This past week I went to a business growth event. It was targeted toward design and development agencies, but I found some hidden gems about scaling a business past solopreneurship that I know will be perfect for my life coach audience. I want to share them with you.
Right now you’re likely in the depths of hustling your way to solopreneur success. But if your goals are big and you’re truly living into future you, you know you won’t always be solo.
In the next year or two, you’ll likely be hiring a VA (Virtual Assistant), and maybe even other coaches who will work for you. You’ll need to be thinking about what it takes to scale a business to more than just you, and you’ll be embracing all the discomfort that goes along with that.
Keep reading for my biggest takeaways from this event to help you scale past solo entrepreneurship.
1 Scaling a business comes most easily by positioning yourself with content.
In his talk at the event last week, Miles Beckler (the Facebook Ads authority over on YouTube) emphasized published content as the key to positioning yourself and gaining the celebrity authority that will help you when scaling your business. He said:
The only thing standing between you and a line of people wanting to buy from you is really great content.
Look at the celebrity authorities that you know. Jody Moore, Brooke Castillo, and Stacey Boehman all have wildly successful podcasts that have enabled them to scale to the multi-million-dollar level. And you know they didn’t scale alone.
Miles also pointed out a few key problems that people run into when they write or record content. Most of these problems can be overcome, he said, if you think of one specific avatar that you’re creating for. Write for that person. Be genuine. Then habituate the process by making writing or recording a consistent routine.
One question I had for Miles was: how much information is too much to share in my content? Am I going to be giving away too much information?
He responded that there’s no such thing as sharing too much in your content. Give your client base all the information they need to do it themselves. Then they’ll come to you to help them implement it.
I’ve consulted with my clients on this very question. “If I teach them how to self-coach in my free content, then what’s the motivation for them to hire me?”
But the trick for my clients is to teach those concrete self-coaching tools in their blog posts or podcasts. Because you’re charging them for implementation, my friends. Not information. Information is easy to access these days completely for free on the internet. But the implementation is where the business is at.
So, in short, don’t worry about what to write or giving away too much. Just think about what would delight your ideal client avatar, and write for her or him.
My next takeaway is the key to saving HUGE amounts of time in any business…
2 Scaling a business requires established processes.
A process is simply a well-documented way of doing something. Have a specific way you on-board new coaching clients? Setting up Slack channels, sending them canned welcome emails?
When you’re ready for it, that’s the sort of work you can easily outsource to a VA. But in order to get quality results, you need to train them properly how to do it. The best way to train your employees and ensure quality results is to document the process.
The best way to document a process is to screen record yourself taking the task actions with a screen recorder like Loom, talking through what you’re doing. Then save that video link in a Google Doc and write bullet points under it to roughly outline what you did. Store that doc in a file labeled “Processes.” Boom, your first process.
My own mentor, Troy Dean, (who has a multi-million dollar business) has over 140 processes documented in the company’s Google Drive. Any scaled business must have established business processes to function.
I hear you. You’re thinking that processes aren’t important to you right now, little as your business is. But I’ll just throw out that having established (written) ways of doing repeat tasks can save you serious time. You don’t have to scrounge and Google to remember how to do that thing. And it ensures you provide the best experience for your clients every single time.
This last takeaway is the key to being a quality leader in your business…
3 True leaders are shepherds, not dictators.
Cory Miller was another speaker at this event. He’s the founder of iThemes, a hugely successful WordPress theme company. Last year he sold iThemes for what he labeled as “not enough.” Cory is known as an expert on positive business culture, and that’s what he spoke on.
Honestly, Cory was the humblest speaker I think I’ve ever heard. When someone asked how he managed to keep his workplace culture so positive and supportive, he brought up the concept of being a shepherd. Our modern model of leadership is broken, he said, because it so often focuses on manipulation and the authoritativeness of “the boss.”
But showing people you care as their leader goes a long way. Not that you shy away from difficult conversations, but if someone shows up with a bad result when they usually do well, asking…”Hey, are you okay? This doesn’t match up…” goes a long way.
In the case of toxicity in your employee relationships, Cory said to be fair, treat the person like a human being, and then let them go.
Someone also asked Cory about fit vs skill. If someone is a jerk but they’re good at what they do, should I hire them?
Cory responded that you’ve got to want to be around that person whether they’re your employee or not. “Never go with skill over fit,” Cory said. “I’ve met a lot of skilled jacka**es.”
And, he pointed out, if the fit is right – you can teach skill.
So, in short, you may be the boss of your business, but you need to be the shepherd for those you’ll hire in the future. Show them that you care. Treat them like human beings, then set firm boundaries. And never hire for skill over fit.
I hope these takeaways from a business scaling event were helpful for you as a new coach. You might not be ready now, but if you’ve got big goals, before you know it you will be scaling your business. And knowing what it takes now will help your thoughts be prepared to take that leap in the future.
P.S. My biggest takeaways from this scaling event were:
1 The only thing standing between you and a line of people wanting to buy from you is really great content.
2 Scaled businesses have established processes.
3 True leaders are shepherds, not dictators.