Benay Wettle worked in IT. She didn’t realize how miserable her job was until she was on a family vacation in Greece and started to hear horribly she spoke about it. When she got home to Australia she started to search for other options. She happened across life coaching. It intrigued her. After a 3-day indoctrination course into coaching Benay was hooked and for the last six years she has been living a life she deliberately created– and now helps others to do the same.
Here is a bit of her story.
What sold you on life coaching?
I had read the E-Myth 3 million times and loved it. I knew I needed a business idea that I could systematize, be passionate and excited about no matter what. I had a list of about 10 ideas ranging from selling dog products online to opening a website business to having an art gallery. But none of those felt strong enough. Then I came across life coaching and that resonated with me so I signed up to do a Certificate IV in Life Coaching. While I was at this 3-day course I saw how powerful life coaching was just for myself and I thought if I could help people with what I was learning then I knew had found something that I could stick with through thick and thin. I really believe in the life coaching skill sets. It is fabulous what you can do.
What do you help people with as a life coach?
I am currently targeting two different markets. I help people wanting direction and results to create a clear vision for themselves to help them get there. I also provide new coaches with tools that help them kick-start their own coaching business.
How do you help people create a clear vision for themselves?
The theory I have evolved over the last six years of working with clients and working on myself is to set a vision statement in eight distinct areas. I help people get really clear on what they want to achieve in each of those eight life areas. You need to be very specific about your vision statements. It is actually really easy to write a vision statement that seems good, but is in fact full of limiting beliefs and statements that hold you back. I teach my clients to use their language with maximum efficiency to create vision statements that work at both the conscious and unconscious levels to propel them forward. Once the vision statements are complete I help them set six-month goals and a weekly schedule that helps them make sure they meet those goals.
What are the eight life areas?
Career and business, finances and wealth, friends and family, health and fitness, fun, recreation and entertainment; love life, and physical environment.
Did you learn anything in the IT world that helps you in the life coaching world?
Absolutely. I have 10 years experience as a business analyst specializing in usability and user interface design. This has helped me in two ways. The first is that my business analyst skills have made me an organized systems thinker, so of course when I first set up my life coaching business, I created systems, templates and programs for everything. Fortunately for me, there are a lot of coaches out there who don’t like creating their own business systems so they have turned to me to help them to kick-start their businesses. This has been rewarding work and an important income stream for me. The second way my IT background has helped me is that, these days; my whole coaching business runs online. I have several websites and am launching an online vision planning and goal setting training system in June. Because of my background I’ve been able to play a HUGE role in designing everything. I am also comfortable working with graphic designers, programmers, editors, SEO consultants, etc. which is a nice leg up to have.
Was the fact that you could work anywhere in the world part of the appeal of life coaching?
Initially it wasn’t which was funny because when I first started out I wanted to build a big coaching company. I wanted to be THE coaching business. I was thinking of a Fortune 500 huge company. When I started down that path I realized that lifestyle did not resonate with me at all and that is when I started doing more online work to generate passive income. I liked the lifestyle of sitting in front of my computer, having my dogs at my feet and being flexible with when I work.
How do you find clients?
In the past, my long-term one-on-one coaching clients came from networking, presenting and other face-to-face interactions. That approach worked well for me but heavily relied on being seen and meeting new people, which takes a lot of time. To streamline things a bit I am moving into a new era for me and my coaching. I’ve started blogging and am launching an online vision planning and goal tracking life coaching program. This is where I am hoping it will go and I am really trying to direct clients into that.
Is this online life coaching program accessed via a monthly fee?
I’ve always wanted coaching to be accessible to everyone, because it can really impact a lot of people’s lives in positive ways. My Goal Tracker Program, is going to enable me to pull that off. The self-paced training is only $4.99 a week and if you want coaching it’s $29.99 a week.
With the online life coaching option how are you communicating with clients?
Communication is built into the system. You can send messages back and forth, but it is all contained within the system.
How do you make passive income currently?
I have a couple of websites that sell coaching tools and templates to new life coaches that are starting their businesses.
In the last year I have hired search engine optimization people to get my rankings up, but before that it was all Google Adwords which has been very successful.
How much does Google Adwords cost you?
We spend about 20 – 30% of our revenue we make on the coaching tools on Google Adwords.
What are the common issues people come to you to resolve and what is your approaching in helping them resolve these issues?
Getting direction and building momentum in their career or business is the number one thing people want my help with initially. To address this, I work with my client to get a good picture of where she thinks she is now and help her see new aspects of where she is that she hadn’t been able to consider before. Next, we work out where she wants to be and how this impacts other areas of her life. From here we identify the gaps between where she is now and where she wants to be and come up with a plan of how to get there. Some clients are happy with that and others like to keep me on to coach them through some specific issues we’ve uncovered.
I’ve also been doing a bit of accountability coaching lately for people who want to make sure they keep working towards their vision and want a skilled confidant who can help them stay strong and on track. Those sessions tend to be a bit lighter and fast paced. We meet weekly for 3 – 6 months so I get to know them very well. It’s great fun.
Explain the certification process of being a life coach.
I get asked this question lot from people who are interested in becoming a life coach, so I recently wrote to the International Coach Federation (ICF) who are the industry authority and asked them. Here is what they said, “There are no regulations on calling yourself a life coach. You don’t have to have any formal training to do so. There are no laws saying you can’t be a coach unless you have training and a degree to do so.”
Saying that, I did the full diploma in life coaching and that took 2 years back in 2006. I think you can get an entry level certification quicker than that though.
How many days a week do you work?
I work three days a week.
What do you think is the most crucial thing in marketing yourself?
Being true to yourself and being focused. First create a Career/Business vision statement that feels congruent and authentic to you by focusing on the characteristics of what you want. Then make sure that everything you do in your business aligns with your vision. Without that foundation in place, nothing else you do matters.
Are there any social media tools you use that you find helpful in marketing your business?
I am just now getting into social media. I had been avoiding it because I couldn’t see how it could help me and I wasn’t ready to invest my time into learning how it could – I had so many other things on my plate. Now that I am more established online, my attention is being drawn more and more into social media. In the last few months I have set up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for my websites mostly to help our search engine optimization. Now that I’m there I can see that this is a great way to connect with new people who are interested in what I do. I see lots of potential here so this is an area I am investing in as we speak. My main advice with social media, at this stage, is to hold off until you are ready to leverage it strategically to build your business. It’s an easy way to waste time if you don’t have a plan.
I hear a lot of people say, ‘I want to make a movie or I want to open a coffee shop.’ But they can’t get beyond the money part of having to support themselves or their families. How do you help people work through that?
It is a typical coaching conversation. Like most people, these people have limiting beliefs, well-rehearsed excuses and unconscious barriers around possibilities. These thoughts have been with them for so long that they don’t even know they are there. Through the coaching process I guide them around and through the obstacles they have built for themselves.
What do you think blocks people the most from having the life they really want to lead?
Fear. Tony Robbins talks about the four universal fears: the fear of not being enough, fear of not being loved, the fear of letting go and the fear of not belonging. I think those are behind every adverse behavior out there. If you can help a person let their fears go then they can start moving forward.
What about success stories?
One of my favorite clients came to me because she wanted to make sure she got an upcoming promotion. She did not think she would get the senior role because she did not have the skill set or the confidence. Together we just drilled through all of the things that she felt were holding her back. Within a few months and well before the interview, she had built all the skills she wanted and she felt confident that the job would be hers. She got the promotion.
I love that story because it shows that if you identify what you want and what it takes to get there you can achieve it. It is impressive what people can achieve when they focus on it.
What are some of the challenges of being a life coach?
Selling the idea of life coaching to people who don’t know they need it is really tough. Like many new life coaching practices, my first business attempted to do this, which is a silly business model when you think about it – it’s like fighting gravity. Now I’ve become better at solving specific problems like ‘get your new coaching business organized fast’ and ‘find direction in your life and get there fast’. This is much easier to sell.
Starting the business itself was also tough. I’d never done it before. I liked the idea of having my own business, but I didn’t really know what I was doing or what I wanted from it. I thought I wanted to set up this multi-million dollar coaching company, but I think I was taking on what other people believe is success and not really thinking about what success meant to me. Getting through that noise and finding my true calling took some serious courage on my part. It has been a rollercoaster ride for me, but I stuck with it and now I am reaping the rewards. I am loving every day. I get to spend my time the way I want working on projects that are important and meaningful to me.
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