Before we met each other, we both dreamed of becoming published authors.
A few years after meeting, we got the opportunity to make our dream come true and write our first book together. The problem: We had plenty of experience telling stories, but we knew nothing about writing a book proposal. We needed help. So at the suggestion of trusted advisers, we hired a writing coach.
After an initial kickoff meeting, we scheduled a workshop to dig into the stories we wanted to tell and the lessons we wanted to share. It was an exhaustive process. With our coach’s help, we completed the proposal in just six weeks. Most importantly, we landed a deal with a well-respected publisher.
We share this story because hiring a coach was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. In fact, while editing our manuscript, we hired another coach to help us get it right. But if you had asked us whether we thought hiring a coach was a worthwhile investment before the process began, we would’ve said no. At the time, we weren’t willing to pay or take advice from someone we didn’t have a previous relationship with.
This initial resistance is common among entrepreneurs (or anyone) venturing into the unknown. Sometimes, our confidence, naivete and cost-consciousness can interfere with our goals.
If you’re debating on whether to hire a coach, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Overcome the Sticker Shock
Our writing coach quoted us $5,000. Although we had the money, it was already allocated to funding our business. We struggled with determining whether the service price warranted what we were being asked to pay.
For us, overcoming sticker shock boiled down to how we valued our own time, not his. If we’d gone through the process alone, without any guidance from an expert, it probably would’ve taken much longer. We would’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, and it all would’ve spilled into other areas of our life. By reframing the problem to look at the value of our time—not just the price for his—the decision to move forward became much clearer.
To accomplish the goals we’d committed to, we simply couldn’t afford delays or major disruptions to other parts of our life.
Define Value Clearly
Writing a book is a grueling process. It’s not uncommon for writers to isolate themselves or take sabbaticals so they can focus on completing the work without distractions. But we have a small child, so we didn’t have the luxury of skipping town, renting a cabin and spending our days hammering away on a laptop. Knowing this, it became clear how having a coach would add value: Having someone who is familiar with the process, willing to hold us accountable and steer us in the right direction to avoid delays was priceless, particularly as first-time authors.
Focus on What You Can Control
Initially, we sorted through every possible scenario to help us decide. We thought about the future value of that money if we’d simply invested the $5,000 into the stock market. We considered the potential impact on sales and revenue generation. We even considered whether our credibility as writers would be lessened if someone found out that we’d hired help to get the deal.
But funds can underperform. Business landscapes shift. Things change. In the end, we focused on the things we could control and later learned that hiring a coach is actually seen as a badge of honor for many successful writers, not some dirty secret.
Trust Yourself and the Process
Hiring a coach is an investment in yourself. Today, there are coaches and courses covering every area of interest and at a full range of price points—as little as $100 or as much as several thousand.
It’s perfectly normal to feel hesitant and do some research before making the decision. But don’t lose sight of the initial motivation that led you to the search: your desire to be better. Whether you’re considering a money coach to improve your financial life, a business coach to help launch your concept or a therapist to improve your mental health, there will always be a process to get from where you are to where you want to be.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 Issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by @KlavdiyaV/Twenty20
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