Starting and running a business is hard. There are so many things to learn and consider so it’s easy to make mistakes.

Making mistakes is part of the learning process, but you don’t have to make the same ones that I did. In this video, I’ll share with you the top 5 mistakes that I made in business, and what I learned from them.

Watch this video or read the show notes to learn from my mistakes and avoid making them yourself.

Everyone makes mistakes but when it comes to business, some mistakes can be more costly than others. So today, I want to share with you the top five biggest mistakes I’ve made in my business – and more importantly, how I recovered from them. If you’re ready to learn from my mistakes, keep reading!

Mistake #1: Doing the Right Things In the Wrong Order

When I started my business in 2008, I knew I had to have a company name, logo, trademark, and website to be able to establish my business presence. The result:

  • The company I hired to build my site made it pretty but the message wasn’t clear so visitors popped off in less than 30 seconds. That cost me $13k with a 2-camera video shoot since I was marketing keynotes and training opportunities.
  • I paid $5k for a branding session to develop the business name Mind By Design when instead I could have paid nothing and focused on building the brand of Joyce Layman.
  • I spent $3k on a trademark for Mind By Design that was denied.
  • At the time business cards and printed materials were a must for speakers to send packets so I paid $1000 for a graphic designer and spent far too much time stressing over the perfect paper and folder colors. It was money wasted.

You don’t need everything to be right just to get your coaching business started. You simply just need to start. No one needs to spend a small fortune on a logo, or website when there are some fantastic low-cost solutions. And Spending too much money and time trying to make everything perfect will likely get you nowhere.

100% of clients have come to me with a website that did not exist or one they created that had a ton of language that wasn’t clear. In turn, their social media accounts also had a lack of clarity in their bios and content. Yes, there are a lot of things to do, and doing them in the right order is SO important.

>>>Start by creating a specific offer that solves 1 specific problem for 1 specific person.

What the ‘experts’ neglected to tell me was that clarity with who I served and how I helped them were the things I needed to know first before starting anything else because this is the information you need to be able to establish your online presence.

You don’t have to go through the process to build everything online but you do need to put this on paper. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What is their biggest challenge?
  • What is the result/outcome of solving their challenge?

ACTION: Now that you have your answers, you can create your value statement which goes into your social media bios. This also provides the outline for the content on your site. Know that you will be making some tweaks as you go along and that’s to be expected especially no matter if you have a new business or haven’t gone through this process with your existing business.

Mistake #2: Building a Hobby Instead of a Business

I’ve seen so many coaches (and entrepreneurs in general) being unrealistic about what it will take to build the business including the time you and platforms you have to invest in even with a new business. Without prior business experience, it’s easy to be romantic about what it takes because we’re bombarded by overnight stories and laptop lifestyle posts on social media.

This is why too many coaches quit early on because they did not expect it to be this challenging. The reality is that building any business is hard, and it gets harder as you grow because there are more things to learn to be able to be profitable abd scale.

If you’re a coach, you’ve got to accept that you’re in business. This means that when you’re not sitting down with a client, you focus time on learning everything you need to about business:

  • Marketing and sales side: including branding, marketing strategies, your sales process, creating offers, and funnels (buyers journey).
  • You also need to know biz basics – how will you take payments and invoices and expenses, having a CPA and knowing what to track in your biz for taxes.
  • Platforms: Even if tech is something you hate, you will only get so far without using some basic platforms for your biz. I also recommend that my clients invest in a CRM/email marketing platform $13 a month.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard entrepreneurs say that they don’t plan to invest any money into their business until it makes money. This mentality will hold you back. Of course, you want to invest in the right things, but almost every successful business requires intentional investments.

Time is the other factor. If you want to build a business, then commit to the time you will spend to make it happen. Not saying you have to work 40 hours a week, but you need to be realistic about the initial time as you are creating your foundation. Once done, understand the time you will spend weekly on marketing and sales activities along with time servicing clients. This time number will come from the vision you have for your business, the growth timeline and the time you will commit.

Make the necessary investments, and treat your business as a professional one, not a mere hobby.

Mistake #3: Staying Stuck in Learning Mode

It’s not just shiny objects and squirrel moments that can take you off track in business. Open your email or go to social and you’ll see:

  • “Click here to discover 12 ways to ______!”
  • “Sign up for my course and learn this exciting thing!”
  • “Join my free webinar to learn the secrets you don’t know about!”

You’ll always feel like you should read another blog, watch another YouTube video or go through another course. Full disclosure – I have 27 paid courses, not all of which I’ve finished. And I’m currently in a high-end coaching program which is intense.

But here’s a secret: you don’t need all of that stuff. Okay, you need some of it. You have most of what you need already and you’re not focusing enough attention on that.

You may also feel like you have a certification or another certification to be ready to serve clients. I used to think that and in reality, that doesn’t generate income.

When is all of your business magic going to happen, exactly? It doesn’t happen when you’re in learning mode, it happens when you’re in action mode. (And as it so happens, the best learning happens when you’re just doing it.)

We’re not born knowing how to do all this stuff and technologies and tactics are constantly changing, so being in learning mode is unavoidable. But sometimes…thinking we have to learn all the things is actually holding us back.

What you spend your time doing online falls under three categories:

  • Work
  • Pleasure
  • A complete waste of time

When it comes to online work-related activities, MOST of what people think they’re doing for work really isn’t about work, it’s just “doing stuff.” To get out of learning and into doing mode you have to be strategic and be working toward your big-picture goals (which for most of us is to get clients and to make money).

The easiest way to determine if you’re in learning mode is to ask yourself:

  • “How specifically will this action help me grow?”
  • “How specifically will this action help me profit?”

If you can’t answer that, it’s not a business action.

Is what you’re doing strategic? Or are you just doing “whatever” and hoping for some result? Scrolling social, posting random content and spending time in Facebook groups can all help you grow, but only if you’re doing them with intention. The same goes for learning. Is what you’re learning directly related to a specific thing you need to learn that’s part of your growth or profit strategy?

Make a list of those things you need to learn to grow or profit, get laser-focused and seek that knowledge out, and then — and here’s the key — IMPLEMENT IT.

Mistake #4: Not Having a Niche

I resisted defining my niche as a new speaker even though the top leaders in the industry preached this as a must-do. I knew my topic but wasn’t sure who my ideal audience would be. Since I had worked with a variety of industries in my former job, I decided to niche my topic and market to as many associations and organizations as possible. While that got me speaking engagements the same approach made it harder to get coaching clients.

You might feel you can help anyone, but being too broad in your message means you’re marketing to no one. Here are the reasons you want to niche:

 Niching can land you your ideal clients

Think about your story and why you started your business. By niching down, you attract clients you can help the most. You have experience in what they’re going through, so they’ll search you out. They don’t want a coach who doesn’t understand their fears and anxieties, they want a coach who gets them completely. Because if you’ve come through it and succeeded, they’ll want to know how you did it. And that’s what’s going to win you more clients.

Niching creates more value

Trying to work with everyone means you’re giving them a generic solution to lots of different problems. Niching allows you to offer a specific solution, tailored to people you understand and can relate to. The result? You’ll fix their problems long-term, leaving you with happy clients who’ll shout your name from the rooftops because they feel their investment was money well spent.

Niching makes pricing at a Premium easier

Niching means you can price higher and earn more than coaches who offer a broad service. Why? You will be viewed as a specialist which means clients are happier to pay a premium for your services.

Niching makes marketing easier

Posting social content, writing blogs and doing reels hoping something sticks usually ends in frustration and lack of clients. When you choose a niche, you can market directly to your audience. Not only can you focus on touching on their exact pain points, but the results you promise will actually mean something to them. If you don’t have a clearly defined niche, now is the time to do that!

Mistake #5: Thinking Build it and They Will Come Works

It can take serious mindset work and strategy to bring in clients for a coaching business. This just doesn’t usually happen overnight. Ask yourself: “What am I doing to ensure that clients come to me?”

If you’re not actively working on marketing and sales, then the answer is nothing. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. You have to be proactive in your marketing to get in front of your target audience and be able to convert those likes, comments and replies into clients. That means having sales conversations.

Here are some things you can do to market and grow your coaching business:

  • Get clear on who your ideal client is
  • Create a marketing strategy that will reach them where they are
  • Have a plan for how you will follow up with potential leads
  • Be ready to push comfort zones on the activities you don’t enjoy

There are so many different marketing tactics we can use, and when we’re creating our strategies, we often need to be clear on the “why,” not just the “how.” If you just sit and wait for clients to come to you, you may be waiting for quite a while.

Reach out to them – via a comment on a post, DM or an email to your list. Be genuine and focus on adding value.

To recap the top 5 mistakes:

  • Doing the right things in the wrong order
  • Building a hobby instead of a business
  • Staying stuck in learning mode
  • Not having a niche
  • Thinking build it and they will come works

The world of online business is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and be willing to change with it. Keep in mind that as an entrepreneur, you may have the ability to truly change someone’s life in a massive, meaningful way. If you have the desire to serve clients, it’s important not to get stuck in the mistakes listed above. Recognize what you need to do and take the time to put it into action. You have unique talents so it’s your time to make an impact!

If you know you’re ready to skip to the front of the line and get super clear on your strategy, schedule a complimentary Clarity Session. Get more details here: 



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