If you list yourself as a “freelancer” or “self-employed” on Facebook, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your newsfeed will change from pictures of babies and foreign travel to business coach tips and offers. I know that sounds melodramatic, but it often seems like everyone and their brother has a business coaching program they’re trying to sell to you, doesn’t it? And as easy as it is to write them all off as a bunch of crooks after your money, their promises of more email subscribers, passive income and doubling your income are often too tempting to ignore.
So, do you hire one? If yes, which one? And how much is too much to spend? Fortunately, lots of freelancers have hired business coaches over the years, and you have the opportunity to learn from their experiences. While may of these freelancers have succeeded, others have wasted their hard-earned money. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself the below questions.
Do I Even Need a Business Coach?
Before you decide which coach to hire, determine whether or not you even need a coach in the first place. To do this, think about where your business currently stands, and where you want to be next. Then ask yourself if you can easily find this knowledge and take the necessary steps yourself, or if it’d be more time- and cost-effective to pay someone to lead you through this journey.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to look up business coaches who specialize in your next step (like earning passive income) and check out their curriculum. Not all coaches will have an exact curriculum, but if they’re any good, their website will give you an idea of what they’ll coach you through to achieve a specific goal. For example, a list-building coach might teach you about guest blogging, giveaways and ads.
Ask yourself if these are items you can figure out on your own, or if you need an expert to guide you. When in doubt, you can always start by trying something yourself and then assessing your need after a couple of weeks. If the project is too difficult or taking up too much of your time, you may want to seek out expert advice and assistance.
“I knew it was my time to hire my first coach when I realized it was OK for me to not have all the answers myself, and that killing myself to achieve everything on my own without help just wasn’t smart,” says Harriette Hale, a self-employed musician and business consultant. “I thought I was saving money by not hiring a coach… I later realized I was just losing time, which is way more valuable!”
How Do I Know Which Coach to Hire?
If and when you decide that you do need a coach, there’s a lot to consider. First, there’s your budget, and then there’s the actual results you can expect.
1. When You’re on a Tight Budget, Consider Taking Courses or Enlisting in Group Coaching
Of course, it’s crucial that you evaluate your current budget to determine your spending limits. But be careful, because that’s not what a lot of coaches will tell you. They’ll want you to trust them. They’ll tell you that if you do what they say, you’ll have no problem paying off their $5,000 fee in two months’ time. But that’s a risky game to play.
My first ever coaching program was only $25 per month, which amounted to just $300 for the entire year. It was a membership website where I paid to access video trainings on being a better freelancer. Plus, there were group calls where I could get my questions answered. It was affordable, and it gave me the tools I needed to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. On the more expensive side, I’ve purchased some online courses in the $2,000 range to help me create a course, set up passive income, raise my prices and open myself up to more clients.
Budget-wise, I’ve never been able to afford $2,000 in one payment. But since these were DIY courses that didn’t require the coach’s one-on-one time, I got to learn their best advice and pay monthly over the course of a year, which made it affordable.
“I wouldn’t recommend that you get into a lot of debt to fund being in a mastermind or a coaching program,” says Denise Duffield-Thomas, who started as a solopreneur and now runs a seven-figure business. And, most importantly, she warns against FOMO (fear of missing out), which is something a lot of coaching programs play on:
“FOMO can be really dangerous and expensive when it comes to high-end coaching programs or investing with a high-end coach,” she says. “So never ever invest because you feel like you’re going to miss out, that’s a really big no-no.”
Remember: There are valuable coaches and resources available at every budget level, and you should never spend more than you’re comfortable with.
2. Seek Out Testimonials
Investing in a coaching service is only worth it if a coach actually delivers results. Yes, you’ll need to hold up your end of the bargain and put time into the work they give you, but you’ll want someone with proven results. Most coaches will have testimonials on their site, which should specify the exact results they achieved for each client.
Listen to freelancer Erin Odom here: “Look for people with the proven track records (I’m talking YEARS of experience!) before investing in an e-book or e-course written by someone who might have had a small success but not the longevity to go with it.”
To Hire or Not to Hire… That Is the Question
Ultimately, hiring a business coach should feel like a natural progression along your self-employed journey. If someone promises that you’ll earn $10,000 per month, but you can only get in on it if you sign up right now, it’s probably not going to be the best investment — especially if you’re not 100 percent ready to begin this journey. By following the above business coach tips, and doing the necessary research in advance, you’ll be well-equipped to make the right decision for you.