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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.

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Declutter.

Less is more.

Some of the things I have learnt during Covid 19 is that we can really do more, with less. 
Over the past 2 months, I have cancelled 2 credit cards, downgraded my Miotv subscription and cleared out quite a bit of stuff from my cupboard – clothes, books and things that I will at most use only once or twice in the next 12 months. 
I think Marie Kondo is onto something really important – the need to declutter our lives. 
With less clutter, we can see more clarity. This is the same principle for our emotional health, as well as our biz. 
I have coachees who are focusing on too many things at a time. On the surface, they seem to be fully occupied and busy. But as we dig deeper, we see the Pareto principle at work: only 20% of the activities contribute to 80% of the revenue. 
So, what is the take-away?
It is high time you take a good, hard look at what’s going on in your mind, and in your balance sheets. 
Emotionally, some of us carry quite a few baggage that we can’t seem to let go of – whether it is a past hurt, a past offense or past failure. I’ve encountered my fair share of folks like this, and I myself used to let some of these burden hold me back too!
But I’ve really learnt to let go. Do my best, and pray for the rest. I’ve learnt to live with less, and get more out of it. 
How about you? 

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social media strategy Tiktok

Tik Tok hits a block

Tiktok banned in India, and more?
The big news that the fastest growing app, Tiktok has been banned in India is followed by more fears that other countries may soon join in. This drives home a very important point for marketers, biz owners and social media influencers alike: We need to build our own database.
I believe that Tik Tok won’t be the only social media platform that will hit a roadblock. Previously, Facebook has also been banned in China. Now the US is also looking to join the bandwagon of restricting access to Tik Tok. 
In the new economy, having your own database is the gold mine of your biz. For myself, I rely a lot on Facebook and LinkedIn to build my own network and do prospecting, so this piece of recent news only drove home the point that I really, really need to have control over my own database.
This is why it is also imperative that you have your own digital “real estate”. For me, that would be my own website, as well as my Email CRM. This two will suffice for most people who are looking to start out. And having your own database is just the start: you need to grow and nurture your database, and build real relationships with these people.
This is because you may never know when you will get Tik Tokked in India, and be left high and dry like the many influencers who base their biz on Tik Tok. 
Who remembers the YouTube changes that caused many influences to lose a major proportion of their revenue? 
What is to say that Tik Tok, or any other social media platform like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, will not shift the goal posts in future? Are you putting all your eggs into one basket? 

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I picked up a 10 cent coin while jogging, and here’s what I learnt:

Value, and the perception of value.

So I was doing my morning run, going by one of my usual routes. The morning air was cool and fresh, with a lingering smell of wet soil after some rain the previous night. 
And then a shiny glitter caught my eye. At first, I went past the glitter and thought nothing of it. But something made me pause and think. I made a u turn, and went back to the spot and picked the coin up. It was a 10 cent coin, minted almost a decade ago in 2011. (pictured)
And it was indeed unusual, as two things immediately struck me: value, and the perception of value. 
You see, nowadays, nobody will even bother to look at a 5 cent or a 10 cent coin lying on the pavement. Perhaps a 50 cent or dollar coin will give them some thought. But a 10 cent coin? Nope, don’t waste my time please.
However, 40 years ago, things will be different. A 10 cent coin will be as valuable as a 50 cent or dollar coin today. What has changed? The value of the coin, and the perception of that value.
This is how it is important to us today: what is our value, and perceived value? The latest headlines in the papers scream: – 41.2%. Singapore is in a recession.
What is more worrying is actually the mindset of many people, who are still stuck in Jan 2020. Even though their value, and perception of their value has plummeted from a dollar to 10 cents, they still refuse to change in terms of mindset and skill set, and believe that they still retain their value. 
But in reality, they just get ignored and left behind on the pavement, watching the whole world pass them by. 

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What the Singapore GE taught me about trust

Trust. Or lack thereof.
I think come the end of the day, it is really about winning the trust of the people, through both actions and words.
Looking at the results, it is clear that the electorate has spoken. There is trust erosion, and my initial predictions of a 69-70% vote share by the incumbent is off the mark by almost a full 10%.
Congratulations to the hammer party. Your work has begun. I believe you will serve the people to the best of your abilities, as you have always done on an unequal ground.
To the incumbent, it is a time of reflection, and really mending the holes that have sprouted around. While the ship has been relatively steady, there are signs that not all is right, and little leaks here and there that are beginning to allow water to come in.
To the people, it is high time to put aside party affiliations, and really come together as a nation to ride through this storm. In case you haven’t already realized, we are in the middle of the storm. We cannot always depend on others to help us survive this, and it is high time we take responsibility and take the necessary actions.
A lot of people still think that they can get away with bailouts. For a small country like Singapore, this is close to impossible. It is not sustainable nor responsible of us to keep tapping on reserves to resuscitate the flailing economy. We have to pivot and adapt. Certain industries will be gone or changed forever. Mindsets will need to change too, and the incumbent needs to understand this and support it better. 
But if nothing else, this crisis has taught us that we can stand together as a nation. We can be bigger than what we make ourselves out to be. Together, I firmly believe we can ride out this storm.
Majulah Singapura! 

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Don’t Rock The Sampan Lah!

I was just having a text conversation with my dad, and we were discussing about politics, with the General Elections just a couple of days away.

This is what he said, “Sometimes, I wonder if the majority of people here realize that we are in recession or maybe depression very soon. 
If virus is still attacking us or broadly speaking, the whole world economy is heading in that direction, realistically this situation may persist longer than we can ever imagine.
Now is not the time to play “tikam tikam” politics, maybe next election.
We need super majority in Parliament to get us through this grim situation, otherwise a lot of time will be spent debating what are the options we have.
I am well prepared in my small sampan (to quote Mr Goh Chok Tong, “Don’t rock the sampan!”) 
Having rolled in this storm, and having encountered many storms during my sailing days, every storm can be fatal, which can last for few days.
We are always thinking, “Can we survive?”, trying not to show panic in front of engine staff as it can affect morale…”
I replied my dad, “The thing is that many people either still don’t realize that we are already in the storm, or they think that the government can and will bail them out successfully every time and any time the storm comes.”
This is the reality of the situation that we are all in now. Job losses are expected to hit 200k and beyond by the end of the year, and while the government is trying her best to create jobs, there is no doubt at all that the rate of jobs lost far exceeds the rate of jobs being created.
So, the sampan is sinking?
I think it is really high time to start changing our mindsets. Since the beginning of the year, I have already completed my Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, as well as certification in ICF and soon to complete my financial exams and certification in NLP.
All these will equip me with the necessary tools to coach and serve my clients, to help them achieve their goals and find true joy and happiness in their life through mindset mastery, money mastery and skills mastery. In fact, I was able to increase my fees even during the lock down, or circuit breaker period!
All this goes to show that nothing is impossible, but firstly, we need to embrace change, and secondly, we need to take firm action towards achieving our goals. Even if it is a sampan that we are on, we need to keep rowing and paddling, in order to beat the storm. And we will definitely need to upgrade to a bigger boat, to weather this huge storm that is coming.
The sad truth is, not everyone will make it out of this storm alive. Much as I hope I will be totally wrong, I am quite sure those who are left behind will not make it. But it is my mission to help as many people as I can to help themselves, and get onto this rescue boat to sail out of the storm.
boat in a storm
If you would like to hop onto my boat, don’t hesitate to ask me.
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business

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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business

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
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We are into the 2nd half of 2020!

And so 6 months have flown by.

Wow.
At the start of the year, I am pretty sure, many of us have wildly contrasting dreams and aspirations. 
Places that we want to explore, things that we want to experience… Career goals and business dreams to achieve…
6 months into the year, after the outbreak of Covid, what have we? Where are we right now?
When I started this year, I was almost finishing my Digital Marketing Professional Diploma with Lithan Academy. I’m looking forward to transit out of my day job at Ultimate Drive, to embark on a full time career as a life coach.
3 months into the year, in March, things didn’t seem to get any better. The virus has spread all over the world, and Singapore was not spared. Flights were getting cancelled as countries started closing their borders all over the world. China was in a lock down and soon, Singapore was to enter her own “circuit-breaker”.
Friends around me, who owned businesses, were suffering badly. Especially hard hit were the tourism sectors, and F and B sectors. The rest of the sectors in the service and retail were also badly hit. This resulted in a trickle down effect, and even financial services and real estate were suffering.
In April alone, 8,500 companies closed in Singapore, and economists predict that we will have 200,000 job losses by the end of this year. And this is only the tip of the ice-berg.
With the circuit-breaker, people remain at homes most of the time. Zoom and other online meetings became the norm as people shifted work away from offices. Delivery of food and goods became the means to put bread on the table for many people. Pilots and stewardesses I knew who once flew 30,000 feet in the air remain grounded as service and Covid-19 safety distancing staff in public areas.
The world as we once knew, was no longer the same, and will never go back to the same again.
Wearing a mask used to be something I did way back in university, at an attachment to a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. Now, it has become my semi-permanent face accessory! 
In the few months since circuit-breaker, I have completed my ICF certifications, and am undergoing certifications for ACC. I have also shifted all my coaching online, and coached my coachees to do the same for all their current and future endeavours. I am also currently doing my financial papers, to qualify as a financial consultant. This will add further value as I can coach in financial planning matters on top of coaching the mindsets.
It has been a hectic but fruitful first half of the year. And of course, totally… unexpected. But such is life, that when you are served lemons, make lemonade… πŸ˜‰
How about you? How are you planning to end 2020?

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business

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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