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Joanna Lott Coaching

Behind the scenes: The exciting new chapter in my business

coaching business growth journey

Behind the Scenes: My Coaching Business Growth Journey

I want to bring you behind the scenes with me, so that you can see what a business shift can look like and feel like. I would love to hear more ‘behind the scenes’ observations from other business owners, so I hope you will find my coaching business growth journey useful.

The power of the right mentorship

Last week I signed up with a new mentor. I have been with my previous business coach for 18 months now, and this new one has come out of the blue. I wasn’t looking for another mentoring programme but I was drawn to his content. What I really liked about him, because it’s what I hugely value and I haven’t seen it offered before, was his pledge to be personally invested in me; that he would genuinely care about my success in a personal capacity as well as a business capacity. That kind of connection is really important for me to give to my clients, so to find someone who I feel will be able to do the same for me feels really exciting. We have only had two calls so far, but I’ve already implemented lots of what he’s talked about, which I think is a really good reflection of our connection. It proves that, when you are further along in your business, making a small change can have a massive impact because you’ve already done the hard work of building your foundations. Many of you are in that initial first two years of your business right now, when it’s an uphill battle to build your audience, get clarity, know what you’re doing in this world of marketing. It’s the hardest part.
But, when you’re out the other side, and you’ve done that hard work of building your audience and honing your niche, I can tell you from personal experience that it gets so much easier.
A lot of mentors, like my new one, choose to work with people who are further along in their coaching business growth journey – they’ve put the hard work in before you start working with them so it’s easy to see big results from small suggestions. I feel like my new mentor is really invested in me, and we have so much further to go. Already, so many more opportunities have opened up and I’m really excited to see what the future brings. This new mentoring also includes a group mastermind programme. 10 of us are going away to the French Alps for five days, working on building our businesses, doing hot seats, and having a good time of course!
I’m so looking forward to spending time with other business owners who are at a similar stage to me. I’ve never been on a retreat before. Lots of people talk about the true transformation that can happen when you’re away, fully immersed in a different environment, and I think it’s going to be a really pivotal moment. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Company status

Another exciting change in my business is that I have just incorporated my company. Until now, I have been a sole trader which I loved, but people advise you that, when you get to a certain stage, it’s more cost effective to become a limited company, and it felt like the time was right. It feels strange to finally incorporate my company years on from establishing my business. Again, it’s the beginning of a new chapter and it feels like I have new possibilities to build my business on.
I’m the living example of what I always talk to my clients about, which is to start now and get perfect later.
Until recently, I hadn’t prioritised a lot of the activity that many coaches love doing, like incorporating the company, focusing on the branding, the design, the logo, the website.
Instead, I had prioritised getting fee-paying clients because that’s what’s going to grow my business and enable me to pay an accountant to run my books and file my accounts.
Often, earlier on in your business journey, things like debating whether to be a sole trader or a limited company, and the relevant legal implications, can be a real distraction. Personally, I loved being a sole trader, but considering to become a limited company early on in your journey is something for you to think about.

To trademark or not to trademark

Another exciting thing that’s just happening in my world is trademarking my podcast, ‘Women in the Coaching Arena’.
We were driving on our holidays and, in my car, I went on the government website, figured out the process, put my application in and was delighted to receive my trademark this week.
Lots of coaches ask me whether they should trademark their programme name. It’s not something I would devote time or money on in the early stages because, two months in, you may decide to change that programme. It’s about evaluating risk. I have been running my podcast for eight months now, and it was time to protect the name because, if someone else trademarked it first, I could have been forced to take my podcast down.
If you are fairly early on in your business journey and your programme isn’t firmly established, not trademarking the name probably isn’t a big risk.
Business growth needs a ‘fast, messy, action’ approach otherwise you deliberate over decisions too much, freeze and end up with no money generating activity at all.
As you can probably tell from my articles, I prioritise helping you to get real playing clients who can enable you to do the work you’re here for, over getting engrossed in all the admin.
So, whilst yes, in some circumstances, it’s a great idea to trademark your activity, you need to weigh up the risk, the time and the money involved, and decide if it’s right for you at this point.

Accreditation

Joanna Lott's ACC badge – symbolizing coaching excellence

I have also renewed my ICF ACC accreditation for another three years. I have done 40 more hours of continuous coach training and mentoring. In all honesty, I don’t do that much pure coaching anymore. Business coaching clients generally need my guidance and mentoring, but I’m still bringing in my coaching skills.
Recently, a top professor from EMCC observed that mentoring used to be the poor relation of coaching, but that people are now really recognising and valuing its benefits. I don’t think there is an official accreditation for mentoring, but maybe it’s only a matter of time before there is.
If you’re wondering whether to get ICF ACC, some organisations and associate coaching companies will often want you to be accredited. However, it’s not as essential as I first thought.
I’ve also got the ILM Level 7 certificate, but it’s easy to never feel ready to market your coaching, however many qualifications you’ve got, so don’t let it hold you back.

Introducing the Coaches’ Planner

I’m excited to tell you about the Coaches’ Planner I’ve created.
This is something that I need myself, to plan out what I’m selling each month and to make a note of my social media stats so that I can track how they’re growing each month, and to note down the names of people I want to keep in touch with.
I also use it to record my niche, my offers and my strategy, to keep me on track.
Most entrepreneurs are ‘shiny object’ people. We love the creation part of the process, so it can be a real challenge to concentrate on selling one thing at a time, which is what I genuinely believe it takes to be clear in business.
My Coaches’ Planner is on sale now. You can either choose the instant access fillable PDF here to work with online or, if you prefer, you can buy the paperback here.
You can use this Coaches’ Planner to transform your qualifications into clients and plan for your best year yet in 2024.
So, it feels like a new and exciting time to be leaving my mark with a registered company, a trademark for my podcast, and a tangible book related to my business that’s available electronically and on Amazon.

Investing in support

It’s really satisfying to see that all my hard work, and it has been hard work, has led me to this place where I feel like I have a proper business! I have a virtual assistant, Jo, and a social media manager, Nicole, who are both amazing. It feels so good to be supported.
My next step is to find a tech VA to take care of all the ins and outs of the backend of my portal, like all the funnels and emails. If you’re on my email list, you’ll know what I mean!
But, saying that, I’m glad that I started off by working everything out myself as it gives you that real understanding of how to do it all. It also means that, when you subcontract that work, you’ll have a feel for how much is involved and how long it should take, when you’re reviewing their quotes.
Growing and running a business yourself is a truly amazing learning journey, before you’re ready to effectively delegate.

Reflecting on my journey

I would love to reflect on the journey that has brought me to where I am today, including the ups and downs and changes along the way.
I just had a really great coaching session about how attached we can get to what we have created and what we’ve achieved so far in our business, even if what we are attracting isn’t what we thought we’d be doing in our coaching business.
For example, I started off doing executive coaching. It was at a time when I’d left an organisation that I wasn’t happy working in as I found it very controlling. It was exhausting trying to be who they wanted me to be and staying on everyone’s right side.
So, when I started executive coaching within organisations, I found it really stifling to hear my own experience reflected back at me. My clients were telling me that they were unhappy and felt they had no control, but they had to stay in the organisation because the benefits and the pension were good.
I would sit there thinking, come on, there’s a whole world out there! I’d been there, and I knew there was so much more to experience!
I didn’t want to spend my days immersed in stories of corporate frustration.

For me, my passion was the world of entrepreneurship.

For me, my passion was the world of entrepreneurship. I love being able to create and do anything I want without any ceiling.

So, I soon realized executive coaching wasn’t what I truly wanted to do. This led me to career coaching, which I absolutely loved because it’s about helping people leave jobs they hate and find work they love.

With career change coaching, things can move quickly if someone needs a great CV and interview prep for an upcoming role. Or it can be a slow process, sometimes taking years, when people are contemplating a complete career shift. It’s incredible witnessing that discovery and sharing their journey.

Because I was very visible, doing talks and career training in organizations, other coaches started asking for my help. That’s how, two years ago, I started my Business Coaching program on the side.

It’s difficult to excel at two things simultaneously, so at some point, you’ll likely want to choose one to focus on.

When juggling multiple businesses, ideal clients, and offers, it’s hard to know what message to convey.

I went four months without posting anything, stuck in the quandary of not knowing what to share without confusing people or myself. I wasn’t sure who I was talking to or what business I was trying to attract.

a keyboard with a post it note saying know your audience
That’s why it’s helpful to choose one ideal client. That way, you’ll never run out of content because you’re visualising that particular client. You’ll know them inside and out, and you’ll be constantly inspired by content that you’ll want to share with them, knowing that it will be useful for them.
Eventually, I took the brave decision to go all in on my business coaching venture and I’ve absolutely loved every minute.
I think that many of us are trying to provide the solution that we ourselves want.
It’s a real joy to see people go on that journey, watch their confidence soar. See them charge for coaching then substantially increase their pricing. All the good things that come from having a really good mentor/client relationship.

Wherever you are on your journey right now, know that it’s not wasted.

As I reflect today, I see that those two years I spent in the career and executive space have been a huge help in my business today, giving me my own learnings to share.
Also, as I often say to my clients, you don’t have to say no to work that is outside your niche. You can do all sorts behind the scenes.
It just means that you keep your marketing message really clear and really specific.

And finally…

Thank you for being part of my coaching business growth journey. I’ve been running my flagship programme, The Business of Coaching, for over two years now. I’m excited to think about my next offering. Watch this space!
I would love to hear your story and what the key milestones on your journey have been. What has been your biggest learning so far?
Please do DM me on LinkedIn and let me know.

Prefer Audio?

You can also listen to all my new content on my podcast Women in the Coaching Arena

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you grow your coaching business:

a beige background with a mustard and white abstract design with the words: love coaching but struggling to get clients

Interested to know more about my ‘Business of Coaching’ program? Click here to learn more.

Hi, I’m Jo, and I’d love to help you on your coaching journey. I spent 20 years in corporate HR but faced challenges balancing work and family. Refusing to settle, I ventured into coaching, seeking financial success aligned with my values. Overcoming limiting beliefs, I developed strategies to attract clients, leading to the creation of my Reliable Results Path. Now, I support coaches in achieving their goals through my Business of Coaching program. My values of honesty, personalization, and courage guide me, fostering a community of impactful coaches who believe in inclusivity and making a difference. More about me

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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.