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How I got my first 10 paying clients
Ten years ago, I was a newly certified life coach with…
• Zero clients
• Zero support staff (no assistant, no team)
• Zero dollars being generated by my brand new coaching practice
• Lots of anxiety about how the eff I was going to make this all work
To make things even more fun, one of the first times that I ever introduced myself to a potential client (“Hi, I’m Susan, I work as a life coach…”) the man that I was talking to literally LAUGHED IN MY FACE.
“What the hell do YOU know about life? What are you, like, 29?” he scoffed.
I smiled politely, mumbled something about Martha Beck, and went home and bawled my eyes out. Not my finest hour.
So then what happened? How did I get from “zero clients” to where I am today?
The answer to that question is nuanced and complex. There’s no 7-step foolproof plan that I can feed to you. But here’s one thing that changed the game for me.
Fairly early on in my coaching career, I was complaining to one of my mentors about my sad, pathetic lack of clients, and my mentor said to me,
“Introduce yourself to 50 people this month. Explain what life coaching is and offer your services to every single one of them. Then get back to me. That’s your assignment.”
You better believe that I was TERRIFIED about this assignment. It sounded nauseating. 50 people? That’s a LOT. But I figured, “I’ve got nothing to lose” and somehow, I scraped up enough courage to do it.
I started out by talking to people who already liked me–friends and family members–and then I pushed myself to talk to people outside of my social circle.
“Hey! We haven’t chatted for months. Did you know I’m now working as a life coach?”
“So, funny story, I don’t sell real estate anymore. I am actually a life coach.”
“Life coaching. Ever heard of it? Yeah. That’s what I do now…”
“Hi, my name is Susan. I’m a certified life coach…”
And so on. Over and over. 50 times.
Something interesting happened:
A lot of people said, “No thanks, I am not interested in life coaching.” Rejection.
But a few people said, “Sure! I’ll try it. When can we start?” Success!
With every success, my confidence grew. My introduction became clearer, cleaner, more enticing. I got better at talking about myself and what I could do. And with every rejection, I grew a thicker skin and became more resilient. I lined up my first 10 paying clients, who referred more clients to me, who referred more, and so on, and so on…
When people hire me for career or business coaching, I often give my clients the exact same assignment that I was given ten years ago.
I tell them, “Introduce yourself to 50 new people this month” or “Send out 100 emails to potential customers” or “Set up at least 7 in-person meetings this month to pitch your idea” or “Every day, for the next month, tell at least 3 people what you do and how they can hire you. Do not stop until you have a waiting list for your services.”
Magical things happen–every single effing time, I am telling you!–when clients take my advice and actually do this. Just like me–ten years ago–they quickly discover that “rejection” is not fatal and that “marketing” and “connecting” isn’t quite as scary as you might think.
Let’s talk about you:
Are you willing to introduce yourself to 50 people–this month–in pursuit of a career, business, or income goal that really matters to you? Would you be willing to hear “no” 100 times if it meant you were moving closer to a big “yes”? What if I promised you that, if you do this, it will help you to achieve exactly what you want–or maybe even something different/bigger/better?
Courageous action is always rewarded.
So start emailing, calling, texting, and talking, sister-friend. No hiding. No waiting.
Miracles don’t happen when you take a passive role in your life.
Miracles happen when you fiercely, bravely put yourself out there. Again. And again. And again.
Image: Willie Franklin