From Struggling Entrepreneur to Successful Business Coach

Jan 03, 2022
 I was doing everything all the big-name marketing gurus were telling me to—blogging, creating lead magnets, landing pages, email sequences, and Facebook Ads. But for some reason, nothing was bringing in new clients.

In this episode I talk about the two phone calls that changed my life—one with my dad and one with my business coach. These two phone calls gave me the epiphany I needed...which led to the decision to forget everything I was already doing—the ads, the funnels, the lead magnets, the blog—and focus on only one thing: finding and building relationships with my ideal clients.

As soon as I embraced this, the next month was my first $20k month. The following month I made $10k in the first four days of the month. And in this episode I break down exactly how I went from a struggling entrepreneur to six-figure Client Attraction Coach.

Hey there, and welcome to the Client Attractor Show. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, client attraction coach and author of the brand new book Client Attractor, and I am thrilled to have you with me for this first ever episode. 

In this show, we are going to dive into the hard lessons of being an entrepreneur. Because as someone who wants to grow your small business while also making a massive impact in the world, there are a lot of lessons to be learned both from successes and failures. And that's exactly what we're going to talk about on this show. 

To start off, I'm going to share a little bit about my background story and, in particular, this period of time when I went from being the struggling small business owner to successful six-figure coach. Now, while a lot of podcasts you may have listened to before share the story, what we're actually going to do is talk through the lessons that I learned and how they're actually applicable to you, and how you can use them to grow your own business and attract your own clients. 

Picture it: Asheville, North Carolina, 2019. I had been in business for two years at that point, and I felt like my business was horribly, horribly stuck. I wasn't getting nearly enough new clients, and it seemed like nothing I did was working. New clients who were mostly referrals would trickle in every now and then, but at the end of the day, I had no control of whether I made 10k or 1k each month. And honestly, I was confused. I had been in business for two years, and those two years had been a great success. And aren't the first two years of your business supposed to be the hardest anyway? 

But there I was, having gotten through those first two years and looking towards the third, having no clue where I was headed next. And ever since I was in college, I knew what I wanted: to build a business, my business, to the point where I was making $15,000 to $20,000 a month consistently. But there I was, not knowing where my next meal was coming from. But when I got started, I was inspired and motivated. I really had this feeling that my purpose in life was to create joy and love, and to help my clients change lives, and ultimately, to make the world a better place. 

But secretly, at that point, I really just want to support myself, to be able to continue to even have my own business, rather than getting a “real job.” What's more, part of it is that I wanted to prove to myself that I was good enough that I deserved to have the business, the clients, the lifestyle that I craved so much, because at that point, I figured that it was something wrong with me. I was doing everything, all the big name marketing gurus were telling me to: blogging, creating lead magnets, landing pages, email sequences, Facebook ads; but nothing was working. 

The clients I was getting certainly weren't coming from any of those avenues. And on top of that, seeing failure after failure, I started to lose track of that inspiration. I started to forget about my mission to help entrepreneurs change the world, and I began to fixate on just surviving. 

One day, I was talking on the phone with my dad—we have this really great relationship where I can talk with him about anything related to business. And he is so supportive, even though he has no clue what I'm talking about, but he always manages to say the right thing. So I was on the phone. I was telling him a little bit about what I was dealing with and where I wanted to go, and he said to me, “Well, if you don't succeed, it won't be because you didn't try.” I chuckled and probably said something like, “No one hustles more than me. No one’s hustled as hard as I have.” 

But then, when I got off the phone with him, I realized that he's right. If I really want to get my business where I want it, then I owe it to myself to try everything I possibly can. If failure is on the horizon, then I had better be sure that I did everything within my power to avoid it. Because then, if I still failed, at least I wouldn't have any regrets. 

But the problem is that I was running against the clock. Every month that I didn't meet my revenue goals, I was eating into my savings, and I was slowly slowly seeing that number dwindle. And I knew that if I didn't turn that ship around in the next three months, I'd pretty soon find myself job hunting, and the idea of working a 9-to-5 job for the rest of my life literally made my stomach churn. It was soon after that call with my dad that I was on a call with a friend. I mentioned to her that I felt like my niche was too saturated and that I would never stand out enough to get as many clients as I wanted.  

It's driving me crazy, I told her, that it feels so impossible to get new clients, when I know that I can help them and get them amazing results with their businesses. And if you're a coach or an entrepreneur, you've probably had a similar frustration, knowing that you have something amazing that's right in your hands, but not knowing how to turn that amazing thing into paying clients.  

But on that call, my friend then said something that would change my life forever: “There are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs out there who need exactly what you have to offer,” she said, “but they don't know about you. If you want to have an abundance of clients, you have to meet them where they are.” She continued, “You have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever met. You care. That's your superpower. What if you just met your ideal clients where they are and cared about them?” 

And I thought, Oh my goodness, she's right. There are an abundance of people out there who need my expertise and guidance, and if I want to tap into those people, then I need to have an abundance of conversations with these people. And if I need to have an abundance of conversations with these people, well, I’ve got to find them first because I don't know where they are. And I realized I'd been looking at this all wrong. I was hoping that my ideal clients were just going to show up out of nowhere, and ultimately, what that meant was that I had no control over my business. I needed to take responsibility for my business’s and my own success, and instead of being a passerby in my own life, in my own business, step into my own power and take my business to those ideal clients. 

 That's when my long-lost motivation and inspiration showed back up, putting me in touch with why I was playing this game in the first place: to help conscious entrepreneurs change lives and make the world a better place. And in that moment, I decided to forget everything I was already doing: the ads, the funnels, the lead magnets, the blog, and put my attention on only one thing: finding and building relationships with my ideal clients.

 I started geeking out. I spent tens of thousands of dollars I didn't have on coaching, online courses, and books to help me connect with more ideal clients because I figured I didn't have to reinvent the wheel. But they all basically said the same thing; they gave this vague outline of what to do without really teaching me how to do it. They would say things like, “Join Facebook groups, message group members, identify their pain points, get them on a call, close them as a client,” and that's basically all they would tell me to do. So that's what I did, but I didn't actually have any idea of how to make that work. I spent six-to-eight hours a day on Facebook, but because I didn't have any clue how to turn conversations into clients, I didn't get any results. 

But I was noticing how people were responding. The content I posted was either getting a ton of engagement or zero engagement, and I had no clue why some of it was landing and some of it wasn't. So many other people I was talking to turned out not to be ideal clients in the first place, so I was looking at entirely wrong places. People were wary when a stranger messaged them online, and rightfully so, because they're already just weary of having strangers cold-pitch them in their messages. And when I did manage to get on calls with prospects, it felt awkward and unnatural when it came time to pitch them. 

So I geeked out again and I began experimenting, which was the beginning of what would later become the organic client attraction system, and I aimed to answer four simple questions. The first one was how do I get in front of and connect with the right people? Not just ideal clients, but actually dream clients. How do I start conversations where the person on the other end is actually excited to talk with me? 

They see my name in their inbox, and they say, “Oh, my goodness, it's Jacob! I can't wait to talk to him.” And how do I get people to ask me, “Jacob, how can I work with you?” so that I'm not giving these awkward pitches to people who probably don't even want to be pitched to? And the fourth question was how do I do all of that without spending eight hours a day on it, without scrolling through Facebook for eight hours every single day and having no time to actually work with clients or enjoy myself? 

I obsessed over those four questions, and I kept fine tuning and fine tuning, paying attention to what people were responding to, what was working, what wasn't working, and continuing to tweak. And then the next month was my first $20,000 month, and then the following month, I made $10,000 in the first four days of the month. And it kept working, and it kept working. And as I continued to refine my framework and slowly introduce it to my own clients, the same thing happened: it worked. And then it kept working. And now, because of this system, I have the coaching business I thought I would never achieve. I scaled it so that I spend 100% of my time writing, creating, and working with clients. And all of my clients aren't just good clients, they’re dream clients, and that's great. But that's just the start of it. 

What really matters is that suddenly, I wasn't just a passerby in my own business, in my own life. Instead, I put myself in the driver's seat, and I took responsibility for driving my business forward. I was the driving factor that made the difference between making $0 or $20,000 in a month. What I've done is I've continued to refine this framework, and that's what it is in the Client Attractor book. That is what I work with my private clients on. And no matter how you are getting clients, no matter what strategies or tactics you're using, the most most important thing is to make sure you're connected with your original source of inspiration and to take responsibility for your business, your life and your results, because that's what's going to make the difference between making $0 and making $20,000. 

Thank you so much for joining me for this first episode of the Client Attractor Show. If you want to pick up a copy of the Client Attractor book, you can find it on Amazon or you can go to, and I will send you a free copy of the book. All you have to do is cover the shipping and handling, and I will ship a copy to you right away. Thanks again for joining me, and I will see you tomorrow with the next episode.

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