Five Ways to Jump Start Your Coaching or Consulting Practice
You have just completed your coach or consultant training program and you are wondering how to get your business off the ground. Running your own business may be new to you or maybe you have owned another type of business.
Here are five great, low-cost ways to create some momentum:
1. Get a peer coach or mentor.
Connect with someone who just completed the same training or has been in the same business for a while. As a coach, you can start coaching each other. A mentor will share from their personal experience and what has worked for them. If you are going be a coach, you need to be coached. A peer coach or mentor is the easiest (and cheapest!) way to make sure you have someone walking with you to help you succeed. And if your connection is also building a business, you can feed off each other’s energy and learnings.
2. Buy a Business Building Book.
You need a guide to walk you through how to set up your business and how to market yourself as a coach – and if you’ve not set up a business before, this is absolutely essential! A good resource in this genre will help you define your niche, show you the best ways to promote your business, encourage you along the way, help you refine your marketing and selling skills, set a price structure and feel good about it, and much more. There are a number of books, I recommend Business by the Book by Larry Burkett, The On-Purpose Business by Kevin W. McCarthy, and How to Run your Business by the Book by Dave Anderson. The price of a book is a small price to pay for gaining clarity on your business.
3. Use the Business Building Books You Bought.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Anybody can read a book – the thing that will make you successful is to actually follow through and do the steps the books lay out. But you’re a coach or consultant – you already know about follow-through, right? The best way to do this is to join a group that is going through the book, or work out a plan with your peer coach or mentor to go through it together. I’ve worked with many businesses just starting out, and those who build a support system, make a plan and stick to it are the ones who succeed. Don’t take shortcuts here!
4. Send Out a Friends and Family Letter.
This is a one-page letter explaining your new business and asking for referrals or support from the people you know best or who are most likely to send business your way. Your business-building book should give some examples or show you how to do this. For maximum impact, follow up your letter with personal calls to the recipients. Filling in your friends and family on what your business does and why you became a business owner is a great way to refine the inspiring speech you are going to give to prospective clients. After a number of conversations like this, you’ll be confident and ready to inspire those that you meet on an elevator or in the grocery store who might need your products or services.
5. Take on Some Initial Clients.
Most coaches and consultants start out doing at least some clients for no- or low fees to get going. It is much better to say to a prospective client, “I have ten clients right now and have openings for a few more,” even if those are no-paying clients, than it is to have to admit that you have none. The more you engage in your profession, the more confident you will become. When you do sign up a reduced fee client, tell them it is for a limited time, give them your real rate structure up front, and say that you are giving an introductory discount because you are confident that once they’ve experienced the value of coaching, they will have no problem paying for it. The biggest issue we have is under-valuing our services.