What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I spent the first years in my career in brand marketing and advertising, working on local and international brands. In the course of this, working my way up the corporate ladder to director level, I encountered challenges in re-inventing myself with every new level – how to change my relationships with colleagues that were now reporting into me, ensuring that I met the new expectations of me at every level, up-skilling where necessary.
I employed my first coach who helped me manage these transitions and benefited so much from the coaching relationship that I trained to become a coach.
I wanted to work with clients who were going through transition in the workplace and to help them manage the unexpected challenges that come with climbing the corporate ladder.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I was incredibly fortunate – when I first opened my coaching practice – that the company that I had been working for didn’t want to let me go, and asked me to continue consulting to them on a half day basis at my full salary for 6 months.
This gave me the luxury of not having to worry about income while I built my coaching practice.
It is certainly my observation now – after spending so many years at the coal-face of the coaching profession – that it takes a minimum of 6 months to establish a sustainable practice, and this is WITH constant, regular and consistent marketing.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Definitely my primary source of clients is word of mouth referrals. I have a wide network in the coaching industry – both locally and globally – and 90% of my business comes from people that I have dealt with professionally, and from satisfied clients.
I still get regular referrals from clients and colleagues that I worked with over 12 years ago.
My business has shifted over the years from “pure” business coaching, organisational development and transformation to working with entrepreneurs on successfully marketing their businesses and generating revenue.
I have found, over the years, that more and more clients have gravitated to me specifically to work on their marketing. I’m described as “the marketing coach” or the “niche expert”, and that’s how people refer clients to me.
My work and approach are heavily influenced and informed by neuroscience, behavioural psychology, behavioural economics.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Business has never been better! Because I specialise in working with coaches to find and define their niche, get clear on their strategy, and accelerate their marketing and sales, the current global situation has created a need for someone with my knowledge.
I know the coaching industry from the inside out. It’s part of my DNA. I “speak” coach well and so I’m able to work with coaches successfully to create marketing strategies that they can successfully implement and maintain – strategies that are tailor-made for them, their capacity and their abilities.
I am confident that my knowledge and experience is unique, which puts me in a positive position for the future – especially with coaching continuing to be one of the fastest growing industries worldwide.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
One of my underlying propositions is that you CAN market and build a successful business without spending a cent. Having come from the advertising and brand marketing industries, where I was responsible for budgets totaling millions, it was eye-opening for me to experience first hand how challenging is was to create awareness without having the luxury of an advertising budget.
I also believe wholeheartedly that business runs (entirely) on relationships. Relationships have been the key to the success of my business.
Coaching, in particular, has become so oversaturated and overcommoditised that you MUST be able to clearly and simply communicate what you do. Neuroscience tells us that our minds really don’t like clutter. A confused mind says “NO” so help your potential client say “YES, that’s who I want to work with” by being clear in your marketing messaging.
Never stop learning!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I use Facebook extensively, particularly doing free live training on a weekly basis in my group. I’m amazed at how many clients come to me through this group and who all say that they feel like they already have a relationship with me from regularly watching my live training.
I use Airtable to keep tabs on EVERYTHING – all the videos that I’ve done, progress on re-purposing content, inspiration, links to articles, stats etc.
I use Zoom for most of my online coaching sessions.
I outsource social media content distribution to a VA (I don’t think we will ever be able to entirely get away from creating our own original content).
I outsource admin and finance to an admin VA as it really steals my joy to have to do admin and finance.
I have a tech VA and also someone who manages my IT.
I use Trello to manage the team.
I can’t live without Insight Timer for guided meditation.
And I can’t leave out Audible. I love listening to audiobooks while I’m on my walks with my dogs in the forest.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Dr AK Pradeep – The Buying Brain (neuromarketing)
Prof Susan Fiske (research into behavioural economics and psychology)
Dr Shannon Irvine (podcast)
Martin Lindstrom (Buyology, Brand Sense, Brandwashed)
Carol Dweck (Mindset)
Nancy Kline (Thinking Environment)
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Get crystal clear on your niche and messaging. Coaching in particular has become so oversaturated and overcommoditised that you MUST be able to clearly and simply communicate what you do. A confused mind says “NO”