3 Online Business Mistakes I Made and How to Avoid Them
One of my favorite coaches once suggested that if I’m not making mistakes, I’m missing out on my learning journey. So, with that glass-half-full point of view, I’m sharing three of my favorite mistakes in the hope that it helps you on your journey.
Mistake 1: Positioning Myself as a Traditional Coach, Instead of a Modern Coach-preneur
Coaches come in all flavors and focus areas, and each of us has something of value to share, depending on where a client wants to go in their life. I am what you would consider a modern coach-preneur. This means I’m a coach with a flexible, entrepreneurial mindset. My initial mistake was over-focusing on racking up certifications and credentials, which meant I was adopting coaching models that didn’t always mesh with my unique approach or help me connect with my ideal client.
This is where the entrepreneurial piece comes in. It’s great to leverage tried and true coaching tools you’ll learn in a class, but it’s equally critical to build your own repertoire of techniques that are yours and yours alone. This will guarantee you’re emotionally connected to your work and clients. As Simon Sinek puts it, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The modern coach-preneur stands apart from the crowd with their coaching creativity.
Get clear on why your business exists:
- What’s the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do?
- What difference are you trying to make in the world through your business?
Tips and Tools
- Get online sooner than later. (Don’t delay with classes and certifications like I )
- You’ll resonate with those you are meant to coach. Go out and get new fans and promote your offerings based on your unique
- Read Do Purpose: Why Brands with a Purpose Do Better and Matter More by David Hieatt
- Watch my favorite video of Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Mistake 2: Generalizing Instead of Specializing
Initially I cast a wide net to potential clients claiming, “I don’t want to leave anyone out.” But my desire to help all people was my Achilles heel for seven months. Clients didn’t show up. I learned that if you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.
Being a coach-preneur is all about attracting the right client for YOU. Yes, you need to think like a coach. But more importantly, you’ve got to think like an entrepreneur. Your approach, style and methodology are unique to you. Your client base needs to sync with what you’re offering.
- Find the niche you love and create a specific intention statement
- Identify the people you can serve best. Who do you love working with? What are their demographic traits like age, gender, marital status, income and industry? What about their psychographic characteristics like worldview, values, beliefs, lifestyle or interests? Know them so well that you could walk in their shoes
Tips and Tools
- Don’t worry about pursuing a smaller demographic client base. With a clear focus, you’ll successfully connect with the right audience online. You’ll lose less money and generate ongoing traffic, building trust and increasing sales
- Read Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
- Read Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Mistake 3: Staying in My Local Geography
I thought staying in my neighborhood was the answer. I love in-person sessions, so I put my energy into local networking events and conferences, and I relied on word-of-mouth referrals. The problem is I was missing out on everyone online. Time zones and boundaries don’t matter. With Zoom, Skype and countless other tools, you can coach people anywhere at any time.
- Banish the excuse, “I’m not technological.” Let an hourly virtual assistant help you adopt collaboration technology. Zoom is my favorite. Practice with family first, then you’ll be off to the races!
- Launch a landing page or simple Keep it simple with a paragraph about you, what you’re passionate about and your service menu. Sites like Fiverr can connect you with a developer. Or, go it alone on sites like Squarespace. If I did it (and I’m not a techie), you can too.
Tips and Tools
- Get online and share your brand, personality and values, so your ideal client can easily find you
- Read Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing by Lee Odden
Go for It. When you act, anything is possible.