Why rejection is a good thing when you are growing a small business

Rejection can help you grow and transform

As business owner or creative freelancer, you are trying to attract clients, all the time. Some months that happens easily. Other months it’s like pulling teeth. I know it all too well! And sometimes, you are over the moon about attracting a client, only to feel utterly disappointed when they change their mind – or worse, you end up in a conflict. This morning a new copywriting client I recently booked, changed her mind. That doesn’t happen often. In fact, this was a first in a very long time. But this too, is part of running a business. And sometimes, these things are actually not a bad thing at all. Why? I will tell you in this story.

I read my client’s email, and my heart sank.

It would have given me a good part of my income next month, and so I felt a little sad about her decision. However, I quickly reminded myself that these things happen for a reason. I am someone who always tries and see something positive in whatever happens, and this rejection, I realised, was in fact, a blessing, and a wake-up call. No, I wasn’t going to reach my income goals this time, but instead, this rejection showed me what I should be focusing on, and that this project was not aligned with my message, ideal client and values. I was drifting away from my strategy, and this was just a message I needed to hear.


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What does success mean to you?

Sometimes, or often, business owners and freelancers grab all jobs they can. The more, the better, right? Small jobs, big projects, filling up their schedule, and bashing out results. Firing off the invoices (and then having to chase the non-payers). Does this sound familiar? We forget about our values and our core message, let alone the ideal client we REALLY want to attract, and just say ‘yes’ to everything. We feel successful, because we are working, and earning.

But what is success, really? Accepting jobs for the sake of the money? Are you feeling happy taking on these jobs?

Over the past year I have changed my business a lot, and now mainly focus on working with creatives and other small, new businesses who I feel aligned with. I love coaching them, or writing their web copy or lead magnets for them. I started saying no a lot more to enquiries, when a business or topic did not excite me, or it felt not aligned with my work as creative business coach. But sometimes, you slip.

I am not saying you should reject all jobs that are not aligned with what you want to do as a business. Sometimes you simply got to pay the bills, the mortgage, the rent. That is normal. You need income. But if, in general, those things are getting covered OK, it’s time to be a little more selective. This not only helps you grow as an entrepreneur and attract more of the right clients, but also makes you feel more fulfilled in the long run.


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Rejection is only a road sign. Wrong turn. Go back.

Like the rest of you, I am in an ongoing process of improving myself and my business. Learning, adjusting, gaining new insights, moving forward. I enjoy being on this entrepreneurial journey, and I hope you do too! It’s an adventure.

Transformation, however, feels very uncomfortable, a lot of the time. It’s a like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly; you got to put in the work and wriggle yourself through situations that often don’t feel great. This is what getting out of your comfort zone feels like. It’s not always easy, but you got to do it to become who you want to be.

Rejection and conflict are a natural part of the transformation as an entrepreneur. We cannot learn and improve ourselves if we do not get shown what we are doing wrong.

Sometimes, rejection goes the other around, and it is you who decides to pull out of a project. A month earlier, I rejected a client myself, who I had first said yes too, and even started working with already. I had done some copywriting for this person before, and accepted his next request to produce text for a new business. I produced a few first examples for him, to take a look at, and the next day, he emailed me back, telling me how “incredibly bad it was”, listing a whole lot of arguments.

It was a very unprofessional, even somewhat aggressive, email, and made me feel very uncomfortable. The client even felt disappointed that I hadn’t used some of the “very powerful sentences” he had provided himself (phrases that made me cringe, so I clearly didn’t include them – I mean, he did hire me as the copywriter, right?). In short, he did not like my writing style. He was not my ideal client.

I know I am a good writer, but not suitable for all types of client, so I did not take this personally. And I don’t mind criticism, but prefer a gentler way of discussion than he had demonstrated in his email. I replied back to say our collaboration had ended. I pondered a while on my decision, for me to see what it all meant. It was a lesson yet again.



What you can learn from being rejected by a client

If rejection is a natural thing and we have to accept this happening, what can we learn from it? The examples I described, confirmed two things that are crucial in running a successful business:

  1. Your style does not suit everyone. Stay true to your values.
    I write in a very conversational, informal, accessible, and friendly style. Like I do on this website. This is loved by most of my clients, but does not suit others, in particular the more corporate, commercial outfits. I should be clearer about this when I get enquiries, and say no to clients who I don’t feel aligned with.

  2. Trust your gut instinct. It is always right.
    My two latest clients did not fit my ideal client profile. I knew this when we started working together, but I ignored my inner voice, as I was guided by the money attached to it. Money is never a good compass. Your gut is always right.

I am a creative business coach, and my style of copywriting is perfect for the same types of clients as I work with as a coach: creative entrepreneurs, small business owners, and people who have a passion for something but find it hard to put it into words. Soulful entrepreneurs, people with a heart-felt business. I guess I had to be rejected to see this more clearly.

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Know your ideal client and have a clear message

So don’t get disheartened by rejection, or a ‘no’ from a client. This is only a nudge to steer you back in the right direction. Rejection can mean that you are focusing on the wrong clients. Rejection can also mean that your message is not clear to the clients you are trying to attract. If you are trying to persuade your audience to buy from you, but they don’t quite understand what’s in it for them, you won’t sell.

Rejection is part of business, and the feeling of sadness that comes with it, is only short lived. Acknowledge your emotions, but don’t take rejection personally. It is not you. Be confident about where you want to go, and who you want to work with. Rejection is like hitting the curb; you got to steer your car back onto the road. Get back into the flow.

So learn from rejection, and work on whatever it is that it is teaching you. Make it clear in your head who you want to work with and attract as a client. Clarify your message and offer, so that your dream client recognises themselves in it, and will say yes to you next time.

Book a free call with me if you want some help with your business goals


I have always been a coach, without even knowing it

I have always been a coach, without even knowing it

I have only launched my business The Creative Business Coach late 2020. I never thought I would go into coaching, and even thought I couldn’t possibly call myself a coach without qualifications. I knew of other people being coaches, and thought that was a total different world than my own. But looking back at my career, I have always coached people. Helped them start their businesses, apply for grants, grow their audiences. In many of my jobs I have been taking on the role of coach, without being called a coach. I guess helping others achieve their goals, is a natural part of who I am. Does 20 years of coaching without knowing it, qualify me as a coach?

It all started with…grant applications

Applying for a grant, and marketing your business are really the same thing.

Is doesn’t matter if your audience is a public funding body, or an individual buying your product. They are both customers, and your job is to persuade them to give you money for what you have to offer. You do this by tapping into their ‘pain points’, and offering a solution to what they want.

A funding body wants to financially support projects that match their criteria, while a customer is willing to pay for the solution you are offering to their problem.

In my role as grants advisor for a funding body in the Netherlands, back in the early 2000s, I received dozens of applications each week, from creatives and teams needing subsidies for their projects. Exhibitions, book publications, research, public events, or even the annual contribution to run an arts centre.

I had to read through all of their applications, and pre-select those that fitted the criteria. I looked at: 1. What the project was; 2. Who it was for; and 3. Why anybody should care. Offer, target audience, message.

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I spent many a meeting, in person or on the phone, in those years, with applicants to coach them into writing better applications. I helped them phrase things more clearly, skip the jargon, but most of all; turn the story around and make it about the audience – not themselves.

Some were naturals in describing what they were doing, for who, and why. Others were absolutely dreadful.

The most common mistake? Only talking about how utterly brilliant their project was going to be, and how fabulously talented the people who delivered it.

Or simply assuming that, because their organisation had built up some kind of reputation, we would just hand over the cash. But if the idea in itself was interesting in principle, but the application was wobbly, I would spring into action.

I was only about 25 at the time, but even then, I was supporting creatives in turning ideas into reality. I listened to their proposals, and mirrored it back to them to show them what was missing and how they should perhaps improve their application. By doing this, I helped them increase their chances of receiving the grants they applied for, and many of them were indeed successful.


Next up: growing audiences in rural Scotland

Fast forward a few years and one emigration later, I became the manager of an audience development agency in Scotland. My job? Supporting the cultural sector in Aberdeen City and Shire to increase visitor numbers. In short, I would work 1-to-1 with the managers or marketing teams of these organisations, doing ‘Marketing Health Checks’, and creating a clear strategy with them to go forward and grow their audiences.

Again, most of my client organisations did not have a clear message, nor a clear target audience. They were not doing much marketing, but rather fired off random announcements, or stuck posters up around town, hoping someone would see them and miraculously turn up at their events. Generally speaking, they were talking at their audience, rather than creating real relationships. Needless to say, visitor numbers were low in most cases.

In those days, around 2010, digital marketing was still up-and-coming in the arts, especially for rural art centres and museums, and I had no small task in bringing them up to speed with both the importance of using social media, and persuading them to save a lot of money by ditching expensive printed brochures. You wouldn’t believe how much of their already small marketing budget was often wasted on printed material, without having any kind of marketing strategy or a clear target audience.

Call me a consultant, a mentor, a trainer, or a coach in that role. I’d ask my clients questions to make them see what changes were needed, giving them new insights, letting light bulbs go up. I worked with them, gave them training, mentored them, and supported them in attracting more clients and becoming more successful. Doing group training as well as individual consultations.


Helping creatives believe in themselves

When I became a mum, a few years later, I gave up the 9-to-5 job, and became an entrepreneur, so I could combine motherhood while having my own business. I opened a vintage furniture store in the middle of the Aberdeenshire countryside, and within a few years I had made it into a hub of creativity.

Not only was I selling my own stock, I also gave other creatives the opportunity to sell their wares and dip their toes in running a business. I organised craft and vintage fairs, where artists and other traders would hire a table, and together we would create something very unique in the area. I also offered corners in the shop for budding entrepreneurs who were still only dreaming of opening a shop themselves, but didn’t yet have the courage.

I gave them the space to try it out.


It was a joy to watch fellow new business owners flourish, and make their first sales. Many of the women who started out with a small corner in my shop, opened up their own shops soon after.

Look at that happy face!

It was such a great few years, where I saw many women launch their own creative businesses, and become more confident in promoting themselves.

So, was I coaching people back then?

I was still new to business myself, and learning heaps on the go, but I do remember many people telling me how inspired they were by my shop and the chats we would have, and how I had helped them to believe in themself and make the jump into entrepreneurship. As cherry on the pie, I won an Award for my creative contribution to the North East of Scotland.


Helping creatives fly, is my mission

It’s never the products, but always the mindset.

Too many creative business owners think they are not good enough (yet), and keep themselves small. Undercharging, over-delivering. No clear marketing strategy. The inability to put their passion into words, too many ideas, no clarity in their heads, and they don’t know who they are trying to attract and sell to. I love helping people like them.

All my clients come to me because they feel overwhelmed, and need someone to hold their hand and guide them. They all love what they do, but often feel wobbly and not confident enough to go out into the world and shout their offer from the rooftops, loud and clear.

I worked with so many creatives in the past 20 years, that I know what goes on in their minds. I ‘get’ their passion, their drive – and I understand their chaotic brains. I love their chaotic brains. The most original ideas come from brains like theirs, and without them, the world would be plain and boring.

Even in my private life, whenever I had conversations with people ‘thinking of starting their own business’, I immediately put on my coaching cap, and made it my goal to change their mindset and get them over the fear of doing it. There are many beautiful people around, with unique ideas, and I want to get them into the world. The world needs you.

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Book a free call with me to see if and how I could support you in your business.

The journey of entrepreneurship and what to do first when you start a new business

The journey of entrepreneurship and what to do first

I have just finished a 12-week programme with a lovely client, working 1-to-1 with her on her business goals. She recently set herself up as a life coach for teachers. And although she went through a major transformation, in clarity, mindset and skills, she did not get many new clients yet during our work together. So was this a failed coaching programme? No, it wasn’t. Because, although getting more clients and increasing their income is ultimately what my clients want, you cannot expect this to happen when the building blocks are not in place.

You cannot expect guests to turn up at a house warming party when you’ve only just laid down the foundation. You need to build the house first.

Starting a new business is super exciting, and probably one of the best decisions you will ever make. It gives you freedom to design your own career and life, but most of all, it is an incredible journey, both professionally and personally. The growth you will go through is so worth it, whether or not your business becomes a success in the end. But lay down a solid foundation. Know your why. Know your audience. Have a clear message. Create a team of helpers around you. It will help you get results much quicker.

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You show bravery and are willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Leaving your old life behind and jumping into the deep end, is an amazing first step already! It is the creative process, the transformation, and the breaking down of self-limiting beliefs, that you will gain, no matter what. You are changing, and growing. You have your initial business idea, then you start dreaming, you start planning, you learn new skills, you try things out, you launch, you fall, you get back up – and you try again. Above all, success does not happen overnight. But you are doing much better than you think you are. You are moving forward, one step at the time. Slow progress is progress too. Snails also reach their destination.


Starting a business comes with failures, and that is normal

I am a very impatient person myself. I can learn a lot from snails, really. But it’s just the way I am. I am very good at coming up with new ideas, and putting them straight into action. I move fast, like a rocket. But my ideas don’t always turn out the way I want, and that is OK too. I review them, I learn, and I adapt. If you don’t try, you don’t know, right?

You got to enjoy the ride, not get frustrated about every tiny obstacle in the road. You are learning. Your successful competitors once were where you are now.

To be able to grow and move forward, you have to start somewhere, and learn as you go. Nothing is perfect at the beginning, but if you are waiting for the right moment, you will never start at all. If not now, then when?


Celebrate your wins, no matter how small

My client went from chaos in her head, and not knowing where to start in terms of marketing her business, three months ago, to feeling confident and ready to rock, just 90 days later. She’s built the foundation for her life coaching business, expanded her tools and learnt new skills. This is what progress looks like. I am very proud of what she has achieved in just 12 weeks.

She found her niche, chose her target audience, fine-tuned her message and offer, and is now much clearer on where she wants to take her business. She has a plan, and is taking inspired action. Knowing who she is targeting and with what message, I have watched her grow, and improve her content by the day. Her writing has become so much better, her videos now include a stronger message, and from seeing her posts, it is now easy to understand what she does and for who. And those are real results. Clients will come, I have no doubt about that. But you got to have patience, faith in yourself, and keep going.

If you don’t have a foundation in place, you are just second-guessing and randomly trying to shoot, without a target. You need a clear message, audience, and offer. Those are the building blocks to get you results in the end.

Entrepreneurship is a fantastic journey, but you cannot expect miracles to happen overnight. You’ve got to put in the work, and have a strategy in place. Know where you want to get to, and work back to where you are now. See the path ahead of you, and know which steps to take. Then start walking.

Plant that seed, but don’t expect to harvest immediately

It’s like growing a beautiful plant from seed. The seed is your business idea, and one day you are ready to put it in the ground and turn it into a real plant. Would you expect to see a flowering, mature plant, giving you fruits after just a week, or even three months? No. You know you have to be a little more patient, and wait for the roots to grab hold and feel secure.

Water your small plant, put it in the right spot, and give it the right food. You will slowly watch your seedling turn into a strong, healthy big plant, the more you care for it. But you got to wait, and have the confidence that the harvest will come. And love your plant. You’ve got to love it.

Imagine the excitement you’ll feel when those first fruits appear.


The fog lifts, and the road ahead is clear

I love seeing my clients grow during my programmes. The fog lifts, light bulbs switch on. Energy rises, motivation kicks in. I am giving them compost to nurture their plant, guide them on where to place it. “Try a different spot. Prune it a little. Add some more water”. After 12 weeks, my client grew her plant from a wobbly seedling to a small, but healthy plant, with sturdy roots. After Summer she has signed up to another 12-weeks working with me, and I can’t wait to see her bloom.

I have no doubt, that come Autumn, this plant will bear fruit.


Are you in the first few years of business, and would you love to feel more confident too about where you are going with it? I can be on your team. Book a free strategy call

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How do you create content that gets engagement AND sales?

How do you create content that gets engagement AND sales?

This is the holy grail, peeps. This is a question I get asks ALL the time. “Nina, I am starting to hate my Facebook group/Instagram account/etc, because I hardly get any engagement and nobody buys from me.” I know, it sometimes feels like pulling teeth, doesn’t it? Hellooooo! Anybody out there? Constantly changing algorithms don’t help. But we cannot always blame the algorithms. There actually is a formula for creating content that will get you results. Not overnight, but using this ‘recipe’, you will see a change in your audience’s behaviour. Let me show you how.

The five content pillars below are the ones you need to keep in mind when posting on social media*. They make up the recipe for success. Why? Because only going for engagement will not get you sales. And only trying to sell will bore people to tears.

So create content that keeps those pillars in balance, and has a strategic approach.

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You need to build trust and real relationships with your ideal clients.

These are the five content pillars for success:

1. Engagement

People always talk about engagement on social media, and how to increase this. Engagement generally is seen as the amount of likes and comments on a post. This is important, because it gets your followers active on your page or in your group, but also gets the old algorithm do its job and make sure people see more of your posts in future. Posts that generally have a lot of engagement are: selfies, polls, ‘this or that’ questions, share a Gif in the comments, or asking for recommendations. Simple questions or action taking posts that make people stop scrolling and take action.

2. Connection

Connection posts go one step further, and have the purpose of building a relationship with your audience. Sharing a background story, for example, or something vulnerable, sharing your lifestyle in words or pictures, and ‘a day at the office’ behind the scenes posts. Videos, blog posts or a simple selfie with a short story about your day/life/work can all fall into this category. Make that connection, find things that will resonate with your ideal client!

3. Expert

You want people to know that you know your sh*t. How do you do that without constantly bragging about yourself, and how amazing you are at what you do? By sharing your knowledge on a topic that is relevant to your business. By ranting about something in your industry that goes against what you believe in and how you work. By busting a myth. But also by talking about mistakes you see people make before hiring someone like you, and what solutions you offer to help them. You can share your expertise in many ways.

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4. Credibility

So it’s all very well that you position yourself as the expert…but have you actually worked with real clients? The credibility pillar should contain posts about real clients you are working with, or have worked with in the past, and the results they got from working with you. You can also talk about a project you are working on right now. And don’t forget to share screenshots of reviews and testimonials from clients, left in comments, on Google, in an email or on your Facebook page. This boosts your credibility as a business owner big time. A different way of building credibility is by talking about your background experience, qualifications and past work if this is relevant to what you offer now.

5. Invite

Last, but not least; invite people to work with you. After all, you want sales. So at least once a week, talk about your paid offers in your content. Talk about your products, services and how you work with clients. And don’t forget the CALL TO ACTION! Tell people how they can contact you, and keep it simple. Don’t give them too many options. Just include a link, an email address or even a Whatsapp number. Do a straight up selling post, or invite people to register on a waitlist for an upcoming programme. You can also invite them to download a freebie, and get them onto your email list.

If you create a strategic mix of these five types of content every week, you WILL see results. Don’t expect changes immediately, but keep going. You are doing brilliantly!


WORK WITH ME!

I would love to help you overcome your struggles in business and find your mojo back! I help clients 1-to-1 with their own challenges in marketing, mindset and attracting more sales. Interested? Book a free first call to see what is possible, and what this would look like.

Check out my Testimonials to find out what results other people got from working with me.


How do you choose the right business coach?

How do you choose a business coach wisely

Investing in yourself is never a bad idea. Training, workshops, a retreat, or investing in a coach. And I just did exactly that. I hired a business coach. Wait, what, a coach, hiring…a coach? What is that all about? Shouldn’t I know what I’m doing?! Oh, I definitely know what I’m doing, and I know how to help my clients get results, but… I also have my own business goals and dreams. And I know what working with a coach can do for me.

But how do you know which business coach to hire? And what should you look out for?

I just committed to working with a business coach starting in September, and I am equally scared and super excited! It is a lot of money I am investing in myself, but I am 100% committed. How did I choose her? I happened to attend a training by this coach in somebody’s membership, I loved her style, and I have been stalking her online for the past six months. I have consumed all of her content, listened to all of her podcasts, had my free strategy call with her, and I decided I had to hire her. She’s the one and I am happy to hand over the money.

I took my time, but just had a strong gut feeling that I had to work with this particular coach. I feel she ‘got me’, and we clicked. You need to feel a click with your coach.

Why do you need a coach anyway?

So why do I think I need a coach, when I am a business coach myself? Because I want to learn. Learning never stops. Most CEO’s of large companies have a coach. Most business coaches have a coach. And most of it has to do with mindset, fine-tuning your offers, and knowing which steps to take next. And of course, as a result, how to increase your income. You are worth hiring a coach too!

I know what results I get for my clients, but I also want to improve myself, in how I show up, what type of programmes to launch next, and especially, how I can scale my business. And I know that by working with a coach, I will reach my goals much quicker, I will grow in confidence, and I will be able to have a much bigger impact. I want to help so many of you, and I can’t wait to grow and develop as a business coach and serve my audience.

How do you choose a business coach?

How do you know whether a coach is the right one for you? Of course I can tell you all to hire me! But I won’t. I may be the perfect business coach for some, but not for others. And that is OK. It is very personal. You got to feel excited by someone, like their energy, and feel confident that you will be able to learn from them.

I recommend you shop around for the right small business coach.

Do what I did; follow a coach online for a while. Follow them social media, listen to their podcasts, watch their videos, read their blog, or sign up for a low ticket masterclass to find out how they teach and if you like their style. If you love their content, and especially their vibe, you are likely a good match.

If you have been nodding your head to most of what they are saying, then they are clearly hitting a nerve, and they will be able to help you with what you are struggling with.

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Book a free call to try them out

Most business coaches offer a free first call of 30 minutes or an hour, so make use of this, and try them out! You can try out a number of them in one week, and decide which one feels most suitable to your needs. Have some questions ready you can ask them, to find out what working with them would look like, or what results they have had with previous clients. Keep a notebook at hand, to scribble down information.

A word of warning; don’t EVER feel like you have to say yes to an expensive programme, while on a free call. It is your investment and you choose if it’s a yes, not them.

I know some coaches have the habit of trying to do a hard sell on a free call, and push you into signing up by following a standard sales call protocol. I don’t like this style at all, and I would never push anything on anyone. Still, if you book a call, a coach will likely inform you about their paid offers if they feel they could help you further, and you are reaching out for help, after all. That doesn’t mean you have to buy from them immediately, but the offers may be just what you need!

Trust your gut.

If it doesn’t feel good, it is way out of your budget, or you have doubts about working with this person, be firm, and say you need time to think. Coaching programmes are a big investment, and it would not be a good start of a working relationship if you feel all ‘icky’ after a call. At the same time, do consider their offers if they feel like good value and worth investing in, because most likely, they will get you the results you want.

While on your free call, find out how long their programmes are, if you get a one hour video call every week, and how often you can email or message them in between calls. How much support will you get from your coach? It will vary with every person, but generally expect to have 3 or 4 business coaching calls each month, plus worksheets or action plans.

small business coach online
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What does a business coach charge?

The investment for a 6-month coaching programme varies per coach. Some or hugely expensive, and others are more affordable. Expect to be paying a minimum of around €3k for a 6-month 1-to-1 programme, and at least €1.5k for a 90-day programme. Most are much more than that (I know I am going to have to fork out a lot more than that from September!). This may sound high if you have never worked with a coach before, but remember, you will get full personalised attention and commitment from your coach, tailored to your business needs.

Also, expect a huge professional growth spurt as a business owner, which will likely help you to attract more clients and earn your investment back within months.

You will have your coach on your team for the full length of the programme, and it is for this private buddy with a wealth of knowledge, guiding you for 3 to 6 months, that you will be paying. If hiring a 1-to-1 coach is out of your league, most coaches offer more affordable ways to work with them, such as group courses, Power Hours, memberships or free Facebook groups. Most coaches also offer a lot of free knowledge through their blog posts or podcasts. I offer these things as well, as I want to help people in different ways, and be accessible for all.

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How do I know if I get my money’s worth?

Frankly, there is no guarantee. Just like you don’t know if that luxury holiday you booked and paid for in advance is going to live up to your expectations. The biggest difference with investing in a coach to booking a holiday (I know, it’s a bit of a weird comparison!), is that you have a huge influence on the outcome. You are in full control. It will be you who will have to put in the work. The business coach will hold your hand, but will not do the work for you.

Like a football coach will not score the goal, it will be you kicking that ball. Your coach will be by your side as your mentor and advisor, catching you if you fall, giving you top tips, and making sure that you stay focused. But you are the star player.

So be sure that you are keen to work on yourself and your business. Be committed to the programme, and ready for change. If you are not committed to working on your mindset, skills and knowledge during the coaching programme you signed up for – then you simply will not get the results. But if you feel ready, and you want to grow your business and work through those mind blocks, build your skills and confidence and show up as the person you want to be, then the investment will be something you will never, ever regret. You will get the results, if the motivation is there. And together with the right business coach, you will be a dream team, reaching for the stars.

I can’t wait to start working with my own coach this September for six months on my personal goals and dreams. In the meantime, my business will be running as usual, and if you have been drawn to working with me for a while, and you like my energy, please don’t hesitate to book that free call.

We will talk, get to know each other, and I will leave it entirely up to you if you want to sign up to one of my programmes. No push.

Book a call by email or drop me a message on Whatsapp.

What is the ROI after working with me? Why spend money on a business coach?

What is the ROI after working with me?

Yes, I get it. Spending a few grand on a business coach is not something you do everyday. Most likely, it’s something you’ve never done, or even thought of doing. Because, how do you know what you will get in return? What results will you get after working with a coach for 90 days, or even 6 months? Is it all worth it? Although I can tell you now that no investment is ever a guarantee that you will double your income (you still have to put in the work yourself!), I will explain a little in this post about the ROI, or Return on Investment, my clients have told me they got from working with me.

A weekly call to keep your eyes on the goal

Until a few years ago, I had never invested money in a business coach. I had invested in courses and training, software, Pro subscriptions, a new laptop and other things to improve my online business, but it had never crossed my mind to hire an actual coach to develop personally and professionally. But I have since. And it makes all the difference.

Most of us are running our business on our own, and it is so helpful to have that weekly call with someone who checks in with you, gives you guidance, and makes sure you are keeping your eyes on the goal. Procrastination is always lurking, and a coach will help you stay focused.

My clients come to me because they feel drowned in a sea of marketing and social media, and they don’t know anymore what works and what not. They want more clients.


Photo by Amina Filkins on Pexels.com

They want to grow their business, but feel deflated when thinking about creating another piece of content that will receive nothing but tumbleweed. Does that mean they are failing? Well, no.

It means that they need guidance on defining their niche, message and audience, a solid strategy, and creative input into their content plan. Those are the ingredients that will get them more clients. This is what I help them with.

In short:
I help you get better at messaging so that you will attract more clients.

“Before working with you I felt overwhelmed. I had a dream, but didn’t know how to turn it into reality. I missed a high-level strategy to guide my actions, which in turn made my endeavours lack focus. Now I feel I’m more in control. Each step is small enough to be within my reach and concrete enough so that I know exactly what to do.”

Manuela Bianco. artist, the Netherlands

Return on Investment, as stated by previous clients has been:

  • More leads and clients
  • More engagement and improved visibility online
  • Clear goals and a strategy to move forward
  • Feeling much more in control of the marketing
  • Confidence in showing up online
  • Understanding how to connect to their audience
  • Gaining more clarity around their offers
  • A stronger mindset
  • Discovering joy and creativity in marketing their business
  • Motivation and seeing new possibilities
  • Excitement for the future of their business
  • Positive feedback from clients and audience

Being fully committed to put in the work

Of course, working with me does not mean that you pay me, and I will simply hand you over these results. The ROI fully depends on your willingness and commitment to work on yourself and your business, push yourself out of your comfort zone, and move forward. Some weeks will be easy, others will be hard. But you won’t have to do it alone anymore.

Working with a coach is like being on the same team. You play the game, I coach you from the sideline. You shoot, I cheer if you hit the goal. You miss, we assess, review, learn and adapt, and I coach you back into the game. Together we will work towards your dreams.


I feel much more confident after completing your course. My mindset is so much stronger. I was just starting my business, and now I feel like the ball is actually rolling forward and I have a clear path with what I need to do to share my products and reach more people. I would not have known where to start without this course. Between your materials and my notes from our calls, I know exactly what to do.

Kathryn Kosmider, Language Teacher & Development Specialist, Spain

Book a free call

If you are ready for the next step, and fully committed to invest in yourself and your business, then send me a message to book a call. An informal chat on Zoom, to talk about you and your business.

The first call is totally free, and I will never try and sell anything that I don’t think will help you. We will have a friendly 30-minute chat to see if my programmes are a good fit for you, and I will always give you time to think.

You can also send me a quick message on Whatsapp for more info or to book a call.

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You were never meant to be normal. So stop keeping yourself small.

You were never meant to be normal. So stop keeping yourself small.

What will my ex-colleagues think of me when I post this on LinkedIn? What will my family say when they see me talk about my business on Facebook? What will my friends think of me when I do a Live video? Will they think I am showing off? “Who does she think she is?” Will they laugh at me? Will they talk behind my back?

The stories in your head are often worse than reality.

Do you recognise these feelings? Have you ever felt exposed, vulnerable, or not brave enough to post something, because you had the image of your sarcastic uncle John in your head, laughing at your business attempts? Could you just imagine the girls from accounts giggling at the coffee machine at your old work place, gossiping about you, and what you’re up to these days?

Did it make you get a knot in your stomach, and post something else, just to be ‘a bit less‘, ‘a bit more normal‘, ‘just not too much‘?

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

You are extraordinary. Start behaving like it.

I get it. I’ve been there too. And sometimes I am still there, when I have one of those days. But you know what? These are exactly the feelings that are holding you back right now. You have big dreams, don’t you? Big goals for yourself. You want to make this business fly, right? You want to show everyone what you’re made of, don’t you? We need to get rid of those ‘let’s not be too much’ feelings. They are not helping.

Because what other people think, really…is none of your business.

So many of us want to be liked. Especially as women, we want to please, and not be too cocky. We don’t want to pretend we are better than anyone else. Because our friends may think we’ve changed. But you are not pretending to be better than anyone else. What is going on here, is that you have a dream, and that you are building a business. Your friends probably have no idea what it takes to build a brand online and grow an audience. It’s hard work! Your content is your tool to build your brand. Your sarcastic uncle, ex-colleagues, or school friends are NOT your ideal client. They can think what they like. You are not making content for them.

Show up as the successful person you want to be

Because the truth is: you were never meant to be normal. Normal left the building a long time ago. You decided that you wanted to go your own way. You decided to step out of the usual 9-5. You were brave enough to go out there and do all of that. So why are you now feeling you can’t show up as the business person you want to be?

You are keeping yourself small, because you are scared of judgement.

You are keeping yourself small in order to be liked by people you probably don’t even care about. If friends are not supportive of your business dream, then are they really your friends? A creative entrepreneur like you can be whoever they like. You have superpowers!

Be honest; if you knew nobody was watching, or judging you and you only ever received supportive comments, how would you show up? Would you show up differently? How would that feel? How would it make it easier to sell your services and products? Would you beam with confidence?

Now think about what is holding you back in becoming the most successful version of yourself. Is it your product or service? Or is it your confidence in showing up 100% and creating the most amazing content, writing freely, making fabulous videos, and attracting your dream clients because they want to work with YOU, because of your energy?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Growing in confidence does not make you unlikeable

Stop trying to still be the same old person you were when you were still working in an office, and didn’t have your business yet. You have grown so much already, my friend. No need to keep yourself small.

Remember, they are STORIES in your head. I have felt just like you, not so long ago, but I am now ignoring it. I am on my own journey. I have my business goals, and I will not get there if I keep on caring what others think. That doesn’t mean I stopped caring about the people I love and who love me. It means I stopped caring about those vague contacts in my network who I never talk to, but who happen to be still on my LinkedIn list.

And do you know what has happened since I started showing up with more confidence, with a clear message, brand and professional photos? People are giving me so much positive feedback.

Out of the blue I get messages from peers, friends or people in my network telling me how much they like my content, and “that I must be doing so well in my business“. They assume I am already the very successful business coach I want to be. I just smile and feel total gratitude.

I am not pretending to be bigger and better than I am. I am just me, and I try to show up as my best, most energetic and positive self. More than I have ever done. But it works. It is perception, which then fuels you up even further. And if your confidence grows as a business person, you will have the power to attract more clients.

If your audience believes you are successful, what else can you be, than successful?

I was never meant to be normal. And neither were you. You and I were meant to make the world a more beautiful place, have an impact, and help people. And perhaps there still are the sarcastic lurkers in the background. That is fine. They are only making themselves miserable in the corner, while we are flying higher and higher, making our dreams come true.

Did this resonate with you? Send me a message. I will always reply.

People who inspired me to become who I am today

People who inspired me to become who I am today.

We all get influenced by people in our lives, whether family, teachers, colleagues, writers, or even famous people. They may have taught us things, inspired us, were a great example, or made you realise what you wanted to become in life. I was very close to my Dutch grandma, or ‘super oma’ Fenny. On the 4th of July 2021, she would have been 100 years old. If there is anyone who taught me how to be resilient, positive and not take life too serious, it is her.

She died 14 years ago. She was a natural at enjoying the little things and making the most of it, no matter what life throws at you.

Whenever she felt a bit down or alone, she would pick herself up by hopping on her bike, cycle around the local lake, buy a raw herring in a bun, and talk to anyone she’d meet on the way. Then she’d cycle home happy, and sit on her balcony with a crossword puzzle. “

“You got to stop sitting in misery for too long”, she would say, “Life goes on.”

My husband giving my oma a spin in his little cabriolet MX5 sport car on her birthday. What a laugh!

Curiosity and resilience

She lost her beloved husband when she was 63, to a heart attack. Suddenly she was a widow, at the start of retirement. It was shock to all. I remember her and my mum crying in the kitchen, when I was about five years years old. She mourned. But then she started flying.

She always wanted to travel, but her husband had a war trauma and never wanted to leave the house further than an hour’s drive. Suddenly on her own, my super oma took her freedom with both hands, left the familiar countryside, and went on holidays to Portugal, Spain and Edinburgh, signing up for organised trips everywhere. Whoah! She loved it. The world opened up to her and she was soaking it all in, with such enjoyment. She spoke nothing but her dialect, but she laughed and managed just fine. “I just use my hands and feet!

Photo by Jonne Laagland Winder on Unsplash


My oma loved life, even though life was not an easy ride. She only went to school until the age of 14, because she was expected to care for her family – as was pretty common in those days. Her own mother gave birth to 13 children, ten alive and three dead, and she died when my oma was hardly 20 years old. Oma stayed behind in the little farmhouse with her father, doing the household. My oma was the youngest, and baby sat many of her siblings’ offspring. She married my grandad, had two daughters of her own and then looked after her own dad until he died aged 96. “If dad hadn’t lived in with us, I would have had way more children!” she always joked.

Keep those legs moving

Oma Fenny found joy in many things. She loved music and dancing. She had amazing legs, even at 80. “Oh, that’s a nice tune“, she would say, turning up the radio, and we would dance around her living room. She told me of the joy she felt after the Canadians liberated her town in 1945, and they could all go out again to the dance clubs, and do what young people do best. Flirting. And no doubt, talking with their hands, feet – and lips, since none of the girls spoke any English. Many of her local girlfriends took it further than a kiss and followed their handsome Canadian lovers across the pond. My oma joked that “she just kept a peppermint between her knees to keep out of trouble“.

Canadians in 1945, in Toronto. Not a picture taken in Holland, but it shows you the joy of the youth at the time, which would have been the same everywhere.

When I grew up, I often stayed with her during the holidays. We’d go out shopping together, or sit in the sun. Or we’d go cycling around the lake, where I’d swim and she would watch. In the mornings I’d crawl into bed with her, and we would cycle our legs up in the air to get them moving. That was good for the circulation, she said. I would use her nail polish and dress up in her scarves. She’d make ‘oma soup’ with meat balls. Life was good.

She only ever finished primary school, but she must have read all the books in the local library. Not the most high-brow literature, but she devoured them nonetheless. God, my oma could read. She also loved theatre, and made sure she booked her shows well in advance, from musicals to plays, and from concerts to cabaret. For an older woman who had grown up on a small farm in the North of the Netherlands, she was incredibly cultural and open-minded.

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

Accepting emotions as a normal part of life

Whenever I felt sad and needed to cry, she’d hold me close and tell me “go on, crying is good, sweetie, it’ll make you feel better“. I still hear her voice in the northern dialect saying those words when I feel teary now.


My oma Fenny taught me how to enjoy the small things in life, how to rise up from the ashes, to educate yourself, to be open and curious – and to always be warm and welcoming to people.


I miss her. I remember the night she died. I had visited her about a week or two before in the Netherlands, where she was being cared for in a nursing home. She had cancer, and the end was near. She had lost all feeling in her legs and was now wheelchair bound. “You got to keep those legs going”, she always said, and now they had failed her. She would never dance or cycle again.

We all knew she was dying, but still she kept up those positive vibes, and promised me to come and visit me in Scotland, where I had moved to not long before. “They have ramps on the plane, you know, they can just wheel me in!” I kissed her goodbye after that last visit and knew I’d never see her come off that plane.

I had dinner in a restaurant with my husband the night she died. I suddenly felt emotional and said, “I think she’s gone“. And she had. But I remember her words of gratitude during my final visit, saying that “she had had a good life, and that it was all OK.” And it was OK.


It’s a shame she never met my children. She certainly asked me to have babies, many times! But I have told my boys about my ‘super oma’, and their favourite story by far is that she used to fart very loudly and then would look around all surprised and cheekily, asking: “What did you say?”

We still have her ashes. My mum told me that my aunt wanted to put the urn in the boot on the way back from the crematory, but my uncle had made them sit with the ashes on their lap in the front seat. “Come on, you can’t put your mother in the boot!“, he shook his head. I know oma Fenny would have found it hilarious.

I think we should spread her ashes somewhere one day, perhaps around the lake where she used to cycle. We’ll have a herring in a bun to celebrate her wonderful life.


Happy 100th birthday, super oma! I love you, always.

How do I help people like you in my coaching programmes?

The framework for my 6-month 1-to-1 programmes

I work with creative and soulful entrepreneurs in their first few years of business, who are ambitious and want to attract more clients. Previous clients have been artists, life coaches, therapists, photographers, graphic designers, language teachers and event organisers. Each client is different, so I always adapt my coaching programme to their individual needs and situation. Weekly 1-hour coaching calls and action lists are standard.

You can work with me 1-to-1 by signing up to my 6-month coaching programmes, and this is what it could look like:

Becoming buddies!

1. First we dive deep into where you are now, and what you want for yourself and your business. Where do you want to be in 12 months time, 2 years, 5 years from now? How will you get there? I want to get to know you! We will be working together closely over the next 3 to 6 months, so it is important to be open and honest, so I know how to support you to the best of my ability.

Goal setting

2. We will set clear goals. By using a spreadsheet with clear actions and steps to take, you will quickly get clarity – and more calm in your head about what to do next. We will also do more fluid things like creative brainstorming, journaling prompts, or even vision boarding. I adapt my sessions to what works best, and what makes it easy and joyful for you.

Audience building

3. Audience building is a big part of what I support you with. Who are you targeting? What are you helping them with? We will get a clear picture of the person you want to work with or attract as a customer, and figure out where they are and how to draw them into your world. I would get you to go out and actively contact people in your network to start getting yourself seen and known, and get over the fear of putting yourself out there.

Content planning

4. Content creating. Some find it hard, I absolutely love it! Blog articles, Social media posts, email, podcasts, videos… all of those things can be touch points for your audience and powerful marketing tools. Together we will creatively think of content that is aligned with your brand, values, audience and goals, and I will help you see why it can be fun and easy to serve your audience with beautiful and inspiring content in your marketing. I’ll teach you how to get more visible online with the right people.

Constructive feedback

5. I can be strict too! I will give you constructive feedback on your social media output, web copy and any other (written) content, so you keep improving. I am a copywriter with a creative background and will want you to look and sound the part!

Practical training

6. Do you lack any particular skill? I’ll schedule in some tailor-made marketing training. Social Media, email marketing, WordPress websites, copywriting, SEO, Canva… I have a lot of tech knowledge and experience, and I’d be delighted to teach you what you need.

Lead generating

7. And how do you get those leads? How do you sell to people? I will set you challenges to get out of your comfort zone and start selling to your ideal clients. You say you want more clients? We will look at your lead generating strategy, and I will coach you through the sales process!

Mindset work

8. But Nina…I just don’t think I’m good enough… Mindset work is usually a big part of my coaching. Most clients think it’s the skills and knowledge that are lacking, but usually there are other things at play. During my coaching calls I will quickly see if there are stumbling blocks and self-limiting beliefs at play, and I will help you with those by talking, giving you a different point of view, and giving you homework to work on those issues.

Photo by Cristian Rojas on Pexels.com

Reviewing and learning

9. Reviewing and adapting. As the weeks progress, we constantly review, learn and adapt. What actions did you take this week/month? What went well? What did you learn? Disappointment is normal in this process, and I am right here to coach you back into the game. Together we will fine-tune your strategy, try out new things and see what works best to get you the results. No business is the same!

Unlimited support by voice message, DM and email

10. And last but not least, as my 1-to-1 client you will have me on your team for 6 months, which means you have unlimited access to me as your private coach via voice messages, email and DMs for quick feedback and ongoing support.


Do you feel drawn to working with me and boost your business and mindset? Send an email to info@thecreativebusiness.coach if you want more info or book a free first call.

Some days are hard. Running a business is a marathon.

Things to remember when you are feeling a little down

Running a business is not easy. Whether you are offering online services and programmes, or you are a photographer or designer looking for clients, the competition is fierce, and it is not easy to constantly be seen by your ideal audience. Some days you wonder whether it is all worth it! I go through these wobbles too at times, like every self-employed person. I love my work, and I feel very driven to help other entrepreneurs succeed. But building a business takes time, practice and patience, and when you are a parent as well, life is full on. Today I am going to talk about the importance of doing the inner work.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Self-doubt and the curse of comparing yourself to others

Some months you feel like you are flying. In the flow. Everything goes right! Clients are booking jobs, invoices are being paid on time, your online audience likes all of your posts, and new contacts are opening doors for you. And then…silence.

What’s going on? Did you mess up? Did you not have all the strategies in place? Are you not posting enough, or doing enough lives? Are your products not good enough? Uh-oh. Self-doubt creeps in like a motherfcker. You watch other people shine online in all their beautiful confidence, announcing their successful launches, new events or business ventures, and you feel like they nailed it – and you failed it.

We all go through it, and I do too. The best thing to do in such situations? Slow down. Breathe. And just allow the feelings to happen. They are just feelings, and they will pass. And is the story in your head really true?

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

The happiness trap

So many of us are conditioned to push away our unhappy emotions. We are not allowed to feel sad, or insecure or frustrated, we should smile more, count our blessings, be positive all the time. Business coaches and self-help books all tell us to manifest success, work on our mindset, visualise our goals, and feel empowered. But the reality is, we are human. And human beings are emotional beings. We are not made of just happy hormones. It is normal to go through life with ups and downs, like the waves of the ocean.

Let’s just ride those waves, not swim against them. Pushing away the negative feelings will not make them disappear, they will just simmer under the surface. So let them be. And then let them go.

Do you remember many years ago you were dreaming of starting a business, or starting a family, or moving abroad? And where are you now? How many of the things in your life which you are now taking for granted, are the things you once dreamed about? You have probably achieved more than you realise. And learned on the way. You are doing better than you think you are.

So, when you feel down next time, and the self-doubt creeps in, grab a notebook and scribble down those feelings.

The steps below are a simplified example of how psychologists use cognitive behavioral therapy in patients who deal with anxiety or other issues.

Write down:

  1. Your current situation and anxious thoughts about it
  2. What your thinking bias is (such as catastrophic thinking)
  3. What the evidence for this story is
  4. What the evidence against it is
  5. The balanced conclusion. Is it still as bad as you thought at step 1?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Take one simple step today

You can also work more practically, by looking at how you can move out of the catastrophic thought process, and instead come up with the next positive step you can take. We have the tendency to feel completely overwhelmed when we are sitting with our sadness, and feel like we are never going get where we want to be. Just keep it small. Put all of the overwhelming thoughts away right now.

  • If you are feeling down because nobody signed up for your event, what small step can you take to make it go better next time?
  • If you have not had any enquiries for a while, what is one simple thing you could do right now to increase your visibility and get your offer out in front of the right people?
  • If you are feeling confused about what you actually offer and what your audience wants from you, how can you try and find out?

Running your own business is a marathon, and we need to go with the flow. We try, and we tweak, and we try again, and we tweak some more. Acceptance is the key to keeping yourself sane. Don’t believe that your glamorous competitors are always sharing 100% of what is going on in their mind. Or whether they actually earn 10k a month. They too go through struggles and doubts, no matter how great they look on Instagram.

The fact that you are passionate and driven about your business, and that you are reading this post, means that you are serious about working on yourself, and that you are not afraid to deal with shit.

So thank yourself today for taking care of your inner you. That inner you is at least as important as all the gorgeous, valuable content that you will be posting again tomorrow.

Believe in yourself, because I believe in you.

Would you like to talk to me in person? Book a free call with me, and we can look at your situation together (it’s probably not as bad as you think!).
Book a call