Mistakes are the best teachers. In fact, if you’re not making mistakes regularly you’re probably not taking enough risks in your coaching business. Holding yourself back until everything’s perfect is a losing strategy. Whereas, allowing yourself to be “bad at something” and get rapidly better as you go, actually feels better and brings the best results.
If you think about it, perfectionism has a kind of irony or arrogance to it – as if you could ever get your coaching business completely right in your head, without having to take it to the street and get some feedback from the real world.
I guarantee that you’ll save yourself gray hair and stress fat if you train yourself out of perfectionistic tendencies starting now. Believe me, I know it’s challenging to let that habit go. But fussing over details won’t help your outlook, life experience or coaching income, and will absolutely cost you time, money and sanity.
That doesn’t mean you want to make every possible mistake. If you have the opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistakes without making them yourself, it’s a boon! So, let me humbly share four classic mistakes I’ve made in my coaching business, so that you don’t have to. All of these mistakes share that quality of trying to get it right in your head, being afraid to try something out and get feedback.
Agonizing over things that don’t matter in the big scheme of things.
Not once, but three times I “perfected” my logo and business cards. (I just unearthed and filled my recycle bin with unused cards and brochures!) I remember agonizing with designers and printers over colors, my logo and card stock. Here’s the kicker, over 13 years of being a coach I’ve used less than 100 business cards! Shocking? Not really. Most coaches just don’t need that many.
A word of advice for you – Vistaprint. It’s likely all you’ll ever need for your business cards or other printed materials.
Saying yes to opportunities because I was afraid not to.
Good opportunities are a dime a dozen. But the right opportunities – the ones that fit your success criteria like a glove – are worth waiting for. I know it’s flattering when everyone wants a piece of you, but it’s also distracting.
Early on in my tenure as a coach,
- I spent a whole year neglecting my own business to develop a coaching expo for the good of my local coaching association chapter.
- I said “yes” to joint ventures even when my intuition said “no!”
- I spoke at every event I was invited to even when it had nothing to do with my market or message.
In short, I lacked commitment to my path. Once I made a true commitment to my business success and to my market, I said ‘no thank you’ to most opportunities and was therefore available for the best ones. That alone advanced my business as much as any marketing scheme, because focus is a many splendored thing.
Hiding behind my expertise.
When you know that you know something and it will sell, that’s wonderful. But it’s not just about what you know. How you package that information matters too.
I have learned the hard way that people consume information best in small bites, and they want fun, meaningful experiences along the way. This is great news, really. Because it means that you don’t have to create the whole kitchen sink all at once. In fact, it’s far better to zero in on one small, highly relevant topic for your blogs, products and programs.
In 2007 I started a membership program modeled on the belief that “content is king”, queen and everything else. That’s not actually so when it comes to membership programs. Once again, that tendency to get it all together before going out with anything did not pay well.
Leaving my market out of my marketing decisions.
This is the Master Mistake! And I see that I’m not the only one that makes it…
For years and years, I tried to figure everything out in my head before I dared put it out in public. I made assumptions about what people in my market wanted and what they would buy. I made prolific mistakes in developing my coaching programs, my marketing and websites, because I forgot to include my market in my decision making.
This is why it’s so critical to choose one narrow and viable niche market to serve and then find out what they really want from you. (It’s easier to find out when the market is small and accessible.) The more you learn about your market, the easier it is to create valuable programs, build your leads list fast, and keep a constant flow of ideal clients coming to you.