I’m chatting with my secret sauce, Alexandra Franzen. Alexandra is my writing coach and a genius. She helps me simplify my content like nobody’s business and make sure that I’m extremely clear on what I’m offering and how my potential clients can hire me!
Join me and Alexandra as we chat about her work, her daily habits, how she finds clients, how she built her dream coaching practice and, of course, the time in her business where she unconsciously made it hard for people to hire her. This is a fantastic interview that you don’t want to miss!
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 six, here we go.
Welcome, coaches of the world. Are you a life coach, a wellness coach, maybe you do leadership coaching, or some other type of coaching? If you work in the coaching industry, you are totally in the right place. This is your show, boo. You have arrived, and we are going to have some fun today. We do that every day, right? Today, we’re talking about a serious topic, however, and we’re all going to laugh at ourselves and have a good sense of humor about it…
Here’s a question for you; are you making it hard? And what I mean is, are you making it hard for people to hire you? Are you making it hard for clients to find you, hard for people to sign up and book you and pay you? I literally had somebody in my Facebook inbox the other day and she posted the most hilarious meme that said, “Take my money…” because we were having trouble with a broken payment link.
Don’t do that. Don’t make it hard for people to pay you, boo. You might be sitting there going, “No, I have a website; I’m easy to find.” Okay, but you might be surprised. When someone hires me for business coaching, typically, one of the first things I do is I take a little peeky-poo at their website and you would not believe how many times I notice a huge glaring issue, like, within the first 30 seconds that I’m poking around.
Like I try to fill out the contact form, but I get an error message, or I head over to the page that describes their current programs, but their current programs are totally out of date, or I click on a button that promises that I’ll be able to schedule a consultation call and it gives me an error page, or I’m reading a description of someone’s coaching services and the language is literally so long and complicated that I have no idea what they’re even offering, and there’s no clear way to get in touch with them.
And I’m sitting there, like, “Honey, no.” So this is why, a few times a year, it’s so important to take a close look at your website, your email signature, your voicemail message; all the different places where potential clients are interacting with you. And it’s important just to make sure everything is functioning properly.
You want to make sure all the forms work, all the payment buttons work, and you want to make sure your language is clear and simple so that people can understand you, book you, and put money into that bank account.
And if you discover, “Yikes, my website is kind of a mess…” or, “Uh-oh, I’m actually making it pretty complicated and confusing for people to hire me…” then it’s important to ask yourself, what’s really going on here? Because there’s always something going on, on an emotional level.
Maybe you want more clients and more money and yet, at the same time, you’re afraid of what might happen if you make yourself more visible. Or maybe you’re afraid of being seen in a bigger more public way and you’re afraid of haters, online trolls, mean comments on your blog, afraid of what your family might think about your coaching practice. Or something else, there could be a big old soupy mess of reasons why you’re unconsciously making it hard for people to hire you.
So that’s what we’re going to discuss on this episode. Are you making it hard for people to hire and pay you? And if so, how come? Like, what’s really going on? Let’s discuss. But first, it’s time for the segment I call your Two-Minute Pep-Talk.
Here’s your Two-Minute Pep-Talk for the week. This is the part of the show where I share some motivation, encouragement, and inspiration to get your week started off right. I try to keep it to 120 seconds or less.
So this week, right off the bat, I have an assignment for you. I’m famous for that; giving you homework. I want you to text a friend of yours; ideally a friend who’s a coach like you. Or, if you don’t know any other coaches, maybe you know a freelancer or a business owner, a blogger, or someone else who’s got a website.
Okay, so here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to text your friend. You’re going to invite them to meet up with you for a fun date; a brunch, a champagne and cheese plate date, a Sunday afternoon hike date, something that sounds fun to you. And on this date, you’re going to sit down side by side and you’re going to take turns reviewing each other’s websites.
Yep, you’re going to visit your friend’s site and you’re going to read it with fresh eyes and you’re going to click buttons and fill out forms and hop around just as if you’re a potential client or customer. And you’re going to write down five things that definitely need to be fixed or simplified.
For instance, number one, “Lovely, I love you, but that headshot on your homepage is literally from 1998. It’s 2018, new photos please.” Number two, “I clicked on the button that says hire me, on your homepage, and it took me to a broken link error message page.” Number three, “I signed up for your newsletter and I got a confirmation email, but the info in that email was totally out of date. It mentions a program you don’t even run anymore…” and so on.
So then you guys switch and your friend does the same thing for your site and he or she will try to find five things that need to be fixed up ASAP so that you can get more clients and more money flowing in. trust me, I have people that do this for me and you wouldn’t believe – I mean, technology is magic and amazing, but links break and things go out of date faster than you think and I’m constantly getting emails about this kind of stuff.
So you want to stay ahead of that as much as possible. And as you’re doing this, I want you to make a pact with your friend and just promise each other that, “I’m going to be kind and gentle with you, but I’m also going to be honest. If there’s something that obviously ain’t right, I’m going to tell you because I want you to thrive and make tons of money.”
I want you to make a pot of coffee, have some salted caramels, play Rihanna and Beyoncé and then celebrate afterwards by going out for a walk or a yoga class or pedicures or whatever you want to do, but make this experience that highlight of your week; super productive and super fun.
Okay, pause, because right now, you might have some objections already running through your mind. You might be thinking, “Well this doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have a website…” or, “Well this doesn’t work for me because I don’t have any friends who’d be willing to do this for me…” or, “Well this doesn’t apply to me because my website is perfection itself and there’s nothing wrong with it, just like Oprah, that is what I know for sure.”
Okay, whatever type of objection is going through your mind, I want you to erase it right this second; bye-bye. If the exact assignment that I just described doesn’t apply to you, then you can adapt it and make it work for you. For instance, maybe instead of having your friend review your website, you can have a friend review your office where you meet clients, your studio, your clinic, wherever you work.
What’s the vibe there? Is it welcoming? Is it expressing the kind of message you want? Does this space feel like a money magnet or a money repellent? You get the idea. Or, if you absolutely have zero friends who’d be willing to do this with you, which I doubt very much, then you can hire someone to do a review with you. Go to taskrabbit.com or upwork.com and hire a lovely person who can help you out.
The spirit of this assignment is that you’re bringing a fresh pair of eyeballs into your coaching business and you’re inviting that person to poke around and tell you honestly what they’re seeing and what’s not working. So do it; don’t snooze on this. The goal here is to make it easy for clients to find you and contact you and hire you and pay you.
We want to clear away impediment so that you can get that money. So get on this. I know you can do it and you can find a way to make it fun too. You’ll feel so proud and accomplished once you do. Yes, pep-talk complete.
Now we’re moving into the part of the show where I give shout outs to you; shout outs to listeners, clients, all the wonderful people in my business community. And today, I want to give a shout out to Rich Coach Club Facebook group member Chanci Dawn. So, Chanci is a new Rich Coach Club member and she invited and posted a picture of her and her friend, Lisa. And she posted in the group about how they were talking about how much they love coaching and how much they love deposits and how pumped she is being a part of the group and she wanted to share it with all her coach friends.
So thank you, Chanci. You are a gem spreading that love. And hey, if you have something to say about the show, send an email to my team or post a five-star iTunes review about this show, or post something on social media and you might hear your name on a future episode. I love giving shout outs to folks in my community, so holla at me. Thanks for your enthusiasm. I love you guys right back.
So hey, hey, guess who’s back with a brand-new track… Okay, not a track, it’s an interview. Yes, it’s that moment where I sit down with an inspiring coach entrepreneur and we have a big ol’ convo about it; her work, her daily habits, how she finds clients, how she built her dream coaching practice. And today, we’re mixing it up a bit today.
We’re chatting with Alexandra Franzen, who is my secret sauce. She’s my writing coach and I love this woman because, first of all, she’s a genius. But second of all, she helps me simplify my content like nobody’s business. She is a phenom, this woman. I don’t know that I have ever encountered such a talented writer.
And yes, I’m definitely going to ask her, was there ever a time in your business where you consciously, or unconsciously, made it hard for people to hire you? I’m really curious to find that out, so here we go.
Susan: Welcome to the Rich Coach Club, Alex. I’m so delighted that you’re here.
Alexandra: I’m so excited. Thanks for having me. Oh my gosh…
Susan: So you are like the secret sauce to my Big Mac.
Alexandra: Aw, can pesto vinaigrette aioli?
Susan: Yes, you can because Big Macs are kind of disgusting.
Alexandra: They kind of are.
Susan: They’re kind of gross, although when I was pregnant with Ryan Hyatt, that’s what I craved. I ate more Big Macs – this could also be why I gained 70 pounds while I was pregnant with Ryan, but that’s for another podcast episode. So, let’s talk about – I mean, this podcast episode is about are you making it hard or easy for yourself. And I thought you would be an amazing guest to have on this because behind the scenes, you make my life so easy. You help me focus and simplify and stay the course. You’re not just a writing coach to me, you’re so many other things all rolled into one amazing human. But you have an amazing big business and I want to hear all about it and I want to hear about, when you think about making what you do in the world hard or easy, what comes to mind when I ask you that?
Alexandra: It’s a good question. Well it’s funny, I was thinking about eight or nine years ago, when I quit my fulltime job and transitioned into being self-employed, back in those early days, I had a website. I put it together myself. I stayed up all night teaching myself HTML code and it was not a good site. And I remember, I couldn’t afford back then to hire a professional photographer, so I literally – I was in my car, parked in front of the Super Target in West St Paul, Minnesota, where I lived at the time, and I took out my little flip phone cell phone – remember flip phones?
And I snapped a photo of myself parked in the car with my seatbelt across my chest, and that was the headshot on my website, on my very first website. And the reason I bring that up is another factor about that first website, that early website, was I wasn’t confident in what I was offering. Essentially, I’m a writer; that’s what I do. I offer copywriting services, I do ghostwriting, editing, writing coaching, I write books, I write articles. I’m a writer. But back then, it was almost like I was too timid to actually call myself a writer. And so rather than just having a very simple strong powerful website that clearly says I’m a writer, here’s what I offer, here’s how to hire me, end of story, my website was so confusing. I think, for my job title, rather than calling myself a writer – I kid you not – I think I called myself a disco monk and proactive pimp.
Susan: No, you did not…
Alexandra: I am not joking. And in fact, I think I still have old business cards that have that. And I don’t know what the fuck I meant by that.
Susan: Disco monk…
Alexandra: And what is interesting is that I see this now in my work today when someone hires me for writing coaching or copywriting or to help them refine the language on their website for their company; I see this all the time. I see people who it’s like, they’re a coach, they’re a consultant, they’re a public speaker, they’re a writer, but it’s almost like they’re dancing around and they won’t just call themselves the thing and they’re making it much more confusing and complicated than it needs to be. So it’s interesting because I see that now with so many of my clients and that totally used to be me too. Did you find that as well, Susan? Were you nervous about just calling yourself a life coach back in the day?
Susan: I was, and honestly, I remember having conversations with Martha Beck and Brooke Castillo, and many of us are, or were, very uncomfortable with that title, but we couldn’t come up with anything else. And I think what you’re describing is absolutely what life coaches do when they’re not comfortable with owning the title of life coach. So we come up with all these creative things like, chief executive ass-kicker and, you know, whatever – that’s actually more direct than most of the things I see, which is like, you know, bold unicorn rider or whatever.
And I remember Brooke Castillo, who was the guest on episode number four – if you haven’t listened to that, go back and listen, it’s gold – but she was like, you know what? We don’t need to change our title. We need to own our title and we need to make life coaching cool and not cheesy. We need to just be who we are. And from that moment on – this was really early on – I just dedicated myself to educating people if they didn’t know what a life coach was at the time, letting them know what that was. One time, hilariously, I was getting off of an airplane.
I had had a lovely couple hour conversation with this older elderly woman about life and I told her what I did and I didn’t explain what a life coach was, and when we were exiting the plane, it became very clear that she thought I was a hospice worker. So she thought I was, like, an end of life coach. And I was like, “No, no I help people while there’s still years left for them to accomplish things.” But I think, instead of taking the time to educate people or taking the time to actually own that this is an actual profession where I change lives, we tend to want to come up with cute stuff which just dilutes the message.
Alexandra: Totally, yeah. And look, there are certain professions – if you decide to become a heart surgeon or you decide to become a nurse or you decide to become a middle school soccer coach, there are certain job titles and professions that are very well known, and when you say it, people understand immediately. They know what that is. And if you have chosen a somewhat unconventional career path and you’ve decided to become a jazz musician or you’ve decided to become a writer or you’ve decided to become a life coach, you know, yes, the reality is when you say that job title, some people might now know what you mean. Or some people may have assumptions about what you mean that are incorrect or some people might question you or kind of throw you off a little bit by asking questions that you weren’t expecting.
But I feel like that’s what you’re signing up for when you choose this unconventional career. And that just means that we have to be even more grounded and solid and confident in our chosen profession so that we can weather the storm, in a sense, and stand up against the criticism and the questions and the confusion that may sometimes arise. And it’s so powerful. Like, I still remember actually when I updated my website, because I’ve updated my website a bajillion times over the last nine years. And I remember when I finally updated it and I just said, “I’m a writer.” And then I listed some of my recent projects and it was like this shift from dancing around and being cutesy and clever to just saying it and standing in that truth. Saying I’m a coach, I’m a healer, whatever it is that you are, it can take years to get to that point – I know it did for me – where you can say the words or type the words and feel confident. But I think it’s so important. And when you do this, it just makes it so much easier in the long run for people to understand who you are and what it is that you’re doing. They’re not reading your website going, “What? Disco monk?”
Susan: Well, I do think, when we’re talking about are you making it easy or are you making it hard, obviously it’s going to make it hard if you’re not able to say what you do, what solution you offer, what the problem is you’re helping people solve. And so, life coaches listening to this may say, “Okay, well I will say, I am Susan Hyatt, I’m a life coach…” but they leave it at that and they don’t help people understand, like, what is the solution you’re bringing to people’s lives? So I’m a life coach and I help entrepreneurs make money. Or, I’m a life coach and I help women stop dieting. That’s really specific and it helps people understand, as opposed to some long – I know you cringe at this, paragraphs long flowery language confusing word-salad.
Alexandra: Yeah, and I have a little tip to share actually. If there’s someone listening and you’re like, “Man, I would love to have that one sentence spiel, I would love to be able to say I’m a life coach and I help women stop dieting…” but maybe you’re like, “But I’m not actually that focused yet…” or, “I do several things; I don’t do just one…” or, “It’s hard to sum it up in just a sentence like that.” If that’s your situation, here’s what I recommend. I recommend that you say, I’m a life coach, or I run a life coaching practice, or something simple like that. And then, if someone asks a follow up question like, “Oh, that’s interesting, what does that mean?” or, “Oh, that’s cool, what do you do exactly?” Then you can mention a project that you’re really excited about right now. So you can say, “Well right now, I’m really excited because I’m running a program that’s about how to finish 2018 feeling strong and get set up for a successful 2019.” Or, “Right now I’m super excited because I decided I’m going to teach a retreat in Hawaii, and it’s a writing retreat that combines writing and personal growth…” or whatever.
So in other words, say you’re a life coach, and then if someone asks for more info, you can mention a program or a service or a project that you’re really excited about right now. And that usually makes things feel pretty clear to the person listening to you. And you don’t have to mention every project you’re working on right now, but maybe just mention, you know, one that feels especially exciting. “Right now, I’m working on a book. Right now, I’m launching my first podcast. Right now, I’m running my annual summer program that I do every single year.” Whatever it is, does that make sense?
Susan: Totally. And honestly, this is why I created Clear Coaches and Clear Coaches Select, because having an actual program to sell makes coaches lives so much easier because it does pull you and pull the focus off of you and puts the focus onto the work. So if you’re able to say, I just created this program that helps writers write a tiny book, or I just created, like you said, a retreat that helps women go to exotic locations and learn how to love their bodies, whatever it might be; you can talk about that thing you’re excited about instead of fumbling around trying to describe that you’re a disco monk.
Alexandra: Exactly, yeah. You can say, “Well, in my life coaching practice, I actually work with a wide variety of clients on different kinds of goals, but right now, what I’m most excited about is…” or, “Right now, the project that’s really lighting me up is…” whatever. And yeah, just mention a program, mention a product, mention a project that you are super jazzed about. This is great for two reasons. One, you’re going to be excited as you’re speaking because you are genuinely excited about this project. And then the person listening to you will feel that excitement, which is always a great thing. And number two, it’s often easier to explain what you do as a coach when you’re talking about a specific project rather than talking about life coaching in kind of a general sense. So yeah, that’s my recommendation. Say you’re a coach, say a project you’re excited about, boom, you’re done, no disco monk.
Susan: No disco monk. I am going to laugh about that forever because when I think of you now, of course, I know you to be so specific and so succinct and so direct in your messaging. What has changed for you to make it easier on yourself and not harder over the years other than how you talk about what you do?
Alexandra: So many things. I mean, if we’re talking about writing and communication specifically, when I look back, way back, like when I was 18, 19, 20 years old in college when I was an English major and I was writing for the university magazine, I had a weekly column. When I look back on how I used to write and how I used to express myself, I really do cringe. It’s painful to look at those early writings because I was trying so hard, almost to prove that I was smart or something. So I would use all these big flowery words and I would write in this very round about academic way. And I don’t think I was even conscious of it at the time, but I think I really was trying to prove myself somehow and prove that I’m intelligent and I’m a good writer, with a capital W. But my writing was not good. It was very confusing.
So yeah, over the last several – many, many years – it’s been 15 years since then – I’ve just come to really appreciate simplicity. I feel like some of my favorite writing is just the most simple and clear and direct expressing a big emotion or expressing a big message in the fewest possible words. And I’ve kind of continually tried to strive more and more and more for that. So my writing has definitely changed a lot over the last 10 or 15 years and, I think, in a good way. I feel much prouder and more strong about the stuff I teach today compared to back then.
Susan: Yeah, and so let me ask you this; some of the biggest obstacles that women in business face are in their own minds. And in fact, I would say everything, all the obstacles that we encounter start there. Let’s talk about you and some of the journey that you’ve been through in terms of navigating hard and easy and let’s talk about some compare and despair that I know you’ve overcome.
Alexandra: Yeah, so I love this phrase, compare and despair. I think I heard it first from you and it perfectly sums up how we feel so often when we’re looking at someone else who seems to have it all together, has accomplished so much, and we just feel such despair in comparison. So I was born into a super, super, super high achieving family. My mom is a classically trained opera singer who performed on stages all around the world with some of the greatest singers of her generation, and my dad is an attorney who represents Grammy Award winning musicians and composers and conductors. And my brother is a Grammy nominated saxophonist and one of my uncles is a self-made millionaire and he’s donated millions of dollars to legal funds to help refugees. My other uncle is the dean of a university.
My family is just bananas. It’s a lot. And they’re all so creative and so passionate and so successful and accomplished, and I remember being a teenager and being in my early 20s, in college and a recent college graduate, and I remember looking at the people in my family who I love so much and just feeling so inadequate in comparison. And it’s funny because I was a straight-A student. I won all kinds of trophies. I checked all the boxes. I was a good girl, you know. And yet, there was this part of me that felt like it’s never enough or it’s not enough, or unlike my mom or my dad or my brother, I’ve never had – even though I love writing, I’ve never had that one thing that’s just so obviously my talent. Like my brother, for example, who just picked up a saxophone when he was nine years old and basically never put it down and it was always so clear that he was meant to be a musician. I didn’t feel that same clarity. I kind of felt like maybe I could work in radio or maybe I could be a journalist or maybe I could be a doctor or maybe I could run a coffee shop or maybe I should write books; I don’t know. I didn’t have that laser focus.
And so, I felt like – I remember this one moment, right after I graduated from college. I had my degree in English and I kind of thought I probably wanted to be a writer in some way or another. And I went with my family to a symphony and it was this beautiful symphony, incredible orchestra, and all the people in the orchestra were kids. They were like teenagers and college level. It was like a student orchestra. And they were phenomenal. And in the middle of the symphony, I started to cry hysterically and uncontrollably. And my family probably thought, she’s so moved by the music, but really, I was crying because I was so jealous. I was looking at these kids, like 15, 16, 17 and here I am, 22, 23, ancient…
Susan: So old…
Alexandra: But I remember looking at these kids with their violins and cellos and thinking, those kids are already so masterful at their craft and are creating beautiful works of art, and what have I done? I don’t know what I’m doing. And I just felt so inadequate in comparison. I felt like I don’t have any skills, I don’t have anything to offer, you know, I started my little blog, I don’t know what I’m doing. And it was painful. It was painful. And over the years, gradually – and it’s still an ongoing process. It’s like when I feel that inner voice come in, that really cruel self-critical voice that says you’ve accomplished nothing of value, when you die, no one will remember you, you’ll never catch up to your brother. When that cruel voice comes in, I mean, really, I’ve learned so much from you, Susan, and from other coaches I’ve met, about how to interrupt that voice. And sometimes, I have to literally do something physical like punch a punching bag or stomp my foot and go, “No.” I talk back to that voice and remind myself that I am contributing something beautiful to the world; I am creating my worn ripple effect in the world.
And who knows, I may never be a millionaire who’s contributing millions to charities. I hope I will be one day. I’m working towards it. I may never win a massive award, but in my own way, I can trust that I am trying to make a difference. So I have to interrupt that voice and it’s hard. Some days, it’s harder than others, but I think with time and therapy and coaching and practice, I’m able to interrupt that voice faster, you know what I mean?
Susan: Yeah, I mean, I think that that’s the thing with coaching, and coaches listening, it’s not about having a brain that doesn’t ever issue negative impulses and negative thoughts, because that’s impossible. It’s about speeding up the recovery time, coming up with techniques and ways to talk back to that inner mean girl, if you will, and tell yourself something that is serving you. So, Alex, I so resonate with what you’re saying because I certainly have had, all through my life – I think everybody has – where it’s like there’s always somebody who’s smarter or prettier or faster or stronger. And so we have to opt out of that habit of compare and stay grounded and centered in something that you teach a lot, which is, you know, if I can help just one person, that impact is huge on the world.
Alexandra: Yeah, and that’s one of my favorite mantras, if you will, or phrases that helps me to silence that inner mean girl voice is in those moments where I’m spinning, like, oh my god, not enough people are buying my book, I’m invisible, I don’t matter, whatever, I remind myself what you just said. You know, if I can write something or if I can make something or do something that makes a positive imprint in even just one person’s life, one human being, then that’s a big deal because touching one human life, whether it’s your son or daughter or a client or a blog reader or book reader, touching a life is a big deal. And yes, many of us dream of having millions of followers on Instagram and millions of book customers and being bestsellers and being sold out and being this and being that, and that’s awesome.
I love being surrounded by ambition women who have big messages and big goals. And also, I think it’s equally important to remember, like, I if touch one human today and help them to feel a little less alone or a little less afraid or a little more confident, that’s a big deal too. That’s a really big deal. And remembering that really centers me during moments of comparison and stress.
Susan: Yeah, I mean, honestly, I think that compare and despair is one of the most toxic habits that female entrepreneurs get into. I honestly don’t think that men spend one iota of the amount of time that we spend in this, you know, oh my god, they have so much more business or they have so much more impact or they have so much more influence. I think men are competitive, but they don’t, from the clients that I’ve had and having a silver fox husband, they don’t waste their time on that and I think part of it is because women are raised to compete with one another instead of collaborate. And we have absolutely got to stop.
Alexandra: Did you ever see the standup comedy special, I think it’s called One of the Greats, and it’s Chelsea Peretti, I think is her name…
Susan: No, I haven’t.
Alexandra: She does the funniest bit where she imagines what it must be like to be a white man. And she kind of does this bit where she’s like, “You know, you probably just wake up and you’re like, I’m awesome. People want to hear what I have to say.” And I mean, obviously, you know, there’s many, many different flavors and types of men and women, and all genders, but I think there is a grain of truth to that in that it does feel like some men wake up and are just like, “Here we go; more awesomeness on the way. People can’t wait to read my blog.” And it’s almost like women are waking up with the opposite mentality of, like, “Oh my god, am I good enough? No one wants to listen to me.” I mean, that’s kind of an exaggeration, but not really.
Susan: No, I mean, I think that honestly, with every level of success that I’ve had, it’s almost that phrase, new level, new devil. Like, yes, my recovery time is so much faster, yes I spend – I really do, I spend an inordinate amount of time on my mental flossing, which is telling myself things that are positive. I know you do. I mean, one of the things I love that you do, Alex, that I think is amazing is when Alexandra runs a retreat, she hides little notes for herself and texts herself positive feedback about what she’s doing.
Alexandra: Oh my gosh, it’s true. So here’s two things that will crack you up. And you know about this already, but for those listening – so I love teaching. I love teaching classes online. I love teaching in person. But whenever you’re getting in front of a group of people, whether it’s eight people at a small retreat or 400 people in a theatre, inevitably, you might have a moment of anxiety or you might feel like, “Are they going to like what I have to say? Are they going to feel like they got their money’s worth? Are they going to be happy that they came?” So a couple of years ago, I started doing this really silly thing where I’ll pack little snacks for myself, like healthy snacks, trail mix and nuts and whatever, and I’ll put a little Post-it Note on the zip-lock bag that just says, like, “You’re awesome and people want to hear what you have to say.”
And it’s such a silly little thing. It’s so kindergarten, and yet it makes me smile. It gives me that little extra 5% of levity and joy and reminds me that I’m doing a good job. So I do the little snack notes, which I highly recommend for anyone listening. And then the other thing I started doing recently is I’ve become obsessed with getting these gigantic bulletin boards. You can get them at Target, Amazon, whatever, like big two foot by three foot – I have like six of them now. Instead of being a crazy cat lady, I’m turning into a crazy bulletin board lady. It’s a little out of control. But I have one board that is solely dedicated to collecting cards and emails and texts. Like, I print them out and I pin them to the board and that board is just positive sweet lovely messages from my friends, from my family, from my clients, from my students. It’s like a love board. And I wrote at the top of the board in big Sharpie marker, you’re doing a great job.
And again, it’s so simple, but when I look at that board, especially if I’m having kind of a schlumpy or doubtful moment, it really does help. And I remember – it’s like the mental flossing that you spoke about a moment ago – it’s almost like we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over and over, you’re doing a great job and you are touching lives. So I’m big on those visual reminders like the Post-it Notes and the cards and the boards. But maybe for someone else, it’s a song that they love to hear, like a pump-up jam. I know you’re into that, Susan.
Susan: Oh my god, I cannot even tell you. So everybody knows, who’s been listening to any of my episodes, it’s Ciara’s Level Up. But I also – an oldie is Carly – oh my god, I can’t even believe – Let the River Run. How can I not remember? I’m having such brain fog. “Let the river run…” I’ll find it for everybody.
Alexandra: When I think of you, I always, of course, think of Hamilton. I think of Not Going to Miss My Shot; classic. That always reminds me of you, Susan.
Susan: That makes me teary-eyed.
Alexandra: And then there’s this song by this band called Years and Years. I love them. And it’s a beautiful pop-electro song called Shine. And that’s one of my personal favorite songs to lift my mood when I’m feeling schlumpy and it reminds me of you too because it’s a song about reinvention and about how, you know, at every moment, you can decide the past is over and here I am and I’m going to shine. I love that song. It’s really good.
Susan: I love it. Well something else that I have that some clients put together for me that, you know – just to back up, Alex, I love the board idea because I think it’s visual, it’s in your face, you walk by it, you see it. That permeates. But I also have a beautiful box that one of my groups – it was one of my Make a Scene program groups – put together and they all wrote handwritten notes and put it in the box about how their lives had changed. And whenever I have a particularly hard time, I will pull that box out. I’ve actually added more to the box over the years since I received that, but I do think it’s important, like Alex is saying, like we have to remind ourselves, especially when we’re in business for ourselves, we don’t have anyone handing out gold stars on a daily basis. We have to remind ourselves of the lives we’re touching.
Alexandra: Yeah, and it’s kind of like mental healthcare and physical self-care. You don’t floss your teeth just one time and you’re done for life. Don’t do that. And you don’t go to Yoga once and you’re done. So similarly, with keeping ourselves feeling mentally and emotionally strong and feeling enough and feeling adequate, this is daily stuff. We have to do this kind of stuff daily, whether it’s reading those emails from clients or those letters or those notes or doing a positive visualization or listening to your pump-up jam. I have found for myself that I need to do this stuff every damn day just as part of my entrepreneurial self-care to stay strong and focused. So yeah, every day; every day.
Susan: Every day. So I have a fun little wrap-up question for you, and then I want you to talk about where people can find you and hang out with you. Of course, we’ll put that in the show notes. But you already answered one of my favorite questions, which is how do you bust out of a funk or a bad mood? So you already talked about your boards and you talked about music, which is always great. But I want to know, because you always have epic shizzle in your backpack or your bag, I want to know something that’s always in your purse or bag, Alex.
Alexandra: Always, always, is my Bose noise-canceling headphones, which you told me to buy. And it was literally the best 200 bucks I’ve ever spent in my life. They are amazing. I wear them every day. I wear them at the gym, everywhere. I’m obsessed with them. So those are always in my bag because I’m obsessed with music as well and I love listening to music and making playlists and all that kind of stuff. And also in my bag is usually some kind of coconut oil lip balm situation.
Susan: I love it. So you keep your eyes and your lips popping…
Alexandra: Ready at a moment’s notice.
Susan: So, Alex, tell the people, if they want to learn more about you – obviously you guys can go to the show notes – but where can people find you? Because you kill me by not being on social media.
Alexandra: Yeah, I’m not on social media, sorry. I am on my website, my website is alexandrafranzen.com. I have a newsletter I share. Almost every single week, I send out either an inspiring true story about going after your goals or completing an art project, something to motivate and uplift and inspire you. I share a lot of writing tips. I share creativity and productivity tips. I share behind the scenes stuff from my life and business; all kinds of fun things. Oh, and music playlists – I’m constantly sharing music playlists that I put together.
Susan: Because you’re a disco monk…
Alexandra: Because I’m a disco monk; that’s right. I’m bringing it back. And I also have quite a few books out right now and you can go to amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Books-A-Million, all the websites that sell books, and I have a book called You’re Going to Survive, which is a great book for anyone who’s a coach or a consultant or a business owner or an artist who’s having a discouraging moment in your career. It’s a book that will hopefully help you to feel more optimistic and remind you that you’re going to survive the highs and the lows. And then, I have a new book that is a novel. It’s fiction. And it’s called, So, This is the End. And it’s a book that asks the question, if you had just 24 hours to live, what would you do with your time? That comes out October 2018. So, This is the End. Go buy it now.
Susan: Well, I was going to make a joke, like you were going to survive, but this is the end. So awesome. You guys, go snap up both of these books. They are amazing and, Alex, I can’t think you enough for donating your genius to the Rich Coach Club today.
Alexandra: Oh my gosh, it was so, so, so much fun. Thank you for chatting with me and I hope you have the most beautiful day.
What an awesome interview. Don’t you just love Alex? It’s really hard not to love Alexandra. Okay, so earlier in the episode, I gave you an assignment and I urged you to sit down with a friend who loves you and have your friend carefully review your website, or some other aspect of your business. And like I mentioned, the goal is to identify areas where things are broken or out of date, confusing, or where you are making it hard for people to contact you and hire and pay you. I really urge you to do this. it will take like one to two hours, tops, and it will be so productive for both of you.
But there’s another thing you can do with your friend, which is you can sit down with some tea and have a deep chat about the emotional side of your business. For starters, you can discuss questions like these; Do you think that, on some level, you’re afraid of becoming more successful, afraid of becoming more famous, more visible, or more wealthy?
Do you feel like, on some level, you’ve been hiding? Like, you’ve been keeping yourself out of the spotlight on purpose? Why do you think you’ve been doing that? What are some of the fears that rise up when you imagine being fully booked or being super successful? Have a conversation about those things. These are beautiful questions to discuss with one person that you love and that you trust very much.
Or, you could ask these questions at a dinner party, cocktail party, at your book club, in your mastermind group, or any group of like-minded people, like the coaches that are in the Rich Coach Club Facebook group. It will be fascinating to see where the conversation goes, and you will learn a lot about yourselves.
The main point here is, when you’re trying to figure out how to bring your coaching practice and your income to the next level. Yes, of course, it’s important to look at surface-level stuff like your website functioning and your payment buttons working. However, it’s even more important to look at the emotions underneath the surface; the emotions like fear or doubt or lack of confidence that might be causing you to neglect your website, or causing you to hold back on launching a new service and so on.
So, spend some time with people you trust, with a friend or a coach of your own, and dig into that stuff and try to understand why you’ve been making it hard, slightly hard, or maybe really hard for people to hire you. Understand why, because then, you can change that old belief into a new one.
Alright, that’s a wrap for today’s episode. Your action step for this week is to get together with a buddy and thoroughly review your website and look for issues that might be making it hard for people to hire and pay you, and then fix those issues. Alrighty, do it. It’s time to stop hiding and stop blocking the cash flow. It’s time to get your shizzle together on your website and internally emotionally too.
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 you can join especially for coaches. Bring your coaching practice and your income to the next level at shyatt.com. See you next week.