July 2014 - Coaching Blueprint - marketing for life coaches
How to promote your business on Facebook (without feeling yucky)

How to promote your business on Facebook (without feeling yucky)

 

I asked a group of coaches the number one thing they struggled with on Facebook–can you guess the most common answer? Promoting themselves and their services.

Because it feels ‘icky’ or you’ve seen people do it badly and it turned you off. Or you just have no idea how to do it gracefully.

But here’s the thing: we are in business. We have to make the ask every once and awhile. People need to know how they can work with us. And, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before–but it bears repeating–if your services help people (and I know they do!!), then you are actually doing your people a disservice by not proactively offering them up.

There are absolutely ways to promote yourself without without feeling icky and like you are an annoying “if you buy in the next 5 minutes…” infomercial.
 

#1: NO MORE THAN 20-25% OF YOUR CONTENT SHOULD BE PROMOTIONAL

We talked about this in my Facebook Page checklist post last month (and you can grab the full 4 pillars training in my bio below) but a well-rounded Facebook presence includes content from all 4 pillars: Attraction, Education, Engagement and Advertising. People are not on social media to be sold to and the first 3 pillars are what Gary Vaynerchuk classifies as ‘Jabs’ in his brilliant social media handbook Jab Jab Jab Right Hook:

“Without a proper combination of jabs to guide you customer–I mean, your opponent–right where you want him, your right hook could be perfect and your opponent could still dodge it as easily as a piece of dandelion fluff. Precede that perfectly executed right hook with a combination of targeted, strategic jabs, however and you will rarely miss.”

Provide inspiration & entertainment, curate the best resources from across your industry and really TALK to your audience and you’ll be building a loyal audience who is ready for your ‘Right Hooks’ (promotional posts).
 

#2: MAKE YOUR ADVERTISING CONTENT INTERESTING

Seriously. I know I’ve called it ‘Advertising’ content but it shouldn’t feel like an Ad, even though it does need to make a clear ask.

I believe it’s important to put as much (or better yet MORE) thought into your Advertising content as you would for any of the other pillars. Make it interesting, useful, entertaining, of the highest quality and with a clear call to action. You are asking for something but it shouldn’t feel annoying or like it’s interrupting your fans Facebook experience.

And guess what? This usually means great ‘Advertising’ posts have an element of one (or more!) of the other 3 non-promotional pillars. Here are 4 fantastic examples of this:

Attraction + Advertising

danielle laporte

Danielle LaPorte.
 
Not only is this a great way to ask for newsletter sign-ups, these Truthbombs work double duty for Danielle LaPorte because they get shared so much they are also great Attraction content.
 

 
Engagement + Advertising

smart passive income pat flynn

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn
 
This is an absolutely brilliant piece of Advertising content from Pat Flynn asking his fans to vote for his podcast. And he did this for two weeks–every single day voting was open. Not at all annoying + very cute peeps into his day-to-day life. (I’m willing to bet this tactic netted him A LOT of votes–certainly more than just “another reminder to vote for the SPI podcast”.)
 

Do any of these examples make you feel icky or like you are being “sold” to? I’m going to go out a limb (not really) and say NOPE! Not even a little bit.

(PS: I know we were specially talking about Facebook here, but these concepts apply to ANY social network.)

TAKE ACTION

Choose one thing you’d like to promote or advertise this week. Think about it through the lens of either Attraction, Education or Engagement content and draft a post to share on your Facebook Page.

 

Jackie Johnstone is a social media consultant for passionate entrepreneurs with an important message to share. She’s on a mission to help you banish tech headaches, reach more people, make real connections and change more lives.

Get your social media brimming with brilliant posts your audience will love! Grab Jackie’s free training here and get everything you need to start using the 4 Pillars of Great Social Media Content in your business.

You can find Jackie all over the social web but she’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Avoiding calling yourself a coach? Read this.

Avoiding calling yourself a coach? Read this.

It started a few years back, once the field of life coaching was generally looked upon as a ‘mainstream’ career path. Client after client would fill out their copy-writing intake questionnaire and inevitably, they’d say something like this:

“I’m a certified life/health/business coach, but I don’t want to be called a coach. Anything but that, please.”

And lest you think this problem is confined to my clientele only — oh, no. An ongoing discussion in a private copy-writing group I co-facilitate reveals that many (if not most) of our collective clients who are coaches prefer NOT to be called so.

At first, I could get down with my clients’ desire for creative titling. After all, calling oneself a Luscious Life Optimizer is a little more riveting than the more standard alternative. But when did the desire to differentiate jump the shark? When is jazzing up your job title taking it too far?

Answer: when your colorful language clutters comprehension.

Write for the lady on the bus.

In undergrad, I studied English with a focus in Creative Writing. I spent many hours circled around a heavy wooden workshop table with other aspiring fiction and memoir writers and poets. One of my earliest fiction writing profs gave us this piece of advice, which I’ve never forgotten: Whatever you write, write for the lady on the bus. She’s not stupid, she’s tired.

Your Right Person/ideal client/perfect site visitor is the lady on the bus. You can call her Marcia or Lily or Farrah or Jane, but she is the woman on the bus. Put her in yoga clothes, a thrift store track suit, or vintage DVF and she’s still the lady on the bus. She’s tech phobic, tech-tastic, or somewhere in between and yep . . . she’s the lady on the bus. When she arrives on your website today she’s feeling assertive/worried/horny/elated/resourceful/hopeful/bummed/incredulous/determined and, you guessed it. Lady. On. The Bus.

The lady on the bus — i.e. your intended client — needs to know whether you’re a coach or whether you’re not a coach. Because if she’s needing someone to help her get clear, feel more of how she wants to feel in her life, and dissolve blocks to what she really wants, then an honest, online life coach (especially one who reads and affiliates with this site) is someone she can trust.

Being clear isn’t for suckers.

Clearly stating what you do, who you do it for, and your relationship to your clients within your business is . . . well, everything.

Fail to establish clarity in the first few seconds on your site about what this website is and you’ve lost them. This is not a scare tactic. This is science. Sure, they might come back again. If you’ve got a great blog and social strategy, you’ll be beckoning them in on the regular.

But why not be clear the first time around and give them a better chance at hiring you?

Why, indeed? Why do so many coaches resist calling themselves a ‘coach’? And if you’re a coach and you’re NOT one who dislikes the title, I know you know others who do.

What’s up with the alternate lingo?

Looking at this situation empathically, I can see where the discomfort maybe comes from. As Creative Director of a boutique copy-writing agency (we write web copy, or words, for small business websites), I know for a fact that many copywriters dislike calling themselves so. ‘Copywriter’ can sound a bit downmarket, or too advertising-y (“Gross, you use words to sell?”), or like the antithesis of a ‘real,’ literary writer or an academician. So we’ve called ourselves ‘wordsmiths,’ ‘hired pens,’ and ‘scribes’ to get around it.

What gives with coaches? I’m gathering from conversations with my own clients that they’re trying to sidestep any ‘bad rap’ the coaching industry may have gotten somewhere along the way. But as I tell them, when you’re a high integrity practitioner and your entire brand conversation and suite of signals reflects that, they’ll get the right picture about you. Secondarily, they may feel that coaching is only ONE tool in the repertoire they use with clients, and I can certainly understand that. ‘Coach’ may not feel holistic or dynamic enough.

So what’s the solution? How do you title yourself or describe your work if you really don’t like the word ‘coach’ but you feel it represents the nature of your work?

Here are three ideas:

1) Infuse your tagline with the fun flair you were trying to capture in a creative title. Or personality-pack the short ‘hey, hello!’ copy that sits in the sidebar with your headshot. (If you’re working with a good copywriter, he or she could already be doing this for you.)

2) Consider alternatives to ‘coach’ that better embody the spirit of the work you do. Look for nouns that describe roles, such as ‘teacher,’ ‘advisor,’ ‘guide,’ ‘mentor,’ ‘advocate,’ ‘champion.’ Avoid making new words out of adjectives (i.e. awesomizer, lovely-fier, or anything-jazzler).

3) Redefine what a coach is on your About page or in your mini bio. For instance, “I’m a life coach who meditates with her clients.”

What do YOU think? In what cases should a coach consider an alternative title? Or have you recently started calling yourself a coach again after trying a more creative title? Share this post on social media and tell us about it.

Abby Kerr is Creative Director of The Voice Bureau, a boutique brand voice development and copywriting agency serving solo-owned and small businesses. She is creator of The Voice Values paradigm for branding. Subscribe to her e-letter, Insider Stuff, for your complimentary brand voice self-assessment. Then tweet her to share your Top 3 Voice Values.

Abby lives in the PNW and is a home cook, a dog mom, and a fiction writer.

 


Avoiding Coach Burnout

Avoiding Coach Burnout

 

Burnout is all too often an experience that coaches are familiar with. Combine the heady mix of entrepreneurship, business learning curve and doing transformational work with clients and you’ve often got a recipe for overwhelm stew.

Oftentimes we think it’s the business side of things that get us. For many coaches (myself included) the skills, lessons and systems involved in setting up and running a successful biz are new and the learning curve steep.

The coaching itself? Well that’s the joy.
Except when it isn’t.

It’s not unusual to get burnt out on coaching itself. We can be so focused on getting the results for our clients that we don’t realize when our own emotional strings are being gently tugged.

For many it looks a bit like this:

You’ve had a busy few weeks. You coaching biz is going great – clients are loving your work and you feel like you’re doing some real transformational stuff. You’ve got your systems worked out (in a fashion), and you’re making money. BUT you’re feeling worn down and exhausted. You can’t quite put your finger on why – you just know that you’re not bouncing back as quickly as you used to.

This is where checking in with your own stuff is important.

Think of it like this:

You’re client is digging a hole. Excavating the ground, breaking up boulders, and laying strong new foundations. While they’re the ones doing the entire heavy digging, lugging and lifting, you’re walking alongside them. When they sink that shovel into the earth, dust and debris are thrown up. You may not be doing the actual shovelling but some of that dust is naturally going to get on you due simply to proximity.

You’ll have some client sessions where afterwards there’s no mistaking the dust – you can feel it in your hair and lungs. Perhaps something the client said reminded you of a similar incident you’d been through yourself, or behaviour has triggered you and you know that you need to do something about it. It’s part of the self-awareness that comes from being a coach. But even with those sessions that go like a charm, over time that dust can leave it’s coating on you.

How to turn it around

The best way to clean off this dust is to have your own periodic supervision or coaching sessions. You can do this with someone who works specifically with coaches or you can use your peers and colleagues. It doesn’t really matter which way you choose to do is, so long as you keep on doing the work yourself so that you can remain centered, grounded and self-aware.

One of the analogies I often use about coaching is that it’s like that part at the hair salon where the stylist holds the mirror up so that you can see the back of your own head. Coaching shows us our blind spots and raises our awareness to our own stuff. It’s great when a client has that ‘I’d never thought of it that way before!’ moment isn’t it? Well, we need that as coaches too.

Having regular coaching and supervision yourself ensures that you’re not carrying round unwanted mental baggage that will weigh you down and hold you back from being really, truly present with your clients.

It helps to clean of the mental dust that accumulates, highlights your own triggers and hot spots and leaves you clear, focused and free to do your very best work.
 

Jo Casey is a trainer, coach and the creator of The Work Happy Podcast. She works with aspiring and emerging coaches to help them find more joy, confidence and impact in their work. She’s written for MindBodyGreen, Tiny Buddha, Brazen Life, Dumb Little Man and Finer Minds. You can find her at www.jocasey.com and sign up for signature programme The Map Of You where you’ll discover the meeting point between your unique strengths, passions and talents, and how you really make a difference in the world. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

25 questions to ask when planning a coaching retreat

25 questions to ask when planning a coaching retreat

So you’re thinking of planning a coaching retreat, hmm? Fabulous! As someone who has run a few of my own (in Iceland and Peru) I can tell you from first-hand experience that they can be profound and transformative experiences for both the participants and you. They can also be complete stress-bag nightmares.

As with all things in online business, we only see the highlight reel of what others are doing. We see smiley photos full of glowing faces on retreat with a sublime sunset background. But not many people talk about the work that goes into to planning, prep, and execution of a large (often international) event. It’s even less often that you hear any mention of the dark side of the retreat business.

Personally, I’m not interested so much in what went really well…there are tons of tips and advice out there on how to make sure your event is a huge success.

What I’m fascinated with – and what I’m sharing with you today – is everything you need to know or put in place to ensure things don’t go sideways.

Trust me; problems with accepting international payments, having a high drama diva on your retreat causing headaches to the other participants, or mismatched expectations causing problems between you and your retreat co-leader are all things you want to avoid at all costs.

Retreats are wonderful but they do require a lot of emotional energy. Set yourself up for success from the beginning, and the rest takes care of itself.

What do I wish I’d considered before running my first retreat? Here are 25 ideas:

1) Do I like being responsible for the happiness of a group of 8-15 people I don’t know well (or at all?)

2) What is my ideal guest for this retreat? What type of person are they? What are they currently craving in life? And importantly, who are they NOT?

3) Where will it be held? Does the time of year need to be taken into consideration? (Both for retreat location – rainy season vs dry season for example – and also for participants home countries – March break anyone?)

4) Will there be an option for people to have their own room and if not what’s the policy for people who decide they don’t like their roommate?

5) What’s included in the price? (retreat only? meals? international airfare? travel insurance?)

6) How will it all be insured?

7) How can I legally accept payments for a retreat in my state/province if I am not a travel agent?

8) In the event of a medical emergency, how will it be handled?

9) What are my deposit, payment, and refund policies?

10) Will I have an application process and if so, how will that be handled? also: how will I reject applications nicely?

11) How will I price the retreat in order to ensure profit?

12) Who will book the venue and any extracurricular activities? Who will follow up with those vendors to make sure everything is in order close to the retreat date?

13) What kind of information do I need to include in the information packet? (if not provided by the venue)

14) How will retreat guests get to and from the airport to the retreat location – what parts of travel to and from am I responsible for?

15) Do I want to collaborate with another person? If so, why? Does it feel less intimidating than doing it alone? What if they don’t pull their weight or there are tensions between us? Will I have a partnership contract in place and who will put that together?

16) Who is responsible for the marketing of the retreat? Me alone? 50/50 between my partner and I? The retreat venue?

17) What is the minimum viable attendance in order to split even? What’s the ideal number in order for it to be profitable?

18) What is a price point that I know my audience would be willing and able to pay?

19) Many retreat venues require a non-refundable deposit to hold the place for your event. Where will I get that funding?

20) What will happen if some people sign up and make a deposit (which I use to make a down payment at the retreat centre) but not enough to make the retreat viable? How will I refund their money?

21) What kind of contract will retreat guests need to sign? And medical form?

22) What is my contingency plan if I end up with a “problem guest“? i.e.; a diva who’s making other retreat guests miserable.

23) How much downtime will guests have? How much of each day will be full of activities?

24) What is the mix of activities I am going to offer? Think mix of physical activities like yoga or zip lining through a Costa Rican rainforest, coaching exercises that require guests to go deep and use a lot of emotional or mental energy, etc.

25) What is the theme of my retreat? What can people expect to do, be, or receive after it all over by having been a part of it?

As you can imagine, this list is really a jumping-off point. Next steps are writing down all of the other questions that these questions bring up, and making a list of everything you don’t know and need to find out. Then go out there and ROCK your retreat like an old pro.

Heather Thorkelson is an small business strategist for location independent entrepreneurs over at the Republic of Freedom. She’s a firm believer that it’s entirely possible to live as we dream, and spends her days proving it. Currently in Sweden, Heather can often be found in Peru and sometimes in the Polar Regions. Get her regular tips over on Instagram and say howdy over on Facebook or Twitter.

Why Your Business needs a CEO day

Why Your Business needs a CEO day

 

Every Wednesday, like clockwork, I drop my kids off at their dayhome, stop by Starbucks for a Venti long-shot Americano and then head home to dive head first into my favourite day of the week – my CEO day.

I’ve been actively scheduling in a CEO day each week for over two years now, and without question, it’s been the best (and most profitable) decision I’ve ever made.

Before I go into specifics, we need to all be working from one core premise:

You are the CEO of your business.

 
Yes, you’re a coach (and probably a fabulous one!). That’s the technical work of what you do, and it’s your gift to the world. Every day, you have the amazing privilege of transforming other people’s lives through your insights, your questions and by holding the space for their growth.

And that’s exactly what your business needs from you too. Because, just like your clients, if left to its own devices, your business would spend all its time in head-down busy work, never looking up to navigate new territory or push growth edges.
 

That’s why claiming your place as CEO is what separates the amateurs from the pros.

The CEO’s role is to set and steer the business vision, advance the core work of the company, innovate and stay apprised of market trends and conditions, and create strategic partnerships and relationships (among other things).

This is true of Fortune 500s and companies of one.

But in reality (and because we don’t have hundreds of staff like the big guys), day-to-day operations can easily keep us from doing the work that would actually advance our business, not just keep it afloat.

And so months go by and we wonder when we’ll finally find time to create that group coaching program to give us some leveraged income, or actively grow our list, or to write the book that would launch our speaking career, or strategize a launch plan vs just announcing our new offer and hoping for the best.

SOLUTION: the CEO day.

A CEO day gives you space, permission and time to do what Stephen Covey called the ‘Important/Non-Urgent’ work — those priorities we verbalize but rarely action. The things that matter most.

Here are just a few of the activities you could add to your CEO day:

 

  • High-level business planning: reviewing and designing your business vision, mapping out your next 90 days, checking in on your numbers and doing some analysis, researching a new market
  • Creation work: developing the content for your new program, recording the videos/audios that will become a product, working on your book, developing new tools for your clients, writing sales pages
  • Outreach + Relationship-Building: reaching out to fellow bloggers and peers to start or nurture a relationship, pitching guest posts, querying the media, mapping out a joint venture strategy
  • Business development: checking in with past clients, setting up sales conversations with potential new clients, taking an influencer for coffee, developing a referral system
  • Optimization and systemization: creating templates and systems, optimizing a section of your website, tweaking a sales process, streamlining your client intake system, having a meeting with your team

The work you do on your CEO day should be strategic and advance your business’s growth. It’s not the time to do day-to-day admin, post on social media, catch-up on emails or take clients.

*A quick caveat — don’t get hung up on a full day. If that doesn’t work with your business schedule, find a way that does. Maybe you carve out an hour each morning, or two, three-hour chunks each week, or maybe you take one weekend each month. It really doesn’t matter how you set it up – what matters is that you do!

And more importantly, that you actually honour this appointment with your business the way you would honour a client appointment. Have I ever booked something on my CEO day? Sure. But I try not to 90% of the time. Because my CEO day is sacred and is the catalyst for all the growth I’ve created in my business.

Like anything worth doing, you’ll have to build a muscle around this practice. At first it’ll feel hard — you’ll want to say yes to the client that asks to reschedule for your CEO day, or you’ll feel drawn to spend your first (or second) CEO day on Netflix. That’s ok – just keep scheduling them in and baby-step your way into a habit of honouring your business needs first.

My challenge to you today:

Open your calendar right now (it’s ok, I’ll wait) and block off three to five CEO days (or the equivalent). Use your first one to either create or review your business plan for the next six months. And then use future days to action and implement your plans.

Business activator + leadership coach Stephanie Pollock is devoted to helping talented women in business GO PRO with their dreams, stepping into the spotlights — and revenue streams — they so richly deserve.
She’s the publisher of Going Pro Magazine, a Top 40 Under 40 changemaker and creator of Beyond PRO: Claim your place as CEO – a leadership program designed specifically for entrepreneurial women. You can find her online at Stephanie Pollock Media Inc and on Twitter at @steph_pollock.