When I started my coaching business I thought that I was going to be wicked successful, wicked fast, duh. I was sooo good at this. This was my passion, my calling, my dream life was in motion—how could it not work?

I had it all (or so I thought). A gorgeous website, a chunk of savings, a few clients that I loved, the endless support of my boyfriend, my friends and (most) of my family. Plus, I had the most divine business plan EVER. I knew exactly what I was doing and I was ready to go. This was going to be my year.

I knew exactly how many clients I needed to double my old income, I had a work schedule that also allowed for travel, fun, dog walks and basically whatever I wanted. Once I quit my job there was no looking back-I was going places, fast. Sure, the first couple months might be hard-maybe I wouldn’t have 8 clients right away like I wanted but they were coming….

or were they?

Crickets. Mother f-ing crickets.

What? I was highly trained and super good at coaching. Everything was in place for me to be successful; my biz cards were dope and my blogs were always getting “likes” and “shares”. I had a Yelp page, a Facebook Biz Page, an online-scheduler and a content calendar. I was posting nonstop about my services and programs and how amazing everyone’s life would be if they worked with me.

But, still….crickets. I was struggling to attract clients that were interested in working with me--and by working with me I mean PAYING for coaching. 

I started to get discouraged. Each passing day with no new consultations or clients, I was getting more and more discouraged. I started out so strong and confident--what was happening? I began hyper-focusing on doing the math with my savings and on how much time I had left before I was officially tapped out; poor, done, broke, #fail. Yes, I had three clients but I needed more. Where were they? Why was no one hiring me? Why is everyone doing better than me? 

I started acting from fear ALL THE TIME:

Does no one like me? Maybe I’m a shitty coach? Was my training not good enough? Was my website not good enough? Would I have to go back to my old job? Everyone is going to think I’m a failure.

Am I a failure?

This was the dark tunnel of second-guessing, self-doubt and ultimate survival-mechanism overload. I was in constant mental battle: should I stay or should I go? I was truly, madly, deeply in love with my business—but I became terrified. Things were not working the way I had planned. The plan was in place, but things were falling apart. I was scared, anxious and alone and was far too ashamed to let anyone know how badly I was actually failing.

Fear. Fear. Fear. It was clouding everything.

I needed to do something and I was running out of options, running out of time and running out of money.

For some divine reason, I decided to email my old coach. It was literally either her or my dad (But, I really didn’t feel like admitting to my dad that I was close to relocating back to my childhood bedroom). BUT, I knew I needed some help and after ditching her because I was “sooo ready to do it on my own”, I emailed her through tears to tell her that I was thinking about giving up. I think I actually said something like, “I’m so scared and I really need you to just coach the shit outta me”.

I explained to her how I was starting to get over-taken with fear. I told her how each day I felt panicked and insecure that I would not be able to find any more clients and would have to go back to my old job or find some other part time work. I was getting close to the end of my savings, barely had anything left on my credit cards and was having what felt like World War III in my mind every single day over whether or not success was possible for me. I was trying what felt like 10,000 ways to connect with potential clients. I had watched all of the free webinars I could get my hands on.

I knew all of the tools and tricks

and mailing lists

and free giveaways

and opt-ins

and blah blah blah but I was still not filling my coaching practice. What the hell?

 

I actually wasn’t even having fun anymore. There was no joy in this and it was obvious. My coach called me out on my bullshit right there. I had yanked every thread of joy, possibility and love out of my life and filled it instead with need, desperation and anxiety. No wonder I wasn’t attracting any clients. I was pathetic. I was desperate, I was so freaking terrified of failure I was basically a breeding ground for more crap. And of course, my coach called me out on all of it. She also brought me back to reality and made me feel like I could take a deep breath for the first time in 6 months.

I took my last bit of my credit card and hired her back. I didn’t have the money but I did have the faith that my business was going to work. I LOVE coaching and connecting with women. I love helping entrepreneurs put steps in place to start businesses. I love, love, love when people put the “Quit Your Job” Day on their calendars and work their booties off to make it happen. I love showing people that it is possible to create your dream life.  BUT because of my fear—I had blocked all of this out. All of my “why” was buried under mountains of insecurity that had been clouding my being.  I had realized that I actually couldn’t see how much I was self-sabotaging myself because I was wayyy too far in my own stuff. 

I didn’t want to use the last of my credit card and savings to pay for coaching again but you know what I really didn’t want? Well, let’s not even go there because I am SO over focusing on the negative…

So, back to the point: How can you prevent a shitty first (second/third/fourth) year in business? 

1. Get supported. The longer you spend in your head with the fears, the more real you make them. The longer that your head spins with self-doubt, judgment, criticism, worry, anxiety, etc. the closer you get to failure. Hire a coach that doesn’t put up with your shit. Work out a payment plan if you have to--just get supported. Of course you “can’t afford” one when you just start. If you had all of the money you wanted to be making, you probably wouldn’t need one (although you may want one, because support is essentially invaluable). In terms of support, I’m not talking about free calls here and there. I’m talking about a mutually invested relationship. This is imperative, especially if you are a coach. As a new coach, you aren’t any good for anyone if you show up to calls with fear, worry or doubt. Besides, it’s a hell of a lot harder to get hired from a place of desperation ad quite honestly it’s out of integrity to NOT have a coach, if you are a coach. (FYI-I enrolled 6 clients in a matter of 2 months when I hired my coach back. Talk about ROI).

2. Stop doing a million soul-sucking things. Once I realized how much I hated certain aspects of marketing (or ‘connecting’ for those of you uncomfortable with the “M word”), I just stopped doing them. Not all means of sharing your service/product are necessary. Find a couple of ways that are FUN and JOYFUL and do those. Do them regularly, with fidelity; keep them enjoyable and forget the rest. Once you’re done “connecting” for the day, put it away. Seriously. If you hate blogging, stop doing it. If you like to host parties, do that instead. If Twitter confuses you, don’t use it. You can always add these things to your repertoire once your business grows and you can even hire a VA to do this work for you. When you’re first getting started though, stick to a few modes of marketing that you find enjoyable and keep showing up, every day.

3. Do your work for free. If you are a service provider, give back. Offer some value for free every.single.day. Stop blasting your Facebook wall, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook groups with strictly promos. People want to see you giving and receiving (just like in any relationship ;)).  I’m not advocating for full on free services, free coaching calls or free products, but you can show up in the role of service provider everywhere you go to some degree. The law of the Universe states that we must be willing to give as much (or more) than we receive. I like to keep it at least a 3:1 ratio. For every time I promote my services I give some nugget of coaching love away at least 3 times.

4. Gratitude. Be grateful every day, multiple times a day: write journals, gratitude lists, tell your loved ones, shout your gratitude from the rooftops-- just do it and mean it. No matter how little you feel you have, you have something. You have a phone or computer to be reading this on. You have your vision and some type of motivation to better yourself (which is evident just by you reading this). You have reasons to be thankful. If your not expressing your gratitude then honestly, you don’t deserve any more goodness. Again, this is simply a lesson I learned the hard way. So, even if you only have one client or maybe you only have one consultation set up all month-thank Jesus or God or Buddha or the Universe—just be grateful. This shifts the whole scope of your world. And this is not a temporary practice solely for entrepreneurs; this is an every body practice, all the time.

5. Rid yourself of the doubters. Surround yourself with the believers. Stop commiserating with people who are struggling like you or people who don’t understand your dream. Start connecting with people who have done what you want to do or something similar. Stop sitting around whining about everything that isn’t working or letting your conversations become rants of why you should probably give up. When you call your parents, friends, significant other and you are crying or whining about how you aren’t successful—guess what? They will probably absorb all of that fear with you and allow it to grow even more. If you have to complain or vent do so in a space where people won’t buy into your fears, but will instead stand with you in your power. Join me here for example. There are lots of no BS coaches and entrepreneurs out there who don’t believe all of your sob stories because they are too busy believing in your greatness.

Are you newish in biz? What steps are you taking to ensure success? Veteran in biz? What’s your #1 tip to get your biz off to a good start?? Share in the comments. 

With {tough} love, 

Liv

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