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I, Michelle Ward, The When I Grow Up Coach and supporter of all creative women pursuing their business dreams everywhere, solemnly swear to never sugar coat anything. 

In this spirit, I will tell you: Becoming a business owner is not easy. In fact, it can sometimes feel very, very hard. You will be met with a ton of resistance, both internally and externally. But, I’m sure a wise woman once said: “The only thing you can control is yourself” — so let’s tackle the internal resistance, a.k.a. The Vampire Voices. 

The Vampire Voices are what I call the thoughts that live in your head and suck all the good stuff out of your brain. You know them. You hate them. They feed on motivation, inspiration, creativity, optimism, and faith. They’re here to hold you down, push you back, and they are not — I repeat, are not your friend. Most importantly, they’re not right, either.

In the beginning of my business coach career in 2008ish, my Vampires usually said a lot of things like: 

“You’ll never pull this off.”

“You’re setting yourself up for disappointment.”

“You’re not (smart/pretty/good/knowledgeable/talented/special) enough.”

Like I promised, business babe, I won’t sugar coat it. Sometimes, I can still hear them. Sometimes when I’m gearing up for a new launch or struggling for a perfect solution to a new client challenge, I hear the Vampires slithering in. 

But today, I know what to do. I know what to say. I know how to shut them out. 

Here is what works for me, and I think it could work for you, too…

I ask myself if *not* doing whatever the Vampires are trying to talk me out of would turn into a regret in a few years time. I do what I can to envision if I’d feel sad or angry or wistful when I think about The Thing I Think I Can’t Do in two-ish years, and then I respond accordingly.

I try to come up with the Worst Case Scenario and see if it would really be anything I couldn’t handle.

I talk it out with my husband and my colleagues and my friends and my coach who are the exact opposite of the Vampire voices. They are supportive, thoughtful, kind, empathetic, analytical/critically thinking and, oh yeah – real. 

I look at the financial growth I’ve seen in the 10+ years that I’ve helped women find their heart song businesses. I review my Year By The Numbers posts. It is tactile, visual proof that my Vampires were and still are wrong. I can and AM doing this! 

I check in with my gut and my heart.

I see how equal the fear and excitement measure out. (I firmly believe that when they’re about equal, you’re in a win-win situation and you gotta follow through!)

I look at my calendar and project management system and see when there’d be time to do The Thing I Think I Can’t Do.

And ya know what? Sometimes, I decide not to do it, or have it wait. And that’s OK. I let it go, and I know it’s not because I can’t or I shouldn’t, but because it’s not that important based on the other things I’m working on.

But often? The Thing I Think I Can’t Do is exactly what I need to do for myself – to learn, to grow, to keep stretching and taking risks and get closer to the life I envision for myself and Luke and our sweet girl, Ramona. 

And dear business dreamer, here is the last detail about the Vampire Voices I need to tell you: They are sneaky and they can evolve. Just when you crush the Discovery piece of your dream business, the Launch Vampire shows up. Just when you stifle your Launch Vampire, the Build Vampire tags in. The voices never go away (again with the non-sugar coating), but with experience + time they get quieter and you get stronger. 

So, you must remember as you go along your business-building journey: You and they have been here before. And they were wrong. And you were right. 

The amazing news is Vampire Voices are almost powerless when you match them up against a business support system, such as myself and the other incredible network of women I’m fortunate to have around me. Discover Your Dream Business is waiting to invite you in with all the loving & supportive arms a Vampire Voice wishes it had – and a big summer sale discount doesn’t hurt, either. Let’s take these voices on together — come and get us, Vampires! We’re so not scared of you.

The post What I Tell Myself When I Don’t Think I Can Do It appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally heeeeeeeeeeere!

I’ve been working with these incredible women in my year-long program, Dream To Done. We’ve been together since early February, and it’s been my great honor to have taken them through the “discovery” process this winter, into the “launch” prep this spring, and this summer day is what we’ve been waiting for: Launch Day! 

Ready to meet these amazeballs CEOs and their clear, impactful, valuable, helpful businesses – and take advantage of their celebratory prices? {rolls out the red carpet} Here they are!:

Lisa Townsend of Change Your Badge helps creative women who are unhappy in their career realize their true potential and feel connected to the work they are meant to do. She’s a Certified Coach in Creativity & Mindfulness with a degree in Psychology and over 10 years experience in performing, so #legit. Also, I dare you to see her smiley pics and *not* want to be her BFF ASAP.

Melissa Ummard has been a professional photographer for over 20 years (and flaunts the best hair color around, IMHO). It’s only natural that she should be the founder of Lifestory U, which merges elements of customized photo books and connective storytelling. If you’re looking to make it easy to preserve the moments that are important to you and have them last, then this innovative company has you covered.

Eleni Margaronis is an Organizational Change Consultant who works with organizations to develop and implement strategic plans, effective teams, and efficient systems. If you’re a leader or business owner who needs support and you resonate with her tagline “We Can Work Better”, then click on over – she only has room to work with a handful of clients (or less!) each year. 

A designer who helps women over 30 build their own curated wardrobe (!) that makes them feel authentic and empowered, Mireille Marchand is a Frenchwoman living in Switzerland and if she doesn’t become your new style icon, I just don’t know who you are anymore. And yes, you read that right – if you speak French, she will give you personalized sewing patterns so you can create your own capsule wardrobe! Whaaaat?! Je l’adore!

Karen Styles works with creative women who want to reconnect with the WHY of their career and clarify their message so they can get the job – or clients! – they’re most excited about. She named her business Flow and Fire, and YAS QUEEN, let’s get *both* of these elements up in here so we feel the ease in our work and get the fire to light.us.up!

Taalor Werden is a Holistic Wellness Mentor and the founder of The Plotted Seed. She helps stay at home and homeschooling mamas reclaim their individuality in order to live rich and creative lives AND be nurturing mothers. Because it doesn’t have to be either/or, people. No way no how no ma’am!

Are you a Mom looking to make eco-positive lifestyle changes? Then Wholehearted Planet is for you! While the launch has been a bit delayed (because #lifehappens), you can sign up on the site to get notified when it goes live, and you’re going to want to. Writer, Editor and Mom-of-2 Rachel Joyce will be laying down bite-size, eco-friendly tips that will have you creating less waste, shifting your shopping habits, limiting plastics, appreciating nature with the whole family, and more. Count me *in*!

I have two more Dreamies (as they’ve dubbed themselves) not on this list because one is at the start of a looooong process of opening a brick-and-mortar community space in North Carolina, and the other also had #lifehappen. I’ll be shouting their launches from the rooftops when it’s time over on my Instagram account, so follow me there if you’re interested. 

Please join me in giving these extraordinary women a huge round of applause – or even better, your clicks over to their new online homes! And if you need me today, you’ll find me flaunting my YAY crown and never too far from a box of tissues. #proudcoach

The post Happy Launch Day to my Dream To Done-ers! appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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Um, do you know that I’ve coached hundreds of women since I started offering dream career guidance in 2008? And that these women are freakin’ rock stars, leaving soul-sucking jobs and traveling the world and launching creative, grown-up businesses and simply doing work that fits their lifestyle goals? Well ya do now – and you’ll hear their stories firsthand in my Client Case Studies series! I can hardly believe it, but I first worked with Tara Sroka in July of 2010 (!). We spent a few months together focusing on her design business, and then stayed in touch. Last May, she signed up for Discover Your Dream Business because she knew design wasn’t her be-all-end-all. It was there where she realized she wanted to be an end-of-life planner, and she’s now the founder of Bringing Death Into Life! I can’t wait ’til she tells you what helped her get here. Enjoy the goodness below!

Why did you decide to work with me?

I’ve been working with Michelle on/off for many years because I was unhappy in my career. She’s helped me dig deep to discover a lot about myself and uncover my passion, which I’m truly grateful for.

What were you doing work-wise when we started working together – and what are you doing now?

I was and still am working in advertising BUT I know what my true passion is now – End of Life Planning, which I’m working hard to make it a full time business at Bringing Death Into Life.

What was your biggest takeaway from our work together?

Putting in the time and work truly makes a difference. Self reflection is scary but it leads to amazing things, especially with an awesome cheerleader like Michelle rooting for you.

Think of someone who is currently in the shoes you wore when we first started working together. What advice do you have for her?

Be patient, breathe and take it one day at a time. It takes a lot of hard work but you’ll get there – keep going!

Is there anything that’s been a game-changer for you when it comes to your business that you can share? We’d love a good resource or a mindset/productivity tip!

One mindset that has helped me over the last year is to get comfortable “not knowing” and being uncomfortable. To be honest, this idea has been an ongoing struggle for me but I’ve found tremendous growth and discovery from this concept as you never know where life if going to take you. Let go, be open, and be curious.

What’s on the horizon for your business? We’d love to hear about any upcoming offerings or goals! 

I want to lessen the fear & stigma around death and help people deal with their mortality in a creative and productive way that will hopefully ensure their final wishes are honored. I’m accepting new clients who are looking for help with any of their end of life planning with these 3 options: 1 month, 3 month & 6 month packages. Head over to bringingdeathintolife.com and visit my “Work With Me” section to figure out how we can work best together. While you’re there, take a minute to sign up to receive my free Password List and by signing up, you’ll be subscribed to my newsletter with interesting stories, tidbits and other useful items. I am also looking to educate as many people as possible about end of life options – just as many women make birth plans, I would love to see more people making death plans, so please consider me for any event that may be applicable to this subject.

Where can we find you and your work?

Website: bringingdeathintolife.com, Instagram: @bringingdeathintolife, Facebook: facebook.com/bringingdeathintolife, Pinterest: pinterest.com/bringingdeathintolife

Ready to discover *your* dream business? No-obligation applications are open for my foundational 8-week program that’ll clarify the WHAT of your dream business and will teach you the HOW. See you there!

The post Client Case Study: Tara Sroka appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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Beginner’s Luck used to haunt me.

There I was, less than a full year into being a Woman of the World (aka full-time entrepreneur), and things were going, in a word, amazeballs. I had coached over 100 people. I was on a consistent 4-6 week waitlist and had been for months. I signed with a literary agent. I’d been asked to lead a workshop at the Etsy Success Symposium, which was a BIG deal. I mean, I can go on.

And, despite a recent conversion from pessimistic optimist/optimistic pessimist to full-on optimist, and despite my fairly recent decision to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, and despite the real, true, honest gut feeling that this all wouldn’t disappear (I did trust it, and it hasn’t yet!), I couldn’t help but hear those very quiet Vampire whispers, saying “You’ve been here before… and remember what happened?”

My first full year as a real estate agent, from 2003-2004, I was the #1 agent in the office 5 or 6 times. It was a commission-only job and I worked my butt off 6-7 days/week, but I remember having lunch with a friend that year and saying, “I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner!” At one point the Vice President of the company I worked for started a sentence with, “When you have your own real estate company…” And even though I wrinkled my nose up, knowing that didn’t sound at all appealing, I kept at it, climbing the ladder. I was given my own account to be in charge of, I was asked to train new agents, and I eventually received the largest split in that company at that time.

Not bad for a beginner, eh?

My second year of real estate? Well, I landed on my face with a big thud. I made something like a quarter of what I made my first year, which was enough to get me into $20,000 of credit card debt and have to continually ask my parents for help. Not good. Not fun.

I’ve often wondered if I had beginner’s luck that first year in real estate, and there I was again – going into my second year as a Woman of the World, stressing over the same thing. Was all of my success as a coach gonna end up being beginner’s luck? And what the heck is so lucky about being a beginner, anyways? So many of my clients disparage themselves for not being experienced at something, and want to blow right past the beginner stage to the Know What I’m Doing stage.

Of course, as a business coach and a fully-converted optimist, I started thinking about all the awesome things that come from being a beginner. Things like:

Being totally open to experimentation without major repercussions, and learning the process that works best for you. At the start of a new idea/project/business, your biggest investment is time and energy (usually). The space is wide open to figure out what works for you, whether we’re talking about advertising or time management or your work process.

Yes, it sucks if you pour your heart and soul into something that doesn’t take off (like the first time I announced a group coaching program and had 1 person sign-up, which does not a group coaching program make), but you’re able to dust yourself off pretty quickly and tweak what might be broken or move onto the next thing.

You have more excitement and enthusiasm now than you probably ever will again. Not to say I’m jaded on lethargic or empathetic. Not at all. But man, when I look at pictures of my Freedom From Corporate America Party, I don’t see a single one where it doesn’t look like I’m drunk on happiness (and margaritas). I was ready to take on the world! Now… well, I’m still ready to take on the world, but in a more strategic one-foot-in-front-of-the-other way, not a toss-my-hat-up-in-the-air-a-la-Marlo-Thomas way. (Actually, now I toss my “YAY” crown! Maybe some things don’t ever change.)

You don’t have to work too hard to keep things new and fresh. I mean sure, I could have spent years just doing what I was doing, offering private sessions and running one program. I might have done pretty well for myself, too! But since variety is the spice for the multi-passionate entrepreneur and evolution is the only way businesses grow and thrive, new offers were created and old ones were tweaked or cut. When you have a newly hung shingle and one successful offer turns into two, that’s usually all you need to feel that things are working and you’re making it happen.

There are little to no expectations, and you accept that making mistakes is part of the process. Isn’t it so nice to be nice to yourself? By being a beginner, you usually tell that Perfectionist Vampire to shut up, and don’t beat yourself up when something goes wrong or looks ugly. But, after we’ve been doing something for a while? Whoa, Nelly – that’s when one wrong move has us saying to ourselves, “What happened there, idiot?” or “You thought you could do this for a living?! Yeah right!” Enough, please.

What have I learned from my own path? That it’s nice to feel all confident and experienced, but don’t be in a rush to get there. Take your time and revel in the excitement, the openness, the awesomeosity that’s being a newbie. And when you cross the beginner threshold, take the benefits with you: being nice to yourself, working on new/exciting things, being accepting (even enthusiastic!) of experimenting, and keeping your eyes open for the lessons that you’re always gonna be learning. Only then can you create your own “luck”!

The post The Benefits of Being a Baby Business Owner (or, Why It’s Awesome to Not Know What The Heck You’re Doing) appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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Um, do you know that I’ve coached hundreds of women since I started offering dream career guidance in 2008? And that these women are freakin’ rock stars, leaving soul-sucking jobs and traveling the world and launching creative, grown-up businesses and simply doing work that fits their lifestyle goals? Well ya do now – and you’ll hear their stories firsthand in my Client Case Studies series! Lisa Chartrand completed 90 Day Business Launch just over a year ago, and it’s been thrilling to see her business, She Lives Red, take flight! She works with introverted and highly sensitive women to bring excitement and fulfillment back into their life on their own terms, and is also part of the 2019 Leadership Team for her alma matter, Courageous Living Coach Certification. I can’t wait for you to meet her and learn more about her “heart career”!

Why did you decide to work with me?

I decided to work with you because I had all of these ideas living in my head around the coaching business I wanted to start and how I wanted to support people but I couldn’t quite figure out how to put it all together into a clear picture. You helped me put the pieces together!

What were you doing work-wise when we started working together – and what are you doing now?

I had been working in the health insurance industry and since we started working together, I am still working in that industry but in a job that is less stressful and more flexible so that I can build my heart career as a life coach!

What was your biggest takeaway from our work together?

My biggest takeaway from working together is that you don’t have to have everything completely perfect and figured out to get started in creating your own business. GET STARTED! You will keep learning along the way and tweak things as you go, it is YOUR business after all! As you grow and change, your business will too!

Think of someone who is currently in the shoes you wore when we first started working together. What advice do you have for her?

My advice for anyone starting on this journey is to trust and believe. You CAN do this! If you can keep that with you along the way, it will help get you through on the hard days, because they will come. You CAN do work that you love. I would also add to stay open to possibilities you haven’t even thought of yet or have previously written off. When you stay open to really seeing all possibilities, you may be surprised with what you find!

What’s on the horizon for your business? We’d love to hear about any upcoming offerings or goals! 

I am on a mission to help introverted women bring excitement and fulfillment back into their life on their own terms. No loud crazy antics required! Right now in my business I am offering the Live Red Sessions! During the Live Red Sessions, I work with clients to create their Live Red Strategy so that they can move from feeling like life is stuck in a dull grey rut to a life filled with connection, passion and excitement- what I call Living Red!

Where can we find you and your work?

Website: www.shelivesred.com, @shelivesred on Instagram and Facebook

The post Client Case Study: Lisa Chartrand appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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Girl, you’ve got yourself a client inquiry? That’s GREAT! Now what?

First – don’t freak out (unless it’s a happy dance). Client inquiries mean someone found you on their own time, took interest in your service(s), and want to know more. It means they see you and with any luck, they’re ready for you and your kick-butt business, too!

For a lot of first-time creative business owners, the initial on-boarding process for new clients might feel clunky. Establishing the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of working together is key to ensuring you and your client have a successful relationship. The truth is: how you handle/respond to client inquiries is the first step to making a good impression *and* streamlining that process. Fortunately, I know a few ways to make it smooth as silk and easy as pie.

Here’s how to tackle client inquiries and ultimately come across as super profesh with your (potential) new clients. Step #1: Create a client inquiry form for your “Work With Me” page

Listen to me very carefully because I cannot stress this enough: Make a client inquiry form. Seriously. Do it. Put it as a call-to-action on your “Work With Me” page and make sure it’s available on any packages and offers, too. Ask for their name and email address along with these three questions:

  • “What do you need help with?”
    If you have multiple offers, this might be a drop-down menu. Or, you can leave it as a ‘fill-in the blank.’ This allows the client to vocalize what they want out of working with you so A.) They’re clear on their expectations B.) You’re clear on their expectations and C.) You can assess right away how — and/or if! — you’re able to solve their problem.  
  • “How did you find out about me?”
    This is helpful for so many reasons! First, if they were referred to you by someone, you’ll want to know who so you can thank that person and tap them again as a resource. Secondly, it might point you to your strongest marketing strategies (like social media campaigns or Google), so you can capitalize on and amplify them! 
  • “What is your location?” (if necessary!)
    If your services require you to be in the same geographical location or timezone as your clients, this is key and maybe not immediately obvious to ask about!

And here are two more Q’s that could be worthwhile, too:

  • “What are your biggest roadblocks?” (as they pertain to your industry/line of work)
    Again, this will further help you drill down on how you can help them and then respond with the best suggestion. It’ll also be a good way to see whether they need a different type of solution than what you offer. Sense a theme here? Each of these questions is not only designed for you to give this prospective client your best, most helpful response – but not ensure you’re working with your right people. Win-win!
  • “Why do you think I might be the right person to help you with this?”
    This will tell you if they even read your website and forces them (in a nice way!) to sell themselves to you, too. You’ll know right away if you and this person are a right fit based on how they respond to this question, and whether they’ve read your services page!

***If you have yet to get this form up on your site (here’s an example for ya!) and are responding to a more general email that says, “Hi I think we could work together, can you tell me more?” (which almost every inquiry will say if you’re just sending them to a general name/email/message form) you can simply start by asking them to respond to  these questions so you can learn more about them!

Step #2: Answer the inquiry with your best solution (i.e. offer)

Now that you have the details on what their pain points are and what they’re hoping to get out of working together, you have the luxury of combing over their particulars and deciding if you want to help at all. If so, respond with exactly what you think you can do for them for them – whether it’s the offer they filled out the form for or something you need/want to customize for them – and what the expected results would be. (It’s all about the value, baby!)

If it’s clear to you after reading their responses that you are not the right fit, you can simply respond with a kind message letting them know your gut says there’s a better match made in business heaven somewhere else for them. Then, if you have ‘em, send along any referrals or references that could help them!!! (<— Great opportunity to promote someone else in your network and sweeten that industry connection.)

Step #3: Be sure to include next steps AND a deadline to act

This is key. Once you’ve established you’re a match, don’t leave them hanging! Make it easy for them to sign up to work with you by directing them to exactly what you need in order to make things final (payment details, contracts, etc.).

Additionally, give them a due date. Adding a sentence like, “I will save your spot for 48 hours” promotes action on their part and will ultimately help finalize the sale and start the process so they (and you!) can start working towards the pay off!

Final tip: If you have someone on the fence who feels they need a little bit more clarification/face-time/lip-service before they can pull the trigger, get comfortable offering a 15-minute consultation phone call. All they might need is to hear your friendly helpful voice and have some of their bigger questions answered in real time. You can also get creative with how you respond to larger questions via email by including voice memos or Loom videos – they’ve been a gamechanger for me and add a high-end, personal touch to all your responses.

Here’s the SWEET BONUS: Client inquiries also serve as an opportunity for continued evolution on your elevator pitch, practice on how you communicate about yourself and your business, and to fine-tune your business operations, processes, and systems.

Nothing is as confidence-boosting as understanding what your clients need and knowing you can help them, you amazeballs boss, you.

Loving this refresher and feeling like your client base could use some more love all around? Jump on my Build Your Client Base interest list ASAP. By filling out the interest form, you’ll get early access to the limited number of spots in this program on June 13th – that’s tomorrow!

The post Client Inquiries 101: A How-To Guide To Knocking It Out Of The Park appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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Um, do you know that I’ve coached hundreds of women since I started offering dream career guidance in 2008? And that these women are freakin’ rock stars, leaving soul-sucking jobs and traveling the world and launching creative, grown-up businesses and simply doing work that fits their lifestyle goals? Well ya do now – and you’ll hear their stories firsthand in my Client Case Studies series! Whitney Miller is a multi-passionate creative who came to me in early 2018, looking to discover her dream business. By the end of those 6 sessions, she had *two* dream businesses to start – illustrations and natural hair styling! She then joined my Build Your Client Base mastermind, and since then she quit her day job, is regularly booking editorial hair shoots and wedding clients, opened up shop for her artwork and got a better-fitting, higher-paying bridge job! Read on for some Renaissance Soul inspiration.

Why did you decide to work with me?

I decided to work with you because I was looking for targeted career guidance. When I first met you, I had an idea of what I would have liked to do but wanted your help really solidifying future career plans.

What were you doing work-wise when we started working together – and what are you doing now?

I was working full-time as a graphic designer and finishing up my Master’s program in graphic design. Now, I work freelance as a graphic designer which gives me more freedom to develop my art and hair styling businesses.

What was your biggest takeaway from our work together?

My biggest takeaway from working together is discovering that the answers already exist inside of me.

Think of someone who is currently in the shoes you wore when we first started working together. What advice do you have for her?

I would tell them to believe and trust in themselves. I would also tell them to remember that their dreams and goals are their own and that they owe no one any explanations if they decide to change career paths.

Is there anything that’s been a game-changer for you when it comes to your business that you can share? We’d love a good resource or a mindset/productivity tip!

Don’t lose sight of why you started your business. On difficult days which could challenge your confidence, remember the bigger picture, the “why” you do what you do. Most likely that will help to push you onward.

What’s on the horizon for your business? We’d love to hear about any upcoming offerings or goals! 

Right now, I just got my online store up and running for my comic and illustrations business. I also will be sharing more fashion illustrations as that is something I’m passionate about. I might be introducing a blogging element to my hair styling business’ website to provide even more natural hair knowledge and insight to my clients and potential clients.

Where can we find you and your work?

Websites: www.illustrationsbywhit.com, www.naturalhairbywhit.com, Instagram: @illustrationsbywhit, @natural_whit

Early access to the July-Dec round of Build Your Client Base mastermind will open exclusively to those on this interest list on 6/13. Spots are always super limited and might sell out before they’re set to go public, so sign on up ASAP if you might want in!

The post Client Case Study: Whitney Miller appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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I’ve been working as The When I Grow Up Coach since 2008, and I’ve been asked a bunch about whether my clients *actually* do their homework and follow through. I usually see surprised reactions when I answer: “Um, pretttttty much all of them. It’s pretty awesome.”

The truth is, working with a business coach is, well, serious business – and the incredible women who work with me have agreed to make a financial, mental, and energetic investment into themselves and their dream businesses. Fortunately, that usually means they show up, turn out, put in the work, and get the results (i.e. a dream business they love waking up to.)

The more I got this question, the more I realized how helpful it might be to share the thought process my clients go through so you can figure out if you’re ready, willing and able to hire a business coach of your own – and if you’re gonna get the results you’re looking for.

Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before you work with a business coach:

1. Do you want someone to tell you what to do? Or someone who will help you figure it out for yourself? It’s not that one is bad and the other is good, it’s just the difference between a business coach and a business consultant. A consultant will make recommendations based on their own experience and a coach will ask you clarifying questions to help you figure it out on your own.

In the 21st Century with such unique businesses being available (I went to a wedding catered by *a pizza firetruck* you guys!), I personally feel it’s impossible to be a Business Dictionary or Guru, telling others exactly what they need to do to be successful. And while I currently claim the “coach” title, I act more like a hybrid for my clients – getting the clarity they need to discover what their dream business looks like, and then guiding them to get there using over a decade of experience.

2. Do you feel a connection with the coach you wanna work with? You should get a great sense of whether you’d be a good match from the coach’s website copy + design, articles or blog posts they’ve written, and/or a consultation call that you hopped on together. It all boils down to: whether you feel comfortable with that person (believe me, you’ll be disclosing some personal stuff during the time you work together), whether you feel that you speak the same language, and whether you trust them to get you where you need to go. There’s no regulation in the business coach field, so make sure you ask about their background and education if it’s not on their site and it’s important to ya.

3. Do you need help with clarity and/or accountability? While coaches are also there to offer non-judgmental support, share their applicable resources, and help you build on what’s working for ya (and tweak what isn’t), the two biggest reasons I get hired are to help my clients with clarity and/or accountability.

When you’re in the midst of a challenge, it’s so.damn.hard to get a 360-degree view of your goal/problem or start some out-of-the-box brainstorming. As I like to say, it’s why business coaches have (and need!) business coaches! If you’ve been trying to figure things out on your own and have gotten nowhere, or if you know what you need to move forward but find yourself paralyzed, then a business coach would be exactly who you need.

4. Do you feel sure that you’re ready to Make It Happen – even if the “It” is still undefined? I’ve heard this the most from the former clients o’ mine who I asked to weigh in on this post (thanks Halley, Paula & Kelleigh!). If you’re willing to follow the “Something” that you know is out there for you, then you’re in a great place to put the pieces of your dream business  puzzle together. There has to be a nice amount of trust between you and your coach, which is, again, why #2 above is uber-important.

5. Can you make the commitment to yourself and the (home)work you’ll have? Let’s be real – there’s never gonna be a “perfect” time to work with a coach: a magical X amount of weeks/months where you won’t have to work full-time/be a Mom/go on vacation, so don’t wait for it because you’ll be waiting forever. Instead, you need to know that when you sign up with your coach, you’ll make (not “have” or “find”!) a couple of hours each week that’ll be devoted to your sessions and your homework. Here’s an example as to how I know it’s possible:  One of my clients worked with me while she simultaneously worked full-time, had a 3+ hour commute each weekday, and was a Mom to a four-year-old. Now, she’s in a new job with a 30-minute commute that she loves (she says she won “the new job lottery”) and is working on launching her own biz/blog on the side. She also didn’t totally collapse at any point in time that I worked with her! (I know. I was looking out for it.) I promise, if she can find the will and the way to make it happen, you can, too!

6. How do you work best – and does that coach offer that kind of support? You probably know if you thrive in a group setting or if you want 1:1 attention, and that’s great! Look to make sure the coach you’re jiving with works in that way, too – and if not, reach out and ask if he or she will color outside the lines for you. If not, it’s probably time to find a coach that *will* offer you the experience that you’re looking for. Your results count on it!

And *of course* if you’re thinking that *I* might be the business coach for you, you can learn more about all the ways we can work together (and start to get your pulse on if we’re a good fit!) on my Start Here page. Together, we can discover, launch, and/or build your dream biz – and you can join the list of my former clients who remark, “I can’t believe I did that!”

The post 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Work With a Business Coach appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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As I help my clients launch their businesses in 90 days, build their client bases and boost their dream businesses, I’m noticing one main question they need to ask themselves across every piece of marketing material.

This question gets asked on every page of copy they (re)write.

This question gets asked for every newsletter they send.

This question gets asked for every business-opening-announcement email they craft.

This question gets asked for every day of their 5-day opt-in.

This question gets asked for every Instagram post they share, for every video they record, for every speaking gig they book or podcast pitch they email or webinar they prepare.

And that question is (did I build it up too much?): “What’s the CTA?”

CTA is short for Call To Action. Ya know, the thing you want your reader, follower, prospective client, interviewee or fan to *do*.

Every single page of your website should have a call to action, like you’re the reader’s guide to where they go next. The home page and about page leads them to your services page, the services page leads them to fill out a form or make a purchase, the contact page leads them to, well, contact you. You get it.

Every single newsletter should give some direction to what they need to do next: click over to your offerings, book a consult, hit reply with their big takeaway, join your private Facebook group.

Every single business-opening-announcement email needs to ask for the introduction, or give that friends & family discount, or pass along copy and images for them to share on social media.

Every single opt-in email should ask for a direct response, lead them to learn more about you, or let them know how you can work together.

Every social media post should have a purpose, whether it’s to spark a discussion, convey a tip or lesson, share a resource, or give insight into who you are as a person and what it would be like to work with you. Think about it before you start writing.

Every video recorded – whether it be for a Facebook Live or an Instagram story or a video blog post – should conclude with asking the watcher to do something, even if it’s in the copy below the video and not at the end of the video itself. If they’re watching this video and it’s helpful, you know what else will help them – following your Instagram account, signing up for your free webinar, grabbing a spot in your upcoming program, etc.

Every speaking gig booked or class taught is an opportunity for your right people to get more help from you. Now I’m not talking about “selling from the stage” – yuck gross, even if it is allowed by whoever put it together – but about letting your audience know how they can keep hearing from you. Don’t be shy about putting your url and logo on every slide of your presentation, or mentioning your offer or product in the talk itself.

Every podcast or guest post pitch emailed needs to tell the reader who you are and what you offer. Obviously the CTA here is for them to reply to your email so you can book your interview or submit your article, but we can also see the CTA as your “hook”, your mission statement, your unique perspective. The call to action is to get their listeners or readers to rise up around the mission of XYZ. If it’s the right fit, the recipient will be in once he or she pictures their audience getting that message.

Every webinar you prepare should talk about your offer(s), and not just in a throwaway line right before you hit the Disconnect button. Don’t be shy to bring on a former client to chat for 3-5 minutes about what it’s like to work with you, or to make testimonial slides with the direct url for your service or shop, or to speak directly to the value of your offer. This should ideally happen before the Q&A section so people stick around.

And in case it’s not clear, alllllllllllll those hyperlinks above are their own CTAs, hinting at you to click away to get more info that’ll help in that area.

But you know what else I’d love for you to do? Check out my 90 Day Business Launch program if you know that’s what you need – my most recently launched client said that it stopped *6 years* of inaction on her part. And if you’re already an entrepreneur but need to step.it.up to meet your goals? Then my Boost Your Dream Business offer is where we’ll make it happen. My most recent client signed up because she’s (finally!) ready to take her 5 year old “hobby” as a photographer to full-time status. Maybe that’s you, too?

And of course, if you really want to take this question and run with it, block off a couple hours now where you can go through your copy, opt-in, social media strategy, and pitch template and make sure your CTA is clear.

So *your* main CTA is to check your own CTAs. Super meta, but totally needed. And once that’s done we can call *your* marketing strategy a CTA: Communication (set) To Awesome.

The post The 1 Question To Ask That’ll Totally Change Your Marketing Strategy appeared first on When I Grow Up - Creative Business Coach.

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