Hello gorgeous entrepreneur, it’ Tash Corbin here, and welcome to another episode of the Heart-centred Business Podcast.
This is episode 165, and today we are going to talk about how I got my beautiful community (the Heart-centred soul-driven entrepreneurs Facebook group) to 30,000 members. I’m going to share all the juicy secrets with you (they’re not really secrets) so let’s get started!
So the first thing I want to clear up is that I have never spent money on Facebook ads to promote my Facebook group. There’s never been a time where I’ve boosted my group or paid extra for it to get into suggested groups, or used direct ads. All of the strategies that I’m going to be sharing with you are all completely organic, and I think the way that I have created and nurtured this community has a lot to do with its phenomenal growth.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with my group, you can find it at tashcorbin.com/group. It is a community for women entrepreneurs and we have recently hit 30,000 members, which is so amazing and it makes my heart sing to see how connected and beautiful that community is.
Now, we are so in love with each other that we even have a conference every year now, and the second Heart Centred Business Conference is happening in March 2019, you can find out about that in the show notes. We’re getting together in Brisbane, Australia for a 2-day conference, with hopefully around 150-200 people.
So as you can see, this community is so different compared to other communities I see online. It’s hyper-engaged, people post almost every day. We have over 30,000 members and on average 1,000 members post something at least once per week in the community. When people post things, other people comment, it’s not a spam-fest or locked down so that you can’t talk about your business. It has this beautiful balance between being somewhere you can promote your services/talk about your business, and you can get support or have a conversation and not feel like you’re constantly being bombarded with sales pitches. It is such a beautiful community, brilliant BFF relationships have come out of there, masterminds have formed out of there, joint ventures have formed out of there, people have even launched their business into just that community and had incredibly $30,000 launches. It has just been such an amazing community, and I talk so much about how amazing it is, and I get all lit up and ramble a bit, but it’s just because it’s so beautiful!
I want to share with you the 3 key things that I believe have been responsible for this community having the environment that it does and particularly focused on reach. There are other things about the group that make it amazing, for example, there’s a model of shared leadership, it’s not just about me, but I think these are the 3 reasons why it has grown so rapidly. It started in August 2014 and we’ve hit 30,000 members in just over 4 years.
First and foremost, I did not start this group for it to be The Tash Corbin Show. It’s not about me or my business. I started the community because back in 2014, I was in a couple of other Facebook communities for entrepreneurs/people in business and I saw that when groups got to about 1,000 members, they would go 1 of 2 ways.
Either the admins would just give up and trying to stop people spamming it and it would just become this giant marketplace, the only posts in there would be people promoting themselves and all the conversation disappeared.
Or the admins would be so afraid of that that they would lock it down and you couldn’t talk about your business, you couldn’t share anything that you were doing. You couldn’t promote anything into the group, not even free stuff, or sometimes you might be able to promote once a month. The reason for being there – to share/promote/learn/practicing your messaging – was gone. This made the conversations stilted because everyone was pretending not to promote their business, but also trying to sneakily promote all the time. It just came about the admin promoting their business, and that’s what a Facebook page is for, right? You don’t join a Facebook group to learn from the person running the group. If I wanted to keep track of your blogs, freebies, and offers, I would follow your Facebook page.
Even my clients were saying that the groups just aren’t the same as they used to be. There was no group where we could have free conversations, and get that the peer support from each other, so I decided to start my own.
And so, the Heart-centred soul-driven entrepreneurs group was born.
At that point in time, I did not have it as part of my business model, I wasn’t creating the group to have somewhere I could promote 7-days a week, that’s what my page is for. I created the group as a peer support network, I wanted to be able to support my clients and peers, to be able to ask questions about Mailchimp etc. Canva had just come out and we were all sharing what we could do on Canva.
It was made for having these very specific conversations. We wanted a place where women could come and talk about business, practice our messaging, promote our webinars etcetera.
I think the shared leadership model meant that it was a very engaged community from the start. We actually got the first 400 members in a few weeks, it didn’t take long for the word to spread about how good the group was.
So that was part 1. The next thing that I thought helped build the group is that it has a great structure.
From the very beginning, we had theme days using hashtags which gave a prompt to start a conversation. Because we’re business people, the natural thing that we want to talk about is our business, be it our offer/promo or our messaging. In groups without a hashtag people wouldn’t post on the days that weren’t themed, because they didn’t know what to post, and if they did post is just a thinly veiled promo.
“Oh, I’m setting new goals! Can’t wait to see 200 women on my webinar about losing weight the easy way~.”
You just want us to know that you have a webinar about losing weight the easy way, don’t you?
Because of this, I started playing with hashtags and different themed days, and selfie-Saturday (which has been there from the start) is a very interesting day. For a lot of women, they had never taken a selfie before and the group gave them a safe space to get over there fear of it. It also actually helped us recognize each other and get to know each other. I even learned their dog’s names, their kid’s names, and where they were from just from this day! We got to know each other on a personal level just because a hashtag started the conversation.
I feel like when you leave it up to people to decide what to talk about in a group for entrepreneurs, we’ll just talk about our business. We used to have a self-care Sunday where people would talk about what they were doing outside of their business, it was so good to start stimulating these conversations.
For me, the structure created a balance between promo/business and us supporting each other, getting to know each other, and having fun. It created kind of an office atmosphere that you don’t get when you’re working on your own as a solo entrepreneur.
For the third reason behind the groups, fast growth is that we had this approach of lovingly welcoming people into the group. I knew that a lot of people would join the group and behave the way they did in other groups, which was either spammy promo or thinly veiled promo. I knew that this would be a problem because it was being taught by so many big marketers. Jump into a group, create a yes ladder, get 100s of comments, spam their inbox with an opt-in link and grow your group. There were network marketing organizations teaching strategies that involved jumping into groups and spamming them via private messages or posts.
You’d always have a relationship coach come in on question day and ask “What’s the worst thing about being single?” Then they would get all these women commenting about how the felt, and private message them with an offer. It was so spammy and obvious.
For me, I wanted to make sure that the community felt safe. People needed to feel like they weren’t being constantly bombarded by marketing and to make this possible we needed some very clear guidelines. This also meant that I couldn’t monitor and administrate that on my own, so I needed to create a sense that we were all protecting this community. In the first 2 years or so of the community being formed, I would do a video, post, or Facebook live every month talking about how wonderful it was that everyone was taking shared responsibility for keeping this space the space we wanted it to be.
The guidelines mean that we have this beautiful safe space, but you can promote your business within the guidelines, and they’re very generous.
I don’t have a “promo thread” for each week with like 40,000 comments and no one actually reading it. I created this give-and-take mentality. Yes, I’ve made it very easy for you to promote things into this community (both free and paid), and we encourage and support you to practice your messaging, but in order to have that we need to make sure that the group is consistently full of other conversations as well. We need to make sure that we’re all lovingly educating each other about the guidelines and how to behave in the group.
Another thing I had discovered after about year is that the people who have been in the group since the beginning think they’re special and start to do sneaky promos, and even turning it into a hashtag!
Or they would see other people breaking the rules and be quite aggressive towards them: “You’re such a spammer! #spammy” was something I would see on posts. This needed to be shut down as well because I didn’t want people coming into the community and feeling like they were getting in trouble all the time. I wanted them to feel loved and welcome. I had to be consistent with starting a conversation to remind people how to welcome people into the community.
Even now I’ll make a post every couple of months to remind people. If new people join our group and aren’t following the guidelines, the way to approach them is through love and education. The guidelines are nice and clear, we have some cool theme days which are explained well, and we need to be lovingly educating people on how to get the most out of the group.
I find that these 3 things all add up to make the community hyper-engaged:
1. The fact that it isn’t the Tash Corbin Show, everyone gets value out of the group.
2. The structure creating the balance between promo and conversation.
3. The loving guidelines and education that group members provide.
It’s not just everyone posting, people comment on people’s posts. Even now people will get shocked when they promote something in the group and get 150 comments within an hour.
They’ll be like “I can’t believe how supportive this group is!”
Because they’re used to posting in other groups and getting crickets because those groups aren’t engaged in the same way. All of those pieces add up to make this amazing engagement, and this tells the Facebook algorithm that it’s a really great group.
What Facebook wants is for people to stay on Facebook. People tell me time and time again about how they get sucked into conversations in the group and it will sometimes take over their day, but Facebook wants that. Facebook wants people to be engaging with each other and enjoying their time, and that’s what this group creates for women entrepreneurs.
This means that the Heart-centred group is suggested groups for people way more often than other Facebook communities, particularly for women in business. We actually get about 100 membership requests every single day now.
As I said before, none of this is through promotions or ads. I do talk about my Facebook community in my blogs and podcasts, but I can’t keep up the growth of my business with the growth of the group. My Facebook page has about 5,000 people following it versus the 30,000 in the group.
I use this as part of my business strategy by promoting freebies into the group, so that the right people in the group find my business page because 80% or more of the group aren’t my ideal client. I’m not just filling the group with my ideal clients, I’m filling it with women entrepreneurs who want to have a conversation about business. Some of them are my ideal client, some of them are not, and that’s totally okay. I didn’t create the group to be this direct line to return on investment.
This organic growth has been beautiful to watch. From the start, I did very little promoting of my group into other groups. I think it’s a bit rude, to be honest, it’s like going to someone else’s party and saying “Hey I’ve got a party too, want to come to mine?”
So I don’t go and promote my group into other groups. I promote it via my Facebook page, but most of the growth has been organic, and I think it comes down to those 3 key factors creating amazing engagement within the group.
I thought I’d give you a couple little bonus tips as well because there are some things when it comes to creating a Facebook group which are sort of unspoken conversations, but they’re part of how I do business. I think they might be partially responsible for creating that amazing community feel.
Number 1, I follow my own rules. If you say there’s only 1 day a week where you can promote, only promote on that day. Don’t be one of those admins who promote 3 times a weeks and makes the group all about themselves. It’s very rare that I’ll promote my business outside of my theme days. I’ll sometimes to a little Facebook live if there’s a webinar happening, or I will do an extra promo here or there, but I’m not in the group constantly promoting myself. I’m in the group all the time to answer peoples questions or comment on their posts to give them feedback.
I’m a female entrepreneur, it’s a support network for me as much as any other member of the group.
So remember, follow your own rules. If you’re breaking them constantly, it might be creating a bit of disconnect between you and the members. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at this as a long-term strategy.
The other thing I wanted to share is that there are some really cool things that you can do to boost engagement. Things like playing games and interviewing people. I used to do a ladyposse spotlight where I would do a 5-minute interview so that people could get to know each other in the community.
I would promote other peoples businesses to get them more engagement. We did things like having a #28kparty when we hit 28,000 members and gave everyone an extra day to promote at the weekend, but it had to be $28, $280 or $2800.
We’ve done swapsy parties where you can give/take something from someone else. All of those things create engagement, excitement, and energy within the group. This means that they will all improve the algorithm for the community as well.
Hopefully, this has been helpful for you if you’re interested in creating/growing a community. If you haven’t joined the Heart-centred soul-driven entrepreneurs community yet, I would really encourage you to do so.
It is ladies only, but we do subscribe to the open interpretation of “womyn” so anyone who identifies as female is welcome to join in. It’s tashcorbin.com/group and when you join you’re encouraged to #intro and do a little intro, let us know about your business.
We love getting to know people, bonus points if you share your face because people recognize faces, zebras recognize stripes. Get your face into the group as much as possible, and see just how committed, supportive, and engaged this community is. It really is absolutely beautiful.
I’ve often said even if my business got outlawed tomorrow, I’d still run my group. Even if I won $400,000,000 I’d still run my group, because it really does light up my day and it’s a part of my business model now.
Thank you so much for joining me for this special episode of the Heart-centred Business Podcast. Until next time gorgeous lady, I cannot wait to see you shine.
Big love, big hugs, and bye for now from me! See you!
Hello gorgeous, amazing, brilliant, VISIBLE entrepreneur! I’m Tash Corbin and this is episode 164 of the Heart-centred Business Podcast.
It’s time for another Spotlight Series and I had the pleasure of interviewing the beautiful Andrea Zimmerl.
Andrea is going to help you become more visible, do more Facebook Lives, and show up more effectively in your business, even if you’re an introvert.
Take it away Tash and Andrea!
Hello gorgeous, heart-centred entrepreneur, it’s Tash Corbin here and welcome to another episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast!
This is episode 163, and today I’m talking about is how I’ve reduced my work hours again in the last 2-3 months in my business. This is something that’s important to me, it’s very near-and-dear to my heart. I started a business because I wanted to have a beautiful, big, adventurous life outside of my business and integrated with my business, and one of the things that is really important to me about that is that I do not work 40+ hours per week. My goal for the last 2 years has been to work less than 20 hours a week in my business, and I’m pleased to let you know in the last month I was working less than 18 hours a week.
I want to tell you how I have been able to achieve this because I think this is a really important conversation for us to have, and so let’s get started with this one now!
So as I said earlier it’s really important to me that I do not work myself for hours and hours every day of the week in my business.
I did not start a business to be the world’s worst boss to myself.
I did not start a business to work more hours than I did in the corporate world.
I did not start a business to burn myself out and not look after my health and well-being.
And I bet that part of the reason you started a business was also related to being in control of how many hours you work, the time and energy you put into your business, and what you get to do outside of that as part of your life. I 100% believe that there’s no such thing as work/life balance and that they’re separate entities, I like to think of it more as having a great integration between my work and my life, between the work and life world that I have created. I mean, half my best friends have come out of the ladyposse so I don’t think that it’s possible, nor do I want to have a complete separation between work and life, but I do have a separation between working hours and non-working hours in my business.
As I said at the start of this episode, I have now been able to reduce my working hours to 18 hours a week, and I want to talk about some of the ways that I’ve been able to do that this time around, because they’re quite different from the ways that I did them last time.
So just to quickly let you know how I reduced my work hours previously:
Number 1 – I just made the decision. I was like “You know what? I’m burning out.” When I first started my business I was working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and I was like “I didn’t start my business for this, I’m not going to do this anymore.”
If I’m teaching my business that it needs me this many hours a week, then I don’t want to be in this business, so I had to make it work another way. A lot of this game down to the Pareto Principle (20% of my work was getting 80% of my results) so I just needed to focus down on what that 20% was and really make sure that I nailed that.
There was also Parkinson’s law – a task or project will expand to take up the time that you give it.
So if you give yourself a short deadline, guess what? You get things done really quickly.
And it’s 100% true. I think profit first is a great example of that in money terms as well, we’ll eat up all the money available to us. If you take your profit first, all of a sudden your business expenses reduce or you are forced to make your business expenses reduce.
So Pareto and Parkinson were both geniuses and we want to make sure that we are capitalizing on those 2 issues and being conscious and aware of them.
The third thing was increasing the hours of my assistant, the fabulous Jasmin, and forced myself to delegate more effectively and not just delegate tasks, but delegate responsibilities as well.
It’s been really interesting for me in the last 9 months to a year since the Heart-Centred Business Conference in September 2017. I’ve had this huge focus on simplifying my business, for example, instead of recording a podcast and a video blog each week, I record a video podcast and then the audio is available on iTunes and my blog where it is also transcribed. This means that one piece of content is available as a video, an audio file, and a written blog.
It might seem really simple to you, but honestly, for me, I was running myself ragged trying to create all these pieces of content, and ultimately I wasn’t able to be particularly consistent with my delivery of those. I would have a burst of 4-5 months where it worked perfectly, then the next 3 months would be crickets because the wheels fell off. Because I was working myself way too hard and to be honest with you, one of the biggest reasons I was able to let that model go was because a lot of people at the conference said “I can’t keep up with everything you’re creating, Tash! It would take me 10 hours a week just to absorb all the information and content that you share, and I can’t do that.”
It made me realize that not only I was working too hard in my content creation, but I was also making my audience work really hard in actually absorbing and listening to that content. So it was a win-win to simplify some of those things down.
I’ve also closed down a lot of service offerings and courses over the last year. The Lean Startup School has been finished, Get with the Program has been finished up, Courses with Heart has been finished up so that I can really focus down and intensify my effort in the areas where it’s most effective.
Now, those behaviors and strategies have been amazing and have really helped me, but something that I noticed in around August this year (2018) was that I was feeling like I was working a lot more hours than I was previously and that I needed to find out what was going on. My first port of call was to actually check in with my hours in my business. Was I working more hours, or was it just my perception? I actually noticed two things.
Number 1 was that I was doing a lot more live support calls than I had previously done, and that was because I had increased to 3 calls per month for the Heart-Centred Business Academy, I had 2 for Courses with Heart, and 2 for Take Off. I was also doing my Get Profesh Sesh which was a 2-hour live group training once a month, running a webinar each month, and extra Facebook lives and a few rounds of the 7 Day Fast Money Challenge as well.
I was actually spending a lot of time talking to the camera, whether that be in live support calls or VIP 1-on-1 support calls. I also split my mastermind into Rising Stars and Shooting Stars and also taken on the Q3 Mastermind.
It was really interesting for me to see how much my camera time had increased.
Number 2 – I’d also increased the amount of time I was spending tidying things up in my business. Jumping onto Facebook, Teamwork with my team, checking in on Slack, and I had actually started these kinds of downtime hours in my business. Instead of doing just my Mighty 90 minutes in the morning and an hour in the afternoon behind the scenes in my business, I was spending 2-3 hours in the before and after my calls.
Now when you do the math on this, it kind of adds up to a 40 hour week right? So there were 2 things leading to these increased hours.
Number 1 – I had recently changed my business model (without really considering it and thinking through the implications of that) to incorporate a lot more client-facing and camera time.
But number 2 was because my time purpose outside of my business had changed, I was kind of wasting my days away just in my business. One of the big things that happened in August 2018 was that we moved to Bali. So instead of closing my work down at 5 pm and going for a walk on the beach in the mornings, or spending the evenings with Davey and going out to see friends, we found ourselves just chilling at home in our villa (which we love) and I would just grab my laptop or phone and do a little bit more work.
What I recognized was that Honest Dave and I didn’t really have a purpose to our time outside of my business. The purpose had disappeared. In Coolum, I was in this beautiful habit of going for a walk on the beach every morning. Living in Ubud it’s like 30 degrees before 7 am, I ain’t going out for a giant walk in the middle of the rice paddies, it just doesn’t appeal to me. The swimming pool didn’t open until 9 and shut at 3, so I was putting my swim in the middle of the day and my work hours were expanding outside of that.
So as you can see there were a few things going on that meant my hours of work were increasing. Here’s what I did about it:
Number 1 – I reviewed my business model, first and foremost. Those parts of my business where I expanded the time that it took me to deliver weren’t serving me and were actually contributing to me starting to feel like my business was hard work again. So I had a look at all of the courses and programs that were still remaining in my business, and which ones I felt were really serving me and my beautiful clients, and being really honest with myself about which ones I wasn’t loving.
One of the big ones for me was Courses with Heart program. I was found half of my time in my Academy calls was talking about courses, but most of the people in the Academy weren’t in Courses with Heart, and when I did my Courses with Heart live support calls there weren’t a lot of people showing up and 90% of their questions weren’t about courses and launching. A lot of the people that joined Courses with Heart wanted to be ready for courses and launching, but actually, they realized they needed to do some more to the foundations of their business.
I saw that there was this overlap of the target market and the audience I was serving with the Academy and Courses with Heart. I also saw that people were skipping various stages of business.
For me it’s:
Scale and systemize
Courses and launches
and then process orientation
What I was seeing is whilst I saw that as the best stages of business and the correct order to progress through business, a lot of people would go
Courses and launches
Oh, bugger, I need to scale and systemize, I better go back and do it.
And so those 2 stages of business were causing trouble for a lot of people who were struggling to self-identify which stage they were at and the right order to progress in. There was a lot more blur between those two different targets markets. What I decided to do was to close down Courses with Heart program, but incorporate it within the Academy,move all of the Courses with Heart people into the Academy (so they still had access to me and the same content as the Courses with Heart program, as well as the Academy content), but also add an additional call each month to the Academy that focused purely on courses and launching. Voilà, I’ve actually reduced my number of support calls each month by 1, but I’ve also made sure that the calls I do are going to be way more focused and a lot of the questions I get asked in the Academy won’t come up anymore, or I can direct people to the Courses with Heart module.
It was a really cool decision for me to make and it felt great when I made it. I had the right business strategy to deal with making everything fit together and feel abundant and awesome for both me and my audience. Once this had been addressed I had also reduced the number of courses I have on offer again, which felt beautiful.
I also made the decision to not run the Q3 Mastermind again for Q4 and not extend it to another round. It was really fun, awesome opportunity to provide a low-cost mastermind option to some of my audience, but, I recognized again that it was actually me trying to change my business to fit people who didn’t quite fit, or me trying to create a new service offering when I didn’t need one. What I needed to do was to really own the Rising Stars/Shooting Stars mastermind and their price points, which if I’m being 100% honest is the reason for the Q3 mastermind existing.
The Q3 Mastermind had been amazing. Out of the 4 masterminds that were formed in Rising Stars mastermind, 3 of them were phenomenal and absolutely took off. One of them was slow to get started, but they have actually decided to be a self-driven mastermind for another quarter and it’s been really amazing to see them find their stride at the end of Q3, and now they’ve moved into a really beautiful mastermind arrangement together. It’s been really cool for me to see that, plus, some of the people from Q3 ended up coming into Rising Stars/Shooting Stars which means that I’m able to be more present for those masterminds, and again reduce my working hours quite significantly, particularly that time facing the camera.
Number 2 was me reviewing the “faffing” part of my time. I got really clear with my team about what’s my job in my business and what isn’t, and we’ve really started to nail the dynamic between all of us working together in my business. I’m also much quicker to divert to my team in instances when I should be because I’m protecting my time and work hours.
I’ve also hired an online business manager in early September, and having an online business manager has allowed me to blurt out all of the things I’m feeling and where I’m spending time, which lets me hear her advice on where we can start to make great changes and significantly impact on the time on my business.
But here are some of the other things I did that I think helped even more. First up, Honest Dave and I got really clear on what we’re here to do, and whether we want to be spending 40 hours each per week on my business, the answer was no. We needed to come up with other things to spend our time on, so we’re doing more day trips around Bali, spending more time exploring our local area and enjoying our time, we’re getting more massages, facials, going for more swims in fancy resorts and spending more time with Munchkin in Singapore, because that’s what we want our life to be. We’ve booked our holiday to be a little bit earlier, so we can spend some more time in Europe. These big long live conversations, managing personal finances, and just hanging out have allowed us to connect better. We’ve mapped out our personal goals and where we’re going over the next few years, and it has been absolutely amazing.
I’ve been suggesting these planning sessions for months, but we never got around to it because I “didn’t have enough time” when actually I did, I just didn’t commit to that time. I’ve been scheduling things to do in our downtime because if I just leave it as “downtime” I end up working on my business. You guys are addictive, I just want to hang out with the ladyposse! Instead of downtime in my diary, it has things like “white water rafting” or “day trips” to various places. We’re living in Bali, let’s make the most of it!
The last thing I wanted to talk to you about – particularly with those of you struggling to nail down what you’re working on in your business – is to look at the productivity of the time you do spend in your business. I’ve been really honest with myself about what is effective and productive time, and what isn’t.
One of the habits that crept in for me came up in a journaling session, I was constantly craving working from a cafe or a different workspace, and I couldn’t understand why this was happening. Why did I constantly feel like I can’t work unless I’m out of the house? We have a beautiful villa here with plenty of space and places to work. I can work by the pool, in the kitchen, at my desk, on the bed and we have great internet, so why do I feel like I need to go to a cafe? One of the reasons was because my time that I was working was these long extended stretches of 4 hours with no breaks again. Why was I doing this to myself? For that 4 hour stretch to feel like it was fun, I was going and doing that stretch at a cafe, but if I was honest with myself I wasn’t particularly productive during those times, and really the most productive things I did during those stretches were Facebook lives.
What I decided to do instead was to tighten my timeframes. I’d sit down for an hour and do 2 Pomodoros of 25 minutes, and in that 25 minutes I’m going to get A, B, and C done. I would sit down and get that done. When I got those tasks done, I would reward myself by going to a cafe and having a delicious herbal tea, or going and getting a pedicure. Guess what? I didn’t need as much time. I didn’t need to sit and work for 4 hours at a time. I was just faffing, and it took a lovely journalling session for me to work that out.
So if this has resonated with you (I hope that it has) and if you are finding yourself working way too many hours on your business and want to reduce them down, hopefully, some of those strategies will help you identify the problems and work on them.
Until next time I have been Tash Corbin, you have been a fabulous listener and I cannot wait to see you shine. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast, see you soon! Bye for now!
Hello darling entrepreneur, it’s Tash Corbin here with another episode of the Heart-centred Business Podcast. This is episode 162, and today I’m going to be answering a very, very common question and that is: Do you need a qualification to actually offer services as a coach? Interesting one, let’s get into it!
So I want to talk about this need to be qualified as a business coach through a business strategy lens. I’m not going to be talking about the legal, particularly when it comes to helping people with their health and well being, working in spaces such as financing or legal etc. They are very different areas of business, and it’s important that you understand the legal and financial requirements of you running your business, however, there are some services that require a qualification in that space, and I want to just focus down on coaching.
This may be life coaching, some forms of health coaching, business coaching, clarity coaching, strategy coaching, whatever you want to call it. The types of qualifications that I see people holding themselves back from stepping into their business for, which aren’t actually required. For example, I do not have a formal coaching qualification, I have trained in coaching but I have not gone for a certificate/diploma in coaching or any of those sorts of things.
When I talk about this with people a lot of them are really surprised, but it was actually some really great advice that my first business coach gave me when she said:
“You have a natural propensity to be in that space, you have really good natural style when it comes to working with people, and to be 100% honest with you, we probably wouldn’t call a lot of the work you do ‘coaching’ in its purest form. So why don’t you just spend 6 months growing your business first and if you decide you want to get that formal qualification with your profits, then you can do that.”
It was such amazing advice and I am so glad that we had that conversation because ultimately I didn’t need a formal coaching qualification to grow my business. I have a Bachelor’s in business and particularly in leadership and management, I have many qualifications in coaching/training and all sorts of things that aren’t necessarily formal certificate level qualifications, and I also have a lot of experience from being a business consultant for over 4 years before I actually decided to start my own business.
I’m going to be a little bit controversial here and say: You do not need another qualification. You do not need a formal life-coaching qualification in order to be able to help people set goals and go for them. You do not need a formal coaching qualification in order to help people with their business strategy.
I wanted to have this conversation because I want you to be 100% honest with yourself about why you feel the need to get that qualification, and in some cases that need may actually mean that going through a formalized program to get such a qualification is a good idea for you. In other cases, it will mean the opposite.
Also, let’s not forget that overall I am a big advocate for feminine business, and a lot of the whole certification structure around businesses and business models is a very masculine model of business.
Let’s jump into reason number 1 where I see people thinking that they need to get a qualification.
They feel really unconfident and they really struggle to actually even sit in front of one client. They don’t have a process that they know they’re going to use with their client, and it makes them feel really out of their depth. The idea of sitting in front of a person and saying “I would like to do a coaching session with you” completely sends them beyond the comfort zone, the learning zone and way into the terror zone. Now, in that instance, I think that it’s a good idea to get some form of support or qualification/structure behind you to help you feel like you can be comfortable in that space. But, I want you to tap into that discomfort. Are you uncomfortable because you haven’t done this before, or are you uncomfortable because you have no idea how to do this? Are you uncomfortable because this is a new application of all of your skills and experience that you’ve previously used in an unstructured way, or are you uncomfortable because you don’t actually know what you are doing? You have an idea of what it is you want to do, but you don’t actually know how to do it, and you have never done anything of this type in any context before.
Number 2. I see people feeling that they need a qualification because they are not an exact expert in the exact thing that they want to offer their business in, and that was exactly where I was. I had experience as a business consultant and had worked in executive/CEO coaching before, I also had worked as a business strategist with small, medium, and ginormous organizations, but, being a business coach or mentor for women in the creative sector, I had never done. I had never taken those skills and qualifications and actually used it in this particular context. In that instance – when it’s just changing the context through which you’re expressing and using your skills – then I don’t think a qualification is what you need.
The next one I see pop up is that people feel like the certificate will do the selling for them. “Well I’m one of twenty-five now qualified people in this level of the blablabla, and so, therefore, that is going to create business success for me.” I see this happen a lot for people who have maybe done a life-coaching qualification, now they’ll do several others because they think if they just amass enough certificates, then that will magically create the business results for them. Unfortunately, in 99.9% of cases, that is just not true.
Yes, you will have that qualification and yes you will have that certificate, but that certificate will have no impact on your business results unless your potential clients are actually googling exact phrases that match your qualification. You may get referrals from the provider of that qualification, you may get some initial clients because you’re excited and talking about all the things your qualification can do, but when all is said and done, you are still required to learn how to market yourself as a provider in that space.
You still need to match what this qualification has taught you with meeting the needs of your exact niche and your target market and solving their immediate problems. This is one of the big things I see with people who get life-coaching qualifications, they are so in love with the modality, that they think talking about the modality will do the selling for them.
“Everybody needs a life coach.”
I hear this from them again and again, and I say:
“You need to niche.” Yes, everybody could benefit from working with a life coach, but if your message is to everyone and you are trying to market to everyone, you are going to resonate with no one. People don’t go around actively looking for a life coach, they don’t even think a life coach is what they need at that point in time. If they do think a life coach is what they need, and if they are actively Googling for life coaching, you’ve now put yourself in competition with every other life coach who is relying on that same strategy. Now it’s not just life coaching where I see this particular phenomenon, but it is a good example of where you can sometimes put too much emphasis on what the qualification will give you and not enough emphasis on you actually growing your business.
You’ve probably heard me say this before, but, no great business was ever built on theory alone. Unfortunately, even though there is a lot of practice with peers in the coaching training, it is still theory-based from a business growth perspective, because you did not need to sell your services to the people you coach whilst you are going through the qualification.
I really am grateful that my coach way back then told me to hold out on getting my coaching qualification and to grow my business first based on the skills, abilities, and qualifications that you already have, and only get the qualification if you think it will add to what you already provide for your clients.
Number 1 – it really helped me to stick with my natural skills and abilities and develop them further.
Number 2 – it actually helped me to stop hiding behind a modality. That was one of my desires, to be able to say “I am a fully accredited blabla coach!” thinking that that modality and certificate would help make a difference in the decision the potential clients were going to make.
Number 3 – the message vs the modality in the sales process. I didn’t have the ability to say that I was an accredited coach so I had to really get my messaging clear. If this is something that’s coming up for you I need to you to ask yourself the following:
If you were to sell yourself as a service provider with the skills, abilities, qualifications, and experience that you already have:
Who could you serve?
How could you serve them?
What would your core message be?
Because ultimately, a qualification doesn’t always change that. A qualification doesn’t change your purpose, it doesn’t change the way that you want to show up in the world. It doesn’t change what you are here to do and who you are here to serve.
So after all this ask yourself, is it a qualification that you really need? Is it actually confidence? Marketing skills? Do you just need to get out there and offer services and see what happens?
I mentioned earlier that I don’t have any formal qualifications in coaching. I have been asked about said formal qualifications during the sales process a grand total of one time. I’ve been in business for five-and-a-half years now and one person has asked if I had a coaching qualification. I explained that I didn’t but that I was an experienced executive and CEO coach, that I had my Bachelors in business leadership and management, and that I had done some coaching training, and she still purchased from me.
So have a think about it. Remember, I’m just talking about it from a business strategy perspective, I’m not taking away from the amazing techniques and methodologies that you learn when you actually do a coaching qualification. I’m not taking away from the power of coaching qualifications and what they teach you, the practice that you get, the confidence that it builds. I think that for a lot of people getting a coaching qualification is a good idea, but I just wanted to do this blog post to get you questioning and thinking about the why behind you want to go out and get that qualification or certification.
A little side note here, I wanted to talk girl-on-girl about a little bit of feminism and what the school system taught us.
One of the biggest issues that I have with the education system and the way that it sets us up in terms of working out how the world works is that we are always answerable to an external party. So an external party – our teacher – teaches the things that they want us to learn and what they feel we need to know. We practice those things while memorizing and applying them to different situations, and in a school setting we always present our work back to the same person who taught it to us, and that person gives us that feedback and grade on whether what we have done is correct.
One of the things that this does particularly for women is it trains us that both the most important information we can learn comes from external parties, and the feedback that we need for our works also comes from one single source. That authority figure that is external to ourselves. Therefore when we leave the education system and go into business for ourselves and don’t have a boss who is telling us what to do or holding us to account, we can look to other avenues to find that external source of validation, information, and feedback. Sometimes this can lead us to think that we need that as well in our businesses, and that can be one of the reasons why we get so caught up in still continuously seeking qualifications, teachers, mentors, coaches, and the environment where you do “homework” and submit it for external feedback.
It’s all pushing you to that external focus, and one of the big powerful things about being in business for ourselves is that not only do we seek from within for the information that we are looking for, but we also seek within to learn to be our own inner mentor and give ourselves feedback. Everything comes from within and there’s this beautiful dynamic we create when we begin to look for it within ourselves.
So if you do have the reluctance to look within, maybe this little blog post was designed to plant the seed for you to just give it a go. Instead of looking for external feedback, just ask yourself whether you love it or not. I always talk about crowd-sourcing… I don’t understand why people crowd-source their logos and ask people which one they prefer. Which one do you prefer? You’re the one who is going to have to show it all the time, pick one that you love, you’re allowed to love your own work.
People may not like your logo design or your brand colours, but it doesn’t matter. You need to be proud of them and love your work and yourself going forward. You may not love this blog post, but I felt really called to do it, and so I don’t need to have that external validation to tell me whether my blog post is good or not. To be honest with you, I don’t really pay attention to the negative feedback, because I know that it’s more of a reflection of what that person is looking for and I wasn’t it at that particular point in time, which is totally okay, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t what other people needed from me.
So that’s just an extra little aside to this podcast episode because I wanted to plant that seed that maybe it’s time for you to look within.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-centred Business Podcast. If you are looking for more information about how to grow the marketing side of your business because some of those reasons really resonated for you, then I would encourage you to come and join the ladyposse Library. In there I have some training on how to get your business off the ground and get those first clients, I have some other training on structuring blog posts and podcasts, I have some great resources to help you do the business side of what it is you do best, and that may just be all of the resources that you need to have that confidence to move forward and to start being of service today.
Thank you once again for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast. Until next time, I’ve been Tash Corbin, you’ve been a fabulous listener, and you are enough, and I cannot wait to see you shine. Big love, and bye for now!
Hello darling entrepreneur, it’s Tash Corbin here, and welcome to episode 161 of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.
In this special episode, I’m joined by the amazing Kym Mulcahy and I’m really excited because we’re going to be talking about your messaging!