Not ready to hire a business coach yet? Do this instead. - erincantwell.co

Not ready to hire a business coach yet? Do this instead.

As a creative business owner, you’ve probably thought about hiring a business coach at one point or another. Maybe you’ve even worked with one in the past!

I stand by the power of hiring a business coach to help you:

  • Accelerate your progress
  • Strategically clarify and reach your goals
  • Sustainably build a business that serves you and the lifestyle you desire

And while there are countless benefits to 1:1 business coaching, I also get that coaching in this capacity isn’t accessible for everyone or at every stage of business! 

Coaching is a significant investment of both time and money. And while strong investments offer a ROI (return on investment) in the long run, working with a 1:1 business coach may not be in the cards for you right now for a wide variety of reasons.

And that’s okay!

Fortunately, there are tons of other ways to improve your business literacy, develop your skills as an entrepreneur, connect with community, and gain perspectives outside of your own lived experiences. 

In this post, I’ve curated some of my favorite ways to learn: creative business style! I’ll offer resources that range from free, to mid-level, to high-ticket and everything in between so that you can explore the options outside of 1:1 business coaching to fit your needs now and in the future!

Free Resources

The beauty of the internet is there are TONS of free resources available to you right at your fingertips. The key is sifting through the sheer volume of content out there so you can find the most trustworthy, reliable voices (and yes, they’re out there, I promise!). Be sure to look into the source and their experience to validate their advice!

COO Tip: The challenge with free resources can be that you receive conflicting information from different sources. In addition, it can be easy to get “new shiny object syndrome” and jump from one idea to another. I highly recommend having a clear goal or focus for your learning, such as a specific topic, so that you don’t end up with a jumbled pile of thoughts instead of a cohesive learning experience. 

Mentorship

Mentors are an amazing resource! Find a veteran in your field who has the knowledge and experience to mentor or guide you in your professional work. 

Not sure where to find this mentor?

You’ll want to start with your network. You may even choose to ask a colleague or friend for an introduction to spark the conversation.

Know there’s someone you’d like to learn from but don’t have a direct connection? Be bold! Reach out and introduce yourself to this person you admire!

Many seasoned professionals who are actively working in your industry will be happy to help and will not charge you for their time. BUT be mindful! They are exchanging their time, energy, and expertise free of charge, so you will want to maintain healthy boundaries when asking for their input, resources, or effort. Make sure you understand what you are hoping to get from the relationship and make your goals and needs clear from the start. This will ensure a positive experience for you both!

COO Tip: DON’T ask someone who offers these services or coaching to be your mentor! It’s a bad look that could make it seem like you are actually devaluing their work or business by asking them to do it for free. Mentorship of this kind is only appropriate for individuals who have experience in your industry and are still actively working in that field–NOT coaching or mentoring professionally.

Start a Group

A few years ago, I joined a book club with a handful of girlfriends. We’d get together for wine and cheese to talk about the latest book on our list. 

I’ve always been an avid reader, but during the time I participated in this book club, I DEVOURED books unlike ever before!

Why?

I attribute it to accountability!

The same can be true for your business education. While you may not start a book club per se (although a business and entrepreneurship book club DOES sound pretty fantastic to me, sign me up!), you CAN organize an Accountability Group!

An Accountability Group or Peer Group is simply a group of like-minded people who come together on a regular basis with a specific focus. To build this group, you may reach out to other professionals in your industry or simply other entrepreneurs at a similar stage of the business journey. You can schedule meetings in person or on Zoom to learn, share, and grow. 

During this time, you might:

  • Critique each other’s work
  • Share your ideas or expertise
  • Come together for a mastermind, think tank session or even hot seat feedback!

Keep in mind: if you’re looking for this type of community, chances are there are other people in need of the same support! If something isn’t already out there to fit your needs, build it yourself!

Podcasts

This is especially for my auditory learners or people short on time!

I listen to podcasts while I get ready every morning. I’ll also pop them on during walks or while I’m cooking or cleaning! When I worked a 9-5 corporate job, I also listened during my commute! Toby Robbins refers to this time as N.E.T. – “no extra time.” It’s a strategic way to uplevel the value of the time you are already spending! 

There are SO many amazing podcasts out there on countless different topics while learning in an engaging way! 

You can search by topic wherever you listen to podcasts (Apple Music and Spotify are my go-to’s). Or do a quick Google search, ask friends and people you admire, or…heck, ask me! I’m a huge podcast junkie and listen to them DAILY! So I probably have some recs for you!

Here are five Podcasts I am currently loving:

  1. Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher
  2. What Works with Tara McMullin
  3. Work Life with Adam Grant
  4. Biz Chix with Natalie Eckdahl
  5. The Mind Your Business Podcast with James Wedmore

The list goes on and on…

Blog Posts

Say what you will, but I believe 100% that blogs are NOT dead! They are still an amazing resource (like mine!) that can connect you to new ideas, tools, and people! 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add a shameless plug for my own blog! I believe so wholeheartedly in the power and impact of blogging that I’ve committed to creating and sharing my knowledge and expertise through weekly blogs. I’ve been doing this for over a year now (hard to believe!) and never looked back!

The goal of my blog is to offer you jam-packed posts with all the business stuff they didn’t teach you in art school! It includes expert business guidance, tips, and resources for creative entrepreneurs like you so you can confidently build the business of your dreams.

Not sure where else to find a good blog? Aside from searching Google, Pinterest can be a great place to connect you to good blogs. 

And of course, you’re already at the best spot on the internet to learn about all things creative business, in my humble opinion! 

COO Tip: You can make it even easier to catch my weekly blogs by signing up for my email list! I’ll share reminders and extra tips every Tuesday, so you never miss a beat!

Social Media

Believe it or not, social media can actually be a great resource as you’re developing your business knowledge and skills. Teaching on social media is alive and well! You just have to be willing to sift through the noise on TikTok and Instagram to find reliable accounts and then soak it all in!

Once you find someone you love learning from, subscribe to their account, so you’ll be notified with reminders anytime they share new content on their platform!

Books

Why stray from the classics? Books are still my absolute FAVORITE (total bookworm over here!) Nothing is quite like diving into a new book! The beauty of books is that while you can buy them and cherish them forever in your personal collection, you can totally borrow them for free from your local library (get out that library card!). There are books on every topic under the sun, and if you need recs, I got ‘em!

Some of my tried & true faves include:

  1. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
  2. Atomic Habits by James Clear
  3. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

And I’m currently reading Jenna Kutcher’s newest book, “How are you, really?” (have you read it yet?!)

That should get ya started!

COO Tip: Don’t forget about e-books and audiobooks (SIDE NOTE: Does anyone remember books on tape from back in the day?!). They’re an awesome solution for on-the-go entrepreneurs! You can read or listen on your device while satisfying your hunger to learn without lugging around a heavy stack of books! Definitely check out your local library’s selection or purchase on Audible! 

Low-Cost Resources

It’s time to level up justttt a tad. Free resources are amazing, but sometimes putting a little skin in the game can hold you accountable and give you access to some deeper learning opportunities. Here I’ve curated some of my favorite low-cost resources that won’t break the bank!

Magazines

In our digital-centered world, sometimes magazines are the last thing on our radar! But there’s something nostalgic about picking up a magazine! Plus, I find it easier to stay focused when reading a magazine instead of fighting off one distraction after another reading articles online with ads, news, messages, and posts vying for our already divided attention!

As a bonus, who doesn’t love getting something other than bills and flyers in their mailbox!

There are so many magazines out there on every topic. From general entrepreneurship to super specific niches! 

True story: we get a magazine titled Wood delivered to our house monthly because my husband subscribed after I gifted him a woodworking class at a local studio one year for Christmas! 

Plus, magazines are available online, too, if you want to skip over the paper version. Most subscription deliveries also offer access to the online versions, so you can keep up with your learning even when you’re on the go!

COO Tip: Fast Company, Inc., Success, and Entrepreneur are great places to start!

Memberships

Have you considered joining a business-related membership? These groups are often industry and/or issue-specific (think: marketing, photography, copywriting, sales, legal questions, etc.). Chances are, if you have a need, you can find a membership to support it!

Don’t forget about local opportunities! Local organizations like your chamber of commerce may offer the support you need. Plus, explore alumni organizations through your alma mater! Some memberships may require you to pay dues to remain an active member. Many memberships and organizations may also charge registration fees for certain events or workshops. 

I am actively involved in several business-related organizations through my university, RISD, both as a participant and a facilitator (I love being able to give back!).

Courses

Online courses are an excellent way to deepen your knowledge in a cohesive, structured environment. I love courses because the information is clearly organized, goals and objectives are established, and you’ll often get the tools and support you need from your instructor to help you stay on track!

I am so passionate about courses, in fact, that I’ve created one of my own! In the fall of 2022, I will be launching my first-ever course specifically for creative entrepreneurs to help you build the foundation of your business from the ground up! I’ll teach you how to get paid doing the work you love in a way that works for YOU!

Hop on my no-obligation waitlist here

You can also check out course platforms like Skillshare, CreativeLive, Creativebug, Udemy, MasterClass, and LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) to see if they offer a course on a topic you’re most interested in for your business. 

Workshops

My husband and I are workshop junkies! 

Kidding – kind of. 

We really do love them! 

Instead of buying more “stuff,” our holiday and birthday gifts to one another usually involve gifting a class or workshop! Last year I signed him up for a woodworking class (yes, the one that inspired his subscription to ‘Wood’ Magazine), and he most recently gifted me a bread baking class (it’s my new favorite hobby!).

I also love workshops for business purposes! You can often find business-related workshops that you can take online or locally! They tend to be lower cost than more extensive trainings since they typically last just a few days (sometimes even just one). Plus, they are one-time investments on a specific, bite-sized topic that might be just what you need to move the needle in your business. 

One-Time Coaching Sessions

Many business coaches will offer one-time coaching sessions. These are perfect for entrepreneurs who are encountering a very specific roadblock in their business that they keep hitting over and over again. 

I offer 90-minute Clarity Calls, a one-time intensive coaching session. These calls can help take you from where you are to where you want to be! During our time together, you can ask your biggest questions and receive my strategic guidance. Plus, you’ll walk away with a clear, actionable plan and support to hold you accountable.

In the past, I’ve helped my Clarity Call clients:

  • Prep for an upcoming launch
  • Update backend systems and operations
  • Get ready to hire their first team member or strategically expand their current team
  • Craft a custom client experience
  • Map out their offers and pricing
  • And so much more! 

You can learn more about my Clarity Call offer here. 

Mid-Level Cost Resources

As we inch our way up cost-wise, you’ll often receive a higher level of support and structure so that you can accelerate your progress. I highly encourage you to think of these “expenses” as investments in your business and your overall professional growth! In my opinion that always leads to time and money well spent!

Group Coaching

If 1:1 coaching isn’t in the cards just yet, group coaching can be a great alternative. While you’ll receive less individualized attention, it is still personalized! Plus, you can learn from your peers and the questions, perspectives, and experiences they bring to the table!

Here are some of the main benefits of group coaching:

  • More affordable than 1:1 coaching.
  • More generalized broad advice and exercises can be great when you’re just getting started.
  • They can still be SUPER impactful without the hefty price tag.
  • Added bonus of a built-in peer network!
  • Different sizes, price points, and topics. 

If you’ve been wanting to work with a specific coach, many of them will offer group coaching. This can be a great way to see if their teaching style works for you before you invest in 1:1 coaching down the road!

Masterminds

Masterminds are another excellent way to learn alongside a supportive community! They can be peer-led (think free group but on steroids!) or expert-led. Plus, the people hosting typically have more serious qualifications, and putting a price tag on the experience comes with a higher level of commitment from all parties involved! 

You can explore masterminds of all topics, niches, shapes, and sizes! Some are small groups, while others may be massive! There are also a wide range of price points, so chances are you can find something that best matches your goals AND your budget. 

High-Ticket Resources

Finally, it’s time to explore coaching at a high-ticket level. Every coach offers different packages, and as a result, the investment will likely vary significantly. The key to coaching, however, is that it is typically a long-term time and money commitment. This is not a quickie solution. It is a devotion to deep development, learning, and growth for you and your business. 

1:1 Coaching

1:1 coaching is offered at a high price point because you are getting your coach’s undivided attention. You have full access to their expertise, experiences, insight, and strategy. Sometimes the hardest part about committing to coaching is deciding if it’s right for you. Here are some of my favorite tools to help you make this decision for yourself confidently and strategically. 

Some entrepreneurs worry about the time commitment. You might wonder, 

“I’m already stretched so thin. How could I possibly add yet another thing to my plate?”

I hear ya. But the truth is until you take action to make a change, you’re always going to feel overwhelmed and pressed for time. This is actually an excellent reason to invest in coaching. 

If it’s a time concern:

  • Make a plan
  • Set a goal
  • Figure out what you CAN commit to and the best way to work towards that goal.
  • Make it a priority. Block out time in advance (before your calendar is booked up) and reserve that time NOW. Set a boundary and protect it. 

For other business owners, it may not be a time challenge but a clarity concern. Making this kind of decision can be paralyzing for some!

If you need help gaining clarity before committing to coaching:

  • Talk to your people. Chatting with friends, peers, and people at the same stage who are struggling with the same things can often shine a light on your needs. Plus, they can offer different perspectives and insights!

  • Dig deep and do some soul searching (CEO Time is a great space for this).

  • Talk to coaches you’ve considered working with (many offer free or low-cost discovery calls) to get insight into how to prepare and make the most of the coaching experience. 

  • Journal about it. You might learn something new about why you’re hesitating to invest in 1:1 coaching.

  • Play, iterate, and be creative. Sometimes getting the creative juices flowing can help you find the clarity you’ve been looking for.

Start Learning

Whether you choose to read a new book, invest in a workshop, or take the plunge and hire the 1:1 business coach of your DREAMS, I simply want you to take aligned action! 

Being a creative entrepreneur is a lifelong journey of learning, curiosity, and pushing beyond your comfort zone. I hope that this blog provides you with a wealth of resources and inspiration to fuel your passion for business and your creative work!

What ONE learning opportunity will you commit to today?

I want to hear from you!

Send me an email and let me know! 

I’d love to learn which Podcast you’ve found helpful in your business, which Mastermind you just kicked off, how it’s going as you work on organizing an Accountability Group through your network, or something else entirely!

I may even have to add your suggestions to this list!

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