Successful Coach Solopreneurs Play Big!
Lessons Learned Serving as a F50 Executive
Serving 30+ years as a Senior Executive, P/L Owner and Manager in F50 companies (Kraft, American Express and GE) and a successful startup (Business Talent Group) has given me the opportunity to experience best (and worst) practices building a business. These practices are critical to coach solopreneurs building robust, profitable and sustainable coaching practices.
What Does It Take to be a Successful Coach Solopreneur? PLAY BIG like F50 Companies
Yes! You have the vision, passion, heart, training, EQ, skill etc., to be an EFFECTIVE COACH, one whose clients have an expanded sense of who they are, where they want to go and how to get there.
This is not enough to be a SUCCESSFUL COACH, one who builds a sustainable practice. How do you ensure the profitability and growth of your practice?
PLAY BIG! Lessons from F50 Executive Management
Lesson 1: Put in Place a (Sounding) Board of Directors!
Ask one to two people who you trust and have business acumen to serve as informal advisers.
Be intentional regarding who you ask. Do they have skills and experience with business? Do they have your best interest in mind? Will they be candid and unbiased?
Be disciplined in how and when you access them and for what reasons. Set up formal calls with an agenda and clarity around what your ”ask” is of them.
Be respectful and limit your “ask” to three topics: 1) Gaining feedback on strategy and big decisions; 2) Sharing financial goals and results; and 3) Brainstorming
My two advisers have corporate, consulting and/or Startup experience. I’ve used them as sounding boards on branding, for ideation around business development, and as champions and cheerleaders. Life gets lonely as a solopreneur, and you’ll want to access their wisdom on topics critical to business health and growth!
Lesson 2: Implement Planning Rigor!
Mimic planning cycles found in F50 companies. What are your short-term and long-term financial goals? How and when will you deliver these financial returns? Think holistically and expansively about revenue and anticipated expenses. Be disciplined tracking your results. So where do you start?
Step 1: Determine your revenue goals for year 1 + 2 + 3. What do you need/want your billings to be? Allow for ramp up time/runway! Be conservative. It ALWAYS takes longer to convert leads into paying engagements than you might imagine.
Step 2: Assess how you are going to get there. How many clients? Cost/fee per client? Timing of when you will serve/get paid? What products are you offering? At what price points?
Step 3: Forecast your expenses. Such as taxes, continuing education, Legal/ accounting services, and subscription fees? Many bookkeeping, CRM, calendar management and task management services have free,trial, light user pricing. You might consider this for Year 1. Compare this to gross earnings to get a sense of net dollars that will flow into your bank account.
Step 4: Use your (Sounding) Board of Directors as a reality check!
Step 5: Set up an ongoing process to track revenue and expenses. Do this via a bookkeeping program, in an excel spreadsheet or by hand. Just do it! Review monthly and assess if,how and when any changes are needed in how you operate. Challenge your thinking and assumptions. Are you targeting the right clients? Is your product offering able to deliver the earnings you need? Are you realistic about timing on earnings? Do you need to delay expenses? Ask your Board of Directors for their advice.
Lesson 3: Develop a Strong Brand Presence, Wisely
Put yourself out there boldly yet in a targeted way. First, get a clear sense of your product offering and target audience. Second, develop a professional yet basic website. Third, make sure your LinkedIn profile mirrors information on your website. It is a struggle as a coach solopreneur to know how broadly to build a social media presence. Blogging or posting on Twitter is interesting and enriching yet takes time away from Business Development. Connect with your Board of Directors on the topic of how much social media presence is needed or is overkill at this stage of your growth.
A coaching solopreneur (you!) who thinks and acts like a F50 Senior Executive will be successful through surrounding yourself with smart, business savvy people who will challenge your thinking and hold you accountable; help you develop discipline around financial goal-setting and tracking; and, invest the appropriate level in building your brand.
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