“Why Free Coaching Will Send You Into Bankruptcy Fast!”
Working with FREE coaches was the most expensive lesson I’ve ever learned in doing business online...
I guess I was too cheap…
Not frugal. Not smart. Just cheap.
And listen, I don’t say that easily. I always thought I was being smart with my money.
Spending a little instead of a lot seemed very smart.
But that’s a sucker’s game, it turns out.
Dropping a thousand or more on programs and coaches was not an option for me. I didn’t have the mindset for that.
Yet money slipped through my fingers like water through a sieve because I fooled myself into thinking that I could learn just as much with a free report. Or maybe a $7 product. Sometimes, I would spend up to $97 - but I had to think about it pretty hard.
But I bought something new every day!
In fact, this "cautious" approach was the worst investment I could make in my online business education.
Instead of learning how to do business online, I got a $22,000 lesson in how to blow $22,000 on products that didn’t get me any closer to a real business.
Twenty-seven dollars at a time.
All of a sudden, $27 turned into $22,000 on my credit card with no online revenue to show for it.
Confessing this in 2004 was one of the hardest days - and best lessons - of my online business life
Charlsa (my wife and business partner) and I were strolling down the country road in front of our house on one of our summer walks and discussing our credit card problem.
“How do we owe more than $20,000 on this card,” she asked?
That’s when I told her that I’d been buying everything “learning” to do business online.
She was so angry that I really thought I’d destroyed this marriage. It wasn’t the spending. It was the spending without telling.
She had every right to be angry.
And I had every right to feel like a complete idiot.
We discussed the business and just how real my dream was.
I was working full time then and traveling the country as a consultant. The money was good, but I wanted to trade it in for the dream of managing my own time, working from home, and being with my wife (who was ready to kill me).
She was teaching K-12 music at two different schools 8 miles apart in north Alabama. With only 30 minutes to get from one school to the other, she snarfed down her lunch on the road between schools every day as she moved from class to class at a break-neck pace.
Think about it: She prepared 12 lesson plans each day.
She was working like a demon.
And I’d spent $22,000 which was nearly two-thirds of her annual salary as a teacher in just a few months.
Getting through this was hard, but we did it.
She didn’t block my dream of building an online training company even though she could have because she held all the cards.
But we agreed that I would be more open about the business finances and the risks that I was too willing to take.
And we agreed that I needed three things:
- to pay for real business coaching to help guide me along the way
- to bounce my ideas off someone else who had been down the path before me successfully
- to commit to listening to the experience of a coach
I knew Charlsa completely bought into the value of coaching, even more than I, by a simple exchange at a NAMS Workshop session.
The session had been going on for about 45 minutes when I came in. I spied her in the back of the room taking notes furiously.
“Where have you been,” she said as she smacked me on the shoulder. “You need to be coaching with this guy.”
“This guy is Alex Mandossian,” I said. “And he gets $25,000 to $50,000 per student per year!”
“And he’s worth every penny,” was her reply.
Three years ago, I began coaching with Alex.
She was right. He was worth every penny and more. Alex was my mentor for 18 months, and we remain good friends today. He helped me get my head right when it comes to business. He helped me realize my value as an experienced business person with a ton of great relationships, great products, and a great reputation.
He was there whenever I had a problem that had me stumped.
And he had this uncanny knack of answering my very specific question with a high-level diagram or handout that tied to an Alexism (parable) that helped me discover the problem as it fit into the whole of my business.
Then, that problem became much smaller or disappeared.
For example, when I complained that I had set all my prices too low, he said, "Pricing is a self-esteem issue."
That was the first time I realized that I didn't have enough confidence in my own value to price my products for what I'm really worth. (Notice, that was not the problem I thought I was going to solve.)
He was the fifth coach I’d used in 7 years, and I’m now working with a sixth.
Each brings something different to the table.
I ate off their tables until I was full, and then looked for another table to get different experience. And I encourage you to do the same.
Why is working with a coach important?
I’ve come up with 4 great reasons working with a coach is key to your success.
- Your mind will expand in many directions. This is not true for everyone, but it was for me. If you pay someone to coach you, and it’s enough money to hurt a little each month, you take it seriously.I’m more open to suggestions and more focused on taking the action when I'm paying someone each month to direct me. There's nothing worse than knowing I have to go back to that coach next week and report no progress.I don’t pay people thousands of dollars so I can argue with them about the solution. If I trust my judgement in hiring the right coach, I listen closely and implement fast.Once committed, I’m committed for the duration. Every one of my coaches have said I’m a great student because I actually do the work. And that’s why I get so much out of our coaching relationship.
- She should be able to help me flatten the learning curve. Of course, I have to know what I want before I approach the coach. If I hire someone who is a great product creation coach, but I’m looking for information about creating automated Facebook Ad campaigns, then it’s not a fit - at that time.I would work with five of my six coaches again in a heartbeat if I need help in their particular areas of expertise. But the last thing I want to do is pay someone to learn what I’m learning. They need to have a high level of experience in their expertise.One coach actually fired me because she said, “You have a million dollar business; you need a million dollar coach. I’m not a million dollar coach. Now, go find that coach to go to the next level.”That’s a coach who knows her value and her expertise, and is confident enough to work within her comfort zone. I refer dozens of people to her.
- Relationships matter. Is that coach going to bring you into a peer-to-peer group where you can bounce ideas off other people with similar problems? Is he introducing you to other resources that can help you get specific solutions quickly?Part of the value of a great coach is introduction to other resources. A coach can’t be all things to you, but he should be the one that protects you, helps you, and leads you to work with the right people.If you trust your coach, you should trust his circle too.And if you’re thinking about hiring a coach, you should talk to people he has coached to see if his circle of clients resonates with you.
- Access comes with boundaries. Emergencies happen, but most coaches will only talk to you or answer questions during set office hours. And sometimes those are very restrictive.Why is that good for you? Because you have to start thinking ahead. With my current coach, I know I get one 30-minute phone call per month. And he’s available only on Wednesdays.It’s my responsibility to set it up, and to work around his schedule.Here’s the thing. We were already friends before I ask him to become my coach. I still have to work within the coaching parameters.A coach is not your friend. He’s not your Mr. Fixit. He’s not your counselor.
He is the person who can help you solve your current business problems and move you closer to your goals.
What happens if you get stuck?
Actually, that question should be what happens WHEN you get stuck because we all do.
But that’s not the time to hunker down or lock yourself in your office vowing to not come out until you’ve found the solution to your stuck-ness.
In fact, it’s the opposite.
Talk to your coach. You think she hasn’t been stuck plenty of times before? Of course, she has.
And I bet she has some advice about getting unstuck.
Call it what you will:
- Losing your mojo
- Falling out of the groove
- Missing the zone
- Paralyzed with fear
- Limping along
- Off track
It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same thing: You're not sure about the next step.
This is when it’s MOST important to reach out to your coach - not your friend - because your coach (if he’s any good) is going to shine a light on the next right thing to do, and then give you a good swift boot in that direction.
Coaching commitment comes in all flavors
We hear about 25k coaches who want your first child as collateral and you think, “Oh, I’m not ready for coaching…”
- Are you committed to your business? If yes, you’re ready.
- Are you focused on your niche? If yes, you’re ready.
- Have you been struggling on your own awhile trying to find your way? If yes, you’re ready.
But ready for what is the real question.
If dropping $25,000 on a coach makes you tremble with fear, then look at other options such as:
- Try a 15-minute free strategy session if he offers it - FREE
- Purchase an hour or two to solve a specific issue - $200 to $1000
- Hire a coach for a month if he offers it - $1000 to $3000
- Got a bigger project, hire a coach for 90 days to get more attention and drive to a specific result - $1500 to $5000
- Need to build a real plan? Sign up for the year of coaching - $5000 to $25000
And if none of those work for you, look for a group coaching that will drive results in a short period of time like 90 days. $500 to $3500
Whatever you choose, be prepared to start a lifetime journey of working with quality coaches to help you build a simple, scalable and sustainable business.
That’s what you want after all.