Many coaches feel embarrassed if they aren't coaching full time - especially in the early years of building their business. I've written in the past in support of the humble bridge or part time job - for me those jobs I did in the early days meant I was able to make mistakes and grow my skills and audience while still being able to feed my family and avoid personal debt.
In this blog post from Rachael Blair, she explains just how her part time job as helped to fuel and sustain her coaching passion - and given her a lot more besides the regular income.
"I've come to know Jo through her wonderful Facebook community, The Coaches Collective, which Jo describes as feeling "like a gorgeous tea room filled with comfy sofas, a really cool bookshelf and the best array of beverages (your choice)". She encourages everyone who joins to think of it as "your co-working space and creative salon." I couldn't have put it better myself.
The comfortable environment Jo provides means that those in the group are open and honest about sharing the challenges of working for yourself, and I know that many are already working full or part-time while they grow their businesses.
Now, there's no shame in working for security while investing in your passion but in some circles I've noticed that many budding solopreneurs are reluctant to admit to having a 'J.O.B' while they allow themselves to grow. That has been me, too, in some instances - afraid to share the fact I started working part-time again last year, in case people stopped taking me seriously... But a few quick questions to my current and previous clients reveals that actually, being honest about it either made no difference to them at all or put me in a favourable light, for sharing more or my truth and so increasing trust (and therefore the connection) between us. You can't argue with that! So, I thought I'd put out there how I came to my current part-time role, and the positives of what this gives me as I build my business.
A forced start
A long time ago, when I was on the NLP course that started me on this journey, I had a vision - it was basically one of me now (but with much a fancier office!), writing and coaching as a career. I wasn't ready to go for it then - it seemed so far into the future - but I did start to take steps towards it. Slowly. Teeny tiny baby steps like changing my role to one that involved more writing and allowed me to coach, and taking on occasional private clients. It wasn't until 2014 though, when I was made redundant, that I truly embraced this vision and Writing | People | Poetry was born.
Feast and Famine
For a while I was golden. I had a writing/communications client on retainer and was getting the odd coaching client. But I was a bit complacent and when I lost my retainer client I panicked. The 'famine' period I knew would come was super stressful and, even though I knew I could cover it, that stress didn't motivate me the way I thought it might! My marketing efforts came from a place of fear and smacked of desperation. You can imagine how well that attracted clients (it didn't). So, I took a step back.
I decided to look for a part-time job that either included my passion or supported it. I held out for something that really fitted with my values and was lucky enough to find these guys:
Half of the week I work with this lovely team, and the rest of the time for myself. It's a beautiful balance that allows me to take stress-free time out when I need it to create and re-create (my Proudly Imperfect Parents e-course might not have happened otherwise!). I also get to write stuff on a regular basis that totally sits with my personal values, for a team who support all of me, to do what I need to do to follow my passion. Here's a little of what else this 'J.O.B' (oh but it's so much more than that) gives me:
- As well as communications, I also do admin so it reminds me to keep on top of my own admin - easy to forget when you're in the middle of exciting creative projects!
- It's a small team, so we all get to know how the business works and are included in major decisions. This has taught me a lot more about what's involved when it comes to running a business and what my own strengths and weaknesses are
- Everyone in the team is passionate about what they do, both at work and outside of it, and the team, clients and friends offer a wealth of inspiration and motivation
- The super flexible working policy (most of the team work from home, most of the time) means that I can adjust my hours for childcare, sickness and any other unexpected events just as easily as I can with my personal business and not lose any income...
- ...and if I want to take time out to create something, or do extended training for my CPD, I don't need to worry about whether I have the income to cover it
- Finally, it's a WordPress web design agency and I use WordPress for my own website! So although I'm not there yet, I am learning a lot more about the things I need to consider when I'm ready to update. It's all win-win.
I'm sure there's even more I'm learning that I can't think of just now, but that will become apparent as I use the new skills I've developed.
So, you see there is no shame in working for someone else while building a business (plenty of the big names we know today did the same for years!) and it might even serve you more in the future than you can imagine just now.
Do you work part-time, and if so, what are the positives and/or learnings from your job..? I'd love to know!"
Rachael Blair is a writer, poet and life coach (not necessarily in that order), who loves to create real connection through the wonder of words. Through copywriting, she connects small, heart-centred business owners to their ideal audience. As a coach, she works from a place of real connection, providing gentle support to increase your confidence so you can overcome overwhelm, let go of perfectionism and achieve better balance in work and life.