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The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 52

July 13th, 2014 6 comments

photo - Version 2This is the fifty-second and final post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here.

So, first of all, I’m kind of astonished that this happened.  The fact that I’m writing this post means two things (well many things, but two primary things):

  1. I actually succeeded in fulfilling my commitment to blog this journey for an entire year.  Let me assure you, this has not been an insignificant accomplishment.
  2. I’ve completed a year of entrepreneurship.  That is also not an insignificant accomplishment.

My intent today is to give a bit of a retrospective.  The things that have happened, the changes in my business, and what I’ve grown into and moved away from.

The biggest thing I’ve moved away from is fear.  Fear that things will fail, or fall apart, of that I’ll be completely doomed, or anything else.  That’s shown up in a big way in how I work.

There’s a scene in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, where Robin is battling Little John.  He jumps up out of the water, and pulls Little John into the water.  Little John starts to scream and shout, “I’m drowning, I’m drowning!”.

When he finally yields to Robin Hood, Robin calmly tells him, “Put your feet down”.  The water was shallow enough that he could simply stand in it.

That’s how I was at the start of the year.  Gasping for air.  Every referral that would come my way, I would gasp in like a man desperate for oxygen.  There was no enjoyment.  I was relieved when someone was referred to me (and very grateful too), and would make every conceivable effort under the sun to connect with them.  There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but there was no joy in it.  Further, it probably came off as a little bit needy, which isn’t much fun either (and frankly, it’s kind of creepy).

And lastly, that kind of approach gets in the way of you getting to see possibility for your clients and hold them at their highest and greatest.  If I’m focused on what I can get, it makes it really hard to truly serve someone.  Not what I’m committed to.  Not at all.

I realized myself that if you trust it and simply focus on providing value to people, you’ll survive.  All that gasping for air and flailing was keeping me from enjoying the process.

In terms of numbers or changes, that’s a little more intangible.  The big change that has resulted from that shift has been that I spend my time serving people instead of doing what “I have to do” to build my business.

So many coaches early on dogmatically state “I need to work on my website, I need to create my business card, I need to spend more time working on marketing”.  And then, ironically, they say “I hate marketing”.  (I know this is true because I train and coach new coaches).

The truth is, you don’t need to do any of that stuff.  If you want to be a coach, you need to get out there and coach people.  Lots of them.  Provide people value and change their lives as a result of the conversations you’re having.  If you do that, it’s inevitable that, over time, people will take note of what you’re doing and start talking about you.  All of that other stuff — that “marketing” — just gets in the way of coaching.  (Which is often why new coaches focus on it.  If nothing else, it prevents them from doing the scary task of coaching people when they’re new to it).

It’s the same for many professions.  I’ve coached public speakers and writers, and the same thing holds true.  If you want to get paid for public speaking, go out there and speak in front of groups.

A couple of people have asked me about tangible results at the end of this year.  I’ve struggled a bit to figure out how I want to share that, because what I charge is more a reflection of who I accept as my clients these days than anything else.  The power of commitment is really what allows for transformation — and I’m a demand that people really commit to what they want to create in their lives.

So, that being said, here are some of the tangibles:

  • My rates have tripled since I first began coaching
  • The majority of my time marketing these days is now spent over-serving and astonishing my clients as opposed to worrying about attending mixers and pounding the pavement
  • For the last 4 months, my practice has been full.  Recently two clients completed with me, and so I now have two slots available
  • The minimum commitment I’ll work with a client for has now doubled — again, because I’m committed to creating breakthroughs and transformation with the people I take on, as opposed to short-term solutions to problems

That may all sound well and good, but it pales in comparison to the internal work that I’ve done.  The stuff on the outside — the external tangibles — are merely reflections of how we’re showing up within.  Never lose sight of that fact.

And that’s the ultimate lesson from this year.  It isn’t about the externals and what you can point to tangibly.  It’s about how you’re being and what you are creating internally.  Don’t get distracted by the stuff on the outside.  Keep doing the inner work, and trust that the external stuff will come to you.

Because… it will.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series.  It’s been a crazy journey for me, and I’m now letting this blog sit a little bit while I devote more time to the book I’m writing.  Please check back to hear more about that, and in the meantime, check out Bay and I writing over at Evergrowth.

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