“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
After opening up a number of new coaching spots on my calendar, resulting in having several first sessions with new clients. It dawned on me that it might be useful to share with you the five things I always focus on with new clients to make the best use of our time together. These are, in my opinion, five of the most important things we need to work on to ensure the best chance of success. I should warn you this is a long one but definitely worth working through.
1. Activate your network
Nine times out of ten, one of the pieces of homework to fall out of the first session with a new client is to do my outreach challenge in order to activate their network.
We all have a network, whether we think we do or not. Our network includes all sorts of people:
- Colleagues — people we are working with or have worked with (either in a former job or with our current business),
- People in our audience — our followers, subscribers and consumers of our content,
- Our clients — former, current and potential,
- People we admire — the people in our industry who we follow, our mentors, the people who inspire us.
- Personal — friends, family and general supporters of our work.
When we are busy working on our business, we tend to let some of these relationships go quiet, we forget to keep in touch and as a result our network becomes dormant. Activating our network means keeping these connections alive. Reminding people that we are here. Being of service to our network and becoming front of mind for people. This way they are more likely to think of you when someone they know is struggling with the very struggle you help people to overcome. It not only makes good business sense but it also feels good to be connected.
The challenge in a nutshell is to reach out to 50 people in 7 days simply just to check in, free from agenda and with the sole purpose of connecting or re-connecting. For the full instructions (which I highly recommend you follow if you want to take on the challenge) click here. Be sure to watch this video before getting started.
2. Set up your ideal schedule
When people first start working with me it’s quite common that their schedule or calendar isn’t as organised or as optimised as it could be. I usually start by inviting my clients to consider what their ideal schedule would be and answer questions like:
- What timetable do you want to have? What days will you work? What days will you have OFF? What will be your working hours? When will you take breaks?
- On which days do you want to do client calls? Is your calendar wide open to your clients or do you only want to do live calls on certain days or at certain times of the day?
- What key activities will you schedule in each week? When will you do outreach? When will you create content? When will you check email?
I usually walk them through my schedule using the ideal schedule I’ve created in my Google Calendar, which you can see below.
Initially some people find my schedule overwhelming because every space is blocked off but it needn’t feel overwhelming. As I always say to my clients, if you set up your schedule to include everything that needs to get done including the breaks you need to take then you’re creating the conditions for success.
If Monday afternoon at 2pm rolls around and your schedule says check email and you really want to work on some content you can always move things around, but having things scheduled in, shows you at a glance what needs to get done over the course of the week.
One area I’d encourage you not to move is your breaks. If you’re in the flow it can be very tempting to stay at your desk and work through your breaks but I do believe you pay the price later on with a lessened ability to focus and inevitably less energy. Breaks are essential to maintain our focus and energy throughout the day.
3. Create a content schedule
Consistent content creation is one of the first things I like to get my clients started on if they are not doing it already. One of the most important steps you can take on your journey to consistent content creation is to create a content schedule. Whilst many people think that scheduling their content is a sure fire way to stifle their creativity, I assure you that if you give this a try you may be very surprised by the results. To create your content schedule you’ll need to follow these 3 steps:
1. Choose your channels. Rather than have 5 or 6 channels you show up inconsistently on choose 1–3 channels to show up on. If you are just starting out with content, I would recommend getting started with one channel and not adding in another until you are consistent with that one.
2. Choose your rhythm. Once you’ve chosen where you’ll share your content, you’ll need to consider when you want to publish content. Take into account that with one new piece of content a week, you can publish far more frequently than that simply by repurposing.
3. Create your plan. Your plan should bring together the where and when, (as determined above) with the what of your content. Your overall plan might then look something like this, which you can then populate with actual topic ideas later on.
4. Plan out your year
I invite all my clients and Mastermind participants to create an annual business plan at the start of the year, but no matter when someone starts working with me, if they haven’t already, I invite them to set an overall objective for the rest of the year, up to 3 strategic priorities to help them achieve that objective plus a set of simple goals under each priority.
To give you an example of what that looks like in practice, here are mine for this year.
My overall business aim for 2021: To put in place the systems, services and products to scale the success I’ve achieved in 2020 to double my annual income without working more than 7 hours a day.
My Strategic Priorities:
2. Business Model
The goals under each:
Systems: 1. Make Notion my business hub. 2. Get SOPs in place. 3. Streamline software and apps. 4. Improve and streamline client improvement.
Business Model: 1. Deliver workshop plan. 2. Retain 30% of current Mastermind participants and get glowing testimonials. 3. Maintain full roster of 1:1 clients with increased rate.
Products: 1. Research, design and deliver a new product or products that can bring in passive income.
5. Simplify their business model.
Last but not least, I usually invite my new clients to simplify their existing business model. Many business owners fall into the trap of thinking that the more they offer the better their chances are of getting the sale. I’ve actually found the opposite to be true and that the more simple my business model is, the more money I make because it’s easy for people to access and choose how they want to work with me.
What we usually do is close down any service that isn’t bringing in regular income to allow us to focus on the service or services that are or that we want to be.
So there you have it, 5 things I work on with new clients so that we can then continue the journey together with the essentials addressed. Each of these could be a whole article in itself but I hope you have enough information here to have a look at each of these in turn and take some action to better set yourself up for success.