Coaches are powerful people and the industry is magical, so be tenacious. Remember why you started and keep adapting.
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 Sequoia Craig.
Sequoia Craig is a web designer and SEO expert for coaches. As the founder of Sequoia Craig Design, she helps coaches grow through organic growth and growth hacking. She currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her partner and their two pets.
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 took a unique series of turns to get into the world of coaching. About four years ago I was managing two retail stores and wanted to learn more about the business world. I found a business coach online and asked about an internship and a week later he offered me a full time job. He also started training me to become a coach (because that’s what I thought I wanted to do), but I realized it wasn’t for me. I quickly discovered how passionate I was about the technology side of coaching; the part that many coaches are terrified to embrace. Ultimately I left his business and started my own. I call myself the bridge between coaching and technology.
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?
The most important trait that I have learned is to be authentic, with myself and others. Listening to what I want has been the most powerful thing that got me to where I am today. If it weren’t for my authenticity, I’d still be managing that retail shop and unaware of how to manage my emotions.
The other two traits that come to mind are integrity and being open minded. As a business owner, coming from integrity is a powerful thing. It means being confident in what you are doing/selling. Being open minded and open to growth is crucial for leaders in any field. To me, growth is what makes a leader.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
Building healthy habits has allowed me to be consistent. One of the best habits for me is going to bed early. I know it sounds silly, but waking up early allows me to be productive first thing. Plus then I get to stop working early and enjoy a half day.
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?
Not to be redundant, but consistency. Consistency in business is underrated. Being able to show up ready to go every day is impactful. My clients and my team rely on me as a leader, and my habits help me to stay in the place of a powerful leader.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
There’s that factoid about the number of times you have to do something before you know it… something like 60. Repetition. And at the same time, building habits is HARD, so be gentle on yourself. Perfection is a false concept, so I have to create space for myself to mess up. I didn’t go to bed as early as I wanted to last night, but that’s ok, I’ll try again tonight.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
My great grandfather said, “Conceive of life as a bumpy ride- then act with your eyes on the sunny side. Make light of that which has gone away, but cherish and love what is here to stay.” I love the message of being optimistic and living in the present.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I’m getting ready to launch some new services for coaches. One that I’m really excited for is a website audit. Most coaches “DIY” their own website, so I’ll be able to offer them feedback so they can take their website to the next level at a low cost.
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.
- Hire a coach.
This is my #1 for two reasons. First, you can’t do something if you don’t know what it is. Learning what coaching is, how the industry works, and what it feels like to be on the client end will allow coaches to build out their practice based on what works (and what doesn’t work). Second, coaching is all about growth and transformation. If a coach hasn’t gone through that transformation themselves, why would someone hire them to transform them? Answer: they wouldn’t.
- Know your ideal client.
Coaches spend too much time focused on their niche and not enough time on their ideal client. The ideal client should inform everything that goes into a coaching practice.
- Create a marketing plan.
This goes with number two, but without a solid plan, coaches will not be successful. Being present on social media is one thing, but it’s not a whole plan. One of the main complaints in the coaching industry is the lack of consistent clients. The reason: they have no plan to actually get consistent clients.
- Know who you are and what you do.
Too many coaches try to be successful without establishing what sets them apart. What is the problem you are solving?
- Have determination and flexibility.
The industry can be extremely difficult to navigate. Without the right attitude, any new coach will be squashed by imposter syndrome, overwhelm, and uncertainty. It happens over and over again. A new coach is excited, but ill prepared. And they aren’t ready to fix what isn’t working. Don’t be that coach. Pivot and adapt — now!
What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
The biggest mistake: thinking it will be easy. Coaching is not easy. Sure, there are coaches who make millions and make it look easy, but for every one of them, there’s 5000 more who are thinking about quitting. Coaches are powerful people and the industry is magical, so be tenacious. Remember why you started and keep adapting.
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.
As someone who has been trained by coaches, worked for coaches, worked with coaches, and hired coaches, the best customer experience is when the coach embodies what they are sharing. A coach who is aligned, sets & holds boundaries, and is authentic with me makes the coaching experience that much more powerful. Being able to see the transformation take root is almost like seeing into the future. That’s why hiring a coach is such an important step in my opinion.
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?
Of the coaches I’ve met and worked with, the most successful ones seem to all come from the place of sharing rather than selling. Providing value first establishes trust with potential clients. And of course, know your ideal client. Where are they hanging out? What types of content are they consuming? Unfortunately, marketing is not a one-size-fits-all, but I will say that video content is POWERFUL for coaches because it provides more insight into what you do.
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?
If you are burnt out, overwhelmed, or depleted in your coaching business, go hire a coach. Coaching is all about well being so don’t let your business take precedence over your transformation.
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. 🙂
I’m really passionate about balance in business. The movement that I would love to see/contribute to would be about honoring our own time, as well as employees time, and encouraging work/life balance. I used to work 40+ hours a week and it was awful. Now I work about 30 by choice. With all my being I believe in half time work for full time pay. No one should be working more than they are playing.
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 talk to Billie Eilish. Her attitude and authenticity is so inspiring.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My website is sequoiacraig.com and you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok: @sequoiacraigdesign.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!