Case Study: helping a lawyer launch a quirky events business

Emily, in California, contacted me in September this year. A dream client; someone who is still stuck in the world of full-time work (she is a lawyer), but with her inner creativity eager to burst out, she was yearning to launch a quirky business of her own: Sweet Orange Adventures. A small business, based around a bright orange 1970s VW camper van, which Emily wants to offer as the perfect backdrop of unique events on the Californian beach. And Emily had a head full of ideas, but had no clue where to start. And she was very scared. She came to me for help, and this is what we did…

Why cookie-cutter style business coaching is not helpful for creatives

I am an artist at heart. Not even just at heart, I am an artist in my bones! Still, for most of my adult life, I have been supporting other artists and creatives as a marketing expert. I was a marketing manager and consultant for arts centres for years, and produced a zillion press releases, brochures, web texts and other material to shout about their fabulous offers, build their reputation, and up their sales. And now I am a business coach for creatives and small businesses. No, I am not a traditional business coach. I do not offer a cookie-cutter style program to support you in your business. So what makes me suitable for this work, then?

You’re a fraud! No, you’re a fraud! Fighting the impostor syndrome

I know nothing. What do I have to offer? I am not as good as any of the others. Look at them, and how well they are doing, I see their posts constantly. Not like me, struggling to make it all work. Here I am, staring out of the window of my office again, a deep sigh. Not knowing what to do next, even though I have jobs to finish. Am I even cut out for this running-your-own-business stuff? Maybe I should get a job. I’ll probably fail at this anyway, so I may as well. They’ll find out soon enough that I’m no good at this, and I don’t actually know what I’m doing. I’m a fraud, really. Does this sound familiar?

The day I discovered that I was my own worst boss

I had a very powerful call with my own coach not long ago. I love having those weekly calls with someone who has been in my shoes, helps me grow as a business owner, and holds me accountable. Whilst we were talking, we discovered I still had some self-limiting beliefs (like everyone does!), and she asked me where I thought these came from. I know from my own work with clients, that many of them fear judgement from family and friends. But I realised, that it was not my loved ones and dear ones who I was afraid of; but that I had other demons haunting me. Memories of people that were holding me back from stepping into my true power. Or were they?

Treasure-hunting and digging for diamonds. My creative coaching style.

When I first started my coaching business, I was figuring out what kind of coach I was, or wanted to be. I was new to the coaching industry, and even though I knew I had tons of marketing experience and business skills to share with my clients, I was seeking guidance on how to this coaching stuff right. “Doing it right”, in fact, became a bit of an obsession, and I looked at my peers in the industry for ideas. Of course, I made mistake number one right there: don’t think you need to be like your competitors, in order to be successful. Nope. I now know that my coaching style is very unique, and nothing like anyone else’s. I don’t offer a cookie-cutter service, and I that is my USP.

Making the big scary leap from a 9-5 job to entrepreneurship

I work with many clients, who are on the edge of jumping into the scary deep end of starting their own business, or have already jumped and are now trying to swim. They dreamed for years about doing this, dabbled a bit in it as a hobby, dipped a toe into it with the odd paid job. And then the moment arrived to walk through that door, and become the free, creative business owner they desire to be. 99% of my clients will recognise themselves in this description, and all the big feelings that come with it. “I will fail”, “I won’t make enough money”, “people will think I’m stupid”, “I should just stick with my old job`’. It is normal to have those feelings, but they are not helpful. How can you break through that first wobbly phase of business?

How Woo are You? Weaving a little magic into your life and business

Some business coaches are all straight-talking money-focused 6-figure-earning gurus. Others grow their business in a more gentle, organic and authentic way. I fall in the last category. I am a go-getter, and a practical, solution-focused business owner, for sure, but at the same time, I am an empathic human and I believe there is more to life than just earning the cold hard cash. I have always been interested in spirituality, and I try daily to find ways to utilise my intuition to improve my work and private life. I practice Reiki. I always carry a rose quartz crystal. I am also great at helping clients with their marketing strategy. Yep. It’s all me. How about you? How ‘woo’ are you?

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. Does 20 years of coaching without knowing it, qualify me as a coach?

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

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 sign any 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. What did she get out of working with me, then?

How do you choose the right business coach?

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 coach to hire? And what should you look out for?