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Focus on what you do best by using virtual business support

When you first trained as a coach and set up your business, what was your motivation? It probably wasn’t spending significant time doing admin, workshop preparation, communications, or bookkeeping. While these tasks are an important part of running a coaching business, they take your focus and energy away from what you do best – coaching your clients.

Whether you’re new to coaching or have a well-established business, there’s a way you can free up your time and do more of what you love. In fact, the most successful coaches learn how to run and grow their businesses with less pressure and stress.

How do they do it? They invest in their time and energy by working with a virtual business partner, who can tackle those projects they tend to avoid, or tasks that are outside their skillset.

How can I do this? Use our guide to discover everything you need to make it happen…

1) What is virtual business support?

Many small business owners assume that if an internal employee isn’t in the budget, they are left to wear all hats themselves. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In our increasingly virtual world, many coaches are now working alongside a virtual business partner, who supports them on an ongoing basis or as specific projects arise.

Is this different from using a virtual assistant (VA)? Yes. You may have heard from others who use a VA and are loving the support it provides them. While a VA can beautifully tackle many types of tasks for many types of industries, coaches have specialized processes and systems that often require significant training time to get a VA up to speed. Many VA agencies and freelancers aren’t set up for this type of continued partnership. Enter the virtual business partner.

For the coaching industry, a virtual business partner can dive deep into the workflows and processes of a successfully executed workshop, and the systems and tools used to facilitate it. This is especially true for those using the CliftonStrengths® assessment – finding a virtual business partner who already knows the language of the 34 themes, and knows how to navigate Gallup Access and Cascade, can save you significant time in training and micromanaging.

2) What are the benefits for me and my business?

If someone else can get it done faster and better than you can, get it off your plate. When you do, you’ll have more time to focus on what only YOU can do, and more energy to strike the balance we’re all looking for.

Using a virtual business partner allows you to:

  • Stop focusing on admin tasks, and spend more of your time and energy on your clients
  • Lean on their strategy and expertise, often resulting in a better outcome
  • Reduce stress by sharing the workload with someone who understands your business
  • Have a partner to help you see around corners and prevent potential problems
  • Focus on business development, increasing the quality and quantity of your business output
  • Customize the scale of your investment, enabling your business to expand with minimal overhead

3) What tasks can a virtual business partner help me with?

General business tasks:

  • Basic admin
  • Project management
  • Research and strategic planning
  • Customer service
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing and content creation – social media, newsletters, blogs, etc.
  • Website creation and maintenance

I asked Jill [at Just Ask Jill] to help me plan and implement a marketing strategy. She created a beautifully crafted email campaign that immediately yielded three new clients and two returning clients.

Barbara Macnish, Triquester Teams, UK

Coaching tasks, specifically:

  • Workshop management – handling logistics from the signed contract to the event date
  • Scheduling of individual coaching sessions
  • Participant communications – including assessment invites, reminders, and technical support
  • Assessment rollout – including results collection, individualized and team materials, and printing
  • Handout creation, customized to your company brand
  • Template creation – proposals and contracts, communications, evaluations, invoices
  • Managing CliftonStrengths® assessment codes in Gallup Access and creating Cascade reports
  • Other assessment management – DiSC, 360, Q12, Enneagram, etc.

I know I can always count on them [Etter Ops] to bring enthusiasm for projects that tie me up and slow me down.

Erin Passons, Founder & President, Passons Consulting, US

4) How does it work?

A dependable virtual business partner should always offer a complimentary initial call to find out more about your business and to explain how the partnership model works so you can decide if it’s best for you.

Think about how much your time is worth. Find an investment that works for your monthly budget. If you can, commit to investing that in someone (or a team!) for a specific period, such as six months, so you can give your new partnership a chance to work its magic!

Provide your new partner with everything they’ll need to be successful. Allow time up front to let them learn about your business needs and goals, but also about how you work best. Perhaps most importantly, communicate effectively about project timelines, deadlines, and expectations to allow for a smooth transition. Lean on them for guidance during this initial phase – remember, they work with many clients just like you, and have likely worked out all the kinks. Trust their expertise.

Once you’ve established these parameters, start delegating!

5) What does it cost?

Cost depends on several factors. A virtual business partner may have one of several models – flat project fees, flat hourly rates, or tiered hourly rates based on service type. However, if you go into this new relationship with a maximum monthly budget in mind, the billing model matters less than the ROI on your time and energy.

Do keep in mind that a virtual business partner will likely have higher rates than a virtual assistant. Again, a VA’s role is most commonly to check off your task list. They are not necessarily invested in your longer-term success, learning the ins and outs of your business and brand, and proactively providing strategy and recommendations. By contracting with a virtual business partner, you essentially have an employee for exactly the number of hours you need, without the cost of payroll taxes or the responsibility of management. There is value in that!

Before getting started, be sure to have a solid understanding of what and how you’re being charged and ask any questions you have upfront – you don’t want any surprises on that first invoice.

6) How do I find the right virtual business partner to support my coaching business?

The best way to find a virtual business partner that’s right for you is to ask other coaches! Remember, coaches have specific business needs, so stick with what already works for others. If the same name keeps coming up as a great choice in your network, that’s likely a good sign.

If you’re brand new to coaching and have yet to connect with other coaches, why not check out the Your Community section on this website? It’s a great place to find regional or online groups to join.

Of course, you can also click our bios – Jill Andrews and Kelly Etter – below and schedule your free consultation today. We’re always happy to connect with you… and don’t just take our word for it – both of our websites include testimonials from a range of our clients!

Further Reading

Effective Business Networking – for your Coaching Practice
Top 10 Tips for a New Strength Coach

Written by

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, StrengthsFinder® and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.  All rights reserved. To learn more about CliftonStrengths®, please visit Gallup Access.

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