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Struggling With the Idea of Selling Your Coaching Services? How to Stop Giving Everything Away for Free.

Transcript from the Christian Life Coach Collective:

Episode #8

Today's question is how do I differentiate between what I give as a coach and how I help people who just need to be helped? I love helping and mentoring, so I feel guilty sometimes asking people to pay for what feels like I should be freely giving away. 

Here's my answer. First of all, what you freely give naturally flows from you and it doesn't mean it has to be free monetarily or require nothing from the person you freely give it to. We can admit it feels good to help others. For some of us, it's just nice to be needed by somebody who won't talk back to you with an attitude or to have an adult conversation with somebody instead of a toddler. So you pour yourself out and you're just so happy to feel something rising in you and being able to pour it out and give it to somebody. I understand that there is great value in becoming a mentor or just helping the one in front of you. The difference is that if you don't have a business and you love giving advice or being a listening ear, that's fine.

Once you step into coaching, however, you're not just a person in front of a friend anymore. You're a business owner. You have bills to pay, a website to build, and taxes. You know you love helping people, but does it trump how much you love building your business and getting paid, paying off your credit card, taking your kids' clothes shopping, buying a much-needed kitchen table to replace the broken, rickety one? When you give yourself and your business the focus they deserve and place value on it and you find that your love of helping others drives all that you do in your business it makes you great at what you do and it helps you succeed and get results for your clients.

As an entrepreneur, you have to develop a new mindset, because if you're a coach, you're getting paid to be a guide. If you don't get paid, then you might be doing the work of a coach, but you're not gonna call yourself a coach. You're gonna call yourself a friend or a mentor or the great guy at church who's always helpful if you catch him after he gets his first coffee. So you're advising people randomly.

As a coach, you're strategic about your questions your guidance, and the results that you're both looking for. As a friend especially as a benevolent, Jesus-loving friend you might be randomly sought out, randomly available, but you don't get paid in anything but side hugs on Sunday morning. If that's working for you, keep doing it. It's a great thing. Everybody loves you for it and you're probably feeling some sense of fulfillment.

Don't put yourself in the position of being a coach, starting your own business if that's where you're comfortable and that's where you wanna stay. Leave yourself in a situation that gives you the ability to freely mentor others and randomly give advice when you are sought out. That's cheaper for you and it doesn't require you to have strategy or goals, results, or building a business. 

Building a business takes something completely different in addition to becoming a good coach. If you actually wanna be there when somebody reaches their goal, though, or when that light comes on in their eyes when they overcome their struggle, then you need a coaching strategy, foundation, and platform that helps you help others. It's not random, it's intentional, and this is a major difference between being the helpful, advice-giving, path-paving, randomly available person at work, in the neighborhood, at church, at your kid's school that everybody knows they can pull from. In these situations, you don't get to see them walk a path and succeed. You don't get any credit, which is fine, but you will have poured yourself out and not end up fulfilled with the success and the results of obtaining something and becoming something growing. You won't see the transformation, and then, because you're pouring yourself out and not being fulfilled with that satisfaction it'll reflect in your life one way or the other. 

If you wanna be your boss, make money, see people get results, and help them achieve a fuller purpose as their coach, you'll need to put a dollar sign on what you offer.

You likely have spent years helping people in one way or the other, but now you have to say I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a coach and this is what I've chosen to do. I'm investing in myself, I'm going to invest in you, and it does cost money, like all the things that you spend your money on and you use to invest in yourself. I mean, people are out there spending a lot of money at Starbucks and clean juice and orange theory. Everywhere people go they spend money. At the same time you, as a coach, have a platform to invite people to spend money on investing in themselves. It is one of my favorite things I get to do, I get to invite you to have a strategy and a plan of investment and growth. I can't imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life. 

                                            Here's what I want you to think about.

Imagine you were just hired at Outback Steakhouse. You're a server and you bring every table a basket of free, fresh baked honey wheat bread. Some people ask for honey butter and then you, obligingly, go into the kitchen and make it by mixing the whipped butter with honey. Then they eat their blooming onion for an appetizer, their house salad, a 10-ounce sirloin, and a baked potato with everything on it. And then some people ask for steak sauce and that hurts your heart. But whatever, you get on it, and then maybe they get a chocolate thunder from down under to wrap it up. Then they calculate 18% on, say, $75 meal. You go home with some cash in your pocket. You never see those people again. You work four days a week, randomly pick up shifts, and wonder when your full-time rest of the life job is gonna appear in front of you. You don't have a lot of ownership in this job. You don't expect to stay here. You have no goals for yourself or for your customers, aka your investment in yourself and your job is low.

Now imagine you just opened a high-end restaurant with money that you've borrowed and you pay interest on, and there's a high value on this money. You've been invested in a lot, not just managing the money you've borrowed, but the people, building the schedule, inventory, guests, food, hiring all of it. As the proprietor, everyone trusts you to make great decisions. So when you see a certain guest AKA the ideal client (not just everybody catches your eye) you know you want to keep them coming back to your restaurant. You bring a special appetizer to the table. You say this is compliments of me and my chef. I want you to have a taste of something that you might not have ordered on your own. This makes them feel seen, known, and welcomed. Okay, but what you don't do is bring them a Caesar salad and a $48 ribeye and the potato, you don't give them the dinner. You bring a bite-sized gift to help begin a wonderful experience and a deep connection between them and your restaurant. They're connected to you, you're the provider of their experience. They become your guest, not your customers, and it serves you well when you manage what you freely give away with sound judgment at the appropriate time while letting people know how delicious the food is, how attentive the staff is, and how much you mean it when you say that you would like for them to visit again.

That's the difference between the life you've lived as a helper and an advice giver in your past and your future as a coach and entrepreneur. At one point, you were the server and it didn't matter if anybody came back to the restaurant, because you still had a job and other customers. But now you're the owner and your livelihood and the fulfillment of your purpose, the satisfaction of taking this risk and making these sacrifices it's all come together.

As you take ownership of this new venture, somebody has to become the responsible one. You no longer have a boss telling you what to do, how much you'll make and what to charge, when to start working, and when to be done. You also no longer have a life of freedom and flow, doing what you want when you feel like it, with nobody telling you what to do and no hard work in front of you. Well, at least not if you want a business with any type of success in the form of results for your clients. If you constantly give free advice, everybody will be so full of free bread that they won't order much for dinner. Therefore, they never get to have the full experience that you're capable of offering them, that you've worked so hard to create so they can have it when they're ready for it. Nobody becomes your client and therefore you don't get to see results for anybody or you.

Step back a second and take inventory as a solopreneur, which most coaches are. You're the proprietor, the manager, the chef, the host, the dishwasher, the busser, the server, the bartender, everybody. It's important to move into this mindset and act like it. It is who you are now. It's harder to do this in a coaching and service-based industry than if you were to sell some type of actual physical good because you don't see a stock of skin care products in your guestroom closet that you have to sell quickly to pay for it. But you do need to have a mindset of seeing your service, content, wisdom, experience and ability, even your passion, as tangible things with value and dollar signs on them.

I want you to do a little exercise, and write down what you would do with a paycheck from a coaching practice. Let's make it real and say you would buy your daughter's favorite prom dress that's actually out of reach budget-wise right now. You would make a chunk of payment towards paying off braces, or maybe this is worth more of a big piece of self-worth and peace of mind. Maybe it's more inside what that paycheck does for you your growth and your ability to transform as a coach, and maybe a short but much-needed vacation for you and your spouse. Or maybe it just ensures that your rent is paid on time or your mortgage.

So write down what you would do if your business made money and you wrote yourself a check for $2000 a month. Start there. Sometimes you're going to pay yourself less or more, depending on where you're at in this journey, and that's after you keep some in your business account to pay for all the things and be able to invest back into your business and obtain more resources and help that you need to grow your business. Let's just start with $2000 for you. What can that do for you in just a month? And then think about what would look like for you to make $2000 a month over the next year.

Every time you think about just continuing to give away free bread basket advice, I want you to think about what you're giving away yourself, sabotaging simply by not taking action to create boundaries, and maybe you're just not paying attention to it. If you give everyone free advice and call it ministry, then you don't have clients. If you don't have clients, you don't make money. So the braces don't get paid off, there's rents not paid on time and there's no vacation. That's what you're giving away.

You need to be set up and prepared to give a free appetizer in these moments when you feel a desire to freely give. Let's call it a verbal freebie, or verbal opt-in, so to speak if you had a website and you just invited people to sign up and you get a three-page done-for-you-meal-plan. All I need is your email. This is a verbal opt-in. It's a freebie that you're able to give anybody anywhere and you've already decided what to give them, a great free appetizer. Everybody I give this to loves it, and maybe in the restaurant that looks like I always give everybody our delicious nachos on wontons covered with scallions and it's a very interesting, complex flavor. It's new to a lot of people, but it's still a safe bet for the people who are a little bit scared to take the first step.

You come up with some type of free appetizer freebie that you can just give to anybody who finds out what you do and seems interested in your counsel. Right, okay? Let's just say you're on a plane, you have a 45-minute flight and the stranger next to you asks hey, what do you do? You say I'm a life coach, business coach, performance mindset coach., She begins to share a struggle that she's having or a goal she wants to reach, and she wants some of your free wisdom. You are her captive audience. But you were planning on reading for 45 minutes. You got this new book, or you wanted to get some shut-eye or get prepared for wherever you're going after you land. This is the moment where you need to know ahead of time how you can help her in a bite-sized way. Then confidently invite her to work with you if you feel like she fits your client profile, and then set a clear boundary for what you'd like to do for the rest of the flight.

Here's how this goes. "You know I hear your heart in this struggle, or I hear your heart in wanting to achieve this goal. I'd love to give you a bite-sized piece of advice. First, I would encourage you to ask yourself dot dot dot, write down dot dot dot, pursue more knowledge about dot dot dot you know, etc. Second, if I were you, I would consider dot dot dot, doing dot dot dot, going after dot dot dot, etc. Then, because I think you're the type of client I'd enjoy working with, I'd love for you to book a private coaching session with me if you're interested in more. So here's my card, or I've written down my podcast and website on this napkin, or I'm glad to take your number or email and when you have time in the next week, why don't you take a look, take a listen and see for yourself if you think it would be a good fit for you as well. I do have some things I need to prepare for on my trip while we're on the flight, and I'm looking forward to reading this book during our flight. How about you think this over the next half hour and before we part ways you can share your thoughts with me?"

The next step is very, very important… be silent. Close your mouth, don't offer more, do not. I repeat, do not, do not. You've had habits for years that you need to break right here. Do not give them a steak to enjoy on this flight. Here's what happens when you do that. You reinforce that you are not worth being paid for all that you carry, all that God called you to, not only to her but to yourself. You're telling your brain you don't deserve to get paid for this. This stranger deserves 45 minutes of free service more than I deserve this one moment I was looking forward to, since I pour myself out all of the rest of the day.

You also end up with the potential to become bitter that you're always helping everybody else out without mutual respect and compensation for yourself. So that's on you. You do it to yourself when you have no boundaries, or you say that you set boundaries but then you don't hold them, or you simply stay apathetic to your situation, and then you become a victim instead of a hero. If you don't stand up to be the hero in your own story, you can't be a guide to others. Victims don't make good guides. They take the wrong roads. Would you want to follow somebody or walk with them if they operate from victimhood, or would you want your coach to show up as a hero in their own story so that you feel confident about trusting their guidance?

Next step plug in your AirPods, open your book and silently pat yourself on the back that you took a shot at it. Maybe you'll never hear from her again. Maybe she'll say, no, you're not a fit. Maybe you'll get shot down. But also maybe you gain a listener or a subscriber who ends up down the road saying yes to becoming a client. Take yourself seriously. It's a process to start taking yourself seriously, honestly, but it's part of it to begin taking ownership of what you carry, that you're selling.

You sell a service as a coach and it's an extremely valuable one. It's something you might not know how valuable it is until you have clients who do. You get to see the light in their eyes when they overcome that struggle or reach that goal, and then they start telling you the difference it's made in their lives. That will help you. I would say until you start having that and seeing the transformation and the shift in the results for people. When you see that happen in their lives, you're going to truly start valuing what you offer. It's not just self-worth that we're talking about.

We're talking about becoming somebody with something to sell, believing in what you sell because you have clarity about it, and having hope and faith that what you sell will help create amazing life results for other people, because that's why you choose to become a coach. It's what you're made for, and we're going to talk more soon about the process of growing your value for what you sell and also discuss how to create a plan ahead of time to be benevolent and generous in a way that's not sabotaging you or your business.

Take some time to sit with this and consider and write out what you have to offer as an appetizer. If you could whittle down everything to one core foundation, something that would help everybody in front of you, who is your ideal client? What would it be? Because, remember, you don't have to offer free appetizers to people who are out for Taco Tuesday and you run a seafood restaurant. They're not your ideal client. They're not the customer that you need to serve right now. Save your time and energy for the people who are right for you.

Come up with one thing that will maybe transform over time. Maybe it'll get worked out. You start with something and see how it goes. It's okay to test and try. For me, it's the pearl practice. It solves a thousand things and gets immediate results for my clients every single time. For more on that, you can stay tuned for future episodes and also listen to where I introduce it in episode number six.

What do you have to say to the one that's in front of you, who is at Marshall's, that makes them hungry for more of what you can serve? Also, are you all in at this point? Are you fully invested in becoming a Christian life coach serving God and others and being a faithful steward with your tent-making gift at the same time? This means becoming a coach that either pursues some type of job where you can be a life coach under somebody else's business or ministry, or become an entrepreneur and start your own coaching business. If you're not, then I highly recommend that you spend more time praying about it and, as in the Lord, just to help you see more clearly on your path forward. Maybe it's the right calling but the wrong season. You can still binge this podcast and learn everything. Practice serving others with your giftings right now and have a lot of Legos put in place for your foundation.

Once the seasons finally align and God gives you the go and you feel it in your spirit that you're all in, pray for God to renew your mind wherever it's out of alignment with His purpose and calling on your life, His will for this season and the narrative beliefs that don't align with His Truth, let Him show you. He has great plans for you and He's faithful to bring all of them to completion and equip you for them. He is super pumped that you want to partner in co-creating your story with Him, to rise up, be the hero, and work with Him in being the guide to others. He wants to do that with you. I'm excited about it for you and I can tell you it's what I live for. I wake up thinking I cannot wait to serve my people. I can't wait to see transformation in their lives. I can't wait to help them build their business and have the strongest foundation possible to work from. I love it.

When you find that sweet spot, Like the range of notes that a singer has. They have a sweet spot. If your sweet spot is not found when you sing the National Anthem, you don't get invited to sing the National Anthem. You have to be a singer whose sweet spot is those particular notes. They give you goosebumps when you listen to them sing at the Super Bowl or something. Those are the people who get invited because they find that their sweet spot is in that song.

When you discover your sweet spot, you will wake up every morning energized and passionate. 

Some of you are gonna say I'm just that overall coach. Some of you know that you're a coach but you're looking for more specific niche areas to find the sweet spot inside of coaching. 

***VIParts of this episode to refer to:

Give away an appetizer, not a free bread basket full of advice that makes them too full to order a meal! It's not wrong to do. When you go out to eat you are happy to pay for what will make you full, satisfied, and happy, right?

What ONE thing can you give as foundational wisdom to someone who you want to help? A question, a thought process, something to pursue, etc. Know it ahead of time to prepare yourself, create boundaries, and still serve others.


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