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How do I get started as a coach? (Part 2)

 Follow on from my first post here, now that we have our first 2-3 powerful testimonials, what next?

After we have our first 2-3 powerful testimonials, the next step is to ask for referrals from these clients.

And we will also need these testimonials to be put up on our social media platforms, websites etc… Now the important question, which platforms should we first start with?

Before we dive into the many options available, there is one important question that you need to ask yourself: Where are my potential prospects found?

This requires an in-depth knowledge of your ideal customer profile, as this is really key to your next steps of deciding where to invest your time, energy and finances into to get the maximum return on investment (ROI) on your new coaching biz.

Yes, make no bones, the numbers matter.

If you wish to harvest good fruits, you need to select the best soil and provide the best possible chances of success for your new biz. Do you know exactly where your potential prospects are found?

If not, you will have to go back to the research phase, and ask your current clients which social media platforms do they spend the most time on, and what do they do exactly when they are on these social media platforms. But let’s assume that your potential prospects, like mine, are mostly on Facebook as well as LinkedIn.

There are many resources available online on Facebook and LinkedIn marketing, and I shall not go into specifics right here. (You may simple google “Facebook marketing” or “LinkedIn marketing”, and you will surely be spoil for choices!)

What I will go into here is the strategic thinking behind the choice of platforms, and also sharing a little on how I started building my Facebook and LinkedIn profile.

Now, any marketing and branding is really a numbers game. So you need to go for numbers. But not just go for numbers, be really strategic about who do you target.

Building Rapport On Social Media

This is a huge topic, which I will surely spin off into a separate article, or even a video course at a later time. But for now, I will provide a condensed, easy to understand and execute version for you, so that you can immediately start to put into action.

There are a few general principles that I apply, based on Chris Widener’s book, “The Art of Influence.” These are also my personal principles, so take note that what works for me, may not be the best for you.

#1: Work with people of similar values.

For those who know me as the Happy Coach, or as the founder of the Happy Man Club, they will know that my values are happiness and helpfulness. Specifically, finding true happiness by being helpful to others. This is evident in who I choose as my clients too, or rather, who I choose to work with in my coaching journey. I will not hesitate to reject potential clients who share different values, and this is not dependent on how much they are willing to pay me.

As a result of this, in the type of content you create, you need to show your values clearly. This will also help to attract people who identify with those values, and make your work of selecting the right clients much easier.

Being a helpful, happy coach, also entails that I give, more than I get, which leads me to the next point:

#2: Be interested in the other party’s interests, more than your own.

As a giver, I am constantly interested in what the other party wants to achieve. It could be an immediate goal, or a longer term dream. Have you ever met people who are exactly the opposite of this? Looking to get, rather than give? They are simply interested in pushing their own agenda, and don’t really care about yours? I have, on more than one occasion! 

And I have also made the mistake of “cutting and pasting” my introduction to new people that I met online. But I learn from my mistakes, and now whenever I introduce myself to someone new on social media, I always make an effort to look through their profile, and find an angle or a common topic to talk about before making my introduction. 

Facebook and LinkedIn reminds you of special occasions e.g. a promotion, an anniversary or a birthday. Do make full use of this as a way of introducing yourself to someone whom you have not connected personally with online.

And one very underused feature…called the “p________      m_______”. If you want to know what is that, watch my YouTube video here! 

#3: Create relevant, refreshing content on your social media

In line of giving value, the type of content you put out on social media needs to be relevant and refreshing. Of course, they will have to show who you are as a person, what are your values, as well as your expertise in a subject matter. Most importantly, they have to be relevant to your target audience, and address a certain pain that they are experiencing right now.

(There’s actually a difference between a pain, and a problem. Do you know what that is?)

These, in a short summary, are the 3 things that guide me in my outreach to my potential prospects on social media.

Of course, you will have to take specific steps to build your prospect list, and I will be covering that in my next topic.

Hope that you have found this article helpful, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.


Who Holds The Power? The Buyer, Or The Seller?

Strategy for Play Poker Games at Home, It’s Not What You ...

In my very short time as a biz owner in 3 years plus, I have realized that the answer to this question is very powerful.

In any transaction, it is about who is holding the power. Whoever has greater urgency and need, will always cede the power to the other party. It may sound cruel in some sense, but every negotiation is essential a battle of power. Who is able to walk away from the deal more easily? Who has more options?
Putting this principle into place has helped me become a better negotiator over the 3 years. It is always about the ability to walk away from the deal, whether as a buyer or a seller, that makes you more powerful in the negotiation. That is why, having more options will always help you. And having less options, always set you at a disadvantage against the other party, or parties, in the negotiations.
On a side note, that is why getting a good education is extremely crucial. It simply gives you more options, in terms of knowledge and the network you built from school. However, getting an education is not the only way of gaining knowledge and building your network. As long as you are able to consistently do both of these throughout your life, you are setting yourself nicely up for success. This is one thing that I consistently do, and I coach my clients to do the same as well. The moment we stop learning and growing, is the moment we start dying.
Besides power, there is another “P” that is very important – Perception.
How people perceive you is also a part of this power game. Before going into any negotiation, it is important that you position yourself right. And you need to give the other party a positive perception, and one that sets you at an advantage. 
This is something that most people don’t realize. You never start at an equal level in terms of perception, in the eyes of the other party. You either start from a lower ground, or a higher ground. No guesses for which one is more advantageous! 
So how do you create a perception that sets you on an advantageous ground?
This is the secret: proper pre-framing. It is always better to have someone, an introducer, who can put in some good words about you and your work, to set up the meeting. This is to pre-frame the other party, and this will set you on a higher ground which will put any subsequent negotiation in your advantage.
The game of negotiation is like a poker game.
Sometimes, you can go about bluffing the other party that you are more powerful. But of course, the bluff may backfire, if you then realize that you are left without options if the deal doesn’t go through.
Much like life, there is an element of gaming to it. You just have to enter into the game with your eyes wide open, well aware of what are the stakes in this game.
If you would like to improve your negotiation game, do drop a text here.

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What is a marketing and sales funnel for coaches?

In short, a funnel is creating a memorable sales experience/journey for the customer.

Marketing funnel
This graphic is borrowed from my buddy, Walter, from cooler insights, and it accurately depicts what a marketing funnel is all about. You may read the article here.
In this article, I want to dive right into constructing a marketing funnel, specially for coaches, and I hope that this will add tremendous value to you as a coach.
Now that you have got your first few customers and testimonials, you wonder, what is the next step? (If you have not, please read here.)
Starting from the top of the funnel, you want to draw more viewers and visitors to your websites or social media platforms. And here’s the really important part: you want to draw the right group of visitors that have problems and pain, and are looking for the solutions that you have.
Before you even dive into creating your funnel, you need to be crystal clear on what is the exact type of customer that you have a solution for. The buyer’s persona. It is crucial to zoom in as much as you can. For example, I have different solutions for someone who is 25 and freshly out of college, vs someone who is 35 and has already had a decade of working or business experience under his or her belt.
The targeting is definitely different!
You may actually be targeting different groups of people, and currently serving them. It is ok.
For example, you may offer solutions for someone who is in his early twenties and solutions for someone in his forties. But if you are doing so, you will definitely need to craft different products/services for these 2 groups of people. Do NOT put them into one basket and try to shoehorn them in. This is because both of these two people will have different pains and different problems. 
The main idea is that you want to be as targeted and specific as possible. Be like the SNIPER.
Top of the funnel:
The main aim of the top of the funnel is to create awareness of you and your brand. 
To do this, you have to generate traffic.
And there are 101 ways to generate traffic, through websites, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Wechat, YouTube… just to name a few), emails, podcasts and online forums. I would highly recommend that you start with 1 or 2, start building it and dominate the avenue. For me, I use Facebook, LinkedIn and website.
You really just need 1 of them to work, to bring you consistent traffic and revenue! 
As you may already know, my clear personal brand is: Happy Coach!
(I will do another article on personal branding soon…)
What is your personal brand? What do you want to be known as?
This determines your marketing funnel, as it determines what kind of customer experience you want to give to the customer. For me, I strive to give clarity to the customer, helping him or her discover joy and re-ignite passion. #behelpfulbehappy
One of the most important ingredient of the top of the funnel is having good content. 
You will need to create useful content that adds value to your target audience, in the form of text, photos, infographics, videos or audio (podcast).
This will also help you to showcase your authority on the subject matter, winning trust with prospects and helping them to create a clear connection to you and your brand.
Creating and posting good content is just the first step.
After doing so, you need to engage with your audience. Reply to their comments, private message them. The more positive touch points that you can create with your target audience, the more you will be able to draw them into your experience journey. This is especially important if you are just starting out, as you want to build an intimate and authentic brand experience for the prospect.
Middle of the funnel:
Once you have regular traffic, you may want to build a CRM (customer relationship management) system. There are many ready made solutions out there, but Getresponse is a good start. This is about nurturing your leads, and helping them to be constantly reminded of you. I engage my audiences through events, like webinars or accountability groups, which are part of the service that I provide for my customers. They are also very important parts of my customer experience journey.
You can also build your own community on social media. I have a couple, for different purposes. One is a home schooling group for parents, while the other is a telegram broadcast which I send valuable information to my audience. The main focus of these communities is to engage, which is why I always recommend that you focus your attention and resources on the one that is most likely to bear good fruit for you. Make sense?
Bottom of the funnel:
This is where you can grow your business. Previously, by collecting powerful, specific testimonials, we are already building this part of the funnel. Keep on doing this, it is really important!
It is also important to get good feedback on how to improve, from your customers. The moment that we think that we got it perfectly, is the moment we become complacent and start to move backwards.
Even a rejection, or a “no”, is an excellent learning opportunity! Ask this question, “What is it that I must do for you to say Yes?”
As a coach, this can be our blind spot sometimes. We think that we know everything, and cannot learn anything anymore. Don’t be like this!
This may be the time that you explore collaborations as well, with people who may synergise with you. I am currently working with universities, as well as certain corporations and parents groups. Who are 3 different groups that you may be able to collaborate with? 
If you need some clarity, feel free to text me
Ask Yuantai

How do I get started as a coach? (Part 1)

So now you have decided that you want to embark on the coaching journey… CONGRATULATIONS!

1 year ago, I embarked on a similar journey, and you can read about my journey here.
This is just a guidelines, of how I got started, and it is definitely not prescriptive, but hopefully, it will give you some idea of what to expect in the wonderful journey ahead!
Firstly, you want to have a clear idea what value you can provide.
Are you able to give advice in a particular industry, because you have experience and a certain level of accomplishment? For example, I was in the retail pharmacy for 7 years, and I left the job as a pharmacy manager. The value that I can provide as a coach would be to guide my coachees in the pharmaceutical or retail industry, if they want to achieve their goals in their career and grow as a person.
You have to ask yourself, what is the value that I can provide to my clients? How can I make them become better people? In which specific areas can I help them to grow? 
This may also mean that before you start out on your coaching journey, you may need certain certifications like ICF or NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). For myself, I am currently completing my certification in ICF, and soon to be going through my certifications in NLP.
Of course, there are some out there who claim you do not need certifications to be a coach. That is true. I myself started on my coaching journey without certifications, acquiring paying customers as I already have a solid brand on social media. However, having certifications serve 2 main purpose: 
a) They will help you to get corporate contracts more easily, as corporations often look for internationally recognized certifications like the ICF.
b) They will equip you with more tools in your tool box to help the client get over his limiting beliefs, overcome the challenges and obstacles on his way to achieve his goals. In short, it will tremendously increase the value that you can provide to your clients (Hence you can price yourself higher!)
Secondly, start off with complimentary or low fee coaching, with the idea of getting your first 2-3 powerful testimonials.
Here, you have to be strategic in reaching out to the correct target audience in offering your complimentary or low fee coaching services. Some people make the mistake of reaching out to college students, with no intention of looking for this same target group once they move on to paying customers.
This is a total waste of time!!
Coaching students can be a “passion” project, but it cannot feed you if your eventual paying customers do not come from that segment of the population.
Your testimonials can only be powerful if they are from your target group of paying customers. So do not go in circles by taking in people whom you have no intention of eventually coaching when you start charging your dream fees. Cut to the mustard and go for the correct target group from the get-go.
Does this make any sense?
I have also covered the 3 powerful questions for your testimonials in this video here.
Thirdly, once you have your first 2-3 powerful testimonials, you can start asking those coachees for referrals.

I am sure that if you have delivered absolute value, you will have no problems getting at least 2-3 referrals per person, and now you have your first batch of paying customers!
This might also be the time you start looking at constructing your own marketing and sales funnel, which I will cover in a future topic.
All the best in your new coaching career! It will be really rewarding!
Once you have done the steps above, please read on to find out what to do next.
If you need some clarity, feel free to text me, by clicking on the “Ask Yuantai” button 😁

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It goes beyond selling an idea…

People used to say, it is not about selling a product/service, but about selling ideas.

I beg to differ.
As a coach, ideas are just ideas. Ideas are formed in the head, and many people have many different ideas.
If you are selling just an idea, it is nothing inspirational. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
How about: selling a dream?
Better! Dreams are big, and dreams inspire! Martin Luther King sold his dream of, “I have a dream, that one day…” in his famous speech, that to me, is still one of the best ever “sales copy”, if I may do a huge disservice and compare it as such. Dreams are people’s aspirations, and galvanize them to act in small measurable steps towards fulfilling the big goal.
Now, you can really see what I am driving at.
As I prepare to run my first ever “accountability group”, I realize that most people do not lack ideas. They also do not lack dreams. What do they really, really lack is having the motivation and discipline to push through and take concrete small steps towards the big goal.
That is why, it should be selling a journey/experience.
You should go deeper than just selling ideas, and not even stop at dreams, but be selling the journey that the potential prospect will be embarking on you. Most people get it wrong. The customer’s journey only begins after they have made payment. It doesn’t end there!
Hence, if you run a business, it is high time that you relook at how you structure your business. The mindset and thinking that goes behind every process and every member of the team. If you are selling just an idea, you are shortchanging yourself. If you are selling a dream, go deeper. Focus on the whole customer experience journey, and you will be able to build long term, sustainable customer relationships.
As a coach, it is also my responsibility to create that fantastic customer experience journey. I guide the person to walk this journey of self-discovery and growth.
If this message resonates with you, do feel free to share it. This has to go out there!

What is your personal brand?

I’ve been asked this question in various ways, so let me start by sharing how I do my personal branding, and hopefully, this will give you ideas of your own.

Most people know that your personal branding should convey your values and your value proposition.
This is a common way of going about doing your personal branding. I did mine in the same way too, until I realized that personal branding goes much, much deeper than just a phrase you use when you introduce yourself, or a one-liner you put on your social media profiles.
Now, I started on my personal brand being known as the Happy Man. 
This is because I identify with the values of being helpful, and being happy.
It is also related to what I do for a living, which is to coach people to discover true happiness in life. I have helped working professionals, who are sick and tired of being in the rat race, dragging themselves to work everyday, find clarity and re-ignite the passion that they once had.
This is my story, a personal story of self discovery. 
So what is your personal branding? And what is your story?
Personal branding goes much deeper. There has to be congruence in your private and public persona. 
Unless you suffer from personality disorder, like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, you must do what you say, and say what you do.
Nothing can ever stay hidden forever. This is why, as I have learnt, that personal branding is really about how you treat people, day in, day out. 
Personal branding is about:
What you say
What you don’t do
How you say it
What you do
What you don’t do
If you want to be a true master of personal branding, simply putting on the packaging won’t cut the mustard. There are a lot of marketers out there who are really fantastic about what they do: I totally respect that. I used to do digital marketing too, and had paying clients.
But beyond the fancy packaging, there has to be substance inside. People will unwrap the packaging to look at the contents, and you have to be dead certain, it better be good. Or else, you will simply be discarded.
I always tell my coachees to think for the long term. Build sustainable, authentic and honest relationships. It is not about making a quick buck or closing the sale. In fact, the sales process only starts when the client has put money into your pocket!

So, what should be your personal branding?
If you are not sure, you can always start with what it should not be. If you need some clarity, feel free to text me. 
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Yuantai the Happy Coach

The beginning
Let me share with you my story, and hope that it will encourage you in your own journey.
I was born in a middle income family. My father was a sailor (no, not Popeye! but close, haha!) and my mother quit her job as a bank clerk to take care of my brother and I when we were in primary school.
(Yes, I have a clone of myself, and I am the Evil clone… haha!)
My mother was a strict disciplinarian, and she made sure that we behaved ourselves. She made sure we studied hard, and she kept telling us that success in life is through getting good grades, getting into good schools and graduating with a good degree.
And so I did exactly as I was told.
I went to Montfort Primary, did well in my PSLE, got into Raffles Institution, did well for my O levels, got into Hwa Chong, did well for my A levels, got into Pharmacy in National University of Singapore.
I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) and practiced as a community pharmacist in retail chain.
Yuantai NUS graduation
Yuantai as a community pharmacist
Graduation, and…arriving?
I seemed to have everything that people would have wanted. Good grades, a cushy job.
But yet, deep down, I was not happy. And I did not know why.
(I felt like Neo when he was plugged into the Matrix.)
And hence, I started to embark on a journey of self discovery in the pursuit of happiness.
I decided to quit my job, and start a business. But what business can I start?
The first business I started was a venues portal. It was in an area that I am totally unfamiliar with.
I did not have the experience, the knowledge nor the network to do the business.
And I was struggling to bring in the income to feed myself and my family.
To make myself feel better, I told my wife that I will look after the house. Mop the floor, scrub the toilet, do the laundry, groceries etc (Yes, Caleb Low, I can fully empathize with you!)
Even though I believed that I had something of value, but nobody valued what I had.
Nobody knew. Nobody cared.
I was broke and unsure of my direction.
Doubts begin to creep into my mind. Was I too hasty and too foolhardy?
I’ve been going the wrong direction!
But then, something was happening to me.
I was slowly discovering happiness.
Why was I happy?
This is because when I was on the seemingly lonely journey, I realized that I was not alone.
I had support from around me.
My favourite super hero, my spouse and partner, my wife.
My parents and my close friends.
And even people whom I have met along the way, strangers like yourself, who have generously extended a helping hand to me.
And I begin to look around and see that there are also people who are on this journey, trying their best to start a business or keep their business going.
Even though I don’t have much, but I was able to help some people along the way.
And then it occurred to me…
that this is indeed the happiness that I have been looking for:
The secret of happiness lies in helping others to succeed.
The secret of happiness lies in the generosity of the heart.
And I believe that if I can inspire 1,000 people to do likewise, I can create a positive impact in the community.
This is why I decided to start the Happy Man Club.
My mission for the Happy Man Club is to create a community of men and women who help each other and spread happiness.
On top of that, I have been involved in Grassroots work for 8 years, organizing house visits and health screening events for the lower income families in the community. I believe that it is indeed truly blessed to be able to give, rather than just receiving.
And here I am now, as the Happy coach, helping jaded professionals rediscover passion and joy for what they do, and find clarity moving forward in their career and their lives.
This journey has taken me to places and faces that I would not otherwise have known and met, and I truly consider it to be my honour and privilege to create a positive impact on the lives of people, helping them to achieve their goals. What other job allows you to create such a meaningful impact on a daily basis?