We have felt paralyzed and stuck with our creative business, ideas and projects many times. And one thing is for sure, not all methods and business formulas work for every creative business. Just like people, creative businesses are all different and need different things. We recently hired a marketing business coach and we have had several consulting experiences in the past. We thought it would be helpful to share the knowledge we got (and continue to have) from those experiences.
Many times as creative entrepreneurs we feel stuck and don’t know which way to go. There are so many ideas to pursue. Sometimes we believe another person with more experience can help us improve and help us grow our creative business more efficiently and faster than ourselves. If only they can tell us what to do, how to do it and hold us accountable, many of our problems will be solved in a blink of an eye.
Here are the usual suspect symptoms:
• We feel overwhelmed with so many ideas. There is no time to put these ideas into fruition and everything takes so long. We know this because we have tried a couple of ideas and none of them have really worked. So, now on top of feeling overwhelmed we have an “I’m not making any money with this” emotion that paralyzes us even more.
• Our outside chatter is way louder than our intuition, we feel there isn’t time to listen to our own voice and we strongly believe we have to talk to someone that has done what we want to do in order to move forward or get started. Because at this stage there are more questions than answers.
• We compare ourselves with other entrepreneurs that have been able to strive and grow with the help of a mentor, teacher or coach and that makes us think we are ready to get the same help.
All 3 scenarios have something in common:
We are paralyzed.
Very few of us can look back in our creative business and say: – I tried and tested one strategy and/or idea for six months (or a year) and gave it my all and it didn’t work. Then I did the same for 2 more years with a different idea and that didn’t work either.
This is almost impossible for the average entrepreneur. We tend to try many ideas at once, and none of them are fully explored because as we feel anxious with our progress, focusing and being consistent with one idea becomes more and more challenging. Most of us wish things were faster and it is in our nature to find shortcuts to a successful business so we fantasize about having a coach or consultant whose ideas and experience we trust more than our own.
So, what to do?
There are two vital questions we invite you to ask yourself if you are at this crossroad.
Can you afford it? and Are you ready?
These two questions give us four possible outcomes:
- You can afford it but you aren’t ready (affording it doesn’t mean you are ready)
- You can afford it and you are ready (check below to make sure and afterward account for enough time)
- You can’t afford it but you are ready (there are things you can do meanwhile, see below)
- You can’t afford it and you aren’t ready (get started, you’ll get there, it’s always important to experience a guide)
Before you start trying to see in which of those categories you are standing, see what we mean by affording it and by being ready.
You can afford it if…
- The answer to the following question is “no”: If the guidance service doesn’t work as I was hoping, will I go under financially and will that hurt my business to the point of putting me in debt (we don’t believe in borrowing money to grow our business) or paralyzing me even more than what I am right now?
- You have reserved the amount of money equal to at least the first 3 to 5 months of services.
- When you hire a coach or a consultant you want to make sure the value and price of their service feels like a healthy stretch. It’s not impossible to afford but it also gives you a little bit of challenge. The value your mind attaches to their service is proportional to how much you admire them, and how much effort and how willing your mind is to get out of your comfort zone in order to make the changes and reach your goals.
- You have all your personal and professional basic needs covered and the decision isn’t based on hope and beginning excitement only.
Do this if you can’t afford coaching or a consultant right now:
- Start saving and designate a bank account for your savings and start adding some money into it regularly. Even if it’s just $5 every week, the amount is not the important part of this step, what matters is that you are leading the way and taking action. You now have a plan and you can get there. While you save your money start doing research and get clear on what you need.
- Become a member of mastermind groups for your area of expertise within Facebook. Most questions and conversations revolve around solving the same problems because most people are confronting the same obstacles (or have done in the past). Start taking action using those suggestions while you save your money.
- Coaching is usually more expensive than consulting. Maybe you are able to afford a consulting session before you start your coaching sessions. Sometimes just asking one question and getting the answer can give you direction to move you further ahead than you imagine.
- Signup for the newsletter of the coaches and experts you would like to work with. Stay connected and close by, genuinely making comments on their social media feeds and understanding their needs. Maybe you can be of help. Be open to starting a strong and healthy relationship with them before you are able to hire them.
- If you know someone you admire and you think they can hold valuable information that can help, you can always approach them and ask if they will be willing to let you pick their brain. Of course offer that you will pay for their time and value their knowledge. Tell them how much you can afford and explain your needs. This is a great start while you prepare yourself for more ongoing guidance. You could also offer to barter and exchange the session for a service you can provide.
You are ready if…
- You are clear about EXACTLY what you need. Do you need a Coach? Someone that will help you with a specific task or performance and hold you accountable regularly until the goals have been reached. Do you need a consultant? Someone that can be there for an hour or two to answer specific questions and give you direction. Or do you need a mentor? Someone that can work with you as a teacher giving you tools that will develop your role in your business long term. Take your time understanding how you perform best. Do you need accountability? Do you really need one-on-one attention? Or, will you be ok in a group coaching session?
• You are coachable. Sometimes we really want change but we aren’t ready to confront fear and really do what it takes (or what we are told). It’s easy to naïvely think that with a guide holding our hands that fear will diminished. Dig deep into finding out about your own behaviors before you present your problem package to someone else. Are you willing to try ideas and do things you haven’t tried before, do you tend to be skeptic about other’s expertise? Are you really convinced you gave your all, to all the methods you have tried thus far? These are important questions to dedicate your time, otherwise, most time spent with a coach or consultant will be about convincing you, managing your emotions or listening to the victim stories you are attached to.
• You are prepared and you know exactly where you are standing. Have you done research and read books about what you needing in your area? Can you clearly describe the crossroad where you are standing? The more clear you are about your business journey, the more a coach or a consultant can help you. If you are confused and that’s what you need help with, you can still be clear about what you are confused about. Dedicate time to break down your train of thought and doubts before you ask for help. (Psst – it might be helpful to get away and prepare during a creative business retreat!)
Thanks for reading about our experiences! Have you considered hiring a coach, consultant, or mentor for your business this year? We would love to know if you found our advice useful in that process and if our ideas helped you reach your decision. Just leave us a comment below!
And, we’re excited to announce that starting in 2016, we are now offering creative consultation and pick-my-brain sessions. We can’t wait to help you tap into your own intuition and start building the life of your dreams. Learn more about our offerings here!