While I don’t have specific statistics, if I were a betting man, I’d put down a hefty bet that at least 50 percent of those looking to start a coaching business never start one. While there are many reasons for this, my best guess is that the number one reason is fear. I totally get it… 100%! As someone that started and owns a small business, the fear of pulling the trigger on starting a new business is hard and scary.
Now the look of ‘fear’ can take many different forms. For some, fear can totally paralyze them, and they never take even the smallest step to start. For others, fear may appear as perfectionism. An example, an individual may be waiting for the perfect logo to be created, or they might have to exhaustively research every coaching platform before making a decision. This ‘perfectionism’ may also appear to be that of procrastination due to the length of time taken to get started. Whether it be perceived perfectionism or procrastination, the genesis of these actions (or lack thereof) is often fear.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like you don’t know what the heck you’re doing, or that you’re not really qualified for a job? My hand is raised all the way up! Here’s a scenario that I hear a lot.
An individual studied and passed the exam to become a certified coach and yet, they still feel unqualified to coach others. To some degree is normal, as the individual likely does not have any experience coaching others. However, the fear should be more based on the fact that they are new at it, not that they are unqualified – see the difference?
IT AIN’T GOING TO BE ALL ROSES
This quote by Jon Acuff accurately sums up what it takes to start a new coaching business, or anything new. When I started bike racing, I think I spent more time sliding across the pavement on my a** than I did in the saddle. The same could be said when I started UESCA. A while back, one of my guilty pleasures was watching the TV reality show, ‘The Deadliest Catch’ which profiles various fishing boat crews. On each boat, there is one or more greenhorns – a name given to someone that is new to the fishing industry. The greenhorn is usually the one that is getting tangled up in the fishing line, tripping over things on the deck and getting screamed at by the other crew. The one important thing to remember is that each and every one of the experienced crew members was once a greenhorn themselves.
Sucking at something new isn’t bad; it’s to be expected.
I STILL FU*K UP ON A DAILY BASIS
First off, thank God for my partner-in-crime, Cindy Abrami, as she does her best to keep me out of the weeds as much as possible but despite that, I still find ways to screw up on a daily basis. And I don’t mean just a screw-up here and a screw-up there – I mess up a lot! The goal of course is to learn from these mistakes but after eight years of running and growing UESCA from a side-gig to a full-blown business, I’m still a bit shocked about how much I don’t know and as a result, fumble my way forward.
Here’s the thing. As the goal for any business is to grow and evolve, each time you grow, you’re going to have to try something new, which likely will result in some degree of fear and trepidation. Point being, even after you started a coaching business and get comfortable, in order to progress, you’re going to have other periods of being that greenhorn again.
However, in order to experience these growing pains, you have to start!
Anxiety often is the result of the fear of something that could happen in the future. As athletes, we often have anxiety about racing. Will I feel good? Will the weather be good? As you can see, these are things that are largely out of our control. Anxiety to a degree is a good thing as it shows that you care about the thing you are about to do or are planning on doing. However, too much anxiety can cause paralysis, and at that point it is no longer a positive thing.
It’s been my personal experience (and I’m guessing yours as well) that when I’ve pushed past my fear and anxiety and faced whatever challenge I was undertaking, the end result was almost always much less catastrophic than how I played it out in my mind.
Here’s a new coach scenario of what I mean.
“I can’t start a new business because what if I don’t know something that an athlete asks me, or what if I say an incorrect answer and the athlete calls me out on it. They will then tell all of their friends that I’m a fraud and no one will ever hire me.”
First of all, it’s normal and expected to not know everything and to say incorrect things from time to time. Second, it is highly unlikely that the athlete will spend their free time bashing you to their friends. And even if they do, there are thousands of other people that are looking for coaches.
MY (FUTURE) PODCAST
Have you heard my most recent podcast episode? No? Well, the reason for that is because despite doing a ton of research, having my desired podcast guest list all typed up, equipment and software purchased… I still haven’t recorded an episode yet!
As noted in the beginning of this blog, I could list a million reasons why I haven’t done a podcast yet, but if I’m being 10O% honest with myself, it’s fear that’s keeping me from doing it. Fear of technical glitches. Fear of sounding like an idiot. Fear of the logistics of running a podcast. I could likely expand this list indefinitely, but the point is that the reason why you’re reading this and not listening to it is fear.
GET COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE
It’s a funny thing… in training and racing we can all agree that in order to become athletes, we need to push ourselves, which often requires pain and suffering. However, we often don’t apply the same thought process to starting and building a business. In talking to quite a few people that want to start their own coaching business, they often expect it to go smoothly and painlessly. Now I’m not going to sit here and say that the pain you should expect to feel when starting a coaching business is the same as doing 400-meter repeats, but you most definitely shouldn’t expect it to feel like a shake-out run or easy spin on your bike!
IT WILL BE WORTH IT
“Everything you’ve ever wanted was on the other side of fear” – George Addair.
This is another great quote that sums up why it’s worth pushing through your fear and going for it. When I look back at my life, I can honestly say that the most impactful and meaningful areas of growth are almost always associated with a lot of fear.
As you can see, fear and anxiety are normal and to be expected when starting something new. The goal is to not let it prevent you from starting. Don’t overly focus on what could go wrong, but what could go right. So don’t overthink it and go for it… and I’ll do the same with the podcast… we got this!