Look, I am a business coach who absolutely get’s my clients to think about their motivations, their mission, their values, to create movements that matter, but there is one thing over and above the big WHY…and that’s your little whys.
Bare with me.
Why do you need to fill your programme or get new 121 clients this month?
To pay your mortgage
To get a return on investment for the time, energy and money you have spent so far on your business
To buy a new computer
To employ a VA
To pay for the kids new school uniform
To get a new kitchen refurb
To pay for the wedding
To feel like you are valuable
To prove your neigh sayers wrong (love this one)
When you have a mission that other people can relate to, it helps to show people who you are, it creates bonds, it creates good will, and you find your peeps.
But if you neglect your own needs, or disproportionately focus on the long term goals rather than how you are going to put food in the fridge this week, or afford to take a week off work to avoid burn out…then guess what?
You are going to lose the love you have for the cause….and that doesn’t help anyone.
When I set up my plus size fitness business I genuinely did care about my mission. I wanted to get a million overweight and inactive women running, I wanted to address the inequality I saw in the sports world, I wanted to talk about the fear of judgement that puts so many women off running.
I still care about all of that stuff.
But sometimes I put the cause ahead of my own needs. I launched programmes that were far too cheap. I overdelivered. I underpaid myself. I did things for major organisations for peanuts in the hope that one day they’d offer me a proper seat at the table.
I remember a bloke who ran his own successful fitness empire say to me
“Don’t be a crusader Julie…Remember the crusaders all died”
Now there is nothing wrong with a bit of crusader energy when growing a business, it’s one of the archetypes in my Tribe Leadership Archetype System...but he was right, you can burn out, get angry and lose the energy needed to keep going.
Your needs matter too.
Getting your needs met by your business is super important. It’s called a return on investment. And that could be money, it could be the opportunity, it could be support, profile, acknowledgment….whatever you want and desire your business to give you…it all counts.
It took me a good few years to make my fitness business financially viable, but in the mean time I secured around £100,000 worth of value…free clothes, free overseas trips, invitations to posh places, equipment, inkind support etc…and without that stuff to bring a little bit of joy into my life in the early days when things were tough, I may well have given up.
I also think there is something about sharing your smaller whys with your clients, bringing them with you on your journey. It’s why we ask people to shop local because we then get to make an informed decision about where our funds go.
Do you want to help someone buy their 3rd home, and contribute to their bitcoin empire, or do you want to help someone create real financial stability for them and their family once and for all…oh, and a puppy lol (Rose, my 8 year old wants a puppy)
Now this is never to say its about creating a sob story or even a rags to riches story, but when we let people know the true story of our business, and what we are trying to create…beyond the bigger world mission, I think it reminds us all that we are humans running businesses…not just strangers on the internet trying to flog our stuff.
We start with the value that we give as a business owner, the thing we have that others want or need, (for me it’s audience building and getting traction in your business) and you create a fair value exchange. I help you build your business using the skills and expertise I have acquired over the last 20 odd years, and the money you pay me helps me further my goals…knowing that we are creating a ripple effect far beyond that initial exchange of cash.
Doing good in the world and making money are not mutually exclusive.
Your BIG mission is no more worthy that your smaller ones.
When COVID hit the UK 12 months ago, and we all went into lock down I was scared. I was scared that the hard work of getting myself out of the financial mess that 4 redundancies and a failed relationship often creates, would have all been in vein.
I worried that I wouldn’t be able to compete with the more well known business coaches who were slashing their prices and giving away all of their stuff for free…I mean they could, many of them were self isolating in their big old houses.
I couldn’t afford to do that…and I wasn’t willing to either.
I developed a very simple strategy for moving forward…THE TRIANGLE OF NEED.
You…yes YOU…are right at the top (or at least should be)…because you matter the most…yes seriously, and then helping your clients and the world more generally are below to the left and right of you…creating a glorious win, win, win energy…neglect your own needs at your peril, I have seen so many people do that over the years.
And while I’m here on my soapbox.
Serve not sell….BOLLOCKS.
Far too often I see women in particular overgiving, undercharging, offering freebies, swapsies and discounts, because they are being told they have to serve the needs of their clients to build up trust and goodwill.
When you grow an engaged audience of people who respect your time and expertise, and understand the value you bring to the table. They will happily buy from you.
What do you need today…and focus on that.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist, tribe leadership expert, and creative business mentor. She helps solopreneurs to build profitable AND impactful business using community at their heart.
In 2020 she worked with more than 3000 clients, using the Triangle of Need as her guide.
This week she is launching an exciting new programme to help folks up their audience game, and by folks she means coaches, experts, speakers, consultants, therapists and creatives…anyone who knows that not having an engaged audience is costing them money, and limiting their impact.
The earlybird “Preview Tickets” are available until Friday at midnight.
Can you remember what the hourly rate was for your first job?
Mine was £1.50…YES one pound and fifty pence an hour.
My job was waitressing in my local Wimpy restaurant at aged 13….serving clients, and clearing plates. But it wasn’t the first way I ever made money though. Oh no.
I’d already had a paper round, delivered taxi cards, washed cars, baby sat, done my neighbours ironing…and probably a few other ways too.
You see, I was one of 6 kids growing up in East London, and there wasn’t always enough money to go round. So if you wanted something that Mum didn’t have the money for, or wasn’t likely to buy even if she did, you had to get a job.
I wanted a Gameboy more than anything when I was 11 and so my Auntie hooked me up with her circle of girlfriends who needed babysitters, for while they were all at the local pub (5 minutes away) for one activity or the other, bridge, quiz night, karaoke, you get the idea.
And I bought the Gameboy (highlight of my childhood for sure)
But when at aged 13 I wanted a CD player, and needed a more regular income for the essentials like black school tights, deodorant, tampons, and of course the latest stationary from Woolworths, the regular weekend job at Wimpy was a godsend. I worked all day Sat and Sun, and the occasional evening after school…on occasion I also dressed up as Mr Wimpy for children’s parties…which got me out of loading the dishwasher.
My weekly wages never exceeded £40…but hey £40 a week for a 13 year old is LOADS!!!
I have never been work shy, and I have always been interested in the various ways I could make money, and so when a couple of weekends ago while helping my sister move home, my uncle who was the designated van driver (who I hadn’t seen in close to 2 years) asked, “So how do you actually make your money?”
I answered “as an online business coach”, for ease…but actually it’s not as straight forward as that and when I added up all of the different ways money comes into me, turns out I currently have more than 20 different income streams.
I thought it would be fun to list them all out.
So this is my ALL THE WAYS I MAKE MONEY blog…enjoy!!!
My Plus Size Fitness Business
I set up Too Fat to Run in September 2010 as a blog, and turned it into a business in 2013 after being made redundant from my job on the 2012 Olympics. It isn’t my main source of income right now, but I still make money from it and am currently reviewing where to go next after taking a bit of a hiatus during COVID. I grew this business to 6 figures using predominantly £25 products and services, and also as an “influencer” I received around £100K of free holidays, services, and products.
I trained as a coach 2 years ago, and life coaching was a nice bridge between what I was doing in my fitness business with women, and what I now predominantly do. I still have a few life coaching offerings though and really enjoy this work
Stop Playing Small Programme (on hold at the moment)
Dream board workshops
The Big Fat Wellbeing Experiment £90 (we are on day 47 of 90)
This makes up around 90% of my income these days, and has been my focus the last 2 years. My turnover increased by 160% in 2020, and I worked with around 3000 business owners. My model currently is mainly group programmes, challenges and masterminds, with some 121 coaching. I am simplifying my model a little bit this year, but last year I launched 15 different offerings. I have put the prices next to some of these to give you an idea of the different price points.
Tribe Leaders Lounge™ £5000+VAT (Launches in April)
Unstoppable VIP Mastermind £10,000+VAT (Opens again in December)
Speaking (Keynotes, Training, Guest Expert for other peoples programmes)
I also make money from recommending products that I use. This started in my plus-size fitness business and also recommending my fav books on Amazon, but now it’s more often tech products. These are the ones that probably make me the most money. And yes if you click on these links and go on to purchase I might get a financial kickback at no additional cost to you.
Kajabi this is the all in one platform for where I host all of my trainings (if you register for this via my link do let me know as I have a special thank you)
Leadpages I use this to build quick sales pages and opt ins
ConvertKit I use this for sending out emails. Its free for your first 100 subscribers I think
Products and Services in the Pipeline for 2021 and beyond??
ha ha…all of the ideas lol
Watch this space
I hope this has been helpful.
I am on a mission to demystify online business, and get rid of any of the embarrassment business owners sometimes feel as they grow their business. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right business model. Sometimes you have to test and pilot things to get to what the best solution is.
PLUS the mother fucking world keeps changing lol
Could my model be simpler? Should yours be? For sure. But we get to set the rules in our business and do what works for us.
I know I’m not normal. I’m a disruptor, I am a maverick, an alchemist, an ideas machine. And thats why business coaching is the perfect job for me, because as well as being able to be playful and just try a heap of different thing, I also love nothing more than gifting ideas, concepts and formats to my clients and the world more generally.
Julie Creffield is a Tribe Leadership Expert, Community Engagement Strategist and Creative Business Coach with more than 20 years experience of developing audiences, and scaling movements that matter. She is based in East London and has an 8 year old daughter, and a mischievous ginger cat called Tom.
She spent the first decade of her career working on large cultural projects such as the London 2012 Olympics, and with organisations as diverse as The Met Police, Sport England and The Royal Opera House, managing multi million pound budgets. She now supports experts, coaches and consultants to grow profitable and impactful businesses with community at their heart. If you’d like to find out about the programmes, products and services coming up for business owners and leaders get in touch via email@example.com set up a call (chin wag) to discuss how she can help you reach your business objectives
This is a post that I have wanted to write for most of the year.
However, have put off writing it through fear, through a concern that I was adding to the noise somehow, making things worse for women, that maybe I wouldn’t be believed, or I would be accused of making it up, or not telling the whole story.
That’s how people stay quiet.
It’s a tactic that has been used against us for many many years, and it’s why it’s so damaging when we use it against one another now.
Last week was tough for women, all women, and for as many women who have spoken up about their experiences, wanted to take action, pulled panels together, ramped up their mission-led work, there are as many again who are just too damn exhausted to give anything of themselves in the pursuit of change.
I probably sit somewhere in the middle.
There have been so many things I have wanted to say, so many sides of the fight, the racism, the memories of abuse, the lessons of “it’s your job to protect yourself” and oh look you didn’t…so now accept the shame of the attack and the added shame of “I told you so”.
The mixed messages are everywhere.
Be free, but be careful
Take risks, but listen to your gut
Have a voice, but don’t shout, swear or say anything unsavoury
I’ve been thinking about and speaking (where it feels safe) about the topic of shame in business for most of the year. I think it was a hangover from last year, having a financially successful year in a year where so many others struggled; combined with a couple of specific incidents that happened at the start of the year where a small number of people questioned my ethics.
“You should be ashamed of yourself making money from vulnerable people during this time”….and for context, this was a £25 product, not someone’s life savings. And then having a double whammy of being told by another business coach “you shouldn’t judge someone who is on a low wage” when I shared my frustration in a closed group. FYI…I buy £25 products and am not on a low wage.
We are all entitled to our opinion, and to voice our views on things…its called feedback, and sometimes its asked for, and some times it most definitely isn’t. A cautionary tale about getting to big for your boots, standing out…it always ends in tears right?
We are supposed to toe the line as women.
The narrative is often that we should grow slowly, stay under the radar, be humble, share the wealth, do good, don’t rock the boat. Oh and we should also stay silent when people do shitty things, because nobody likes a tell tale, nobody likes a snitch, nobody likes hearing about playground fights.
There is a lot of shame knocking about in the online business world.
It shows up in us as anything from a slight unease to crippling anxiety…as a result of anything as pedestrian as not understanding a piece of software or an acronym everyone else is using, to having to accept you have just wasted £3000 with a coach who used hard-sell tactics and now you have realised this isn’t what you need, nor what they promised at all.
Then there’s the…”OMG there is someone else in my industry doing the same thing as me” panic, using the same tagline “SHIT which of us was using it first?” and the “Oh no we are launching at the same time” and the “Are promos allowed in this group?” and the “We are using the same VA, who does she like more” the list is endless and the impact exhausting.
And the worse thing? Every time someone writes this kind of stuff about another coach, or writes those annoying cryptic messages like “What goes around comes around, this is a small world lol” posts, a lot of women in the coaching world will be like “is she talking about me?”
I’ve heard unethical stories this year about coaches that would make you wince, would leave you standing with your mouth agape, like “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”, coaches who say they stand for one thing, but have been caught red-handed doing the absolute opposite, and covering their tracks with follow up/counter attacks of unethical behavior, or reputation ruining threats.
This is not a post about the coaching world being broke…because actually it’s not just coaches…and I don’t think the industry is broke, just maybe a little tired of the same bullshit…ready for something different.
Brene Brown in this absolutely incredible podcast episode talks about the difference between shame, guilt and embarrassment….and it changed everything when I listened to it 2 weeks ago, in fact, I listened to it through twice, just to ensure it went in.
When someone tries to shame you into thinking, feeling or doing something that suits their agenda, they not only attempt to take away your power, but they can trigger old shit that forces you into fight or flight, which sometimes means you don’t check your own behaviour and act in ways that are out of alignment with your core values.
They can make you second guess yourself, look for other examples where someone once said the same or similar…even if twenty years ago in a completely different context. And they know that the layers of shame, the accusations or threats they throw your way will keep you silent…and that silence stops you from finding other people who say,
“Me too…that happened to me too…she did that to me to”
You thought it was you, but actually, it was them. Well, actually it was both of you. But now you can at least look subjectively at your role in letting them affect you in that way. And now you know better, you do better. You protect yourself, you work on having better boundaries, you listen to your gut.
Have I been guilty of behaving in ways I would have preferred not to in life and in business over the past decade, for sure…and if you tell me you’ve never made an off judgement, or a decision that didn’t pan out as you expected, then you are a flipping liar. The point is when you make a mistake you get the opportunity to learn from it and address it, you get to feel bad for the behaviour not for who you are as a person.
When folks call you names, and make false accusations, like their shit don’t stink in an attempt to assassinate your character they do so knowing full well this is not about your behaviour, but about their response to your behaviour and how it made them feel…it is often to do with a lack of control, a sense of not being safe, or a worry that they will lose power or be seen differently by others.
And that sucks for both of you because it leads to feelings of disconnection, abandonment, mistrust, and loneliness…in a time when what we crave is the opposite of those.
So what is the solution?
I think it is about damage control.
Due diligence when it comes to hiring or working with a new coach or service provider
Knowing that not everything is always as it appears
Watch what people do, not what they say…tune into their energy (if something feels off…it always is)
Being clear on your expectations of others and of yourself
Having legals in place that protect both parties
Learning to slow things down and have conscious conversations
Being super clear on your mission, and reminding yourself of it
Knowing that not everything or everyone is for you
Using the unsubscribe and unfollow buttons OFTEN
Picking your team, your mastermind, your influences carefully
Building in support that you can trust inherently
Wow that turned into a long one, and I ran out of puff lol.
Its 22.11pm on a Monday night, I have been up since 6.30am and I am done.
These 3 months have felt like the longest of my life…groundhog day unlike no other. The gift of uninterrupted time has been great for focus and productivity, but not for self care and mental health.
But there is hope on the horizon. Change is coming. I guess it’s time for people to work out what role they want to play in that change. It takes all of us. It takes the creation of safe, collaborative, spaces of co-creation and quality communication. We don’t need any more top-down hierarchies…and trust me there are other models.
Watch this space.
Julie Creffield is a Tribe Leadership Expert, Community Engagement Strategist and Creative Business Coach. She is based in East London where for the past 20 years she has been working with hard to reach groups to bring about change.
Working on large cultural projects such as the London 2012 Olympics, and organisations as diverse as The Met Police and The Royal Opera House, she now supports experts, coaches and consultants to grow profitable and impactful businesses with community at their heart. If you’d like to find out about the programmes, products and services coming up for leaders get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org