Why It Took Me A Decade To Make Money From Coaching

Why it took me a decade to make money from coaching.

If you’re fed up with feeling like a failure in your coaching business then PLEASE read on, you’re about to feel a whole lot better as I share with you why it took me over a decade to make any decent money from coaching.

I began my coaching career filled with optimism.

I gained my coaching certification back in the late 90’s (after having coached since 1991) and went hell for leather making my mark on the coaching world.

I became Regional Manager for Results Coaching Systems, I spoke at their events (and my own), became head of way too many business networking groups, attended course after course and even had a regular column in the local newspaper where I went all Tony Robins on the local peeps.

I hustled my little ass off for a very long time.

I built a respectable profile and was seen to be “successful”.

Hell I LOOKED successful from every angle.

LESSON.1: Despite not experiencing any real financial success this approach did put me on the map and forced me to grow and expand rapidly as a coach and this set the tone for my career that carries through even today.

But I never made any real money.

Sure I’d pick up regular clients and organisations would pay me to deliver a workshop here and there but my coaching income was precarious at best.

Horrendous at worst.

Thankfully I always had my Martial Arts & Fitness businesses to save my ass and time after time after I had to resort back to these skills even though my desire was to coach.

I was a good coach, way better than many of counterparts (who seemed to be doing ok) but I wasn’t making any real money from the work I felt I was called to do.

LESSON 2: I have NEVER put all of my eggs in one basket. I like to think I’m hard wired for risk but my risks are calculated, I’ve always been aware that a struggling coach reeks of desperation and I needed to feel successful in the area’s I wanted to move into in order to be successful in it. If this meant earning money somewhere else so I could feel successful financially that’s what I did, I knew that by me being broke and desperate I was going to repel clients like nobody’s business.

Looking back I was half-assing it most of the time.

Sure I looked the part and had the skills and was president of this and founder of that but my offerings were hit and miss, in fact half the time I had no idea what it was I was selling!!

I can remember spending $4,500 on a very “pretty” website; I’d agonized over it’s beautiful design and carefully crafted my “About Me” page and when it went live I eagerly anticipated the clients that would flock to my inbox.

I mean back in the last 1990’s half the coaches I knew didn’t even HAVE a website and remember MySpace was a year ahead of Facebook and none of us knew how to use either one of them let alone fully comprehend the role Facebook would play in the building of our businesses.

Tragically clients did NOT flock to my inbox and it was with mounting horror that I realised I’d have to find the money elsewhere to pay for my beautiful (but useless) website as the clients I’d hoped for refused to materialise.

I had a beautiful looking website but no strategy for promoting it.

I was head of every business group going round but I never asked for the sale.

I was an early adopter but when I got it (whatever it was) I had no idea what to do with it!

I was half-assing it and my income reflected this.

LESSON 3: Busy work and looking the part will only take you so far, stepping outside your comfort zone and really, REALLY going for it is when the rubber meets the road. Gazing at your navel, habitual “planning” and making things pretty is NOT the real work, getting your ass in front of your potential clients and securing contracts is the work you must do and you must do it often.

I sold the farm and invested in myself and in my business.

Straight out of my coaching certification I employed a coach and man was my ass whipped into shape.

I’d been talking about running an event (an information evening) for weeks but was procrastinating all over myself. I left the first session with my coach having committed to a date for my upcoming event and it was on like donkey kong!

Not only did I have to fill an event but I’d have to get up and SPEAK in front of a room filled with strangers, something I had an inkling I would be ok at but it scared the pants off me back then.

This was a Quantum Leap for me and my business, I loved speaking, I was good at it (both revelations) and I picked up a bunch of clients.

LESSON 4: This was a biggie!!!! I cannot believe how much easier life became when I got myself a coach, all of a sudden I went from being a solo-preneur randomly banging away alone in my office to a business woman with a partner in crime, I became someone with a solid strategy that my coach agreed was the way forward…no more second guessing. Coaching cut’s your time, money and energy wastage in half…probably more.

There were many Quantum Leaps…followed by plateaus.

Coaching works, no two ways about it, so every year I’d hire a new coach or enroll in a new program to keep me moving forward.

I gained momentum and elevated but it never really stuck, it’s taken me till now to realize why that was.

It never stuck because no-one bothered to ask me what lit me up, what I was driven to do, no-one helped me truly understand what my gifts were.

And even if they had no-one was there to tell me my branding looked like balls or was a confusing mess.

No-one told me the truth.

So I went along my merry way thinking I was doing everything right….and failing.

Where is there to go from there?

If you’re doing all the right things but you’re still failing what is there to do?

Well for me the thing to do was launch another fitness or martial arts related business and put my coaching on hold…again!

LESSONS 4 & 5: This one’s a doozy!! The first lesson was that a coach will tell you the truth because they are NOT invested in keeping you happy, they’re invested in RESULTS, a coach is not going to blow sunshine up your butt to make you feel good about yourself, if your idea sucks you’ll hear about it, if your approach sucks, you’ll hear about that too. Too many times I’ve had “nodders” in my life…people too scared to tell me my idea sucked so they sat there nodding away telling me I was awesome. Many hours and many dollars, along with many head bangs on the wall, would have been saved had I gone to the right source when I floated an idea. A coach is that source. The other lesson is my all time favourite and this is NOT to jump from one bright shiny idea to another chasing success, instead pick an idea and follow that sucker through till the very end. Tweak, adjust, overhaul..do what you must to get it to work but do not change direction once you’ve invested in the idea.

But EVERY single investment was worth it.

It was my first coach who scared the crap out of me and made to do what I said I was going to do that resulted in me seeing what I was capable of.

Another coach who was onto me and wouldn’t let me get away with the excuses and random changes in direction and helped me to see this was a pattern.

Even the bad coaches helped prove that “hell if they can do this and make money I’m going to be ok”.

The KPI program I completed that didn’t result in anything tangible (except a book I wrote & published that had no relevance AT ALL to my business) except for an awakening around how small I’d actually been playing and the making of some fabulous contacts.

Then there were the coaches who tried to push me in one direction only serving to strengthen my resolve to go in another.

The 10’s of $1,000’s of dollars worth of online programs I purchased and completed but 1 hours work because it was all I needed.

LESSON .6: Coaching cuts your wasted time, energy and $$$ in half (at least and yes I know I covered this already!). Regardless of any actual financial ROI I’ve never walked away from a program or coaching relationship empty handed, there is always something to be gained. The clearer you are about what you want from a coaching relationship or program the more you’ll get from it.

Those Investments Changed EVERYTHING.

Sure it took me a decade but boy have I learned a lot along the way and I absorbed every single morsel.

That’s what makes me such a good coach and mentor today, without the first hand knowledge and experiences I’d be too far removed from where my clients are starting from and also from what’s possible for them.

My childhood of domestic violence and sexual abuse shaped me to be the woman I’m proud to be today just as the trails and tribulations of working my ass off and failing regularly as I built my coaching business is what makes me the coach and mentor I’m proud to be today.

We all have such life experience to bring into our work and this is why no two coaches are alike.

LESSON 7: Know yourself…REALLY know yourself. Become intimate with your strengths and work them. The way I see it I have zero competition because there is only one me…no-one does me better than ME. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok, you’re probably not mine either. But for the women who follow me and love what I stand for…the one’s who get me…I’m the only coach for them. It’s the same for you. Tweet It: Know your strengths, know how to market them and then build your business around them. 

Every single experience you’ve had is shaping you right now.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Every. Single. Experience.

Each one makes you unique and wise and PERFECT to lead a tribe who need you.

Wear your struggles as a badge of honour, the struggle is a rite of passage and the bigger the struggle the bigger the badge my dear.

LESSON 8: Every single experience shapes us to become better at what we do and every single experience moulds us into the perfect coach for our tribe.

So then I started to make some decent money….a decade later!
I’ve been married 3 times so it’s safe to say I’m a slow learner when it comes to certain things and building a successful coaching business was one of those things (fly a plane? no problem, strip an engine, put it back together and get it to run? easy!..marriage? business? not so much!!).

Through my copious amounts of learning and experience I discovered the power of Niche (thank you Seth, I truly do love your guts) and the power of the lead magnet (not sure where I discovered this little gem) and the power of going pro (thanks Marie Forleo, you my girl) and doing things properly.

Pulling that all together I launched my Honourable Martial Arts Entrepreneur brand in 2012 and the rest is pretty much history.

I targeted my Niche, created a sales funnel, a kickass lead magnet and a product offering that made sense and I was on my way.

I replicated that process with even greater success when I launched The Art Of Kicking Ass Elegantly at the end of 2014 with a $25k Signature Offering that really put me on the map and it afforded me the freedom to work less (far less) doing work I absolutely adore with women I adore…freedom I still enjoy today.

LESSON 9: You can’t sell big ticket items without a solid system for generating leads and a highly polished and profesh brand.

It doesn’t need to take you a decade.

Often we’re the ones hindering our own success, in fact often we ARE the ONE thing hindering our success.

We do this when we fail to let go of what isn’t working.

When we think we can do it all on our own (and can’t).

When we steadfastly hang on to our excuses.

When we fail to learn from our mistakes and continue to repeat them.

My passion for my high-ticket programs stems from knowing that I’m giving each of my clients what I so desperately needed when I was in the struggle and needed to find a way to cut through.

I’m passionate about my programs because I know what success does for a woman who’s been struggling.

It changes her at her core and that change is good…very good and I consider it an honour to be a part of that.

LESSON 10: When we get out of our own way, enlist help and get serious about success a major shift occurs and the success you’ve been chasing becomes a reality instead of a far off wish. No woman is an island, we all need a coach in our corner.

So here’s what you should do now.

So…are you ready to get serious about your success?

Are you perhaps ready to take a step or two backwards so you can move forwards again…better, faster, more succesfully?

Are you ready to get help?

If you’re truly ready to step up, get out of your own way and push yourself further than you can ever get on your own then let’s team up so I can help you finally begin to make the type of money you deserve to be making from the work you love.

Michelle xx

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