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Everybody's Got An Opinion
We all know a quick search on the internet, and you’ve instantly got thousands of opinions on the best way to start and run an online business.
When I started my coaching practice, I did just that, and man, oh man, did it bite me in the ass.
Because all of the advice I read and followed at the time was the exact opposite of what I needed to get my business off the ground.
For example, one course I took recommended being present on all social media platforms.
Seriously, someone who’s bran spankin’ new also needs to show up on every social media platform while learning all the other million things to start a business?
And, just like that, all my excitement about starting my coaching journey was gone.
Thankfully, I found some coaches that helped me understand the business side while learning to trust myself and what was right for my business.
This leads me to the topic of this article. But before I share why I no longer set goals in my business, I want you to indulge me and try the short exercise below.
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Assessing Where You're At In Your Biz Right Now
Where are you in your business right now?
And, by that, I mean, how does your business feel in your body?
Close your eyes and think about where you’re at right now.
How does that feel?
Do you get a light, floaty feeling like a feather slowly drifting through the air?
Or are you wound tight, clenched jaw and all?
Or are you numb and don’t feel a thing?
Take the time to feel into this because it’s the best way to determine if your business aligns with your values and whether or not what you’re currently doing in your business is moving you closer to what you want or keeping you stuck right where you are.
If you feel at peace or have a sense of calmness, excitement, or even hope, you’re likely headed in the right direction, and you just keep chuggin’ along.
On the other hand, if your body feels tense, tight, rigid, or you feel like you could gag because of tightness in your throat, a pit in your stomach, or weight on your chest, that’s a pretty good indication something ain’t right.
You’ve veered off the ideal path based on your values, strengths, etc., and need to assess and readjust your approach.
If that’s the case, no biggie.
It happens to the best of us. You’re now aware of it, and we can start working on changing what you’re doing so that you actually look forward to your business and are excited about sharing your work with the world.
Keep this in mind as you finish the rest of this article.
The Idea That There's Only One Right Way to Grow a Coaching Business
When I started my coaching business two years ago, I thought I needed all these fancy business plans, client avatars, complex marketing funnels, and multiple coaching offers. This couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
I listened to the so-called “business professionals” online because I was brand spanking new. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I sure as shit didn’t know how to run an online business. So, I took what they said as truth which unfortunately meant I had some uphill climbs as I worked to get my business off the ground.
What do I mean?
Think about being told that you HAVE to do business a certain way. For example, do you have to be on Instagram when you hate social media, or do you have to create a formal business plan before you can actually start your coaching business?
It sucks, right.
Nobody likes being told they have to do something. And, there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to growing a business, especially a coaching one where you are at the center of everything you do.
So, if you’ve found yourself feeling uptight, overwhelmed, and dreading your business (reference the exercise above), fret not. I’ve been there too. It’s totally normal.
And guess what? I still feel like that sometimes.
But I’ve learned not to ignore that feeling and instead use it as a clue that something isn’t working. The fun and creativity aren’t coming through anymore, and I need to realign before moving forward.
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Why I Don't Set Goals Anymore
One of the biggest joy killers for me was setting goals.
Sounds crazy, right?
Think about all the research on goals and how they’re essential for success.
But are they really?
Do they actually guarantee you’re gonna hit whatever milestone it is that you’re trying to achieve?
In my experience, no.
They actually did the opposite.
Let me explain.
As a newer coach and entrepreneur, I believed I had to have quarterly and yearly goals aligned with my business aspirations to guide my work.
For example, My goal when I started was to make $50,000 as a life coach in my first year of business.
Did I do this?
What I did do, however, was beat myself up for not hitting my monthly targets.
I took that number ($50,000) and then divided it by 12 because, in my mind, that’s how my business would work.
It would be linear, and the money I’d make would be evenly distributed across 12 months.
What happened was the opposite.
I found myself fixating on my failures rather than looking for my successes.
When January passed, and I had zero dollars in sales, my brain went into a tailspin. I became hyper-focused on the belief that what I was doing wasn’t working and that I couldn’t succeed as a life coach.
This led me to an even darker place and put more distance between the money I wanted to make and where I was.
This continued for a few months until I had all but given up.
All because I put this lofty goal out in the world, and shit wasn’t falling in line the way I had planned.
This hyper-vigilant focus on money (defined by this single goal) cost me a lot of time and money because I carried this heavy, negative energy everywhere I went.
I believed I was behind and needed to catch up, or it was game over.
As you can imagine, this seeped into every aspect of my life and work.
I wasn’t much fun to be around; here comes Debbie Downer! This meant that my energy and outlook when it came to my business repelled a lot of potential clients from engaging with me.
And over the last two years, I’ve found that whenever I assign goals or outcomes to my business, I automatically set myself up for failure.
Because my focus is on hitting that metric.
I give more attention to the metric than the joy, fun, and creativity needed to hit the metric.
Which is why I don’t set goals in my business.
I don’t have a yearly revenue goal.
I have yet to set a goal for how many clients I’ll work with.
Because my business is not a machine. It is a living, breathing, organic exchange between myself and the world.
It is my art. And I refuse to reduce my work to a goal or dollar amount.
In doing so, I keep my business light and fun. I focus on the people I serve rather than the money I make.
Yes- I still make money, but I no longer treat my business like a well-oiled corporate machine aiming to make as much money as possible.
It won’t work. And, if it did, I’d be miserable. The spark would be gone, and I wouldn’t enjoy my work as much.
Setting goals in my business is a huge NO.
Because they transform my work into something linear that lacks depth.
If you’re feeling heavy in your business and need to figure out where you want to be, look at how you run your business.
Do the business processes you’ve adopted align with your values as a coach?
The things you think you need in your business often block the creative flow needed to take your business to the next level. The sooner you can identify what’s not working and remove it, the sooner you can continue to expand your work and share your creative genius with even more people.