A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend (another life coach), who commented, “Wow – you’re doing so much these days – you’re really on fire. It’s amazing how you’ve launched your business and are doing so well”. And they weren’t talking about my marketing business (which is humming along nicely). They were talking about my life coaching business. Two different things in my mind.
My reaction was a huge “Huh?” I was really taken aback. The reality is that last year at about exactly this same time, I was ready to put a plan in place to transition away from marketing altogether and re-launch my business as a life coach.
I had completed the Martha Beck & Koelle Simpson life and equus coach training programs, and had just returned from an amazing retreat with Bev Barnes where I finally realized my purpose as a coach (and became endorsed as a Soul’s Calling Coach).
I was so excited to move forward to really launch my business, but then life happened and stopped me in my tracks. My mom died, bringing expected grief, but also a lot of pain and emotions I thought had been resolved but apparently were not – along with a bit of a messy estate to deal with.
So I decided to give myself permission to just be – permission to not launch my business and just do what felt was easy while I was dealing with life.
A year later, I am ready once again to move forward and re-start my plan to launch.
But I haven’t actually launched yet at all. So why do people think I have?
Because I’ve been doing stuff:
- I’ve created a website
- I’ve outlined my programs
- I have coaching clients and am coaching
- I’ve run a couple of workshops
- I’ve created a course with a fellow life coach
- I’ve written a book
- I’ve taken training
- I’ve talked about coaching
All of this stuff is great, and it might make it look on paper like I have launched. But I haven’t really.
What I’ve really done is experimented and tried a bunch of stuff. I would put this all in the “information gathering” category.
And don’t get me wrong, information gathering is fantastic. As long as you don’t mistake it for actually launching your business.
And it was only when I got a couple of comments from people that it seemed like I was “on fire” with my coaching business that it hit me: I think this is what happens. I think so many life coaches try a bunch of stuff, just like I have, but they mistake this for actually launching their businesses. And then when their “launch” is not successful, they give up.
I’ve watched so many people in my coaching programs, so many amazing coaches who have so much to offer, put up a website and then…. nothing. A few months or a year later, I see a post that they’ve gone back to their corporate job.
I always wondered what happened. And I think I might now have the answer. It’s possible that many of these amazing coaches thought that they had launched their businesses, but were just doing stuff. So when their launches “didn’t work” they made it mean that no one was interested in what they had to offer or that it’s not possible for them to make a living as a life coach.
But the reality is that they really don’t know if that’s true. Because they haven’t really launched. They’ve just tried a bunch of stuff.
What is the difference between doing stuff and launching your business?
So this brings up the question, what is the difference between doing stuff and really launching?
First of all, I really believe that all of this “doing stuff” is super valuable. You get to experiment, try things, and gather lots of great information – information on what you like and don’t like, how you prefer to work, who you prefer to work with, and on and on.
But gathering information doesn’t make you an entrepreneur and it doesn’t build a successful business.
Because my background is in business and marketing, and I have helped start-ups launch from the ground up, supported larger businesses in launching new products and services, and then successfully launched my own marketing consulting business (and then re-launched that business as a marketing strategist & coach), I know the blood, sweat and tears that go into really preparing your business for launch – and then launching and running that business day to day.
So when I realized that I wanted to change my business and re-launch as a life coach, I knew it was going to take a lot of work and require a lot of preparation before I would be even close to ready for launch.
And this is where I think many life coaches go wrong. They don’t do all that upfront work to prepare for launch.
Here’s the great news. All of that doing stuff is an amazing first step in preparing to launch. And that is essentially what I have done for the past two years. I’ve been doing some coaching, I’ve created programs, I’ve surveyed people, I’ve participated in groups and forums.
What I haven’t done is given up my “good enough job” while doing all of this. I didn’t mistake all of this doing stuff for actually launching. I didn’t expect to replace my income with coaching right away.
But now, I am ready to put a plan in place to do just that. I am going to start my own “prepare to launch” journey. I’m going to do all the deep work, I am going to get my business ready to launch, and I am going to put a plan in place to eventually replace the income from my marketing consulting business – with income from my coaching business.
Here’s what I am going to do to prepare to launch my business:
- Reconnect with who I am:
- Take a new look at who I am, my purpose behind my business and my mindset. It’s been a year since I did this, and I want to make sure everything I do to prepare to launch is in line with who I am and my soul’s purpose. I also want to revisit my mindset. What potential blocks might come up? Limiting beliefs? Fears?
- Really understand my business goals and definition of success – and make sure they are still aligned with my life goals and, of course, somewhat (ok very) realistic. Things have changed. Last year, I was living in Vancouver and had a huge mortgage, today I’m living at our yurt on the lake mortgage free (for now) and we are deciding what to do with our living situation.
- Connect who I am to my core business:
- Review my core business fundamentals (my ideal client, core difference, and products/services) and make sure my business is still aligned with who I am, how I prefer to work, and what I really want – and make any adjustments or changes.
- Do the same thing with my brand, messages, story and foundational marketing materials (like my website, social media pages, etc.) to make sure they are still aligned with who I am and my core business.
- Create my marketing strategy and action plan:
- Take a look at my Marketing Hourglass strategy, and make sure it’s still in line with my core business, my goals, and who I am and how I prefer to work.
- Turn my Marketing Hourglass strategy into my core marketing system – and put an action plan in place to bring that system to life.
- Create a marketing launch plan.
- Do all that entrepreneur stuff:
- Review my core business processes, including my marketing system (from step 3) and my buying (how are people actually going to buy my services and what happens when they do) and distribution (how will I deliver my services) processes.
- Review what my day-to-day business will look like. When, how and where am I going to work? I will really need to make sure how I run my business day to day is in line with who I am and how I prefer to work – AND – will enable me to reach my business and lifestyle goals. In my experience, sometimes these two things aren’t quite aligned – and can quickly lead me off track.
- Look at mindset again. How am I going to lead myself and anyone else involved in my business? What boundaries am I going to need to put in place? How will I deal with any challenges, problems, issues and set-backs?
Then – I am actually going to launch my business.
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