I started 2014 so optimistically, declaring resolutions and making goals for changes in my photography business that I hoped would bring growth. Early 2014 brought about some tough times personally, which drew me away from my business, and the growth and goals. In the middle of the year, I realized I’d hardly had any sessions or gained any new clients, and felt a sinking, deep despair.
I felt stuck and overwhelmed with which step to take next. I was unfocused and needed help, but I wasn’t sure who to ask. I contacted a business consulting firm, and spoke with a PR/Social Media consultant, but neither of those felt like the right fit for me. Around this time, I opened an email newsletter from Gaye Esser, of Redefine Balance. I’d signed up for her newsletters at the first Illuminate conference 3 years ago, but hadn’t had any contact with her since. In this newsletter, she noted that she offered monthly group coaching sessions, and a complimentary first session to try it out. Perfect. I went 2 days later.
I have now been going for 7 months, and feel it is the best thing I did for my photography business last year. The group has given me support, focus, and accountability. The groups are small, with each woman getting some time to go over her business problems or questions. Gaye poses questions that make you think and sometimes challenge you to think differently. I find the group dynamic to be invaluable also, as I learn new things from their businesses and get their fresh perspectives. The support I get from the group to just ask questions or bounce ideas off of other women is priceless. We get a sense of accountability by setting clear, attainable goals, and knowing that I will have someone ask about them, keeps me motivated and on track. Once we’ve established what needs working on, we create a clear roadmap of the steps to take and how to do it, giving me the focus I often lacked when working at home by myself.
I found Gaye to be the absolute right fit to coach me. She is intuitive, and knows exactly which questions to ask to help you find the right answers within yourself. I have talked about these sessions with many friends who have had questions about what a business coach does or how this works, so I decided to go right to the source for the answers.
What was your journey to become a life/business coach?
Gaye: I used to be in IT sales and was laid off from my job. I decided I wanted to do something I loved for my next job and after tons of research, I found life coaching. I always felt like I was here to help others, so I knew coaching was the perfect fit for me. Right away, I signed up for coach training and graduated from CoachU in 2003.
Can you describe your approach in terms of work/life balance?
Gaye: For me family comes first so I try to make sure to complete my work during my kids school time so I have nights and week-ends free to focus on my kids and husband. Of course, there are always exceptions but by knowing what my goals are, it helps to keep my boundaries in check.
What do you feel holds people back from asking for help/seeking out a coach?
Gaye: I think people are not sure what coaching really is and they don’t know exactly how it can help them. Coaching helps healthy people reach goals more efficiently and effectively and it helps with productivity and clarity. It can move people along their path at a much faster rate!
What do you want every client to achieve from working with you?
Gaye: To realize how great they are! My goal is to help all of my clients find their inner light and step into their greatness. I try to bring out the best in each person I coach and I try to challenge each client in a way that helps them become the best they can be. I love for my clients to find happiness in all areas of their life, not just one part.
Can you define your style of coaching?
Gaye: I am both supportive and challenging. I love to ask questions to help my clients look inside for their own answers. Whether working with a business or personal client, I find it important to work from the inside out. If you look inside, you will always find your truth.
Can you describe the process of working with you?
Gaye: I try to listen to my clients and focus on their needs. Each session is dictated by what the next steps are for the client. The client comes to coaching with an area they want to work on and we go from there. We build on things from session to session and what we work on expands as the client expands and grows.
What do you feel is your greatest strength in helping others?
Gaye: I listen to my clients needs and I am not afraid to challenge them when they are ready to be pushed. I feel so blessed to be doing what I do and I love to see my clients achieve amazing results!
Do you have goals for your own business for 2015?
Gaye: Of course! I am working on several different writing endeavors and my goal this year is to publish more work and create several new products to help my clients. Ultimately, my goal is to shine my light more brightly and help others find, own and shine theirs too!
Going to the group sessions has brought me clarity, both in my business and personal life. I have made goals and action steps to achieve the goals. I have created a marketing plan for the entire next year! I have come up with exactly who my ideal client is, what my ideal business looks like, and have plans for how to acquire the clients and achieve the business. What I also like and didn’t expect, was how much this all intersects with our personal lives and how much going to these group sessions would change things in me, too. I cried at 2 out of my first 3 sessions I went to! But the awesome part was that there was no reason to be embarrassed, and that these women did support and understand. And I do still have a long way to go, but I feel optimistic that I am on the right path to creating a profitable and sustainable photography business.
Sometimes it is hard to ask for help. We feel like we should be able to do it all ourselves. But we can’t let fear hold us back from trying something new, or asking for help. Trust that you and your business and worth it!