Entrepreneurship is challenging, rewarding, soul-stretching work. It requires strategy, organization, consistency, and courage. It’s not working on the beach a couple hours a week and watching the money roll in; it’s hustling to produce great content, find amazing clients, and create the life you want through hard work.
This episode is a reality check about what it means to be an entrepreneur, and I have an amazing guest to help me do that. Alex Beadon is a business coach who helps people learn how to sell their digital products and services online in a way that feels good & makes money. She’s the founder of The Spark Lounge, The School of Killer Impressions, and Gram Slam. She’s on a mission to help business owners blend energy & mindset work with proven business strategy so that they can make a full-time income creating work in the world that matters to them to most.
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 23, here we go.
On a previous episode of this show, my guests and I were talking about the fantasy of running a successful coaching practice versus the reality. So many people have this fantasy that you can have a super prosperous coaching practice and make six, seven, eight figures a year and all you need to do is lie on the beach with your laptop and occasionally post something on your blog and sales just come tumbling into your PayPal account while you sip your Mai Tai.
That’s a fantasy, folks. That’s not reality. Yes, you can absolutely build your dream coaching practice and yes, you can absolutely earn six, seven, or eight figures a year, as many of my clients and colleagues do. And yes, you can create online programs and you can work with clients virtually, and you can create a career where you’re not tied to a specific office or geographic location.
You can do all that, yes. But, let’s not forget that you are not flouncing on the beach 24/7. You are running a business. And running a business requires strategy, organization, consistency, and courage, not just the occasional blog or Instagram post. Like, putting a pretty photo of your latte on Instagram is like a side note. That’s not the whole enchilada.
So today’s episode is a reality check; a loving reality check, of course, but a reality check nonetheless. We’re going to talk about the fantasy of entrepreneurship versus the reality. Let’s start with your Two-Minute Pep-Talk.
This is the part of the show where I share some encouragement and inspiration to get your week started off right, and I try to keep things to 120 seconds or less. So here’s your Two-Minute Pep-Talk. Every year, usually in December, I write a list of highs and lows from the year and I post it on my blog.
Big highs, big lows – most of the lows eventually turn into valuable lessons, of course, but at first, they just feel crappy. And I love making this annual list of highs and lows because it’s an opportunity to look at the full picture of my year; at least the picture of my year that’s publishable.
It’s a chance to step back and go, “Whoa, what a year it has been. So many different kinds of experiences.” This last year, for example, I was really proud to continue being a seven-figure earner and hiring more people. It felt amazing. It was a major high. And this last year, I was very proud to start the Hyatt College Scholarship Fund.
I got to read all the applications and choose my very first scholarship recipient. She’s a young woman who intends to start her own business one day, and it felt amazing to be in the financial position where I could help fund part of her education; definitely a high.
Those were a few of my business highs from the year, but again, there were also plenty of lows, major challenges. For instance, this year I had to cancel one retreat because it conflicted with something for my daughter. That was a major bummer. And I had to shut down a program that used to generate a lot of income for me; a program that just wasn’t inspiring me anymore. And that was scary to do.
And I sort of wasted $4500 on a Facebook Ad campaign that didn’t work out due to a stupid technical glitch. And I got harassed by an online stalker who sent threatening messages to me and was like around the block from my house sending me crazy videos. And this year, I did over 50 blog posts, 50 podcast episodes, over 100 email newsletters, 15 webinars, hundreds of Facebook live videos, around 20 media appearances and more to promote my services.
And all of the enrolments I got, all the signups, all the sales, the client bookings, none of it just happened out of nowhere. I worked for every single dollar. And there were definitely moments where I was like, “Jesus, I am tired. I’m doing back-flips to try and get more sales coming in. What’s it going to take?”
And there were moments that really tested my patience, because I’m only human, and sometimes humans get tired. All of those challenges, all of those lows, that’s all part of the reality of running a business too. It’s not all glitz and glamour and fun photo shoots with pink bubbles in the air. There’s hard work and grit and courage and big challenges too.
And as an entrepreneur, you’re signing up for an amazing journey. It’s a journey that’s so rewarding, and also, it’s a journey that will test your courage every single week. You’re signing up for all those highs and the lows; the whole package, all of it.
And personally, there’s no other career I want to have. This is my dream business. And even the hard parts, it’s still my dream. You can build your dream coaching practice too, whatever you crave, you can create it. and as you march forward with your business goals, just remind yourself that it’s not always going to be completely chill and completely smooth, and that’s okay. That’s Normal.
Every coach, even the ones who are wildly successful, experience major challenges in their businesses too. Keep reminding yourself, if I want the highs, then I have to tolerate the lows too. And the lows can be rough, but if you love what you do and you love serving your clients, then ultimately, it’s all so, so worth it.
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 Kristin-Ashley.
So, Kristin writes on iTunes, “I love this podcast. Susan Hyatt is seriously my inner voice. She says all the things I need to say to myself but am too scared or doubt myself too much to say. This is exactly what I need to help me in my business. I’m so thankful and you will be too.”
Thank you so much, Kristin. That made my day. And hey, if you’ve got something to say about my show, send us an email or post a five-star iTunes review, or post something on social media and tag me and you might hear your name on a future episode. I love giving shout-outs to folks in my community, so holla at me. Thank you so much for the love; I love you right back.
So, it’s time for an interview. Today, I’m chatting with the amazing Alex Beadon. She’s a photographer, a coach, a YouTuber whose channel has 30,000 subscribers and 1.7 million views. She’s also the host of a podcast called On Purpose, which is all about living your life and running your business with purpose and intention.
I was a guest recently on her show and I loved our conversation so much, I was like, girl, I need to have you on my show so we can keep talking. I know you’re going to love to hear from Alex, so without further ado, here we go.
Susan: Welcome to the podcast, Alex Beadon.
Alex: Thank you so much for having me here, Susan. I’m so excited to talk to you and your listeners. I’m pumped to be here.
Susan: Oh my god, so I’m super pumped because I keep telling everybody about you. I’m like, listen to me, this young woman is totally killing the Insta game. I am obsessed with Gram Slam. I am obsessed with your amazing energy and how you spread that energy in the most beautiful way online. And I also think it’s so interesting how – tell our listeners, because my ideal clients skew a little older than your ideal clients. How old are you, Alex Beadon?
Alex: I’m 29.
Susan: So, 29 years old, killing it. Like, Gram Slam – just so you guys know – it’s on the show notes, how you can be a part of and witness this Insta-famous business happening and Alex’s like. But so, Alex, you started your company, how old were you?
Alex: I was 20 or 21. I was still in university and I was getting to the time where I had to make that decision of what’s the next step after university. And I was like, what am I going to do? And at the time, I loved photography, so I was like, you know what, I have no strings attached. I don’t have anything holding me back from trying to be a fulltime photographer, so I might as well start my own business. So that’s what I did.
Susan: And so, when you started your own business as a photographer, what perceived limitations did you think you had? Or did you think you had any?
Alex: When I first started, I think I felt a lot of imposter syndrome. Like, I remember when I first had the initial idea in my mind, I was too afraid to actually tell anyone that I wanted to be a professional photographer. Like, I couldn’t even voice it. So it took until, I remember, one day my mom sat me down and she was like, have you ever thought about being a photographer? And like little did she know, I had actually been thinking about it for months, but I just never had the guts to say it out loud. So I think that was a big thing for me at the beginning, having the courage to be like, okay, I actually can put myself out there as a professional photographer, even though I’ve never studied photography before. I was really good behind the camera. I was obsessed with photography, so really believing in myself at the beginning was, I think, my first big practice of learning how to be a business owner.
Susan: Amazing, and how cool that your mom was so in tune with you that she was able to make a recommendation like that.
Alex: Yeah, my mom has actually been – I think without my mom, I would have lived a very different life because she’s just been my biggest supporter from day one. She’s always the person who, if I ever doubt myself or if I’m ever kind of on the fence about something, she’s the first person I turn to, much like I know you and your kids are. I know, we were at dinner the other day and you were saying how your son comes to you for advice. I think that’s such a wonderful relationship to have. So yeah, I’m very, very lucky and it’s something that I never take for granted.
Susan: I think that it’s – for those of you listening – it is important to identify, you know, who’s my go-to person that I trust that’s always going to have my back? Because I think sometimes – and you may have experienced this, Alex – but myself and a lot of my clients sometimes will go to people who really don’t have any business giving us advice. And it’s like, why are you listening to that person? You want to be listening to the person that helps you see who you really are.
Alex: You want to have a person who sees the vision that you see, because a lot of times, there can be people in your life who do love you and do have your best interests at heart, but their vision for you might be completely different than the vision that you have for yourself. So yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more.
Susan: Alright, so you decide to jump in, you become a photographer. How many years did you do this?
Alex: I was a photographer for about three to four years, and actually, I have a funny story, kind of piggybacking off what we were just speaking about. So, when I first became a photographer, the very first thing that I did was I started blogging, because I couldn’t afford to live on my own, I graduated from university, I moved into my parent’s house, so I was kind of in the middle of the countryside in the middle of nowhere. And I was like, my best bet at marketing is going to be to just start blogging. So I started blogging and I was blogging, I would say, probably for two years before things really started to pick up.
And my best friend – I’ll never forget, he once pulled me to the side. He came to visit and he was like, “Alex, I’m going to give you some tough love. You’ve been blogging for the last two years and no one’s reading your blog. No one’s commenting on your blog. It’s time that you really take a good look at what you’re doing and maybe reconsider. You should come to London.” That’s where all of my friends were at the time. They were in the big city and he was like, “You should come to London, get a real job, start making some money. This just isn’t working out and you really need to face it.” And it was devastating because, like we just said, he was someone I trusted. He was someone I loved. He loved me. We had a very supportive friendship.
And so to hear this from your best friend was just like a smack in the face. But I stayed true to the vision that I had for myself and for my life and I knew that I was the kind of person who – like, my number one value is doing what I love and being able to intertwine my work with my life. And so I stuck to it, and thank god I did because it paid off. But I remember in that moment, I was like, it really makes you second guess yourself and be like, am I on the right path? Is this the right thing? is this the right choice? So yeah.
Susan: Yeah, and I think that that’s so great. So, Alex, when he said to you, like, listen, “No one’s reading your blog, take your happy ass to London and make some money.” What was it that helped you say, “You know what, I know he loves me and I know he has good intentions and I still believe in what I’m doing…” like, was it a body compass reaction? Was it a thought you had? Because I think a lot of people listening probably have lots of people around them – they’re all entrepreneurs listening, so they all have those people in their lives telling them, hey, quit it, get a real job.
Alex: Yeah, at the time, like I said, I was living in my parents in the countryside and so I actually had a lot of time to myself, which I think was incredibly beneficial. When I look back, I think that was one of the most – that was one of the times where I was most connected to my intuition. And so, it was very clear to me that my heart was just telling me to stick with it, to follow it, even though I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen. To be honest with you, at that point in my life, I was like, you know, photographers don’t even make that much money and I know that money matters to me. Something inside of me that was like, you love this so much, time just flows by so easily when you’re in the zone with this, and I knew there was something really magical about what I was doing. And so I think it was that connection to my intuition that encouraged me to stay. And then, of course, having the support of my mom and my dad and really them believing in me, as well, was, I think, a major factor. I think it would have been a very different story had my parents been difficult. And for anyone in that situation, I would say, you need to be even more connected to your vision and really invest the time and spending time alone and figuring out what that vision looks like and getting excited about it. Because the excitement, the love and the passion, that’s what’s going to pull you through.
Susan: Absolutely, I know. Two things – one is, I had a friend like your friend. She would send me emails saying that she was praying for me. I was like, wear out those rosary beads baby because I’m sticking with it. But I think also, it’s a matter of having that fire in your belly and that connection to your passion, because I talk to entrepreneurs all the time who don’t have that connection or that passion for what they’re doing or that clear understanding of why they’re even bothering with this in the first place. And if you don’t have that, then it’s really impossible to scale a business like this, because it requires that level of commitment. Okay, so things started to take off. When did you decide to make the transition from photographer to Instagram?
Alex: So I was doing photography for three or four years, and to be honest with you, I was young, I was making a lot of money because I kind of switched from photographer to selling Photoshop actions. Now, for those of you who don’t know what Photoshop actions are, they’re exactly like Instagram filters. So you know how on Instagram you can do black and white or you can do vintage and they have all these different color options to edit your photos/ I was making those for myself in Photoshop, and then I decided, other professional photographers could really benefit from this because I’m doing all the work. They just have to press a button and it edits their photos. So I started selling those online and that was my first very successful business. I made six figures in one year without spending a single dollar on advertising. And I think that was when – I was 22 when that happened – and I was like, this is so cool. I have sorted out my life’s work. I’m done. This is awesome. Thank you, god, I’ve made it. We’re good.
Susan: Oh my god.
Alex: Yeah, and what’s so funny is maybe about a year and a half into selling Photoshop actions, my passion for photography, literally overnight, disappeared. Like, I remember the day that I woke up and I was like, I don’t actually want to touch my camera. And you have to understand, I was obsessed with photography. Like, photography was my life. I wanted to get a tattoo of a camera. I was totally in as a photographer. And so to wake up the next day and feel like, I don’t actually want to touch my camera, well that’s kind of odd. And then I was like, it’s probably just a little creative dry spell or something.
So I gave it time and I gave it time and I gave it time, and after about probably three to six months, I started to realize that it was gone for good and I started to get more and more concerned. It took me a year to actually get the courage to drop it completely and be like, okay that was fun while it lasted. Now, I’m clearly not passionate about this anymore. I’m done waiting because I could be waiting forever at this point. And the whole point of creating my own business was to do what I love. And if I don’t love it anymore then I better move onto what I really love. And at that point, it seemed like all of my friends were like, how did you get this business off the ground? How are you spending no money on advertising and you have all of these people buying your products? And really, what that came down to, Susan, was just content marketing. Like, I was just blogging all the time. By that point, I was also making YouTube videos. So I had such a large online reputation, enough so that I didn’t have to pay for advertising because clients were just finding me online.
Alex: So I started teaching that. And really, it wasn’t until last year that I stepped into the Instagram game at all. So it actually took me a long time to start teaching Instagram and Instagram stories, which is actually really interesting because 2015 and 2016, I was really in a love-hate relationship with Instagram. Like, I hated how perfect everything had to be. I hated scrolling through my feed and it just seemed like everyone was just showing their highlight reel. Everything about it seemed inauthentic. And so, I had kind of given up on Instagram. I was like, I’m not interested in really being a part of showing this perfect version of myself. And then one day, I woke up and I was like, you know what, Instagram is just a tool. And I realized that I love storytelling so much. Like, I really wasn’t posting to my feed, but I was really using stories on Instagram.
And I was like – it started to hit me that I could use Instagram however I wanted to use it. And really, it was just a mindset. I just had to figure out how did I want to see Instagram and how can I take responsibility for using it in a way that feels good and aligned for me? And that was it. As soon as I made that decision, I was like, actually it’s just a tool, and it’s up to me to choose how I use that tool, then I fell head over heels in love with it. And I was like, okay, let me start teaching Instagram stories. So I created my course, Gram Slam, and that took off. And so yeah, that’s how I got into that.
Susan: Oh my god, I love so many things about this story. So, the first thing I love about it is you allowed yourself to acknowledge that hey, this thing was great, photography, now I no longer enjoy it, so I’m going to figure something else out. So having the courage to say, I’m going to pivot from one thing to another, and then looking at Instagram and deciding. Because I have this conversation with clients all the time who do not enjoy social media, and you and I both know amazing people who do not use social media and have thriving businesses – Alexandra Franzen is one of them. We’ve both interviewed Alex. That’s fine, but for everyone else who maybe would like to use social media as a way to communicate with their audience, that’s my approach to all platforms. I’m just going to use it in the way that feels authentic and amazing to me so that I can communicate my message to my people. And I’m for sure not going to be here for all the fake highlight reel stuff. I’m going to be here for sharing all of it, warts and all, which you do beautifully as well.
Alex: Thank you. Social media is an interesting thing because it has such a bad reputation. It’s like, you know, if you post a selfie, that must mean you’re vain, or if you do this, that must mean that. But actually, if you just strip it all way, it’s really just a communication tool. And we can choose to use it in any way that we see fit and any way that feels good to us. So really, it’s our responsibility to figure out what feels good and aligned for me at this stage in my life, in my business, and also be open to the fact that it’s going to change. You don’t need to be creating the same type of content again and again and again and again. You might have the energy to do videos one year and then they next year you’re like, this time I’m going to do more audio, this time I’m going to do more this. You can switch it up and allow it to creatively inspire you. I think that’s, for me, the biggest thing; using it in a way that feels really good.
Susan: Absolutely. And so, one of the things that I think that you’re great about with everything that you’ve done is that it seems to me, Alex, like you have a gift for learning something, nailing it, and then creating tools for other people on how to do it. You did it with photographer, you did it with Insta stories, with Gram Slam. You do it with business. What do you think, in terms of how you operate in the world, how do you stay so buoyant? How do you stay so energized around your business and not burn out?
Alex: I love this question. I think I’m really good at tuning in and knowing when I’m going to burn out. And I can say that because I have burnt out before and I know what it feels like to be putting in a lot of effort and a lot of action and really feeling like I’m going nowhere. And so I’m the kind of person, I really believe, like what’s happening internally is going to show up externally. So if you’re just like, hustle, hustle, hustle, and you’re not taking the time to connect inwards, you’re not taking the time to play, you’re not taking the time to relax and do things that really nourish you beyond your business, then your business is really going to stay at a standstill. So for me, I think I experienced that – basically, to start from the beginning, I believe it was 2013 or 2014. I’d just made the change from photography and I was really adamant that I wanted to help people with their online marketing.
So I was pushing a lot in my business. I was creating content. I was putting myself out there. I was ticking all of the boxes of everything that I thought I should be doing. But my revenue was really at a standstill. Like, I wasn’t growing. Everything was just very still. So I didn’t even decide to do this actually. A friend reached out to me and she was like, “Hey, I’m a life coach and I’m looking to work with someone in exchange for a testimonial.” And I was like, sure, I’ll do it. So I worked with her. And working with her actually changed my life. I realized, for the first time, that I was waking up first thing in the morning and the first thing I would do is start working. And I would work, work, work until the end of the day, and then I’d go to sleep. And it was literally like my entire life was just work, because for some reason, in my mind, I had equated the amount of work I put in – like, I had to work hard in order to achieve it, but the reality is that I was really working myself to death. And she really taught me about, like, feminine energy and how important it is to not just be hustling all the time, but also taking time to nourish yourself, to spend time alone, to spend time in nature, to meditate, to just be, you know. We are human beings, we are not human doings. And I would say 2013, 2014, I had that all wrong. I was just doing, doing, doing, doing. And so, having experienced that and having gone through such a massive shift and transformation where I felt like I had finally woken up, that really changed the game for me because now, I know how to check in with my body. I never knew how to do that before. Now I know how to check in with my body and be like, okay, how am I feeling? What do I need in this moment?
I know how to separate taking care of myself in the present moment and knowing that by doing that, it’s actually taking care of my business as well. Before, I used to think, well if I go to this social event then it’s taking time away from my business, and sacrifices have to be made in order for my business to grow, so I’m not going to go and do that. Whereas now, I realize that by taking breaks and by going on a hike and by going to that social event and by meditating and doing all of these things that technically take time away from my business, it’s actually me investing in my business because I’m filling up my own cup.
Susan: Yes, I actually have a webinar I’m going to link in the show notes called Self-Care as a Business Plan. And it really – I am so aligned with everything you’re saying because, as a former workaholic back in my real estate days – although, I always joke, the other realtors I worked with would never have called me a workaholic, because even back then, I worked less than most realtors. But for my standards, I was a workaholic. And now, I really believe so much that having a rich life is what makes you monetarily rich as well. It can.
Susan: So I have a favorite question I love to ask my guests, Alex. I want to know, what is something that makes you feel very rich that doesn’t cost anything or costs very little?
Alex: Okay, I love this question, because I’ve been thinking about these things a lot myself recently. And I think, for me, it’s really just either, number one, quality time with myself. So I’m about to turn 30 and I’ve been brainstorming, what am I going to do to celebrate my 30th? And I’m almost thinking of just going on a retreat by myself and just relaxing and journaling and meditating and just really spending that time to ground into myself. Like, I think that is the present that I want to give myself for my 30th. So that’s one thing.
Alex: And it doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be – even if you just rent – I don’t know where your listeners are. I’m sure many of them might have families. Sometimes it’s hard to find that pure alone time. But even just going to a restaurant for a day and just staying there all day long, somewhere you can go by yourself, even if it’s a long walk or you go on a hike. So yeah, so it doesn’t have to be expensive, but for me, I think that is one of the number one things that I do for myself, is just find that time alone. That really makes me feel rich because when I’m connected to myself, that is where my greatest power and joy comes from. I think as well, spending close time with my loved ones and uninterrupted time, where we can just play together and listen to music together and drink some wine together and just chill at someone’s house, like, to me, I love those types of deep meaningful conversations. So that’s what really lights me up. I love being around likeminded people. So yeah, I think for me, that’s it. Those are my two answers.
Susan: I love it so much. And I think that, for your 30th, I think a solo-cation is absolutely in the cards. I can remember back in the day, I was about your age – so I’m turning 46 in 2019, but I remember sitting in my therapist’s office and her making that suggestion to me, and me being like, are you fucking kidding me right now? Are you kidding me right now? And it took me years to hear what she was saying. And of course, now that’s the advice I give lots of my clients. And I actually think you’re inspiring for my 46th. I usually do a big party or I do a big something, and I think I’m going to do a solo-cation myself. So thank you for that inspo.
Alex: It’s so brilliant because, at least for me, I felt like I have to do a party, I have to invite a bunch of people. And then I was like, or I can do something that would be really recharging for me and really soul-nourishing. And of course, it’s different for everyone. Like, whoever is listening, your listeners really need to tap into what feels good for them. but I think for me, it sounds like fun.
Susan: Yes. Well, Alex, if people want to learn more about you, we’re going to have all the info in the show notes, but where’s your favorite place – I know the answer to this – where’s your favorite place to connect with people?
Alex: My favorite place is Instagram, could you have guessed? And they can find me @alexbeadon. And if you listen to this and you love this episode, definitely send me a direct message, because I would love to hear from you and hear a little introduction for each person. So yeah, feel free to reach out.
Susan: So awesome. Thank you so much for your time.
Alex: Thank you, Susan. I really appreciate you for having me.
Wasn’t that an amazing interview? I love how Alex talked about her highs and her lows running her business. And listen, I would love to encourage you to make your own high and low list for last year. Write it down, post it online, or share it privately amongst your friends. Making a high and low list is such a beautiful way to commemorate the last year, to celebrate your victories, and the tough lessons too. And also, you can pick one victory from your list and go celebrate it. You booked your first five clients this last year – party time. You got interviewed for a podcast – just a small podcast and only 10 people listened to it – okay, whatever, it’s still really cool.
Vigorously celebrate your victories from the last year. It happened. You did that. make a big fuss over yourself. You’re building your dream coaching practice, your dream career, which is something that very few people have the guts to even attempt. You are amazing. So thanks for listening to today’s episode. And this week, remember, I want to encourage you to make your high and low list and celebrate a business victory. Make a big fuss over yourself.
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 Three 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.