Our second participant in our ESCAPE Plan Web Reality Show is Karen Boise. Karen is a board certified life coach who specializes in helping late bloomers create a new life for themselves.
Karen is in the early stages of her business she calls Compelling Exploration. She has been working full time for the last four years for a community college as an academic coach, working with codering students who are working in intensive, immersive bootcamps.
Even though she loves her job, she realized that she wanted to work with people in all types of transitions, and especially late bloomers. Karen, herself, describes herself as a late bloomer, having found out what she really wanted to do in her late forties. For her, it was at that point where she says the whole world changed for her.
What excites her about starting her own business is that it will give her the opportunity to work with people all over the world, not just in her current town of residence – Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is attracted to the lifestyle of the solopreneur, being able to work anywhere, from her computer, and being able to have destination workshops in different parts of the world.
It will also give her the flexibility to juggle other aspects of her life. She describes herself as a sandwich generation-er, with a husband and 14 year old son at one end of the spectrum it is important for her to be able to spend the time with him during those formative years between 14 and 18 – and being able to care for her mother who has Alzheimers at the other.
In our first session with Karen she outlined where she had got to in her business and that she had talked to everyone she knows about what she was planning, and even had two people who had signed up to try out her coaching so she could hone her processes with them.
The main thing that concerned her was that although she had talked to a lot of people about what she was doing, very few of those conversations had led to people wanting to sign up for coaching. However, where she acknowledged she struggled was in ‘asking’ people to sign up. She worried that asking was an imposition – and that she was uncomfortable ‘asking’ people. However, as any sales trainer will tell you, half the reason why people don’t get sales is because they don’t ask for them.
This is a problem a lot of solopreneurs have. Karen is certainly not alone in that. The trick is to turn that thought process around and rather than seeing ‘asking’ for the sale as imposing on the prospect, instead see it as an offer of help to the prospect. Especially in life coaching. The prospect is seeking help – otherwise they wouldn’t be having the conversation in the first place. The coach can offer them a way that the prospect can get the help they need – that way includes getting paid, of course – and the client needs to pay in order to have ‘skin in the game’ – otherwise they won’t value it, and as soon as the going gets tough they will just stop doing it, because they lose nothing by doing so.
When it comes to finding potential client prospects, the problem with anyone who is looking to change their life, it is all in the timing – they don’t need help until they need it. But talking to people helps in that it puts the idea of getting coaching help into their minds, and if the person Karen is talking to knows someone who is going through a transition, then they will be able to refer that person to Karen as a known source of help.
The big problem solopreneurs face, and coaches especially, when they first start out it having the proof that they can help the person in need. Without a case study or two they are never going to persuade enough people to sign on to make the business viable. It will be a constant struggle to get new clients.
The way we help people in the early stages of their business allows our clients to overcome these problems, get the initial paying clients they need to validate their processes and gain those all important first case studies. Because, without those, reaching out to the wider world will be a waste of time and effort.
Sheila Galligans’s reason for wanting to start her own business is a common story you see with a lot of solopreneurs. Her mom was in hospital and she needed the flexibility to be able to visit her mom on a regular basis – AND earn a living at the same time – a level of flexibility that just wasn’t available as an employee.
When Sheila put together an organizing event and earned $2000, all while sitting with her mother in her hospital room, even her mother thought she might be onto something.
Sheila went on to have a fair bit of success with her business, Go Big Global, where she organized telesummits for people. However, the problem was that the success was not consistent enough to be sustainable and she ended up having to take part-time work again.
One of the main reasons she couldn’t maintain the success she had, as she admitted during her first coaching session with us, was that she got completely caught up with, and overwhelmed by, the nitty gritty of her business. She would obsess over the detail of everything. Nothing could go out until it was perfect. And she felt she should be doing all this “stuff” that eventually just made her grind to a halt.
She has a passion to be successful and now has a new incarnation of her business where she helps people get guest spots on people’s podcasts. It is a great idea and has huge potential, and, because of sheer tenacity, Sheila is the perfect person to run such a business.
BUT – even in our first discussions with her, she was making the same mistakes. She was obsessing about getting a lead page up in her Lead Pages account. She was obsessing over her website and was outlining all these pages and content, articles and who knows what.
Now – don’t read this as a failing on Sheila’s part. This is a problem that many many solopreneurs find themselves in. It is so easy to get attracted – and distracted – by shiny objects we think are vital to our success.
They aren’t. They are success killers – especially at the early stages of a business.
What is vital to your success? Paying clients.
You can have the fanciest website in the whole world, but without a client success story and case study you are never going to build enough trust to a point where people will be confident enough to part with their money.
You start with the people you know – you get one or two clients by going out and physically talking to people – you work out your processes in terms of creating a successful outcome for those clients – you create case studies from those and you get those clients to give you a testimonial. Until that is done, there is no point in funnels, optins, social media, and whatever shiny object you can add to that list. By all means have a website – but make it really basic and simple – have a homepage that outlines who and what you help with, and an ‘about me’ page that sets out why you are the perfect person to help them. That’s it.
In our first coaching session we got Sheila to abandon almost everything she was doing – and getting overwhelmed by – and we got her to start making phone calls to people she knows – and tracking her results. Within two weeks of our coaching call she messaged us to say she had just landed her three clients at $600 a piece, plus another in process.
Not only has she created a whole lot of awareness and interest in her new business, she is now getting paid clients – AND she is no longer obsessing over stuff that, at this stage, really doesn’t matter. Needless to say, she is a happy bunny right now!
Sheila admits herself that she couldn’t do this without coaching. It is an investment – there is no doubt – but that investment will repay you many times over, just from avoiding the wasted time, effort and money that so many solopreneurs experience through years of trial and error. [Here’s Sheila’s simple one page website]
If you have that dream – make the investment – and save yourself a whole load of missteps and heartache.