Bad Business Investments (And How To Avoid Them)

smart business investments

Are you struggling with what to invest in your coaching business?

Business investments have been on my mind recently, because they can be a double-edged sword.

For example: If you don’t invest anything into your business learning or operations, you have a pretty minimal chance of success.

The reason? Unless you were born knowing how to build and run a coaching business, you won’t succeed on just heart and effort alone. You need knowledge.

But how much knowledge is too much? (What if you keep buying courses but never putting them into action? Or you sign up for something that is way too advanced?)

And how do you know who to trust?

And in what order should you get certain training?

It’s enough to really stress you out!

(Here’s an image of a hedgehog swimming to help you relax. One of my mastermind folks introduced us to hedgehogs swimming this weekend at my retreat and I am forever grateful).

Image result for hedgehog swimming gif

I know you are probably overwhelmed with options – so let me break down some things you need to learn and WHEN (and also what you can wait on), to help you make better business investments.

Also, I’ll share a little bit of what I invested in and why as a part of my own journey.

Ready? Let’s go!

 

What to invest in your coaching business – Step 1.

When you first start out, you probably don’t know much about the business side of coaching. You may have some marketing, branding, or sales experience, or you may have very little business experience.

That’s okay – most of us start feeling pretty….well…ugh.

The first and most important place to invest is NOT your website or your business logo.

Nope.

The first and most important place to invest is in your business fundamental knowledge. Things like:

  1. Figuring out exactly who you coach and why. Not in generalities “I coach career people”, but in specifics “I coach professional women into C-suite jobs.”
  2. Planning out your pricing and service offerings in gritty detail, so that you can create real client results.
  3. Learning how to sell coaching in a conversation (so you don’t sound awkward).
  4. Learning how to do some basic marketing that drives people back to chat with you about their problems.
  5. Planning on how to take payment for your services
  6. Learning how to write some basics about what you do in a way that is both educational and compelling.

Notice NONE of those steps include your website or other traditional bells and whistles.

Why? Because your website is a tool that helps you communicate what you do, why you do it, and how you coach. If you don’t know that then the best website in the world won’t help you.

If you don’t have a great pricing and packaging plan, or know specifically who you are serving and how to chat with them, having a website is a waste of time!

But how do you learn these amazing skills?

Don’t fret! if you haven’t grabbed this free 26 page guide, do so now. It’ll get you started.

When I first started I invested in hiring a coach for business building, and I paid $3500 to someone to teach me everything that she knew about coaching. She wasn’t a business coach specifically, but she’d built a very successful business and I wanted to build mine like hers. She taught me some of the basics and helped get me thinking.

After that I spent $1500 on an online training course, to flesh out some of the steps that I needed in terms of sales and marketing, and to help me finalize my prices and packages. And those were my very first business investments! (Beyond investing in my website, which of COURSE I had to change. Why? Because I didn’t fully get what I was doing. Learn from my mistakes :)).

Wondering how much to spend? Here's what to invest in your coaching business!

What to invest in your coaching business – Step 2.

Do NOT advance to step 2 until you’ve completed step 1. Even if you really REALLY want a website :).

The reason is that it’s easy to waste money on web products that won’t help you, or that you’ll have to completely redo, if you don’t spend time on the basics first.

You need to really clarify who you are serving and why, before you spend money on a brand design or big logo or banner.

Make sense?

Okay.

(I can’t emphasize this enough!).

Once you’ve clarified all of the above and gotten some of the fundamentals in place, then you can spend money on a few of the tools.

  1. Your website, and
  2.  Your scheduler

Okay, these are two of the first real tools you are allowed to invest in. A super simple website allows you to give people a place to go to learn about you and your business.

NOTE: In the interim if websites scare you, or you know you are not fully complete with step one and you want to avoid my gimlet eye of judgement, you can build a LinkedIn Page for your business and put information about your coaching business there.

Your website:

Your first website should be really simple. You’ll need a homepage, an about page, a page where you describe your coaching packages (I don’t think you should have more than three packages because otherwise it gets confusing for your clients), and a page where you can post some success stories, case studies, or a blog.

The case studies, success stories, or a blog is all about helping you create credibility and giving people a chance to learn more about you while you sleep. Do not stress about this too much, just have something that people can read so that they start to get to know you and your services a little bit better.

This will help convince them to sign up to work with you :).

Don’t spend a ton of time or money on your first website. The reason? It’s going to change as you become a more experienced coach.

Every coach starts out with website shame, and that’s just part of the deal. So, if your website isn’t perfect, welcome to the club!

To get started choose a simple design, hire a developer if you need one to quickly implement some things for you, and accept that done is better than perfect.

Remember: In the beginning your website is mostly an online business card. A place for people to learn a little bit more about you (and ascertain that you are real!). Later on it will become a more robust tool, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and your coaching business won’t be either.

(If you want to know what I spent on all of my websites and how I did it, just click here!)

Your scheduler:

You do not need an assistant yet – after all, you probably don’t have very many clients, or any clients yet and that’s okay.

So for right now, get an online tool like TimeTrade or ScheduleOnce (or any other simple online scheduler), so that you can plan out when you coach or have time to work, and then just send a link to potential clients, real clients, networking partners, etc, to get yourself organized and also get a level of professionalism injected into your business.

Your scheduling tool should cost less than $10 a month, and it’ll be a lifesaver in terms of making it easier to work with clients and manage your time.

 

What to invest in your coaching business – Step 3:

Okay, now you have some fundamentals and the first few tools.

At this stage of the game your next investment depends a little bit on you and what you want for your business.

You might need to invest in more sales and marketing training for coaches, so that you can build a predictable sales funnel to get clients.

You might need to invest in a specific area of marketing training (Pinterest, how to build webinars, how to pitch for podcasts), so that you are getting word out about your business to people who need your help.

You might need to invest in coaching around your sales funnel, so that you have all the pieces in place so that your marketing efforts aren’t wasted.

It’s up to you. You WILL need more help, and you’ll have to think about where you are weakest coupled with how you want to grow your business.

DON’T TRY AND LEARN EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE.

Pick the next most important skill for you and invest your time and energy into just learning that.

Learn and then do, learn and then do.

Make sure that after you learn something, you get a chance to fully apply it before you dive into the next piece of learning, okay?

*Whew*

Most important, make sure that when you invest in your learning, you are getting a clear result on your investment.

For most business investments, you should be able to point to exactly how it helped you (or point to a clear monetary return on investment – assuming you do the work and follow through!).

Keep focused on what YOU need, and make sure you are learning from people who have done what you want to do!

Need more help with figuring out when and what to invest?

No problem! Grab this awesome 26 page free guide to help you figure out your business fundamentals and get started off right.

It’s fun, simple, and full of practical help. Grab it here.

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