January has been a month of reflection for me. I've been looking at my accounts, stats and growth in 2016 as well as analyzing what has been working and what has not been working in my first year in business.
When I started my online coaching business over 12 months ago, I didn’t know anything about building a business. I had my own Yoga classes and courses, my own blog with a small audience but it wasn’t a full-time business. I knew how to create my own website, use MailChimp and use social media platforms but I didn’t know anything about sales and marketing methods or how mindset is the most important part in achieving success.
I’ve made many mistakes, made some wrong decisions and I wish I had done so many things differently, but everything has been a big learning process. I believe I made all these mistakes for a reason.
I believe I made all the wrong decisions for a reason. Also I believe that I attracted all my lovely clients for a reason.
Here I wanted to share my top 3 lessons I learnt in my first year in business and how I’m going to take my learning on board in 2017.
LESSON #1: STOP FOLLOWING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING
I have no idea how many freebies I subscribed and all the “mini” e-courses I signed up to in the past 12 months when things slowed down and when I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. I was obsessed with freebies. And I seriously thought that all these freebies would make the difference. But the problem with all these freebies and short courses is that they only teach you “what” it is that you should be doing and not the “how”.
Though most importantly, I learnt that I needed to work on myself, my mindset and discover who I really was before I could successfully move forward. I wish I had known this before I started my business. Instead, I was checking out what other coaches were doing and following their strategies because they said that was what made them a successful six-five coach.
There is no “quick fix” or a “secret formula” in building a successful business. It comes with a huge commitment and willingness to take risk and experiment. Yes, you can learn different strategies but just copying & pasting won’t work. You’ll have to make it your own and make it work for you and your business. This is why one-on-one coaching is very effective because your coach can really get to know you and understand your business, so that they can provide you with the right tools and strategies that work for you and your business. And most of all, your coach is there to empower and challenge you to discover your own strengths and gifts to create a business that is unique and that works for you.
So ditch all the freebies, cheap online courses and find yourself a good coach who can challenge you and help you discover who you really are. Building business isn’t all about how quickly you can hit $10k months. It’s about discovering who you really are and experimenting what works for you to create a sustainable business that offers your clients real value and brings you joy to run. So don’t get caught up by all the noises around you. Focus on discovering true you.
This year, I am continuing my journey of discovering the true me. I have my Yoga teacher and my trusted Coach to support and guide me through this journey. There are times when I get angry and frustrated, but it’s so worth it!
LESSON #2: PLAN & ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCES BEFORE YOU START YOUR BUSINESS
I have to admit that I switched from full-time to part-time a little too early (it was only 3 months after I hired my first coach). There is so much advice online about how quickly you can hit $10k a month as a coach. Yes, I believe some coaches can, but in reality it is likely to take at least 12 months to build your business and allow you to be confident that it is making consistent profits.
The truth is that although service-based businesses require less up-front investment than product-based businesses, if you are serious about your business, you’ll want to invest in a coach/mentor, designer, events, workshops, e-courses, website, software, systems…etc. Even you try to take advantage of all the free software & systems and do your graphics and website yourself, you’ll soon see your costs piling up.
So my advice is to really plan & organize your finances before you start your businesses. I have spoken to many women who have quit their 9-5 when they hadn’t even started getting paying clients and who had spent a lot of money on their websites but were struggling to make sales. Because they were not making money from their only source of income (their business), they couldn’t invest in a coach when they were really stuck. If you are going to totally quit your 9-5 to start your own business, I highly recommend you have enough savings to live without any income for at least 6-12 months to allow you not only to have slow periods, but to also have enough to invest in your business when necessary! A great way to do this is to move to part time if your job allows, providing you with a solid income and also the time to spend building your business.
I had income from my part-time job and my own Yoga classes when my business was slow, but I have to tell you that my investment was higher than anticipated. And I probably spent unnecessarily on “mini” e-courses that taught me almost nothing.
This month, I spent a long time sorting out my personal and business finance which made me feel great. I cancelled unnecessary monthly subscriptions. I even submitted my tax return early so I don’t get fined. I forecasted my business income and worked out my exact outgoings. I am staying open to different sources of income. The last thing you want when building your business is to be stressed out about money. So plan, save and then invest in yourself and your business!
LESSON #3: ALWAYS GIVE 3 X MORE VALUE THAN OTHERS
Last year, I attended a Marketing Summit in London and one of the great pieces of advice I came away with was “always give 3 x more value than your competitors”.
When I was starting out, I was really scared to give too much valuable information away for free. I thought my potential clients would just take all my free advice and would never buy my paid services or products. So although I was offering free sessions when I was starting out, I didn’t give too much valuable information away. I approached my free info products in the same way and my emails too (my lead magnet & sales funnel). As a result, I wasn’t able to build that vital connection with my potential clients as I was focusing on selling rather than giving value.
I offer a certain number of free coaching sessions every month and I know for a fact that people take away some really great advice that motivates them to take action. These people may not become my clients straight away, but I have some clients who became my client months after they had a free session with me. Yes, there will always be people who will never buy from you. Sometimes people just need that little help or motivation to move forward and that’s fine.
The important lesson here is to always connect with people by giving and not selling. And the clients will come to you naturally.
This year, I will continue to give more. I’d like to do more blogs, videos and live workshops both online and in-person.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN TO PLAN YOUR 2018!
Whether you’re just starting out or a few months into running your own business, creating a solid foundation of your business should be your main focus.
If you haven’t yet created a business plan for your business, now is the time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out, or a year into your business. You should be reviewing your business plan every 6 months!
Creating a business plan will help you gain clarity, challenge and validate your business ideas, define your goals and clearly set out how you are to achieve them.
To help you with this process I have created a business plan workbook that you can follow.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE BUSINESS PLAN WORKBOOK TODAY!
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