Author’s Note: This post about my first client first appeared on the blog for the Becoming a Powerhouse Coach website. This is a sister business, that I am part owner of, that aims to serve other financial coaches. Head over to the website to read more posts from me and my fellow Powerhouse Coaches!
I can still recall the elation I felt when I got my first “YES” from a paying client. My business was less than a month old, I’d just completed financial coach training, and I was being encouraged by others to avoid “analysis paralysis” in starting my business, and just start coaching!
I laugh to myself when I look back at that time. As my paid-for leads started to trickle in, I did all the things they tell you NOT to do when attempting to close a deal: I gave my rate up front (which was ridiculously low) without showing value, I didn’t ask open-ended questions or allow the potential client to lead the conversation, and ultimately, I didn’t have a start-to-finish plan as to how I saw the person working with me.
I learned on the fly. I got a few “No’s” and a lack of response from others, but a few weeks in, I booked a single coaching session! We agreed to meet at a local coffee shop and he would bring payment with him. We sat together for a couple of hours, reviewed his information, analyzed it and built a budget. I mapped out some To-Do’s for him and we parted ways. I had my first official paying client, and he had a game plan to pay off debt while getting his spending under control.
I checked back in with the client several weeks later and continued to follow up every so often. Back then, I did not have many automated systems or programs in place, and eventually I stopped reaching out. And although he said he had wanted to book a follow-up session, he never did. However, he was always on my email newsletter list, and several years later I received an updated on his progress! The plan we had worked on together turned out to be very successful for him, and allowed him to move into a more secure financial position. He thanked me for the time I spent with him in that one session, putting together a budget and a game plan!
Looking back on those early days of Abacus Solutions Financial Coaching, I just have to laugh. We don’t know what we don’t know! But my heart has always been to help people who feel overwhelmed by their finances, and I was doing that long before “hanging my shingle.” In the five years since that first paying client, I’ve invested in myself and my business through ongoing training, hiring my own coaches and purchasing tools and resources that help me to enhance and refine my coaching program. That’s right, I have an official coaching program now, and no longer offer one-off sessions! I hope you can also chuckle at my early days too, and learn from my early mistakes what NOT to do!
Powerhouse Coach Abby Stafford