Be yourself! — I have grown to learn that you are your brand. People buy people and therefore it is imperative that when setting up an online coaching business that you are yourself. The right people will be attracted to you and those people will more than likely become your ideal clients. Do not try and be someone you are not; you can’t keep that false pretense up and people will see right through you. Not everyone is going to like you and that is OK, you just need to direct your energy to the ones that do.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lizzie Laws, Empowerment Coach.
She chose to use the global pandemic as an opportunity to inspire others and is now helping uninspired female millennial embrace their individuality by crushing gender stereotypes, realising their worth and living a life of fulfilment on their terms. How? Through the power of online coaching.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Growing up I was known by the locals as ‘the girl who plays football’. All my friends were boys and I did all the things a young boy would stereotypically do. I refused to own a Barbie doll and instead I climbed trees, spent my weekends up the skatepark, played Super Mario on my Game Boy and had football parties on my birthday. I was the ultimate 90’s kid who didn’t have a care in the world.
I didn’t really enjoy school expect for my Physical Education lessons. I always got my homework in on time and got good grades but if I had the option not to go to school, I wouldn’t have. I never really fit in. I struggled with my identity. I didn’t follow the crowd. I guess you could say I stood out. At that age though I hadn’t quite mastered the art of not caring about others negative opinions of me! I remember having a careers advice meeting in my last year of secondary school and filling out an online test which generated a job I would be most suited for as a result of the answers I gave. A fork lift truck operator. Now there’s nothing wrong with being a fork lift truck operator but I knew in that moment that I was not going to be someone who gets told by society what I will and won’t do with my life. I was always going to take a different path.
Football was my main passion and I competed at a high level for most of my teenage years. The football pitch was where I always felt most at home. My parents would drive me all over the country to matches, tournaments and various trials. I represented my county and at 16 took a different direction in terms of my education. Most kids in my year group went on to a regular college but after a vigorous selection process I was offered a place at the the Arsenal Ladies Football Academy and moved away from home for two years. I was coached by England legend Kelly Smith and got to train everyday alongside some of the best female footballers in the country at the time, many of whom have gone onto be professional footballers and represent their countries at international level. I found myself surrounded by people who respected me for who I was and it was around this time in my life that I realised I was gay. It was only really at this stage of my life that I felt able to be completely comfortable in my own skin.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
‘Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport’.
It was 2015 and I had been working as a Prison Officer for 6 and a half years. I was dictated to by an unsociable shift pattern, I had less opportunity to have the social life I desired because of it and I was simply uninspired. My friends were getting engaged, married, having families and buying houses and none of that was even on my radar. I’d look round at my work colleagues who had been in the same job for years on end and I thought to myself ‘I don’t want to be sat here in 20 years’ time talking about the good old days.’ I knew that I was the only one who could change this feeling, so I followed my heart. I made the scariest decision I’d ever make. I was about to leave everything I knew; my friends, my family and my safety net as I took a career break to go travelling. Some people thought I was crazy, others were envious of my courage to walk away from what didn’t serve me, many people didn’t understand why I’d want to leave the life I had and then there was the most important opinion of all and the only one that I really ever listened to, my Nans. I’ll never forget the day I told her about my plans. She always had a passion for life and simply told me ‘do it while you can love’. So, with that in mind I booked a one-way ticket to New Zealand and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. All I had to my name was the backpack on my back and not always knowing what my next move was going to be excited me. I was pushed that little bit further out of my comfort zone every single day.
So, 15 countries, 3 USA summer camps, 1 Canadian fall camp, 6 blogs, 2 arm sleeves of tattoos, volunteer work, a sky dive, a bungy jump, numerous road trips, some questionable life decisions (I like to call them learning curves!) and endless memories later I returned home a reformed woman. Empowered, strong, independent, relentless and with a new sense of self-worth, I could achieve anything I put my mind to. Taking the decision to break free from my comfort zone ultimately changed my life, it made me realise that I was in complete control of my happiness and that only I could write my own story.
My best stories are 100% found between the pages of my passport.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The Coaching Masters Podcast. The guys who run this podcast are also the founders of The Coaching Masters who I did my life coaching qualification through. Every week they discuss a different topic on all thing’s life coaching related. They are fantastic. They produced some great material through the pandemic as well helping people with their mindset, something which is so important especially when times are tough. They got me through my gym sessions and drives to work on many occasions. Motivating, thought provoking and honest. They were one of the reasons I joined the Coaching Masters Community in the first place because as founders they were so relatable. Because of the impact The Coaching Masters have had on my life, I am now an ambassador for the company too, helping inspire others who have an interest in becoming a life coach to become part of their unique community.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I have always been hard working and learnt the value of money from a young age. I built up my CV doing retail work, waitressing, football coaching and then at 21 I became a Prison Officer. Overnight I had to step up into the role of a negotiator, leader, counsellor, educator and role model. Every day I went into work not knowing what I was going to be faced with and in my 6 and a half years in the role working with female and young offenders, I’d dealt with more trauma and adversity than some people experience in a lifetime. In 2015 I took a career break to travel and, in my years working abroad I gained experience working in a number of fields. I spent a summer at a disabilities camp in Virginia, another summer delivering a job readiness programme to underprivileged teens in California, a summer in charge of a group of international staff at a camp in New York and a fall season in Canada as an outdoor educator and weddings host! I also worked as a llama trekker in New Zealand which is an experience I will never forget! I also worked in schools and colleges in pupil support roles and did a lot of 1:1 work with students with learning difficulties. I returned to the Prison Service in 2019 and changed my role from a Prison Officer to a Business Administrator. Working mostly in human resources and training, my incredible experiences travelling soon became a distant memory. Then the pandemic hit, and everything changed.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
2020 — A year most will remember for COVID-19. For me however, it was the most influential year of my life to date. I had learnt over the years to be my biggest cheerleader and I would back myself in every race but on this occasion, life hit me square in the face and I was unexpectedly diagnosed with anxiety and depression. There continues to be this stigma around mental health but the reality is, anyone can be affected by it at any time, no matter who you are or how great you feel like your life is going. It’s something we need to talk about and not be ashamed of and I was not about to be beaten. I found myself in a position where I had no option but to use every ounce of inner strength and resilience I had developed over the years to turn what many could see as a negative situation into a positive one. If there is anything I have learnt about myself it’s that I know my worth, I do not give up and I will never ever settle for anything less than what I deserve.
This is where I found life coaching. I became part of an online community which literally changed my life. With the support of the incredible life coaches around me, I threw myself into a journey of personal development and growth and am proud to say that I am now an Internationally Accredited Empowerment Coach. I complimented this qualification with a Travel Coach Certification which allows me to incorporate my passion for travel into my coaching. I have set up my own online business, something I am incredibly proud of and through my online coaching programmes I now get to use my life experiences to help people become the best versions of themselves through the power of online coaching. It took me a while to narrow down who my ideal client would be but it was important for me to really resonate with the people I wanted to help. So now, I help uninspired female millennials embrace their individuality by crushing gender stereotypes, realising their worth and living a life of fulfilment on their terms.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
I watched an online training video on life coaching and in that moment, I thought ‘this has me written all over it’. Why would I not want to work on my terms, whilst helping others and living a life that others only dream on? I hadn’t felt the feeling of freedom I had whilst travelling since being back in the UK, and this felt like the ideally opportunity to combine all my passions into one. So many of us spend our lives working in a job that we don’t enjoy and where we would be replaced within a week if we dropped down dead. Why do we settle for that? I knew this was my opportunity to take back control of my life and really make a difference.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Really well! I am now an Internationally Accredited Empowerment Coach and am an Internationally recognised Travel Coach. I am gaining momentum and working with my dream clients. My next goal is to be at the stage where I can ditch the day job and move into full time self-employment. This will allow me to take my business with me anywhere in the world, as long as I have wi-fi! I’m excited to see what the future holds and even more excited to help all my clients along the way.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My Nan has been my inspiration throughout my life. I used to spend so much time with her as a kid and would always go round and see her on my lunch breaks at work. I idolised her. She was the one who gave me the courage and confidence to go travelling back in 2015 and to live out my dreams. In 2018 however, she lost her battle with dementia and I lost my best friend. My world was shattered. I will always be forever grateful that I was able to be by her side as she took her last breath. In that moment of adversity, I took strength in knowing that she would have wanted me to carry on living my life on my terms. The one thing we are not guaranteed in life is time, so with my Nan in mind I always strive to make the best of every situation I find myself in. She is my drive, my inspiration and the reason I will do everything I can to succeed.
I am also eternally grateful to my partner for her ongoing support. For standing by me whilst life got tough, for being by my side and being my biggest cheerleader throughout my new venture. Her belief in me has inspired me even more to make this new path in life a successful one and create a life of freedom that we can both benefit from.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
During my years of traveling the globe I met so many incredible human beings. People from all walks of life, cultures, backgrounds, all with a common passion — filling their soul with adventure. I struggled for years when I returned home not being surrounded by the positivity and zest for life that I had become accustomed to abroad. That all changed when I found life coaching. All of a sudden, I found myself immersed in a community filled with passionate and unique individuals who shared similar values, who wanted to help others and who had a drive to succeed. I felt like a spark had been ignited in me again. It’s easy to fall into the trap of negativity and lack of ambition if you associate yourself with similar minded people. To me it just reconfirmed what I already knew — that you should always surround yourself with people who are going to take you higher.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t try and do everything — When I first started on my new venture everyone was telling me ‘every coach needs a coach’. I thought, surely not?! It turns out this is so true. Every good coach that I know has their own personal coach to hold them accountable and keep them grounded. I have recently invested in my own business coach and it has been the best decision I have made in terms of moving my business in the right direction.
- Collaboration is key — It is easy when starting up your own business to want to do everything yourself but I have learnt that collaborating with others is key to increasing your authority and getting your name out there. I have been on a variety of podcasts, talking about my story and increasing my visibility. It’s a great way to network and get yourself in front of other people you might not already have in your audience.
- It is imperative to have a niche as an online coach — When I first started out as a coach, I wanted to help everyone. But then I realised the importance of having a niche. Working with clients who you are passionate about working with makes coaching so much more enjoyable and rewarding, and you will get them the best results. I worked hard on nailing down my ideal client avatar and because of that I now get to work with my ideal clients. The content I put out on my social media is geared towards my ideal clients, which in turn attracts them to wanting to work with me. It’s a win win for everyone involved!
- Be yourself! — I have grown to learn that you are your brand. People buy people and therefore it is imperative that when setting up an online coaching business that you are yourself. The right people will be attracted to you and those people will more than likely become your ideal clients. Do not try and be someone you are not; you can’t keep that false pretense up and people will see right through you. Not everyone is going to like you and that is OK, you just need to direct your energy to the ones that do.
- Imperfect action is better than no action at all — As a perfectionist myself I struggled with this at first when I started up. In order to grow your online coaching business, you have to be visual. Social media platforms are a great way to increase your audience. The thought of doing a Facebook live months ago made my skin crawl. I wanted to plan it to perfection, write up everything I was going to say beforehand and practice it before going live. When actually, this isn’t reality. You’re human, nothing is ever going to be perfect and the best way to push through that fear of it not being perfect, is by putting yourself out there and taking action. Once you have done a few, you won’t think twice about hopping on and engaging with your audience. Imperfect action wins every time.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I have found having a routine has massively helped me through this pandemic. I make a list the night before of what I want to achieve the next day as it gives me a purpose and a sense of accomplishment as I tick those things off. I tend to start my days off early instead of lying in. A good breakfast always helps me feel ready to attack the day ahead. Daily exercise in some shape or form is great to get the endorphins pumping. Whether that be a home workout, yoga, a brisk walk or going to the gym (when it’s open!). I am a huge advocate for personal development so would encourage anyone to invest time on themselves. Whether that be reading a book, listening to a podcast, doing some online learning (there are lots of free courses available on the internet), or even getting themselves a life coach! I find a nice bath at the end of the day helps me unwind and allows me to get a solid 8 hours of sleep.
Most importantly right now though, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself every now again to that takeaway or watch a new series on Netflix. This year has been tough and has affected everyone in some way shape or form. If it’s taught us anything it’s that we don’t know what is round the corner so we should absolutely do more of what makes us happy and fills our soul.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My work is inspired through my personal experiences. I am an openly gay women. I have played a male dominated sport all my life (although female football is definitely on the rise). I worked as a Prison Officer, a job that many would associate with being a male dominated profession (this couldn’t be further from the truth). I broke away from my comfort zone and backpacked solo around many countries solo. I have set up my own online business.
The world is changing and more and more women are becoming high flying professionals in their fields and living life on their terms. However, whether we like it or not, gender stereotypes do still exist.
I want to inspire women to embrace who they are. Every single one of us is unique and has something to offer the world. I want women to crush gender stereotypes, realise their worth and live their life on their terms. We only have one life and it is our responsibility to live it how we want to. Nobody should get to their death bed with a list of regrets. I want to empower women to take action and start making their dreams a reality.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
P!nk — I just love what she stands for. She stands up for what she believes in. She cares about kindness. She empowers people to live their truth. Her music inspires millions of people all over the world and I’ve always been such a huge fan of not just her music, but her as a human being. We need more P!nks in the world!
How can our readers follow you online?
You will find me on Facebook or Instagram — Lizzie Laws
I also have my own website — www.lizzielaws.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!