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 How does a psychotherapist switch to coaching?

You’ve explored the various career options available to someone with your impressive education and unique work experience; You’ve decided that you want to leave private practice psychotherapy behind in favor of a career in coaching…so what now? Where do you start? How do you begin to build a thriving coaching business where there wasn’t one before – especially when you’ve never taken on an entrepreneurial role in the past?

Well, you begin with a good, old-fashioned brainstorming session!

Before you ever lift a pencil or palm a mouse to draft your business plan…

Before you ever consider branding, names, or logos…

Before you even start to decide what services you’re going to offer or how to package them….

You’ve got some daydreaming to do!

After all, your dreams are about to become the roadmap to your reality. My philosophy is that you build a business model to fit your lifestyle, not the other way around. To do that, though, you need to know what kind of lifestyle you’re looking to lead in the first place.

Consider:

What would the coaching workday of your dreams look like?

If you’re an early bird, you might like to start your work way before dawn in order to free up a chunk of time in the afternoon for your favorite hobby. If family is the top priority to you, you may decide to begin around noon so that you can leave that ‘rushed’ feeling of trying to get the kids off to school without ending up late to yet another meeting long behind you. Either way, every last detail of your day is going to be up to you now. Take advantage of that and schedule your workday in a manner that not only makes you happier but also takes advantage of your own personal ultradian cycles.

Maybe you take work/life boundaries quite seriously and would actually prefer to work from an offsite office. Perhaps, you long to live in pajama pants as much as possible and want to conduct the majority of your work snuggled up in the coziest corner of your home. Maybe you’re like me, and something about the scent of freshly brewed coffee and the background hum of baristas bustling about kicks your creative juices into overdrive… so you really like working from the back booth of a coffee shop! There are no wrong answers here, just the ones that are true to your vision of an ideal life.

What would the revenue of your dreams look like?

Of course, most of us would impulsively answer “a million dollars” when asked how much we’d like to make a year. Some of you may even dream bigger and say, “a billion”. These may be somewhat unrealistic fiscal goals for a brand new coaching business right out of the gate, but $120,000 annual salary working part-time and traveling part-time isn’t! And if that’s possible (it is!), just imagine what you could be making should you find it satisfying to coach full-time?!

The key to making an income goal is knowing how much money you’ll need to live the lifestyle you want. So, dream big, but then crunch the numbers to see how much an annual summer abroad, a full-time maid, and a free-ride to college for each of your kids will really cost you before setting your goal. You may even find that it’s less than you’d think!

What difference do you dream of making in the world? 

What is it that you want to coach people to do? Obviously, choosing to provide a service no one wants or needs isn’t a sustainable business model. However, what would be the point in leaving the private practice you’ve worked so hard to build just to provide a highly-demanded service with little to no passion or joy?

You really can have a passion-driven, dream-come-true of a business, but you’ve got to do some self-assessment before getting started on it.

Ask yourself:

Is there a personal struggle you’ve recently gone through? Have you now developed a burning passion to help others with the same problem? Maybe there’s a certain kind of client that always gives you the warm and fuzzies when they walk through the door… Do you know why that is? Perhaps you have discovered a hidden talent in yourself and you want to use it to help better the lives of others…

The opportunities are truly endless here. The true challenge is narrowing them down (but more about that next week…).

Questions beget answers, but answers beget more questions…

Once you’ve answered all of these questions, guess what you get to do? That’s right… answer even more! The road to a more satisfying career path is paved with soul-searching, sister!

Just don’t do things backward… determine who you’re meant to serve first.

So often, aspiring coaches try to begin by building their ‘product’ first, then start figuring out exactly who to market it to. Unfortunately, doing things ‘backwards’ this way frequently leads to failure for startups.

In order to really fine-tune your business plan, marketing plan, services, and coaching packages, you’ve got to get to know your audience first. Use your answers to the questions above and dig deeply to determine what your ideal client – the client you’d actually look forward to waking up and checking in on every morning- looks like. Who would you be honored to serve?

Once you’ve got that not-so-small detail nailed down, you can finally begin to delve into developing your business further. You’ll need to conduct thorough market research on these individuals before getting to the real meat of your business plan: what kind of coaching you’re going to offer and in what format. You need to know what their problems are and what transformational solution are they looking for, but unable to find on the current market.

You might need to be coached to become a coach.

Things can get kind of tricky at this point, so if you’re looking for some one-to-one guidance on the matter, don’t hesitate to reach out! I offer a variety of One-on-One coaching packages tailored to meet your specific business needs. I started this business for women just like YOU, and I’m more than happy to help you navigate the rewarding and profitable business of professional coaching. 

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