How Well Do You Really Know Your Ideal Client for Coaching?

We’ve all done the exercise. It’s the first thing you’re taught when you first start your business: Create an ideal client avatar.

This vision of your ideal client guides everything you do, including pricing (you can’t charge that single mom as much as you can the CEO of a Fortune 500 company), pain points (mom probably isn’t worried about shareholders), and even the color of your logo.

So you spend a few hours considering things such as:

  • Age group
  • Income
  • Family status
  • Education
  • Lifestyle goals
  • Location

Maybe you even write up a nice little story about your ideal client. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and a load of student loans. You know quite a bit about her, you think.

But you would be wrong, and if you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of it.

Personality Mismatch

Here’s something that’s rarely considered in the “ideal client” equation, and it’s arguably the most important part: personality.

If you’re snarky, sarcastic, fun-loving, and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mom who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. Sure, she might need your help, and she might love your products, but for one-on-one coaching, this match-up is a disaster. Either she will be uncomfortable with your style, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural exuberance.

Better to pass mom on to a coach who is a better fit for her personality-wise.

Drive Determines Success

This one can be difficult to calculate from the start, but once you recognize it (or the lack thereof) it’s worth paying attention to. The client without the drive to succeed will—more often than not—only end up frustrating you both.

Better to end your relationship as soon as you see the signs of this than to waste your time going over the same material and exercises again and again with someone who simply won’t do the work. Check out this article on how to define success for some ideas on how to see your client’s relationship with success. If you find that you just can’t reconcile your client’s relationship with success, an alternative might be to suggest that they take an online course or suggest a book they can read to help them find their “why” and increase their drive to succeed.

If you look at your current and past coaching clients, you’ll begin to see patterns. You can easily look back and see what made some clients a joy to work with, while others were a struggle. Think about what those differences are, and add them to your ideal client profile. Then compare any new potential clients to this ideal profile, and you’ll never again sign on with a less-than-perfect client.

3 Reasons We Love the “Peek Over My Shoulder” Style of Training

How compelling is it when you see this on a sales page? “Peek over my shoulder while I…”

It doesn’t matter if the seller is demonstrating how to bake a cake or how to build a website, we want to peek over the shoulder and see. There’s just something intriguing about the opportunity to see an expert do what they do best. And that’s just what makes these types of training products best sellers in nearly every niche.

We want our methods justified.

We very likely already perform the tasks this “over the shoulder” product teaches but we question if we’re doing it the best, most efficient way. Is there a newer method that works better? Is there a less expensive or time-consuming technique? Or do we know a better way (that feeling of smugness is its own reward)?

By purchasing the products that show us exactly how others work, we’re finding out how we can work better, while still building up our confidence.

We want the tried-and-true approach.

When we’re just starting out (or even if we’re not) it can be helpful to cut through all the trial and error and get right to what works. After all, if you can skip the months and months of learning—not to mention the expense—why wouldn’t you? If you trust that the seller really does have it all figured out, purchasing the over-the-shoulder training can be a great shortcut and you can always refine the methods as you go.

We want to know the “secrets” of the pros.

Occasionally, we fall into the trap of thinking that there must be a “secret.” If only we had the right template, we’d finally be able to write that novel. If only we had the right interview questions, we’d finally be able to find a VA. If only we had the right dating profile checklist, we’d finally get a date.

Of course, there’s more to success in any niche than a checklist or template, but when we can dig into what is proven to work for others, it gives us that boost of confidence we need to continue moving forward.

So next time you see a product or program that offers to share an expert’s proven system, ask yourself why it seems so compelling to you. What’s triggering your interest? Chances are, it’s one (or more) of these reasons.

This style of training or coaching has proven to be hugely successful. Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill, improve your existing skills, or put together a course of your own to teach others, the “peek over the shoulder” method is definitely worth some consideration! Also, if you are preparing to launch your own course, check out our blog post on how to make it a must-have for your potential clients!

The Power of the Published Author

Have you been thinking about writing a book but have just never gotten around to it? Or do you already have a book written and you have just been unable to publish it? Read on, dear friend, because I’m about to give you three reasons why that needs to change.

Your presence on social media is a great representation of your brand. Your blog attracts and engages with new audiences. Your email list keeps you connected with fans and followers.

Each tool in your marketing toolkit has a job to do, but the one with the most power by far is your published book.

Your name on the cover of a tangible, hold-it-in-your-hands, printed-on-paper book is the one thing that can take your coaching business from somewhat successful to rock star status.

As an Author, You’re an Instant Expert

Pay attention to the “experts” you see interviewed on morning news shows, talk shows, and on radio and podcasts. Notice anything?

They’re almost always introduced as “The author of…”

There’s a reason for that. Those who have the expertise to dig deep into a subject just so they can break it down in a way that others will understand clearly know their stuff. Books don’t just skim the surface of a subject. They follow the rabbit trails and make new connections and explore unknown corners.

If you’ve written a book, you have almost certainly earned your “expert” status.

Writers Are Committed and Driven

Not only are authors seen as the experts in their field, but they’ve proven themselves to be more committed than most. Think about the time and energy and frustration that comes from writing 150 or 200 or even 300 pages of content about the same subject. Not only that, but those pages must flow together in a logical order, make sense out of difficult to grasp concepts, and be engaging, too.

That’s a tall order and for those who pull it off, the kudos are well deserved. When your book is published, you deserve to walk a bit taller and hold your head a bit straighter. But even if you don’t, others will see you through new eyes, simply because you’ve written a book.

Books Offer a “Foot in the Door” When Nothing Else Will

When it comes to publicity—be it in the form of interviews, speaking engagements, JV invitations, or just more traffic to your website—you really can’t do better than a book. Books open doors that no other content marketing tool can.

Books get you noticed by top-tier influencers in your niche.

Books make you a more memorable speaker.

And believe it or not, self-published books even turn into traditional publishing contracts and all the benefits that go along with it.

With all the advantages that come with having written a book, what’s holding you back? No matter what your niche or who your market is, there’s room on the shelf for your unique insights. You owe it to your audience, and to your business, to get that book published. If you need some help with getting started, check out this article on how to turn your publishing dreams into a workable plan.

Build a Business, Not Another Job

Many people dream of working for themselves, being their own boss, and having the freedom to only take on clients and projects they love.
What they don’t realize, though, is that there is a huge difference between building a business and being self-employed. People who build a business are far more likely to succeed than those who are simply self-employed. So what’s the difference?

  • Business owners scale their income. Self-employed people trade dollars for hours
  • Business owners leverage the skills and talents of others. Self-employed people rely only on their own skills.

Discouraged yet? Don’t be. Every business owner started out self-employed. Just don’t stay there. These tips will help you build a business that’s sustainable instead of just another job.

Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself

Building a sustainable business requires that you leverage the talents and time of others. While it might seem cost-effective to simply do everything yourself—especially in the start-up phase when you likely have more time than money—it’s a path to burnout and stress.
Instead, separate your tasks into those that you love and are especially suited for (such as marketing) and those you dislike and aren’t good at. Then make a solid plan to get those that you aren’t good at off your list of things to do. If you feel like you can’t afford to outsource it all right now, start with what you tend to procrastinate the most on, even if it’s just a few hours each month.

Don’t Allow Yourself to Work All the Time

The trouble with working at home is that you live at work. And that means that there’s no clear line in the sand between your workday and your home life.
Since there’s always work to do, it’s easy to find yourself working every available moment—often to the detriment of your family relationships.
You can help avoid this by:

  • Setting—and maintaining—clear work hours
  • Having an office with a door you can close when you’re done
  • Scheduling time for family and other activities
  • Taking time for yourself

Vacations and Downtime Are Important

Don’t build a business that requires you to be “in the office” every day. At the start, you may need to be available more, but you should definitely be planning for the day when you can be “off the grid” for extended periods of time.

  • Have trusted contractors who can handle things when you’re not available
  • Leverage automation tools such as autoresponders and autowebinar systems
  • Create repeatable systems so you’re not always re-inventing the wheel

While you might not be able to hit the road with no internet access for weeks at a time, at the very least you should be able to reduce your workload to a daily check-in.

Sound impossible? It’s not. With some forethought and planning, you can create a team—and the systems they need—to successfully build a business and run it without becoming overwhelmed and overworked.

How to Turn a Dream Into a Workable Plan

As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to watch the lack of progress of so many promising business owners and coaches. They’ve dreamed for so long about creating a solid, sustainable business, and yet, all they do is dream.
You know the people I’m talking about. They attend conferences, sign up for free webinars, buy paid training, and sometimes even work with a coach or two. And yet week after week, month after month, year after year, they fail to make any progress toward their dreams.
Are they just lazy? No. It’s something worse. They don’t know how to move from a dream to a plan and they’re stuck. How do you prevent the same fate for yourself? Keep reading.

Start With the Long-Term

If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, that might just be the most important consideration you can have.
Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.

Create Milestones

Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.
For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:

  • Enough income to cover travel costs
  • Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
  • A staff who can manage the business while you’re away

With this list, you can then work backward from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:

  • Year 1: $70,000
  • Year 2: $85,000
  • Year 3: $105,000
  • Year 4: $125,000
  • Year 5: $150,000

With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

Create Small Goals

If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible.
But when you break it down as we have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.
In the first year of the plan we have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish!
You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week. If you sell just one more group coaching package or five more of a $50 training program, you’ve already reached your milestone.
That might mean sending one more email to your list, or investing an additional $20 per month in Facebook ads, or perhaps reaching out to one more affiliate partner. The point is, reaching this much smaller goal is far easier than thinking about that five-year plan.

So what’s your big dream? How can you deconstruct it into achievable milestones, workable goals, and finally, daily and weekly tasks? If you can do this (and you definitely can) then you can achieve anything in business and in life.

Mindset Tricks of Successful Entrepreneurs

Want to know what sets the uber-successful apart from the wannabe entrepreneurs?
It’s not money, or brilliant ideas, or even powerful friends.
All of those things (and more) are nice to have, but they’re not a requirement of success. What is a must-have, though, is a good attitude. Without the proper mindset, you’ll constantly be battling your own brain, and that’s exhausting.

  • You’ll allow yourself to believe your ideas are no good
  • You’ll remain convinced that you aren’t smart enough
  • You’ll be certain that someone else did it (whatever “it” is) better

And before you know it, you’ll have talked yourself right out of launching your new program, asking for an affiliate partnership, or writing your book. In no time at all, you’ll be back at your day job, working away on someone else’s business because you don’t have the confidence to create your own.
But a simple mindset change can make all the difference.

Dress for Success

Ladies, this one is for you. When we work at home, it’s easy to fall into a habit of wearing sweatpants and T-shirts to the office. After all, why dress up just for the dog?
But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to instantly shift your mindset in the right direction, ditch the yoga pants and break out the lipstick. You’ll suddenly find you feel more professional, more confident, and sexier, too. (That last one won’t help your business, but it might just help your love life, and that can’t hurt, can it?)

Never Let Fear Drive Your Decisions

Too many would-be entrepreneurs operate with a scarcity mindset rather than approaching business from a place of abundance. Rather than telling yourself that you can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant or work with a coach, try reframing your thoughts.
Rather than thinking, “I can’t afford to attend that event,” ask yourself, “How can I earn the money to invest in this trip?”
Rather than saying, “I have to do everything myself because I can’t afford to hire a VA,” remind yourself that your hourly rate potential is much more than you’d pay a virtual assistant. Then fill those hours you’re saving by outsourcing with money-making tasks of your own.

By reformatting your thoughts, you’ll turn that negative money talk into positive solutions that help you grow.

Beyond SMART: Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs

If there’s one thing we know about goal setting it’s that your goals have to be SMART, right?
After all, that’s what we’ve been told for years. The only thing that matters is that your goals are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
While that looks great on paper—and clearly it’s easy to remember—it doesn’t go far enough for those who want to achieve big things.
Think about it. Do you want to be stuck with “attainable” and “realistic” goals when what you really dream about is a 3-day workweek, frequent international travel, and enough money to fund a mission trip (or three)? Seems pretty clear that those safe, smart goals aren’t going to get you there.
In fact, they might even do worse than simply “not get you there.” They may actively hold you back.

Check if Your Goals are Holding You Back

Consider what happens when you set an “attainable” goal of earning 10% more than you did last year. You might work 10% more. You might spend 10% more on ads or product creation. You might even reach out to 10% more potential clients.
And you’ll likely earn about 10% more.
“Not bad!” you say. After all, that was your goal.
But did that 10% goal inspire you to work harder? Or did it create a subconscious ceiling on your earning potential that you’re unable to break through?

A Better Way

Rather than focusing on attainable and realistic goal setting, savvy entrepreneurs know that the key to incredible success lies in creating lofty goals that feel out of reach—maybe even UN-attainable.
They don’t strive to earn 10% more than last year. They want 50% or even 100% more. They stretch themselves. They find new—and better—ways to do things, so they don’t have to work twice as hard, but they remain open to the possibility of doing so—at least in the short term—when it’s necessary. Of course, you cannot simply declare crazy goals and expect the universe to hand them to you. And that’s exactly why putting aside those smart goals is so…smart. When you shun the attainable in favor of the “holy cow, how will I ever do THAT?” goal setting, you push yourself beyond those self-imposed limits and reach for the stars.
Sure, you might not double your income, but you’re almost guaranteed to do better than a mere 10% increase. So push your boundaries. Set big, audacious goals. Even if you fail, you’ll be much further ahead than those smart goals would leave you.

BONUS: Once you set your goals do you know how to get it all done to reach them? Learn how here!

3 Surefire Ways to Create In-Demand Products and Services

If there’s one thing that holds promising entrepreneurs back from launching their business, it’s this: a lack of confidence in their products. Sure, you think that a new course or workshop is a great idea, but how do you know it will sell?
Imagine spending weeks or even months of time—plus the cost of document design, video editing, and all the other pieces that go along with it—only to discover it’s not what your audience wants or needs. How frustrating would that be?
You don’t have to leave it to chance, though. There are plenty of ways to test your idea for new products and services before spending the time and energy on a full launch.

Just Ask

This is the simplest way to get a feel for what your market needs and wants. Simply ask them. Create a survey with Survey Monkey (or even a Google form) and send it out to your mailing list. For best results, keep it short, but do ask:

  • What they’re struggling with
  • Their preferred learning method (video, text, audio, etc.)
  • What they feel the training is worth (what would they pay)

These three pieces will tell you everything you need to know to create products and services that are practically guaranteed to sell.

Listen to Their Complaints

If you have a community (or are part of one) of ideal clients, pay attention to what they’re asking about the most. These are the things they need help with. For example, if you’re a business coach and your Facebook group is filled with questions about running Facebook ads, then clearly there is a need for some training in that area.

Study Your Competition

Hopefully, you have a list of competitors and you’re reading their blogs and emails, and lurking in their Facebook groups. This is a great way to gain insight into what they’re doing—not to copy them but to discover what’s hot right now.
Consider buying their paid products as well. Again, you should never copy them, but you can either:

  • Promote them as an affiliate
  • Create a better, more comprehensive version
  • Create a lite, lower-cost version

Creating products and services in a vacuum is a great way to waste a lot of time and money on programs that won’t sell. Instead, pay attention to what your market is asking for, find out what they’re willing to pay, and delve into your competition’s offers. The information you gain from these three activities alone will give you incredible insight into your market and what they want and need, and make it easy to create your own hot-selling program.

Do this One Thing to Grow Your Business Faster (HINT: You Probably Already Know How to Do It!)

Imagine you had a coaching client who consistently failed to complete their tasks for the week.
They couldn’t find the time to get their email opt-in page completed.
They were too busy to write the next chapter of their book.
They were working too hard and completely forgot to put together their webinar presentation.
It wouldn’t take long before you sat them down for a serious talk about the future of your coaching relationship—and their business. A coaching client such as that is a frustrating waste of time.
Why, then, do you continue to accept these and other excuses from yourself? Why is your lack of business development allowed to continue, even when you know how important those tasks are to helping to grow your business?

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself, but It’s Time to Face Reality

Now, before you go thinking I’m being way too hard on you, know this: we all struggle with this very issue. We all put our clients, our family, our friends, and even the neighbor we barely know before ourselves.
But I’m giving you permission right now to stop doing that, and start treating yourself like the VIP you really are.
It’s time to put your business growth ahead of that of your clients. Only by doing that will you be able to reach a larger audience, help more people, and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.

How to Be Your Own Best Client

The simplest way to do this is to just make appointments with yourself. That hour or two you have free on Thursday afternoon? Don’t book a client call in that spot. Book yourself. Mark it on your calendar, and treat it as an unbreakable appointment, just as you would an appointment with a client or your doctor or your accountant.
Spend the time working on the things that are important to grow your business.

  • Develop a new group coaching program
  • Write a chapter of your upcoming book
  • Write emails for your autoresponder
  • Reach out to affiliate partners

In short, do those things you tell your clients to do—the things your own coach is likely advising. Don’t push them aside for “later” or “after your client work is done.” Elevate yourself to VIP client status and start putting yourself first. Your business will thank you for it.

Making the Most of Your Time: 5 Productivity Tips Top Business Owners Live By

It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.
The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.
And that’s where many of us…well, fail is a strong word. But it’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.
We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.
The answer? Embrace these five productivity hacks that top business owners use to get more done in less time.

  1. Rituals and Habits: Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others.
    The trouble is, if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Skype a part of your at-work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time.

    Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your rituals more efficient and you’ll automatically get more done.

  2. Calendar Management: Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you.

    Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you’ll never again over-promise or over-commit.

  3. Learn to Let Go: Here’s a news flash. You do not have to do everything in your business. You can (and should) hand off those low-level tasks to someone else. Hire a VA to create your documents and manage your calendar. Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant. The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do.
  4. Work Hard, Play Harder: You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time.

    Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work.

    Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before as well.

  5. Focus: Multi-tasking is impossible. You cannot efficiently create a new coaching program while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings.

    Instead, use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or husbands or neighbors or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.

Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.

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And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; Colossians 3:23 AKJV