Once Upon a Time….
a girl went to college and got a Master’s Degree and then almost got another one except she got married + pregnant.
She got really, really, REALLY good at her career. On paper, she even loved it. Except in reality, she was drained.
The more time she spent away from her baby doing something that drained her, the more resentful and hopeless she started to feel.
So she decided to make a career switch and start a business as a life coach. She went through an intensive life coach training program. She knew she was a really good coach and would get even better with practice.
Except she was too busy to run a business. Between her full-time job, her baby (and now another child on the way), regular responsibilities, motherhood exhaustion in general, and all of life’s obligations…
She could not seem to find the time to do what she wanted to do – coach! – never mind do the work to get clients.
Does this sound familiar to you? By the time you walk the dogs and do the career (which, let’s face it, is more than 9-5)… there’s no time leftover to start a business.
Sit down. We have to talk, because if you’re waiting until life gets “less busy,” then you’re committing to coaching being a nice hobby.
Life is never, ever, ever going to be less busy. There will NOT be a part where “the baby goes to kindergarten” or “this big project at work is going to be over” or “my spouse will be home more”.
There is no “less busy”. And no one ever likes to hear that.
Busy is just a symptom of failure to prioritize.
If you’re thinking, “But you don’t understand, I have more on my plate than most people,” then this applies especially ESPECIALLY to you.
The fact of the matter is you will need to make prioritization decisions in order to start a business while working full time and doing all the other life things.
Here’s a few things to ask yourself to start making the shift towards prioritizing your business.
1) To what extent are you willing to prioritize your dream over other people some of the time?
This is a question for the caregivers. The moms and dads, the people caring for aging parents, and the people who are in helping professional that leak into their personal lives. We think we “have to” prioritize everyone else first, because we’re trained to do it. Feelings of guilt come up when we do something “selfish” like work on our dreams.
Usually this points to the question: “Will I sacrifice caring for others to serve a business that isn’t even making money yet?”
It’s like we can’t justify prioritizing our business over people, until the business is “worth it”.
I think you can see where this is going.
2) To what extent are you willing to prioritize your dream of starting a business over being the absolute 100% always-available, go-to, best of the best, checks email first thing every morning and responds all weekend person at your job?
This question is for the people who work their asses off at their careers because they’re good at it. They fear repercussions if they’re not available all the time and super-responsive via email. They’re at the mercy of their bosses, clients, teams, and projects. They have a hard time leaving work on the desk.
Prioritizing work 100% of the time usually points to an unwillingness to prioritize anything that doesn’t have a sure-shot
3) To what extent are you willing to stop looking at your coaching practice as “all or nothing”?
This question is for those who can’t find a way past the “chicken and the egg” paralyzing block. I either run my coaching practice full time and leave my job, or I stay in my job and don’t have time for my coaching practice.
There are sooooo many possibilities in between those black and white options. Would you rather have zero clients, or 2 clients?
Definitely 2 clients, right? If they’re paying you, and you’re making some money on the side… how is that a bad thing?
Are they not enough because they’re not 12 clients?
What if someday they turn into a steady stream of 5 clients that pay you well enough to cut back to part time or seek a part time job?
What if the dream does take 5 years… but still happens? What if you end up working part time and coaching part time forever? Is that still better than working full time at a soul-sucking job? Probably!
4) To what extent are you willing to prioritize your business over your self-care?
Yes, I said it. I think self-care is important. We need our soul-fulfilling activities, hobbies, boundaries, nutrition, and naps.
However, I have seen far too many coaches throw “self care” up as a block. They won’t get up early because “self care”. They have to nap because “self care”. They cannot get groceries delivered because they have to touch every cucumber themselves. They won’t cut back on anything at all, ever because “self care”.
Here’s what all these questions have in common, and what I’m asking you to explore.
No one is asking you to give up ALL the time with the kids, ALL the job ambition, ALL the self-care, or ALL the hobbies, all of the time.
I am asking what you’re willing to shift some of the time to make time for your business, the thing you SAY is your dream.
The TIME EXCUSE is really FEAR, and a very specific fear:
When I dig down into these questions with my clients, it comes down to this:
What if I sacrifice time with my kids, or ambition at my job, or self-care… for something that in the end, doesn’t work?
But don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you staring your demon in the face, without some practical solutions.
- We have to find out what the right actions are to take to grow a business, rather than sacrificing time with our kids just to scroll through Facebook and hope we hit on a client.
- We have to detach from the outcome of the business and ask what we’re getting out of the journey that makes it worthwhile no matter what.
- We have to find mentorship and help – paid, free, or other – that will help us create a business. Coaching skills are not enough to grow a business.
- We have to be willing to stop judging the ways other entrepreneurs are doing things, because it may be blocking our own paths to success.
- We have to be willing + open minded about doing business in ways we didn’t consider, and taking advice from mentors who are actually making money.
- We have to turn off “Shiny object syndrome” and develop true discernment about which mentors can actually help us (hint: if you get on a 1:1 call, ask them about outcomes they’ve had serving clients who are NOT a business to business model. I have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars asking that 1 question).
I admit I just dished out a lot of “have to,” especially for a coach. But after 5 years mentoring and coaching folks who are starting their businesses (and after having a successful practice myself)… I just can’t take the “busy” excuse anymore!
I’m dishing out this tough love from a place of advocating for you and your dreams.
Find the fear beneath the busy. Name it and bring it to light.
Prioritize your business regularly. No one has to give up ALL the things, but when CAN you prioritize your dream?
Train the people around you to respect your boundaries by managing expectations and being patient while they adjust.
You CAN learn to prioritize your business over caregiving, jobs, self-care, and anything else that ALWAYS gets the upper hand.
Remember, you don’t have to prioritize your biz ALL of the time… just enough of the time to be moving forward towards the life you want to create.