Does hiring a business coach waste money?
I remember when I first heard the term “Life Coach.” Immediately, I judged it as a job taken by a college drop out.
One of my favorite shows Parks and Recreation has a few skits poking fun at the idea of life coaching.
Over the last 4 years of my entrepreneur journey, I hired 5 coaches.
I hired each of them to help me with aspects of my side business. But I found our discussions often turned to answering questions about my life like,
While I received valuable advice about business from each coach, I am more excited about the changes within myself. One of my clients had a similar experience, “You’d think the extra money would be the thing most people would be thrilled about, but I’m more excited about the positive mental changes. I faced my own negativity for years. I would tell myself things like, ‘No one will buy from you,’ or ‘You don’t have enough credibility.’ With Alex’s coaching, I found myself telling myself a different story. I’m hopeful for the first about my business!”
What I learned over the last 4 years of hustle, if you can change the way you think, then you can change the way you act. My five coaches helped me evaluate and change my thinking (especially all my negative thoughts), which allowed me to take faster action.
I track how much money I spent on coaches over the last four years, and how much revenue is generated from my endeavors. And if you check out my homepage, you can see how well those investments paid off. I paid coaches $125 to $400 per hour of time. But my return on my investment is calculable
Is hiring a coach worth the cost?
Perhaps a better question is, “Are your dreams, goals, and ambitions worth the investment?” or “What are your dreams worth to you?”
If your dream is not worth spending a few hundred dollars, then your dream isn’t worth much to you. Think about all the little things you buy throughout the week that give a momentary pleasure (coffee, fast food, Netflix subscription). Those dollars spent could be used on your big dream.
Imagine if J.K. Rowling thought her book idea wasn’t worth spending money on editors before submitting Harry Potter to big publishers, or if Chris Pratt didn’t pay for acting classes because his dream wasn’t worth it, or if… You get the picture.
You could set aside a few dollars every month and invest it in yourself. Use this month to buy a course to teach you a specific skill, or hire an expert to do it for you.
Don’t view your money a zero-sum game. Your money won’t be wasted on any coaching because, if you find a good coach, you will change the way you think and thus the way you act.
Anyone who tells you the path to success is clear hasn’t walked the path yet.
I won’t pretend that I have it all together, as much as my inner pride wants me to pretend so.
My greatest struggle as a side hustle entrepreneur is choosing a business model and sticking with it.
I realized that over the last 4 years, I changed my path 4 times.
I started with leadership and self-development for 8 months on the Leadership Dojo.
I did Pharmacy education on pharmacyschoolhq.org for 8 months.
I tried for 10 months to grow a self-development podcast called the 66 Day Experiment.
I did coaching for side hustlers for the last 8 months.
I know those months don’t add up to 4 years. That’s because I distracted myself with shiny objects (distractions) in between projects.
These businesses generated awesome revenue, but money is easy to make. I could do just about anything and generate a profit.
My burden is knowing that I’m at a crossroads as my next step as an entrepreneur. I could do so many things, but I am not 100% confident in a single one. Plus, if I choose a new path to walk, a new niche if you will, then I question myself by asking, “When will you give up on this endeavor? When will you grow tired and shift your focus on a new topic?”
I don’t know the answer yet.
But that’s okay. There is no success roadmap. My wife reminded me today that Edison failed 1000 times before finding the right filament for the light bulb.
I may have “failed” 4 times, but that doesn’t mean I can’t succeed in the future. Plus, those failures did make money!
There’s hope for you if you feel the same as me. You may not be sure what to do next. But what I do know is this: take one small step forward to the next idea.
This morning I faced my fear of hosting webinars: by hosting a webinar. eeck!
Well, I hosted it. Totally messed up the tech side of it, but I rocked it with all that I had.
I found out 32 minutes before the webinar of my grave error. Fortunately, I recorded myself quick using Zoom and uploaded it quick as I could.
Even after my techie failure, I found the medium fun and thrilling to teach! I will do more webinars in the future for certain.
My wife and I talk about failure once a week.
Every day I struggled with my challenge and my motivation to follow through with writing every day. And because I struggled, I told myself that I’m a failure. And so, I didn’t write! I fulfilled my own negative-prophecy.
And that is when most people give up. We tell ourselves that we will never succeed because we messed up once.
Imagine if we told our inner doubts to infants learning how to walk. “Well, you fell on the ground again. I guess you can’t walk.”
Like any infant would, we need to get up and try again.
I spoke with a frustrated pharmacist last week. He wrestles with the decision to quit his disappointing job. He reached the “top” of the corporate chain, or at least as high as he wanted to go. This pharmacist spoke powerful words about how much he hated his position, “I jump from job to job and can’t seem to find the right fit. Is *this* all that life has to offer me?”
I speak with at least one pharmacist a week who wants to leave their job.
I felt his pain, because I was there too.
I hated a past pharmacy job with burning passion. My reason was slightly different than most because I dealt with bullies. My life was miserable. I wanted to quit. I remember coming home to my wife and saying, “I don’t know how much longer I want to do this.”
Pharmacists everywhere know there is rising tension in our profession, especially in retail pharmacy. The latest polls show retail pharmacist job satisfaction declining at an abysmal rate.
If you are a stuck pharmacist (or any job) who hates your job, don’t fear. You’re not alone, and there is a way out.
The First Step
Give yourself the room to accept where your current situation.
You see, a part of me felt like my situation was all my fault. I felt almost like I deserved my predicament. I felt trapped.
It was like I tried to deny my situation to myself and others. I didn’t want people to know that I was unhappy with my job. I felt like if people knew, I would be labeled a failure, an idiot, a fool.
I felt like if I tried anything new, like a side-hustle business, I would be seen as a failure because I can’t figure out my career or that I would be labeled one of those weirdo’s who talks about dreams and goals.
The first step I took was admitting, “I’m here for a reason. This isn’t my perfect career position. I need to create a plan.”
I had to accept where I was, so that I could move on.
So many pharmacists I speak with blame themselves or others for their dissatisfaction.
Let go and move on.
Overwhelmed and Stuck Pharmacists
There is no end to the things you could start in order to change careers or start a business idea.
If you considered changing jobs, you could…
update your resume
update your LinkedIn profile
reach out to your network
attend a networking event
join a pharmacist association
search job websites
ask a friend for a recommendation
I felt overwhelmed just writing all those tasks. Being overwhelmed is like looking up to the top of a skyscraper and being told, “Make it to the top” without knowing there are stairs. It’s impossible!
So rather than trying to do too many things at once, we feel stuck, overwhelmed. It is easier to not take any action at all.
We tell ourselves it feels better to not do anything. We would rather accept our current amount of stress in the moment, than to push forward in making a change. Which in turn, only creates more stress and anxiety.
Take ONE Small Step
The way to the top of a skyscraper starts with one step. You don’t have to do everything at once. You simply need to take one step to get out of your situation.
Make the next step so small and easy that others would laugh at you.
For example, find and open your CV on the computer.
You may roll your eyes at this example, but that’s the point.
You don’t want to commit to a large task if you have too much resistance. You’re likely to say no to anything that sounds too big to do at once.
If you don’t take small step now, no one will take it for you, and you’ll continue in the same state.
One definition of insanity is doing the same over and over and expecting different results.
Take one small step.
Open your resume
Ask a friend for feedback about your crazy business idea
Heck, send me a private message
Don’t let your inner resistance stop you from making a change that could make your life better.
The job market is too big (despite what you may think). There are too many ways to make a living in this life.
There is no reason why you work at a job you hate.
As of February 2017, I currently coach 5 side-hustle entrepreneurs who have day jobs. Each of them live busy lives. One of them works a full-time pharmacy job, has 2 kids, stays involved with industry groups, and has a few hobbies too. Life is busy for the side-hustle business owner.
I offered a coaching session to a fellow side hustler back in August 2016. We talked about his niche website, his following, and how to grow his audience and business so he could one day leave his soul-sucking day job.
We spent the majority of our coaching session together discussing his biggest obstacle: perfectionism. He wanted to launch a course for his email list, but felt like there were too many things stopping him from finishing it.
Have you felt like that?
Maybe you feel the urge to check one more blog post before moving forward. Maybe you believe you need to do more research before you work. Or maybe you want to scrap the entire approach and start a new one.
Whenever I hear about a project like this from a coaching client, like a book, course, or product, that is not finished, but in their words “requires more work”, I know there is a procrastination issue.
There’s something major missing from the client’s life:
A quick story about the power of Deadlines.
Évariste Galois was a young French mathmatition during the early 19th century. One night, he got into a fight with another young man over a woman, and Everest was challenged to a duel.
Everest knew he would likely die in the duel, because he was a nerd (I know from experience as a nerd who fights a masculinity battle he can’t win).
Everest had so many ideas about theoretical algebra in his mind, but never put it on paper. He thought to himself, “If I don’t write this now, it’ll be lost forever.”
He wrote in his journal all night and into the early morning hours up until his duel. Sadly, Everest died in the duel as he predicted.
Months later, a friend sorted through Everest’s belongings and found his journal. As a fellow mathematician, he couldn’t believe Everest’s theoretical writings. The friend sent the journal to the local college, and later, Everest’s theories about algebra became breakthrough discoveries in the math field.
Deadlines are required for dreams
As a side-hustle entrepreneur, we begin our journey with passion to chase our dream. Our passion is quickly tested with trials, obstacles, rejections, and disappointments. We find ourselves lackadaisical about the journey after defeated by our obstacles.
Take the step now to set a deadline for yourself. Don’t think far off. Identify your first simple step that can be done in 15 minutes, then set a deadline for when it will be completed.
Bonus step: give yourself a reward when you complete your deadline. You’ll find yourself creating a new habit if you continue to give yourself rewards when you complete tasks.
Goals without deadlines are simply dreams that won’t happen.
Don’t let another wasted hour go by without identifying your deadlines!
I spent two years of hustling in business asking for sales from people who didn’t know me well. Whether I was promoting a course (like my mastermind course) or I sell my coaching as a “leadership and podcast” expert, I tried too hard to chase money.
There are a few problems with this mentality.
1) You can never have enough money.
I pursued the almighty dollar before my relationships when I started.
In my first year of business, I made an extra $5,000. Which sounds like a nice side-income, however, it quickly became not enough for me. I wanted more and the thrill of making money only pushed me down the path of desiring more income.
I suspect I could have made more over time if I pursued relationships first.
2) You see people as an avenue for your success
I know a fellow who started in the online world about the same time I did. If you just take the image he presents online, you would think he has it going on. He is doing well with his business. I’m happy for him.
But here’s what I know about him after receiving emails and talking with him.
He would rather have money than a relationship with people.
If you become an affiliate for him, you may find yourself uncomfortable opening his email promotions. He uses the sleazy internet marketing tactics that cause cringing.
I appreciate his boldness, but you can tell he cares only about one thing: money.
A Different Path
I was reminded today of the right path by a friend and fellow mastermind member Azul Terronez.
His business has been all about giving first. He started his “business” by making connections with the right people at conferences like Tropical Think Tank. He put relationships above closing deals. He genuinely cared for the attendees.
His approach lead to get a great client: Pat Flynn.
As a millennial, I know that I’m addicted to microwave solutions.
I become disappointed when people tell me “No” to my coaching. But Azul taught me that if I keep serving others first as a friend, it will return to me.
The Lesson Comes Full Circle
A friend and fellow side-hustler joined my mastermind over 12 months ago. He wanted to continue coaching with me after the mastermind ended, but he decided that it wasn’t a good time.
I was disappointed at first, but I kept in touch. I served him by helping him through a few challenges, and I didn’t ask to start a coaching relationship with him.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, he contacted me asking for another coaching experience. That’s when I finally asked for a sale with him.
The real solution:
Be patient. Put people first.
You have to play the long game when playing business.
If you’re a coach, consultant, or freelancer, the best strategy is patience and valuing relationships over money.
Could you imagine taking movie recommendations from a complete stranger?
Anytime I feel iffy about seeing the movie in the theaters, I’ll reach out to my personal network for their recommendation. I trust my friends. Okay, I’ll admit it I trust my acquaintances on Facebook too.
Testimonies are a must for any coach. Potential clients want to know that you have helped other people succeed. Something interesting I noticed about testimonies on my website is that it is a one-way conversation. Most testimonies talk about how amazing the coach was and what the coached help with. You miss out on what the coach thinks about the client.
A reverse testimony is the coach’s opinion of how the client performed.
Here’s why I think all coaches should consider writing a reverse testimony.
1) New insights into your ideal client
When a contract ends with a client, one of the first things I set up with them is a time to record a testimonial. I have a list of questions for the client to answer over the phone. I began to see patterns emerging from my clients. After some reflection, I found common themes about the people I was coaching.
So I let my observations simmer for a while. Eventually, I asked myself this question, “What did I love about my clients?”
This created all sorts of new information about who I love to coach and why. It created this story about my ideal client that I hadn’t seen before. Whenever I’m talking with someone who’s interested in coaching I can see them at the beginning of my ideal client story, and I’m better able to connect with them or rule them out based on my ideal client criteria.
My ideal client characteristics began to form, and now I meticulously look for them in any prospect. By creating a reversed testimonial about how great a client is, you are able to discover qualities that you since research out in every prospect.
2) Gratitude is happiness
I experimented with the five-minute journal for six months and loved it because one of the questions is asked is “what are you grateful for today?” But focusing on the things that I am thankful for in my life I can change my mindset from scarcity to abundance.
Creating a reverse testimonial for your client shows them how much you meant to them. It demonstrates to them that if the relationship that you created isn’t all about money. I think coaches get a bad rap especially new coaches because they seem her act desperate to get new clients. And that scarcity mindset leads to actions that show and desperation for money.
3) A gracious word is more than a gift
The testimony is beautiful to receive. You feel validation, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Gratitude is not common, even if you feel like the gratitude message is everywhere online (which is how I felt). I show my genuine thankfulness via a video recording from my phone, people remember me and are thankful.
Someone once told me that they didn’t like Star Wars: Rogue One because it took the realism out of Star Wars.
I responded with, “Well, I think audiences thought the same thing about the Hobbit trilogy. I mean, who believes that dragons still exist?”
Unrealistic opinions are everywhere about popular culture, politics, and movies; and now it’s time to tell you about my opinions about gurus’ advice on starting a coaching business.
Many experts claim you need to do things such as…
attend a coaching university
receive a coaching certification
obtain coaching from the certified “best” coaches in our industry
I totally disagree.
While I think those ideas above are helpful, I believe they slow down becoming a coach.
The fastest way to learn how to be a coach, is to coach.
Winston Churchill once said, “I love to learn, but I hate being taught.” Humans were built to learn trial by fire rather than in the lecture hall.
Could you imagine if schools tried to teach how to ride a bicycle?
They would start off with identification of bicycle parts. Then move to memorization of the history of bicycles. Afterword, you would need to write a dissertation on bicycle theories. And only after you completed your final paper, could you then ride a bicycle.
I would give up on that system.
That’s why I recommend all side-hustlers start coaching for free at first. Why? Experience, gain testimonials, and learn what you love and hate about clients.
A coach in essence helps a person achieve their dream or goal. If you have a goal, then you’re human, a coach can help you achieve it. All clients care about are the results you can bring to them. Clients don’t care about your certifications. No clients ever ask me for my certifications (which I don’t have). Rather, anyone can experience my service in a complimentary session, then decide if my service is valuable to them. My slogan is “Build your successful side-hustle on the fast track,” because I know that I help my clients get to where they want to go faster.
Observing my clients results showed me that I can help people get what they want. I don’t need a certification to start coaching. I saw over the years my clients were achieving their goals quicker than they ever had achieve goals before.
Coach until you can’t handle the amount of people banging down your doors. I always am coaching new and interesting people, but I have a limit of how many clients I can handle (8). Never stop sharpening your skills.
“Ooh, that sounds like a great idea.”
How many times have you been distracted buy a new shiny idea? Too many to count, right?
I found myself constantly distracted when I started my entrepreneur journal. I loved new ideas. They became my cocaine.
Online gurus enticed me onto their lists, and further distracted me with offers for their course. And the funny thing is I felt like I was accomplishing a lot by buying a course or pursuing new ideas. I felt like I was going to learn so much and intern this would make me a lot of money.
The truth is that all of it was distractions.
As a side hustle entrepreneur, you’re working for yourself. No one has expectations from you other than your clients. It is easy to allow yourself the free time to work on things that are new and shiny and fun.
Ways people use shiny objects
Shiny object syndrome is a symptom of the real problem. We use distractions as an escape from the stress of doing work. Here’s why people avoid doing work and chase shiny objects:
Avoid fear of completing a project
Avoid the fear of failure
Avoid the fear of success
Avoid the fear of rejection
These fears create stress and anxiety and lives in our lives. When we have this stress we look for a way to distract ourselves to relieve the stress. One of the best ways of distractions is the shiny object syndrome.
Risks involved with a shiny object syndrome
Chasing new ideas feels good. There’s a thrill of learning a new way to grow a business. It’s like opening a new toy on Christmas day. If you played with many Christmas presents, then you’ll know that the magic fades.
When you’re working on a new project, or watching a new course, or reading yet another blog post, you trade momentum for short-term pleasure. The beginning of any project has the most resistance to the flow state (a place where work is finished easily and without distractions). A significant amount of time is required to learn new things. And it isn’t until about halfway through a project that you realize how to accomplish things faster. That’s when momemtum kicks in.
If you’re always starting new projects, new courses, new blog posts, then you lose out on any momentum gained.
It’s like if you were to invest a thousand dollars every month into the stock market for one year. Then after five years you decided to stop and invest in the real estate market and stop investing in the stock market. Overtime you may make money in real estate, but you lost all your momentum in the stock market, Because the real return doesn’t come until decades later when the compound effect takes over.
Shiny object syndrome kills the compound effect
Here’s how to overcome your shiny object syndrome.
Make the commitment right now to deny the pleasure of looking for another new idea. Deny yourself the immediate gratification of buying a new website domain. Deny yourself the pleasure in order to put in the time to work.
Every week I create new ideas that sound so fun to me, but if I immediately work on them, they will distract me from my important work. New ideas distract me from accomplishing my goals. So, I created a simple system that keeps me from pursuing shiny objections.
I write any new idea immediately on a sticky note and place it on my “new idea white board.” Then on Fridays, I’ll review all my new ideas and think them through. I may even seek away to validate if it’s a good idea. But Friday is the only day that I’ll review my new ideas
I wait till Friday because Friday is when my resistance to my difficult work is at it’s highest. But I don’t have any resistance to work on my new projects because they’re fun to think about. It’s fun to spend time thinking about how to try new Business idea.
Saying no to yourself is possibly the most difficult thing in the battle for willpower. But unless and you are able to crush your resistance, you will be beaten every time you have a new idea. Make the commitment today to delay gratification in order that you can finish the work that’s most important right now.