Time and Energy was listed as the sixth item of the Top Ten list of things I learned by giving 100 free sessions.
Time and Energy #6
When I first announced this promotion, I had no idea how much support I would get in finding 100 people. It all began when I had seen someone else post exactly what I had been thinking of doing, giving 100 free sessions to kick-start my business. So when I saw it, I got a little mad at myself and said, “I’m not waiting anymore!” I jumped right in and posted my intentions in one of my networking Facebook pages. This very action got me out of my scare-d-y pants thinking and propelled me into a new place of getting it done! I didn’t think about perfecting my promotional material, who, what or where. Nope I didn’t wait. I just did it. I found opportunities to talk about it at events, with strangers and friends. When I braved those uncomfortable moments, more people offered to help. I got an article published in The Hague On Line, an online publication for expats living in The Hague. Also a few people shared my goal around Facebook which generated a lot of leads. For a new coach this feeling was electric and palpable. I never wanted this feeling to end! (cue “Time of my Life” song from Dirty Dancing).
I quickly realized I needed to get my administration in order. That took some time as I had to figure out how to design it via my website. This is known as “creating your conversion funnel“. Those first few appointments I fumbled a bit. Fortunately, no one seemed to notice but me. I felt great about being busy but I also was starting to feel tired. I had a lot to learn and I didn’t know how I could do it all. By creating my funnel, I also had to establish a “firm” appointment schedule. Pffft! But because of lack of planning, I had to be flexible if I wanted to reach this lofty goal of 100 free sessions! And by that I also had to be prepared to go anywhere. I traveled everywhere to meet people. Why, oh, why did I do this to myself?!
I was excited and just did it! Something that comes natural to me. But if I could offer any advice, should you go for it and do 100 sessions, start here:
- Sit down and look at your calendar
- Plot out what amount of time you are able to do every week towards your goal.
- Give yourself enough time to reach 100, so you don’t feel desperate and do impossible things with your time and energy. 🙂 For example: Your goal, 100 sessions = 100 hours. Each week you can devout, 10 hours for sessions. That means it will take 10 weeks, or 2 1/2 months.
- Set boundaries. Make sure to say you are only doing face to face sessions at these set times or don’t offer them at all. You choose. By the way, over Skype and phone is just as powerful as any face-to-face sessions I have conducted. Let them know that! And then bring it to them when you have the session.
- REST. Do what it takes to give yourself a break. You are helping a lot of people FOR FREE. It will be exhausting. I advise meditation. Not your gig? Go for a walk or take a nap. Remember you are changing lives and that is a GREAT thing to be doing.
- Lastly, really think about the reasons why you wish to do a 100 free session promotion. It’s great feat. I realized later that maybe it was giving too much away and tarnishing the coaching profession. I talk about here and referenced an article over why you shouldn’t do this. See that article at the bottom of that post.
Recently I saw this interview with Jada Pinkett Smith and her daughter. Willow asked:
“How hard is it being a wife and mother?”
Jada began on how these roles are such a paradox and balancing them even more of one. I love that moment when you hear something from someone like Jada, in a position of abundance and “having it all”, say exactly how you feel in a flawless but revealing and comforting way. It closes the gap between us. Not that I need to hear that Jada struggles. But knowing we share this balancing act is in it’s own paradoxical way, refreshing. Her answer to her daughter on how to manage it, is also a bit of a paradox. Take time for yourself.
I hear this advice constantly. But no one REALLY shows you how to do it. I sat with this for a while and asked myself a lot of questions. How come it’s hard? Why can’t I enjoy taking time for myself? I understand it’s vital for my emotional well-being to “take care of myself”. But the whole while I will have to fight within myself that feeling of guilt. Taking a long bath was once, in the past, a pleasurable experience. Now I sit in there and think “I hear her crying I should jump out and help.” Is it really just about getting a bath in or having time to read a book? I think it’s much more.
The thing that I found striking about Willow’s question was neither of these roles, wife and mother are self-actualized. Women wear many hats. These roles predominately come from our relationship to another human being(s). To love thyself can not come from my relationship to others. It’s how I see myself and show up. Wife and mother are roles that I have because of situations I chose. I am happy to have them, believe me. But that does not make me my own person. What then do I do if I, say, don’t have a job? How do I define myself? Where can I accomplish my self-actualization outside of my marriage and motherhood?
This is where I think she is going in this interview. Jada spikes up about how we see mothers in the US and, I would add the world over, that we have to “completely sacrifice everything”. It’s a huge job, indeed. But fulfillment can not be through others as she so well explains. Jada continues that if we don’t take time for ourselves (mothers and wives) then we will put that on to our relationships and children. I believe taking care of ourselves is then MORE than a bathtub and a good book. It’s really knowing who you are deeply. Cherishing that person wholly. And honoring the things you love to do and doing them!
I say often to friends, clients, and family, “We were people, (individuals), before we got married and had children.” We can’t go back and be that now but we can choose to have some of that individuality celebrated in our full lives. The key is reminding yourself of what makes you shine, who are you inside and making time for that person. When you become happier by embracing who you are, you will ultimately radiate that out to your family and others. This makes taking care of yourself sound more empowering and a necessity rather than a self indulgence. Afterall, we all are here for a purpose.
Number 5 on the Top Ten things I learned by giving 100 free sessions.
This topic is a relatively a businessy one rather than one about coaching. But it is something I learned and a valuable lesson while building my practice.
In the promotion (see to the right) I asked that all clients fill out a feedback form. I thought this seemed like a reasonable request. What I experienced was quite the opposite of what I expected.
First I had to find a good resource to generate the feedback form. I used SurveyMonkey as my solution. For no other reason then it’s one I’ve heard of before. I set it up to identify the person filling out the form. This would give me insight both on their experience and how I was for them as a coach. But when one client told me that they were not comfortable filling it out, I then changed it to be anonymous. Still, in the end, no matter what I changed, I only received 6 evaluations. Six. 😐
There are many questions I have on why this might have happened. What did I do wrong in my promotion? How could I have made the survey easier? Why didn’t some of them fill it out and others (6, in case you forgot that overwhelming number) did? Well, the fastest way to find out those answers would be to ask the audience involved but… You can see the problem I would have in doing that! 😉
Now I don’t want to sound like a whiny baby. I do take full ownership. It is MY business,not theirs. It starts with me. Sure, it would have been great if everyone had taken the 5 to 10 minutes to fill out my survey but they didn’t and I’m sure there are good reasons for that. When I ask myself; What could I have done differently to get the results I desired? Then these answers come up:
- Do it at the end of the transaction. If I saw feedback as my way of getting paid, then perhaps I should have done it right then and there at the end of the session.
- Say it over and over: Maybe I could have made it clearer on the promotional material itself (I see where it could easily be read over) and at the time of making the appointment. “Thank you for making an appointment. Just so we are both on the same page, I will send an evaluation form/survey for you to fill out after our appointment. I consider this a fair exchange for the one hour session. Is this agreeable?”
- Be FAST with what you want: Make sure to send that survey ASAP! I was not really good in doing that in a timely manner.
- Use Creative Accounting: I could have gotten creative with it and sent an “invoice” with the billing that showed in the AMOUNT DUE: Survey YET to be filled out. And if they become delinquent on their “payment”, bill the REAL amount. 😮 Oh no! that is potentially dangerous. This one is just for FUN. Please don’t take it too seriously.
I’m sure if I read up on this in small business magazines and journals, I would find that many an entrepreneur has had this problem a billizion times before me. I realized I was more focused on the sessions (as any good coach is 😉 ) rather than properly administering the feedback form. As a business owner, I know how feedback is SO VALUABLE especially in the coaching business. In my training classes, we always practiced our coaching immediately after we would learn it and then we would give feedback to each other on what could have been better. Feedback allows me to grow and learn faster. But also how to support my client better. Feedback is an important tool in business, coaching and life.
Remember that, next time a survey comes your way. You may not think your opinion matters but to that person it means growing and learning. Which is priceless.