A lot of my clients are women in their forties and fifties, sometimes a little younger, who have just left their job, or are planning to leave it soon. They dedicated most of their working life to corporate jobs and careers they chose a long time ago. Choices due to either parental expectations, or, mainly, financial security. Most of them left their inner creative spirit behind in childhood and adolescence. The happy child who was always drawing, the teenager who wrote deep poetry, the kid who loved spending hours making and crafting things. It’s only years later, when they can no longer ignore their inner voice and yearning, that they feel ready to face what has always been waiting inside them. And that can be scary.
Buyer journeys, client personas, marketing strategies, content plans. Courses, programs, training, webinars. Free events, paid events, irresistible offers. Buy-it-now. Email funnels. Reels, stories, groups, pages. Do you feel tired just reading these terms? You are not alone. I don’t know if it was ‘the Great Pause’ which caused it (a great description that someone in my network used this week), but people are definitely more clued up now on smelling rats. Nobody has any time anymore for sales-y bull sh*t. So stop feeding your followers with typical marketing stuff. We are all tired. But what we do crave, is deep connection with like-minded souls who we can trust. How can you build more trust and create real connections?
Each January we are told to become a better version of ourselves this year, with overly ambitious resolutions and the obligatory positive attitude. New year, new you! Oh, the pressure. Let’s just ease into 2022, shall we? I mean… we are entering the third year of craziness and ongoing measures surrounding a pandemic. I think it is safe to say we are all a little apprehensive of whatever is coming next. Right? Here are some of the things I recommend you do instead of setting yourself goals that are only making the stress levels go up.
This time last year I had just started my new coaching business. And hey, I am pretty proud of my achievements so far! But while I first thought my coaching was going to be just about marketing, I have realised that clients are coming to me for something very different. They seek a fellow creative buddy, who helps them organise all the ideas in their head, make a game plan, and holds them accountable. You see, working with me means fully investing in yourself, your self development and uncovering the awesome creative person you are. Nevermind business, let’s meet the real you and your big why.
“Stop lying to yourself, Nina!”, my coach told me on our weekly call. I was a bit taken aback by her comment, as it hit a nerve. I usually feel quite confident and in control, and I am not often critisised like that. But I knew exactly what she meant, and I deserved it. I was lying to myself, and I needed to start speaking my truth. What my coach was saying to me, was this:”Show me more of the real you, not the person who you think you should be.” And even though this was something I knew already, and in fact, is something I teach my own clients, I knew I was guilty of hiding myself behind a veneer of something I believed my audience wanted to hear and see. I always thought I was a pretty confident human being. What was
I had two powerful client calls earlier this week, with creatives who I am coaching/mentoring for 3 months just now. It is funny how often you see the same patterns occurring in these calls with clients, despite their businesses being very different (one is a visual artist, the other a graphic designer). This Monday both calls were around fear, and how to overcome this to grow a sustainable business, and to follow your real purpose. In those blog post I will share the story of one of my clients, who is a visual artist, and what happened to her when she had a eureka moment.
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?
As a business coach I work with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses, to help them get more clients. Most of them have one thing in common: fear. Fear of becoming visible through marketing and getting judged for it, fear of starting, fear of failing – but also fear of tech and being a business in itself. They over-complicate things in their head, start feeling overwhelmed, and then they freeze. They think they need to have it all 100% sorted, or else they can’t call themselves a business. They look at peers and competitors, and believe that everyone else has it all well organised and they are in a mess. So they procrastinate, panic, or even give up. Is that you? Today I am telling you to chill out, and listen. It ain’t that hard, really.
Imagine opening a physical shop in your local town. You get the keys to the space, you are dead excited. But there is nothing in it. What do you need? Shelving, display units, and a counter, if you are running a retail business. Kitchen facilities and furniture, if it’s a cafe. And you need to decorate it of course. Bits and pieces, artwork on the wall, paint, wallpaper, maybe some bespoke joinery. And someone to fix the lighting. Add it all up, how much would you need to invest before the grand opening day? Thousands, probably even tens of thousands, if you include everything. Now, be honest… how much did you spend on starting up your online business?
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?