When I started my first blog, Change One Woman, it was (like a lot of what I do) a reaction to being unable to find what I wanted. What I had been searching for was personal development courses, workshops or classes to help me figure out what the hell I was doing with myself and where to go from there.
I found nothing.
Well, not nothing exactly. My only options back then were seminars on being a domestic abuse survivor, self-defense, becoming more aggressive in a corporate environment or discovering my inner goddess. None of which were what I wanted or needed. I remember thinking
“Is THAT IT?! These are my options?!”
Although I did end up doing the self-defense Krav maga workshop for fun…
But it annoyed me for a number of reasons, the first being that it was so limited. For someone who believes that they are capable of doing anything if they have access to tools and training I was disappointed that there were such narrow options. But also because, as so often happens, each of the options was so unbelievably stereotypical!
I’ve never liked boxes and labels, especially when it comes to people.
But I started my blog, it grew. I started coaching. It grew too. I did workshops. They grew too. It was all going rather well… and then somehow the internet got in the way of my simple and surprisingly easy success.
When I moved to the USA I was stunned at how sleek and shiny the marketing was for the many many coaches that operate here. And at first I LOVED it. The diversity is incredible and it was so gratifying to see how quickly the industry that I adore was growing.
And then the Disneyfication started. (I don’t actually know if that’s a world, but I love it and it should be)
Seriously though, I’m waiting for the musical movie of “Fabulicious Sarah and the overnight success following the uncovering of her money blocks”. Or “The magical tale of Annabelle the bizbabe and the 6 figure coaching business” or my absolute favorite “Miranda the Fabpreneur, biz coach, spiritual revolutionist, green smoothie rebel junkie, mother of a super baby with magic powers, stylista *insert more overused words that are super catchy but don’t exist* ” I’m just kidding, that one makes me want to gag.
Names have been changed to protect the innocent. - and to prevent me from getting sued.
All of these women are AMAZING and DO run incredible businesses so don’t think I’m knocking their success at all. But I'm frustrated that this is seen as the best and often only way to make this being a self employed coach thing work.
What frustrates me is the rush to copy the Disneyfication of the coaching and entrepreneurial spirit. The sudden assumption that to be a business woman means also being a part the fluff and flutter of the sexy and cute. Its understandable, but it often comes across as forced and lacking in authenticity. And I sometimes feel like we are dumbing down the real and unbelievably powerful impact that we make with our work.
Part of the problem is that it IS difficult to market what we do. How do we easily explain to people that we help change lives without resorting to finding something catchy that sticks with people. It’s in many ways a marketing Mexican standoff.
But I think it can be done without getting all FAAAABULOUS on each other.
Call me old fashioned, but when someone starts off a sales call or a pitch by calling me Babe, fabulosa, femprener, biz babe, girl boss (though I love the book) or any variation of a professional title that gets dipped in glitter and given a tiara, I immediately sigh and click “hide”. Or sometimes I think “you don’t know me guuuurl”, and then move on…. after checking out their Instagram to see their cute shoes though. Because yes, I am a woman and I have needs. I can be as girly and sparkly as the next lady boss. And I love sharing my day on Instagram and pulling the occasional fish lips selfie. But when it comes to taking what I do and what’s between my ears seriously, the marketing is not the THING.
As I would say to my clients. Who would you be if we took away the clothes you wear and the image that you project? Does it change you, your talents, your passion?
My point is that I think as women in the coaching industry, we are still fighting to create that image that says we can do and be it all, while still being super cute, well dressed and girly. It’s all about the marketing.
The packaging is becoming more important than the product and the people.
As I’m a part of the industry, I tend to see a lot more of the coach to coach selling that goes on, and I think its partially responsible for the fear based “must do and be all the things” trend that I not only see everywhere, but have felt myself. Just this morning I was talking to a lovely coach about getting lost in the industry noise and what we’ve dubbed “imminent failure nichitus” (thanks Tanya!)
Which is basically the relentless scream from countless industry experts with rags to riches stories, telling us in floods of social media and emails that unless we do things in a certain way with our niches and checklists and periscopes and professional photoshoots…. Doom will be upon us.
One of the things that I love most about what I do, is that I don’t tell people WHAT to do. Granted I’m not a business coach, but I am a coach who believes that the best way to create success, is to help create a successful person. Someone who is successfully being THEMSELVES. Not a Disneyfied biz babe version of themselves (unless of course that is truly who they are and it makes them squeal with happiness).
So for my own sanity, I’m checking out of the constant and over flowing marketing, the cannibalization of our industry where we coach the coach who coaches on coaching. I’m unsubscribing from a hundreds of emails that I signed up to for inspiration that have ended up strangling my own voice in my head. And I’m deleting anyone who calls me a biz babe. And. I’ve deleted my own email list.
Tiara and high heels or not,
I’m just here to write and help people be awesome.