Coaching as a Portion of Your Information Marketing Business: The 7 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make and How to Avoid Them
Your coaching business will work on a day-to-day business, just as other businesses do.
You will have tasks and projects you want to get started on right away, and others you will put off until you have no other choice but to face them. A key to success in the coaching and consulting world is to learn from other people’s mistakes (like mine) and to put forth your best efforts to avoid these mistakes. You will make more money, faster, avoiding the mistakes I have made.
Use my ideas, thoughts, projections, and mistakes to make your services better. By doing so, your clients will be happier, your solid and reliable reputation will grow, and you will be successful.
My seven biggest mistakes include:
- Using “traditional” marketing approaches
- Trading time for dollars at the LOW end
- Spending time and money on certifications
- Not writing a book and creating products early on
- Accepting clients I shouldn’t have
- Concentrating too much on business and not enough on fun
- Under-utilizing contracts
Let’s look at each mistake in more detail.
1. Using “Traditional” Marketing Approaches
Marketing is more than placing newspaper ads, calling people on the phone, and doing mass mailings. You want to use multiple lines of marketing techniques, including online, offline, direct, and even indirect, to find the best coaching clients. Those people who will become your clients don’t know you exist until you hit where they are and where they look, and your potential clients don’t know about your services until you provide your marketing materials.
Obviously, marketing is all about sales. And getting that new client requires contact from you more than one time. Therefore, your system and your plan for attracting new clients must involve more than one marketing method. Sure, perhaps you are still going to utilize some traditional methods, but you also have to implement many of the newest marketing methods to reach more people within your target market. In learning from my mistakes, use various marketing methods.
2. Trading Time for Dollars at the LOW End
Clients who are not earning money are not worth my time. As clients use the resources I provide during my coaching services and earn more money, they raise the market awareness of their services, their products, and their reputation. This is the client I work with the most to ensure the ongoing and growing success both for me and the client I am coaching.
Don’t get me wrong. I provide each new client with the same information, the same know-how, and the same professional service. But the client I am coaching who is earning more money is serious about being a success and needs my help more. Therefore, they don’t crash and burn in the coaching business.
Many people think they can succeed being a business coach. However, only the serious and the determined will become successful using their drive and determination to make a difference for the clients they are coaching.
In learning from my mistakes, learn to focus on those clients and customers who are totally serious about being successful. You will find some clients are “along for the ride,” looking for easy success. These clients are the ones you should spend less time with.
3. Spending Time and Money on Certifications
Everywhere you look online and offline these days you hear someone say, “I am certified in X” or “I have just completed my certification for Z.” Certifications don’t mean much or carry a lot of weight in the modern world where work actually happens. Passing a test, memorizing facts, or knowing how to solve hypothetical problems is not going to aid you in the quest for being a successful business coach.
A number of organizations provide certifications for coaching services, for business services, and for business owners. If you have the certification and you’re reading this part, sit down. I have NEVER been able to correlate success in coaching with certification. If you need to learn HOW to do coaching, some of their courses may be helpful. But marketing rules the day in this as well as all other professions.
Does this mean there are coaches out there who are not qualified and who are making more money than you (a highly competent coach)? You betcha! Does it mean I encourage charlatans to get into the coaching business? Not at all. I’m merely presenting you with the reality of the situation. A coach with good marketing skills and poor coaching skills will kick the crud out of a good coach with poor marketing techniques.
Is this fair? I do not know. Is it true? Absolutely!
Spending your time on obtaining all types of certifications is going to be a waste of your money. In fact, many certification systems entail nothing more than a simple verification process of who you are and what you want to do, with very little pertaining to how well you have done in the past or in predicting how great you will be in the future.
In learning from my mistakes, realize that certifications will not make you a great coach—practice and determination on your goals will.
4. Not Writing a Book and Creating Products Early On
Early in my business, I modeled my coaching services after other coaches’ services. I did not realize how many more products and services my clients would need to be successful. I thought I could simply consult and coach my clients to become resourceful and successful.
I later realized that my clients wanted and needed information to focus on long after they had talked with me. Books and products geared to your market niche allow your customers to focus on their business with the intent they might have otherwise lost. Creating additional products early on enables your clients to focus and teaches them how to put what you have coached them into action.
In learning from my mistakes, build your coaching reputation faster by creating products and add-on items that aid in the clients’ abilities. Creating additional products early on in your coaching business will generate additional income while you continue to focus on obtaining new clients for coaching.
5. Accepting Clients I Shouldn’t Have
Every day more people are looking for get-rich-quick methods. Many people want to operate a successful business, but they are not willing to put in the effort. Some clients portray a “the world owes me” attitude and think if you put your name on a product, the money will start rolling in. This is an example of a client you don’t want. Rather, you want clients who realize that to make money you will have to work at it continually.
Early in my business I thought anyone willing to take a chance had the drive and determination to be a success. I quickly learned that even though some clients wanted to be a success and earn money, they were not willing to do the job right.
Another example of a client you do not want is the client who needs hand holding. Demands on your attention will come from every angle of the business. Clients who want you to put their plans into action and to explain how to reach goals over and over again will be clients who are too much trouble. You want clients who are go getters, who are willing to go the extra mile and get their job done.
In learning from my mistakes, pick your clients carefully. An over-demanding client, or a client without determination, will require more of your time than you actually have.
6. Concentrating Too Much on Business and Not Enough on Fun
Never underestimate the importance of down time away from the business. In the early stages of building your coaching business, you may get “wrapped up” in all the projects and things you want to do to be a success. However, you must set limits on yourself. Without the ability to walk away from the business for a few hours each night, your mind, body, spirit, and determination will suffer.
Your drive, determination, and passion for success will fizzle out without the ability to take a break from the business. Early in my coaching career I worked fourteen to sixteen hour days to accomplish everything I could. This led to problems with my ability to focus on the task at hand, and it also led to problems in being attentive to my clients.
In learning from my mistakes, make it a point to take time for yourself—to refresh and rejuvenate your mind. You’ll often find great ideas, products, and strategies during your down time!
7. Under-Utilizing Contracts
Business is business. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find a need for a contract. When you develop products, when you lay out your intellectual rights, and when you work with clients, you must use contracts. Contracts protect your rights. This is an important lesson to learn from the start of your coaching business.
If you look online, you can find a wide variety of sample contracts and even contracts used by other service providers, writers, sellers, and business owners. The use of contracts will prevent you from losing money—an important feature in itself! If you have a lawyer, you can have contracts drafted for just about any situation. If you don’t want to invest in a lawyer at this time, at very least invest time researching the various types of contracts you can use online for protection.
In learning from my mistakes, always take the time to use and implement contracts to protect and support your business.