“What’s it really like to run a business as a life coach?” you ask.
Well, then. Let me share.
Life: I wake up around 6:30-7:00. I used to not get up until I heard my daughter’s feet running down the hall, and my husband handled the earlier wake-up times. These days, I feel aligned around the idea that I want to get up earlier and get time (and coffee) for myself before the day gets revved up with various and sundry to-dos.
I used to check a voice messaging app first thing in the morning to see if there was anything mission critical that someone had left me a VM about, but these days I’m unhooking from immediately doing something business-related in the morning.
We have breakfast together as a family. I stay in my pajamas as long as possible. My daughter colors, reads books, sometimes we dance in the kitchen to the Dixie Chicks. Either my husband or myself drop her off at school, and some mornings I have one of two chiropractic appointments that I pop in for, each week. I’m usually home and ready to rock the day by 10am.
Pleasure: With a few exceptions—launches or times when I’m on a deadline for a project—I adhere to a “Pleasure, First” work policy. Nope, nothing saucy in that statement (though hey, now that I think of it, that could also be an interesting way to start the workday), but rather I start my workday with something that brings me pleasure, which is usually writing but other times can be camping out on the couch with a stack of Triathlete Magazine back issues, calling a friend I haven’t talked to in awhile, doodling with Micron pens, or hanging out with a favorite book.
Work: Each month, I look at what I’ve got going on for the month and identify the top five things that I want to get done that month. I hang that on a wall in my office, somewhere really visible. In Basecamp, I break those five things into to-do lists that someone on the team has access to, and I delegate some of those lists. Work tasks range from changing something on the backend of my website to writing to creating graphics to setting up newsletters to being interviewed for podcasts. I’m usually working between 11am and 4pm, with a break for lunch.
Money: I’m a fan of the idea that we are all in our relationship with our money. If I’m in relationship with something, I need to give it respect, time, attention, validation, and listen closely to what it needs. My worst money habit? Getting the bills paid, and not reserving for pleasure. My best money habit? I’m not big on emotional spending; I feel very clear that if I’m feeling crappy, spending money on stuff that I don’t really need is not likely to make me feel better.
Connection: My business and life BFF, Valerie is my go-to for reporting something I’m frustrated with, something I’m celebrating, something I’m trying to figure out. We Vox and text about business, relationships, and all of life in-between. I’m also in communication with the CLCC Leadership Team and with other colleagues, I am a fan of the impromptu Skype coffee date. Scheduling calls, for some reason, always brings up this feeling of constraint—I don’t like the feeling of something I have to do at a set time—so I rarely have them and usually, instead, I end up jamming with friends at random.
What’s Most Time Consuming: Anything that has to do with something being broken (ugh). So a link not working, something not going live when we scheduled it to go live, stuff like that.
Other than that, when I’m creating a new program, I need to research, outline, edit, test, create, and add visual design to the content. I could hire out for more of what I do, but since I’m typically only working afternoons, and because creating content/curriculum is something I love to do, I don’t hire out.
Triathlon training: By 3:00 in the afternoon, my attention is moving to how I’ll wrap up the day and what workout is scheduled. My training schedule is long run on Mondays, Master’s swim followed by spin class on Tuesday evenings, a shorter run on Wednesdays, a distance swim on Thursdays, a distance bike ride followed by a short run on Fridays, and vinyasa flow yoga on either Friday or Sunday. I try to get all of my training done during 9-5 working hours. My very wise friend who is an informal triathlon coach/mentor has told me that I’m not doing enough targeted training specifically for speed drills or strength, but c’est la vie—adding those in would mean time taken away from work or my family, and I’m clear about my priorities.
The kiddo: Evenings are all of us together and are full of more book reading, toddler meltdowns, and all kinds of wonder. Weekends are when we get a lot of our quality time as a family. Friends of ours were always taking their kids hiking and it occurred to us that we were assuming our daughter wouldn’t be capable of such things until she was older. Turns out, kids are capable of just about anything. My husband finds the trails, I pack the snacks, we roll out Saturday morning for a new adventure.
The hubs: We get one date day on the calendar each month, and we always eat dinner or have a glass of wine together after our daughter has gone to bed. He leaves me post-it notes on my office door, and I send him Bitmojis of myself in compromising positions. It works. We are in regular communication in pockets of the day, and we always know that we need more time when we start picking at one another.
Household: How the hell do I run the household, with all of that going on? Simplifying meal planning was the big first step. I created two weeks worth of menus. Week 1 has its shopping list; week 2 has its shopping list. We just flip back and forth. The meal plan is posted on a cork board in the kitchen, so that my husband also knows what’s for dinner and can get started on something if needed. We each dump the same amount of money into an account for bill paying. The rest—laundry, housecleaning—gets shoved into nooks and crannies here and there. Our house is often messy. Everyone’s fine.
What makes it easier: that I’m not in my first few years of business; that I know what I want my business to be about; that I’ve diversified my offerings between digital programs, life coaching, our life coach training program, speaking, and a facilitation course. Having created all of those things, now my attention turns to the sharing about and running of those things, and it’s always less time-consuming to manage what you’ve created than to be starting from scratch in business, figuring out what you want your brand and message to be about, getting a website up.