36 lessons from building 100+ businesses
... these apply to life too.
I own & run 6 successful businesses & I’ve mentored 100s of coaches to build their businesses (496 to be precise).
I’ve learnt a thing… or 36 so I thought I would share a list here.
Some are more impactful than others but they all mean something to me.
Balance will look different for you.
Many people won’t understand your passion or drive or be able to comprehend that it’s not hard or unenjoyable to work on the weekend to build something you love. That being busy can GIVE you energy. That you thrive when you’re growing.
If you’re got big goals ‘life balance’ isn’t going to look the same for you.
Dont be the best, be the only.
Many people think online coahcing is saturated.
Tough truth: it’s not, you’re just generic.
Stop trying to be the best (there is no best coach for everyone anyway). Be the only.
You are your unique selling point.
No one does what you do in the way YOU do it.
The busier you are, the more organised you need to be.
Probably quite a simple one. I used to just remember meetings?? seems insane to think. Now EVERYTHING is in google calendar or it doesn’t get done.
Being organised is the best thing you can do to reduce anxiety.
Connection is your biggest predictor of business growth.
The size of your following doesn’t matter if they are not engaged with you and what you do.
Make people feel heard & important
Be an excellent coach FIRST.
Don’t get distracted by social media, marketing , ad funnels etc & forget the most important thing…
Some of the biggest accounts I know don’t have even vaguely impressive businesses.
They’ve got so swept up in social media that they’ve become influencers not coaches,
No judgement if that’s what you want but it’s not what we do here.
Read less books, take more action
Some of the most well read people I know have done absolutely nothing with that knowledge. Make sure that you don’t fall for that.
The effort comes before the success not after.
You will have to start taking your business seriously BEFORE it’s successful.
I know it may seem silly to spend time, money, energy on something that isn’t *yet* successful & I am sure your ‘friends’ will make comments.. they may even laugh at you.
Ignore it & surround yourself with other people who have vision & ambition.
But the effort comes before the success not after. It’s the only way, sorry.
Work with people you love & admire - you will level up to it
I get to work with some of the most incredible people I know - Emilia, Chloe & Kimberley, all the coaches on AFM, my ESGfitness coaches.
They expect a lot of me. It forces me to deliver.
There is always something to do.
You’re never going to be done. There will always be more you COULD do. You have to draw a line at the end of the day or you’ll never stop working.
Give without expectation
I have given 1,000s of hours of free content. I help people for free daily. It’s the key to business growth in a way you enjoy.
Reciprocation is a human drive & the more you give, the more you get.
Life is a lot better when you simply focus on giving.
Create things people want & that you are passionate about
You need both.
Seth Godin puts this brilliantly - rather than creating a key and looking for a lock that fits it. Create a key for the lock you have. in other words - rather than creating a solution for a problem people don’t have. Start with the problem and create the solution.
Passion is more important than sales skills
I’ve sold a lot of coaching, courses & mentoring and I am not particularly good at sales.
This is my progress in a nutshell…
I ask people what they need help with.
Then I Listen.
after that I offer my services if I think they will help.
My sales calls have 3 questions in..
1) How are you today?
2) Tell me a little about you and what I can help you with…
I only proceed to 3 if I think I can help…
3) Do you have any questions for me about coahcing/mentoring?
No pushy sales. Just genuine connection. I only want to work with people I can genuinely help - that means listening first.
Don’t be afraid to turn people off.
I don’t want to work with everyone… Even if they do have a goal I can help with.
There is a certain type of person I want to work with. & it’s not a demographic. It is someone with similar values, who wants to do the work, who wants to find solutions. Who enjoys a bit of tough love. Who wants to get the most out of themselves and their lives but who also accepts that impressive results take effort.
Anyone else I want to turn off.
If you show enough of you, your values & how you coach in your content then you will attract the right people.
I would rather have the right people than more people.
You are not the best coach for everyone
This isn’t just about knowledge, experience and expertise. It’s also about coaching style and connection. You will get better results with a coach you get on with. The coach- client relationship matters - from both sides.
It’s the job of a coach to get the most out of their client and it’s the job of a client to get the most out of their coach.
You wouldn’t ask a Dr to write you a workout.
As a coach you don’t need to be a medical professional.
It’s great to have extra knowledge and I encourage up skilling and continuous learning and education (I run an education course for this reason) but take the pressure off being a medical expert.
You don’t need to know everything & you’re not a bad coach if you don’t.
Your expertise is diet & exercise. You don’t expect your GP to know about rep ranges and hypertrophy & they shouldn’t expect you to know about medication doses.
It’s not just what you do, its how you do it
HOW you do it is the second layer of niche. What is your coaching style?
Do you have unique approaches? I have a few - range targets, lowest weekly weight, 3:1 method, solutions not excuses, imperfect action, puck yes or no….etc.
A great example of this is that teachers have to follow a curriculum. Yet some teachers are better than others… the same is true for coaching . Most good coaches follow similar principles. How you apply them varies, that is what makes a mediocre coach or teacher great.
Clients don’t buy the coaching, they buy the coach
People buy people & they buy people they know, like and trust.
If you don’t show enough of who you are, what you do & why you do it then you can’t expect people to buy into you.
Show people why you & what you do is different
Most people looking for coaching have had coaching before or at least tried to diet before.
If you can’t explain what makes you different & why they are going to get results with you then you’re always going to struggle to sell.
Why should someone work with you and not any other coach? (you NEED to be able to answer this question)
Make people feel heard
Don’t come in with solutions until you’ve listen to the problem.
Everyone wants to feel heard & it’s so easy to do.. & yet most people don’t.
Retention > new clients
Imagine how many clients you’d need if they never left… not many.
Now, that is unrealistic but it’s a good aim to have.
One of the most underrated ways to build business is to increase retention. Bonus: it’s usually much more enjoyable too!
My life mantra - I’ve built all my businesses this way. It’s a competitive advantage. While most people are still trying to perfect their group coaching launch I am 4 rounds of improvement in.
You need to accept that you will have to start bad to get good to then become great.
You can’t have it all figured out before you start - you learn by doing.
You can’t wait to get good at podcasting before you start a podcast much like you can’t wait to get good at netball before you start playing netball…
TAKE THE DAMN ACTION. Everyone starts bad.
You will never have a formula for what works because it always changes
This is especially true for online coahcing - things move fast- you have to be adaptable - if you’re not, you will get left behind.
Have goals, vision and direction but don’t be afraid to change paths.
I could never have envisioned where I would be now even a year ago.
5 year plans are stupid.
Less time planning an imaginary future, more time taking action NOW.
What got you here wont get you there.
Doing more of the same thing will only get you so far.
Results will stagnate.
You will need to shift gear, do something new, the next step often requires a different approach.
YOU are your brand
It takes years to build a reputation and seconds to ruin it.
Alex Hormozi recently tweeted something a long the lines of… you can build another business or make more money much easier than you can rebuild a reputation.
Time OFF makes your time ON better.
Productivity is an equation.
It’s output over time. Not output alone.
When you realise this you start managing your energy & work output better. You realise there is a law of diminishing returns. More hours worked does not = better results. Quality over quantity.
'If you want a good work ethic you need a good rest ethic’
The cure for stress cure is to make it more fun.
Whenever I am stressed for more than a day I try to bring the fun back into my work. You can make anything fun. Emilia and I manage to make taking the bins out fun.
Average actions = average results
Don’t get upset about the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.
'If you do what everyone else does you can expect the results that everyone else gets.’
- Shane Parish
Explain your problems to more people.
Often in the process of explaining a problem, you come up with your own solution.
& outside perspectives help, especially if they ask good questions…
This practice is used in the military and in tech.
It’s essentially pulling your idea apart and trying to find faults in it or where things might go wrong.
You put yourself, your idea, your business under attack so that you can foresee issues before they occur.
Framing it as red teaming rather than just critiquing is helpful & makes you less defensive & more likely to take on feedback.
The aim is for you to improve.
The cost of not backing yourself.
I made some stupid mistakes when I started AFM. At the heart of them was the fact I didn’t back myself enough to go it alone.
It was an expensive lesson in both time & money but you can look at this in 2 ways - would I still be waiting if I hadn’t made this mistake?
Which nicely leads on to my next lesson..
Even the wrong action is better than inaction.
Stop worrying about what other coaches might think.
The likelihood is they are too busy doing their own thing and if they are not and they are wasting their time judging you then they are losers :)
Opportunity cost to time & energy.
This is true in all areas of life but business allows you to quantify it more easily. Spending time & energy on something always has an opportunity cost. You can’t spend that time & energy elsewhere.
Deciding where to spend your time and energy is one of the most important decisions you will make throughout your life.
What outcome are you looking for & is the way you’re spending your time and energy aligned with that.
Doing this not that.
life is a game of how you choose to allocate tie & energy (biggest resources)
It’s not a matter of can or can’t
It’s a matter of will or won’t.
I truly believe this;
Anyone can build a successful business,
Anyone can lose fat & get lean,
It’s not an ability problem.
You are absolutely capable.
If you are willing to try, if you communicate, if you look for solutions then I am not giving up on you & you will be successful.
Want my help & support to build your business? click here.
Want my help & support to lose fat? click here.
I am sure there will be many more lessons as I continue to embrace imperfect action, make mistakes, build more things and follow what excites & scares me…
I hope you’ve enjoyed these!
If you have please share :)