When you see coaches putting out content, hosting retreats, or running events, most often, what you don’t see is the behind-the-scenes and everything it takes to make it a reality. So, to combat the desire to compare yourself to a coach who might be five miles further down the road, you have to know the truth of what you’re really comparing yourself to.
Listen in as I share my business timeline through the lens of my team and the hiring process so you understand exactly what you might be comparing yourself to. You’ll learn how, so often, we’re not even accurate in our perceived comparisons, why this is such a business killer, and how to assess when the right time to hire help might be for you.
Hi, this is Lindsay Dotzlaf and you are listening to Mastering Coaching Skills episode 93.
To really compete in the coaching industry, you have to be great at coaching. That’s why every week, I will be answering your questions, sharing my stories, and offering tips and advice so you can be the best at what you do. Let’s get to work.
Hey coach, today I want to continue talking a little bit about the same things that I was covering last week, but I’m going to add a couple more things. So in case you missed it, maybe go back to last week and listen to the episode or just dive in here and figure out what I’m talking about as we go.
So last week I was just kind of talking about some things that as coaches we don’t talk about a lot and some of you might have questions about. And I was just really open and honest about money, about social media, about time, like how much time I work.
And so I want to kind of continue on that theme today and talk about a couple things that when maybe you look at them from the outside, when someone looks at them, you might be, again, this is the theme from last week, right, like comparing yourself to something that you aren’t even really sure what the reality is that you’re comparing yourself to.
So we’re going to keep going on that theme and today I want to talk a little bit about what you see when it comes, like if you’re a coach and you’re watching, let’s say me or watching other coaches and you see us doing things, putting out content, hosting a retreat, doing an event. And what you don’t see is all the behind the scenes, all the things that it takes to get to the visual of what you are actually seeing.
And I want to dive into that a little bit today, the behind the scenes. So that when you look at yourself, and then you look at something that I post or something that someone else posts and your brain compares, right, your brain goes to that place that’s like, oh look, this looks so good. Or how do they know how to do that? Or how are they constantly putting out content? Or why does Lindsay’s podcast always sound so good? Things like that. So that you really know the truth of what you’re comparing yourself to.
And then I’m also going to get a little bit into, I’m going to talk about all the things that go into it, but then also how to kind of decide what you might want when you’re thinking about executing something like what you’re watching someone else do, what you might want and like how to decide.
So one place that this shows up is just in business in general, right? So you might look at my business or you might look at other people’s businesses and think like, wow, how do they get all of that done? I wonder how many people work for them? I wonder like what does their team look like? And so I’m going to tell you a little bit about my team today.
So this is totally objective, obviously. You could, again, like I said last week, you could line up probably 10 of us, 10 coaches, and we can all tell you about our different structures. But I’m going to give you just a little behind the scenes of how I grew my business from an employee and contractor standpoint, and just people helping me in general.
So the first couple years of my business I did everything completely on my own 100%. I kept it as simple as possible. I did not really hire anyone. I may have hired possibly a photographer at some point, that was definitely one of the first people that I hired, just to have some photos for my business.
But even then, a lot of times in the beginning I was taking photos myself. I was even having sometimes my kids take photos of me just with my phone. Which is really kind of funny thinking about it because although it wasn’t that long ago, the difference in phones and the difference in cameras on phones are so great now that it really is kind of funny for me looking back at some of those photos that I used. But listen, they worked.
So this is one of those things, like no matter where you are, no matter at what point your business is, don’t think, “Oh my gosh, I need to have all of these things right now immediately.” This is why I love focusing on being a great coach, right? Because you can be an amazing coach with none of the things that I’m about to talk about.
But as your business grows and as you’re bringing in more money, as you have the capacity to help more and more clients, there will be some things that at some point you will just want to hire out because either you don’t love to do them. Or you don’t have the skills to do them. Or you just in general need help because you can’t get to everything.
So, like I said, I may have hired a photographer. But really my very first hire and I think I’ve talked about this on the podcast before but my very first hire when I was making, I don’t know, a couple hundred thousand dollars in my business in a year was a bookkeeper.
Now for me, for a lot of you you might be thinking, “What? A bookkeeper? That is kind of crazy”. Or maybe crazy is the wrong word, surprising maybe for our first hire. But for me money was just something that I just wanted to think about making it and keeping it flowing and keeping it coming in. And I wanted someone who could really help me make decisions about where I wanted to invest, what I could afford, how to put money aside for taxes, how to pay myself properly, how much should I be paying myself, right?
I have no background in money or finance and that was just one of the people that I knew bringing that person on, hiring a bookkeeper was going to help me run my business. Like everything about my business was just going to run more smoothly because I didn’t have to be questioning it. I didn’t have to be second guessing myself about spending money, or investing in something, or paying myself.
And then right along with that I also hired an accountant, obviously not like a full-time accountant, but someone who just helps me with taxes. So my bookkeeper does most of the work. We meet once a month, we go through my books, I still have the same bookkeeper, she’s incredible. And we just go through my books, we look at where all the money is.
I can go to her and say things like, hey, I really want to start donating a certain percentage of all the money coming in to charity, right? And then she sets that up. So there’s just always money there. I know exactly how much is there. I know exactly how much I can donate when I want to, just as an example, right?
Or, hey, I really want to invest X amount in this mastermind that’s coming up, need it there by November. And then we look at it and say like, okay, do I have the money now? Do I need to create the money? Where’s it going to come from? It’s changed a little bit now as I’ve made more money, but that type of conversation was just so helpful for me as I was starting to really have more money coming in.
Then, like I said, I hired an accountant because I do not like doing taxes. That is not my favorite thing to do and really I just don’t understand them that well. So having someone come in and help me with that was great.
The next person I hired, kind of these were all right around the same time and so far these are all contractors. The next person I hired was a VA, a virtual assistant. And I can’t remember, I tried to look this up and I couldn’t find it, but I think she maybe worked like five hours a week.
And a virtual assistant, if you aren’t sure what the difference is between maybe that or like an OBM, an online business manager or virtual business manager. A virtual assistant is really someone who just does tasks usually. They have different types of skill levels, but generally the difference between a VA and an OBM is a VA is someone who does tasks, so you might just give them tasks, and say here are the things I need you to do. And they just kind of take care of them.
A business manager is someone who really is more involved in the planning of your business a little more, at least mine, the one that I have now is a little more like a project manager. She has her hands in kind of all the pieces of my business and she really has taken over pieces completely, and I have given them over to her.
So I’m never just like, usually giving her tasks to do. She has her totally own thing going on and she just knows what she’s doing and she just does it. So fun. But anyway, back to what I was saying, around the couple hundred thousand dollar a year level or when I was making that in my business is when I hired that first VA. So I had someone helping me then.
Towards the end of 2019 is when I created the Coaching Masters Mastermind, so around that time I hired a couple people. I hired a website designer and someone to help me with my website and branding. And I also hired someone to help me with the design and putting together of a workbook that I created for that mastermind.
So I kind of hired a couple of different people, contractors at that time as I was launching this new thing. Now, I did have a website before then, but I built it myself and it was really pretty terrible and I never used it. So I did have a website, but you hear a lot of coaches talk about like, do you need a website? Do you not need a website?
And I will say I created a business that was bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars before I actually had a website that I used and that looked good and professional, in my opinion. So that would have been the end of 2019.
And then the end of, towards the end of 2020 I started this podcast. So I hired a podcast producer, which was one of my favorite hires, of course. I just knew, one reason that I hired a podcast producer I just knew going into it that kind of like the money stuff with the bookkeeper and the accountant, I just knew that producing a podcast and spending time editing is not something I wanted to do. I also knew it would take take up a lot of my time. I can get very consumed sometimes in the small details of things.
So for me the thought of actually editing a podcast where I’m listening to myself talk, being critical of myself, and trying to pick out all of the imperfections and delete them or move them, all of that just was not something I wanted to do. So I started working with a podcast producer.
Then in 2021, I don’t know, maybe like the first quarter-ish, I think, is when I hired a part time OBM, who is now my full-time employee but we will get to that. So I hired her part-time for, I think it was maybe 30 hours a month when I very first hired her. And shortly after that or around that same time I also hired a lawyer. Who’s also on contract, who just helps me with my contracts, my terms, my terms of service, all of that. And again, that’s just something that is outside of what I know how to do and what I want to do.
So that kind of sums up pretty much everyone that I have hired in my business and kind of how I hired them, when I hired them, about how much money I was making when I hired them, and some of the reasons that I did it. Along the way, of course, I had photographers. I hired photographers throughout those times, I’ve had many pictures taken.
And I’ve hired, you know, I’ve bought things like small programs that maybe teach me how to do things. But the things that I went through are mostly just kind of what I would think of as like the big hires in my business. And all of the people who are kind of still on my team helping me. The VA that I hired, she’s no longer with me and instead I have now an OBM.
And the difference between that is that, like truly my VA was amazing and I loved working with her. And it was really the first time that I had kind of an employee that I was meeting with regularly, that she was regularly helping me in my business. But what I found is that we were really good at the same things.
So she was, a lot of times, doing things that I would probably like to be doing. And when I hired my OBM one of the biggest things that I was looking for, although we have a lot of similarities, she is very good at looking at the big picture of something. Very good at organizing and putting together a timeline for something like a launch or just executing an event. Like all of the things that are just not necessarily my forte, she is incredible at. And we kind of laugh about it sometimes because she does, she just kind of keeps me in line.
So fast forward to now, 2022, the summer of 2022. So this will be my, you know, I’m kind of right in the middle of what I’m thinking of as my million dollar year. This is the first time I’ve hired a full-time employee. So that OBM that I was talking about, I just hired her full-time. I decided I couldn’t live without her, I needed her on my team all of the time. And now she is, which is so fun.
Her name is Aqeelah, if you have ever interacted with me or emailed me, there is a good chance that you have probably interacted with her as well. She is the genius behind all of the designs on my launches, if you follow me on Instagram all of the photos all of that, she puts all of that together for me. And I could not love her more. She’s amazing.
So the reason I went through all of this, and I know I went through it kind of quickly. But the reason I wanted to do that is to just kind of show you, you know, when you’re thinking about if you see something I’m doing and you’re like, how does she do this? Or how does she have time to do this? Or what kind of help does she have? I have a lot of help, right?
That whole list I just went through, those are all people that are helping me in my business. And I would say that I personally have a very simple, very lean team. I know some of my colleagues have a lot more as far as assistants and just different types of employees.
There’s absolutely no right or wrong in this situation. And I am sure that I will have different employees as I keep growing, obviously, I’ll have more employees and probably hire people that I don’t even know I need at this point. So there’s all of that.
So now I want to think about, I’m going to kind of go through the same thing but talk about when it comes to something that you might see. Like if you look at my photos and you have thoughts about them and you maybe compare yourself to what my photos look like. Or not even just mine, someone else’s, right? A coach that you love and you follow.
I just think there’s a little behind the scenes that it’s really fun to know about so that you’re not thinking like, oh, she just always has great photos or this person just always looks great and has these great photos. So if you, for example, take the event that I did recently in Palm Springs that I recorded some podcasts about, I’m going to tell you all of the people that were there and that went into making me look great, making all the women look amazing, and really helping us have the best time.
So when I booked that trip I hired a photographer. I hired a videographer. I personally have a stylist, so she didn’t come with me but she did help me pick some outfits and helped me get ready for the trip. I hired an amazing makeup artist. We did have someone, I didn’t have my hair done, but we did have someone coming in who did some of the hair. We had a chef.
And then, of course, the amazing house where we stayed, they had people coming in literally working on the yard and the pool and everything almost every day, it was pretty crazy. And the reason I am telling you this is so that when you see that, you know there was so much that went into that, right? Like that is not just every day. That is not what I look like every day. That is not how I show up every day.
And when I was a newer coach, so more in the beginning of my business, I didn’t use any of that, right? I might hire a photographer, but I never hired someone to do my hair or my makeup. This was the first time I’ve had a videographer, and the stylist is a newer thing as well. And I think it’s just good to know that right?
I don’t just wake up every day knowing exactly what I’m going to wear to events or in photos or any of those things. I think there is a lot of behind the scenes. And what I want you to think about and kind of learn to do is just question.
Because I see so many coaches do this where they go to this place where they’re like, I need all of this. In order to be good at what I’m doing, in order for my marketing to be good, in order for whatever, I must have all of these things. And I just want you to know that is absolutely not true. I have not had most of these things until very recently.
The way I decide when I’m thinking about hiring someone, whether it’s someone to do my website, or someone to do my makeup, or my hair or whatever, right? Like anyone I’m hiring, kind of the questions I ask myself are, is this important? Is it necessary? Do I want to do it? Do I want to do this thing myself? Am I capable of doing this thing myself? And is it going to be better if someone else does it?
So I’ll give you an example, when I very first was hiring photographers and I would go to photo shoots and have my photos taken for my business, I would hire the photographer, but just spending that money was such a stretch. Right? So just coming up with the money, spending the money for the photographer, that part was necessary because I didn’t have anyone close to me who I could just say like, hey, can you take my photos? If I wanted to have a photo shoot, right?
But then the rest of it I did all myself. So would I have loved to have someone do my makeup? Yes. But did I? No because it just wasn’t in the budget at the time, right? So yes, I have that now, and even now when I think about some of the expenses, one thing that I almost always do myself is my hair.
So I always hire out makeup because someone is definitely going to do it better than I do. But I usually do my hair myself because I like to do my hair and it feels fun, right? So when I go through kind of those questions about like, is it fun? Would I rather have someone else do it?
When I think about doing my hair I’m like, no, I got that. I like that part. Makeup, no, thank you. If it were in my hands, I would just probably never wear makeup ever at all. I’m just not a makeup person. I like wearing it, but I do not like applying it.
So I know this is kind of a lot of small details that I’m getting into, but what I want you to see and what I beg of you is that you just stop comparing yourself to someone who is doing things differently than you are. What I mean by that is if you’re going to compare yourself, if you’re going to say like, okay, well what’s this person doing? Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, right?
So for example, if you are making, if you’re a newer coach and you’re just making money, you’re just starting out and it’s so fun and so exciting and you want to have a photo shoot. But then you’re watching someone who has a million dollar business have a photo shoot and you’re like, gosh, mine doesn’t look like that.
Well, there are reasons. It’s not because that person is just better at photo shoots. It’s literally because they have more money to spend. They can hire a makeup artist, they can hire someone to do their hair, they can hire a stylist, they can hire all of the people, they can find this amazing location, right?
So if you’re going to compare yourself or you’re going to, maybe compare yourself isn’t even what you’re doing, maybe you’re just looking for inspiration. But be inspired by the people around you who are doing similar things to you. Just make sure you’re comparing or being inspired by other people doing similar things. It just doesn’t make sense.
I see this a lot, lot in my mastermind, where my clients will either compare themselves to each other, and I know this because they’ll talk about it openly. We’re pretty open in my mastermind, and they’ll ask for coaching around it.
Or they will compare themselves to, you know, they’ll say like, well, so I am going to have a launch for a mastermind, for example, but then when I look at your launches, and they’ll be talking about me. And they’ll say like, but when I look at your launches they’re so organized and you have all these emails that go out, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And they’ll just go on and on. And what I always, the first thing I always do is remind them I did not use to have that. I did not use to be able to execute like that, because I didn’t have anyone helping me.
So when it’s just you and it’s just you doing the things and maybe it’s your first time launching something or your second time launching something and you’re still learning so much. And you don’t have a team, and you’re doing it all on your own, don’t compare yourself to the person who’s like five miles down the road and say like, oh, I’m just slow because they’re ahead. That is just not true. And it’s so mean, it is not fair to you.
So I hope that this was really helpful. I hope that you heard something here today that you were like, oh, I never thought about it like that. And I beg of you, because this is like the killer of amazing coaching, that you just stop comparing yourself to people who aren’t doing what you’re doing.
You can use that as inspiration and say like, oh, I can’t wait, right? Like the timeline that I just gave you, that was over like six years. And some of you are trying to be, like match my year six and you’re like in year one. It just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did sometimes, it would be easier, right?
But also, if it did, and if you didn’t have to work your way up to it, you wouldn’t have all of the learning along the way. So just allow it to be there. Don’t be in a hurry. Stop comparing yourself to the person five miles ahead of you, right? Just look around, who is around you right where you are doing the same thing? Be inspired by them because there’s inspiration in all of it, no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing.
All right my friends, I just love you and I hope that you got something out of this podcast and I will be back next week, all right? Bye.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Mastering Coaching Skills. If you want to learn more about my work, come visit me at lindsaydotzlafcoaching.com. That’s Lindsay with an A, D-O-T-Z-L-A-F.com. see you next week.