Nov 19 2015
How to Run a Successful
Coaching Business from Home:
Life Beyond The Cubicle
by Peggy Salvatore
This is re-posted from Evercoach (11/18/15), with thanks to Ajit Nawalkha and the Evercoach team.
Coaches and consultants fresh from inside a large organization have a lot to offer new clients. You have a depth of experience and knowledge that only your years in the hallowed halls of a corporate enterprise can provide.
This could be the start of something big.
At first, you might find the cubicle-less-ness of your world gives you a feeling of freedom that is more illusory than real. If a large company isn’t imposing a schedule on you, you need to do it for yourself to realize your full potential.
As a self-employed businesswoman, I have been able to garden when the weather is lovely on Tuesday at 10 a.m., take walks at 2:30 in the afternoon just to stretch and enjoy the sunshine, attend school functions in the middle of the day to see my son perform in a toga, go to a yoga class two mornings a week and even disappear for long weekends. So, I’m here to tell you that yes, it’s possible to work from Maui and enjoy the view of the beach as long as you remember you are running a business to pay for it.
Here are 10 tips for running a coaching business
from home that separate the pros from the posers:
1) Set aside dedicated office space
- Make this space every bit as free from personal artifacts as your corporate cubicle. Pics of the spouse and kids are okay, but put the toy box in another room.
- The sooner you can get out of the corner of your bedroom and into a professional room of your own, the better. You can write off your home office space as long as you aren’t using a desk and computer that you share with your kids in the family room; talk to your accountant.
2) Update your equipment and software
- You are your own tech department now.
- Make sure you are running the programs and have the applications that your customers and clients are using. You don’t want to be frivolous with your spending during your startup, but this is a very good place to be investing your limited funds in your home business.
- Consider upgrades as an ongoing business expense. Again, this is the cost of doing business so keep receipts for your accountant.
3) Make a daily schedule and stick to it
- Block out a big, uninterrupted chunk of time each day to do your most demanding and important work.
- Then limit emails to a specific time slot and don’t get sucked into all-day IM sessions with your besties.
4) Get dressed for work
- Nothing elaborate here. You can leave grandma’s diamond earrings in their box, but go to the trouble to put on a clean shirt and jeans in the spirit of dress-down Friday.
- It affects your attitude and reminds you that you aren’t on vacation.
- Your office should be a no-jammie zone to keep your head in the game. (Although I’ll admit I’ve reported to work sick or exhausted in my jammies a few times!)
5) Close the office door at the end of the day
- Take time to enjoy uninterrupted family dinnertime or personal time.
- Physically closing a door defines a mental boundary, too. So shut the door and mentally punch out when your work is through.
6) Network locally
- There’s nothing like human contact to keep you grounded.
- Regularly get out of your home office and stay connected to other professionals. If you work by yourself, make sure you network so you can look into some else’s eyeballs occasionally and to stay current with trends and best practices.
- Take a class. Join a local professional organization. Regularly schedule networking time with colleagues.
7) Connect online
- Attend professional webinars to stay current in your field.
- Join LinkedIn groups or professional forums related to coaching. Connect and learn from other professionals by participating in masterminds.
- The opportunity to learn from other coaches and trainers at the top of their game has never been easier. Take full advantage of it.
8) Hire caregivers
- Hire a babysitter if you are responsible for young kids during the workday. This reminds you that you are at work and earning a living, especially when paying for child care. Extend this to caring for very ill family members.
- As a client, there is nothing more annoying than realizing that the attention, care and time that you are paying for is divided between you and a three year old who wants more Cheerios.
9) Be flexible
- You may have to work 24/7 in the global economy. Restricting your day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone is probably unrealistic if you need to respond to a client five time zones away.
- In the global economy “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere”.
- This rule isn’t in conflict with Rule #5, but an expansion of it. Rules and boundaries are good for keeping yourself on a schedule, but adjusting to your clients’ needs is even better.
I’ve trained online classes with a German company from my home office in the Eastern U.S. and it required some flexibility on my part. I’ve also facilitated classes in a nursing home at midnight because the third shift deserves stress management skills as much- or more!- as day shift. It doesn’t happen every day, but my business calls on me to meet the needs of a global 24/7 workforce.
10) Pay for professional services
- Make a few wise investments in your business by paying for accounting and legal services.
- Accountants and lawyers understand tax rules and good contract language for agreements. In many cases, you will only use their services a few times or once a year, but it is money well spent.
- A good accountant who specializes in small business can tell you about important tax write-offs and help you make good decisions about whether to buy or lease equipment, the best allocation of retirement savings and other advice that will save you far more than you spend. A lawyer can help you write good contract language for getting paid and for defining your relationships with your clients.
Starting your own successful coaching business takes discipline and time to transition from a conventional job. However, with a little planning you will find that it is worth the effort to put some rules and structure around your new enterprise.
When you establish a few boundaries, your personal life will benefit from the freedom you have on your time off, and your clients will benefit from your undivided attention during your working hours.
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MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Click on “About Peggy” tab above