This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Mickelsen of Small Biz U and Rapid Coaching Academy (RCA). I recently participated in Christian’s inaugural RCA group and I have to say it was wonderful! Christian is well organized, thoughtful, and knowledgeable. And a great coach! Christian is a regular contributor to NCC.
What is your niche and how did you find it?
I only work with professional coaches that want to earn 6 figures. I started as a generalist, and worked with all sorts of people on sorts of topics for the first year and then noticed that most of my clients were business owners or sales professionals, so I became a â€œbusiness and sales coachâ€ for the next 4 years. I didnâ€™t coach other coaches or even hang out with coaches for most of that time. Then I had a few coaches hire me and I helped them reach 6 figures much faster than I did. Soon other coaches were wanting to hire me. I had a lot of personal issues be a coach of coaches (that it was somehow not right), but they were all doing so well eventually I transitioned over to working exclusively with professional coaches.
Why did you decide to be a coach? What does coaching mean to you?
I decided to be a coach when I saw the power it had on me in my life. I was a client first. My life was a total wreck in every way. I had an unhappy relationship, I was out of shape, I had a business I started that was going nowhere, I worked in a job I hated (and was ridiculed by a co-worker), and I was at a breaking point. I hired a coach and turned everything around. Got out of the relationship, got back in shape, quit the job, went full time with my business and everything was greatâ€¦ except I didnâ€™t like my business that much and I loved this coaching stuff. So I decided to let that business go (and with $70K in debt) and started up my coaching business.
What training did you take? Would you recommend it to others?
The only training I had at the time was a lot of Tony Robbins seminars, practice coaching my friends, and the example set by my coach that I worked with for 9 months.
Once you started your business, how long did it take you to go from zero to a sustainable business? What was involved in doing that?
I went from zero to sustainable within the first 6 months. Although the first 2 years were riddled with a roller coaster like income including months were I was behind on my mortgage and considered throwing in the towel over an over.
What mistake have you made that you’d like to help others avoid?
Mistake #1: Jumping right in with no job and a monstrous debt. (Although this â€˜sink or swimâ€™ approach worked, it was very trying, and I canâ€™t recommend it to others).
Mistake #2: Again, not having a financial reserve. It made me needy because I really needed my clients or I might be out on the street!
Mistake #3: Giving away free â€œsample sessionsâ€ of coaching, coaching my heart out and hoping people would hire me. Although this did get me some clients, it didnâ€™t work consistently or reliably and lead me to questioning myself and my value way too much. I highly recommend a much better approach with your intro. session (outlined for free on this site )
Mistake #4: not getting online right away. I didnâ€™t have a website for the first 2 years. Although you can do very well without one, and itâ€™s not the most important piece of the puzzle, you can do better, faster, and a lot easier with one (an effective one anyway).
Mistake #5: Trying to do it all myself. Being afraid of outsourcing (partly because I didnâ€™t have extra money or credit available to hire anyone). I wish I would have hired a VA sooner. These are just some of the many, many, many (did I mention many) mistakes Iâ€™ve made along the way.
What is one thing you think all beginning coaches should know before they start out?
Youâ€™ll probably need to learn sales and marketing. Few coaches get a job as a coach. Most have to make their own way of it and that means learning how to attract potential clients and convert them into paying clients.
Where do you see coaching going in the future?
Right now coaching is mainstream. My girlfriend is getting her MBA and the school sheâ€™s attending assigned her a life coach as part of its tuition. Many school Deans have a coach, corporate leaders have had coaches for years. â€œThe Secretâ€ was on Oprah twice (which wasnâ€™t a secret to us coaches). My prediction: In the next 5 years, 40% of the US population will have had a coach for at least some amount of time.
What do you think are going to be the next big trends in coaching?
Iâ€™d say the biggest trends within the industry are:
Coaches are growing up. They are learning that they need
to learn sales and marketing sooner and they are getting
the help they need to be successful. 5 years ago a survey shocked the coaching world with the staggering statistic that the average fulltime coach made abut $20K/year. Last year a survey showed that the average is in the low $50Ks. Thatâ€™s a sign. There used to be a lot of pretentiousness in the industry and a lot of â€œpretending to be successfulâ€. Much of that is leaving.
The next big trend is with technology and coaching. Technology is and will continue to make it easier for coaches to impact a larger group of people and will help coaches connect clients together for more community.
What do you love about being a coach and coaching?
Success stories are my favorite part. I love getting phone calls, emails, voicemail messages, etc. hearing about how my clients are winning their game. I also love the unlimited income potential, the time freedom, and the creative freedom.
What parts of coaching do you find to be the most work? What are the hard parts?
Writing. For years this was my Achillesâ€™ heal. I hated to write. I finally had a big breakthrough in this area about a year ago and I write a lot better now, and a lot easier. But, writing has become pretty much the main way I interact with potential clients these days, and at this moment, Iâ€™m feeling like Iâ€™m behind on my writing.
What are the top three pieces of advice you’d leave for other coaches?
1. Done is better than perfect. Most coaches wonâ€™t go
out into the world unless everything is â€œjust rightâ€. This
is probably the reason Iâ€™ve succeeded where other coaches
quit. Iâ€™ve always been willing to go for it even if I donâ€™t have everything perfect. Many people are turned off by all of my mistakes, but I trust that the ones that get the â€œessenceâ€ of what Iâ€™m saying will hear me through my typos, etc. A good website today is worth twice as much as a great website tomorrow.
2. Understand that having a coaching business will challenge you on every level. Youâ€™ll likely have to grow tremendously to have the kind of coaching business you really want. Youâ€™ll be tested mentally and emotionally. You may want to quit from time to time. Youâ€™ll have to face up to many of your doubts, fears, and insecurities. But, in the end, it will have been worth every second.
3. It gets easier. At a certain point in your business things will get easier. Youâ€™ll have developed a reputation. Youâ€™ll have built up a bit of a following. Youâ€™ll have people referring clients to you. youâ€™ll get a few lucky breaks. If you hang around long enough and do the right things, on a regular consistent basis, you canâ€™t help but succeed.
Your March Mentor Coach Host is:
Felicia J. Slattery, M.A., M.Ad.Ed.
Life & Relationship Coach
Felicia has been a college communication instructor for the past 10 years. About a year ago she decided to expand her teaching outside the college classroom. She now teaches small business owners, sales professionals, and corporate executives powerful communication techniques in order to be successful, happy and fulfilled at work and at home. She offers a free e-course where you can discover how to Increase Business by Communicating Your Credibility.