While hard work is definitely a requirement if you want to build a successful business – it’s not enough.

Believe me, I know. If all it took was hard work, I would have had my first six figure year at least five years ago! But let me take you back to the beginning.

Anybody Can Start a Business

It’s a familiar story; after being made redundant at the end of 2012, I decided to start my own business based on my copywriting and digital marketing skills. All my life I’ve believed a lie: that hard work was all that I needed to get ahead in my career. Instead, I was made redundant because it made others look bad (but that’s a whole ‘nother story, for another time!)

While I was good at what I did, like many would-be business owners I had absolutely NO CLUE how to run a business – let alone create a successful one. In 2019, after almost seven years, I stood back and surveyed how far I had come – and was disappointed in my lack of progress (and profits!) despite working harder than I ever had before. Even my husband (usually my biggest supporter) was beginning to make noises that it was probably time that I found a “REAL” job.

It was time to face the facts; if I kept on doing what I was already doing, then it was unlikely that I would achieve the successful business that I wanted. I knew I needed help, so I started working with a business coach. And not just any business coach, but the right business coach for me.

I cannot emphasise enough how incredibly important it is to find the right coach for you.

In the world of psychology, research has shown that a good rapport between client and counsellor is crucial to achieving positive outcomes from therapy. In the same way, I believe rapport between a business owner and business client is also key. And on that note – while my business coach is not a therapist, there have definitely been times when we have strayed into that territory and I’ve shed a few tears!

Business coaching sessions can sometimes be quite uncomfortable, as I am challenged to hold the mirror up and examine myself, and how I need to change. Personal growth leads to professional growth, so it is unrealistic to expect that we as business owners can totally separate our two worlds.

3 Tips to Help You Find the Right Coach

In Australia, almost anybody can call themselves a business coach.

Ideally you want to work with one who will help your business increase its profitability as soon as possible so that their fees are covered.

Experience Matters

If you are a regular attendee at networking events (and you should be!), it can seem like every second person is a “business coach”.

One of the things I realised early on is that if I was to invest my hard-earned money in a business coach, it needed to be somebody who has walked the talk – that is, they had experience in running their own successful business, before moving into coaching and mentoring others.

Talk to their Other Clients

While reading their reviews and testimonials is a great place to start, find out if they are willing for you to chat to some of their existing clients. Talking to a couple of their current clients will give you a really good idea if this is indeed the right coach for you.

By doing this, I quickly realised that my business coach worked primarily with female business owners, and is gifted in helping women in business with the challenges they face.

When talking to their other clients make sure you ask a couple of tough questions, such as: “If you had to choose one thing about them as a negative, what would it be?”

Consider the Curriculum

What will your business coach be teaching you? Will they be “winging it” or following a set – possibly too rigid – program?

My business coach is affiliated with a particular coaching organisation, which provides a wealth of resources and a practical curriculum which is frequently updated.

As a former teacher, I knew that this alone had incredible value. We wouldn’t be wandering all over the garden path, we would be following a guide but one which could be adapted along the way when necessary.

Building a Successful Business

Two years later: I still work incredibly hard. However now it’s on the things that make a difference: the ones that help me to grow my business, my client base, and my profits. It’s an old cliché but I now regularly work “on” my business not just “in” my business – a phrase I’d heard a million times before but had never really understood or put into practice.

I’ve recently put on two assistants, which has freed me up to do more of the things that matter (and allows me to even take the occasional day off at long last!).

And as for my bottom line?

Well, let’s just say that I’ve finally had that six figure year I always dreamed of … and this is just the beginning!