My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #10 – Bigger Fees Mean Bigger Commitment (From Me)

From 2012-2014, I had been raising my coaching fees over and over again without changing the coaching program I was providing. One day I got curious about what the equivalent ‘hourly rate’ of the coaches whose fees I aspired to came out to – fees like $50K, $100K, $150K and more.

Upon doing the math, it surprised me that despite the fees being quite different in sizes, the rates all came out at around $1500/hour.

I genuinely had no idea what my equivalent ‘rate’ was because I hadn’t thought about my coaching that way in years. Doing the math…

Well, my most recent client then had paid me $25K for six months. His coaching program included eighteen hours of coaching. $25,000 divided by 18… Damn, that’s about $1400!

How is my ‘rate’ nearly the same as the coaches whose fees is so much larger than mine? 

The answer was obvious – they provided more coaching hours.

The real insight though came from the feeling I got when I considered providing 36 hours, 50 hours, 100 hours or more in a coaching program.

‘Geeze…that’s a big commitment’, I thought.

I felt my gut sink.

The other coaches were committing more to their clients – both in the length of the coaching programs and the quantity of coaching hours – than I had ever been willing to commit to my own clients. And just considering making a commitment that big made me nervous!

It became immediately clear that the edge for me to lean into in creating higher fee clients was for ME to make bigger and bolder commitments.

At that moment, I decided I would STOP raising my coaching ‘rate’ and instead raise my fee by providing my clients with more coaching time and longer coaching programs.

I’m not saying I’ll never raise my rate again. I’m saying that for right now, my fees are going up because my commitment to serving my clients is going up. And this feels really, really good.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • How many hours of coaching do I provide in my coaching programs?
  • Even if I don’t charge by the hour, what is my equivalent coaching ‘rate’?
  • If I want to raise my fees – is it time for me to raise my rate or the time commitment to my clients?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #9 – Money is Meaningless. Money is Nothing.

In as much as recognizing that money is a measurement has served me (see insight #6 ‘Money is a Measurement’), sometimes even that can be a trap. I once noticed that by becoming too convinced that my income was a reflection of the service I was providing people, that when I didn’t need money for anything – I stopped serving people.

I don’t want my behaviour that inextricably linked to a ‘meaning’ around money. In fact, I don’t want my behaviour linked to any meaning around money at all. It’s too socially and emotionally charged.

The ultimate freedom for me is remembering that money only has the meaning I give it. This is true of everything of course.

I remember when I was a little kid, my Dad showed me how to fold my money with the big bills on the outside so it looked like I had more of it. Twenty $1 bills wrapped in a $20 bill made me look like a millionaire!

It wasn’t until I was 35 years old and challenging my beliefs around money that I realized since that day, I’d always folded my money that way. My Dad’s light-hearted demonstration had made money mean something to me – more was better, looking like you had more was better, etc. These ideas served me in some ways, but they also obviously limited me.

Once I could see the lie, I just stopped believing in it. (I now fold my money with the $1’s on the outside, so I look broke and don’t get mugged!)

To uncover all the lies I’ve grown up to believe about money would take a lifetime. As a shortcut I practice reminding myself that money is nothing. By this, I don’t mean it’s nothing because it’s ‘only a measurement’ or because it ‘only exists as digits in a computer’. That’s a half-ass version of nothing. I still care about measurements and numbers in a computer.

By ‘money is nothing’ I mean that it is like monopoly money. Just some pretend, made up, make believe symbol. To have a conversation about ‘money’ that includes any emotional attachment means I am believing in a lie. It’s like believing that monopoly money is real. It’s not real and if I were to get mad about money while playing monopoly, it would be laughable.

When money is nothing, like in monopoly, I can make offers and take risks fearlessly and without attachment. It’s just a game after all so we may as well have fun playing.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • What does money mean to me?
  • How is this a lie? (i.e. How is it a made-up belief?)
  • What would I do if I were playing monopoly?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #8 – Lead With Your Fee

When I started challenging myself by asking for higher fees, I worried that saying the ‘high fee’ upfront would scare people away. I kept my high fees a secret while I coached and served them, reasoning (i.e. hoping) that they would be so impacted by my coaching that by the time I finally told them, they’d already be hooked on the experience.

This never worked.

When I finally mentioned my fee, some people were shocked, some said they couldn’t afford it and in all cases, it was a total conversation killer.

I remember one time I had a guy say ‘YES’ as soon as I told him the fee, only to find out a few minutes later that he had misheard me. He heard $3,000 when I had actually said $30,000!

Realizing keeping my fees secret wasn’t working, I stopped hiding them.

Firstly, I was suddenly able to serve people more deeply because I was no longer distracted by what they might think/say when I mentioned my fees.

Something else awesome happened too. I noticed that the higher I said the fees for my coaching programs were, the more focus and willingness people brought to the ‘free’ conversations we were having.

The more people brought focus and willingness, the more we were able to create together – both in them and in their world.

Today, when I tell people my coaching fees range $5K-$100K depending on group or private programs, and that I will block out 90 minutes to create with them, I believe the transformative power of our conversation is greater than if I blocked out the time without ever mentioning my fees.

Not only am I sure to mention my fees early on, but I actually lead with my fee. I put a range of fees up on my website and I make sure to mention them very early on in conversations.

My intention is to create a powerful dynamic that will serve people deeply – whether or not they ever invest a single dollar in working with me.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Am I keeping my fees a secret?
  • When do I mention my fees?
  • Are they on my website? Am I sharing them early-on in conversation?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #7 – Don’t lose your grip when talking about fees

One of the primary focuses of my own personal work is to fully remove myself from a coaching conversation. To not exist. To be purely reflective. To be invisible. To be nothing.

What I mean by this is that I don’t want any of my mental, emotional or spiritual energy concerned with myself when I’m coaching. I want the other person – their heart, their life, their spirit – being the only thing in my reality. I’m still very much on this journey, but over the past five years, I’ve made a lot of progress. One of the biggest obstacles has been – and still is when I forget to mention it up front – the point of proposing or offering coaching. As soon as money comes up, I lose my selfless orientation and start thinking about ‘me’.

‘Will they say yes to me? What will they think of my fee?’

The moment I fall into the trap of believing it is about me, I  lose my grip and turn into a bumbling idiot. This makes people less likely to hire me, but this isn’t the only damage it does.

When someone’s confidence in me suddenly drops, everything we have created up until that point is undermined. I can see and feel that they begin second-guessing if what we talked about was possible for them.

In thinking of the famous Marianne Williamson quote…

“As we are liberated by our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I realize the inverse is also true…

“As we are confined by our own fears, our presence automatically confines others.”

It makes me sad to see how my own fear limits others. How dare I come into their life, open them to their deepest dreams and then with that door wide open, reach inside their heart and wrap my own fear around it?

Although it makes me sad to see this, looking at it is actually what gives me the courage to keep my grip throughout the conversation around fees. By not retreating into self-interest and fear when discussing money, I am able to maintain the integrity of everything we have created.

Of course by serving people more powerfully, the likeliness that they will say ‘YES’ to a coaching fee is higher as well.

The way I think about it now is my willingness to have uncomfortable conversations around fees and money IS how I serve people. In that moment I am BEING the fearlessness that through shared presence – will liberate them.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Am I losing my grip when the money conversation comes up? Even a bit?
  • How might this be impacting the people I am coaching?
  • Who would I be for them if I were to keep my grip when discussing fees?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #6 – Money is a Measurement

Over the past five years of being a coach, I’ve had a number of insights into how I think and talk about money that have made it easier for me to create what I love (money) while doing what I love (coaching).

Recently I began listing them out for my apprentices and this list quickly turned into ten separate articles.

I am sharing them here in case you too love money and want to make more of it. If so, I hope that thinking and talking about money in these ways will help you like they have helped me.

You can use meters to measure the height of a person or the distance to a place. You can use litres to measure water, blood or gasoline. But what do you use money to measure?

Does money measure how much you’re worth? Does it measure how much you’ve achieved?

Is what you’re using money to measure serving you?

Or might it be better if it measured something else?

My coach Rich considers income to be a measure of the impact he is having on the world.

What works for me is using income to measure ‘how many people I’ve served lately’. I like this because whenever I want more money, the action is immediately obvious.

Want more money? Serve more people.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • What is the primary action I take that creates results in my business? (Serve people, connect with people, etc)
  • What if money measured that? (How many people I’ve served, connected with, etc)
  • What else could I have money measure?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #5 – “Maybe” is a Gold Mine

Over the past five years of being a coach, I’ve had a number of insights into how I think and talk about money that have made it easier for me to create what I love (money) while doing what I love (coaching).

Recently I began listing them out for my apprentices and this list quickly turned into ten separate articles.

I am sharing them here in case you too love money and want to make more of it. If so, I hope that thinking and talking about money in these ways will help you like they have helped me.

Maybe I’m just a wimp, but I’ve never really been able to require someone to be a ‘Hell Yes’ or ‘Hell No’ to working with me.

Not a problem though, as I found an approach that works well for me.

When someone is a ‘maybe’ for coaching, I now get excited that we have uncovered a new place for us to do some exploring.

I actually tell people that I’m OK with them being a ‘maybe’. I also tell them that indecision is a great place to dive in and explore what might be going on beneath the surface.

To begin exploring the maybe, I ask questions like…

  • What would you need to know to make a decision?
  • What would make you a YES?
  • What would make you a NO?
  • What might you need from me before deciding?
  • What might you be worried about?
  • What will you create as a return on your investment?

These questions always open up further dialogue. It’s the best kind of dialogue too, because it takes place at the fulcrum of our relationship. There is lots of heat in that place, so it’s a great opportunity for deep alchemy.

If we do end up working together, having such an open and honest conversation makes the foundation of our relationship so much stronger because EVERYTHING was brought out at the start. No secrets. No expectations. Just vulnerable conversation and clear understanding.

Through exploring the maybe, I find people eventually settle into a clear YES or clear NO all on their own. If they aren’t, then I assume I’m missing something. There is still some gold in the mine we haven’t found yet.  In these cases I just keep diving in and exploring the maybe until we find it.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • What ‘maybe gold mine’ could I be exploring right now?
  • How might exploring that mines serve the person who is a ‘maybe’?
  • How might exploring that mine grow me as a coach?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #4 – Spending more helps me make more.

Over the past five years of being a coach, I’ve had a number of insights into how I think and talk about money that have made it easier for me to create what I love (money) while doing what I love (coaching).

Recently I began listing them out for my apprentices and this list quickly turned into ten separate articles.

I am sharing them here in case you too love money and want to make more of it. If so, I hope that thinking and talking about money in these ways will help you like they have helped me.

I’ve noticed I always seem to have ‘enough’ money to get by. At times it’s a struggle, but in the end, the mortgage or rent gets paid, the flights get booked and the groceries get bought. Life goes on fairly uninterrupted with no major catastrophes.

The funny thing is, this happens to be true no matter the standard of living I’ve committed to. Whether my expenses have been $100/month, $5,000/month, $10,000/month or more – there’s always been enough.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that if I have a bunch of money sitting around and nothing to do with it, I tend to stop creating more of it. When I don’t need money to keep what I have created and committed to doing, I don’t have any reason to make more of it.

‘If spending money drives me to make more of it – then maybe when I have a desire to make more money, I should just spend more money?’

I know this seems like a dangerous and irresponsible idea – maybe it is – but it seems to work for me.

Committing to monthly payments that are a financial stretch for me, has me motivated to make more money.

There are two things to watch out for with this approach:

1. Don’t become a hamster on a wheel. I don’t want to perpetually spend more money to make more money just for the hell of it. For me, it has to start with a desire to create something in the world that more money could be used for.

2. Don’t use this approach if I’m in scarcity and feeing ‘needy’. There is a balance point between not needing anything (which has me unmotivated) and being too ‘needy’ (which has me unable to serve people). This approach is for when I’m outside of scarcity and wanting to drive some new growth.

I know I said “I love money”, but I suppose what I really love is what I can do with it. Money itself doesn’t motivate me. Needing it for what I want does though and spending it is how I create the need.

Dancing at the edge of the scarcity trap keeps me feeling alive.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • What am I waiting to buy until I’ve made more money?
  • What living expenses am I waiting to commit to until I’ve made more money?
  • How much closer can I get to the edge of the scarcity trap without falling in?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #3 – Lowering My Fees is How I Raise Them

Over the past five years of being a coach, I’ve had a number of insights into how I think and talk about money that have made it easier for me to create what I love (money) while doing what I love (coaching).

Recently I began listing them out for my apprentices and this list quickly turned into ten separate articles.

I am sharing them here in case you too love money and want to make more of it. If so, I hope that thinking and talking about money in these ways will help you like they have helped me.

One of the traps in service businesses is thinking that your ‘fee’ has something  to do with you. Entangling your fee with your self-worth is a great way to limit your earnings.

Knowing not to associate my fee with myself isn’t always enough to stop me from doing it though.

Lots of people use the phrase ‘he/she is a $X per year coach’, as if a coach’s fee is a benchmark of who they are. This way of thinking is a trap that i’ve fallen into enough times.

The way I free myself from thinking my fees are about me is to lower them.

When the fee is lower than I think I’m worth, the dissonance quickly shakes loose the idea that the fee is about me.

As a bonus, lowering my fee also makes it more likely someone will say YES to coaching with me.

For example, I’d be more likely to sign my first $20K client if I’d lowered my fee from $10K to $3K and signed 3 people up in a short span of time than I would be holding out for my first $20K client because I’m trying to convince myself “I’m worth it”.

My friend owns an online donation sharing platform that works on the principle that it is not the amount of a donation that inspires others to give, but it is actually the *act* of giving that inspires.

In this same way, I’ve found it is the number of people who hire me – not the amount they invest – that gives me confidence in my ability to deliver real value.

I don’t want this confidence so that I can boost my self-worth. I want this confidence so I can make smart business decisions about how much impact I can deliver and how people might value that.

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Am I making my fee about me in any way?
  • How low would my fee have to be for me to KNOW “I’m worth more than that”?
  • Am I willing to be paid lower fees to prove to myself that making my fee about me is BS?
  • How many clients have I signed up lately?
  • Do I want the confidence that my work has impact and adds value?
  • How low do I have to make my fee to have a bunch of people quickly saying YES to working with me?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #2 – Security drives scarcity. Capacity drives service.

Over the past five years of being a coach, I’ve had a number of insights into how I think and talk about money that have made it easier for me to create what I love (money) while doing what I love (coaching).

Recently I began listing them out for my apprentices and this list quickly turned into ten separate articles.

I am sharing them here in case you too love money and want to make more of it. If so, I hope that thinking and talking about money in these ways will help you like they have helped me.

Scarcity is kryptonite to human connection. If you’re worried you haven’t got enough money, you may as well piss all over yourself before you offer someone coaching. They’re just going to want to get away from you.

When facing the problem of scarcity I used to look for a way to ‘feel secure’.

The most obvious path was to make some money so I didn’t feel broke. When I was first starting my coaching business, I continued taking side projects through my web development company to keep the bills paid.

A more subtle path was realizing that I didn’t actually need what I thought I needed – that I could survive and be happy on little to no money at all.

An even more subtle path, popular amongst spirituality enthusiasts, was focusing my mind on the idea that the universe is abundant and all of the things I want and need will come to me if I just have faith.

What I see now is that ALL of these paths share a common thread – they all exist to solve the ‘problem’ of scarcity.

Paradoxically, any ‘solution’ to the problem of scarcity actually sustains it. Seeking security – in any way – actually perpetuates scarcity thinking.

By believing in ‘abundance’, making myself able to survive with less or even just making more money on the side so that I can continue, I am saying ‘YES – scarcity is a problem that needs solving’.

I’m not suggesting these paths don’t work. They have for me. What I am suggesting is that there is another path that doesn’t emerge from scarcity at all. In fact, it’s another way of seeing that makes the problem of scarcity go away completely.

The trick is seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty.

Allow me to be more specific before you discount this for being too simple.

When I’m in scarcity, my focus is on what’s NOT in the glass – the half-empty bit.

“Shit! I’m missing all this! I can’t survive without it!”

When I go make more money doing something ‘on the side’, I’m acting based on what is NOT in the glass.

When I remember that I can survive with less, I’m saying “It’s OK it’s half empty – I don’t need the other half”.

When I believe in abundance, it’s OK my glass is half empty because the universe will fill it for me.

However, when I shift my attention to what’s still in the glass, at first I’m seeing my ‘security’ . The power though is in deciding that what’s still in the glass is not for me, but for others.

When I look at what’s in the glass as being the resources I have to serve other people, I essentially shift my focus from security to capacity. From what I’m not able to have for myself to what I am able to do for others.

For example, there was a time when I had barely enough money to get me through the month. I was freaking out. Once I switched to a capacity perspective, it blew me away that I had almost an entire months’ capacity to serve people. Even if I didn’t make a single penny that month, I had enough money to be free to spend the ENTIRE month – all 30 days – only serving people!

Sure, at the end of the month I’d have no money, but that was only true when I was looking at the empty part of the glass.

Notice what I’m saying here:
– It was only true that at the end of the month I would have no money if my attention was on what was NOT in the glass. –
By shifting my mindset from security to capacity, I went from being gripped by fear to ELATED with how free and able I was to be of service in the world.

Today, when I look at the money I have as a resource that empowers me with the freedom to serve others, I am automatically oriented towards serving people.
And that’s a good orientation to have if I want to make money.

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • How have I been solving the ‘scarcity’ problem?
  • What resources do I actually have?
  • What capacity does that give me to serve people?

 

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My Top 10 Money Insights as a Coach #1 – It’s OK if They “Can’t Afford It”

I like money.

No, screw that…

I LOVE money!

Oooohhh…that feels so dirty to say. Especially in this world of coaching, where we’re all supposed to care so much about people that money doesn’t matter.

We’re supposed to just show up and serve and somehow money will magically float into our life.

Except that it doesn’t actually work that way. Disliking money, or even just not caring about money, will stop it from reaching your bank account.

You can’t create something you don’t care about.

I love money in the same way I love time. I can spend my time and my money doing so many different things. What makes money even better than time is that I can create more of it. Money is like infinite time!

Over the past five years of being a coach, I’ve had a number of insights into how I think and talk about money that have made it easier for me to create what I love (money) while doing what I love (coaching).

Recently I began listing them out for my apprentices and this list quickly turned into ten separate articles.

I am sharing them here in case you too love money and want to make more of it. If so, I hope that thinking and talking about money in these ways will help you like they have helped me.

When I started my coaching business, I thought I needed to find people with the ‘disposable’ income to afford a coach. As I raised my fees, I looked for people who had more money. This didn’t work very well. The more I looked for people with money, the less I was able to connect with them. Essentially I was being a ‘gold digger’. Having my focus on what they could do for me was (rightly) getting in the way of me serving them.

Now that I have clients who invest large amounts of money to coach with me, I can see that at all levels, for most of them it is a STRETCH to do so. The money they invest in coaching with me is not money they just have lying around. It’s not easy for them to make the investment because in their mind, the money was going to be used for other things – like paying the bills, going on holiday, buying a home or going back to university.

You’ve heard the idea that it ‘serves’ people to have to stretch. It’s true, but this is not my point here.

The insight for me was that I don’t need to look for people who have plenty of money – I only need to look for people who are willing to stretch.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Am I being a ‘gold digger’?
  • How might I be doing a disservice to people by allowing ‘affordability’ be an obstacle?
  • What would I do differently with people if it were OK that they ‘couldn’t afford it’?

 

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