Why Hire a Life Coach? Or a Business Coach?

December 1, 2020

People ask all the time on FB whether they have to hire a coach.

Of course you don't have to!

But what if it meant the difference between being successful in 1 year with a business coach versus 3 years of trying to do it on your own?

Three years is seriously how long it took me to get my photography business to making real money. And no, it wasn't about getting good enough in photography or in my marketing.

How I became a photographer, and imposter syndrome

I quit my job at Amazon in May 2016. I was burned out and completely ready to be done with my corporate career. When everyone asked me why I was leaving (all the while unsubtly fishing for details on whether I'd gotten an offer from somewhere else), I told them that I was leaving to start my own photography business, which was mostly the truth.

My corporate background up to that point was in content marketing and SEO, with some product management on the side. And, I knew how to build websites. Hello, hand coded html sites in the early 2000s??! So I knew how to do that part.

What tripped me up was imposter syndrome. Except, I didn't know that's what it was called back then.

I had just started photography on the pro level in late 2015, so that was what held my attention for quite a while. Like most people new to something, I wasn't terribly good at it. In fact, my photos were objectively pretty bad...no lie.

So I went off and did what pretty much every new photographer does, which was make this giant mistake -- I spent 100% of my time trying to up-level my photography skills, and none on the business/marketing side.

life coach creative entrepreneurs

Photography? Lighting? Equipment? Photoshop? Lightroom? The list was ENDLESS on the stuff I told myself to learn and buy. I didn't go to a school for learning photography; I learned everything by myself from online classes on CreativeLive or random stuff on YouTube.

And meanwhile, I was paying zero attention to the actual business.

The truth was, after a certain point--that I reached fairly quickly, btw--I had good enough skills, enough to make money, but I wasn't doing any marketing. If anything, I redoubled my efforts and just kept trying to get better with photography and all the associated parts.

TWO YEARS went by while I had my head buried in the classes.

All of this happened because I didn't BELIEVE in myself, so I had no confidence.

Because I had NO CONFIDENCE, I wasn't taking action--I wasn't telling people I was a photographer. I was terrified that people would tell me that I was a fraud who didn't deserve to call myself a photographer.

I also didn't believe with certainty that I could deliver results, so I wasn't marketing because I was AFRAID of getting new clients. I was terrified that I would get a client and then they would see that I took shitty photos and would demand their money back, thereby confirming that I was a "fake" photographer.

My result? I had almost no clients!!! For almost THREE YEARS!!!

Looking back with that pesky perfect hindsight, my imposter syndrome was playing its A-game with me. It was incredibly strong...and I didn't even know that's what was driving my inaction. I wasn't used to being THIS BAD at something, so my coping mechanism--learning as much as I could--was really the ultimate delaying tactic. Does any of this sound familiar?

How a coach could have changed my life

Today, I regret that I hadn't hired a coach in 2016. I regret not knowing what coaches even were.

If I could go back in time, I would absolutely pay a bunch of money and accelerate my growth, because like I said, three years is a long ass time to have not really made much money.

The money I might have spent on a business coach? It sure as heck would have been less than the money I could have been earning that much sooner!

Had I done that, I probably would have started making the kind of money I make now, but in year 2 instead of in year 4. And just in case you're wondering...in 2020 I was easily averaging $8k/month working part-time.

You do the math. I could have had TWO MORE YEARS of all that money.

Now, my story doesn't mean that you should go and sign up with just any coach. Do your due diligence, of course.

Everywhere you go online, you see business coaches and such ALL OVER THE PLACE, and most of them are so busy trying to sell you their latest program and teach you how to do marketing (I already knew marketing), and they're filling up your DMs and friending you on FB and following you on IG (only to unfollow you later) and adding you as a connection on LinkedIn.

Yuck! It's happening to me right now even as I write this, and I hate it.

(That's not me. I'm not going to be like a crazy ex who stalks you online.)

My end result vs what it could have been like

My story is that I figured all of this out alone, after over four years because I was finally in a place forced to think about what I want to do with my life, and COVID-19 shutdowns gave me time to think about questions that got me to break my normal patterns of thinking.

A coach would have been asking me these questions much, MUCH sooner.

I had known most of my life that I wasn't really happy. My work sucked, so I was complaining about it all the time, and even my boyfriend (now my husband) told me 8 years ago that he wished I weren't so negative.

I had picked up some really bad habits in venting too much, and also mentally running away from every uncomfortable thought with the speed of a world-class Olympian sprinter. Of course, running away only delays the inevitable, right? Things tend to surface later, and usually at the worst possible times EVER.

A coach would have been holding my feet to the fire during those uncomfortable times. The coach would have been surfacing the conversation that I didn't want to have, and challenging me on my thoughts-action behavior patterns.

Where I'm at today, what a coach is good for

Today, I'm a completely different person. The change didn't happen overnight, of course. People aren't light switches you can flip on or off.

A lot of it was personal development work I did on my own. Some of it came from meeting my own business coach, even despite so late in my journey. The biggest factor influencing my change came from going through my coaching training program.

The thing is, you can't coach someone else on challenges that you yourself haven't learned to deal with. A coach doesn't have to know the ins and outs of every industry, but a coach does have to know all about people, and what makes them tick.

I've been through imposter syndrome, felt fear over making my business work, getting enough clients, depression over whether my photography or I was good enough, general anxiety over whether my business would ever succeed, complete freakouts over clients not hiring me, creative burnout, and more.

I KNOW how people think, and all the emotional rollercoaster that happens every time you try to do something new. I know exactly the many reasons why people aren't taking action, and can spot limiting thought patterns a mile away because I've been through all of that.

That's what I really coach around—when a person knows what they should be doing, but they're not doing it.

Whatever is going on is most likely costing that person time, money, fulfillment professionally or personally (or both!), or really any multitude of other problems, just like it did for me and every other person out there in a similar situation.

I, or any other coach out there who knows what they're doing, will help a person figure out how to get that thing done, or maybe take a step back and think about whether they even want that something versus something else.

The bottom line is helping each person figure out who they are now versus who they need to be.

If you have questions or would like to set up a consult call to see what coaching could do for you, please book a consult call with me. I promise it'll be zero pressure. What you get on the call is an honest conversation where I point out some areas that could change in your life based on what you choose to share with me.

The life you want is waiting for you.

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