Knowledge of the phase of business they are in and the actions that align with that phase. Time, not money, is the most important asset in business. It’s important that coaches have a good time tracking system so they know, in detail, how their time is being spent and can ensure their daily actions align with the correct phase of business.
The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15 billion dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs to become highly successful coaches. At the same time, not everyone who starts a coaching business sees success. What does someone starting a career as a life coach, wellness coach, or business coach need to know to turn it into a very successful and rewarding career?
In this interview series, called “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach” we are interviewing experienced and successful life coaches, wellness coaches, fitness coaches, business and executive coaches and other forms of coaches who share the strategies you need to create a successful career as a life or business coach.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Rita Goodroe.
Rita Goodroe, a business strategist, international speaker, and host of “The Rita Made Me DO it Show” podcast helps entrepreneurs identify the most important actions to grow their businesses so that they attract more clients, make more money, and do it while reclaiming their time. Rita uses storytelling to break tough topics down into practical, easily implementable actions and her clients have coined the phrase “Rita made me DO it!” to celebrate their successes. She runs the popular Facebook community — The All-in Entrepreneur and has been featured on NBC, CBS, and in The Washington Post, WTOP, Northern Virginia Magazine, and more.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and what brought you to this particular career path?
I’m excited to talk with you, thanks for having me. In 2006, I started a Meetup group in the Washington, DC area called “Singles in the Suburbs” where I met someone almost immediately (so it worked) and we dated, and ran the group together, for five (5) years, until he broke up with me right before my 35th birthday!
I did what any broken hearted girl would do and grabbed a bottle of wine and went to my best friend’s house to cry all about it. As I was talking it all through, I realized that I had been in five (5) long term relationships and the only things they had in common were that they had all ended — and of course me! That’s when I stopped asking why it was happening to me and, instead, asked why it was happening. I knew that I was part of the reason and, therefore, part of the solution. So to learn more about myself I decided to celebrate my 35th birthday by going on 35 dates in 35 days (and blogging all about it). It wasn’t about finding love but it was about doing things I would normally not do, and meeting people I would normally not meet, so that I could see how I reacted in uncomfortable situations. That blog became very popular and, soon after, people started asking if I would be their dating coach. I had been a business and real estate attorney for 13 years, so I shrugged those requests off until I realized that, while I was successful in my career, I didn’t actually love it.
In 2014, I made the leap to full-time entrepreneurship, opening up my “date coaching” business which I grew rapidly. Women started approaching me for mentorship on other aspects of their lives as well including growing their businesses. In 2015, I fully transitioned to business coaching which I’ve now been doing now for six (6) years.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Faithfulness. When I started my business, I struggled to sign clients consistently. I’d implement a strategy then, when I didn’t see results quickly, I’d hop to another strategy, never giving any one strategy ample time to work. I realized that it wasn’t the strategy that was keeping me from signing clients; it was lack of belief in myself and my ultimate success. Failure to see instant results from a strategy seemed to me like evidence that I wasn’t going to succeed. Had I had faith in myself (and my ultimate success) I wouldn’t have needed evidence that a strategy was working because I would have known that my success was inevitable. Faithfulness in myself and my success was crucial for developing patience.
- Patience. Everything that moves me forward in my business feels completely uncomfortable, but that discomfort is never about the actions themselves. Rather, it’s rooted in what could result from taking those actions (failure, rejection, criticism, making the wrong choice, not having the answers). Let’s be honest, it’s uncomfortable to put yourself out there and it doesn’t feel good or fun when you aren’t seeing results! But, the only way to get the results is to work through the discomfort and that requires patience. Cultivating a mindset of patience is non-negotiable for moving through discomfort to take daily, consistent, action. After all, your results are only as consistent as you are!
- Tenacity. The combination of faithfulness and patience creates tenacity. Again, most decisions are made from a place to avoid discomfort. At the beginning of my business, I did everything I could to avoid it! I wouldn’t have difficult conversations. I stayed in situations and relationships that weren’t serving me. I wouldn’t ask for things (like opportunities or even the sale). I’d skip out on experiences that were unfamiliar. I wouldn’t start something unless I was assured of its success. All because staying comfortable was easier than conjuring up the fear conquering energy that was required to DO all of those things. You can’t build a successful business (or life) and stay comfortable. Building a business is 5% strategy and 95% tenacity. It requires stepping outside of your comfort zone, consistently, and patience while you sit in that discomfort, giving your strategies time to realize meaningful results.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
I’m a believer that success is rooted in consistency and consistency becomes possible because of developed habits. Habits are simply choices that you make repeatedly, but those choices require decisions about who you are (as opposed to what you do).
Deciding that I am a person who honors and respects my time, prioritizes my physical and mental health (including sufficient sleep and water intake), and cultivates deep relationships, has been key in my entrepreneurship journey.
This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?
When entrepreneurs tell me that they aren’t meeting their goals, or seeing the results they want, the first thing I investigate is their consistency. These business owners come to me certain that they have a marketing or sales problem but what they really have is a stopping problem! They are waiting for results before they start taking consistent action.
They’ll tell me things like, “When I get more members in my Facebook community, then I’ll post more.” “When more people engage with my newsletter, I’ll start sending more.” “When I get more views on my videos, I’ll start creating more.” Here’s the thing, it’s the consistency that creates the results! By posting every day, you’ll get more members in your Facebook community. By sending consistent newsletters, you’ll get more engagement. By doing more videos, you’ll get more views.
Creating the “habit of consistency” is hard because you have to show up even when it feels difficult. The difficult stuff takes you right to the results you want! Everything is possible for you if you decide to be the type of person who achieves success, finds joy in the process of building your business, and takes consistent and daily action towards your goals. That requires taking daily actions that align with the type of person you want to become.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
Your actions must be rooted in a decision. Not a decision about what you will do but a decision about who you are at your core. This decision allows you to commit to your overall goals. For example, think of a goal you want to achieve. Now ask yourself what kind of person you need to be to achieve that goal. If you fully embody the qualities of this person, what is possible for you? What are the potential ripple effects of these decisions in your business and personal life?
Doing this exercise allows you to get clear on how you have to show up daily, identify the most important actions necessary to reach your goals, and see why doing all of this is important. Combine this clarity with visual reminders and the support you need to ensure that you continue to show up in this way. Attaching great purpose to your tasks helps you cultivate lasting habits.
It’s important to see that developing good habits goes hand-in-hand with stopping bad habits. It’s not enough to stop doing something. You have to replace what you’re stopping with something that you’re starting. Think of it like redecorating your house. If you pull all of your existing furniture out to the curb, before you have the new furniture in place, you’ll find yourself pulling pieces of the old furniture back inside. The new furniture needs to be there at the same time that you remove the old furniture. It’s the same with your habits. For everything you want to start, ask what you’ll stop and for everything you want to stop, ask what you’ll start instead.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou.
A mentor once asked what would be important to me when I was eighty (80) years old. It wasn’t what my Instagram feed looked like or how clean my house was for company. What would be important was how I had made people feel. Every day, I ask myself if what I’m doing or saying is making others feel seen, heard, or understood. That question has allowed me to cultivate deep relationships in my life and business leading not only to a deeper success in all things but a true joy as well.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Over the past few months, I’ve been diving into digital audio. Through platforms like Clubhouse, Greenroom, Twitter Spaces, and Facebook Live Audio Rooms (not to mention many other platforms being launched now or in the immediate future) as well as the continued growth of podcasting, music streaming, and other auditory experiences, audio is becoming a major tool for business. I’m working with companies, communications professionals, and brands to determine the true benefits of embracing digital and social audio. I’m also in collaboration with other creators to create unique audio experiences that are a mix of educational, entertainment, and relationship building content.
There is incredible growth in online audio listening across the board, creating unlimited opportunities to embrace this trend for businesses in ways that align with values, mission, and messaging. The data and insights gathered will help many entrepreneurs leverage this medium for continued business growth.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many coaches are successful, but some are not very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful coaches from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
I see so many coaches making things harder than they need to be because they keep trying to do what everyone else is doing. Comparison is not only the thief of joy but it is what keeps coaches stuck in a cycle of non-action. They will land on an idea then see another coach doing things in a different way making them doubt their initial idea and causing them to stop what they are doing to try this other way instead, only to have the cycle play out all over again.
This sticks them in a loop of constant quitting and inaction which creates a lack of results — but the lack of results only reinforces their idea that their strategies aren’t working, leading them back into the loop of quitting!
Even worse, they aren’t even aware that this is happening. These coaches spend so much of their day consuming information that it tricks their brain into believing they are filling their day with action, leaving them even more frustrated when they aren’t getting clients and generating the revenue they want. They overwhelm themselves with all of the information, leaving them spinning their wheels with very little to show for it.
When you’re not getting traction in your business, it’s almost never about adding more things to your plate but instead, all about doing the right things. The thing standing in their way is that they don’t know what the right things are.
- Take decisive action;
- Say yes to one thing and view everything else as a distraction;
- Get excellent at their “one thing” making it work like a well-oiled machine;
- Trust in themselves to take the necessary actions or figure out how to navigate anything that results from those actions.
Here are five things I believe coaches need to create a highly successful career:
- Clarity about their ideal life. There’s a false belief that many coaches have that if they work full days (and often nights) and “hustle” that, after they reach their desired revenue goal, then they can work fewer hours, travel more, spend more time with their family, or prioritize their lives. They jump into building their business and find themselves working their life away and creating a business model that is dependent on continuing that pace for ongoing success. I work with my clients to get clear on the life they want to live, blocking that time out first, and then making business decisions that support that lifestyle. Take for example a previous client who came to me working 60+ hour weeks but wanting to work 30 hours a week. The only way she was ever going to be able to work 30 hours a week was by giving herself only 30 hours a week to work. She quickly saw that if she only had 30 hours a week for her business, she was going to need to work with fewer clients at a higher rate, with a larger team. We were then able to make the decisions in her business to support the life she wanted to live. Plan your life first and then make decisions in your business to support it.
- Knowledge of the phase of business they are in and the actions that align with that phase. Time, not money, is the most important asset in business. It’s important that coaches have a good time tracking system so they know, in detail, how their time is being spent and can ensure their daily actions align with the correct phase of business. When you aren’t generating the revenue you want, I consider you to be in the “business building” phase of business, meaning you should be filling your days with revenue generating activities (networking, speaking, vendor tables, and sales calls). Once you’re consistently generating the revenue you want, I consider you to be in the “marketing” phase of business, meaning you should be filling your days with pipeline building activities (social media posts, recorded videos, marketing materials, hosting a podcast, to name a few). Filling your day with business building activities, when you’re in the marketing phase of business, can create an influx of clients that you will struggle to serve. Likewise, filling your day with marketing activities, when you’re in the business building phase of business, can leave you struggling to sign clients and generate revenue at all. Track your time like you would money and align your actions with your phase of business.
- An all-in strategy. It’s natural to want to help as many people as you can, in all of the ways that you are able. In fact, it feels like keeping all of your options open would be the fastest way to grow your business. But saying yes to all of the potential clients, services, price points and opportunities is exactly what will sabotage your business. To illustrate this point, I want to tell you the story about a former client, Wendy. When Wendy first started coaching with me, she was so focused on making money that she forgot to focus on her strategy. She was trying to do all of the things, for all of the people, in all of the ways. She had huge resistance to narrowing her target market and niche. She had multiple ways that people could work with her (many of which competed against each other). Her pricing was all over the map (and she struggled to honor the rates she set). She had a presence on all of the social media platforms and attempted to nurture relationships with her audience any way she could. But this caused her to go wide instead of deep. Meaning she was doing a little of everything, instead a lot of any one thing — and your results are equal to the actions that you take. She was getting little to no results, because she was taking little to no consistent action and the action she was taking left people confused about who she helped and how she helped them. Working together, we created her “all-in strategy”, narrowing her target market, clarifying the problems she solved, creating one signature offering and a sales flow that led people to it, and solidifying a strategy that utilized one way to build awareness in her business and one way to nurture the relationships of everyone who became aware of her and her business. This allowed her revenue to double in only one year! Coaches need to be willing to make difficult choices and that means saying yes to a strategy that allows you to go all-in on the right things so that you have a simpler, more robust, strategy that leads the right people to you time and time again.
- A mindset for success. Setting a business strategy is the easy part. The harder part is getting out of your own way so that you fully implement the strategy you set. This means making decisions that are in the best interest of your business (as opposed to decisions that fulfill a personal need). You may want to be more comfortable, meaning you’d make the decision to post less, not do the live video, discount your rates, or not send the follow-up. Your business, however, needs you to post more, get more visible on video, engage in direct outreach, and ask for the sale (while honoring your rates). Building a business is uncomfortable and mindset is key to taking the scary actions necessary to build a strong, sustainable, business. Establish a mindset practice that allows you to watch your thoughts, build trust in yourself, sit in discomfort, and identify when you are telling yourself false stories, so that you follow through on the decisions you make and the promises you make to yourself and others.
- Support. With the right mindset and strategy, you can achieve any goal in your business, but you can’t do it alone. Support is crucial for making this all happen. When I first opened my business, I tried to figure it out myself but quickly found that mentality to be unhealthy and unproductive! I realized that the best way to achieve any goal in my business is to surround myself with support from the start. Some business owner somewhere in the world has faced the same problem as you are, found a way to overcome it, and is excited to help you do the same! Allowing yourself to ask for, and receive, support will help you take the uncomfortable actions necessary to achieve big results while giving you the tools you need to overcome challenges and keep momentum. This can mean working with a mentor, joining a peer group, or hiring and investing in support (a coach, a virtual assistant, or other team members). Hiring and investing in support will be the best decision you make because it allows you to focus on the things that specifically create results in your business.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
- Mistake One: Prioritizing money over experience. Clients often hire me because they are frustrated at their inability to sign clients. When I ask what’s stopping them from getting clients, they tell me “No one wants to pay the price that I’m asking.” When I dig in deeper, I uncover the real thing keeping them from getting a client. They are heading into their sales calls not truly believing that people will pay their rates because they’ve never had a client (or have never had a client for this particular offering). The lack of having a client means they have no testimonial or evidence that they help give the results they advertise, leading these coaches to doubt their skills and stirring up what’s often referred to as “imposter syndrome.” The only way to break that cycle is to get a client! Even a non-paying client! A client is the necessary thing to instill confidence and the belief necessary to get paid clients, especially at a premium rate.
- Mistake Two: Not being visible enough. I can’t tell you how many times I hear a coach say that they don’t want to get on video, send a newsletter, post on social media or ask for a sale because they “don’t want to be annoying.” The key to success is to get over this fear! You can’t change someone’s life until they buy your product or service. They can’t buy your product or service unless they know about it. They can’t know about your product or service unless your message reaches them. Do the “mindset work” necessary to step into abundance (specifically, the knowledge that there are more than enough people wanting to work with you). This is what allows you to share your message without worry of who stops following you or unsubscribes from your newsletter.
- Mistake Three: Waiting until they know the full plan and have a guarantee that it will work. New coaches want to have everything figured out and in place before they take their first step. They want to have the perfect company name, logo and branding, fully developed website, ideal client avatar, and defined packages (with assurance that these services will sell at the prices they’ve selected). Here’s the truth, the only way to get clear on who your ideal client is, is to start working with clients! The only way to know what the right packages are to offer, is to start working with people in any capacity! The only way to know what the right messaging, branding, logo and company name is, is to work with people over time and get their feedback on the messaging, words, and language that resonate with them. The only way to know if you’ve landed on pricing that feels good to you, is to start changing. The only way to be assured that what you’re doing is working, is to start doing it! Let go of the needing to know the full plan and trust that each step will show you the right next step. This is made easier when you learn the art of detachment. Spend time tapping into trust. Trust in yourself, in your success, and in your ability to navigate anything that happens in your business towards your ultimate success.
Based on your experience and success, what are a few of the most important things a coach should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience? Please share a story or an example for each.
I believe that the one thing we all have in common is a desire to feel seen, heard, and understood. People are at the center of everything you do. Think about the first three phases of the client journey.
- First, people need to become aware that your business exists. What are your awareness touchpoints? For example, perhaps potential clients become aware of your business by finding your Instagram account. Are your posts allowing your readers to see themselves in your content? Do they feel like you relate to them on a deep level? How can you do that in an even deeper, more effective way?
- Next, people need to consider your business. This is where your audience confirms that you are a credible expert who knows them, their challenges, and the results they want to achieve inside and out and that it will be an excellent experience to work with you. Are you nurturing relationships with people who become aware of your business in a way that provides them with all of this information? Are you using their language, acknowledging where they are, and helping them experience what it will be like to work with you before they do?
- Finally, are the different ways that people interact with you, from awareness through delivery of your service and beyond, “user friendly.” I often see coaches make decisions about platforms they use, the way they accept payment, and how they hold their sessions, based on what works best for them but, at all times, you should be asking yourself what works best for your clients.
Create a full experience that consistently allows people to know they are seen, heard, understood, and cared for fully.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business, and particularly in coaching. What are the best ways for a coach to find customers? Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
Coaches have trouble generating leads because they are trying every single thing, never giving any one strategy time to work and, therefore, believing that nothing they are doing is work.
One of the first things I tell my clients is to make the decision that it all works, that any strategy they select will work, so long as they work it fully. This allows them to pick one way to generate leads and go all-in on it, allowing them to go into it deeply, producing results that match their actions.
Until you are generating the revenue you want consistently, you are in the “business building” phase of business, meaning the best way to generate leads will be a revenue generating activity such as networking, public speaking, or vendor/exhibitor tables. Note that networking can happen offline and online but online networking is not posting on social media. Rather, it’s commenting on other people’s posts and reaching out to them to connect in tangible, authentic, and ongoing ways. Speaking includes speaking to established groups, organization and associations as well as running your own events and hosting live, interactive, videos.
No matter which way you choose to generate leads, be sure that you have an “all-in” strategy for nurturing those relationships. (All-in meaning you pick one way and do it effectively, wholly, and consistently.) For example, running a Facebook community or sending out a newsletter regularly.
My “all-in” strategy involves speaking to build awareness of my business and cultivating a strong community on Facebook in The All-in Entrepreneur. I’m “all-in” on getting, and leading, speaking engagements and then, no matter how people become aware of me, my goal is to have them join my Facebook community so that I can deepen the relationship with them over time. By the time someone schedules a sales call with me, they have all of the information they need to know that they want to work with me. The call is simply to confirm that I’m a good fit for the problem they are having or the result that they want to achieve.
I suggest choosing one way to build awareness of your business and one way to nurture relationships once people have become aware so that they get all of the information they need, before ever getting on a call with you, to know that you are who they must work with!
Coaches are similar to startup founders who often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to end up burning the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to your fellow coaches about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting their business?
I believe that you can have a very successful business if your business improves the lives of others. However, I believe the only way that your business can be sustainable is if your business improves your own life as well!
Here’s an example of what that means. You may think that once you hit six-figures in your business you can work fewer hours but, if the process of getting to six-figures in your business includes you working around the clock, then the continued success of your business will be dependent on that staying the same.
It’s important that the process of building your business matches the experience you want to have after you’ve realized full success in your business ventures.
For me, a successful business means that I’m able to prioritize my health, cultivate relationships, and have fun. This means that the process of building my business must prioritize my health, relationships, and enjoyment of life! Every day, I ask myself: “What is one thing I can do today to: Prioritize my health? Cultivate a relationship? Have fun?” My answers are in alignment with my time and energy situation that day but, whatever the answers are, I prioritize those actions! For example, one day my goals were to drink eight (8) glasses of water, call my mom, and meet a friend for drinks
One of the best ways to protect your physical and mental wellness is to make the process of building your business match whatever you want to be true once you’ve reached your goals!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
There is an existing project that I have volunteered for called “Sidewalk Talk” started by Traci Ruble and Lily Sloane. Listening is a lost art. Technology not only distracts people but it creates a false sense of being connected to others. Sidewalk Talk provides volunteers whose only job is to listen to the people who sit across from them. No judgment, no advice. Just listening, reflecting back, and staying curious. If I could expand that initiative, helping more people feel heard, seen, and connected, in a variety of formats and in a way that creates an ongoing connection, the ripple effect in the world would be incredible.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I’d love to curate a small dinner party to which I’d invite Gary Keller, Judy Robinett, Joey Coleman, and Austin Kleon. Gary Keller’s book “The One Thing” speaks to me on every level and we’d become best friends (I’m certain) chatting all about getting more by doing less. Then Judy Robinett would kick in with some incredible advice on being a super connector and cultivating lasting relationships, which would get Joey Coleman to chime in on how to use all of that information to create unforgettable experiences for your clients. Austin Kleon would make sure that we challenge our traditional ways of thinking throughout the entire thing so that all of us come out of the evening with innovative and world changing ideas. A power team for sure!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can learn more at RitaMadeMeDOit.com, join The All-in Entrepreneur community, or follow me at @RitaGoodroe on Facebook, Instagram, or Clubhouse.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!