The stuff you don't get told! Part 1 - The Start!
So, you have this amazing dream. Of doing or making something to change the world. Is this you? Are you thinking about starting your own business?
If it is then go do it. If you have found something you truly love and believe in do it. HOWEVER....there is a big caveat to this. Make sure you plan, research and are willing to put the hours in. There is a whole load of stuff they don't tell you!
What do you want to do with your life?
I am an Executive/ CEO/ Leadership/ Entrepreneur and Career Development Coach. I am lucky. I am qualified, well trained and have the tools to self coach my way through this area mentally. I also have another external awesome Coach who helps me (yes Coaches have Coaches who coach them!) I also know a whole lot of people who have been kind enough to help me on my journey. I also completely LOVE what I do.
Even with all of this nothing can prepare you for what lies ahead when you start a business. It is fun, heartbreaking and exhausting and energizing. If you know what you really want to do and LOVE doing it then this makes it easier.
The Start Of Your Startup
I left my job as an IT Digital and Technology Executive Headhunter/ Coach in 2019. I live in Hong Kong. My business was set up about the same time as the Hong Kong protests, bad timing some might say, motivating is what I say! However I was lucky enough to have a client who would work with me for a while to start, taking me on for recruiting as well as coaching to get myself really set up. Travelling 1.5 hours a day across town. Building a talent database for my client. Then also business developing evenings and weekends to build the coaching business fully. The work is never ending, but again, I LOVE it!
Before I started I asked someone who had set up a business what is was like. Another Coach (who went back to an in house job) gave me the best piece of help ever. I asked him what the hardest bit was about being a Coach. He said:
"The constant hunting. You are never finished. You are always looking for new clients and they are usually for a few sessions then you have to find more."
This is the part many do not think about. Developing the business, being commercial. Direct reach out. Cold calling? Luckily I am a Hunter. I love doing this part. However , if you are a little bit nervous about reaching out, then you may run into trouble. Can you learn this? With help possibly.
Even if you love the direct reach out, there are the time wasters who just do not even have the courtesy to respond or turn up when you make appointments. There may be many people you are now competing with in your space (know your USP!!!). This means that many people are being bombarded. It is tough and you have to be resilient.
Do Your Planning
Plan, plan plan! You may think you are the only person in this market doing this, but really check it out. Know your competition. Do your research before you jump. How can you differentiate yourself?
Look at the profit and loss. Create a budget plan and have a good pot of money before you start. I could potentially have been in trouble with the protests and Covid if I didn't have my client base already and a steady income.
Expect The Unexpected
Covid has had a 2 fold effect which was totally unexpected:
1. Many people are cutting budgets and coaching will go first.
2. There is a flood of people onto the market, who have lost their jobs and are now calling themselves Coaches. Unqualified, inexperienced, but contacting people nonetheless. They are now competition for potential clients attention and encouraging them to switch off from messaging on social media platforms due to volume messages.
I have had to be adaptable to be competitive. Have new ideas. Try something original and be prepared to fail, but learned an obscene amount in my first year. You will f*** something up at some point. Get ready for it! Remember, there is no failure only feedback.
Hire A Coach Or Find An Independent Mentor
Hire a Coach to help you! If you are not a Coach with help from fellow Coaches you may need someone independent to help you navigate through this. Put a bit of your money aside for a monthly meeting with someone who can help you with goal setting and hitting your targets as well as brainstorming.
So part one over - the start. Get ready for the ride of your life. The planning is just the very start. The business set up is to come as well as the paperwork and endless admin! That is another story though!
Caroline Langston is the Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an executive, personal and career development coaching company in Hong Kong, with her partner Patrick Bennett founding the practice in New York. She is also the Founder of recruitersgiveback.org a nonprofit providing free information and coaching to people who are unemployed. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for success and happiness in their careers and lives. She is a Certified Professional Coach at International Coaching Federation standards. Certified Team Coach and is also degree qualified with further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach level. www.successCL.com www.recruitersgiveback.org