Last Tuesday I hosted June’s coffee Q&A. This month we talked about how to find a life coach, select a business model, and more.
If you’re new here, you might be wondering why I hold free Q&A sessions. Earlier in 2019, I’d become disillusioned with the online word. This led to changes in my business. One of those changes was adding more ways to connect with my readers. If you’d like to know more, you can read about my online marketing rebellion here.
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month – usually at 10am PST / 1pm EST. Everyone is welcome and if you can’t attend in person, there’s an option to submit your question in advance.
You can watch the full meeting inside the Work-At-Home Resource Library (and if you join, I’ll also send you an invite to future meetings). Or keep reading for a summary of the topics we discussed.
Find A Life Coach When You Have No Budget
The first question came from Dinelles and was submitted in advance. Dinelles asked:
“How do you go about finding a coach when you can’t afford one?”
This is a problem I can relate to. When I was starting out, I also struggled with whether to hire a life coach.
On the one hand, you’re told having a coach will accelerate your progress towards your goals. On the other hand, when you have zero budget to start your business, hiring a coach seems like an unaffordable luxury.
In our call, I shared three ways to resolve this problem (two are free and one is low cost).
The first option is to barter with a coach. For example, let’s say you’re a graphic designer. You could offer to do some free design work in exchange for free coaching.
Bartering is a good idea because it doesn’t require cash but does mean you have some “skin in the game”. You’re paying for coaching with your services. And when you’re investing your time, you’re more likely to extract maximum benefit from the coaching.
The second idea is to seek out a new coach who is going through certification or looking for test clients. Many new coaches offer free or low-priced sessions in exchange for a testimonial. Or because they need a set number of hours for their certification.
This option does have one drawback. In my experience, when you don’t pay for something you attach less value to it. So, you may get less benefit from free coaching than if you barter or pay for your coach.
Finally, if you can’t afford one-on-one coaching then consider group coaching. Group programs cost as little as $20/month all the way up to thousands of dollars.
Group coaching is a more affordable way to get expert support and accountability. You also benefit by joining a community or mastermind group giving you additional feedback and support.
If you’re interested in joining a group program, then check out my membership, Home Business School. For a small monthly investment, you get access to a library of online courses as well as expert Q&A with me and a supportive community of home business owners. Click below if you’d like to find out more.
How To Pick The Right Life Coach For You
This first discussion led to a follow up question: When you’re trying to find a life coach, how do you know if someone is right for you?
Many coaches offer a free discovery call. This is your opportunity to establish whether their coaching is a good fit for you.
Coaching is personal and can be a significant investment. You want to take your time to make a good decision. Here are my criteria when assessing whether a coach is right for me.
First, I want to see if they can help me solve a problem during the free call. If it’s a pure sales call, where the coach pitches their services and plays back my fears to me, then it’s a no-go. But if the coach helps me make some progress overcoming a specific challenge then this is a good sign.
Second, I must feel like I can trust the person. A coaching relationship works best when there’s an easy openness between coach and client You want to be comfortable sharing your fears and challenges.
Finally, when trying to find a life coach, I look for someone who “gets” me. Listen to your instincts. If there’s any hint of discomfort during the free call, then this probably isn’t the right coach for you.
How To Select The Right Business Model
The next question came from Tim, who is an artist and teacher. Tim wants to build a recurring income stream online. He asked:
“I’ve seen a lot of blogs and courses about creating and marketing online businesses, especially big name ones, but a lot of it feels focused on businesses that are in some way connected to supporting specific ideas of success: making more money, saving money, somehow being a better more efficient, organized person, etc. The marketing and the copywriting doesn’t feel right for me because what I look for online and what I feel like I want to market is more learning/creativity/enrichment. I don’t want to make statements like you can achieve xyz. So I’m searching for some models that feel right.”
I started by asking Tim to define his number one goal – is it to make money, impact lives, build an online following, etc. Your main goal acts as a guidepost and determines your best actions.
In Tim’s case, he is looking to build a sustainable recurring income doing work he enjoys.
Next, we talked about possible audiences. Tim has taught beginners to draw all the way up to third year students in a Bachelor of Animation Program. During our discussion, it became clear that Tim is most drawn to working with beginners and near beginners.
Through our conversation, Tim’s messaging also emerged. He is passionate about showing people how they can live more deeply and have fun through drawing. People connect with him because he provides an encouraging, positive, and authentic learning environment.
It’s important to get clear on what makes you unique – why would someone buy from you and not from someone else? This is how you start building a loyal tribe.
Tim’s next step was to determine his first offering, for example an online course, in-person workshop, etc. My recommendation was to come up with a minimum viable offering and test it out as quickly as possible.
Building a business is an iterative process. You are constantly generating ideas, testing them, and then refining your ideas or moving on to the next.
Here’s a summary of the steps to refine your business model:
- Get clear on your primary goal
- Decide who your target audience is
- Define your messaging (why you and not someone else)
- Create your first offering and test it out
For more help defining your online business model, check out this article that discusses the different ways to make money online.
One Website or Two for Fiction and Nonfiction Author
The last question is one I’ve heard before – and there’s more than one answer.
Cathy is both a fiction and nonfiction author. She wanted to know whether she should have one website or two.
The advantage of two websites is that each site can be targeted to a specific audience. It’s easier to provide a consistent messaging that appeals to your ideal readers when you separate out your markets.
But you don’t have to create two websites. In fact, there are reasons why you may want to house your work under a single umbrella. Maintaining two sites can be a significant overhead. This leads to a split focus and may dilute your efforts.
Second, there can be overlap between your two audiences. The people who read your work like YOU. Someone who reads your fiction may also enjoy your nonfiction books.
An alternative to separate sites is to create a single personal branding website where you showcase all your work. One author who does this well is Joanna Penn at TheCreativePenn.com.
Want To Ask Me A Question?
This brings us to the end of June’s Q&A. If you’d like to attend the next call or submit a question for me to answer, then click below and join the Work-At-Home Resource Library. You’ll get access to my free home business resources and receive an invite to next month’s coffee meeting. I’d love to meet you!