, teleconference lines, sales pages, preview calls and more … but I was so eager to learn.
We put our heads together and eventually launched my first-ever group coaching program called the Inner Mama Mastery Program. It was a 3-month program that we were in love with.
We thought we’d get like 300 women to sign up during our launch. What did we know? I think we got about 10 and then we offered a few bring-a-friend for free spots, which brought our total enrollment to about 16 women.
I was CRUSHED as I realized this world was a lot more complex than I thought, but also so PUMPED to be working with women from AROUND THE WORLD through the power of technology.
There was something totally magical about this and I was hooked on the world of online marketing, but realized I needed to know A LOT more if I ever wanted to be successful as a coach doing business with women around the globe.
What did I do next?
Released my conference production consulting (I was free!) and signed up for my first-ever entrepreneur conference called SHINE hosted by a big-time business owner named Ali Brown who I had just heard of a few months prior.
I sold my wedding dress to afford the ticket. (I tell that story in my book “Get Gutsy.”)
I left my baby for the first time and had to pump the entire time I was away since I was nursing.
That conference changed my life and saved my business.
I would not still be coaching if I hadn’t invested in myself and learned everything I needed to know about establishing my brand platform online.
And that is where we will pick up with the next post in our series on “The Making of a Coach” …
If you feel you’re being called to the COACHING industry as your career or a supplement to what you’re doing now, but aren’t sure how to actually BE a COACH …
(You’ve got questions like:
How do you hold the space during your client sessions?
How do you onboard clients?
What do you charge?
How do you work with clients?
What technology do you need?
What policies and procedures will keep you in business?
How do you actually get clients?)
… then you’ll want to check out Get Gutsy Coach Training School (enrolling for our amazing January 2017 class now!).
I also invite you to come to my upcoming free webinar where you will see what’s possible when you say YES to fully stepping into coaching.
I’m looking for a gutsy crew of leaders who are ready to transform into CONFIDENT COACHES who are changing the world with their GIFTS.
Is that you?