5 things i learned in my first year as a coach

In this episode, you’re going to get the inside scoop on 5 major lessons I learned in my first year as a coach. Number 4 will save you years of heartache in your business!

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5 things i learned in my first year as a coach

13 minute read

In this episode, you’re going to get the inside scoop on 5 major lessons I learned in my first year as a coach. Number 4 will save you years of heartache in your business!

#1 niche down - cash in.

Niching down is the best thing that could have ever happened to my client schedule and my bank account. Before I got into coaching. I was working in the branding and creative marketing space and I was a scrappy, Sally. I was doing everything for everyone. If you needed video editing, no problem.  You needed branding, a website, copy-writing, you name it, and I could do it. I spent a huge amount of time in my first business inventing processes and doing things on the fly and I positioned myself as ‘the girl who could do everything quickly and affordably’.

And so, one of the lessons that I carried right into my first year of coaching was to niche down from the beginning. Not doing this in my first business was a costly mistake and I locked myself into being everything for everyone – at the cheapest possible price – which meant working insane hours for hundreds of clients – and somehow still not being able to afford to pay my bills on time. 

The truth is – you are not a bar of chocolate, you are not going to make everyone happy. And it’s far better for you to look at – “Who would I love to serve? Who would I be so excited to wake up every day and get to work with?” – and start there.

Next. look at: “What is the biggest problem that I would like to solve for my people?” Because your audience is looking for an expert. Imagine, that you just found out that you had a brain tumor that was going to cut your life real short unless you did something about it. I can almost guarantee you that you would not be headed off to the GP, you would be headed straight for the brain surgeon to go and get that thing checked out and removed so you can live to sip many more margarhitas. 

Your audience is no different. They’re looking for that expert to lead them. Niching down is going to allow you to tap into those premium prices, where you get to play in a space where you are seen as the expert at one thing for one market and this is what you get known for. This is what people pay the big bucks for.

So why was niching down early the best thing I could have done for my bank balance as a coach?

Well, when I transitioned from my creative marketing business into coaching, I was really clear on who it is that I wanted to be working with. I had a solid idea around what problem I wanted to solve for my people.

And because I was focused, and my message clearly communicated that I was the expert at delivering one specific outcome to one specific kind of person, in the space of less than 90 days after closing my business, and starting something entirely new with a brand new audience (which started at 0), I was booked out with clients. 

This is the power of having a niche and being seen as the expert in your space. You become absolutely magnetic to your dream clients. 

Stop trying to please everyone. Pick a lane and cash in. 

#2 your offer is going to change

Lesson number two was a tough one. And I lost a lot of hours in my first year of coaching because I had no idea how to navigate this one – until I learned things the hard way. #schoolofhardknocks

Your offer is going to change. So, whatever you’re selling right now, as a coach, consultant, or maybe even as an online business owner, it’s going to change. It is going to evolve.

And when you’re new it’s so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to get everything perfect before you start selling your offer because you’re a little nervous about your delivery. You’re nervous about, things like – can I get these results for my clients? – and often there’s this feeling of needing to overcompensate because of that lack of clarity and confidence around your offer.

So, what do most entrepreneurs do? They make the same mistake I did. I spent all of my free time designing beautiful workbooks and spent hours working through the night filming course modules for my coaching clients before I’d worked out the kinks in my offer.

I spent months building content and trying to map out the perfect framework. And the funny thing was, a year later, what I learned the hard way was that my entire program would change – and all those workbooks were left to die in the archives of my Canva account. RIP.

As you continue to see more and more clients, you are going to keep tweaking and evolving your processes so you can get faster and better results for your clients.

So the reality is, that if you’re trying to get everything perfect and beautifully packaged before you launch – you’re making a colossal mistake because your offer is going to change – a lot. Heck, sometimes you might even find that it changes entirely.

So, my advice to you if you are building a new coaching program, or you’re dipping your toe into the world of online business, is that your goal should not be to start with a perfect product. Your goal should be to be able to surrender and accept that done is better than perfect, and focus on building what we call an MVP.

MVP stands for ‘minimum viable product.’ Your minimum viable product is the minimum amount of deliverables that you can share with your clients to get them the result that you promised.

So, if you’re a coach, for example, this could look like having those one to one sessions on zoom, and NOT initially including things like workbooks, extra recordings, guided meditations and a video vault, because as you continue to get more and more experienced, what you will find is that your entire process will shift.

My process has shifted so so many times in the five to six years that I’ve been in business that it’s unbelievable. And it has always shifted for the better. My offers got clearer and more powerful, but for it to have been able to evolve that way I had to be in a state of surrender. I had to let go of this idea that it had to be perfect before I launched it.

While building my first program, I had to learn not to jump ahead, and to be okay with acknowledging my worth and understanding that whatever I was going to share, I was going to trust would be enough for my clients to get results – even without a hundred fancy workbooks.

The goal of your MVP is to test your concept, and see if people will actually pay you before you invest in all the bells and whistles.

The fancy stuff all comes later – once you’ve validated your concept and you know that people will throw money at it.

So, my challenge for you is to look at your relationship with perfection. Are you able to surrender and let go of perfection and drop right into your value?

Here’s your new mantra. Tattoo it on your forehead:

Done is better than perfect.

Trust that what you have is enough for your clients right now and evolve incrementally as you go instead of building a monster program or offer only to learn the hard way that’s it’s going to change over time – or even worse, that it’s not an offer that your market even wants. You don’t want to burn out by trying to keep up with perfecting your offer’s constant evolution and wind up losing the energy to keep improving it.

Be flexible, and do not try to have everything perfect before you start or you’ll be disappointed.

#3 mentorship is priceless

Mentorship is priceless. I made it my main objective in my first year as a coach to find a mentor that had gone where I wanted to go – and that was a values match for me.

These factors are super important because there are hundreds of wannabe psuedo gurus who promise you that you’ll make millions online and be able to ride your Ferrari into the sunset next week.

Results are important, but so are values.

Early on, I had an experience with a phenomenal coach. But what I found is that we had a values misalignment. I am someone who values having time to experience my life beyond my business. Being an entrepreneur on the hustle-wheel is not the end goal for me. But unfortunately, it is for many other entrepreneurs who are wanting to be on the hamster wheel, hustling it out seven days a week. And I respect those people, I have huge amounts of respect for the creative output they’re able to generate. But it just isn’t a values match for me. I had to find a mentor who had gone where I wanted to go in the way that I wanted to go.

My Gary-V-Esque mentor just wasn’t going to cut it because our values weren’t on the same page. Although I had big goals, I didn’t have the desire to be working seven-day weeks in my business.

Choose wisely.

The biggest gift that mentorship gives you is that having a mentor means you have a way to sort through all of the information that you’ve been accumulating about marketing, sales, your offer your niche, your transformation – and everything else in between, because all that information piles up and can get pretty overwhelming.

And many people think that more information is the answer to their problems. They’ll go read another marketing book or buy another online course full of videos. The information builds up – and when you don’t have a tool to help you accurately sort that information and make sense of it so you can create a plan that is simple enough to execute, you will find yourself locked in a state of analysis paralysis, and not getting anywhere in your business.

Finding someone to help you sort your information, build a plan, and get into action is so much more valuable than piling up the info.

Now, on that note, I want to share that enrollment for the Booked-out Beautifully experience is officially open. And this is my signature experience that will teach you exactly how to generate piping hot leads, sell almost effortlessly, and deliver a kick-ass experience to your clients, you’ll get my exact framework for how to fill your schedule with clients plus how to do that and still have enough time left over to enjoy it all. Yes, I’m talking about you three-day weekend.

So, if you are a coach, consultant, or online service-based business owner who wants to fill your schedule with clients, then this is for you.



#4 you must have a plan to scale

You need to have a plan to scale from the beginning.

When you get into business, it can be easy to get swept up in the constant hustle and bustle of all the stuff that you need to get done in any given day. You’re seeing clients, you’re marketing your business you are studying, and growing as you go. And as entrepreneurs get caught on this hamster wheel of ‘busyness’, what often happens is, many will inevitably end up building themselves a shiny prison without realzing it until they hit a wall of burn-out.

Now the reason for this is because they don’t take the time to create space to plan and look at answering the question – ‘what is it that I want from my business?’.

And in my first year, as a coach, I got caught on this hamster wheel big time where I was just so concerned getting my business off the ground that I went from having zero clients to a fully booked schedule in less than 90 days, and my business pretty much continued on that trajectory going forward.

And as I got more and more caught up and serving my clients, and continuing to build out systems in my business, and drive myself forward, I began to lose sight of where I wanted to go with my business. And what I found was that, because I had so many clients, and I’d been taking crazy amounts of action I hadn’t taken a moment just to think about where I wanted to go, and whether or not what I was doing was making me happy.

And something that I’m so hugely passionate about, and that I teach on so frequently is lifestyle design. Because I’m a big believer that we did not get into business just to replace our nine to five jobs. I don’t know about you guys, but I believe that if you’re reading this, you are probably sitting on the same side of the fence as me. And we, unfortunately, don’t take the time to think about what will make us happy. And the truth is that this is going to be so different for every single one of you reading this post.

I needed a plan to scale in a way that would allow me to not only survive in my business but to thrive, hence the name of my podcast.

I needed to create the space to look at, ‘Okay, great. What is the plan for growth?‘ Because at the time, I was so stuck on that hamster wheel that I was growing, but I wasn’t asking questions like ‘Where to next? How do I build a legacy from this business?’

And the truth is that if you don’t carve the space in time out to think about these things, you will stay on that perpetual hamster wheel forever. You see this with people who get to the point in their businesses where they’ve got enough clients and life goes on, and the week becomes a blur until the weekend.

I want to be deliberate about how I’m building my business so that I’m able to do the things that excite me and live my life in a way that I want to.

And what I learned very quickly was that you must have a plan to scale.

Maybe right now you’re a one-on-one coach, or a brand designer. Maybe you’re a fridge organizer. Yes, that is absolutely a thing. And there are six figure fridge organizers out there in the world right now. No judgment in the space. Whatever it is that you do, you’ve got two options to scale.

You might be someone who enjoys the idea or the model of keeping your operation small. Because the truth is not everyone has aspirations to become the next seven-figure face of Forbes. Many people just want to monetize their passions and be able to do what they love every single day and have enough time left over to enjoy things like spending time with family or pursuing hobbies.

Now, on the other hand, there are entrepreneurs out there who are going ‘scaling is for me, I want a massive team, I want global market domination (pinky and the brain style).’

But you’ve got to think about these things at the very early stages. So, you can figure out – ‘Is my business model, right for where I’m going?’ Because if you want to scale through size and numbers, and you want to have global market domination and seven figures rolling in, you cannot be offering a service where you are operating like Fred Flintstone in your business.

One of my mentors use this analogy and I loved it. So, I’m going to steal this from Kate Gray. Kate talks about the fact that you are like a Flintstone in your business when you don’t have the systems to scale. If you remember, they had these little cars right made of stone and their legs were sticking out of the bottom and they were running to ‘drive’ their cars.

And if you are the be and all of your business, running that car manually, and you do not have systems and a team to scale, you are not going to be able to reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself.

Your business model is very much just like a recipe. It’s like trying to bake a chocolate cake with a carrot cake recipe. It doesn’t matter how good the ingredients are or what a phenomenal chef you are, if the recipe is broken for the outcome that you want, if the business model is not a good fit for where you want to go, you will not get there. You’ll find yourself burnt out or find yourself frustrated because somehow it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you’re just not hitting your goals.

Now on the other hand, if you are someone who is wanting to keep your operation small, the way that you would scale is through your price point. And this looks like – okay, great, you have booked out your services, which is amazing. Congratulations for hitting that milestone, but the trick is not to continue at that frenetic pace forever.

The trick is to see that you have such a large demand for your services, that you are then able to step into more and more premium pricing. And as you continue to serve your clients, your price continues to increase because, by that stage, you’ve got beautiful testimonials under your belt, you’ve got the experience, and you’ve got the delivery confidence.

The trick to scaling while keeping your operation small is to keep incrementally raising your price point. So, you can see fewer clients. And this is particularly true if you are doing one on one models, or if you’re delivering the service yourself.

If you are a brilliant illustrator or brand designer, and you want to do that work forever, amazing. But to keep your sanity and increase your prosperity and the quality of work you’re able to produce – because keep in mind, if you are seeing fewer clients think about how much more attention you can give every one of those projects – you don’t want to make the mistake of filling your schedule, and then sliding into working for work’s sake, when you could be continually increasing your prices.

This way, you begin to free up your time, and therefore free up your life to do more of what you love. While feeling financially supported.

If you want to grow your operation to scale you’ve got to look at, do I have a model that can scale? Am I in a position where I can look at outsourcing things to a team? Is that where I want to go? And if you’re sitting here right now, and you’re brand new in business, and you’re thinking, Okay, this is a whole lot of stuff, I want to rewind for a second and just allow you to think about this. Because if you are not thinking about what kind of cake you want to bake, you are very likely not going to pick a model (recipe) that supports that.

So, I’m sharing this with you today because I wish I wish that someone had shared this with me, not only in my first year as a coach but as a business owner from the very, first day that I started. And this is something that we go into detail in inside the Booked-out Beautifully Experience where we unpack all these different models. So, you can see what it is that you desire. And what model matches that desired lifestyle and outcome.

That means looking at things like how many hours do you want to be working in your business? Do you want to work with a team or not? Are you a lone wolf or team player? These are all important things to consider. And this is why lifestyle design is so so important as you move into the world of entrepreneurship, because otherwise, you may find yourself in a business that is jam-packed to capacity with clients like I did, but also really unhappy because it just wasn’t the key to unlocking the lifestyle you wanted. You wanted chocolate cake – and baked carrot cake instead.

And this is a mistake that I made in my first year as a coach. I had no idea that my business model could not sustain me in the way that I wanted it to because I didn’t explore other options. And that’s why I’m sharing this with you today.

So it’s your job to get clear on what kind of cake you want to bake. So, you can find the recipe, i.e., the business model to get you that outcome so that you don’t end up building yourself a pretty prison.

#5 disconnect from the matrix

Now, before you freak out and backpedal – I’m not going to be taking you down a whole conspiracy rabbit hole here. That is not my intention with this episode or my podcast in general. But what I do want to share with you is that disconnecting from the matrix i.e. learning to disconnect from this constant stream of information, advertising , and social media is one of the greatest keys to success and sanity as an entrepreneur.

By disconnecting, reducing your usage of social media, and your overall consumption of information. (And that includes programs, courses, social media posts, by your favorite mentors, etc.)

You learn to stop consuming all of the stuff that’s thrown at you by default and you start to get deliberate. You start creating space to trust yourself; to hear your inner guidance, so you’re able to find your next steps without relying on the instruction from someone outside of you.

Because in this world that is so dominated by social media feeds, and Instagram likes, we need space to breathe and to think, and to tap into ‘What is my unique medicine for the world?’ Because when you’re in the state of functioning like a sponge, you are constantly consuming other people’s content, and filling yourself up with other people’s opinions. You don’t have a filter in place at all. You just take it all in.

And if you stay in consumption mode, you are not in creation mode. Because the truth is that you cannot consume and create in the same moment. And if you want to become a leader in your field that your clients can trust, and ultimately, an expert in your space, you want to step away from being the consumer – consuming all of this information, advertising, and social media content, and instead, become the deliberate creator of content and your own reality.

When you become selective, you suddenly start to hear your own voice and you find your unique flavor. There are so many copycat coaches and business owners out there who begin to sound like carbon copies of their mentors because they’re consuming all their content – and not thinking for themselves and creating from their hearts.

Information can be amazing when it comes to moving us forward but there is this fine line we cross when it drowns out your inner voice, and your own experience.

This hit me hard in my first year as a coach because at the time I was not as confident as I am now in my business journey. I had low self-belief in terms of, ‘Hey, I can do this. I trust myself; I trust my powerful story. And I know I can get results for my clients.’ And at the beginning, I started just like everyone else does in business – not having that confidence and having to build it from scratch.

I was looking for answers all over the show, outside of myself. And yes, very often new information was exactly what I needed to move forward. But there came a point in time where I realized that everyone is trying to figure out their business journeys too. Nobody is perfect, not even the most powerful mentor that you have in your space. They’re only human just like you. And they have access to the same stuff that you do. The same inner knowing, the same ability to connect to their own story and speak from the heart.

This awareness gave me the biggest gift where I learned how to disconnect from the matrix, and stop the loop of constant comparison that was stopping me from taking action and moving forward.

I began to find my own voice; I began to create much more powerful content for my audience because I began to speak from my heart. And from my experience and my wisdom, instead of filtering things through everything that I learned from my mentors. I want to be an original, I’m not a carbon copy. And if you are reading this, I believe that you are an original too, and you have a powerful story to share with your audience.

So please do not dilute your message by trying to contort yourself into a shape that is similar to someone else, or because you think that that’s what the world wants to see. The truth is the world wants to see you. They want to hear your story because that is your power.

Disconnect from the matrix. Stop unconsciously consuming the information of the masses. Start creating and you will notice an extreme boost in your creativity. You’ll begin to discover your own flavor, your voice, your unique energy signature that will magnetize people to you. And this is one of the key secrets to filling your schedule with clients.

P.S. Whenever you're ready...

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Written by
Megan 'land more clients' chalidis