A (not insignificant) part of my role as a coach is to notice, highlight and celebrate the growth and change I see in my clients.

Why? Well, it’s often quite hard to see your own growth (you’re too close to it!) and you’re busy doing other things.

That said, it’s been a while since I did a little reflection on MY growth.

And you know what? It turns out that I’ve learned some things over the 6 years I’ve been at this full-time. 

And I want to share a few of these learnings with you. 

(I actually meant to write this post on the 5th anniversary of my business, but let’s just say a little thing called cancer got in the way.  But better late than never, right?)

When I started this business, I had no idea if I’d be able to do this: to start, build and grow a business into something sustainable that supports my family.

I’d only ever been an employee.  With a stable paycheck.

But I firmly believe in experimentation.

And 6 years later, I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and more specifically, of how many people I’ve been able to help learn to use their time in a way that feels GOOD. 

Every day.

So, in no particular order, here’s what I’ve learned that you might find helpful the next time you’re facing a big, unknowable challenge you’re not quite sure you can tackle successfully:

  • You don’t have to have it all figured out from the get-go:
    • Today, my business is comprised of 5 verticals:
    • But when I got started, not only did I not have all those things.  I had NONE of them.  And I only had the most vague idea of one of them (1:1 coaching).
    • Everything else came in stride and happened relatively organically.
      • I developed the curriculum for my first coaching program, on the fly, once I got my first client.  (He didn’t know that, of course, but he got great results and started sending referrals my way.)  I built out that program literally one week at a time, just in advance of delivery.
      • I developed the group coaching program when I started to have a months long-waitlist for 1:1 coaching.  I wanted to help more people and I also knew I didn’t want to work more hours.
      • I started developing workshops when a client asked me if I could.  Now I offer 20+ workshops and I create new ones as needed/requested.
      • I got into online courses because someone from Udemy reached out to me and asked me to create one (I will forever be in her debt for seeking me out.)
        • And now (I can’t even believe I get to write this sentence but) over 155,000 people have enrolled in my online courses, and I get messages every day like:
          • “Absolutely outstanding, mindblowing course. Changed my life in the greatest most impactful ways. I’ll never be the same.” – Sean E.
          • “This course changed my day-to-day drastically in the best way! Less anxiety, less overwhelmed, I get more done and sleep better at night.” – Anne C.
  • Just start
    • You don’t need to wait until you have things perfected.  (That’s impossible anyway!)
    • I think it was Reid Hoffman who said “if you’re not embarrassed by your first product, you’ve launched too late”
    • And when I look at the stuff I was doing a few years ago, my face flushes a little.  “I thought this was good at the time?”  I say to myself.
    • Yep, I did.  And the fact that what I’m putting into the world now is so much better than where I started is not actually cause for embarrassment.  For me, it’s cause for pride because I can see how much I’ve grown. 
  • Break it down to get it done
    • I have done so many things over the last 6 years that I’d never done before, and that I’d never even contemplated doing.
    • And I definitely did not have a start-to-finish plan for any of them.  At best, I had a rough idea of the phases.  Sometimes, only a rough idea of the goal.
    • But I didn’t let that stop me.  Because there’s one thing I know for sure, and that’s that I can figure anything out, one step at a time
    • If I can identify the very next step, and do it, then the step after that reveals itself and so on, until the thing is done.  
    • Let me repeat that: You don’t need to know all the steps in advance, you just need to know the very next one.
  • You need colleagues (even if you’re staunchly independent)
    • I’m about to say something that might be controversial:  I’m not exactly a “team player”.  This is not to say I’m not collaborative, or that I don’t work well with others.  I am and I do.  (Or at least that’s what my managers have always said in my performance reviews!)  But I don’t prefer working on a team.  I like working alone.  A lot.  Like, a lot, a lot.
    • But when you’re running something on your own, ALONE can be quite lonely.  You need sounding boards, you need feedback, you need a place to vent, to commiserate and to celebrate.
    • And so I sought and found a community of other coaches, consultants and solopreneurs.  I now have MORE than a handful of people who I consider not just colleagues, but real friends, with whom I can chat about business and learn from. 
    • Even if it’s not a business, but a project, or a hobby, upon which you’re embarking, being in community with other people is essential.
  • You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
    • I’ve done so many uncomfortable things; I had to get inured to discomfort.
    • My new favorite cheesy quote is “There’s no growth in the comfort zone” and, holy smokes, if that isn’t true!
    • Here is just a small list of the incredibly uncomfortable things I’ve done along the way, that helped me get to where I am:
      • I emailed every single person whose email address I had to let them know I’d started a new business, who I served and how to reach out to me.  When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE.  I emailed people I hadn’t spoken to since highschool, and the insurance agent from a job I had 10 years ago, and a person I met in the back of an Uber Pool (remember when that was a thing!? Ugh, thanks COVID for ruining a good thing.)  But I knew that the best way for me to grow was for people to know that I existed.
        • Did it turn some people off?  Probably.  Did it get me my first few clients.  Yep!
      • Sending emails letting you know about how I can help you.  It was a big jump for me to get to a point where I didn’t feel like I was “bothering” people by sending an email about something I had to offer.  Honestly, it still feels is a little uncomfortable.  But I remind myself every day that my primary goal is to help busy, overwhelmed folks learn to use their time in a way that feels good, and supports their goals and values.  And I remind myself that I can’t help you if you don’t know how I can help you or that I’m available to help you!  
      • I’ve been to more than a few conferences with a stack of business cards 3 inches thick, determined to introduce myself to that many people.  Heck, I’m on a plane right now, writing this about to speak at conference and I’m gonna do it again.  I’ve got that stack of business cards and I’m gonna go meet people.  Even though I know it’ll be uncomfortable.  Although far less uncomfortable than it once once.  Given that I’m an introvert, I’m not sure this part will ever NOT be uncomfortable. And that’s OK.

And while no one’s over here handing me any sort of award (I mean, if you want to give me one, I’ll take it 🙂 ), that’s no reason not to thank the people who’ve helped me along the way.  So thank you!:

  • To my clients and students for allowing me the opportunity to do exactly what I want to be doing, with you!
  • To my colleagues and friends who provide insight, feedback, support and encouragement
  • To my husband for never hesitating in his support of me to take the risk to start this thing. And for being the primary parent during the pandemic, when my schedule was so packed with folks who needed my help that I was in back-to-back sessions, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
  • And lastly, to my parents, for their praise and support, but also for sending me copy-edits every time I write a blog post.  (I’m waiting, with bated breath, to see exactly what typos I’ll hear about in this post, and how many times I failed to use the Oxford comma!)

What next for me, you ask?  (Well, you didn’t but I’ll tell you anyway.)

  • I want to write a book.  I’m putting this out there into the universe to help it become real.  Are you a book editor?  A literary agent?  Do you work for a publisher?  Do you know anyone who does?  Hit me up because I may need you in the immediate future!
  • More online courses.  Turns out I LOVE creating online courses.  I want to do more of it.  (Did you know that I recently launched a self-paced, DIY online course version of my coaching program?  If not, check it out!)
  • I want to start a podcast, to give you more ways to get inspired to start doing more, and stressing less.

You tell me!  What do you want more of? 

What topics are you interested in? 

What should I write about? 

What are you aching to solve for yourself?

Hit reply and help me help you!