5 Harsh Truths About Building a Coaching or Consulting Biz

What They Don't Tell You When They Sell You the Dream

Mar 16, 2024


It's never been cooler to be an entrepreneur.


Do work you love.

Control your schedule.

And create your freedom.


But there's tough truths that come with that great sounding promise.


While I launched Growth Habit in 2019, I've been at this "be your own boss" thing a bit longer. If we skip me selling candy out of a small briefcase in grade school and forget the newspaper route where I had to go door to door to get my own subscription clients, I began my journey as an entrepreneur 31 years ago.


I started my first real business as a teenager (a record label).


Over the years, I've had loads of wins, many losses, and learned lots of lessons the hard way. Building your own business is a crazy journey.


And here's 5 harsh truths I wish I would've learned sooner.



1. Your Prize Comes With Sh!t


When you're building a business based on your coaching, consulting, or expertise, you get all the reward. Put in more effort, learn new skills, and push through when it's tough? You get the credit.


And any new revenue generated is yours.


But you're also the one holding the bag when sh!t goes wrong. You can't blame the sales + marketing team, the product, or even your boss. Because you're all three.


2. You Need Accountability

When you work for others, you can only show up late or miss a project deadlines so many times before you get canned.

Accountability is baked in to the agreement when you're an employee. But that's not the case when you're building your own thing. If you're not careful, your days will fill up.


But the important stuff won't necessarily move ahead.


Without accountability, you'll find crafty ways to avoid key things that you don't overly enjoy. Even when that results in you making less money.


And those bold ideas you have?


You know the ones to start showing up differently online, to write that book, start your podcast, or create a new program so you can impact more people? You can forget those. They'll just keep getting pushed back until next week "when you'll have more time".


Accountability and deadlines make sh!t happen.


So what you can do? An obvious answer is you can get a coach. Over the last few years I've had multiple business coaches, a speaking coach, a coach for kickboxing, a book coach, a couple spiritual mentors, and an accountability coach.


My accountability coach made such a difference in my life that I brought her on to coach the clients in one of my programs.


But what if you're not in a place to hire a coach right now? Another option is creating public accountability. A client shared with me last week that he'd pushed through loads of work to finish making his program, even though it was difficult.


His secret?


He'd publicly committed that his new program would be done by X date.


I combined both the power of coaching + public accountability when I wrote my book:

I hired a book coach and set deadlines with them.
I publicly asked my community to hold me accountable to my goal of writing my first draft in 45 days.


3. Nothing Is Certain Except ...


The only certainty?


That you need to learn to be OK with uncertainty if you're going to make it. You can control your level of effort, your dedication, and your attitude, but not the outcomes. Being an entrepreneur (yes, you're an entrepreneur!) means you need to be constantly experimenting with no guarantee that any one thing will definitely work out.


The sooner you embrace this as a fact, the better.


That doesn't mean you should be taking wild gambles hoping they'll work out. Hope is a terrible strategy. Instead, you should test the market to see if there's an appetite for your ideas before you spend weeks or months heads down working on anything.



4. I'm Sorry, You Need Structure


It's like some kind of funny cosmic joke.


After rebelling against the structure that others imposed on you as an employee, you have to create structure in your own business. Otherwise, you'll flail with the 1001 things that need your attention. You can say it's a priority, but that's just hot air unless it's reflected in where you actually spend your time.


It's not prioritize your schedule, it's schedule your priorities.


Things you should schedule? Clearly defined time in your calendar when you're going to take calls as well as blocks of time when you're not available to others. You need dedicated hours for deep focus work, creativity, and even following up with potential clients.


But putting sh!t in your calendar is not enough.


Your phone + the internet are magic tools. They can bring you + your message to millions of people. But they're full of distractions that will gladly steal your time, if you let them.


Here's how I stay focused on the things I've scheduled for myself:


1. I put my phone in a different room during focus sessions. When I'm doing heads down work in a coffee shop, I put that addictive little device out of sight in my backpack.

2. I use website blockers on my laptop to keep me away from distractions online. There's no "just quickly checking" LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, or email. My current fave is one called Freedom.



5. It Can Feel Lonely as F*ck


There's two parts to this loneliness. The first bit is simple and the second more complex. Let's start with the easier fix.


Getting to work from home is awesome.


The commute is short, the coffee is cheap, and you can get shit done in your comfiest clothes. Sounds like a good time. But if spend most of your day, every damn day, locked up in the four walls of your home, you'll go stir crazy.


Whether they're at $5K months or made over $500K last year, theres's one simple piece of advice that made a massive impact for all my clients: get the heck of out your house.


It doesn't have to be fancy.


You can go for walks.

Make plans with friends.

Work from a coffee shop.

Or find a co-working space.


You need to regularly get out of your house, get fresh air, and interact with other humans.


The second layer to the loneliness is trickier. Because you can be checking all those boxes and still feel alone. How?


Not spending time with people who "get it".


Whether you realize it or not when you start your entrepreneurial journey, it's the absolute craziest self-development ride on the planet. And the people in your life that are working "normal jobs" don't get it. They don't understand the uncertainty, the comparison, or the pressure that you're experiencing.


So what can you do?


You can look for entrepreneurial meetups in your local city. You could put the time + effort into starting your own if you don't find any. Or you can join an existing community full of like-minded people who get what you're doing because they're also building businesses doing meaningful work.



Want the support of a crew that "gets it"? The Growth Habit Crew is a community for purpose-driven coaches, consultants, and experts that want to grow both their business and their impact, without doing anything that feels icky. Check it out here.

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