Ann's News

My Entrepreneurial Full Circle (Part I)

In the next few blog posts, I’m going to recap my entrepreneurial endeavors so far, how they’ve taken me full circle and the business goals I have set for 2001.

In July of 2005, after ten years of active duty service in the Marine Corps I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey.  I started out as a solo practitioner – as a life coach.  Life coaching seemed like a perfect fit for me since I am very motivated to help people.  My first website was www.coachingyourfuture.com. I used Yahoo website builder and for my business cards I used one of Vista Print’s basic business card templates.  (Coaching Your Future eventually lead to Life’s Guiding Source) The biggest thing I learned starting my first business was the importance of having a network and how critical networking is to a business.  Since I had just left the Marine Corps – I had no civilian or even business contacts.  None the less, it didn’t take long, perhaps a couple of months, for me to realize that life coaching wasn’t for me because my clients just “moved too slow” so I began to focus more on business coaching.

There was something about business that naturally made sense to me, although I did not have any type of background in it.  Plus, people in business were much more willing to accomplish things at a higher tempo since what they did impacted their bottom line.  Again though, I realized business coaching wasn’t the answer either.  I ended up acting like the CEO for most of my clients’ businesses because they turn the reigns to me and this annoyed me.  This is also when I realized that being a solo practitioner was not the way to build the type/size of business I desired.  This is when I started LGS Coaching Agency – LGS stood for Life’s Guiding Source.

The plan for LGS Coaching Agency was to offer all types of coaching: Life, Business, and Executive.  I also envisioned a web base system that would handle matching clients to coaches, the tracking of a client’s progress and have other useful features. I would enlist coaches to work for the Agency and the Agency would handle all the promotional, administrative and logistical end of things and allow the coaches to do what they do best; coach.

I pitched the idea of the Coaching Agency to a good friend of mine who agreed to help fund the Agency after I presented him with a business plan – this was the first but definitely not the last business I wrote.  Thankfully, I got better at writing business plans over time but I still hate them. I went all out at this point…renamed the LLC, found a web designer, got a logo and website made.  I rented an office space, got a sign made to hang outside the space, furnished the office and even got liability insurance. I spent a lot of unnecessary money!!

None of that took me very long…so before I knew it I was recruiting coaches.  I found a handful of great coaches…as we neared the Holidays (end of 2006) we began to design New Year’s Resolution program.  This is the blog we started at the time: New Year’s Resolution Blog.  This is also the time when I met and hired Geoff Livingston.  At the time he was just starting to dabble in Social Media…

With Geoff’s help I landed a bunch of interviews with reporters doing stories on New Year’s Resolution and made it into various papers across the country – I also ended up taping a segment with the local Fox News station.  This is also when I started my journey into Social Media. I joined BlogTalk Radio when it was only six months old. It was an incredible time and I felt that big things were going to happen but nothing did.  Nada. We had zero clients sign-up for our New Year’s Program.

Although I was extremely disappointed, I picked myself and kept on charging.  I kept networking and I started attending health fairs being held by one of my on-going clients.  I joined Toastmasters and started looking for speaking opportunities. A coach who also happened to be a developer joined the team right around the start of January…and this is when I took on my first partner and started scoping out the backend (engine) that was going to make LGS Coaching Agency a shining star!!

In the next blog post I’ll cover why LGS Coaching Agency came to a startling end and the start of WhyGoSolo!