It’s an ongoing challenge, helping other people understand what you do, when what you ‘do’ isn’t of the traditional career ilk.
I get it. You can’t easily shove me into an occupation bucket like “architect”.
And I’ve also discovered that our brains are lazy. If we can’t easily understand something and we don’t particularly want to figure it out, we dismiss it.
I’m not saying that people ‘dismiss’ what I do, but I believe because it’s difficult to figure out, I keep getting asked the same questions.
So today I thought I’d answer some of the common questions I get asked about my business.
If these are questions you’ve been wondering yourself, I hope it helps. And if you’re in a similar position to me, I hope it gives you some reassurance that you’re not alone!
Note that these are not questions I get from strangers, prospects or new connections, nor have I made them up. These are real questions from friends, family and family friends who have known me for at least a couple of years, especially from before I left my job. Here we go…
“So…what is it exactly that you do?”
I help people improve their communication skills.
What types of people? Mostly young professionals in their late twenties to late thirties. I also work with business owners and startup founders, but professionals is my main jam.
What do they need help with? Being confident in meetings at work, giving effective presentations, building better relationships with their colleagues, speaking with authority and confidence to clients and other stakeholders.
What does this look like? If it’s an individual, I’ll do 1:1 coaching with them. I sell coaching sessions (in-person or Skype) in monthly blocks, and I’ve also just launched a 10 week coaching program that involved weekly email lessons/challenges and fortnightly coaching sessions. If it’s a group of people, I’ll run a seminar or workshop. I get booked to run group training on:
- Public speaking
- Creating an effective ‘elevator pitch’
- Small talk and networking skills
What results do I get? People who work with me develop the confidence to put themselves out there, and as a result, they get opportunities they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. They progress at work. They get more referrals and clients for their company. They build their professional brand and presence. They have better relationships with others. They become more effective leaders, which leads to greater productivity. And they’re generally happier and more fulfilled for it.
“How’s your podcast going? That’s your business, right?”
I know as I post my podcast a lot on social media, it can appear to be my ‘business’. But it’s actually a marketing tool. It helps to establish me as an authority, it enables me to connect with awesome people through interviews, it builds my brand and helps people to build a relationship with me before they’ve even met me – making it easier for me to create clients.
So yes, I do get clients through the podcast, but I don’t make money directly from it, ie I don’t get paid to podcast. I could, if I wanted to, get a sponsor for the show and do a 30 second advertisement at the start in exchange for $50 and possibly my soul, but I choose not to.
If you want to make big bucks and get sponsored by the Mailchimps, Audibles and MeUndies of the world, you need to have at least 10,000 downloads per episode, and I’m at about 600. So I’m not quite ready to play with the big fish just yet!
“How do you actually make money?”
How I make money right now:
- Individuals pay me to coach them. I’ve also had people pay me to teach them how to podcast.
- Universities pay me to run workshops and lectures for their students
- Companies pay me to run workshops for their staff
- Voice overs
Yes, I’m also a voice over artist. I do phone messages, explainer videos, other marketing videos and online courses. It’s the most consistent of all my revenue streams.
How I plan to make money in the future:
- Selling online courses and products on my website
- Speaking at conferences (this is a long term goal ;))
- Sponsored posts on this blog (I’m gonna experiment and see how it goes)
“Are you making ANY money at all??”
See above. Considering most businesses don’t turn a profit in their first few years, I’m doing pretty well. I’m not a millionaire yet, but I’ll keep you posted ;)
“So how’s, uh, work…?”
I tend to get this question with a slight hesitation on the word ‘work’, as if they can’t quite believe that what I do could possibly be real work.
And frankly, a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like work. When I’m on stage speaking, I feel like a rock star. And I think to myself “I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this! They’re gonna find out that I’m having a lot of fun. Better grab the money and run…”
Anyway, for me, work is going well when I have momentum. So I might be working on my website and not getting a lot of new clients, but my website is making progress. Or I’ve had a few jobs come through in a row. Or I’ve had an opportunity come up for a new collaboration.
As awesome as it was to go to the US for just under a month, I felt like I lost a bit of momentum as I was away from my normal day-to-day activities. So when I came back home, I was itching to get back into it.
And having been back for just over a week, I feel like I’m picking up momentum again. I’m working on a new product, I’ve got workshops coming up, and I’ve just launched a new coaching program.
Every day is different. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s still very scary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So yeah, work is good.