6 Keys to Success for Coaches, Consultants and Content Creators Based on Proven Principles Used in Brick and Mortar BusinessesFeb 08, 2021
You want to create a side-hustle, ditch that corporate drudgery - or maybe you’ve retired or will be retiring soon and you want to be a coach, consultant or content creator. The world needs your genius and more people actually doing something positive to make a difference. So bravo to you. But...
Did You Know Among “Active” Coaches, The Average Income is About $40K/year?
The barriers to entry are really zero - you can get some kind of certification if you want to, but it’s not really necessary. There are other things you can invest that money into - and especially your time. So you start putting time in, reading books, possibly taking online courses or just taking in free content on youtube. Literally anyone can be a life, mindset, communication or leadership coach. And many are. But you’re not just anyone. You’re reading this because you really want to make a difference. And you really want to be “the real deal.”
I’ve been helping small business owners identify and solve their biggest problems since 1999 as a business management consultant through 3 major financial crises and own my own successful business - which doubled its sales to over $2,200,000 during a pandemic. I only tell you just a little about myself so you know that I know what it takes for a business to be successful. Any business.
You don’t want to look back 12-24 months from now and find you just wasted a bunch of time and money.
Some time in the near future, say 12 months, you want to have a reliable revenue stream and return on the time you put in. Maybe you’re not putting in a lot of capital, but you’re going to be putting in your time. If someone asked you about time-frame for your success, you wouldn’t answer “I want to ramp up really slowly” would you? Obviously not. And of course you really do sincerely desire to help some people. But if you want to help the MOST people - this really needs to be a business. Whether you call your intro offers “FREE” or “COMPLIMENTARY” it really doesn’t matter. What matters is are you finding the right people to help where the help you provide is worth the $150+ an hour they’re going to pay? Because they’re are plenty of people out there that would just love to “Pick your brain” for free. Speaking of free, have you actually thought about this question:
“How Does Someone Actually Decide to Pay $150 Plus Per Hour for a Professional Service?”
Pretty important question, isn’t it? Maybe a good title for another blog article. The point is - they have to perceive/feel/see how they’re going to get a return for their investment. How working with you is going to resolve their pain as THEY see it. They really don’t care about your certification, or what books you’re reading, or your resume. They have to believe you can help them solve their problem. Which implies that they have to be aware of what that biggest problem is. This is true about ANY business. Isn’t it?
What we’ll invest in a solution to fix a problem is in proportion to the size
of the problem and our confidence in the solution.
Let’s look at the analogy of a sandwich shop. You wouldn’t start a restaurant without having a plan. You need to borrow money, hire employees, have recipes for killer sandwiches, have a cash flow plan to make sure you’re going to get into the black. You need to be able to cover your loans and to get paid for the work you’re doing in the business. And you need to get to profitability as a return on your investment and the risk you’re taking going into business.
Here are the six keys ANY business needs:
- Your Business Model. Know your numbers.
- “Game.” You have to have it.
- Sales Conversation.
- Professional Network.
- Your big idea. Your why.
- Your Current Focal Point.
Business Model Questions for a personal brand business.
How much money are you going to make and by when?
How much do you have to invest in your business?
What are you selling and for how much? Products, workshops/hybrid, services.
How many of those products or services are you going to sell?
What is the average lifetime value of a client? The most oft-neglected factor.
Month by month, how many of each product/hybrid/service are you going to collect a fee for? Create a table - can be on a piece of notebook or ledger paper?
What are you doing to DO and when? Most importantly, who are you going to talk to?
Game - You’ve Got to Have It!
There’s no business in the world you would go into where you were going to put in your time and money marketing and attracting clients that you didn’t have some kind of edge. That’s not to say you have to be a stone cold killer in every area. But there must be at least one area where you totally have game - you’ve done it before getting massive results with people. That’s what they’re paying us for. There are those that will encourage you “You can do it.” Whatever business you’re going to pour your heart and soul and money into - any worthy advisor would tell you - you need to have an edge. If you’re already an awesome speaker, there’s a lot you can do with that. You can build from there. Maybe you’re great one on one and in small groups delivering amazing value but are working on your speaking. (That was me.)
When I started American Landscape Structures, there were three critical areas I had down cold. I had already gotten hundreds of people to give me their credit card info over the phone. I knew how to earn people’s confidence. And I knew how to sell things on the internet. Getting visitors, effective landing pages, SEO, Paid search - I had already done it in my wife’s business. She had an online directory for Charleston SC. I used to sell hotel reservations and also some advertising. I’m also a numbers ninja- and internet marketing is very much of a numbers game. We ran a successful test and American Landscape Structures was born.
Effective Sales Conversation
Do you LOVE the art and science of selling? This being YOUR business, this is NOT the time to learn how to sell. And believe me - you do have to be able to sell.
You can do all the marketing and “complimentary” meetings/trainings you want, social media, website, sales funnels and so on - but sooner later, if someone is going to give you 4 or 5 figures for your service, you’re going to have to carry on an effective sales conversation.
There are no doubt some nuances to selling yourself as a coach/consultant where you have some learning to do. But I’ve heard people say, “I’m just not comfortable selling. It feels ____.” If this is you, you probably shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. Sales and entrepreneurship is about serving people - and convincing them to do what’s in their best interest. If you’re not ALREADY able to be persuasive - you won’t be able to serve them.
How You Show Up For a Sales Call Determines Its Success
I remember after a particularly long season, I had conditioned myself that I was a stranger interrupting people following up on quote requests from our website. When I changed my mindset and my tonality to “You know me and you really want to talk to me,” guess what? Fewer people acted like I was a stranger interrupting them and started responding that they were glad that I called - that they really wanted to speak to me. This monumental shift was a major part of doubling the business in 2020.
Rapport vs Commonality
Most customers I’ve found are interested in value. What you or your product are going to do for them. Too many sales people assume because they tend to be outgoing and extroverted that everyone wants to chit chat. That you have to establish commonality to achieve rapport. My experience is that this is highly over-emphasized in sales training. I establish rapport on the phone in the first 5 seconds - and continue to build by asking intelligent and relevant questions. Not everyone wants to talk about what school they went to, where they’re from, fishing, golf, sports or their kids. There’s a time and place for that. Most customers I’ve found are interested in value.
Features and Solutions vs Conversation
Sales people simply talk too much. At American Landscape Structures we actually spend remarkably little time presenting features and solutions. It’s much more of a conversation where if we hear/read something is important to the customer - we’ll tell them about a feature and its benefits. Most of the conversation is oriented toward gathering information. The customer will OFTEN tell you what you need to know to make the sale. But they can’t do that while you’re talking.
Professional Network - Winners Celebrate Your Success
One of the biggest factors in my own personal growth was upleveling who I was spending time with. Have you ever noticed how some people seem to feel like your success makes them smaller?
One big thing I noticed, - in our paid mastermind group -we could freely share your success and no one ever thought it was “bragging.” We would always celebrate our wins together - no one felt smaller by someone else’s success.
We’re not talking about “business card swaps” at the Chamber of Commerce or networking groups. By Professional Network - I mean a group of other successful entrepreneurs that each have their own superpowers. My paid mastermind group has Ted-talk speaker, the owner of a coaching/consulting firm with her own certification program and 5 active coaches working for her, an owner of a government supplier of electronic components, a Natural Nutritionist hosting massive international virtual events, a movie actor/lawyer turned copywriter, and a principal of a provider of surrogacy services in the Ukraine. One member sold his tech business for 7 figures, currently works as an executive for a major oil company, and is starting his leadership coaching business. You get what you pay for when it comes to masterminds. Believe me, you don’t have time to go to the local free mastermind. The higher the price - the higher level individuals in the group.
Big Idea - Your Why.
I’m borrowing this from my friend Mike Kim - he says you need to know these three things:
What pisses you off?
What breaks your heart?
What problem do you solve?
At American Landscape Structures we’re FANATICS about customer service - our customers have multiple levels of assurance we’re going to get the job done as they envisioned for the price we promised. We have consistent great reviews because of how aggressive we are preventing problems and handling them when they do occur. Hundreds of times per year our customers end up with their landscape structures ready to enjoy better than they imagined. We know this is going to happen when they choose us. We do NOT know what’s going to happen if they choose someone else.
Your Current Focal Point
We talked about how you have to have game in one area. But what’s the ONE area you MUST improve in to accelerate your business - or to get it unstuck? This is not so much of an issue when you’re starting out - but I hear many people get stuck at 5 figures - and I don’t know anyone that started ANY business to make 5 figures. And there’s a big problem with this. You’re trying to coach others on how to be more successful - and you’re struggling yourself. So that starts to wear on you after awhile.
Doubled the number of leads this same time last year. And with about the same traffic.
For American Landscape Structures it was messaging. We got off to a solid start having a great product and lots of pretty pictures. We looked at our numbers, our traffic, our lead conversion rate, our sales - and what jumped out is that if we could improve our lead conversion rate we could dramatically increase our sales and also possibly reduce our advertising expense. That was the biggest thing we did that resulted in us doubling our business from 2019 to 2020 - DURING A PANDEMIC. We hired a copywriter and tested some landing pages - realizing that our mid-range products were the most popular. Right now, as I’m writing this, we have coming in double the number of leads this same time last year. And with about the same traffic.
When we focus on the RIGHT area, the results are huge. When we focus on the wrong area or when we’re spread too thin - we falter.
What is the area you need to be focusing on right now in your coaching, consulting or content creator business? That’s probably another blog post as well. We have a Current Focal Point Scorecard download on our website that’s more for brick and mortar type businesses. So keep your eye out for future posts where we’ll re-create that powerful tool for YOU. It’s simple really. We’re doing too much stuff.
If you’re read this far - chances are - you truly want to have a REAL business and are willing to do the work. If you’d like to speak to me about how I help my clients make REAL money, click on BOOK A CALL.