A vision or North Star — This is what will get you out of bed in the morning when you’re wondering whether it’s worth it! Everyone’s vision will be different. Maybe it’s the desire to travel more or buy a new house or work 3 days a week.
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 Jo Bendle.
Jo Bendle is a Coach and Mentor for Women in Business and the Founder of The Meant for More Movement®. Jo helps women get clarity, focus and motivation so they can step up in life and business and claim the more they know they’re meant for.
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?
After 16 years in the corporate world, I escaped in 2012 and started my own business. I had been working as an Executive Assistant and I couldn’t ignore this gnawing feeling that there HAD to be more. I just felt that there was something missing. I wanted something more, I wanted something different and I wanted to be in control of where and when I worked. Every day sitting in commuter traffic in London thinking, surely this can’t be “it”.
Having grown up with a family business I had always wanted to be my own boss, but I had no idea what I could do. Whilst employed I had dipped my toe into running my own business, but it was time to go all in and see what I was really capable of.
Armed with a massive dream to build a business I could run from anywhere in the world I set off on the biggest adventure of my life (and having travelled extensively around the world as a solo backpacker in my 20’s I have been on some adventures!), but nothing could have prepared me for the entrepreneurial adventure.
A few years into working for myself I left my life in the UK and achieved my dream of being a location independent business owner. I then spent 3 years travelling the world with my laptop, growing an international audience and speaking on stages before outgrowing that dream and buying a home by the sea in Malaga, Spain.
I spent the first 9 years of my business as a Productivity and Mindset Coach supporting 1000’s of women in business. Now as the Founder of the Meant for More® Movement I help women finally get out of their own way and step up in life and business.
My motto: You didn’t come this far…to only come this far!
Building a business has taught me so much and not just about growing a business. I’ve faced fears, worked on my mindset, gained massive amounts of self-awareness, been courageous, taken risks, felt elated (and then deflated!) and made the most incredible friends all around the world in the process. It’s been an incredible experience and whilst it may have challenged me in all the best ways, I’ve loved it.
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?
- Belief (mixed with action taking): You have to have the belief that you can create a different life for yourself. When I started my business, I lived in the middle of the UK, hours and hours away from the sea. I had a dream to start my mornings running along the beach. I now live by the sea in Spain. I remember writing out a Future Vision of the things I wanted to create; be location independent, speak on stages around the world, live by the sea. All these things came true within a few years because I kept that vision in my mind, believed it was possible and took focused action again and again to make it my reality.
- Commitment & Determination: Showing up for my dreams no matter what. Every single month, even when I hadn’t hit my goals, re-setting and trying again. I never gave up. I refused to settle for less and I kept committing again and again to who and what I was becoming.
- Courage: The courage to do things differently. Not everyone around you will understand your choices. I’ve had to be brave and believe in myself and the life I was focused on creating, even when others didn’t “get it’’. Having the courage to take risks and trust myself has been a massive part of my growth.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
I am a big believer in success habits and the main things that have kept me on track and able to keep growing are:
A Morning Ritual: Setting myself up for success every morning. Literally stepping into the shoes and embodying the thoughts and actions of the woman who goes after her dreams. That looks like getting up and moving my body, doing a thought dump to clear my mind and re-committing to my priorities for the day.
Setting Monthly and Weekly Goals: I use my own “Purposeful Productivity” system which holds me up when things get busy. Being clear every week what I am working on (and knowing it’s directly related to my monthly, quarterly and longer term goals) is non-negotiable. I always know what to focus on, I always know why that’s my focus and who I need to BE to pull it all off.
Be the type of woman who shows up for herself.
A Weekly Date with myself: Once a week, usually a Friday or a Sunday, I have a date with myself, a “CEO Date”. I review what worked well and what didn’t work so well. I then get super clear what my goals are for the next week and schedule when I will be in “work mode” and when I will be in “play mode”. Every week I set myself up for focused success. This weekly date is my secret weapon and creates next level awareness.
A lot of people TALK about doing this and think it’s good in THEORY. I’ve built my business by actually doing the things that work.
Self-Care: Every single week I set personal goals alongside my business goals. If I’m not looking after my health and wellness then my business is going to be limited to how far it can go, and that’s not ok. Self-care is built in so every week I am also taking time for myself. Planning meals ahead of time, scheduling when I will work out or have fun with friends, and then showing up for what I say I will do are part of this process.
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?
Your current reality is a result of your habits. What you spend time thinking about and doing will determine what your life looks like in the future. Your habits will literally create your future!
Be honest with yourself (confronting I know!), are your current habits going to create the life you desire in 18 months’ time? Are they the habits of the person you want to be? The habits of someone who priorities what’s important?
It’s confronting stuff building a business and makes you look at who you are BEING.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
Don’t try and change everything at once, start by introducing one new habit at a time. It’s about repetition, our mind needs to repeatedly do something until it becomes a “habit”.
Stephen Pressfield talks about building the “pro” muscle versus building the “amateur” muscle and I love this concept. Like going to the gym, the muscle you focus on building is the one that gets stronger. In your weekly CEO Date, really get honest with yourself; did I focus on growing the Pro muscle or the Amateur muscle more this week?
I love giving myself 30 day challenges to get new habits started and using habit tracking apps to keep me accountable.
A few simple habits, done on repeat, really can change your life so get intentional about this. It matters.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
I love quotes and use them a lot to get a powerful point across. The most relevant for this article is:
“People do not decide their future they decide their habits, and their habits decide their future” — C M Alexander
This really did hit me hard when I first came across it, our habits will decide how we feel and what our life looks like. It’s a powerful reminder to be more intentional with our daily thoughts and actions. Having that big vision for your life and then getting clear what habits you need to get there is going to change the game.
Another one I use a lot to get out of my own way is: “Do something today your Future Self will thank you for”.
I love thinking about how well I’m setting up Future Jo. I have so much gratitude for Past Jo, all her courage and decisions and action taking mean that I get to live by the sea in Spain running a business I love.
Now my focus is about setting up Future Me for even more success and happiness. It’s a fun way of getting out of your own way and doing the things you know will impact your life and business positively.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am in such an exciting place in my business. The Meant for More® Movement has been approved with a registered trademark which is really exciting. After spending most of my life feeling like something was missing and having worked with a lot of businesswomen who felt the same, I know that this message needs to be heard.
Giving us all permission to not settle and instead, admit that yes, we do want more, and that feeling like this isn’t selfish. Imaging the ripple effect of more women stepping up and claiming more from life.
For you it might be more freedom, impact or fun. Or feeling more comfortable in your own skin. It’s ok to want more, let’s stop ignoring that nudge inside us.
Everyone’s “more” is different and that’s the beauty of this movement.
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.
As I look back over my journey in business, I would say the most important factors were:
- A vision or North Star — This is what will get you out of bed in the morning when you’re wondering whether it’s worth it! Everyone’s vision will be different. Maybe it’s the desire to travel more or buy a new house or work 3 days a week. Or maybe it’s more mission led where you have a strong desire to impact people in a big way — this is your inner motivator and your why behind everything you do. Use your North Star and your core values to create something that lights you up from the inside.
- A growth mindset — Having the willingness to experiment and try things even when you don’t have all the answers. Be prepared to take risks, to get uncomfortable and to embrace imperfect action. This was the best permission slip I ever gave myself all those years ago….to show up imperfectly and learn as I go. It’s ok that it feels messy sometimes and that you don’t always have clarity on your next move. Action brings clarity and confidence. Don’t wait until you’re ready and don’t believe everything your mind tells you. Retrain your brain every single day to focus on your North Star and making it your reality.
- Focus — Finding a way to stay focused on something long enough for it to get momentum is one of the hardest things we have to navigate but it really is where the magic happens. There will be distractions everywhere, your job is to stay focused on what matters. Decide what you’re working towards, get clear what your next step is and go all in on this. Create a “Not Now” list so that any new ideas can go there and not distract you because one of your biggest challenges will be having lots of ideas. Giving something 100% instead of giving 5 things 20% is where the big growth happens.
- Surround yourself with the right people — There is no way I would still be on this journey if I hadn’t surrounded myself with other women on the same growth journey as me. People who get it. If the budget is tight, get an accountability buddy until you can justify joining a group program or getting 1:1 mentoring. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Don’t expect your family to do that for you. This journey was not meant to be taken alone and its way more fun with others.
- A proven system to get results for your clients. Focus on helping others rather than a money goal. Over the course of 9 years, I have created different frameworks to help my clients get results. I still use my own battle-tested Meant for More Methodology because you literally rinse and repeat it with every new level you step into. I have a proven system that gets results for my clients.
You have to get really clear how you can take someone from where they are now, to where they want to be. Then turn it into a system or process and practice again and again until it becomes your signature thing that you can become known for. This also makes it easier for people to recommend you. When I started my business, I didn’t have all this clear, it came from taking action, from putting one step in front of the other, from speaking to others and finding out what their struggles were and from noticing what was working for me.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Resisting routine and structure because we all have a story about wanting to start a business to have more freedom. This was me too until I realized having time freedom and location freedom isn’t really any good without financial freedom. When I started embracing routine and structure that’s when I started to create more financial freedom too. Freedom really does come through discipline. A hard one for us to accept but oh so true.
Growing a profitable business isn’t that glamorous. You need to consistently do a few things on repeat. What most people do is get stuck in over-thinking, wanting things to be perfect, waiting to feel ready. Just start and trust that every step is taking you closer and closer to where you’re meant to be.
Too many ideas and not sticking with something long enough for it to gain traction. Or getting bored before something got a chance to become what it was destined to become. You have to give something a chance to build momentum.
Not getting the right support. We are not meant to take this journey alone. The mistake I often see when people invest is thinking someone else has all the answers when often what they truly need is support to find their own more aligned path. There isn’t one “golden ticket” solution.
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.
Taking the time to really understand your clients. How they feel, how they want to feel. What their frustrations are. What their dreams are. What’s getting in their way?
If you’re just in it for the money, then there may come a time in your business where you realize you’ve built something that isn’t fulfilling you.
Really caring about your clients isn’t something you can fake.
Also, as a Coach it isn’t our job to get the results for our clients. Try not to fix them but instead support and enable them to get their own results.
Part of my role is to activate my clients and to remind them what’s truly possible. For you it might be a safe and calm space for them to work through something that’s troubling them. Create a space that’s going to facilitate their growth and be fully present with your client. Remember we can’t do the work for them and that’s not our role.
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?
It’s really important to show up authentically in your business. Be real. Be authentic. Be you.
People are craving human to human connection more than ever so get out there and be more “You”. The more “Jo” I am in my business the more I attract my perfect clients.
You can be brilliant at your “thing” but you won’t grow a successful coaching business if you’re the world’s best kept secret! Be intentional about finding clients and being visible so they can find you.
- At the beginning of your business journey, tell everyone you know what you’re doing and ask them if they know anyone who needs what you’re offering.
- Throughout your growth keep surveying your ideal clients and get really clear what they are struggling with. Create something to help them with one of their struggles so they can start to “know, like and trust” you. They can see you as the person who can help them.
- Continue to give great value, get in front of new people, and invite them to work with you.
Things that have worked well for me:
- Having a free resource to start the customer journey letting them know you understand them
- Creating an online presence and letting people “get to know me”
- Always giving lots of great value
- Interviewing other successful businesswomen
- Being featured on other people’s podcasts
- Guest blogging
- Networking in FB groups
- Speaking at events and being the guest expert in other Coaches’ programs
Get focused as soon as possible on growing your own audience and building an email list of people to nurture, support and invite to work together.
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?
Having spent many years as a Productivity Coach I can say the number one thing I see people do when they start working for themselves is ditch all the routine and structure that supported them in their corporate lives.
Being able to rely on your habits and routines, your systems and structure is what removes the stress and burn out that can come with building a business.
When you have your weekly CEO date, get clear when you will be in work mode and when you will be in self-care mode over the next 7 days. Having a work schedule is as much about carving out time for time off as it is for getting things done. Growth often happens when you step back and take care of yourself, not whilst you’re chained to your laptop.
Be strict with your schedule. Don’t just sit down at your desk with 5 days ahead of you and a big To Do list.
Your future self will thank you for implementing a bit of structure, I promise!
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. 🙂
Excitingly this is already a work in progress. I created Meant for More® to help women get clarity, focus and motivation so they can step up in life and business, and claim the more they’re meant for.
As a female entrepreneur, we want it all: a successful business AND a fun and fulfilling life but sometimes it can often feel like you’ve reached a limit to your success, and you can’t figure out how to break through it. The Meant for More Methodology is a 3-part framework that helps us keep growing, without sacrificing living life to the full.
It’s hard to go after your dreams when you’re feeling overwhelmed and full of self-doubt. The Meant for More Movement helps women discover what they’re really capable of, so they can have a thriving business — and Netflix or spa afternoons.
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 would love to have a good juicy chat over lunch with Sarah Blakely about big dreams and making them happen.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
The best place to connect is via Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jo_bendle
My Productivity Guide is also a great place to start: www.jobendle.com/5steps
Readers can also head straight to my website by clicking here: http://www.jobendle.com/
And my FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/JoBendleUK
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!