We’re already up to Day 10! Congratulations to today’s winner, Lori B from Arnold MO
When I first came up with my Creatives series, I jotted down a few characteristics I wanted each of my characters to have.
The biggest was I wanted them all to be entrepreneurs. In midlife, they all decided to make the transition from a job they hated to a lifestyle they’d been dreaming of for years. And what better way to honor their choices then to title each book based on their choices.
The Coach is probably my vaguest title – what does that mean? If you’re not in the online world, you might not realize just how big the coaching industry has become.
Years ago, when my husband and I were at the top of the photography field, a publisher contacted me and offered me the chance to write a book. Studio Without Walls was born when I signed on the dotted line. And very quickly I realized that writing a book was only a portion of the process. Marketing the book took much, much more of my time.
That’s when I found some of the very first online marketers who were in the process of coining the concept of infoproducts. As our photography business grew as big as it did thanks to our online portfolio, I adapted to this concept very quickly. Not only did I decide to market Studio Without Walls online, I also decided to create a web portal site specifically for teaching business concepts to photographers. Online coaching was a big part of that site.
I have many, many friends who offer coaching program via their websites. I’ve used many of them myself. Which is why I wanted one of my Creatives books to highlight that career choice and bring it to light. Today I’d like to share with you the first chapter from The Coach, and introduce you to the world of doing what you love in an online world.
1 Chapter One
Tessa Holmes hit confirm and watched as the screen changed, thanking her for her payment. She bit back a smile, giddy with anticipation. She clicked back through to the web-site and looked at the photographs in the gallery.
She sat back in her chair, breathing deep as she raised her mug to her lips. This was the part she loved the most. The feel-ing that everything was set, all payments had been made, all reservations were confirmed. She was set to go. And it was go-ing to be her best event yet.
Five years before, Tessa had been happily married with a daughter going off to college. Or so she thought. It didn’t take too many months for her and her husband to realize they’d had little in common without their daughter in the middle. In less than a year they’d sold off their home, divorced, and started new lives.
Their second acts. Their second chances at life and the pursuit of happiness.
For Tessa, that meant a condo closer to the city and start-ing up a new business. She’d spent months researching her interests before she’d found her calling. And now in less than three years, she’d made a name for herself in the online world as a women’s life and success coach. She inspired women to live the luxurious lifestyles they deserve, coaching them to create successful online businesses. And she used herself as an example, of course.
She’d worked closely with a coach of her own who helped her develop a concept she’d grown from the ground up. And she was reaping the rewards by traveling the world meeting her clients in exotic locations.
She had designed her coaching program to interact with successful women looking to move their businesses to the seven figure level in the online world. They met four times per year in person together as a group. And she made sure she chose some of the most exotic places in the world. The previous two years they’d been to Sydney, Bali, Costa Rica, New York City, Lon-don, and Greece.
In two weeks, she’d be meeting them once again in Paris for their fourth quarter retreat. This would be their time to come together, share their successes for the year, make plans for the coming year, and find a whole lot of motivation and collaboration.
It was that motivation that Tessa had just booked. She worked her clients hard. But a girl’s gotta play too. And Tessa was a stickler for teaching by example. That meant incorporating play time in between meeting time, to ensure every woman in attendance was fully inspired to grow her own businesses to the million dollar mark. She was a firm believer in life balance, and she taught by example. It had taken her eighteen months to achieve a seven figure business and she fully intended to help all her clients follow in her footsteps.
“Did you get the payment?” Tessa typed into the messenger window she’d left open as she completed the payment.
A few seconds later came her confirmation. “Yes! Thanks.”
Ava Parson was the head guide of a private tour company she’d be using on one of their afternoons of motivation. “I sent over the paperwork we’ll need on file to complete the transaction. If you can sign the contract and return it to me by this afternoon, we’ll be all set.”
Tessa clicked and opened up the contract in another win-dow. She downloaded the rest of the information and put it in a file on her desktop. “I’ll do that as soon as we sign off. I’ll have it back to you within the hour.”
“Perfect. I also included three other brochures. We’re going to break your group of one-hundred into four groups of twenty-five, so we have some flexibility in what people choose. Feel free to use the information I provided to let your participants choose what’s right for them. Or you can simply assign them to a group; we’ve had clients do that too. It’s up to you.”
“I’m leaning towards assigning them based on what I know about their businesses. I have a few women I want to push out of their comfort zones. I’m thinking the best way to do that is for me to make the selection.”
“That works for a lot of groups. Plus it’s easier for your checkin process. You’ll have the assignments already in place.”
“Done. You just convinced me that’s the way to go.” Tessa smiled. She knew two of her attendees always traveled together. This would allow her to split them apart and push them each in different ways. She knew they might complain, but she also knew it would do them some good to be apart for an afternoon.
Tessa hadn’t planned on taking one of the tours herself. She had more than enough to keep her busy. But her assistants could handle it. They were more than capable of putting every-thing into place. The more she reviewed the literature, the more she couldn’t resist. “What’s your favorite tour?”
Ava quickly responded, “The fashion houses. I’ve never had a person yet not be awed by walking around and seeing the behind the scenes of the fashion district.”
“I guess that’s the one I’ll take.”
“Good! That’s the one I’m leading. I look forward to getting to know you better.”
Tessa clicked back to the brochure. The architecture was stunning. And the clothes? What she wouldn’t give to have her wardrobe expand a little with some of the inspirations laid out before her.
“Be sure to have everyone wear good walking shoes. And bring extra money!” Ava added a few emojis to stress her point, making Tessa laugh. She’d already fallen in love with Ava. Hell, she’d fallen in love with Paris and she wasn’t even there yet. She was counting the days.
“Thanks, Ava, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.”
“Thanks, Tessa. See you soon.”
Tessa glanced around the coffee shop, the place she’d been coming to once a week to work for at least a year. She saw a few familiars, people who worked from home and chose to get out once in a while, just like her. She smiled at a woman standing waiting for her coffee; they’d spoken on more than one occasion. She’d expressed interest but she hadn’t seen her payment come through. And Tessa wasn’t one to push.
Tessa had her marketing firmly in place. She had everything she needed with a website and her virtual assistant to help her along. Her clients came from all over the world. Only two women had come from her local community. And even then, she’d dealt with them exclusively online – the only way she liked to work. She’d perfected her strategy so she could work from anywhere, whether she was at home in Portland, Oregon, or traveling the world.
She glanced at the time. Her Internet usage was just about up and it’d be time to move back home. But she still had a contract to sign and a couple of emails she wanted to send to her contacts in Paris before she left. She opened up her email and started typing and soon was completely absorbed in her work. So much that she missed the woman who slid into the seat across from her.
“Are you ever going to quit typing and talk to me?”
Tessa startled and moved her eyes across the table. A great big grin spread across her face as she jumped up and swooped in on her friend. “Geena! What are you doing here?”
Geena Lawson chuckled as she locked her arms around her friend. “I can’t believe we haven’t seen each other in what, two weeks?”
“Three. When we met for lunch before you and Steve head-ed off to Hawaii. How was it?”
Geena’s eyes said it all. “Fantastic. Me. My gorgeous boy-friend. A beach. What else is there?”
Tessa rolled her eyes, gently pushing her friend to a chair. “Stop. I don’t want to hear about that.” She sat back down, closed her laptop, and grinned across the table at her friend. “Okay, I lied. Tell me everything.”
Geena punched at her phone, turned it around and held up a photo. “This was our view every morning.”
Tessa took the phone out of her hands and stared. Geena had clearly taken it from their bed, capturing their bare feet. Beyond was a wall of glass, the door open wide. And far in the distance were palm trees, sand and the bright blue waves of the ocean.
“I know. Seriously, it was the best place I’ve ever stayed. We’re kind of thinking of buying.”
Tessa’s eyes flew open. “You’re moving to Hawaii?”
Geena giggled. “No. Not permanently anyway. But we both love it there. And we’re thinking if we could find something like this place,” she took her phone back out of Tessa’s hands, hit the button and dropped it on the table, “we could use it for vacations every year. And eventually maybe retire there.”
“Can I use it too?”
Geena teased, “I don’t know. Do you have enough free time to go to Hawaii these days? Seems like you’re always jet set-ting to way cooler places.”
It was hard to argue when it was true.
“Are you ready for Paris?”
“Almost. That’s what I’m doing today. I finalized a tour with a guide who is going to give us behind the scenes tours of a design house and the Parisian flea markets. Check this out.”
Tessa opened up her laptop and turned it around, showing her photos from the guide’s site.
Geena ooh’d and ahh’d in all the right places. The two of them had similar tastes in fashion and decor, and had added this very tour to their travel lists several years before.
“Now I’m mad at you. You’re going to get all of this in be-fore me. I thought we were supposed to do this together?”
“I’ll know the best places to go when the two of us go back.”
“Deal!” Geena clapped her hands. She picked up her phone and noticed the time, glancing behind her at the doors. “Oh, I gotta go. There’s my meeting.” She stood up and leaned over to hug her friend goodbye.
“Let’s do breakfast or lunch before I leave.”
“Perfect. Email me right now with times and we’ll get some-thing on the calendar today.”
They said their goodbyes, and Tessa turned her computer around and opened up her email. She finished the two she’d started before Geena had sat down, opened up a new one, checked her calendar and copied a few dates that fit her needs. She hit send and glanced up at her friend sitting against the far windows.
How time flies.
The two had been fast friends for more than a decade. They’d seen each other through kids growing up, marriages falling apart, vacations together, new careers, and finding new partners. At least on Geena’s part.
And they’d celebrated it all, every step of the way.
Retirement. Tessa knew Geena wasn’t serious. After all, she’d only started up her business a couple of years before, just a year after Tessa had started her own. She knew Geena loved what she did. She knew her business was growing by leaps and bounds. There was no way she’d stop now.
But the thought of retirement could be motivation for an exit strategy. And that was important no matter how much in love you were with your business model.
That was something to think about. Later. When she had more time.
Like after Paris, after her event and coaching sessions. When she had time to think.
Tessa made a few notes to herself before closing down her computer for good.
Enough is enough for one day. She placed everything in her bag, picked up her cup and deposited it into the wash bin be-side the front counter. Then caught the eye of her friend as she headed towards the door. A quick wave and she left, walked to her car, and headed out for more shopping for her trip.