5 things I learned about setting up a coaching business as a military spouse
www.jillwestcoaching.com Written by Jill West, Jill West Coaching May,3, 2019
My Story I gave up my career as a Sales and Marketing manager when I had my daughter and also to accompany my husband on his many postings. To say I felt lost and lacking in identity for years would be an understatement. Without the corporate jacket, I just did not know who I was supposed to be. Fast forward 10 years I am a qualified Personal Development and Stress Management Coach and founder of Jill West Coaching. These are the 5 things I have learned from my own journey.
1. When you are feeling lost and are at home not working keep studying. I dragged myself through a CIM Professional Marketing Diploma I did it through a distance learning course and I can honestly say it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The main reason I kept going even though I did not have a direction at that point was I knew one day I would return to work therefore it kept me feeling professional and gave me something of my own to be proud of. Now I am running my own coaching business my Marketing skills have been invaluable. I look back now and think ahh.. that's the reason I sat up all those late nights trying to make sense of it all.
2. Use the career break as an opportunity to find something that you really enjoy. I was fortunate and still am to have a supportive partner. When I returned to work I was able to re-train in coaching. I love connecting with people and if I am honest that was the main part of my role as a hotel sales manager that I really enjoyed. Generating sales and justifying my existence every month eventually took its toll on me. I now get to do the work I love to do every day. My mentor summed it up perfectly for me he said "your old job sounds dehumanising. It’s not a great life. What coaching and marketing combined with these digital platforms will give you is the opportunity to build something meaningful and a brighter life. Let’s embrace it.”. Indeed I will.
3. Understand re-inventing yourself takes time and effort. Studying to be a coach has taken time and dedication, but for me, it is the mind shift from I am a stay at home mum who once was a Sales and Marketing manager to I am a Personal Development Coach helping people to create better lives that has been the most difficult transition. I definitely have my coach supervisor to thank for helping me along the journey.
4. Do your research. Whatever you decide to do you need to do your research to understand your ideal customer, your competitors, the market and how to reach them. When I started I decided I wanted to niche my coaching for women and called my business "New Woman Coaching". It all seemed to fit as my daughter's initials were N.E.W and I really enjoy coaching women. However, I had not done enough research and two things happened. First, when I started networking I realised that the Personal Development space for women in Oxford was very crowded and secondly when you put New Woman Coaching into Facebook search my face appeared above a very X rated photo not quite sure how this happened but it did! I was shocked, and a bit concerned about the coaching people might think I was offering. So in response, I followed my intuition completed further training in Stress Management and renamed my business Jill West Coaching. This has served to provide me with a Stress Management niche and allowed me to stand out in a crowded market for all the right reasons.
5. Find a tribe of like-minded people. I have consumed thousands of hours of content on Facebook but it has led me to be part of some amazing and supportive groups. Being an entrepreneur can be very lonely so finding like-minded people is crucial if you want to hold onto your sanity. On Facebook, I am in groups for Marketing where I have been able to practice my Facebook live skills in a safe and supportive environment, mind set groups where I have been able to focus on getting my energy in flow, and finally the #SMSpouses Facebook page which has provided me with a mentor and the opportunity to apply for a free social media course. Without these groups, I would really have struggled to stay connected to my goal of starting a coaching business to help people create happy relaxed purposeful lives.
So if you are a military spouse considering setting up your own business and are trying to figure out life after children I hope that these tips have been helpful.