Pam Slim is an award-winning author, speaker, and small business coach. She spent the first 10 years of her solo practice as a consultant to large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems, where she worked with thousands of employees, managers, and executives.
As someone who has always been super passionate about humans and work, Pam knows what it takes to grow a business that makes a significant difference in the world and she’s sharing some of those gems here today. Tune in to hear why content is still king (or queen), where discomfort fits in evolving your body of work, and the importance of matching the vision of what you want to create with what you’re willing to put into your business… and so much more!
Welcome to the Rich Coach Club, the podcast that teaches you how to build your dream coaching practice and how to significantly increase your income. If you’re a coach and you’re determined to start making more money, this show is for you. I’m master certified life coach Susan Hyatt, and I’m psyched for you to join me on this journey. You’re listening to episode number one, here we go.
Oh hey, it’s here. It’s real. It’s the very first episode of this brand-new podcast. If you’re a life coach, business coach, wellness coach, health coach, writing coach, Equus coach, relationship coach, any kind of coach, this show is for you. And I am crazy excited to share new episodes with you every single week.
The topic of today’s episode is what’s your dream coaching practice? That’s such a fun question, right? Today we’re going to talk about your big vision for your coaching practice. The types of services you’d really love to offer, the types of programs or events that you dream about producing. The kinds of topics that you really want to become known for. Your big dream for your practice, and of course, for your income too.
But hey listen, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Maybe we’ve never met before, maybe you’ve never taken any of my classes, maybe you’re brand new to my world. My name is Susan Hyatt, and if you’ve never worked with me before, you might be saying like, “Who is this lady and what qualifies her to give me business advice?”
Well, here’s a quick list of some of my credentials. I’m a master certified life and business coach, and I’ve worked as a full-time coach for the last almost 12 years now. I’ve grown my coaching practice from zero dollars to five figures, six figures, and then seven figures a year. I’m proud to be a woman in 2018 earning more money than my father and my grandfather combined, making money and making history.
I am very proud to be in a financial position where I can support my family, pay cash for college, give to charities and travel and save for my retirement and do all the things that are important to me and my family. I am living proof that it’s possible to build a successful and sustainable coaching practice without killing yourself or burning yourself out.
To me, there’s nothing sadder than a burnt-out life coach. I’ve dealt with many cynics and haters along the way. People who told me that life coaching isn’t a real job and that I’ll never make money doing it and it’s unrealistic and so forth, but it’s really been a joy to prove all those people wrong-o.
Alright, what else can I tell you about my credentials? Okay, here’s a little more info. For many years I was a faculty member at the Martha Beck Institute, which is one of the top coach certifications in the world. I taught classes on business and marketing to thousands of new coaches and helped them launch and grow their coaching practices. In fact, from 2008 to 2010, I was in charge of Martha’s life coach and master life coach training programs until I passed the baton. I needed to focus on my own practice.
I’m a published author with one book on the shelves and another one on its way. It’s being released in early 2019, so exciting. I have worked one-on-one with thousands of coaches, consultants, freelancers, service providers, and other types of entrepreneurs, helping them take their work to the next level.
And prior to working in the coaching industry, I worked in marketing and sales. I was the marketing and promotions director for a company that owned five radio stations, and then I worked as a residential real estate agent, and at both of those jobs, I won awards. In radio, it was for boosting ratings and helping the sales team sell airtime, and in real estate, for moving a whole lot of houses. I could keep rolling out my resume for another 10 minutes, but hopefully you’ve gotten a feel for who I am.
The bottom line is I’m super passionate about the art of coaching because I believe coaching can transform people’s lives. It definitely changed mine and my client’s lives. I am super passionate about business marketing and sales and I love making these topics feel simple and inspiring, and not intimidating. And I’m super passionate about helping coaches to build profitable business because dude, I am sick of seeing so many broke, exhausted coaches out there. I want to help you turn your passion for coaching into a real solid profitable business. And that is what this show is all about. So without further ado, let’s talk about your dream coaching practice.
Alright, so we’re moving into a segment that I call Your Two-Minute Pep Talk. So here you go. Here’s your two-minute pep talk for the week. This is the part of the show where I share some motivation and encouragement to get your week started off right in 120 seconds or less.
Alright, again, our topic for today is what is your dream coaching practice. Whatever kind of practice you dream about building, you can do it. Hell yes, all the yes, 100% yes. But first, you really have to be clear about what you actually want. You can’t build something if you don’t know what you’re building, right? You need a clear vision.
So let’s get some clarity. Here’s a visualization for you to try out. Right now, unless you’re walking or running or driving a car, I want you to close your eyes and I want you to picture your dream coaching practice. Try to see it and feel it, all the sensory details. So imagine walking into your dream office or workspace, imagine yourself sitting down at your desk, imagine yourself opening up your emails or meeting with a client or leading a meeting for your business team.
Imagine yourself looking at your calendar for the upcoming month. What’s on that calendar? What types of projects are coming up for you? Take some time to walk around your dream office, your dream workspace, and see if you can notice as many details as you can. And as you’re doing this, I encourage you to stay true to you. Your vision, your dream, your style, your way.
Your dream might be to run a small relaxed coaching practice where you’re only working with two or three clients each month and you’ve got almost nothing on your calendar and everything’s just very chill and calm and quiet. And if that’s your dream, then that is a beautiful dream. Or your dream might be to run a multi-million-dollar coaching practice complete with a product line, speaking at conferences, having a bestselling book and thousands of airline miles from all of your international travel and a big exciting high energy schedule with lots going on. And if that’s your dream, then that is a beautiful dream too.
Or your dream might be that you’re almost never on a computer, you’re almost never at a desk. You’re out in the stables doing Equus coaching with horses, or you’re leading amazing adventures that combine surfing and yoga and coaching, or you’re leading meditation retreats or something else. You’re allowed to build any kind of coaching practice that you want. This is your dream. Nobody else’s.
So take some time right now or sometime this week if this isn’t a convenient moment to really visualize. What’s your dream coaching practice like? Try to get a clear picture of what it looks like, also what it feels like. What does it include? And then write down your vision or record a little audio note describing it to yourself.
And then I want you to commit to this dream. Devote yourself to this dream. I want you to go all in for this dream and I want you to take at least one tiny step this week to move closer to living your dream. You can do this. You have the tools, you are capable. It’s your dream and you can build it. As I often say to my clients, if you crave it, then you can create it. Ooh, that was a super fun pep talk. I hope you enjoyed that visualization and I hope you’re feeling super excited to start building your dream coaching practice.
And now, this is the part of the show where I give shout outs to some very special people. Today, I want to give a shout out to Lara. Even though this is only episode one of this podcast, Lara is already so excited about the show, she posted a note to let me know – she wrote on Facebook, “Oh my god, Susan Hyatt is doing a new podcast about coaching and helping coaches make more money. I am so into this.”
Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, Lara, I do everything that I do all for people like you, so thanks for the love. And I also want to give a very special shout out to my client, Mary. So Mary’s a mindset coach and she enrolled in my Clear Coaches Select program at the beginning of the summer, back in May, and she emailed me recently to let me know that her income has doubled since she enrolled.
She finally launched a group coaching program that she’d been procrastinating on for a long time, and she filled almost every spot and this new program has turned into just this awesome new revenue stream for her business. Mary, it takes courage to launch a brand-new program, to promote it and find the right clients, and girl, you did it. I’m thrilled for you. So thank you for enrolling in Clear Coaches Select and for inviting me to coach you and help you bring your coaching practice to the next level. I think you are the bomb.com.
Alright, those are my shout outs for today. Thank you, thank you, everyone for being part of this podcast community and part of my life and work. And hey, if you have something to say about this show, please send an email to my team at firstname.lastname@example.org or post an iTunes review about this show or post something on social media and tag me @susanhyatt, and you might hear your name on a future episode. I love giving shout outs to all my peeps.
Alright, so now we’re at the part of the show where you get to lay back, snuggle up with some coffee or tea and relax into your comfiest chair because it’s time for an interview. Yes. Today we’re chatting it up with Pam Slim. So if you don’t yet know Pam, you’re about to be blown away. Pam is a small business coach. She’s been in business 22 years and she has definitely built her dream coaching practice.
Her practice is so unique and creative and so authentic to who she is. She’s found a way to blend her family, her personality, and her passions and life experiences into a business that is really one of a kind. So I wanted to bring Pam onto the show to talk about how she built her dream coaching practice and some of her biggest mistakes and lessons along the way. I know you’re going to love this woman just like I do. Here we go.
Susan: Welcome to the Rich Coach Club, Pam Slim. Pam is one of my OGs.
Pam: It is so good to be here, Susan.
Susan: I got to tell you Pam, when I was thinking of all the guests I wanted to have on this new podcast, you were at the top of the list, and one of the reasons why is because you taught me so much early on in my career about what it means to be a coach, what it means to create a community, what it means to communicate consistently with your peeps. And so of course I had to have you on and talk about the topic today, which is how to create your dream coaching practice because I have had the pleasure of over the years, watching your business go from being one of the most widely read blogs online to being the bestselling author of two books, and how you have, in addition to all that, a brick and mortar location in Mesa, Arizona.
Pam: Yes, I do.
Susan: So talk to us a little bit about what it was like going from a corporate consultant, which you were for many years, right? To deciding to transition to running your own business, to becoming a life coach.
Pam: Yeah, so I quit my job actually in 1996. So it’s been 22 years since I’ve been working for myself, which is a really long time. I’m kind of shocked. It’s like, longer than my career in companies. So the first 10 years I was a consultant but I worked for myself. So I was used to working for myself and I learned a lot about business in running a consulting practice, although when I started all those years ago, it was before social media and blogs and Facebook and things that I can’t believe were not here because it feels like they always have been here, but it really was more about building strong relationships with people, focusing on doing really great work, and always improving my craft. So for me, when I made the transition, one of the things that – there were a couple factors when I transitioned from 10 years of doing independent consulting into coaching. I had been getting a little bit like, restless and tired for the nature of consulting I was doing. I really enjoyed it for most of the years that I did it, it was super exciting. You know, I started in Silicon Valley, being from the Bay area, and it was just super exciting with all the tech and to help organizations really grow and scale. But I just found that the work itself started to get not as interesting, and it was doing bigger and bigger projects, big change management projects, and it wasn’t exciting. And there were a lot of people that I was talking to in my day-to-day that would pull me aside and say, “How did you do it? How did you quit your job and start a business?” So that was my – I say it was like unintentional 10 years of market research, of realizing that many people had the idea of working for themselves but they felt that it was really impossible. So that was kind of the point of view that got me interested in doing the work that I did and Escape from Cubicle Nation. And I think it was also doing some personal work and personal development and just recognizing that I was always super passionate about humans in work. Like, work is definitely my canvas, you know? I love – so many other coaches do amazing work in all other areas of life and I love that and I benefit from it, from parenting to health to whatever. But to me, I am just continually fascinated by the world of work. And I think I just move from looking initially at that point of systemic change within organizations to really looking at what was that individual journey that somebody was taking.
So that was just kind of interest wise what led me into coaching and getting certified. And it really was like a whole new world and figuring out how to get clients because before, it was all based on who I knew. Ethically, at the point when I decided to start Escape from Cubicle Nation, I could not go back to companies who had paid me handsomely to retain employees, right? Even though I knew like, hundreds of them. So that became kind of the whole, you know, conundrum and problem to solve and that’s when I thankfully, made the decision to take a course by a woman named Suzanne Falter, and that’s when I decided to start a blog. And that was really something that made such a huge difference in terms of being the Trojan horse that got me underneath the cubicle wall and with corporate employees reading my stuff.
Susan: You know, what’s interesting about so many things that you just said, Pam, so first of all, like, fascinated by your work history and your devotion to helping small business and entrepreneurs, but like, you are the person who taught me so many things. You taught me the word, ‘blog.’ Like, when I started my company, I remember I was in real estate and I went to a real estate convention and there was a nice man that stood up and was talking about this new thing called blogging. And I remember when I became a coach, you were a successful blogger already at that time. You had written a blog that was an open letter to CEOs everywhere that just set fire to the internet and really helped pave the way for your book, Escape from Cubicle Nation.
Pam: Yeah, I mean it was just luck. I talk to some friends now, you know, Suzanne Falter who I said I took the class from, Get Known Now, from Andrea Lee who was one of the first people that I learned – I think my very first class that I took was with Michael Port. I was telling him this years ago, like, it was about creating an information product. I learned – I took a teleclass from Andrea Lee, and it was all like, magic. Honestly, it’s still magic to me. I still think it’s magic that we can do things like have this conversation over a free service and reach hundreds of thousands of people around the world. But it really was amazing and lucky, I feel like, to kind of get the insight into what an amazing platform it was with blogging because at that point, in 2005 when I started my blog, it really was kind of a perfect point for – to establish a clear voice. It’s with any kind of content that you’re creating. So people that might not be into writing, I totally understand, I have many clients like that. Maybe your thing is video or maybe your thing is podcasting or speaking in public. But you really want to have a clear point of view and you want to have something concrete to be contributing. And I’m just really thankful that the time that I started blogging with the message that I had, it was something where I was really able to build something substantial. And like I always admire for what you do, you know, I was very consistent in how it is that I was consistently writing, how I was building my network and sharing things.
And it’s interesting, I’ve learned this recently. You know you kind of learn stuff about yourself like, 10 years later you’re like, “Oh yeah.” One of the things I learned is that I tend to be a bit of like, an early adopter or like an early visionary. So when I was creating stuff with Escape from Cubicle Nation, there were not – I don’t even know how many thousands of people now writing about the topic. It was a relatively smaller kind of segment. And I kind of feel the same thing now I’m working on a new book about ecosystems and it’s just really funny, I’ve been working on it for the last couple of years doing research and now I’m seeing it popping up everywhere. Like, you know, ecosystems are the new thing, building community. And I’m like, dude, I’ve been talking about this forever. But that’s cool because that’s an example of something where when you are a coach, the metaphor I always gave when I used to teach for Martha Beck’s classes to people, because you know, a lot of people stress like, but I’ve just been a coach, I just got certified and I’ve just been a coach for whatever, a couple months or a year or something like that, and people can feel really insecure about that. And I’m like, you know what, the cake is all of your life experience. And we know people who have been doctors and amazing like, stay at home parents who ran their entire kid’s school organizations and all these different things that people do, the frosting is the fact that you’ve just recently gotten trained as a coach. That’s not the most interesting thing about what it is that you’re doing. It’s how does this really fit within your body of work and I will push a little bit and I do push with clients to say if you’re not really grounding your coaching into any type of fertile ground that you’ve been developing in terms of your point of view, your experience and so forth, it just means you’re probably going to have a little longer period of time in order to be really developing a coaching practice. And it’s not – I don’t mean to say it from you know, if you haven’t worked in business before then you can’t be doing it. But it’s more that you have to have some hook that says either your amazing life journey and experience that you’ve really thought about and you’ve developed a point of view around and you’ve developed tools around is something that you want to be basing your coaching practice on. Because just having the tools and the training, it’s just the frosting.
Susan: Right, I love the way that you explain that because you’re right, so many coaches and probably many of you listening to this podcast are freaked out about the fact that I am encouraging you to go out and sell yourself and pitch yourself and be seen and all those things, and I think part of the reason that – well, there are many reasons why women are scared to be visible. Tons. And we’ll talk about all of them on this podcast, but one of the reasons is what you just articulated, Pam, is that when you become something new, when you have a new title like life coach and you’re feeling a little shaky about what does that even mean, it’s the frosting. Like, hook it in like Pam said to what you already know, you’re helping solve a problem and you happen to have these coaching tools that are going to be part of the process to solve that problem. But having a coach certification isn’t the whole cake.
Pam: That’s right. And it won’t be the thing – it’s hard to be confident in what you’re doing, and to me it goes to the concept of mastery for what you’re developing and for what I call body of work. You know, and within body of work, which is that every single bit of your experience, all the ingredients you have, what you consider positive experiences and challenging experiences, volunteer experience. I know when I first went out on my own, I never imagined that I would work for myself, ever. I just thought I’m not cut out for it, I’m a liberal art major, I don’t know the first thing about business. But I had actually not considered that for 10 years, I was the volunteer executive director for Capoeira, for an Afro-Brazilian arts group, and I wrote grants and we ended up growing a huge program and doing marketing, but in my head, I had said that I was a volunteer so it doesn’t count, when like, hello, it’s totally entrepreneurial. I was so used to doing things and making things happen. That was my side hustle when I was working full time. I was running a non-profit arts organization as a side hustle. So everybody has significant experience. It is not just about formal education. I look at my husband who was raised on the Navajo Nation, you know, has this deep spiritual tradition that was taught to him by his grandparents, and you know, he has a high school education but he has massive depth of knowledge and understanding and wisdom based on how he was raised. So it’s not just about the certifications or sometimes you know, folks might say it’s kind of easier because you did the corporate consulting, so of course it was easy to do coaching. But it’s really a whole different world. Like, I was scared shitless the first time that somebody was paying me to help them to leave the stability of a corporate job because I had done it but I’m a crazy quick start. I can take on huge amounts of risk. Like, sometimes risk I should not take on, not that you can relate, Susan Hyatt, right? But it’s like, because that’s what’s comfortable to me, but it’s very different when I am working alongside somebody who’s making a super significant decision. So you can bet that I was massively committed and am every day of learning as much as I can in order to help that person leave.
Susan: Right. And you said something really interesting there that I’ve heard a lot as well, that coaches or new entrepreneurs will say, “Well, it was really easy for you to get your company off the ground, Susan, because you have experience or had experience in sales.” I came from residential real estate sales and I used to always kind of giggle at that because yes, like, just like you’re saying Pam, all of our life experience feeds into and helps us with the next thing. And so as much as I was ready to leave the real estate world, I was super grateful for the training that I had there because yes, it taught me how to unabashedly promote myself. However, when I went through life coach training and I was sitting in a room with 11 other women with Martha Beck, I considered myself at a real disadvantage because I was the only one that wasn’t a social worker or a psychologist or a teacher or some sort of profession that I felt better prepared everybody else for life coaching than a realtor, right? So in my mind, I’m like, what are you talking about? I was the total underdog. But in the marketing and sales world, yes, that like, totally helped me. So it’s like a good example of people looking at you or me or fill in the blank, any other successful entrepreneur and saying, well, it was really easy for you because and the point I’m trying to make is that everybody has something. Like, look at Pam and the volunteer work she was discounting, right? So if you’re listening to this, there’s probably something in your life, work, volunteer experience that has perfectly prepared you for what you’re doing now.
Pam: It’s really true, and just for our intersectional moment or intersectional social justice first moment of the conversation because I know we’ll probably have a couple of them, that I fully acknowledge that I have privilege in who I am and my education level and being a white woman and having worked in corporate, that for sure helped to open doors. So I just want to be extra clear that I’m not saying it’s just everybody pulls themselves up by the bootstraps because I feel like that’s something that can be unhelpful to people who do face significant challenge, that just based on who they are or their religion or the color of their skin or all those other things that can impact people, but it’s like, with that, with that experience and with that understanding of that experience, I have seen all kinds of different people that have so much preparation. And probably the only thing that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen this a lot with my husband and just watching him work is the difference to me about really making significant difference is first of all, waking up every day and being excited about doing your work and really living your mission and helping the people you want to help. Like, that dedication to solving the problem that you are there to solve, right? Be it helping women celebrate absolutely, their body is just the way that they’re beautifully designed no matter the size, right? Or helping people to leave corporate and start a successful business that that dedication has to be fresh every day and that planting seeds has to happen every day. Testing, trying, experimenting, and having the rigor of just really doing your own work so that you manage the ups and downs. I mean, it is not easy and even after 22 years you’d think I would totally have it in the bag but because probably I’m wired to constantly be like, evolving and doing different things, it’s pretty much as soon as I get to a place where I could be kind of more stable and coast, I’m like, nope, time to shake it up, let’s open a really huge public space and like, play in a totally different area and start from the beginning. And you know, to me, that’s part of living and expanding and being creative and being more of service. So I’m totally happy with that, but my point is no matter your circumstance, you really need to put in practice, a set of behaviors of just every single day getting up and planting seeds.
Susan: So many important points there and yes, I totally agree with you. There’s a friend of mind that talked about, you know, being born on third base. You and I absolutely were born with tons and tons of privilege and I don’t discount that at all. However, I do think that everybody, like you said, everybody listening has something of value to share and if you are putting in like you said, commitment and consistency and planting those seeds, no matter what, you absolutely can create a beautiful business where you’re helping other people solve problems and I think that you know, as coaches, I resonate with what you were saying about like, hey, you’ve been doing this 20 years and you’d think it would get easier. That’s me today, right? That’s me, like, I’m like, now they’re jackhammering outside of my house when I’m trying to record this new podcast. And the sound didn’t work this morning. It’s like why? And it’s the creative stretching and the excitement I think of molding something new that drives me that I recognize drives you as well.
Pam: It’s so true. I always use the metaphor of relationships for a business because it just fits so perfectly, right? Everything from whenever you’re dating, if you’re too desperate and just desperate to get somebody else as a client, they’ll immediately reject you, but as soon as you have clear boundaries and you’re like, you know, take it or leave it, then people are like, “Oh my god, I want to work with you.” The other relationship metaphor is about really putting energy and investment into your relationship every day. You’ve been married a long time to Scott, I’ve been married a good amount of time to Darryl, and it’s never taking for granted any – each day waking up and wanting to keep that connection and relationship alive. Not just assuming that because you have a certain track record behind you that you’re automatically going to continue to have that kind of benefit coming your way, and that’s where I see a lot of businesses get stale. It’s where I see a lot of things within our industry that to me, can be a little more of the cotton candy of business models that either like, blueprint type things or now – my apologies to anybody who is doing this, but I’m just like, for the summits, the online summits where I get the same kind of canned response from everybody you know, like, you must have 5000 people on your list and you have to send two emails and there’s like, this whole very generic way that people are being trained by somebody about how to grow a business. And it just – a lot of that ends up really being stale, not working. And you have to just wake up fresh every day and say, “Okay business, where you at? What are your needs?” Evolve the way that you think about what you need to do in order to serve your clients. I think we’ve all had a big evolution in the last couple of years in terms of recognizing the importance of really examining who we are and where we come from and how that plays into who it is that wants to work with us or who doesn’t want to work with us, how we’re really creating inclusive places and spaces for people to work. So it’s just – it’s every day doing the work.
Susan: You know, I love the relationship examples you just gave and I can’t wait for Scott Hyatt to come home so I can say, you may not be experiencing the same benefit tomorrow that you’re experiencing today. But it’s so true. I mean, we’ve been married 25 years, together 27 years and it’s consistent hard work just like it is in growing a business. And I’m with you 1000% on the staleness of blueprints or summits or things that are being taught that then everyone starts doing. You really have to, in my opinion, be paying attention to okay, what are the problems my clients are experiencing and that shifts over time even if you’re doing the same thing, right? Like, I’ve been helping women around food and body for 10 years now, but that has really evolved and changed after just paying attention to what the creature that is my business and the same with business clients. If you and I were teaching how to grow a small business the same way we were 10 years ago like we were talking about this earlier this morning that you know, I knew you when we were using flip cams, social media wasn’t that big of a deal yet, I mean, everything has changed. So it’s – you have to be willing to show up every day and not – it’s not a set it and forget it kind of achievement.
Pam: It’s not because the market doesn’t ever stop evolving. Humans don’t stop evolving. And that is the part that I think really keeps us fresh and engaged in our work because overall, even though I know you and I have had this conversation, you have had, often in a super interesting way that I think is a really valuable example for people, like, you have had – you defy the focus on your niche core advice that so many people give, right? You do specific work around women’s relationship with their bodies, you do business building, you do like, adventure travel, personal development, you can be in a number of different areas but there’s a through line in terms of how it is that you’re really building something significant for your understanding about how it is that you’re really contributing to the world of work. And I’m a dork. I mean, I know that I am when it comes to sometimes like – I love the world of work so much and like, intellectual property. I was just – you’re probably the way I am. I looked the other day in a drive where I had a whole number of like, checklists I’ve created and classes and I was like, oh my god, it’s like opening that closet in your house that you didn’t realize. It’s like, 22 years of like, ski equipment and mittens and everything. It’s like this huge pile of IP. I’m like, oh man, I should really do something with all of that. But you know, that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do. It’s one of the reasons why I am such an advocate for creating some type of content that is useful. Books, I think books are super amazing because they can travel many places that you would never imagine. One of my favorite stories is a friend of mine, Andy Kwan who is on Facebook who found my book, Escape from Cubicle Nation in a trashcan in Paris.
Pam: I just love that. That’s how he first came across me. So first of all, I want to know who threw it away, but thank you for throwing it away because it brought me to Andy Kwan, who I think originally is from Taiwan but he was living in Paris at the time. There’s another friend on Facebook, Daryl Garcia, who’s from the Philippines and she read the book and she was an architect working for a larger firm and she quit and started her own company, Dream Architects, and now it’s like, she has this huge team. I see like, pictures on Facebook where she’s building all of these different buildings like all throughout the Philippines. And it like – there’s no way that I would have been able to find all of those people and share the ideas were it not for writing the book and getting it out there. But the same can be true for blog posts, the same can be true for podcasts. This morning you and I were talking where I haven’t told this story very much, but my editor from Portfolio who first approached me about doing my book, she actually was listening to my podcast. And then from that podcast, she went to my blog because she said she used to listen to the podcast on her way into work on the train. And that was how she first kind of got interested in what it was that I was creating. And then you know, I ended up doing a book deal for them which was very exciting. Funny side note, I swear to god, every editor I work with ends up quitting. This is my first. I kid you not. She actually read – I love her so much. And she read the proposal for Body of Work, and she reached out to me and she’s like, “You know, I read this and it impacted me so deeply that I’ve decided to like, leave Portfolio and like, move back home.” And I was like, “No, like, don’t move until you’ve done my book.” But you know, it’s why we have to be creating and sharing ideas. It’s not just the work that we’re doing with our clients, which is deep and profound and meaningful, but it’s also like, how are we rebuilding the new world of work, how are we deconstructing institutionalized racism, right? Which to me is a big thing. How are we actively contributing to creating a better world through our work? And I think part of that involves content.
Susan: Absolutely. When I first started this company, I attended a teleclass that you held with I think Michelle Woodward and one other woman, and the topic – it was a free class just sort of community service for us coaches, and it was a class about creating content. And specifically getting a blog up and running, and at this point in time, I was feeling pretty great about my once a month newsletter. And it was the old kind of newsletter. Remember when we used to have like, recipes and book recommendations and like, a quote? It was an old-style newsletter that I would spend all day making beautiful. Oh my gosh. And I attended this class of yours and I remember you guys asked if there were any questions midway through and I’m like, “Wait a minute, so you’re saying that I need to write something maybe multiple times a week and share it?” And you were like, “Yes.” And I think your comment was some people blog multiple times a day. And I remember being like, that’s it, I’m out, I’m never going to make it in this business, how does anybody create that much content? And so it has been such a remarkable journey to stretch myself and push myself in a healthy, loving way, I should say, to really get creative and get my ideas out there, first through blogging, videos, podcasts, but those seeds that you taught me to plant, consistently planting those seeds are what has created this business and continues to create this business. I mean, that’s one of the biggest things I teach is having a communication plan.
Pam: It’s really true, and you know, there are all kinds of ways that you will find in order to reach the vision for you of what it is that your dream coaching practice is, right? That everybody’s going to have a different view of what that is. I always give the example of my old mentor who was my first client. She was my boss when I worked as an employee at Barclays Global Investors, and then she was my first client when I went out on my own because she had gone to another company. And I think she probably to this day like, still has a Hotmail address, you know? Like, maybe a LinkedIn profile, maybe. But she’s an amazing person, has what we used to call a Rolodex in the old days, an amazing network of clients, and probably does, I don’t know, many hundreds of thousands, if not million dollars’ worth of business consulting based on relationships that she has. She does not create any content. But she has very, very clearly zeroed in on the work that she does and the way that work happens in that arena. So there could be coaches who choose to actually work for a larger organization where they’re independent contractors but they get a lot of clients that way by having one main client or even being an internal coach and working for a company. There can be people who get most clients by speaking in their local environment within network groups or things like that. So I want to make a distinction that it does depend on what it is that you want to create with your practice. I guess I’ve always seen part of what we can do in terms of really driving change and being exposed to the kinds of conversations we have with people, and I love so much this whole idea of our work being deeply transformational. We’re taking people around the circle of the hero’s journey. Into these like, deep places that we could just never imagine. I call it the magic door. You know, taking people through the magic door where if you would have told me whatever it is, 20-something years ago that I would have clients all over the world, finding me mysteriously through this thing called social media, and that that’s the way that I’d be able to take care of my family and an extended brick and mortar space, I would never believe you. But it’s – part of that can happen where you have this bigger vision of really wanting to create transformation.
So as much as I will make the strong point that if you do want to have a point of view that gets out in the world, if part of what drives you as a coach is really creating a new conversation, which I know is the case for many of the folks that I work with, then it is important to also do the work in addition to with clients to be sharing that through content. If you want to have a type of business that’s really just about doing that individual kind of work, that can also be super powerful. The place where I think things can get confusing is where sometimes I’ll have conversations with clients or potential clients that’ll be like, yes, I want all that, I want to be making a gigantic impact, but I really don’t do content. Or I don’t ever want to be in social media. And that I’m like, well, you kind of have to make some choices because that’s the hard work every day of in service of what you want to do, sometimes you need to do things that are not necessarily comfortable.
Susan: Yeah. I think that that’s such a great point and it’s also – I was, you know, the young business owner with coaching who – I loved coaching people one-on-one, I still love coaching people one-on-one. I don’t know that I’ll ever get rid of it. But I was so busy coaching people one-on-one that I really didn’t have any time in my schedule set aside for content creation. And so I wanted to write a book, I wanted to get my point of view out there, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out like, how do people find the time to do this, right? And I had to really make some tough choices and condense my schedule and take a new leap of faith by freeing up time on my schedule to create some content that people could rally around. And now it’s really interesting to look back and I totally hear and agree with what you’re saying that there are so many of you probably listening and me formerly, I was so resistant to making any changes or doing things that I didn’t want to do. I was like, wait a minute, I became an entrepreneur so that I could do what I want. Well, that joke’s on y’all. Joke’s on you. You do get to and freedom is, I know, a core value of me and you, Pam. But you got to do some stuff that is uncomfortable.
Pam: It’s so true and I think that often we get way, way, way confused with the difference of, you know, I want to set up a business that is just totally about me and my needs, I don’t want to be bothered, I only want to work these number of hours, like, more power to us to be designing the parameters that we think are going to make us really happy and successful in our work. That’s an important part of business model design. But very often there’s not alignment with that with often what the vision is, you know, that people want. And it takes – I’m a big believer in discomfort, especially for white women. Like, Jesus Christ, we need to just really, really do a lot of our work around thinking that anything that is uncomfortable is not good or that discomfort is something that’s not good. You know, I think it’s great. I think it’s great for us to be pushing us in new areas where we don’t feel comfortable. And at the same time, each person can set really clear boundaries where if it is important to you, for a variety of reasons, energy, priorities, and other places like family, health, that you don’t want to be working all the time, that is totally awesome. But then just match what it is that you want to create with that vision of what it is that you’re willing to put into your business. Because a business entity needs to be a whole thriving, complete ecosystem, right? You can’t – I always love the garden metaphor because my husband loves to garden, you know, and you can’t have a garden without watering. You have to pull the weeds, you have to plant the seed, you have to kind of tend to it over time. And if you don’t do that, it will not grow. You can’t just say, “Oh, you know what, I hate accounting and therefore I’m just not going to do it.” Let’s see how the IRS feels about that.
Susan: Yeah, I was going to say there’s a natural consequence for that.
Pam: That’s right.
Susan: So let me ask you this, Pam. You’ve been so generous with your time and of course we’re going to put in the show notes where people can find you and all those things, but I have a final question for you. I named this podcast the Rich Coach Club. It’s kind of a play on words. Rich, yes, because I love deposits, but also because I love quality. I love the richness of life. And I’m wondering, is there something that costs nothing or almost nothing that makes you feel rich?
Pam: To me, it is connection with my family. And there’s a really special time in the morning when we’re getting ready to go to work and to school, where my husband is Navajo and he was raised by his grandparents, so he comes from this really rich tradition and of culture and he just is somebody who is very thoughtful in what he does. So all of us I think really enjoy and benefit from that. So we all gather round together as a family and we mark ourselves with charcoal. There’s kind of a significance of how it is that you’re like, protecting yourself and your family and then we give thanks and then we do some deep breaths together. So we do four deep breaths together and then we do a final like, deep breath with an exhale and then we do a group hug. And it’s just such a wonderful grounding experience. Like, sometimes I almost want to open one eye and look at the family because it’s just so cool to see our kids just completely into that. It’s just become part of what it is that they do. But like, those moments I feel like are so special and so sacred to have that like, shared breath together. There’s nothing that’s more precious than that. And as my daughter reminds me because she’s really good at this – I think yours is too – she will remind me every day of my priorities. She’s be like, “So mom, you say you’re really working because you want priority with family, you know, so why are you on the computer all the time?” Or, “Why are you distracted when I’m trying to play my violin for you?” And you know, that’s like, god bless children. They keep us honest.
Susan: It is – my daughter’s like, “Are you listening to me? Are you done talking to me because you’re typing?” It’s like, they do. They will keep you on your life coach-y mantras like nothing else.
Pam: They throw it right back.
Susan: They do. I ran a program this summer called The Summer of Yes, and it was like, you know, yes to all your desires, you know, yes to hedonism, yes to like, eat the ice cream, go to the beach, like, do all the things, and so all summer long, all three members of my family, anything that they would propose that I was like, “Are you serious right now?” they would go, “It’s the summer of yes.” And so it’s like, I can’t get away from it. They are going to keep us honest.
Pam: That’s why share your messages with everybody but your family.
Susan: That’s right. Like, keep them in the dark about any life coaching messages.
Pam: You’re like, “I didn’t mean you. I didn’t mean you guys.”
Susan: I didn’t mean you follow your passion. You sit down and do what I say. Well thank you so much, Pam. I appreciate you so much in my life. You have – I mean, honestly, for the past 11 and a half years been someone I could look up to, someone I could remember like, “Oh right, Pam’s not doing the icky thing. Pam’s doing the thing with integrity.” So I appreciate you and I hope everybody listening will go check out what Pam’s doing because she has so many amazing online programs and in-person programs at her Main Street Learning Center.
Pam: Thank you, Susan Hyatt, I love you.
Susan: Thank you, I love you back.
How great was that interview? Oh my gosh, I could listen to Pam all day. I love hearing the story of how Pam built her dream practice. Remember, today’s topic is what’s your dream coaching practice, so I want you to see it clearly. Define it and start moving towards it with determination.
So here’s a really quick and fun idea for you. Make a vision board to represent your dream coaching practice that you outlined. You can make a vision online using a website like Pinterest or Canva, or there’s a really cool website called DreamItAlive.com. Or you could go totally old school which I love and make a vision board using images that you cut out of books and magazines.
Put images that represent how you want your coaching practice not just to look but how you want your coaching practice to feel. You want the feeling states to guide the images that you select so put images that inspire you and images that represent the direction you want things to go in but also images that represent that feeling state.
So for example, if moving throughout the day you want to feel motivated and inspired and free, just make sure that the images you’re picking reflect that. I’m telling you, it’s clichéd but vision boards seriously work. So put your board somewhere where you’re going to see it every single workday like right above your computer and this will serve as a daily reminder of where you’re going.
And if you’re thinking, “Oh yeah, this is a great idea but I’m never actually going to do this, I’m too busy, blah, blah, blah,” then here’s a tip: throw a vision board party. Invite some of your friends over to your place, tell everybody to bring old books and magazines and photos and set a date. Do a potluck, get yourself a cheese plate, make it social, make it fun. And you know what, if you set a date and send out invites to your friends, then you know this is going to happen for real and you’re going to make your damn vision board. So you’ll be happy that you did.
Alright, that wraps up today’s episode. Your action step for this week is to visualize your dream coaching practice with as much clarity and specifics as you can. Where is your office? What’s on your desk? What’s on your calendar? What kinds of services do you offer? What color paint is on the walls? What’s on your to-do list? What primary feelings do you feel? When are you at work? What kinds of problems are you helping your clients solve? Whatever dream you have, it’s all doable. It’s all possible, and you can take the next step today. No waiting, so excuses, build your dream.
Alright, thank you so much listening to Susan Hyatt’s Rich Coach Club. If you enjoyed today’s show, please head over to shyatt.com/rich where you’ll find a free worksheet with audio called 3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get More Clients. You can download the worksheet and the audio, print it out, there’s a fun checklist for you to check off. Just three things to do. Check, check, checkidy-check.
This worksheet makes finding clients feel so much simpler and not so scary. So head to shyatt.com/rich to get that worksheet. Over there, you’re also going to find a free Facebook group you can join especially for coaches. Bring your coaching practice and your income to the next level at shyatt.com. See you next week.