EP196: Pick My Brain: How To Create A Successful Life Coaching Business - Veronica Grant

Hello, and welcome to episode number 196 of the Love Life Connection podcast. As always, thank you so much for tuning in, and today it’s just me. I’m going to be talking about lessons I’ve learned while building a life coaching business over the last five years, I believe. But before we get there, I have a quick reminder. If you love this show or if it’s helped you in a big or small ways in your life, I’d be so grateful if you took a moment to leave me a rating or a review, especially if you listen on Apple podcast, but really wherever you listen to the show.

It tells the podcast goddesses that you like this show and therefore other people might like it too. So it boosts me in the rankings and gets my show in front of more women like you. So thank you so much for listening in each week and thank you so much for your rating or review.

Okay. Today on the show I’m talking about three keys to growing or starting your life coaching business.

Now, I know a lot of you aren’t starting a life coaching business, that’s not on the horizon, but if you have any kind of entrepreneurial bug or you have a business or you think you might want a business, this episode will apply to you and I know you’ll learn a ton.

Or if you’re simply just curious about the behind the scenes of my business and kind of want to know what I did to be “successful,” whatever the hell that even means, you’re going to love this episode. And so I really wanted to do this episode for two main reasons. As I mentioned in last week’s episode where I coached Renata, I’ve been doing a lot more work with aspiring and beginning life coaches.

There is a lot of information out there for people like me or people like you, if you are a life coach or want to be a coach, and there’s a lot of trainings and courses and there’s stuff on coaching and how to run a business and marketing and all of those kinds of things

And a lot of them want you to spend a lot of money on all of those things, and honestly they want you to kind of overcomplicate your business. There’s a lot of stuff out there around get out of the one-on-one grind and scale your business and make a million dollars a year with this online course or whatever. And a lot of it is just kind of crap, and honestly coaching is coaching.

It’s working with people, either one-on-one or small groups. And that’s really the way that I think I work best with clients, and honestly what coaching is. If you’re doing other things like having a course, then you’re really teaching or consulting, and there’s this disconnect. And so then I think a lot of times coaches kind of skip over just the actual coaching part and feel like they’re ready to start an online course, or they should work on their website and have it perfect and have it look beautiful, or they should get these pictures done or they should get this branding done.

And all of a sudden they are sinking a ton of money into something that may or may not be profitable or may or may not be making any money. And then at that point it just becomes a really, really expensive hobby. And I fell into many of these traps spending thousands of dollars and definitely over-complicating my business model and launches and programs.

And I just became so pissed about it, because I’d totally drank it that Kool-Aid and didn’t know any better until I did know better. And that’s really what has inspired me to work with other coaches, because I believe that a coaching business can be as simple or as complicated as you want. There’s no right or wrong. And honestly a coaching business can be quite profitable with the one-on-one model, and you can get there a lot quicker than what the online gurus want you to think.

So I’ve been working with these new coaches to help them secure their first clients or to create some sort of marketing plan where they’re consistently getting clients, and to create a business model that really works for how they like working with people and what fits with their personality and their strengths. And of course we also focus on the mindset blocks that keep them from doing the things that they know they need to do, like announcing their business or asking for the sale.

Eventually I do plan to have coaches working under me so I can have more clients at varying price point, but that’s a little bit down the road maybe by the end of 2020, and a whole other podcast episode that I’ll let you know about if that’s the route I go. I also wanted to do this podcast because I’ve been getting a lot more questions about how I started my business and requests to pick my brain.

Now I don’t do pick my brain sessions for free, and honestly if I did, if you and I were to get on the phone and you were to say, “Veronica, tell me what you think I should know about starting my coaching business?” What I’m going to share in this episode is pretty much what I would share with you if we were to hop on the phone. So with that, let’s get onto this episode and the first key to starting or growing your life coaching business.

So the first key to starting or growing your life coaching business is knowing how to spend your time, and specifically focusing your time on money generating activities. Now I’m going to talk about that phrase in a second. I know that can feel a little masculine or void of emotion or caring who you’re serving, but just stick with me for a second. Now, the first maybe six or seven months or so that I was in my business, I spent so much time trying to perfect social media graphics.

I was constantly tinkering on my website. I was downloading every single freebie on how to get clients and how to do this and how to do that, or watching all of these free webinars or YouTube videos, and I was working every day pretty much from about 7:00 or 8:00 AM until really when Stevie got home, probably around 5:00 or 6:00 PM, and I had no clients.

And to be honest, I have no clue what I was doing. I mean, I could tell you some of the things that I was doing, but I can’t imagine it taking up that much time. But I was tinkering on my website, I was trying to figure out colors and fonts and graphics and copy and watching all of these free things. And I thought that these things would help me have a business, because I would look at these other coaches who seemed to have a lot of followers or seem to get a lot of clients and make a lot of money and like, “Oh, well they have this beautiful website,” or they have these beautiful graphics on Facebook or Instagram.

And so I would think, “Oh, obviously that’s what I need to do as well.” And so that’s what I did except that it was all fluff, because it was all for no one. Because I didn’t really know who I was talking to and I didn’t really have anyone to talk to, because I hadn’t really started to grow or connect with or nurture my audience.

And so that’s when you have to get really clear about focusing on money generating activities and spending your time there. And again, I know that can feel a little icky, especially if you have a lot of mindset issues around money, or it can feel very masculine or again, void of emotion. But here’s the thing, when you’re focusing on money generating activities, really all you’re doing is you’re being of service to the people around you.

So things that are money generating is essentially just talking to people, and that can be in four main ways. So the first way is simply doing some market research. I’ve probably shared this podcast and I’ve definitely shared openly on other podcasts before that when I transitioned from being a health coach and didn’t do very well in that business, to being a relationship love coach, I did my homework first and I did lots and lots of market research. And basically what I did is I messaged every single female friend that I had on Facebook.

I didn’t care if I was currently friends with them or didn’t really remember how I was friends with them on Facebook or it didn’t remember who they were or haven’t spoken to them in years. I didn’t care. I messaged every single one of them. I put my ego aside and I said, “Hey, I’m starting this business around relationship coaching and I would love to talk to you about how relationships were in your life, whether they were easy or they were hard for you. Or if they were hard and it became easy, what changed for you?”

I didn’t care about their relationship status, because I just wanted to know. Like even if I was talking to someone who was married, I wanted to know what shifted for her or what made this relationship work and how can I compare that to someone who I also talked to who maybe was struggling in love and relationships?

And all of this is generated information. I just got lots of information around their struggles, their fears, the problems they had, the words, the actual language that they would describe these problems with. And that’s how I created a lot of website copy and sales copy by the way. And I would also begin to see the things that they thought they needed to do in order to “fix” their problem.

And from that I began to understand how I could create content that could actually be really, really helpful for them because I understood their problem, I understood where they were getting stuck. And this generated dozens and dozens of podcast ideas and blog post ideas. And what I did to get my first clients is I basically took all of the interviews that I did. So I messaged every single female friend I had on Facebook, that was probably about 1,000 people.

I actually messaged so many women at once that Facebook actually locked me out for a little bit, because they thought that I was being a little spammy. And maybe I was, but I was super, super dedicated to this, and I messaged about 1,000 people and I ended up having about 30 to 40 phone calls. So that’s a whole bunch of people that never responded to me, and that’s a whole bunch of people that said no.

So I had to get used to rejection, and that’s just something you have to deal with if you want to be in business. And that should have been a key, but it’s not. So there’s a bonus key for you in terms of what I would tell you if you want to start a life coaching business. Anyways, so I collected all this information and from this information I created a free workshop and I invited all of these people that I did these interviews with to my free workshop, and I also invited other people that were in my community and networks to this workshop. And that’s how I got my first clients.

So I did it by talking to people. Another way you can talk to people is to actually do free coaching, and this is a great way to get practice, especially if you’re newer at coaching or brand new at coaching. I don’t think you have to do free coaching forever and I don’t think you have to do months and months of free coaching with one particular person. I think maybe finding a few people that you think would be ideal clients and doing maybe two to three free sessions, so there’s very clear boundaries.

If they want more sessions with you after those two to three free sessions, then you move into a paid contract. But I think just doing that, A, gets your confidence up, it allows you to actually be a coach, because to be a coach you just need to coach, right? So it helps you with that, and it also helps you to start getting the word out.

People will start talking about your services and that will bring you clients and podcast listeners or blog readers, and then those people are going to tell people about your stuff. And then the ripple effect just goes from there. And then the third way to talk to people is simply to tell people about your business. If you have a new business and you have not sent a business announcement to your network of people, then you definitely need to do that.

Do you not add them to your MailChimp list, because that is slimy, but just simply send a BCC email so you don’t get a bunch of reply alls, email etiquette everyone, and let people know what you’re up to. Let them know how you help people, what problems you solve, and then ask them to either sign up for your email list to get more information, or forward this email to people they think that might be interested in being a client or someone maybe that they think you should know, where you could support each other and help each other grow your business, do some sort of like collaboration or podcast thing or whatever.

So tell people about your business. And then the fourth way to talk to people, and this is the one no one wants to do but you have to do it, is simply ask for the business. And this is the thing that we all want to run away from, and this is the reason probably why I spent hours and hours and hours and hours wasting my time on graphics and my website and copy and watching free things, because I didn’t want to ask people for the business. I felt icky asking people for money. It felt gross to me. And also I didn’t want to get rejected.

But the truth is, I said it before, part of business, a big part of business is being rejected. You actually will experience a lot of rejection in business, so you just have to get used to it. And honestly you have to let people know. It’s your job, it’s your responsibility to let people know how you can help them and in what container. People are not usually going to be like, “Oh, how can I pay you? I really want to pay you.”

But you have to say, “Hey, I help people do X, Y, Z. Here’s how I do it, and does this sound good to you?” Now I don’t suggest doing cold calls and emailing people out of the blue or harassing people. I don’t think that is really helpful at all. But again, going along this theme of talking to people, business is really just about solving problems and building relationships with people.

I have been in business for five years. I have a full docket of clients, and yet I am not too good to ask people for the business, for the sale. If I’ve developed a relationship with someone, maybe they always comment on my Instagram posts or they send me emails frequently, replying to my newsletters or responding to my podcasts, or even if they were a previous client and I have a program or a service or an offer that I think could be helpful for them, I will send them an email.

And it’s a genuine email that says, “Hey, I know that previously we’ve talked about… And I wanted to make sure you saw that I have this new offer or this new way that we can work together and I think it can help you… Is this something that you’re interested in?”

And I still do it and I’ve done it from the beginning, and I don’t see myself not doing it anytime soon. Because again, business is all about helping people solve their problems and building a relationship. And this is the piece where I have done the most mindset work on my own self, and also where a lot of my coaching for coaches clients need the most mindset help because it’s not icky. You’re not just taking money from people, but it really does become an equal energy value exchange.

I know that coaching is an investment of time, money and energy, and money being the one where people get tripped up the most. But I can think of the coaches that I’ve worked with and it is worth all the money in the world, even though maybe some of those prices were really scary to pay, but there’s really no price on what I got back in return. And I think that many of my clients who have completely transformed their dating lives, have met partners, even started having children. I think many of them, and I hope many of them would say that it is definitely an equal value exchange.

You’re giving me money so that I can help you do this in your life, and that’s really all it is. Money is just energy and it’s an equal exchange of energy.

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If you like my style, my philosophy and how I coach women on the show, you’re going to love this workshop. I teach you the why and how behind a lot of what I do while even digging a bit into the science of love so you can begin to see real change in your own love life. It’s really all of my best work in one place, and you can access the free workshop right now. You don’t have to spend years in therapy or read every damn book in the self health aisle to dramatically transform your love life.

If you feel like you have it all but love, this is 100% for you. So grab your free seat at veronicagrant.com/workshop. And now back to the show.

The second key to starting a coaching business is to niche down. Now is it niche or niche? I don’t know. I usually say niche, but whatever. You need to niche down, especially at the beginning. Now it’s really easy when you are first starting out in business and you see people who kind of talk about a lot of different things or seem to have a really, really broad audience.

You might be watching people like Chris Carr or Marie Forleo or Gabby Bernstein, Danielle LaPorte, and all of these people seem to just do a lot of stuff. And a lot of these people just seem to have general audience of women who are maybe in their 30s or 40s and are just really interested in spirituality or holistic lifestyle, and so you think that that’s what you want to do too because you want to speak to as many people as possible because you want to cast your net wide so that you are more likely to find clients.

The problem is, is that is not how it works. Especially when you are at the beginning of your business, you need to niche down and then wherever you’ve niched down to, you can probably niche down a little further. When I first heard of working as a love and life coach, I thought my ideal client was a single woman and that is not niched down enough. Now there is a clearer problem, right? I can help people who are struggling in dating to have a better experience in dating and then to meet their partner, but that’s not really quite niched down enough, because that can be a lot of people.

And when you can niche down and get really clear on who it is you’re working with, then when you tell people, “I help this kind of person with this kind of problem,” then what that does is it sends a light bulb off in someone’s brain where like, “Oh, I know the perfect person that I think might be interested in what you do.”

Or it might be, “Oh, you know exactly how I feel and what I need right now.” And so while I started as a love and life coach for single women, I quickly learned that I was going to be able to be more profitable and have more interest in my work and be able to charge higher prices when I got even more clear. So I don’t just work with single women who want to be in a relationship. I work with single women who want to be in a relationship who feel like the rest of their life is going pretty well.

I mean, sure, there’s always room for improvement, but things seem to be kind of okay, and they also are kind of sick of the whole, these five texts will get him to “I do,” or whatever. They know that there’s something deeper going on. It’s not so easy or as simple as fixing their online profile, or wanting to know how to flirt better, or to say this, or do that. But they believe that there’s something deeper going on and they want someone to help them, guide them through that process.

I can’t tell you how many times where I’ve had a conversation with potential clients, many of who do turn into clients because I’m like, “I get it.” You don’t want to talk about texting or online dating and profiles and all that stuff. And it’s not to say those things can’t come up, but none of that’s going to make it or break it for you in love. We have to do the deeper stuff. We have to look at the inner child, we have to look at the beliefs, the limiting beliefs, the patterns, all that kind of stuff. And those people are like, “Yes. Yes. This is what I want. How can I pay you? How can we work together?”

And I’m just really able to resonate with them in that way. Now that being said, that isolates a lot of people. There are a lot of women who want nothing to do with my work. They would rather just blame men or online dating or the internet or Tinder or whatever it is, and they just want to go on their high horse about that. And that’s fine. They may or may not find love that way, but I’ve definitely been on many potential client calls with those women.

I’m just like, “You know what? I’m just not sure this is going to be a good fit. Here’s some other resources who may help you.” And same goes for women who aren’t willing to do the deeper work, it’s just not going to be a good fit. And so because I’ve known now for not just relationships and dating, but doing the deeper work, I get a lot of interests from other business owners who want to have me on their podcast or wants to collaborate in some way, or who refer my work to their clients or their networks because they’re like, “You might be really interested in Veronica’s work, because she doesn’t just talk about profiles and stuff, but she actually does some of the deeper work, and I think that might be something that you’re interested in.”

Now as you grow your business, as you grow your audience and your reputation, you can certainly add either a second niche or you can expand your niche. And I think a lot of people do naturally do that as their business grows, but at the beginning you’ve got to be super clear, super niche down, and when you think your niched down enough, see if you can niche down even a little bit more. And by the way, niching down is not necessarily just the demographics of who your ideal client is.

I look at it more as the psychographics of what is the problem that they’re facing? I think that’s way more important, because then you can really speak to their problems and their fears and their beliefs when you create content, blog posts, podcasts, all of that kind of good stuff. Okay. The third key to starting or creating your life coaching business is to be your own best client. Now, I know that it is super common to have a lot of fears around being an impostor, thinking, “Who the hell am I to be coaching this person? Why wouldn’t they just hire someone else who’s already been doing this work?”

Or, “What if we work together and they don’t like, me or they want a refund, or I do a really bad job?” Or whatever it is. This is all completely normal, and the best thing that you can do in your own business is to be your own best client. You do not have to be perfect in order to be a coach. No one’s perfect, myself included. And you definitely don’t have to have your whole life figured out, but you do need to be on the path, and you do need to be doing your own work. And you only need to be a few steps ahead of your clients, which means that you can only take your clients as far as you’ve gone.

So as you grow and doing your own inner work, you’re going to attract a different type of client. My very early on relationship coaching clients weren’t as interested in doing the inner child work or the deeper work, and honestly that’s because I had done a lot less of that myself. And as I’ve done more and more of that in my life, my clients are just showing up in a whole new way, at a whole new level just because I’m speaking to a different kind of woman.

So start where you are and as you grow your clients will grow too. I also find that generally the deeper that you can go with clients, then your transformation is bigger and generally that means you can charge more and you’ll have more demand for your coaching services, which is all good for creating a sustainable, profitable business. And part of doing your own work and being your own best client is to hire your own coach.

Now I can go on my high horse about this and I probably will take a step onto the soapbox right now. Here’s the cold hard truth. If you want to become a life coach or any kind of coach, you’re going to be having conversations with people about investing a significant amount of time, energy and, yes, money in to you. And these conversations can be, well, they are generally deep, but they can be highly uncomfortable.

Now they’re not uncomfortable to me anymore, because I’ve done a lot of work and especially around my money mindset. But here’s the straightforward, honest truth. If you aren’t willing to hire your own coach, you have no business getting on the phone with others and offering to work with them. In other words, if you aren’t willing to hire your own coach, you have no business being a coach. And I know that feels a little bit harsh, but think about it, I think it’s highly, highly out of integrity to say, “Oh yeah, you should hire me. You should spend a lot of money and time and energy with me, because I can help you,” but you’re not willing to do the same for yourself.

You’re not willing to believe that you’re worth it to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars into your own life, into your own growth. There’s a huge, huge disconnect there. And honestly, when you’re on the phone with someone and they’re going to probably feel a little uncomfortable at the end of a sales call around the price point and what the energy and time investment is inside a coaching program, and if you have never been in their shoes before, that’s a real, real problem.

So when I’m on the phone with someone and someone that’s considering working with me and we’re getting to the end of the sales call, and this is when we talk about the price point and what coaching looks like and the package and the time and energy and all that kind of stuff, there’s definitely resistance. Not all the time, but definitely some of the times there’s resistance and I can really relate to them in these moments, because I’ve been there. I’ve been on the other side of these conversations.

I know what it feels like to be like, “Damn, that’s a lot of money.” Or, “Wow, how can I make this work? I don’t know. Is this going to make it really uncomfortable for me? Is that discomfort and the amount of money that it’s going to take, is it worth it?” Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. Neither right or wrong, good or bad, but those are the questions that I’ve asked myself and also I’ve asked myself the question, “If this doesn’t work for me, then what? Then I’m just out this many thousands of dollars and this coach didn’t work for me and so now I’m not going to want to try to solve this problem again or put money into it again and it’s just going to spiral from there.”

I’ve been in these places so many times, and so when a potential client of mine is in a place like this, I can talk to them like I’ve been there, I can empathize. I know what it’s like. That does not mean they’re going to work with me. It’s never a guarantee, but it does mean I can be on their side, I can be on their team and I can just talk to them person to person and not as someone who wants to quote “get another client.”

So whether or not you’re doing a coach training program, and by the way, I don’t think you necessarily need to. I did one and I didn’t really learn much. I learned to coach really by being coached myself and by practicing coaching, but you need to be coached. You can’t be taught the experience, you need to experience the coaching container for yourself.

And what I mean by being coached, I don’t mean joining some sort of course or online course that includes group coaching, and I don’t even really mean a group coaching program. Now those things are fine, they’re not bad and you might find yourself in one of those types of programs at some point along your entrepreneurial journey, depending on where you are and what you need to learn. But if you want to be a coach and you want to learn how to coach, you need to work with a coach.

A really good coach can create a really powerful coaching container which allows a container for transformation. I don’t think that’s something that can be learned, and if you’re working with a good coach who can provide that for you, then you are in the best setup to then provide that container for another person. And that’s really where transformation occurs. Transformation is not something that happens intellectually necessarily. It’s not something that happens of the mind.

It’s really an experience to be had. And when you can create that experience and then they can get the transformation, then you’re already so far ahead of the curve in terms of what it means to be a “good coach.” Obviously you don’t have to hire me to be your coach, but if you do want me to help you with your love life or your mindset around starting a coaching business or another part of your life, you want that experience of being coached, whether or not you want to be a coach yourself, then I’m accepting clients to begin in January, 2020.

My client docket seems to be pretty full these days. So if you’re interested in working together in the early part of next year, make sure you head over to veronicagrant.com/coaching. That’s where you can learn more about doing relationship and life coaching with me, and if you are interested in my Coaching for Coaches program and want to work with me that way so I can help you with the mindset, help you with the tactical and also help you become a coach and learn how to coach then head over to veronicagrant.com/coaches.

And both of those links will be available in the show notes. Again, it’s veronicagrant.com/coaching, for love and life coaching and veronicagrant.com/coaches for Coaching for Coaches. All right, my dears, I will see you next week with a brand new episode of the Love Life Connection and it’s all about how to integrate inner child work. Talk to you then.

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