3 Lessons I Learned That Helped Me Start a Thriving Coaching Business
by Jess Barreira, CPC, ELI-MPJun 01, 2021 | 4 minutes read
Start a coaching business with these lessons in mind.
Like most folks who feel called to the wild and wondrous world of coaching, I deeply craved a rich, full-flavored, meaningful experience of life—but at the ripe age of 21, it was far from the lackluster reality I was living. I knew I had a calling to help people one on one, and I also knew I wanted to start my own business. But I felt stuck when it came to actually doing so—and then I’d beat myself up about my fears and question if I had what it took to start a coaching business.
Thought so! Many of us creatives, healers, coaches, consultants—humans!—feel overwhelmed by all of the “scary” unknowns that surround starting a service-based business:
- Feel like you're not good enough?
- Don't know enough?
- Can't possibly have what it takes to start a thriving coaching business?
I can, without a shadow of a doubt, assure you those feelings are totally normal.
And I also want to offer 3 lessons I learned that helped me release my doubts and go on to establish a thriving coaching business helping women break through their own doubts and fears so they can start purpose-infused businesses.
1. Self-compassion is the MOST important (and unexpected!) “magic power” I’ve developed in starting a coaching business.
When I was first starting out, I was the true villain in my own story—I was cruel and wicked toward myself whenever I made a “mistake” or “failed” at something. This abuse blocked me from taking risks. Since I wouldn’t allow myself to take the risk of getting out there, I didn’t allow my services to be seen by the people they could have helped. In other words, my lack of compassion toward myself prevented me from getting clients and making money in my business.
Self-compassion gives us permission to step into our role as the courageous hero in our coaching journey. It empowers us to practice taking brave action because we know that no matter the outcome, we’ll meet ourselves with kindness, understanding, and encouragement. This allows us to move forward and prosper on our journey.
Consider trying this:
The most powerful tool I use in my business is a simple journal. I use it to reflect on my thoughts and feelings and to honor and celebrate myself. When I find myself falling back into old habits or if I recognize a limiting belief pop up, I acknowledge it in these pages so I can release these thoughts and move forward. My journal is my sacred space for self coaching!
2. The best guidance for your coaching business journey comes from within yourself.
In the beginning, I was constantly looking at what the “big names” in the industry were doing. This proved to be both a source of inspiration and a block. I ended up doing so many things because I felt I should be doing them, like posting on ALL the social media channels, creating videos, even though it wasn’t my jam, and so on. I didn’t pay attention to what my authentic self actually felt excited by and wanted to do.
Not surprisingly, I wasted a lot of time, energy and money. What’s worse, by looking outward instead of within, I severed my connection with the touchstone of all business wisdom—my intuition. This is why becoming aware of and tending to your thoughts and beliefs is the MOST important thing when starting a coaching business. Strategy is absolutely essential, yes, but what good is strategy if you feel incapable of implementing it?
The truth is, nobody but you knows what’s best for you. When you tap into your intuition, you connect to an infinite source of wisdom. You can pull from this wellspring of knowledge to create a profitable coaching business that feels exciting and aligned with your authentic self.
And when the journey is fun, you’re infinitely more likely to practice patience and consistency, two magic ingredients for success!
Consider trying this:
To develop and tap into your intuition about starting a coaching business, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Ask yourself:
- What does a successful coaching business look like?
- What impact am I having?
- What clients am I serving?
- What is it like to work for myself?
- Now for the most important question: How does this vision make me feel? If you feel expansion and excitement (with maybe a tinge of nervousness), then starting a coaching business is definitely something to explore.
3. Get out of your own way!
When I was first starting to put the pieces together of my coaching business, I remember I had two questions that kept me up at night: Where do coaching clients come from, and how do I get them? In my mind, this was the big bad beast I had to conquer—the barrier to my success. But guess what actually turned out to be the hardest part of starting a coaching business? Getting out of my own damn way!
Engaging with a community of coaches and my own clients made it clear to me that “getting clients is difficult” is a commonly shared thought. But the funny thing is that figuring out where clients come from is actually the easy part! There’s an ABUNDANCE of insightful, actionable books written on the subject.
At the end of the day, however, the best investment I’ve ever made in myself and in my dream of having a coaching business was attending iPEC—which I lovingly refer to as the “Hogwarts” of the coach training industry.
Here’s a brief story about how I came to that decision: One day I was sitting in the sauna at my gym when a woman whom I’d never seen before sat down next to me. After we chatted for a while, she spoke a few words that I viewed as clues to the next steps in my quest. She said, “You sound like a life coach.”
At the time, I had no idea what that meant but later that night, I did a quick Google search and found iPEC. I just knew this was it. I knew I wanted to start my own practice. I felt the excitement, expansion, and truth in my body. I made the decision to listen to that inner knowing and take the leap of faith—and I haven’t looked back since.
Consider trying this:
Take some time to explore what might be holding you back from taking a real chance on yourself, and what kind of support you might need to take that leap. I know for me, coach training gave me business tools, a strong coaching network, and heart-to-heart guidance to create a life beyond my wildest expectations. And I learned that my life’s mission is to help others to do the same for themselves. Remember, this life is a “choose-your-own” adventure. So what will you choose to do with this one wild and wondrous life you’ve been given? Whatever you choose, don’t hold back any longer.
Listening to the wisdom of our own inner knowing will always lead us to our treasure. Our inner guidance is our most helpful and valuable resource. The truth is, if it feels right, even if it’s also scary, choose to explore that feeling. It will never misguide you.
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