How This Executive Coach Started to Land Top Executives, Olympians and Celebrities as Clients
If you want to grow as a coach, you have to put yourself out there.
I remember landing my first paid client when I was a personal trainer in my early twenties (I'm now 42). I had just taken him on a gym tour and through a sweaty workout, and we sat down to talk about ongoing sessions. As I flicked through my schedule to see "if I had any slots available," the white pages were in fact blank.
As he walked into the changing rooms, I proceeded to do a happy dance. "Phew, now I can cover part of the gym's rent," I thought.
I loved helping my clients get fit. My journey from bullying to building my confidence through exercise gave me a strong "why" that helped me connect deeply with my clients beyond how they wanted to alter their physical appearances. I was genuinely interested in what was happening with them as individuals because I had gone through a lot of pain myself.
"This was my formula: get results, share results, get clients."
In 2009, after writing a 13-page ebook called The Lunch Box Diet (how I ate as a personal trainer) and putting it on my website, it was eventually picked up by Elle, which called it "the best diet ever 5/5." I then signed a $150,000 book deal with Harper U.K. It was this that helped me start positioning myself differently from the other trainers in my gym. I simply took what worked for me and then created a formula.
When one of my clients cleared up her eczema using my healthy eating plan, I called my local paper and within a few days, I had a full page of coverage about her results. My phone started to ring, so I focused on getting more results and sent those results to my local paper. This was my formula: get results, share results, get clients. I plastered the gym with those success stories and put them in the lockers.
In my experience, imposter syndrome and lack of confidence in attracting clients is largely due to lack of results, so I always advise new coaches to focus on getting results and building their toolkit of results tools and frameworks early on because this is what worked for me. While I had the confidence and passion to help others, I knew that I needed to get results with my clients to ensure my success. I did not have as many qualifications as the other trainers, and when my book was released, I had no nutrition qualifications apart from a basic "nutrition advisor" certificate. But I didn't care because I had results.
"Yes, celebrities are clicking on advertisements"
My internal confidence came from consistent results that I generated because I found small things that worked with my clients and rolled those out to more clients, taking note of what worked repeatedly.
The very first business executives I worked with were personal-training clients, but then when I pivoted to business consulting and mentoring, I got my first celebrity client: an entrepreneur and band member of a very well-known pop band who was still touring in the United States. This client discovered me at the time through Facebook and a webinar that I had run that focused on, guess what, the results that I had generated with other entrepreneurs. Yes, celebrities are clicking on advertisements, watching webinars and filling out application forms.
As I evolved and grew as an entrepreneur, I pivoted to executives and performance coaching. My area of expertise? Getting to the truth fast. I'd invested over $250,000 in my own personal growth, and I was ready to teach others what I'd learned. When I shared my personal journey online, clients began to connect with me on LinkedIn. The more comfortable I became in my own skin and with living a life true to myself, the more I was willing to be brutally honest about my entrepreneurial journey without fear of people not hiring me because of that honesty.
"Attracting these types of clients comes from my confidence in what I do"
An Olympian and entrepreneur who invited me for an interview on his podcast was taken aback by my transparency about the struggles that I'd encountered and then read my book. He reached out to me, and I transformed his life by taking him through a process that I continue to refine to this day.
My fees have increased over the years as a result of my ability to generate faster results for my clients —not because I just wanted to increase my fees. Clients want to save time and money, and my fee reflects that transformation.
In my personal experience, attracting these types of clients comes from my confidence in what I do, my full transparency around my journey without fear of judgment and a little bit of perfect timing, which I believe is the universe rewarding me for being willing to do the work. I'm always growing and going deeper, and one of the comments I consistently get is "I've seen how much you've grown." People will hire you because they know you're in it, constantly learning, sharing and focusing on results.
Related: 5 Ways to Land Celebrity Clients
Another important factor in attracting these clients is the circles in which we spend time. Many of my top clients have come because of the investments I've made in myself and the connections I've forged through those. If you continue to invest in yourself on bigger levels, the quality of the clients grows in direct relation with those investments.
Your next big client is ready to hire you, but he or she has to know you exist, and most of all, he or she needs to resonate with who you are and the results you get. This combination is a powerful force for your professional growth.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor