The Career Development Association of Australia invited me to write an article to help coaches to scale their business. Read the ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Once upon a time the only way we could coach was face-to-face. This was an excellent way to provide a personalised service and it worked well for our clients. It was rewarding, fulfilling and exciting to see the positive change in our clients during our time together.
However, it was not the best business model for most coaches who would struggle to scale their business and were limited by a geographic location. I felt this too and often asked myself if there was a better way to do a great job and reach more clients, make careers guidance more accessible to all who needed it. I knew that the more people I could reach, the greater impact I would have in the lives of those who wished to take control of their careers.
The trouble with the old business model was that it was exchanging time for money. This is not a sustainable way to do business. With so many coaches working as self-employed professionals, if they are sick or need to take time off for a holiday, income grinds to a halt.
My mission is to make careers guidance accessible and affordable to all who need it – globally – and also to build and scale a sustainable business.
ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS
In 2014, I joined a 40-week business accelerator program during which I learned how to scale my business by following a 5-step process. I followed this process after the 40-week program and over the course of 5 years I implemented, monitored and developed my business following each of the steps.
1. Craft a powerful pitch
You need a powerful pitch so your desired audience fully understands what you bring to the table. Remember that you are always pitching. Every person you meet is a potential client, mentor or referral partner. Take the time to understand your niche audience and speak to their needs. Create a different pitch suitable for different occasions.
You will need one for social events, business networking, pitching a service offering to a corporate client and a less formal pitch when speaking with potential clients during a discovery call.
2. Publish your thought leadershipThere are many ways to publish – this can be through a blog on your own website, publishing on the LinkedIn publishing platform, guest posting on other websites, or writing and publishing a book on your area of expertise.
It takes time, effort, determination and dedication to write a good book. I spent a year writing my book and getting it published. It was well worth the time and effort, for once you are a published author, there is an added element of credibility to your work.
And your book will reach a global audience, providing support and education, making careers guidance accessible.
3. Productise your service offeringsDelivering workshops and coaching one-on-one is a ‘time for money’ business model which is not sustainable and can be exhausting for many coaches who are sole traders without a team to ease the workload. Once you productise you have something to sell whether you are physically in attendance or not.
Books, eBooks, a membership site (such as The Careers Academy) hosting online programmes, podcasts, YouTube channels and #LinkedInLive broadcasts are all examples of products that any service business can create to reach more clients and potential customers.
These products can be monetised, and some products are free to be used to help build awareness while providing value and developing the trust of your audience. For example, over the past 5 years I have released over 200 episodes of “Your Career Podcast” on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, and other podcast platforms providing careers advice, support, and interviews with people who have made interesting career transitions.
With over 150,000 downloads to date, I reach a global audience – many of whom have become clients. Podcasting is an excellent way to reach the clients who may need you. It is a process that takes time and effort, however is well worthwhile.
4. Build a strong online profile
Having a strong online brand and building a following is social proof that what you have to offer is desirable to your target audience. When building an online brand the aim is not to ask for a sale, it is to educate your audience and build brand awareness.
If people don’t know who you are, they will not know to reach out to you. If they are aware of you, what you share on social media enables them to get to like what you have to offer. I have found that the best platform as a career coach is LinkedIn.
Building a strong online profile through Facebook by creating a support Group is another way to reach potential clients, build a community while providing support and educating people about your services. Over time, if you provide valuable, authentic, educational and consistent content and engagement, you will gain the trust of your audience.
When there is trust, people will buy your services or products.
5. Develop Partnerships
When your business is running smoothly, in order to ensure a greater reach, it is time to develop partnerships and leverage each other’s lists. Every business needs to build a list of followers who benefit by consuming relevant content. By combining followers with formal, or informal, partnerships there can be exponential growth.
Collaborating with other businesses is an excellent way to boost each other’s brands as well. I do this in my business by inviting people on to my Podcast, interviewing them on my YouTube channel, hosting live coaching sessions on LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube in collaboration with other coaches and also guest posting on websites I admire.
There is an additional benefit when guest posting on well-respected websites (such a HuffPost and global recruitment sites) as it provides additional social proof of your efficacy as a coach.
These steps have enabled me to effectively build a strong personal brand as a transition specialist and recently the recognition as one of 20 ‘LinkedIn Top Voices 2020’ in Australia due to the relevant content I release regularly on LinkedIn.
If you follow these steps you will build your business, boost your personal brand, effectively leverage technology and reach more clients. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn and connect – it will be a pleasure to get to know all in the CDAA community!