Landing ideal clients is partly what you’re in the career coaching business for – you want a business, not a hobby. Back in 2010, when I started my first corporate job as a career coach, it wasn’t very trendy. Just look at how many résumé writers and career coaches you can find on social media. It’s proof of how that’s completely changed. Entrepreneurship is also becoming a popular career change path for many reasons. In a study with over 3,100 individuals by Guidant Financial and SBTA companies, there was a 27 percent increase in those who started their business because of dissatisfaction with corporate America.
I don’t know if that’s why you started or plan to start your coaching business, but because you’re reading this, I know you care about serving with excellence. Before I share these five mistakes, let me just say I don’t always have it ‘all’ together. Vulnerability, trust and authenticity are key in the coaching relationship, so we should model it too.
Your marketing mindset isn’t beneficial.
You may be great at what you do, but if you’re not top of mind when your ideal clients need you, it doesn’t matter. Remember, you can’t control elements of the buying process, but you can control what you do to increase visibility. Set metrics on those things and have faith that clients will come.
Here are a few more marketing truths:
- You won’t sell if you don’t market.
- Expert coaches are known by the people they want to serve.
- Marketing is a way of life. Everyone markets, and your ideal clients won’t be offended by your marketing if it’s done right.
You’re afraid to collaborate with other coaches.
Life isn’t a solo sport, and that’s why others come to us. They value support through information, empowerment and guidance. To add to our conversation, I spoke to three career industry leaders who’ve been recognized multiple times by global organizations.
My direct competitors are a terrific source of inspiration, growth and referral leads. I’ve also built incredible friendships with other résumé writing experts and career coaches. Coaching is a personalized service and requires the right match for the client’s background. I’m never afraid to put that professional or job seeker in the hands of that better suited and trusted coach.
Collaboration with industry colleagues is a secret weapon of the experienced entrepreneur. I am an expert at navigating Silicon Valley and the high-tech space. By referring out people that do not align with my zone of Genius — those in law, for example — I can continue to work with those individuals I am best suited to serve, ensuring their continued success.
When I speak with other coaches, I can really see how my expertise in story is an advantage. I trust my niche more, and they send any client wanting deep level story strategy my way. Collaborating with other career coaches has also helped me refer people who aren’t the best fit, and we also share ideas to make all our services stronger.
You feel uncomfortable charging what your services are worth.
The first step I go through when helping startup service-based entrepreneurs is fleshing out their business to increase uniqueness and viability. Here’s a resource on the average career coaching costs per hour and per package by Noomi, a professional coach directory. You need fewer clients when your pricing is higher, and it’s a less taxing way to hit your ideal monthly income goals. You’ll probably also see an improvement in your client outcomes as people tend to be more emotionally and mentally vested when there’s a bigger financial investment.
You’re running on empty.
According to Gallup, 67% of employees say they are sometimes very often or always burned out at work. Research also shows that entrepreneurs are more at risk of burnout because we’re highly passionate, more socially isolated then employees and operate in high uncertainty.
Based on what burnout theorists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North developed as a 12-phase model for burnout screening, development and implementation, here are a few things to do and remember.
- You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. You are your only competition.
- Create times to switch off. I wrote about how to create your best living daily routine here.
- Focus on the positive things that occur daily and how you’ve grown.
- Reward yourself with sleep, social interaction and wholesome food.
- Focus on progress and not perfection.
You don’t have the right resources.
There is a lot of noise out there in the coaching world, and to get ahead, you need the right resources. Resources to serve your clients with style and excellence, to build your business and for your personal and professional development. I like to think of resources in three terms: intangible things – like time and money, tools, and of course your network, which can open up opportunities.
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