How to Gracefully Quit Your Business

How to Gracefully Quit Your Business

Let’s talk about something many coaches and entrepreneurs don’t like to discuss: quitting.

I’m talking about hanging up the “closed” sign for good.  Shutting down the website.  Walking away from a dying – or thriving – business.  Saying “I am done with this path.”

Quitting can be just as scary as starting.  In some ways, it can be worse.

That’s because we have a culture that says: “only quitters quit”, which makes us view the termination of a business as a personal failure.

Although most businesses end because they are not generating enough money, sometimes there are other reasons to walk away:

  • the business is no longer aligned with the direction you wish to go.
  • there has been a change in your personal life that is making it hard for you to keep the doors open (new baby, move, divorce, etc.)
  • you’re no longer happy
  • you’re bored
  • you want something else

Whatever the case may be, there is nothing wrong with you if you decide it’s time to hang it up.  But how do you know when?  And what is the most gracefully to quit your business and to walk away?

There are many signs that might indicate it’s time to close up shop: a lack of stable income or an inability to attract clients are obvious clues.  But look for subtle omens too: the wrong clients showing up more than the right ones, a lack of passion, a gut feeling that this is not your “right path”.

Listen to your practical side and your heart. Don’t ignore either.

As you begin the process of terminating your business, your friends, clients, and loved ones may be resistant.  Honor their feelings but don’t let that keep you hanging on to a business that no longer resonates.

Once you’ve established your intention to close down, go easy on yourself. You may be depressed and feel like a loser. Rather than viewing your situation or yourself as a colossal failure, treat the closing of your business like closing night on Broadway. A graceful exit means that you leave the stage, knowing you did your very best and gave it your all – but are ready to accept the show is over.  Bow out and exit stage right. You can always do an encore if you change your mind.

Next, you need to prepare for closure.  Let your clients and employees know well in advance. DO NOT close up without telling them.  Give them plenty of notice so that they can start looking for another service provider (you may want to give them a list of trusted referrals) or job.

Wind down step by step. Finish up any client work. Don’t take on more work that will extend beyond your closing date unless you can manage it (or it feels right). Start taking care of the legalities such as closing out bank accounts and filing any paperwork.   Pay off any outstanding debts (or, in some cases, this may be time to file bankruptcy).  Clear out your office or work space.  Take down your website and social media platforms.

Have a proper send off: send thank you notes to clients or employees. Throw a little gathering with your staff and favorite clients. Say your goodbyes.

Once you’ve finished up the process, a little ritual to say goodbye may be needed.  Perhaps a meditation, toast, or blessing may be in order. Give gratitude for all you’ve learned and all the wonderful people you’ve been privileged to work with and serve.

Be sure to take some time off and grieve if need be. This is a big step and you need to practice good self-care in the weeks or months that follow.  Be extra-kind to yourself.

Now what?  After you’ve had some time to heal, move on.  If you started another business or job, great.  If not, take some time to ponder your journey. Give yourself permission to explore new options.  And then look ahead and don’t look back.

One door closes but another one always opens.  Open the next door and begin anew.

Blessings!

Theresa Reed (aka The Tarot Lady) is an intuitive Tarot reader, teacher, mentor and yogi on a mission to take Tarot from hippie to hip. When she’s not reading tarot, she’s busy helping broke-ass mystics learn how to create sustainable + profitable businesses. If you are ready for straight talkin’ tarot and a side of biz whizz, get to her online hood: The Tarot Lady or follow her on Twitter @thetarotlady.

Clone Yourself Like a CEO

Clone Yourself Like a CEO

When you’re building a business, there comes a day, maybe even a month where you’re at the breaking point. Your weekly to-do list for your clients and running the business exceed what you humanly could accomplish in two weeks working 24/7.

You find yourself always in catch up mode, stressed out and thinking, “is this what it really takes?”

We’ve all been there and as the CEO of your little empire, you’ve got options. You can cut back your client workload, you can drop activities, or you can get help. Before you bring up how “bad” you are at managing people and how no one possibly can do it as well as you do, please hear me out.

Those objections are ones I hear from nearly every business owner. The reality is that we’re afraid that getting help is going to create more work.

Enter cloning yourself. It may seem like something out of a sci fi movie, but you can clone yourself like a CEO and regain your sanity.

How to Clone Yourself

When your head is completely spinning and you’re pulling 12 or 16 hour days to try to stay above water, it’s hard to wrap your head around getting help. So the key is for you to start small.

Take five minutes and write out all the tasks that you don’t like doing in your business. Don’t prejudge, just write them out and see what comes up for you. Then look at those tasks and assign them a value in terms of how they help you generate revenue as low, medium or high.

Here’s an example of some tasks and how I’d rank them:

  • Low: Scheduling blog posts, managing client intake paperwork
  • Medium: Writing a blog post or email copy, setting up an email funnel, FB ads set up
  • High: Working with 1:1 clients, new client consults, working with partners

To get started with cloning, look at the tasks in the low category. These are things you don’t enjoy doing and simply aren’t strategic for you to continue doing. Get really clear on this list and you’ll have what you need to figure out the right type of person to help you.

Tasks that generate little revenue are easily outsourced to a virtual assistant, ones with medium priority could be handed off to a online business manager, project manager, or a specialist in marketing, copywriting or technology areas.

Understanding what exactly you need to have someone handle for you is the best possible way to find the perfect for you clone. Avoid the temptation to hire someone out of desperation hoping they’ll be able to handle the tasks you need.

In addition to tasks, look at other key things you want in your clone. Consider things like time zones, availability, how much time you’ll need, personal attributes and more. From there, it’s time to seek out your clone. Start by working your professional networks, because I’m willing to bet one of your friends has a VA they adore who may be able to help. If you strike out there, look at services that can help you find a VA or sites like Odesk. It may take a bit of time, but hold out for the right fit within your budget.

I’ve Got a Clone. Now What?

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to cloning is once they’ve found the right match they fail to lay the groundwork. You can’t throw your clone into your business and expect them to be ready to roll in a matter of a few hours. You’ll need to invest some time and energy upfront to provide what they need to succeed.

What you do with your clone in the first 30 days will determine success or failure, so look at how you want to onboard them into your business. Provide them with not only the “how” of your business and what happens operationally but the big picture. Who are your clients? What do they need from you? What’s the bigger market context?

Helping them understand not only what you do, but how and why you do it, will help them make better decisions in the long run. You may even want to share your operating principles and your mission, vision and values if you have them.

With that foundation in place, you’ll need to create systems for each of the tasks they are going to handle. Love them, or hate them, you’re going to need systems. Look at systems for each task you want them to handle as an insurance policy that increases your odds of things going smoothly. Getting clear on what tools you use, who’s responsible for what and setting up a timeline saves a lot of back and forth later.

Once you get started with cloning, you’ll be on the lookout to create more clones so you can focus on what’s most important – running your business as the CEO.
Amber McCue is a systems and leadership expert and the CEO of NiceOps. She partners with the nicest, smartest CEOs around to help them step into leadership roles and build a strong CEO mindset.

How to Gracefully Quit Your Business

When Your Intuition Says No

 

As an entrepreneur, your business depends on a steady stream of clients, both old and new, so it’s always exciting to see a new face show up in your inbox.

Most of the time, they simply sign up and you begin happily working together sans issues.

But on rare occasion…you may find yourself with a niggling feeling that something isn’t right before you’ve even signed a contract. It might be a simple personality glitch. Maybe something they say or do rubs you the wrong way. Or, you might get a serious “red flag” that says “back away, disco lady.”

Maybe you trusted your gut and declined the work. But most of the time, that instinct gets ignored, especially when you are a new entrepreneur and needing the business.

And you know what happens next: it turns out to be a terrible fit and now you’re stuck in client hell.

Ever have that happen?

If you haven’t, lucky you. But, sadly, most entrepreneurs have.

When you need the work, it’s hard to say no to good, paying work. But when that work suddenly turns out to be a not-so-great experience, you may find yourself wishing that you would have listened to that small voice within.

How do you know when you are getting a true intuitive hit? And, if you do see a red flag, what’s the best way to exit the situation in a way that allows the client to save face?

I recommend a pre-emptive strategy that allows for time to flesh out a new client before you commit to working together. A little breathing room will give you time to sit with your feelings and see if they are valid or not.

Some tactics to consider:
 

An intake form

A questionnaire is a perfect way to feel out a potential client. It doesn’t need to be lengthy. A few short, well thought out questions can give you a lot of information.
 

A mini phone interview

Many coaches offer a free “15 minute strategy session” as a way to market their business. Instead of that mindset, use these sessions as an opportunity to ask questions and evaluate the energy between you and them.
 

One strategy that I use

All appointments are booked via email without an online scheduler. This often leads to a little “email tag” between me and the client, which gives me a chance to interact and scrutinize how they respond. While that may seem like an inconvenient way to work, I can see if they are friendly and if they practice good follow through. In some cases, I will require a valid referral, which gives me another buffer to explore if something feels funky.

Once you have had time to interact, notice how you feel. If something seems to bug you, sit with it so that you can assess if this is just a quirk or something more.

For example, I have a client who is extremely loud with a voice that sounds like a jackhammer on a chalkboard. Our first interaction was not great because her voice made the hair stand up on every pore in my body. That was not a sign of a “bad fit,” it was just an indicator that we needed to work on her inside voice. We’ve been happily working together for over a decade.

An intuitive hit feels much different. It feels negative and low-energy. For example, it might be the person who shows up with a list of demands and steamrolls right over you. It may be that you sense they are not being upfront about their situation. Or a perhaps they have a million and one excuses that smell like total b.s. When it starts going in that direction, you must trust your gut.

If you’re not sure, give yourself a little more “courting time” to explore this further. A few more probing questions may help you discern if this is indeed a potential problem client.

Once you’ve established that this is not someone with whom you want to work, the best path forward is to turn them down gently via email. Thank them for their time and interest and then use the “it’s not you, it’s me strategy” so that they can walk away with
dignity intact.

Example:

Hello Patti,

Thank you for your inquiry and for taking the the time to fill out my intake form.

After careful consideration, I don’t think that I am the right coach for you. It sounds like you may be looking for someone who is more “hands-on” than me.

It may be better for you to continue your search to find the right person who will serve you the way you want – and deserve to be served. Although I’m not that person, I know that there are many wonderful coaches for you to choose from – and I know your intuition will lead you to the right one.

Thank you again for your time,
Theresa

While turning down work is never easy, it’s much harder working with someone who isn’t your “right client.” That feels like a concert with mismatched players – the rhythm is off and it’s hard to hit the right notes, whereas a good fit brings perfect harmony.

Listen carefully to your instincts when you are making decisions about new clients and you’ll be making beautiful music with all the right ones.

Blessings!
 
Theresa Reed (aka The Tarot Lady) is an intuitive Tarot reader, teacher, mentor and yogi on a mission to take Tarot from hippie to hip. When she’s not reading tarot, she’s busy helping broke-ass mystics learn how to create sustainable + profitable businesses. If you are ready for straight talkin’ tarot and a side of biz whizz, get to her online hood: The Tarot Lady or follow her on Twitter @thetarotlady.

Clone Yourself Like a CEO

Do You Have CEO Growing Pains?

 

Your business is chugging along, you’re growing, you’ve got a great client list, but yet somehow you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsettled. As a coach, you feel like you should “know” better because you help your clients with these exact things.

Welcome to what I call the CEO growing pains. Somewhere along the way in our business we go from just being a coach to morphing into the CEO and we don’t even realize it. This phenomenon sets in at different points for different people, sometimes at a certain revenue point, or hiring a VA or even having a full client load. The key is to be able recognize the CEO growing pains when they show up – and learn how to lean into them instead of trying to resist.
 

The Signs of CEO Growing Pains

Working with emerging leaders, there’s a lot of things that come up for people as they step into their CEO shoes – especially if they don’t even realize it’s happening.

The most common sign of these growing pains is encountering massive amounts of resistance. If your coaching practice is going well, why are you having so much resistance? You may find yourself putting off big decisions, avoiding hiring the VA you so desperately need or running the “I’m not good enough” mantra on repeat.

Resistance is a tricky little bugger, but that resistance to things that are the natural next steps for your business is a surefire indicator that you’re on your way to becoming the CEO.

Very few of us actually move from coach to CEO with ease or grace because even the word CEO seems like too much. So we ask ourselves if we can even be the CEO when we’re a party of one and bury our heads in the sand.

Until you’re ready to accept that you’re the CEO and that you don’t have to be a big company to be the a CEO, you’re going to find yourself struggling with growing pains. The sooner you accept that you are indeed the CEO of You, Inc, the better.
 

What it Means to Move from Coach to CEO

Stepping into your role as CEO doesn’t mean that you have to build a multi-million dollar empire or soulless corporation. It’s simply code for you being more than the owner of the business where you taking on a leadership role that helps you reach your goals whatever they may be.

You may need to forget everything you know about leadership. Instead of the dudes in pinstriped suits in the corner office that you picture, this is modern leadership where coaches, entrepreneurs and change makers run small, agile businesses that make an impact on the community they serve.

This modern model of leadership lets us lead, change and live life on our terms, while helping our clients and making a healthy living in the process.

When you go from coach to CEO, you’re giving yourself permission to think bigger, get the help you need and make audacious dreams a reality. If the goal is to stay a party of one or build something bigger, it doesn’t matter, as the CEO instead of just the solo coach or business owner, you’re telling yourself and the world that you’re serious. That you’re the boss, and getting out of your own way in the process.

It’s your choice if you let the growing pains take you down for months or years, but the sooner you decide to be the CEO, the stronger your business will be.
 

Amber McCue has a sweet spot for helping entrepreneurs do better business and increase their bottom line. Amber partners up with the Nicest, smartest CEOs around. Entrepreneurs come to her to build streamlined, scalable, profitable business operations without working 24/7, and they are not disappointed. She loves all things business — especially, problem solving, systems, team building, brainstorming, making money via strong revenue streams, sharing that wealth again and again in the best possible ways. You’ll find her at NiceOps.com – When you sign up you’ll get a free get efficient prioritization matrix to help you get more done and uplevel your business.

Welcome to the new featured writers!

Welcome to the new featured writers!

 

A HUGE welcome to Amber McCue, Farideh Ceasar, Theresa Reed, Kiri Mohan, and Linda Johannessen! Each of these women will be featured guest experts writing for CoachingBlueprint.com during the months of February, March, and April 2015. I am so excited to have them on board as seasonal writers and look forward to all they have to share with us!

Meet the writers

tcb-amber-mccue
 
Amber McCue has a sweet spot for helping entrepreneurs do better business and increase their bottom line. Amber partners up with the Nicest, smartest CEOs around. Entrepreneurs come to her to build streamlined, scalable, profitable business operations without working 24/7, and they are not disappointed. She loves all things business — especially, problem solving, systems, team building, brainstorming, making money via strong revenue streams, sharing that wealth again and again in the best possible ways. You’ll find her at NiceOps.com – When you sign up you’ll get a free get efficient prioritization matrix to help you get more done and uplevel your business.

 

guest-theresa-reed
 

Theresa Reed (aka The Tarot Lady) is an intuitive Tarot reader, teacher, mentor and yogi on a mission to take Tarot from hippie to hip. When she’s not reading tarot, she’s busy helping broke-ass mystics learn how to create sustainable + profitable businesses. If you are ready for straight talkin’ tarot and a side of biz whizz, get to her online hood: The Tarot Lady or follow her on Twitter @thetarotlady.

tcb-farideh-ceasar

 

Farideh Ceaser is a musician turned launch strategist. After 15 years on the road touring as a musician, Farideh switched gears and now helps entrepreneurs launch their big ideas and online courses. She regularly delivers her wisdom in the form of a ukelele and a song here. Grab your copy of Farideh’s free 30-Day Launch Checklist & Calendar at www.launchyourcourse.com.
 

guest-kiri-mohan
 

Kiri has been working in the administrative field since she was 15 years old. What started off as a part-time job after high school blossomed into a full-time business when she realized she loved supporting people but wanted more flexibility than corporate America provided. Currently a Virtual Assistant for almost four years, she is constantly striving to figure out ways to make other people’s lives easier. Kiri is a Mount Holyoke College graduate and currently lives outside of Boston, MA with her family. In her spare time she blogs about Star Wars, drinks tea, and eats olives.

 

guest-linda-johannessen
 

Linda Laegreid Johannessen is the founder and CEO of YAY Images, a stock image agency that’s the Spotify version of affordable, licensed images. For just $9.90 a month, you have access to 5 million (!!!) images that are perfect for blog posts, newsletters, and social media. She’d love it if you took advantage of a free month of photos or followed along on Twitter.

Why you should stop trying to be authentic

Why you should stop trying to be authentic

 

‘Authentic’ is a much misused and maligned word. There are books and endless articles, marketing courses and workshops all around how to be ‘authentic.’ It’s a word that’s become so overused that many coaches I talk to don’t even want to mention it in their messaging anymore. And it’s hardly surprising.

There are courses, articles, tutorials and retreats – all designed to help you be more ‘authentic.’ But whilst I know that at times we can all do with a bit of help peeling away the layers of societal expectations, if you need a course to tell you how to be authentic – you’re probably doing it wrong!

When it comes to trying to be authentic, I think we’re massively overcomplicating things.

In its simplest terms, Authentic just means being real, congruent and …you.

The secret therefore to authentic marketing, leadership, coaching and business is essentially this: stop trying to be something or someone else. Drop the veneer and let your personality, beliefs, values and opinions shine through.

I say this with absolutely no judgement here. I have been on those courses and read those books too. I’ve had several versions of my website and in the beginning I was the blandest of bland – safe, and vanilla and barely anything of my personality on there.

I’d come from a corporate world where individual personalities weren’t encouraged – it was about projecting the corporate brand. But as an independent, solopreneurial coach, YOU are your brand – and I promise, the more ‘you’ is projected outwards in your marketing efforts, more responses you will get from potential clients that are attracted to your brand of coaching.

I know this is scary.

Lets face it, the thing that stops so many of us from putting our real, ‘authentic’ selves out there is fear:

  • Fear of losing potential clients.
  • Fear of judgement.
  • Fear of ridicule, of being called out and criticised.
  • Fear that our family and friends will realise we were really serious when we said we were going to become life coaches.
  • Fear that our old colleagues will discover sides of us that were previously hidden behind the mask of ‘professionalism’.

Night sweating, palm tingling fear.

I get it, I really do – marketing your coaching practice relies on marketing you. It’s not like you’re selling washing powder or printer cartridges – you’re selling yourself and your skills. You’re selling your time and your own particular brand of coaching. It can, in the words of one coach I spoke to, leave you feeling ‘butt naked for the entire world to see.’

Only an out and out exhibitionist would enjoy that feeling!

But in this crowded marketplace, in this world where it can sometimes feel like every woman and her cat are calling themselves a coach, it can be hard to be heard above the noise.

And your perfect clients are waiting to find their perfect coach – you. In order to know that you are that perfect fit for them, you have to take a stand and show just who you are.
 

An Exercise To Help

You don’t need to put it ALL out there (if you wouldn’t share a piece of information about yourself with someone you’ve just met at a party then don’t share it online is always a good rule of thumb to follow!) but you do need to have enough of your personality, voice, core values and beliefs on display to let your ideal clients know that they have found someone they can relate to and trust.

Here’s a simple exercise to get you started: Choose 5 of your close friends and adoring clients (you know, the one’s who simply loved working with you and lit you up inside.)

Send them an email (or have a chat with them) and ask them the following questions:

  • What 5 adjectives sum me up?
  • What are my greatest strengths?
  • What are my quirks?
  • How would you describe me to someone else?

When you get the answers back, have a good look at your website, business card and any other aspects of your business that can roughly come under ‘branding.’
Are those strengths, adjectives and quirks reflected in them? If not, how can you start to integrate them?

For example, when I did this exercise a while ago, one of the things my friends and clients kept saying was how playful I am when I’m working. But my bland website was so bloody serious! When I started to let some of that playfulness shine through I found that creating content became a hell of a lot easier; I felt more in the ‘flow’ and was able to have a lot more fun in the process.

An added bonus was that people started resonating with me much more. They knew what they were getting. Were some people turned off by my occasional bad joke and dropping of the f-bomb? Without a doubt. But they were people who would have hated working with me anyway and wouldn’t have been a good client fit in the first place.

But those who did want to work with me were already sold on who I was – there was less time spend telling them about my background and building rapport and much more focus on them as a client and how I could help them.

The idea of ‘being authentic’ comes from a good place. But a lot of the advice out there gets it backward – it becomes about adding things – almost like putting on a ill fitting suit.

Instead, being real is about revealing parts of yourself … oh, we’re back to the naked thing!
 
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+