I came across a blog post that began with, “There’s a phenomenon happening in the online business world that is doing a huge disservice to creative entrepreneurs who want success on their own terms. I call it the rise of the ‘6 figure’ business coaches, and it is the reason why so many women entrepreneurs are feeling self-doubt and frustration. Yes. I’m talking about the Fearless Girl Bosses who want you to Stop Playing Small, Be More Visible, Crush Your Competition, Overcome Your Money Blocks, Charge Your Worth and Hit 6 Figures.
“I think I covered all the buzz words there, right? Aren’t those the words we see over and over again, across multiple business Facebook groups, webinars, opt-ins, blog posts and coaching sales pages? Aren’t we told that these are the keys to becoming successful? And yet… Something just doesn’t feel quite right about it all. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.”
When I first read thread comments on the blog post entitled, “Why those ‘6 figure’ business coaches are failing you” I was more amused than anything.
As a result of not only the article, but also the dozens upon dozens of comments, I wrote this post. I’m very clear that not everyone will agree with my train of thought. I’m equally clear there will be those who find my perspective refreshing. Regardless of your position, I welcome your feedback in the comments box at the end of this post.
Who are these coaches?
I happen to be one of those who encourage people to quit playing small and to become more visible. It’s not about “crushing the competition” but it is about doing what you’re here to do in a way that allows as many people as possible to benefit from what you have to offer.
I also position my message with, “I built a six figure business and so can you.” That is… if your willing to do a few key things like: do the work, gain visibility, and quit playing small.
As a matter of fact, I have a Think Tank I’m currently promoting which focus on building a six figure business. Not just any six figure business, but a purpose driven business.
FACT: The more visible you are the more people see your messaging. The more people that see your message, the more impact you can have with your products and services. If you hide out, play small and are not visible, you are not going to reach the very people you claim to want to help.
I frequently see this with coaches who are also authors. They write a book because they have an important message. Their deep desire is to use the book to grow their practice. This is a logical conclusion on their part.
What isn’t logical is that many hold the belief that once the book is published they need not do much at all to promote the book. They hold the erroneous belief that they (and their book) will be discovered. They wait for sales. They wait to be asked to do media interviews. They wait for meeting planners to contact them about speaking engagements. They wait, and they wait and they wait.
You have to be visible
To not put effort into gaining lots of visibility for their book simply means they likely won’t sell any books. Not selling books means they likely go into debt from all that goes into getting a book done.
Does this have a thread of truth in it for you?
If you are an entrepreneur, who happens to also be a nonfiction author in the genres of self-help, spiritual or business, didn’t you write you book to impact others? If you said yes, why would you not do everything possible to spread the word about your book resulting in visibility for your services? Doing everything possible requires you quit playing small. It requires you become visible. It requires more than visualizing what you want by rolling up your sleeves to do the work.
After reading comment after comment about the evils of entrepreneurs who coach, who “push” the promise of building a six figure business, I went from amusement to shock.
The author of the post pointed out how unscrupulous the coaches who promise to teach you how to make money, especially on how to build a six figure (and beyond) business actually are.
Are you playing small?
“They treat you as ‘low hanging fruit’ by preying on your desperation and the “lack” mentality that you have because you’re not making enough money. They tell you that the reason you’re not making money is because you are playing small / have an upper limit problem / aren’t charging your worth / need to fix your mindset. And that they have the magic pill to help you fix all of that.”
FACT: There is no “magic pill.” Building a successful business takes time, effort, commitment and energy. It doesn’t happen by wishing for it. You absolutely have to work at it.
Contracts clarify roles and responsibilities
Here was one women’s take on contracts.
“The people I’ve seen being taken advantage of because they don’t know how a business should work is heartbreaking. It’s criminal, getting locked into 12 month non-cancelable contracts. How can you force someone to work with you who doesn’t want to?”
FACT: Contracts are a part of virtually any business. Ideally, contracts should outline responsibilities on both sides including how long the working relationship is for, payment schedule, deliverables, etc. To not have a written agreement lends itself to unnecessary misunderstandings.
Contracts give people time to think about the decision they are making. When I send a client a contract, they have to initial each page. If they initial the pages without reading the entire document this makes no sense. I want them to read the document carefully in order that they know what they are agreeing to.
I want them to be fully aware of what they are agreeing to and what the terms of our working relationship will be.
Bottom line is this: if you don’t want to get locked into a contract, don’t sign it. Pure and simple. And once you do sign the contract, integrity means you will do all you can to stay current on your payments. It’s amazing how many so called “integrity based entrepreneurs” will sign agreements and then not take the agreement seriously.
In not only about money, but….Business IS about making money
Then there was this comment: “They’re failing you by convincing you that it’s more important to make money fast than it is to become excellent at what you do.”
FACT: Money and excellence are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, the more you focus on excellence, it’s likely the easier it is to attract clients. The easier it is to attract clients the more money you can make.
Granted, there are some coaches who do prey on the fear of floundering “wanna be” entrepreneurs, but there are countless others who are the real deal, guiding their clients to profitable businesses.
Here are a few things I know to be true:
1. Building a successful business takes work. It’s not for the faint of heart nor for those who are lazy.
2. There will be times we are uncomfortable. Staying in our comfort zone does not allow for growth.
3. There are ethical and unethical individuals in virtually any industry. One of the worst for those who promise results with no work is the diet industry. “Take this magic pill and you can keep eating the way you have been, do no exercise and you will watch the pounds melt off.” Naught.
4. “Make millions with the press of a button,” is a lie and there is no such thing. Sure, there are people who launch a product or program and make a boatload of money, but when you pull back the curtain you see that there was a ton of work that went into the “button pushing that generated the money.”
5. No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head to get them to sign a contract for coaching. If you do in fact sign up because a coach has pushed your buttons you need to “put on the big girl (or boy) pants” and accept responsibility for the choice you made.
Again, I completely agree there are those that will “shame” others into making a decision, but this is not how most coaches operate. Most have a due-diligence processes in place.
There are those who want you to succeed
For those of us who sincerely want to help our clients succeed, we don’t want to sign people who are not committed to doing the work. We want to work with those who are serious about the working relationship. But we can’t do the work for our clients. They absolutely must take responsibility for their actions, or lack thereof.
I had to learn the hard way that not everyone who says they are willing to do the work is being honest about how hard they will work. As a result, how I enroll clients has changed dramatically.
Before one can join my higher end programs I require they fill out an assessment to determine if they are a great fit.
In the past, this was not a part of the enrollment process. As a result, I ran into problems with people who said they were willing to do the work but in reality, their definition and mine of “doing the work” was often very different. They wanted to cut corners. They wanted to quit when they realized there was work involved.
Is a Think Tank right for you?
I also have shorter programs that allow for someone to spend a few days with me for a fraction of what they would invest for long term, one-on-one programs. These programs are done over a period of a few days. We meet in person with less than a dozen people gathering together. My most current program is called, $100,000 Profit Blueprint Think Tank.
For two days, I pull back the curtain and teach the best of the best strategies on how to grow a six figure business. I don’t teach pie in the sky strategies, but rather, what it takes to get from where they are at to where they want to be. I don’t trick them, coerce or shame them into joining me for two days.
Actually, it’s just the opposite. The information page is very detailed and allows potential participants know what to expect and what not to expect.
The premise of the two days together is to teach as much as possible on how to work smarter, more effectively and create a blueprint for their business.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”Albert Einstein.
Bottom-line is this: growing a business takes time, effort, investments and sweaty palms.
Investments or expenses?
Let’s talk about investments. Actually, there are investments and there are foolish expenditures.
Recently, I talked to one seven figure entrepreneur who, early on in his business, had gotten himself $20,000 in debt $5 and $10 at a time. He was constantly buying programs that promised to be the solution for his problems, but he failed to implement the information. He would buy something and rather using the information he had just purchased; he would press the “buy button” one more time.
Things turned around for him when he invested in a mentor who helped him to see where he needed to make changes with one being to quit pressing the “buy button” before determining if he was willing to implement the information he was about to purchase.
Are you addicted to spending?
A very real issue in all of this is the addiction many people have to buying the next “pie in the sky” promise. As much as you need to make investments you also need to have discipline and restraint when you get that “got to have this thing that is going to fix everything” feeling.
Whether the thing is another program, coaching services, a mastermind experience, or a widget, step back long enough to reason your decision through.
FACT: Many people are addicted to buying. Whether it be that next program or the services of a coach, addiction to buying the promise is real. It’s called CBO.
According to some experts, “compulsive buying disorder (CBD), is characterized by an obsession with shopping and buying behavior that causes adverse consequences. According to Kellett and Bolton (2009, p. 83), compulsive buying “is experienced as an irresistible–uncontrollable urge, resulting in excessive, expensive and time-consuming buying activity typically prompted by negative affectivity” and results in “gross social, personal and/or financial difficulties”.
“Most people with CBD meet the criteria for an axis II disorder. Compulsive shopping may be considered an impulse control disorder, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, a bipolar disorder, or even a clinical addiction, depending on the clinical source.”
There is no easy road to riches
So the problem goes beyond the unethical coaches who prey on desperation. The fact is, without a level of desperation on the side of those who buy into the “easy ways to riches” promise, the “now you see them, now you don’t” coaches would not be able to pull the wool over their victim’s eyes.
Building a business is work. It takes time. You can’t cut corners. You can’t be lazy.
Regarding the responses to the original blog post that started my response to her post; maybe it’s the community the author attracts. Maybe it’s that far too many budding entrepreneurs jumped into a working relationship with a business coach based on emotion rather than logic. Maybe it’s that once someone is told what needs to be done, they freak out and are not willing to do the work, but the reality is, building a business is NOT for the faint of heart.
Does everyone need to build a six figure business? No! Absolutely not. But let’s look at the facts.
FACT: A business will NOT succeed without revenues. Period. No matter how heart-centered one is, you have to generate revenues, you have to know your numbers and you have to generate a profit if you want to stay in business.
Heart-centered meets profit-focused
I consider myself to be very heart-centered in my business. I also know, my heart-centered vision isn’t enough. On top of my vision, I absolutely must generate revenues.
Regardless of what type of business you’re in you need to make money and you need to make a profit. To become profitable, you absolutely must focus on your numbers.
Granted, it’s not just about making money, but face it, if you are not profitable, you won’t be in business for long.
In order to make money you need to:
- Generate leads
- Close business
Contrary to what many of the people who are in this woman’s community seem to ignore, there are some tried and true ways to generate leads and close business.
One of the best ways to close business is to have sales conversations. You can do this face to face or you can get on the phone with potential clients. It’s amazing how often we can be told this and yet, this is the very thing so many struggling entrepreneurs avoid.
The 800 pound guerilla
Take the phone. Many struggling entrepreneurs treat the phone like an 800-pound guerilla.
One group I was involved with had nearly 200 budding entrepreneurs in it. Most are self-described heart-centered newbie business owners. All claimed they wanted to build six figure businesses.
One of the strategies they were given, and highly encouraged to implement, was to make 15 minutes of sales calls each day for 30 days. They were told that by doing so, they would begin generating revenues.
Almost every single person got excited about this strategy. When all was said and done, only a handful actually followed through for the full 30 days. Most gave up after a couple of days.
The few that took the strategy to heart are all meeting their projections. The others… well, let’s just say many of the others continued to struggle.
A great many of those struggling blamed everything outside of themselves for not achieving their goals. They blamed competition, the economy, the coach and some even blamed Mercury in Retrograde.
There were those who said, “It’s not about the money. I’m heart centered. I want to be inspired to make those calls.”
Give me a break. Isn’t paying your bills, creating a good life for your family and not struggling inspiration enough?
The fact is, money is a necessity to stay in business. To make money you have to treat your business like a business.
Money doesn’t minimize purpose
Making money need not minimize the fact we want to make the world a better place. Look at the likes of Oprah, Ellen, Marianne Williamson and Louise Hay. They are all definitely making the world a better place, but I can assure you, they are also about making money and being profitable.
When a business is profitable, we are able to do things we otherwise couldn’t. Hiring a team is a great example of what money can allow us to do.
When we hire team members, whether they be vendors, employees or contractors, paying them is a really noble thing to do. And to pay them, we need to make money.
If you’re not talking money, you likely don’t know your numbers. Not knowing your numbers is a dangerous place to be. Truth be told, when you don’t focus on your numbers your so-called business is a hobby, not a business.
As mentioned several times, money doesn’t have to be the only focus, nor should it be. Creating value for your clients is absolutely necessary, as is quality of products and services, but to not put money at the forefront could be one reason so many entrepreneurs flounder.
Are your expectations realistic?
But I digress on the issue of paying coaches really good money to guide us. The reality is, hiring the “right” kind of coach or mentor can cut years off one’s learning curve.
However, before hiring someone, determine if your expectations are realistic. If you think you are going to go from making minimal revenues to building a six figure business with no work or effort, you are sadly mistaken. Part of getting from where you’re at to where you want to be requires a plan, strategies, and often, a blueprint.
To not have a clear vision (blueprint) of how we plan to get from where we are, to where we want to be, seems to put one in an uphill climb in their business.
What about strategic plans? What about marketing plans? What about client acquisition plans?
Believe me, building a business is hard enough without stacking the deck against ourselves by not having clear cut plans.
Having been in business for over 21 years, I know the times I struggled (yes, in 21 years there have been struggles) was when I didn’t have plans, blueprints and strategies in place.
What are your projections?
Financial projections need to be included in your plans. Running a business is not always easy and not having the money conversation makes it even more of a challenge than it need be.
To the heart-centered entrepreneurs who are committed to building a successful business, but are struggling, isn’t it time to treat your business like a business?
Would things be easier if you didn’t have to wonder how you are going to make ends meet from month to month?
Wouldn’t you love to be able to contribute to charities, people and projects you believe in when you want?
If so, you need to have the money conversation and you need to quit judging those who are succeeding as if they are forcing you to do things their way.
It’s time to grow up and take responsibility for your choices. Before hitting that next “buy now” button, determine why you are doing so. Are you doing so because you are looking for the “easy” way to riches or are you doing so because you’ve done your homework and you know this person can help you get to the next level and beyond in a logical, ethical, real, and authentic way?
If you’re someone who is tired of playing small, is ready to go full out to create a purpose-driven business AND understands the importance of high visibility my Power Up Think Tank, may very well be a great fit for you. Seating is very, very limited.
During this deep-dive two-day experience you will…
- Learn how to clearly articulate your expertise
- Understand exactly how to identify your sweet-spot client base
- Learn how to generate leads that convert into sales
- Have sales conversations that are not “salesy”
- Learn to enjoy the sales conversation
- Increase revenues and profit margins
- Be willing to bust out of old thinking and be seen for who you really are
To find out when the next Think Tank is happening go to http://powerupthinktank.com/
Kathleen, telling it like it is, as usual! You’ve got to do the work. And sometimes, even doing the work doesn’t get you where you want to be, without following the recommendations of your mentor or coach. Yes, doing busy work feels good, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Get out there, make sales and prove yourself and you’ll be a success.
Great article Kathleen! I admit that years ago I was comfortable being merely a heart-centered massage therapist and it took awhile for a major mindset shift to even say I would like a 6 figure income. When I made that shifts a few years ago I jumped all in to create what I know will be something great! Yes, lots of bumps in the road and am now undoing things that fell by the wayside and now gaining clarity on the right way to build the business. “Fire Ready Aim” at least got the balls rolling!
I found the post that you refer to and read it too. There were some things I agree with in each post. Probably because I’ve either acted on them or fell victim to them or succeeded.
That due diligence was missing for me early on as a new coach so that I got seduced with promises that actually were more like the classic toy and candy grab arcade machine that usually leaves you empty.
Both posts, yours and the one that you called out, are refreshing so thanks for sharing each one Kathleen.
Great article. Well Written. Covers all the points. You obviously know what you are talking about. Many, many people want to buy the ‘game changing’ software or training program, not realizing that after you spend the money, you need to start Working. You sound like a wonderful coach that is actually more interested in helping people as opposed to just taking their money. And consequently, end up making lots of it! Bravo! Thanks for sharing!