When I work with someone who says, “I paid $40,000 for coaching in the last two years and I didn’t get any benefit,” often the reason isn’t related to the quality of the mentor or the client’s “coachable” score. Instead, there’s a mismatch between the mentor and the mentee’s desired business model.
The mentor mismatch takes many forms.
“I want to make money selling ebooks and products on the Internet. My coach says that’s impossible. I need to get clients. I can’t even hold workshops.”
But then you’ll also hear:
“I want to make money coaching. My marketing coach says it doesn’t make sense because it’s tied directly to hours – ‘trading time for money’ – instead of “work once and then get paid over and over again.”
“I was told to start with one-to-one coaching before you set up your blog or create your first product. One guru said to earn $100K in coaching before setting up my blog.”
A lot of marketing advice these days – from newspapers to blogs to Facebook – often makes me feel like I’m living the fable of the blind men and the elephant. I also get a lot of headaches.
The truth is, all these coaches are right … for some clients.
Once you decide what business model you want, you can find some one – or some people – to support you. Once you know your business model, you focus your energies. If you’re not going to be a coach you get to skip all the advice about get-acquainted calls.
At the same time, as your business grows, you might find your model changing. When you’ve created a lot of successful products, people start asking you to coach them. And when you’ve developed a reputation for one-to-one coaching and you’re building your business with referrals, you’re in a strong position to develop courses and signature programs.
Selling Info Products
You can make money by selling ebooks and products. If you choose this path, you’ll need a system to collect information about what topics are hot, who’s buying, what are the buying triggers, and where can you get state-of-the-art keyword search numbers. You start by researching markets first and creating products to deliver to those markets.
Some people actually make a lot of money selling kindle books on Amazon. They choose their markets and topics. They follow formulas to create products that will please readers and get good reviews.
Once you create a product, you can sit back and collect the money while you move on to other projects. Over time, the numbers add up.
Coaching, Consulting and Writing
If you want to start a coaching business, you will need to market your services by promoting yourself. You’ll need skills in sales, networking and speaking. You need to radiate confidence that you can deliver solutions.
You’ll probably be advised to set up free consultations to get clients. You’ll direct clients into programs, typically one-to one consultations, until you gain traction and then start working with groups.
Your challenge will be to make the business scalable so you get out of the pay-by-project or pay-by-hour mode. I’ve talked to many coaches who are earning a good (even great) living but walk around feeling exhausted. If you’re in that category, there’s plenty of help out there.
The Great Mentor Mismatch
Just about everyone I know is convinced that one model is superior to the other (and you’ll also find advocates for hybrid models and one-of-a-kind systems). Hire a coach who’s living off passive income and she’ll tell you coaching is too much work. Choose a coach who’s sold on coaching and he’ll tell you he’s making a fortune while working 20 hours a week.
To complicate things further, if you want to become a copywriter or designer, you’ve got different marketing challenges. Your clients will be a different species from the clients of coaches. You can learn some techniques but a lot of your decisions will be different.
How To Create A Great Match Between
Your Business And Your Mentor
Choosing a mentor takes time, especially if you’re going to enter a program that costs as much as a luxury cruise or a small car. When clients ask me about joining big-ticket programs, I suggest these steps (based on my ebook on choosing a mentor):
1 – Before sinking a significant sum into a program, get clear in your mind about your offer. Do you have a clear idea of what you do? Have you identified a hungry market? Do you have some traction?
You’ll get more help when you’re consistently bringing in $500 a month than when you get some $5000 months and some $500 months.
2 – Start slowly. Set up a VIP day or one-time call. Get recommendations for action and implement them. If you get results, try again.
3 – When you’re joining a program of $5000 or more, talk to one reference for every $1000 you pay, up to 5 people. That seems like a lot, but one or two people won’t be enough. You may get the one person who benefited because she had special circumstances – or the one who didn’t do the work and got nothing from the program.
4 – Avoid saying yes or no immediately. If you’ve had a complimentary call, go back after the call and review what happened. How did you feel during the call? What did you take away?
5 – Get comfortable, psychologically and financially, with the program.
If you hate making cold calls and your mentor swears by them, you’ve got a mismatch. (OK, you may be willing to change, but you’re taking a risk.) If your mentor wants you to revise your website, you’ll probably need to hire some help. Few mentors take the time to review sales letters and websites in detail; in fact, many mentors refer clients to copywriters for critiques or done-for-you copy.
If you’d like to talk further about your business (or get an objective review of what resources you might need to grow further), I’m happy to help. We can talk about any aspect of your model that’s related to getting clients, increasing conversions from your marketing materials, and generally growing your business. Click here to learn about my consulting program.
You might also enjoy my ebook on choosing a coach – the cost of 2 cappuccinos can save you from a very expensive mismatch. You’ll get a complete list of questions to ask a prospective mentor along with a summary of red flags that signal a potential mismatch. I don’t know anyone else who’s written on this topic.
Questions? Opinions? Please leave a comment below.