There’s a line in Sex & The City, right after Harry and Charlotte break up, when Carrie says, “Just what New York needs...another single Jewish girl.”
I think about that line every time I hear someone tell me that they are thinking of becoming a life coach.
Just what the world needs...another life coach.
Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do. I love the business I’ve built for myself. And I have the utmost respect for really good coaches.
When I went through my training, there was always a part of each 3-day long module where we’d do a Q&A with the leaders and assistants of the course. Inevitably, one hungry-for-success wannabe coach would ask, “How much do you charge?”
The answers would typically range from $50 to upwards of $400/hr. And you could see everyone doing the math in their heads.
So, you mean to tell me, that I can charge $400/hr? Then I’d only need 10 clients a month at 2 hours each, and I could bring home $8,000 a month.
Living the dream, right?
Except. It’s not easy to get to that place. It’s takes time and effort and patience and determination and chutzpah and stamina to get to that place. And, honestly, I don't know a single coach who only does 1-on-1 sessions and brings in $96,000 each year.
I’ve found that when the wheels in my head start turning and I start doing the math, things hardly ever go the way I think they will.
Be a coach who...
Just being a coach isn’t enough anymore.
You have to be a coach who...
A coach who helps women get clear on who they are, what they want, and how to get it.
A coach who helps guide women towards a pleasure-filled, nourishing, well-fed life.
See how that works?
And here's the pick-my-brain advice I want to give you:
Start now. Start writing or speaking or photographing.
Find the things that you care so deeply about, the ones that you're willing to go to the mat for and let those percolate. Figure out how to talk about them. Start sharing things. Out loud.
Get specific. Like really specific. Find one person you could help and start narrating your before and after.
This is going to be what sells you as a life coach. Being able to describe how someone is going to feel logging onto their email at their new job. That feeling of joy while you're waiting for the PC in your cubicle to boot up. The joy despite the fact that you're a Mac girl, joy that comes with having a job and doing work that you feel highly-aligned with.
There are a lot of people who write lists about the words that must die. Words like juicy, authenticity, legacy. All of these words that life coaches use all the time. If you want to be successful, define them. Get crazy clear, to the point of discomfort, about what all of these words mean to you. Tell a story with them. This is going to be the thing that will allow you to sell yourself.
Get comfortable with your personality.
Listen, no matter what beef people have with me (and there are some, always), no one can say that I lack personality. Y'all. I have a fuck ton of personality. And I let it out.
I didn't always. I used to write blog posts like this and this. And then, over time, I started letting more of myself out. I "found my voice" which only means that I kept writing until I was comfortable enough with the page or the post that people now give me the ultimate compliment of "You sound just like your blog."
That is what I'm striving for. If you want to be a coach who works with individual clients and have an internet-based business, I urge you to do the same.
Here's what I know: at the beginning, your tendency will be to keep your words and your offerings and your everythings super general.
"I don't need a niche," I said. "I just want to coach everyone!" And so I did, slowly figuring out the people I wanted to keep working with and the ones I didn't. Not that there was anything wrong with them, they just weren't the right clients for me.
And yet, I still avoided getting specific. I avoided saying that I only work with women. I avoided calling myself just a business coach. I avoided using the words bold and inspired before the word action because I didn’t want to alienate anyone.
Except. It's okay to alienate people. In fact, it is critical. If you're alienating certain people, that means that you're also attracting others.
I want my perfect clients to find me. I want an online home that, upon walking through the front door, someone knows if they belong or if they never want to come back. I want to be divisive. I want to evoke a reaction. Because I only want to work with people who, upon digging into my website, say Oh hell yes. It's like she is speaking directly to me.
I don't want to have to talk anyone into it. And you shouldn't either.
give it time
All of this takes time. I'm five years in, and, in a way, I wouldn't have changed anything about my journey. In these years, I've had 3 different websites, I've started and stopped a side gig running creative workshops, I've gone back to my old nonprofit job twice, I've met so many amazing people and had so many amazing conversations that I started a podcast just so I could share those conversations with the world.
I've written 617 blog posts, and I've spent hundreds of hours coaching mostly highly-creative women who are ready to take bold, inspired action in their lives.
If I know anything, it is this: it takes time. So you might as well start now.
But. If you're looking to become a life coach because you think it would be fun and easy, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, especially as it seems like everyone is becoming a life coach these days.
And I'm not here to say that you can't find your path to success. You absolutely can. But, it's going to take hustle and vulnerability and a level of persistence that you might surprise yourself with. You're going to have to get scrappy. And get uncomfortable. Over and over and over again.
And you'll find your success when you realize that your dream of creating a sustainable business for yourself, for building the life that will allow you the freedom and flexibility you're seeking is more powerful that the discomfort of trying new things and speaking up and getting uncomfortable.
You're going to have to raise your hand and say yes over and over and over again. And you're going to have to try lots of things. And so many won't work. But one day, they will start working. The question is, are you able to stick it out until then?
* If you dream about having your own successful life coaching practice and want to start building it with structure, support, and accountability, It's Business Time is for you. I've built this program with Michelle Ward and Erin Cassidy - not only will you discover and be able to articulate your specific brand of helping, you'll define and build a brand (and a website!) that will help you tell the world exactly what you do and why you do it. Priority applications open friday 3/13 (only 10 spots available!) - get on the list here to be in the know!
** Michelle, Erin and I are also hosting a no-cost webinar Friday all about What We Want you to Know about Starting a Business. RSVP here.
*** graphic by Erin Cassidy for Tiffany Han Coaching