Better Serve Your Clients by Keeping it Simple

Mar 02, 2022

As soon as I got my first few coaching clients, I jumped to getting all sorts of systems in place to best serve them. I did things like build an online learning site, create an online support helpdesk, and even tried to move straight into group coaching.

I did all of these things with an eye towards scalability...telling myself that getting all the infrastructure and systems in place would help me serve so many more clients more effectively. But at that point I only had 5 clients to serve...

Which meant that I wasted a ton of time building the infrastructure behind my coaching business when I really should have focused simply on showing up one-to-one for my clients.

In this episode, I talk about how keeping things simple helps you to better serve your clients...and how you don't have to worry at all about scaling when you're working with your first few clients.

In today's episode, I'm going to be talking a little bit about one of the big mistakes I made early on, when I was starting to work with my first few coaching clients. At this point in my business, I had worked with a lot of clients before doing a lot of done-for-you marketing services and done-with-you marketing services. This is around the timeframe that I was transitioning from that done-for-you marketing approach more into the coaching and consulting side of things. As I was building my own coaching offer, I began trying to put together all these fancy pieces of my coaching business that I thought I needed in order to serve my clients, and I was doing that at the expense of focusing as much on the one-to-one aspect of coaching. 

I'll go ahead and give you some examples of what I mean by these fancy things that I was trying to do to better serve my clients, then I'll go into a little bit more depth with each of them. The first is that I was really champing at the bit to build this online training portal, so some sort of online learning site where I could point my clients to free recorded video content that they could consume, so that I wasn't spending coaching calls with them teaching them concepts, but rather actually spending the coaching calls coaching. 

The second thing I was trying to do was create this absurdly complicated mechanism for supporting my clients between sessions. I actually had almost like a customer service help desk, something like you would do through Zendesk, for example, wherein if a client had a question between sessions that they needed an answer to, they would go and fill out this form to submit a “support ticket,” and then I would get back to them, usually pretty quickly, within 12 hours, 24 hours at the most. 

The third thing I was doing was trying to create this cohort-style group coaching aspect of my offer, so that I could bring in a cohort of clients at once and then have that group coaching aspect, wherein all of my clients were in more or less the same point throughout that 12, or however many weeks, that we were working together. Each of these three things, I was doing them with scaling in mind; I was doing them so that I could scale my coaching offer, so that as I brought on more and more clients, I could still serve them really, really effectively. But in all honesty, I was thinking about scaling perhaps a little bit too soon, and this is something I see a lot of entrepreneurs, specifically coaches, doing—worrying, worrying, worrying about if something that they're doing in their business is scalable, when they might not even need to be worrying or even thinking about scaling at that point. They just need to be thinking about that initial growth to get them their first few clients. 

The online training portal, this online learning site that I spent a lot of time building, was honestly really great, and I still use that training portal to this day and continue to add content to it, but I perhaps jumped to creating it a little bit too early. I spent a lot of time creating a lot of content, and because this was when I was working with my first three or five coaching clients, I wasn't quite 100% tuned in to the content that they actually needed. So while I created a lot of content for them, perhaps only 30% of it was really, really what they needed, which meant that the other 70% that I had created was not wasted time, but certainly wasn't the best use of my time. If I were to go back now and build it from scratch, I know I'm way more attuned to who my ideal clients are and what they need, which means that I would be much better able to make it so that 90% or 100% of the content I create for my clients is directly relevant and important to them. 

I certainly started building this online support ticket system way, way, way too early. In all honesty, if I was working with my first three to five clients during that time, I wasn't getting the capacity of inquiries and questions over the course of the week that would have warranted that. In fact, it actually made things a little bit more complicated. Even today, for supporting clients throughout the week or in between our coaching sessions, I don't use anything like that anymore. I simply use a direct message app—I really like Voxer—but that's all I use in order to stay in contact with my clients on a more daily basis. 

Finally, trying to force my clients into this cohort-style group coaching program, where I was starting with five clients on Week One, and then we would go through those 12 weeks together, again, this makes sense as a scaling tactic, but I—again—didn't have the capacity to warrant that. But it wasn't just about capacity. It is also really similar to that online training portal, that online learning site, in that I, at that point, didn't have that rock-solid understanding of who my ideal client is in the first place and what they need. Because I was continuing to force this cohort-style program, I was actually taking away a lot of flexibility and adaptability that my clients needed, which meant that I wasn't able to serve them as well, because I was feeding them what I thought they needed at that point, rather than what they individually needed at that point. 

With all of that in mind, the main takeaway of today's episode is don't fall victim to all the shiny objects, services, apps, whatever that are supposedly going to help you serve your clients more effectively or more efficiently, because until you have worked with, I'll say, maybe 10-20 clients, it's really important to focus almost entirely on the one-to-one aspect of your coaching offer, and that means showing up fully and giving your clients what they need in that moment. That's not only going to help your clients get better results; it's also going to help you get even more tuned in to who your ideal client is and what your ideal client needs. 

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