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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas Time is Here

Hello friends!  I hope you are enjoying your holiday season and the fast approach of our new year.

Christmastime for me is a joyful time, full of warm, cozy holiday memories…of decorating the tree, a foot of snow outside (I grew up in upstate NY!), caroling, enjoying eggnog with friends, and treasuring the many blessings of the season. 

As my children are teens now, the bustle and rush of preparing for Christmas is a bit less frenetic than it used to be.  So I’m taking this special time to slow down (what a beautiful concept!) – to relish all that’s around me, and to feel deep inside the fullness of my gratitude for friends, family and my life.

Part of enjoying the holidays is celebrating a new tradition with my husband, jazz percussionist Arthur Lipner.  As we both love music deeply, we’ve had a great time choosing a special holiday song, and recording it together.

This year, we chose Christmas Time is Here: Click here to listen

Here’s our tune from last year:   Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Hope you like them!

I deeply appreciate being in community with you, and receiving each day the amazing gifts of wisdom, humor, insight, and support from my colleagues, friends and peers.  You’ve helped make this year a wonderful one, full of joy, growth and learning. 

May the New Year bring to you all that you hold dear.
Happy Holidays, and joy and peace in 2011 and always.
Much love, 
Kathy

A little musical holiday gift

Hello Friends!  Last year, my hubby jazz percussionist Arthur Lipner and I recorded a little holiday song for our friends.  We wanted to share it again with you, our new friends.

Here it is:
Have Yourself  a Merry Little Christmas

Another song is coming this week! We’re having a ball recording these together.  Stay tuned, and Happy Holidays!

With love,
Kathy

Get Over Yourself and Get Going

Hi Friends – happy to share that More.com published my piece “Get Over Yourself and Get Going” today – about the secret sauce to real, heartfelt and authentic success.  I’m not talking here about the kind of success that makes you happy for one second, then flits off like a firefly.  I’m talking about success that fills you up, makes you feel whole, reinforces what matters, strengthens you, and reminds you why you’re on the planet now, even during these terribly trying times.

Here’s the piece:
http://www.more.com/4879/26355-the-secret-sauce-to-your

I’ve thought long and hard over these past years of reinvention about success.  My goodness…my vision and worldview about success have changed dramatically.  Frankly, my views about success keep morphing, but one thing I know for sure – if you don’t have deep and powerful clarity about what a joyful, successful life is for you, then “success” is elusive at best.

Hope this story spurs some action and reaction.  Please comment and share! Do you think it might be time to name and claim your heartfilled visions of success?  Let’s make 2011 the year we all get over ourselves and get going!

Love and success to you in 2011,
Kathy

The Top 10 Things Coaching Marketers and Training Schools Won’t Tell You

This week, I had a fabulous conversation with Starla Sireno – Founder of www.Fearlessnessinc.com and the Fearless Women Entrepreneur Network – an empowering forum for women entrepreneurs in San Francisco and beyond, providing the knowledge and support women need to become fearless entrepreneurs. 

Starla and I both found so much validation and confirmation in sharing our honest and frank views about the coaching business, entrepreneurship, women’s challenges in launching their ventures to great success, and the onslaught of false information that is damaging to thousands of women today.

I realized in speaking with Starla that I’ve officially had it with the thousands of false and empty promises I keep hearing from hundreds of coaching marketers and product developers for coaches, and organizations that train beginning coaches.  Their talk is SO full of misleading guidance, that it’s time to speak out. 

I’m sharing below what I know to be true about the coaching business, based on not only my personal experience, but also my honest and authentic conversations and connections with hundreds of coaches nationwide and in other countries.

*Note: The following information excludes reference to executive and business coaches who are paid by an organization, not by individuals.  There are exceptions to the statements that follow, but not many, and only under special conditions:

What I know to be true about coaching: 

1) “Coaching” per se doesn’t sell.  People still don’t know what coaching is or what it delivers.  To get new clients and continually fill a pipeline to make a good living, you must promote and market the substantial benefits and outcomes you deliver, not sell “coaching”

2) Your delivered outcomes must be highly compelling.  The benefits and outcomes you deliver through coaching must be compelling and highly valuable in the eyes of your clients, not yours.  For people to part with their money today, you must address a pain point that has to be resolved, or a benefit that is deeply coveted, in the client’s opinion.

3) Don’t count on workshops for your living. You won’t make any money running workshops, selling passive income products, or engaging in affiliate relationships if you don’t have a large enough community (in the multiple thousands) to sell to.

4) The strength of your brand matters. With the massive influx of data and information today, you need a compelling brand and powerful unique positioning, website and other marketing materials that work, to stand out and help you attract new clients and customers — unless you only want to work only through word-of-mouth.

5) You need a large platform or community in order to sell books. Creating books and e-books in general won’t make you money either – again unless you have thousands of potential customers within your reach.  Books (and only well-developed ones that offer something of value) will, however, generate other benefits for you (credibility, recognition, exposure, a new affordable way to reach people, etc.).

6) Hundreds of coaches nationwide are not making it.  The median annual salary for a life coach is $30,000 – and many more coaches make much less than that.  If you want a bigger income, you must embrace a different business model that includes not just one-on-one coaching but also other high-quality and useful services, products and programs.

7) Publishers will be interested in your book only when you command significant attention. Publishers won’t consider publishing your book unless you have a sizable platform and community (in the many multiple thousands) and can command attention, through traditional or social media, or through others means.

 8) Publicity doesn’t have the financial impact you think it does.  National publicity is awesome to get, but it doesn’t necessarily move any important needle in your business financials – including in your revenue, clients, customers or speaking fees.  Don’t chase publicity for publicity’s sake.

9) Paid speaking gigs don’t come easy. If you want to be a paid speaker, it takes a great deal of training, powerfully-crafted programs, credibility, in-depth experience, and hard-earned knowledge about how to engage, inform, and enliven an audience.  All of that takes years.  Don’t expect high fees (or fees at all) as a beginning speaker.

10) Coaching is NOT a quick and lucrative way out to your corporate job. 
DON’T engage in a coaching practice if you think it’s an easy, profitable way to run from your corporate life.  And please don’t launch a coaching or consulting practice (or other business) if you aren’t ready to focus on and continually attend to the business-building and marketing actions essential to creating a thriving business.  If it’s contrary to your personality to go out and pursue business opportunities daily and promote your business with gusto and energy – then definitely think again.

*  *  *  *

Coaching can be a very rewarding and exciting profession, but it takes time, energy, business and marketing know-how, sound investment, and an ongoing commitment to making it work.  False promises about how easy it is to earn six figures, create compelling information products that sell, or attract clients who’ll flock to your door, are misleading at best, destructive at worst. 

Some helpful TO-DO tips:

1) If you’re building a coaching practice, seek out reliable and highly respected coaching marketers and business-builders who understand the realities of the business and will share with you the core strategies they’ve used to overcome the inherent challenges. 

2) Please be judicious in what you invest in outside help to develop your business. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on outside marketing help if there’s no way you can recoup that money within the year. 

3) Find helpers who are strong role models whom you respect, and whose products and programs are of high quality.

4) Believe only the advice of people who want you to succeed as much as — if not more than – they want to fill their own pipelines.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for real-life stories of successful coaches who have navigated powerfully through each of the above realities.

I’d love to hear from you.  What else do coaching marketers and schools NOT tell you? Leave a comment!

Why Asking for Money Is So Hard

I’ve been watching my clients – and myself – this past year around the experience of charging fees, asking for payment, suggesting folks re-enroll in our programs, etc., and here’s what I’ve found…

Very few people like asking for money, and no one finds it easy – we universally hate it.

Why? 

Because asking for money brings up thousands of insecurities and doubts.  We’re scared to look money in the face, and to put ourselves out there, formally stating where we stand in a value equation.  And we’re unsure of our worthiness.

Folks tell me that when they ask for money from clients or customers, questions swim inside their heads about value, impact, and “appeal.”  They fear that asking for money is the opposite of being “pleasing” to people, and will be a huge turn-off.  (For a fascinating discussion around if we should worry about what other people think of us, see Jonathan Fields’s recent post “What Other People Think IS Your Business.”)

In tough times like these, consultants, coaches, practitioners and entrepreneurs struggle hard to stand up for what they want/deserve in compensation or fees, fearing no one will pay.  And in the end, many aren’t sure themselves what their services are worth.

At the root of this money challenge are shame, doubt and insecurity:  Am I good enough? How can I put a value on what I offer?  Will there be enough people to pay this?  Will they come back?  Did they think my work was a good value?  How do I fare against the competition?  Did I give them great results?

While I continue to struggle with asking for money, I’ve found greater success this year only after figuring out beyond a reasonable doubt what I feel my services are worth.  I didn’t make the numbers up – I did the work of obtaining valid information and feedback.  I conducted diligent, open-hearted research – with clients, competition, experts, role models, the marketplace, etc.  I asked my clients how they assessed the value of our work together, and the impact it made in their lives.  And I left my ego at the door when these conversations occurred. 

Asking for money IS hard, but it gets easier when we become crystal clear about what our services/products are worth to those we serve.  Once we know in our hearts and minds what to charge, then it’s time to speak up and ask for it. 

Curious about your thoughts – Do you find asking for money hard, and what makes it easier?

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