This story is part of a movement - the Busting The Overnight Success Myth: Community Blog Tour, where 21 ladies who have made their dream business a reality (in a variety of different niches) share what it really took for us to make this happen. Including the not so pretty stuff.
When Allison Braun (The Business Joyologist) shared her vision for this blog tour with me, I knew I wanted to be a part of it because I know it's time for this industry to get real.
So here is my story. It's raw, real and includes things I've never shared before!
Pam was my very first client. I nearly fell out of my chair when, after a timid sales pitch from me with way too many "ums" to count and lots of nervous twitching on my part, she said yes!
It was crazy easy to find her (one quick email to friends and family telling them about what I do!), and she was so excited to have me help her on her health journey. Because it was so easy it made me think - WOW! This is a piece of cake!
Little did I know that it was NOT that easy with every client.
When I began my business as a health coach in the fall of 2011, so many women had excuses for spending money on just about anything else EXCEPT their health and well-being (even when they were miserable). I got WAY too many "no's" and "I can't spend money on that" excuses.
I had gotten some business building training as part of my health coach certification, but I knew pretty early on that I needed more...
I was getting frustrated with the pushback from potential clients (and even FINDING potential clients) and I began to wonder how the heck I was going to make it as a coach.
Here's the funny thing: I have a business degree and nearly a decade of experience in corporate marketing, yet I was deathly afraid of having to promote myself!
In the corporate world, you can stand behind a corporate label and be safe...
But when it's YOU - your brand and yourself out there - it's terrifying, you know?
It didn't feel like I knew how to market myself well - I was really afraid of being visible and putting myself out there! So I invested in a business coaching group program because I thought that that one fix would make it all easier.
I'm a rule follower, and I followed all of their "to-dos" to the letter! I was told, "Do it exactly this way and it works!"
It didn't work like that for me.
I would follow their formula and then wouldn't get the loads of new clients - I got none or a trickle. I began to wonder, "Why is this not working? What's wrong with me?"
Because it was a group program, I couldn't ask these questions, and that was frustrating.
In hindsight some of it WAS working. I was slowly but steadily building a solid foundation for my business and gaining traction everyday. But I wanted so much more….
So I invested in private coaching. I got pushed. I got challenged. I fought my visibility issues. I grew and morphed.
But I still didn't have the "get rich overnight" success story that I was so desperately craving.
In fact, I have to go on a rant here. Why is it that our world is so glamorized with stories of $50K launches or solopreneurs reaching 6 figures in 6 months?
While I'm happy for those people who accomplished this overnight success - I would say that less than 1% of entrepreneurs out there have that kind of track record.
But I was star-struck. I WANTED THAT.
So I got more coaching. I was told that I needed to invest at a high amount so that my commitment would be greater and that it opened the door for my future success.
I was told to act like a CEO and hire out what I didn't want to do so I could have more time to be in my zone of genius. So I did.
I spent and spent - thinking, "THIS is going to help me succeed!" and "I have to spend money to make money."
And I was gaining traction - I switched my focus from health coaching to business coaching to step more fully into my experience and expertise, and my revenue tripled. I would bring in between $7- $12K in launch after launch and it was looking like a "real"business.
I had a VA, a web designer and more so that I could act like the CEO!
When I had great months I would jump for joy and do something to celebrate. But then I forgot that for every BIG month, there we very low or no-income months,because my clients had paid in full at the start.
I loved that big paycheck up front, but then I had to deliver months of coaching afterward. I wasn't liking the roller coaster of revenue!
And, my net income was peanuts because of all the "investments" I had made.
And I have another rant here: Why don't coaches talk about the money that actually comes home - not just about how much gross income they bring in?
I needed to regroup and find "me" in my business again.
I wanted to STOP listening to the "shoulds" and the "perfect" formulas.
I wanted to find a way to create sustainable revenue (yes every month!) in a way that felt right to me.
I wanted to get control of my expenses, so I took a much-needed break from my coaches, got rid of my VA and started making more fiscally responsible decisions around my business investments.
After some soul searching and tuning into how I wanted to do business, I did find yet another coach - but not a "guru" - one that didn't require a huge investment and who helped me walk to my own beat.
She dared me to create something totally "me" and to offer it to the marketplace.
She gave me permission to do it differently than any way I had before.
She was a great cheerleader while also being a strategic partner.
I offered my small group mastermind/mentoring program quietly and in a way I never had before. I set up pricing in a way that felt right to me.
I didn't do it with lots of help from my VA or web designer - I just DID it, and it worked.
And you know what? It felt amazing!
I realized just how much I LOVE operating my business my way. I love supporting other business owners to do the same.
My business is sustainable and at a very happy place right now. I have regular monthly income and my expenses are not throughout the roof.
I cannot believe how much I adore my mastermind/mentoring program for powerful women business owners. I continue to coach private clients that are stellar. I just had a summer sale for VIP intensives and adored offering it my way. I am prepping to open a new mastermind/mentoring program in September and I can't wait.
I do things without such a HUGE splash now. I do it "Heather-style."
Part of that comes from being a more seasoned business owner.
Part of that is from stepping more fully into my own power.
Part of that is leaning into what is authentic and true to me.
I had to take the group programs and make mistakes and realize that there's no failure, only feedback.
I had to have the one-size-fits-none experience to realize what size fits me.
But now I know, and it feels amazing to use my strategic yet grounded coaching style to help other women business owners free the "shoulds" and step into their "wants."
My journey isn't over - it will never be. BUT - I am so very happy to be where I am now in my business. Thanks for reading….
If you've ever felt alone on your journey or like you weren't as far as you "should" be, I invite you to check out more of these real-life stories by going here to join the Busting The Overnight Success Myth::Community Blog Tour.
To your journey!