Are coaching programs really necessary for the new freelancer?
You’ve decided to take that scary leap of faith.
You’ve decided to leave your full-time job, and try to make it as a freelancer working from home.
It can be due to any reason. Your kids seeing less of you. Your superior micro-managing everything you do. The commute. The stress of leaving your kids at the daycare.
Enough is enough, and you tell yourself that you will do this now, or you’ll never do it.
This decision gives you a heady feeling of self-control and joy at leaving your workplace, but at the same time, in the corner of your heart, there lurks a fear of failure. An uncertain future looms.
You have to make it, you think, no matter what it takes. What better way than to find a really good coaching program and sign up for it? It will be the ultimate investment. You shall hustle your way to a victorious end (being financially independent and being there for your family).
In your mind, the coach is someone who will guide you step by step. Someone who will take you by the hand and tell you what to do next, and next. Someone who will reply to your questions in minutes.
In short, you’re thinking about someone who will guarantee your success in the next six months (give or take a few).
You come across a really inviting sales page and you jump right in — money is no object at the moment. However, you fall flat. Things aren’t shaping out the way they should be — in short, what you envisioned getting and what you’re actually getting are poles apart.
Never mind, at least you’ve learned something here. Onward and upward! You see another promising sales page, and invest. And another. And another. Before you know it, you’ve invested in 5 different coaches, and none of them are giving you exactly what you want. You have 5 different courses or programs completed halfway. Money is running low, and you have not earned anything back yet from these investments.
This is a very real scenario that a lot of freelancers face. This is also a very real fear that they experience.
The good news is, you’re not alone.
The Shiny Object Syndrome
This is the shiny object syndrome, and no one is completely immune to it. Even the best entrepreneurs would have spent over $50,000 on coaching programs before finally finding their way, or eventually landing a coach that knows exactly how to help them.
Even the very act of paying and signing up for a course will trigger your brain to mark or check it as something that has been done, never mind the fact that you have not actually done anything in the course or coaching program aside from paying for it. You feel accomplished.
This is the ‘momentary high’ that a lot of entrepreneurs and freelancers look for – something that makes them feel better about themselves, because they have taken a specific action that addresses (temporarily) their current pain point, whatever it may be.
Back to the question — are coaching programs really necessary when you start out freelancing?
Yes, they are. You will need to tap on someone else’s skills, experience and knowledge in order to avoid making the same mistakes and climbing up that steep learning curve to master the world of freelancing online.
The trick is to know which one to invest in — not an easy task for the total rookie, for sure.
But here are 7 ways you can invest (more) correctly and avoid burning cash you can’t afford to burn.
When signing up for a course or a program (that is high ticket — think $997 onwards) or a group coaching program (think $5k onwards) — these are the most basic things you should be looking at.
- These programs should offer regular coaching calls. It can be once weekly or once a fortnight. Anything lesser than that probably isn’t going to help you much in terms of getting your urgent questions answered. You will lose interest in asking them after a while due to the long wait. You will stop relying on them because you’ve found the answers to your questions yourself somewhere along the way.
- Coaching hours have to match your time zone. I have eagerly signed up for several courses and coaching programs in the past, only to have their Zoom meets take place at 3 am my time. Initially, I was on fire and tried attending all of them, but I was so fatigued I could not absorb what the coach was saying. Disrupted sleep affected my productivity the next day, as it will yours. Don’t do it — it will not be worth it. You’ll end up missing coaching calls.
- Invest within your budget. To make this work, you have to know how strong you are financially. Don’t take up unnecessary payment plans (so popular nowadays!) in the hopes of making some dough within the first 30 days so you have money to pay for the next payment plan. This gives you an extra layer of mental pressure you do not need, especially when the 30th day turns up and you’re still as broke. Spend only what you can really afford.
- What you’re looking for and what the coaching program offers have to be in sync, otherwise you’re going to come out disappointed and resentful. If it’s not something you need right now, then don’t invest. Don’t tell yourself you may need it in the near future. You don’t have a list right now, but this course is about growing your list. Before you let grandiose dreams of having a huge email list sweep you off your feet, focus on income-generating activities first.
- The coaching program should come with a supportive team that is able to reply to your questions and concerns within (at most) 48 hours. Anything longer than that and you’ll start feeling as if you’re really on your own, after all. I’ve been in some expensive (very expensive) coaching programs where questions on Facebook are left unanswered for weeks. There were moments of deep frustration and regret at signing up, something I don’t want for you.
- There should be a Q&A form for you to fill out prior to each call so you can craft your questions carefully and in detail. Try to attend live in case the coach needs to ask you more questions. If attending live is difficult, it is recommended you look elsewhere — sometimes it may seem that this course or coaching program is the best solution right now, but there are many others that will solve the same pain you’re in at a lower rate and with friendlier call hours.
- There should be replays of the coaching calls. Better yet these replays should come with timestamps so you can jump to the section you want to watch immediately instead of having to go through the whole video.
If you’ve been through any of the points above and have felt the same regret, again, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re absolutely amazing for making decisions that will further you along in your freelancing career. If you’re not exactly sure whether freelancing is for you, this article will help put things in perspective for you.
And if you prefer to avoid coaching programs and still get yourself seen as a freelancer, here are 7 ways you can get yourself seen on social media.
Always tell yourself that there are better options out there, and give yourself time and grace to think things through before investing in yet another coaching program. Usually sleeping on it overnight will sober you up very effectively!
Want to read more on the Shiny Object Syndrome? Read this article from Entrepreneur!