Do You Need a Coach?

business coaching

Being a coach, it is an unfortunate belief that I am always going to push the importance of a coach and that it is always a great idea to hire one. But, you all know I’m more about upfront honesty than a hard sell! I want anyone hiring a coach to be doing it at the right time and for the right reasons. Sometimes it is just not the right choice or the right time. I have had a couple women come to me about hiring me for coaching and, believe it or not, I have actually helped them realize that maybe it’s not the right thing for them right now. I have done this because I care about their success and their investment and maybe they just weren’t quite there yet.

Coaching Takes Work on Your Part

For example, coaching requires a lot of work, commitment, and inspires change in many facets of your life and business. So, if your absolute priority right now is the need to keep things the same, then it is probably not an investment that you are really ready to make. There is nothing wrong with needing some stability, sometimes we all need that in life. Maybe you have gone through some major changes and upheaval recently and you just need some time for recovery. Coaching requires you being able to look forward into the future and for you to make changes, and sometimes if you are in a fragile or delicate place then it may not be right for you and could even do more harm than good, in some situations. Healing may need to happen before you can make the progressive changes that coaching brings. Therapy is always a great option for help during your healing time.

Coaching is NOT a Blueprint

Additionally, maybe you are just looking for a best practice, a blueprint, or a tried and true path to a certain achievement or goal. There are some coaches out there that market themselves like that. They lay claim to having a blueprint and a path of how they achieved something and that you will do it that way too—you will achieve precisely the same results. Those coaches are really a bit of a hybrid. What they are actually selling is more of a product than a full coaching experience. They really fit more into the realm of a business consultant than a true coach. A coach will ask you a bunch of how and why questions about what you are looking to accomplish. How will it fit into your plan? How will it mesh with your priorities and your lifestyle? These are questions you will need to answer for yourself and your coach.

Coaching Helps You Find Your Version of Success

The time to hire a coach is when you are really ready to make adjustments and changes for the sake of progress. When you find yourself saying “I’ve tried this and that” or “I’ve GOT to make the changes or decisions and I know what I need to do, but I don’t know how.” A coach will help you to determine what is really best for yourself, your business, and your family on a one-on-one basis.

It’s very easy to get sucked into every different version of success, but which one is the best for you, your business and your lifestyle right now? Some people can spend $10,000 on a program that requires 60 hours per week of work to achieve the results, but they just had a new baby. That simply isn’t realistic and is going to require you to push yourself far too much and you may still not achieve the results because there are simply different needs for mompreneurs. A coach will help you to develop the goals that you need to fit with the stage of life that you’re in.

Coaching Means Support and Accountability

My core belief is that people need to decipher what their priorities are, then have support to create goals that align with those priorities. The last piece of the puzzle is having someone to help them stay accountable to those goals. I believe the most crucial time to hire a coach is when you have a major lifestyle change. Things like having a new baby, quitting a part-time job or getting a job, retiring, adding on employees or expanding your business are times when you could use the clarity and assistance that a coach can really provide.

In the end, it is not always right to hire a coach and that’s perfectly fine. It is always important to do what is best for you, your business, and your family. Feel free to connect with me and we can do a free 20 minute strategy call and I will help you determine if it’s your time for coaching!

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11 Steps To Owning Your Path

Owning your path. That sounds like a great idea, right? We’re all on a path, most of them winding, some quite crooked, with a fair amount of bumps along the way. But that path is ours, so let’s dig into what it means to really own it and how we can apply that to our businesses so that we are moving forward into our future with confidence and intent.

  1. VISION. Your vision is your focus—what your eyes are fixed on. Whatever you focus on you get more of. So adjust your focus to the positive, to what you hope for, to where you want to go.
  2. WHY. Things are going to get tough. Things are going to get messy. You’re going to get confused, distracted, discouraged. Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing ensures that your motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward is coming from within, not based on all the external circumstances that you’re facing.
  3. CULTURE. Who you are, how you’ve done things up to this point, your habits, and your mindset are critical forces in determining the path you will choose. All these things come together to make you who you are. Embrace it!
  4. POSSIBILITIES. Don’t get trapped by a “But this is how I’ve always done it” mentality. Open yourself up to the world of possibilities that awaits you when you replace old habits that aren’t serving you with a mindset that says, “This is possible.”
  5. EXPERIENCE. Experience is the skills, knowledge, and expertise that you have acquired over the course of your life. Acknowledge your strengths, the things you are best at, and determine how you may use them going forward.
  6. COMMITMENTS. This is the “owning” part of owning your path. This is where you put a stake in the ground and declare, “It will be done because it matters to me!”
  7. PRACTICE. Practice is the opposite of perfectionism. It’s the opposite of fear. It is being willing to stink at something and keep trying until we get it right. Keep practicing!
  8. SUPPORT. Support is so critical to owning your path—both giving and receiving it. Get the help you need from others and invest time and energy into others to help them on their own paths.
  9. ACTION. This is where the rubber meets the road! Baby steps are still steps. Take action and make it happen!
  10. ACCOUNTABILITY. As internal as owning your path may seem, we need external drivers to keep us on track. Accountability is a good and necessary element of success, whether it is enlisting the guidance of a coach or simply checking in with a likeminded accountability buddy.
  11. CHOICE. This is all about your choice. It’s at the heart of everything. There is freedom in realizing that no one is making you do this, that this path you’re on is your choice, and that nobody can take away the success you find along the way because nobody but you has gotten you there.

I hope these tips help inspire you to really own your path. Do you have others you would add to the list? Let me know on Facebook!

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The Purpose of a Mastermind Group

I am thrilled to be kicking off my new Mastermind Group this week! Right when my kids are returning to school and establishing their new routines, a group of powerful mompreneurs and I will start our own new routine to help us all grow and be successful.

I created the Mom Biz Mastery Mastermind Group to give successful mom entrepreneurs a dedicated group of their peers who can help brainstorm, inspire and support each other. But what really goes on in a Mastermind Group?

Karyn Greenstreet, a self-employment expert and leader of multiple Mastermind Groups, describes a Mastermind this way:

In a Mastermind Group, the agenda belongs to the group, and each person’s participation is key. Your peers give you feedback, help you brainstorm new possibilities, and set up accountability structures that keep you focused and on track. You will create a community of supportive colleagues who will brainstorm together to move the group to new heights.

You’ll gain tremendous insights, which can improve your business and personal life. Your Mastermind Group is like having an objective board of directors.

Most of the mompreneurs I coach tell me how isolated they are from their peers, that they have very little contact with a community of people who understand them and can give them advice and clear feedback. The Mom Biz Mastery Group will create a space for each of the members to give and receive support from all the others. Imagine a whole team of people who understand your goals, your dreams and your challenges. They listen to you share what you’re trying to accomplish each week. They ask questions, give you their thoughts, and follow up with you the next week to see if you did what you said you would. And you do the same for them, sharing your insight, your best practices, your experience.

I believe mompreneurs need a lot of support from people who are either on their level, slightly above them or just behind them to be successful in their endeavors in motherhood and in running a business. Being part of a Mastermind Group can provide just that.

Check back tomorrow when I discuss what you can expect to get from a Mastermind Group. And if you are (or have been) part of a Mastermind Group, I’d love for you to share your experiences here. What did you accomplish by being part of your group? What sort of rules and guidelines did your group have? What was the most valuable thing you gained from your Mastermind Group?

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How to sell coaching … or not

Today I was browsing through some discussion topics in an online group I belong to, and came across a request for input on a new product that a parent coach was creating for her clients. This coach is working on a home study product designed to help parents feel more confident about their parenting.


My radar always goes off when I see a coach who is trying to sell coaching.
What I mean by “selling coaching” is that you’re trying to sell the things we coaches are best able to help our clients achieve, like “balance, happiness, fulfillment,” etc. In the words of my own coach and mentor, Rhonda Hess, “Coaching doesn’t sell.” This is very scary news to hear when you’re a life coach who has just spent a ton of money to get yourself certified and is out there looking for some clients to work with. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful as a coach. It’s all in how you position what you offer to your target audience.

Below is my response to the parent coach who was asking our group for our ideas and suggestions about her product. Read on to see my coaching to her for how to create a product her clients will want to buy.

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So I’m glad you’re doing some “market research” by asking for some feedback here. Often times we create a product or service offering that we think is a good idea, but we don’t check it out with our audience before investing a lot of time, effort and energy into it.

I know that you see a lot of parents out there who are not confident in themselves as parents, and I’m sure that as a parent yourself and a coach, you know the unbelievable value of getting to the other side of that, and know how that confidence makes a huge positive impact on your child.

That said, it’s hard to sell “being more confident.” I’ve been a coach for five years now, and I spent the first two of them trying to sell “life coaching” and all of the things we help our clients achieve like “balance, happiness, fulfillment, etc.” While these are clearly important and valuable, I found it very hard to get people to put a price tag on them and pull out their wallets to pay me for them.

How connected are you with your target audience? Are you engaged with them, talking with them in person and online, coaching them already? What are their top problems and challenges? What are they telling you they need help with? And what are they willing to pay for? I.e. Are they willing to pay in order to be more confident in their lives?

My experience is that although they want this really badly, they can’t justify spending money on it.

Now, that said, you may still have a great product to create. My coaching to you would be to check in with your target audience. Ask them if they “need this” and what they would be willing to pay for it. By having some great conversations with your target audience about their problems, challenges and concerns, you will learn what they are most willing to pay for. As a mom and a coach, you have a wealth of resources you could provide to solve their problems. Make your offerings be solutions to your clients “pains” and they’ll sell.

It’s not a question whether you or your services are valuable–it’s all about how you market what you offer so that your target audience realizes they NEED it.

Let’s help her out: Are you a parent who needs help building your confidence about your parenting? What sort of things would help you with this? And would you be willing to pay for a home study guide to support you? Please leave your feedback below.

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Want Your Mom Biz Question Answered?

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I can honestly say that I never planned on being a radio show host, but it was only a matter of time that a person who loves to talk as much as I do could avoid it.

Back in March I signed up for an account with BlogTalkRadio and clicked a button that created my own show. A day later, I produced my first episode that was (and still is) available all over the internet. I couldn’t believe how simple it was, and I had no idea how much I’d enjoy doing it.

There is no shortage of “content” for my show–in fact, I tend to create my Audio Blogs around conversations, questions and problems that come up in my coaching sessions with my mompreneur clients. They love hearing their topics addressed on the show.

Do you have a question about your business that you’d like to hear featured on my show? Are you trying to figure out how to market what you sell, or why you can’t close a sale, or why everyone seems to love what you offer but they won’t pay for it? Or are you fed up with being the “only one” who can handle things in your life or your household, and really wish you could get some help? Tired of feeling angry, guilty or tense around the kids during the day since you know you have a week’s worth of work to get done–while being the fulltime caretaker of your children?

I understand all these feelings. I’ve been in most of these situations myself. So have nearly all of the mompreneurs I work with. And sometimes you just need to know that you’re not the only one experiencing these things or feeling this way (which I assure you–you’re not!). If you have a topic you’d like to hear or know more about, either leave a comment here or email me (lara at mombizcoach dot com), and I’ll respond to you immediately. I’ll do my best to feature all questions/comments in an upcoming Audio Blog on the Mom Biz Coach Show.

Want to know if I’ve already covered something of interest to you? You can browse the mom entrepreneur podcast archives here.

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Mompreneurs: Focus on Buyer, Not Your Product

Guest post by Amyli McDaniel of www.EnlightenedMompreneur.com
See the original post by Amyli on her blog here.

The longer I am in the world of entrepreneurship, the more I am realizing that it is not the “business idea” that makes most mompreneurs successful.

In fact, it is quite easy to research a market and either find or create a product or service to meet a need in the market. The tough part is figuring out how to rise about the noise, get your customers to buy from you and then get them to refer you.

It is natural to focus so much on the product or service you are providing. But, when I started focusing more on the buyer of the product or service, my businesses started selling more and started creating a much higher buyer experience for my customers. And this meant a lot more revenue!

cash-money-in-hand-main_FullSo, how do you focus on your buyer? I took the advice of a well known marketer- David Meerman Scott and I actually create Buyer Personas for my products and services.

I think about what they look like, how old they are, how they think, what they care about and what process the go through when they are searching out what I provide? Sometimes I even give them a name and think of a visual person for each persona as this really helps in my marketing.

One thing that helped me to figure this out was thinking about my kids. When you shop for something your child needs or wants, you are always thinking about that specific child. . . his or her personality, needs, emotions and what would be the best fit for that child.

You are not making decisions in a vacuum by just looking at the line by line features and other components of a product or service. You are always thinking about what resonates with your child.

In your business, you are on the opposite side of the equation but your prospects are the child in the same thought process.

Once I started doing this, the marketing on my websites changed. Instead of talking about the features of my products and services, I started to talk in their language and address their needs and wants.

And the result was phenomenal. Now, every time I start a new business, I do this and it governs every communication I have with prospects and customers. And, I find that this one shift in perspective has allowed me to short cut an otherwise very long process of trying to differentiate myself from other competitors and businesses.

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How Women Are Changing Business

While my business coaching is aimed at supporting mom entrepreneurs, I came across this very inspiring article in Time Magazine recently that illustrates a trend I’m happy to see in the corporate world.

business women group2Women are different than men, and it turns out we do business differently than men. Well, I’m certain that the subset of women known as mompreneurs and WAHMs (work-at-home-moms) have an even more pronounced difference in their approach to business.  (I know, I know, you’re laughing with me right now thinking about the last time you were on a business call while hoisting a naked toddler on your hip with one arm and cleaning up the accident she had on the kitchen floor with the other…. Yep, that’s a different way of doing business, alright!)

Read the article below and enjoy. It’s always interesting to me when large companies start emulating some of the results-oriented business strategies of entrepreneurs.

Reposted article from time Time Magazine, May 2009

The New Work Order

Women Will Rule Business

Work-life balance. In most corporate circles, it’s the sort of phrase that gives hard-charging managers the hives, bringing to mind yoga-infused, candlelit meditation sessions and — more frustratingly — rows of empty office cubicles.

So, what if we renamed work-life balance? Let’s call it something more masculine and appealing, something like … um … Make More Money. That might lift heads off desks. A few people might show up at a meeting to discuss that new phenomenon driving the bottom line: Women, and the way we want to work, are extremely good for business.

Let’s start with the female management style. It turns out it’s not soft; it’s lucrative. The workplace-research group Catalyst studied 353 Fortune 500 companies and found that those with the most women in senior management had a higher return on equities — by more than a third.

Are the women themselves making the difference? Or are these smart firms that make smart moves, like promoting women? There is growing evidence that in today’s marketplace the female management style is not only distinctly different but also essential. Studies from Cambridge University and the University of Pittsburgh suggest that women manage more cautiously than men do. They focus on the long term. Men thrive on risk, especially when surrounded by other men. Wouldn’t the economic crisis have unfolded a bit differently if Lehman Brothers had had a few more women on board?

Women are also less competitive, in a good way. They’re consensus builders, conciliators and collaborators, and they employ what is called a transformational leadership style — heavily engaged, motivational, extremely well suited for the emerging, less hierarchical workplace. Indeed, when the Chartered Management Institute in the U.K. looked ahead to 2018, it saw a work world that will be more fluid and more virtual, where the demand for female management skills will be stronger than ever. Women, CMI predicts, will move rapidly up the chain of command, and their emotional-intelligence skills may become ever more essential.

That trend will accelerate with the looming talent shortage. The Employment Policy Foundation estimated that within the next decade there would be a 6 million – person gap between the number of college graduates and the number of college-educated workers needed to cover job growth. And who receives the majority of college and advanced degrees? Women. They also control 83% of all consumer purchases, including consumer electronics, health care and cars. Forward-looking companies understand they need women to figure out how to market to women.

All that — the female management style, education levels, purchasing clout — is already being used, by pioneering women and insightful companies, to create a female-friendly working environment, in which the focus is on results, not on time spent in the office chair. On efficiency, not schmoozing. On getting the job done, however that happens best — in a three-day week, at night after the kids go to bed, from Starbucks.

And here’s the real kicker. When a company gives employees freedom, it doesn’t just feel good or get shiny, happy workers — productivity goes up. Ask firms like Capitol One, which runs a company without walls or mandatory office time. Or Best Buy, which implemented a system called ROWE — results-only work environment — and found that productivity, in some cases, shot up 40%. Flexibility is no longer a favor to be handed out like candy at a children’s birthday party; it’s a compelling business strategy.

So we need to get rid of the nutty-crunchy moral component of the work-life balance and make a business case for it. It’s easy to do. In fact, a decade from now, companies will understand that hiring lots of women, and letting them work the way they want, will help them Make More Money.

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What about you? In what ways are you doing business “differently” from the way you did it in Corporate America? Or how is your strategy getting things done in unconventional ways? What are the benefits of being a WAHM when it comes to creating success in your business? Please share your story by leaving a coment, and help inspire all of us mompreneurs who sometimes get stuck on the setbacks that juggling work and motherhood can bring.

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Work Less, Make More–Part VII of the WoMEN Teleseminar Series

If you’re looking for a silver bullet, you won’t find that sorta thing on my blog. Ever.

That said, I do believe it’s both possible and necessary for mompreneurs to find ways to make more money while working less.

I’ve been answering a lot of questions in my coaching groups lately about the idea of creating a sustainable business model for mom entrepreneurs and work at home moms. The bottom line is this: if you’re running a business that is running you ragged, stressing you out, taking up all of your time and leaving very little of you for your family to enjoy, then you (and your business) won’t last for long.

robot mom biz coachOne of the best ways to make your business sustainable is to learn how to automate some of the actions and processes you do over and over. We all have to develop strategies to find new clients and keep our sales pipelines full. This takes a lot of time, effort and energy for all of us mom entrepreneurs. Think about it–if you could get these tasks that you have to do repeatedly off your to-do list, you could spend your time doing something else, like go on a bike ride with the kids, or read a magazine while the kids run through the sprinkler, or you could spend some time creating a vision for the future of your business rather than just scrambling through all the work that has to get done.

Wanna learn some tricks that will help you get your business working while you’re working on your tan this summer?

Join me on Tuesday, June 23rd, at 12 pm ET when my special guest, Rhonda Hess, teaches us “How to Automate Your Business to Attract Thousands of Ideal Clients.” Rhonda is a Coaching Business Success Strategist and founder of Prosperous Coach. Best of all, she’s MY business coach! I’m delighted to share my fabulous coach and mentor with all of my listeners.

This free teleseminar is part of my WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need Series. You can register to receive the freebies, Special Reports and other offers my guests make available to our listeners by going to www.whatmomentrepreneursneed.com and filling in the email form at the top of the page. You’ll also be notified when I add more speakers and more topics (which I occasionally do).

I know that I’m looking for ways to get out of the office and spend the lazy, unstructured time with my family that summer always brings. Having some systems that allow me to attract exactly the clients I want will give me the freedom to do just that!

You can listen live (or on demand once the call is over) via phone or over the internet. Just go to BlogTalkRadio to get details.

Do you have questions for me or Rhonda? Leave them here and we’ll do our best to address them on the call, or you can call in live to the show (go to BlogTalkRadio to get the dial-in instructions).

Look forward to “seeing” you on the call!

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Does Your Website Speak to Your Readers?

Many of us mompreneurs try to protect or hide the fact that we’re also solopreneurs, a company of one.

Why?

For most, we’re concerned that we won’t be seen as credible, professional, established, or simply “big enough” as compared to our competitors who have whole departments working for them.

But is this necessarily true? What if the thing that’s most appealing to your potential clients is your uniqueness? Are you trying to conceal that uniqueness in your marketing efforts?

megaphone-mom-biz-coachIf you’re using the “royal we” on your website rather than speaking straight from your heart and gut, chances are you’re not attracting your ideal clients and you’re spending a lot of time and energy trying to be something you’re not. I’m going to talk more about this on my BlogTalkRadio show in a few minutes. You can click here to listen live or on-demand (whenever it fits into your schedule) to learn how being real speaks a lot louder and sends a better message than believing that what you are isn’t enough.

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You’d be a good fit to my coaching group if…

  • women-group-pic-mom-biz-coach-mom-entrepreneur-coach-mompreneurYou signed up for both motherhood and being an entrepreneur (What were you thinking? Ha! You’d be in great company here ;-).
  • You thought you’d be able to work less and be with your family more by working for yourself, but have found quite the opposite to be true.
  • You have noticed your competition doing strange, interesting, amazing things and are feeling like your own new ideas are about as interesting as reading “Good Night, Moon” for the 23rd time in a row to your toddler.
  • You’re ready to throw in the towel and “get a real job” (like the one you left behind a while ago because it no longer meshed with your values and priorities).
  • You have so many great ideas but lack the ability or knowledge of how to get them done.
  • You work because you are driven by your passion and purpose.
  • You are tired of doing your work for free or very little pay.
  • You realize you can’t call it a business if you don’t make a profit at some point.
  • You aren’t clear on your target market or how to reach them or how to create solutions to their problems.
  • Your heart tells you you’re doing the right thing, but your spouse or your family doesn’t understand why you’re working (and in fact, even resents your work).

If even a couple of these statements remind you of words you’ve heard coming out of your mouth lately, chances are you’re ready for a change. You’ve tried everything you know how to do to be successful, or to get the results you want, but nothing seems to work. That’s okay. We have all been there, and done that.

In fact, all the mom entrepreneurs who are members in my coaching groups have “been there, done that.” Most of the statements above come from comments made by my clients at the beginning of my program.

Here’s what they say once we’ve been working together for a while:

“Lara, you really have a way of saying exactly what I need to hear. I wonder sometimes if you’re somehow reading my mind.”

“I did exactly what you told me to do and I’m getting new customers and new orders from twitter several times a week now!”

“I didn’t realize before I joined this group how lonely I was. It’s so great to have a group of women I can trust and bounce my ideas off of. I love how we trade ideas with each other. It’s like we’re each others’ “Board of Advisors.”

“The most valuable thing I got from our coaching call today is that I’m not alone in feeling like I’m the only one who doesn’t understand this stuff, and the inspiration to stay committed to my goals thanks to everyone’s support!”

“Everytime I hear one of the other members share a story about her success, I get so charged up because I realize I can achieve my own version of success, too! You girls are amazing and are motivating the heck out of me!”

I’m a woman, a wife, a mom to three kids under the age of seven, and I’m a coach and an entrepreneur because I need to work in order to be satisfied and happy. It’s who I am. I’m a straight-shooter, an open and honest communicator, and extremely compassionate while still supporting you to do what you’re committed to, even if it’s hard and a little (or a lot) scary. I’ve learned a lot in my four years of coaching and running a business while raising a family. And I’d love to share everything I know about helping you be successful in the work you do while creating a life you love to live.

Care to join us? I have four openings in one of my mom entrepreneur coaching groups right now. We meet the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month for an hour at Noon ET via my free conference line. The cost is $195/person (with a maximum of five participants per group). Plan to make a six month commitment so you’ll get the full value of the coaching experience.

Call me (519-990-4458), email me at lara (at) mombizcoach (dot) com, or tweet me if you’d like to schedule a 20 minute session to brainstorm an idea and see if we’re a good match for each other.

I hope to be talking to you soon!

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