For clients, one of the most motivating parts of our coaching sessions is the fact that they’re held accountable and supported each week. From the “homework” assignments that they complete between each session to our brainstorms about their business goals and hurdles, coaching helps clients move forward in their business and their life. As a coach, I’m there to hold them accountable to their own short-term and long-term goals while also acting as a support system. Many of my clients are independent professionals who work solo. They don’t have co-founders or employees or partners; it’s just them. When they’re getting their small business off the ground or working to grow it, I’m there to be a sounding board who can listen, talk through ideas, and provide suggestions about how to tackle and troubleshoot problems.
Lots of people assume that entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. You work long hours with only your email inbox for company, and rely on yourself and no one else when making big business decisions. Not only is entrepreneurship a challenge, it’s something you navigate alone. Right?
In my experience, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to make every decision alone. You don’t have to be an expert in everything. You don’t have to isolate yourself day in and day out. You may be running the show, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find people to support you.
When you first launch your business and establish your role within its structure, you have a lot of options. In fact, for new entrepreneurs, it can feel overwhelming. How do you decide how to structure your business when you could take it in so many directions? How do you determine what type of business model is going to be compatible with you and your work style? If you have never thought about it, you might not even know what your work style is. This is where your experience at your previous jobs comes in. Even though you’ve moved away from more traditional roles, you can use the experiences you gained as intelligence for developing your personal work style and building a compatible business structure. Whether you loved your previous jobs or couldn’t leave them fast enough, digging into what aspects you liked and didn’t like can bring valuable insight to your new entrepreneurial role and help you shape it.
I talk a lot about making the leap to entrepreneurship. Most of my clients are people who are doing exactly this, and as an entrepreneur myself, I live and work the lifestyle. Three years after launching my business, I can’t imagine life any other way. I love helping my clients discover work that lights them up, and I love working and living on my own terms.
When you’re launching a small business, it’s fairly common to end up with a to-do list that feels like it’s a mile long. And at the beginning, the excitement and adrenaline of building something new can keep you working overtime. In some cases, you might not even realize that your work is slowly taking over—ever looked up from answering emails to see that hours have gone by?
The importance of having a very clear niche is one of the key points that stands out from my training at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). Of course, defining a niche is easier said than done. In fact, it can be one of a business owner’s biggest challenges. Over the past few years, my niche has evolved. Even though IPEC’s warning — that by targeting everyone, you’re targeting no one — kept rattling around in my head as I launched my business, determining my ultimate ideal client didn’t happen right away.
When I begin working with clients, I give them a questionnaire to fill out. One of the questions is “If you had all the money in the world, what would you do?” Without fail, everyone says travel. Experiencing other cities, countries, and cultures is something that lots of people want to do, but the expense of travel can hold people back. As an entrepreneur, I’ve been able to make travel a regular part of my lifestyle, and it’s something I couldn’t live without. Along the way, I’ve discovered ways to make travel not only affordable, but beneficial to my lifestyle and business. My trips inspire creativity, help me break out of my routine, and allow me to relax. When I return home, I’m more motivated and inspired. For these reasons, allowing myself to spend time and money on traveling is well worth it.
When I started my business, one of the first things I did was write a blog post explaining what coaching is. There are a lot of misconceptions about coaching, not to mention people who have never even heard of coaching as a profession. Now, with two-and-a-half years of experience as a business and career transition coach, I’ve discovered how fulfilling my job can be, and I’ve worked with clients who come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and fields. Most of them have one thing in common: they want to live, work, and earn on their own terms.
As a coach who focuses on clients who are transitioning to new jobs and careers or growing their businesses, I often hear from my clients how exciting, yet overwhelming, their days can be. An entrepreneur myself, I completely understand how challenging it is to manage all your responsibilities in your business and personal life when you’re experiencing a big transition or growth in your job or business. Over the past several years, I’ve had to develop ways to manage my time, prioritize, delegate, and work smarter, and I’ve worked with my clients to help them do the same.
My friends, family, and clients know me as a natural networker. I’m always reaching out and making connections on behalf of my clients, as well as for my own business. But networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and I know lots of people who want to run straight for the door when they even hear the word. It’s true that there’s a real stigma around some networking clichés, particularly the dreaded “Can I take you for coffee and pick your brain?” line. This turns the process into a chore for both parties, and successful networking doesn’t happen when either person feels burdened or uncomfortable. In networking, what you’re actually aiming for is a conversation that’s productive on both sides.