December 6, 2010, 4:48 am

I Have Failed As A Coach

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Alternative Income,Make Money Online
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Nope, I am not talking about William’s soccer team. In fact, they are pretty on board right now ;-). But I have failed as a coach nonetheless. This blog relates my experiences on the path towards financial freedom. On this adventure, I have talked about how I have succeeded in having a career and building an online company. Most of the time, I have very positive stories to talk about. But today, I will be sharing one of my failures; how my consulting services died even before it started breathing on its own.

It all started from the strength of my reputation as an online entrepreneur and a guest post I did on Financial Samurai; Buying Blogs, Selling Blogs: How I Built My Blogging Business. I had received several comments and questions from other bloggers. Since I really enjoy sharing my knowledge, I thought it would be a good idea to setup a “consulting service” and coach “novice” bloggers. The idea was to improve their knowledge, grow their blog with more traffic and eventually more income. I thought it was a great idea and another way to diversify our online income.

A Great Start

In order to not burn myself out, I had decided to coach one guy to start; Evan from My Journey To Millions. The guy has a great blog, is motivated and he already has a good visitor base. We exchanged several emails during the first month and I was able to help him out on a few topics. I think he made some great adjustments and there was an added value from my comments.

Doing too many things at the same time

However, already after 3-4 weeks, the email frequency started to drop and I was lacking time. I was in the middle of the integration of The Dividend Guy Blog and was thinking about launching DoNotWait! Slowly but surely, the coaching plan that I hadn’t yet designed was starting to be obvious! I was sending him fewer emails, correspondence wasn’t that helpful for him and I was feeling that I wasn’t delivering what he was expecting from a coach.

About 2 weeks ago, we decided to end our coaching sessions. At the end, it was more like an advertising contact sharing correspondence with no other added value. This is when I figured that I am not ready to be a coach.

Coaching is not for me, is it for you?

Since I am successful in my business and I really enjoy teaching people how to do stuff, I thought (wrong) that I would be a good coach/consultant. I was thought about why I failed as a coach and wanted to share this with you. Since many individuals are successful in their field, some tend to think they can coach others to become as good as they are. But you have to make sure you have the pre-requisite to be a good coach.

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In order to  be a coach, you need the following:

- A coaching structure: you need to know step by step where you are heading.

- Time!: one of my biggest problems is that I was not devoted to coaching. I had several other things on my plate and couldn’t concentrate on helping Evan.

- Packaged knowledge: if you haven’t packaged your knowledge in notes, ebooks or print screen presentations, building the learning material is a lot of work. Doing everything at the same time is not good idea.

- Passion: I am a passionate individual but I am not passionate about teaching. When you coach someone, you have to spend a lot of time working with this individual. In order to do it properly, you need to be passionate about coaching and not only about the topics you are interested in.

Overall it doesn’t fit my business model

I think that the most important reason why I have failed as a coach is that because it doesn’t fit into my business model. At first, I liked the consulting opportunity since it was a great way to diversify my income. The problem is, as mentioned by Corbett Barr from Free Pursuits; you can’t scale your consulting business. If you want to make more money you either have to:

#1 increase your rates

#2 increase your hours worked

Since I was new in the business, I couldn’t charge much (compared to what I make per hour while working on my online business). And I don’t have much time left in my life to increase my consulting hours. Therefore, coaching can’t be part of my business model where I plan on making more by working less. I am looking for scalable and sustainable sources of passive income. Consulting is just not one of them.

However, I am glad I tried. If I hadn’t, I would have always had this thought in the back of my mind. Now that I tried and didn’t like it, I know I will not return to drink the consulting punch later on. I’ll be able to focus on other ventures ;-).

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Comments

Interesting thoughts! I am no expert by any means but I’ve seen that the track for most people tends to be going the way of consulting once they’ve established a decent base of operations on their website or blog. I think your points are valid in that you don’t want to take on a relationship but then fail, but I think if you have excellent time management skills and know how much free time you have each week or month, then it can be okay to take on a consulting opportunity with the foreknowledge that it’s only for a few hours a week, etc.

I wouldn’t rule it out entirely – if you tried it out on 15-20 people that should give you enough experience to refine the process – but it sounds like it’s not what you need right now.

I disagree that consulting income isn’t scalable. You can’t increase your time forever, but what would your hourly rate be if your experience can save someone from wasting a year of their life on something that won’t work, or turn one year of work into two years worth of results? Just like an experienced engineer or project manager if you judge your value based on how much work other people don’t have to do you can go pretty far :)

Of course whatever your rate is you still have to work that one hour to get it. But consider that when you’re running a business and something catches fire you have to put out the fire immediately, even if you’re in Thailand and it’s 3 am. When you’re consulting you usually aren’t the one responsible for urgent things so you can take your time and control your schedule.

Now many people in the blogging world will be quick to think that 3 years of blogging is enough experience to be an expert consultant but it really takes more than that. Since there is no real passive income (every business will decline without continuing attention) it’s worth considering consulting when you have the relevant knowledge, but like anything else it’s definitely not easy :)

Maybe your consulting service would have been more scalable after having 10-15 people taking your “lessons”. I mean, you could probably share a lot of the same information to all of them so you don’t double your time spent but have a greater income from it.

I think your major point though, is the fact that you did not “package” your knowledge yet. Sending a free ebook to your “students” or making all of them work on the same exercise would have probably been a lot easier for you.

To my point of view, you’re wrong saying coaching is not for you. You have all it takes, except maybe the will to do it… for now. Don’t throw it all in the garbage, I am sure the idea will come back at the time you’ll be more ready to it.

I think a bit of coaching would be fun, but I agree – it’s kind of like contract writing – you get paid for the time and that’s it.

One other thing – I would blame the student a bit too – Evan is very smart and has strong opinions – I was surprised to read that he wanted coaching.

My opinion about Evan, is that he doesn’t need any. :)

You may have failed this time but there’s always room for improvement. I’m passionate and knowledgeable and working on developing material to become a coach/consultant. Hopefully I can learn from your mistakes. One thing you just taught me was to start slow. I always tend to go full force into things.

Thanks Money Smarts Blog! I think lol.

TFB, You didn’t fail at all. It was a test relationship for both of us, and I think My Journey to Millions wasn’t a great testing ground for a new consulting relationship because of both of us. You are busy and in reality the first 4 or 5 lessons of running of blog I had been doing for the past 18 months.

I think you could have a crazy consulting business if you focused on blogs that are 3 to 6 months old.

At least you tried mate! I’ll be interested in hearing Evan’s side of the story. Cheers

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