Re-Living this Year: What would I have done differently?
From Publishing to Coaching
In July 2018, I left my corporate academic publishing job to start a full-time career in coaching. I was wide eyed and optimistic, and determined to make my new business, Lifescape Coaching, work at any cost. However, I wasn’t prepared for how hard it was going to be to set up and run my own small business.
As we near the close of 2019, I would like to offer some useful retrospective advice to coaches who might be just about to qualify, and to anyone else who might be considering leaving their comfortable jobs to set up on their own.
If you fall within this category, I hope that my experiences this year can help inform the year you are about to embark on.
Re-Living this Year
If I could re-live this year over again, here are 6 things I would have done differently:
1. Instead of jumping the corporate ship and severing links completely with my old job and company, I would stay in my job for at least 6 more months, possibly working part-time, while developing a solid client base and giving myself more time to discover who I am as a coach.
2. I would take time to experiment with different types of coaching and be less concerned about finding my niche and more concerned with simply enjoying the process of coaching.
Halfway through this year, my niche found me. I discovered that I am a career transition coach. I help clients to get clarity around where they want to be professionally and support them in their career change or pivot as they transition to a more fulfilling role and a happier life.
3. I would hold off creating business-related paraphernalia until I felt really comfortable with my coaching offering, my company name, my niche, and my logo.
I was overly keen to create a Lifescape Coaching company logo so I could start to promote my brand. However, my brand, pictured here, wasn’t resonating with me.
In the summer, I decided to re-brand. I wasn’t connecting with my original branding. I was ready to come out as myself, Alisa Salamon, Career Transition Coach, and to stop hiding behind the Lifescape Coaching brand. I ditched my original logo.
I implored my busy artist husband, Richard Levine, to design me a brand new one, pictured above.
Tip: If my brand wasn’t resonating with me, then it was unlikely to resonate with potential clients
I was overly keen to launch a website so I could make a bold statement to the world that I am a professional coach.
I was overly keen to create my website copy which took weeks to compose.
I ended up re-writing the copy in its entirety following my niche discovery.
I was overly keen to print some business cards so I could proudly proclaim my accredited life coach status.
I was overly keen to hand them out at networking events even though I felt like a bit of an impostor.
I printed a brand new set of business cards once my niche found me.
4. I would not have set up my own limited company but rather would have set myself up as a sole trader. Again, I was making a statement to myself that I was a small business owner. I needn’t have gone through the hassle as my income was low and certainly almost as far south as you can get from the threshold for VAT registration.
5. I would not have paid marketing experts to create a marketing strategy and help me with a marketing plan. As I couldn’t afford to pay them to execute on the plan, I was back at square one when the marketing plan was finalised and handed over, which meant that I was still responsible for creating social media posts to promote my services: A task that I found laborious and joyless.
6. Instead, I would have contracted out the tasks I find joyless to a virtual assistant.
All in all, it has been an incredibly interesting year for my coaching practice, filled with so many learnings that I can take forward to do better next year.
I hope that some of these lessons might help the coaches who are planning to set up their coaching practice next year, and to anyone else who is considering leaving their comfortable jobs to set up on their own.