From Coaching 1:1 to Corporate: How do you know it's time to make the move?
This is the first post in a summer series on landing corporate contracts.
Many a coach/consultant wants to move into working with bigger clients, but very few actually make that leap unless they came out of a corporate environment already.
In this post I’m going to cover how you know it’s time to move from working with solopreneurs to larger companies so that you can clarify your goals and assess whether focusing on corporate is right for you.
You desire to challenge yourself in a different way with more complex problems.
Working 1:1 is a delightful way to hone your skills and there’s a reason we call it a coaching or consulting “practice.” Years ago my little brother warned me not to jettison my 1:1 coaching entirely because the work I do in those intensive and personal sessions often fuels what I write about and the products I create. It’s great to have a practice. And yet, I have found it so gratifying to earn the business and then deliver quality services to larger companies. That process requires me to up level many skills in ways that I wouldn’t be able to do by working just with small business owners. With each new project, I get a fresh new set of challenges, people, and workplace dynamics; I relish that complexity. So, working with corporate is for you if you really want a challenge and to learn something new and get paid simultaneously.
You want to make a lot of money.
This is probably the most obvious reason in the world to do more corporate work, but I want to get a little deeper than just the dollar signs. It is true that you can make a lot of money. I’ve seen pricing for coaches at corporate between $25,000 and $100,000 for one executive engagement. That’s great money compared to what a lot of coaches make working with small business owners. Further you have opportunities for consulting, training, done-for-you services and more. The conversations are different and the sales cycles are typically longer and more complex than working with solo business owners, but the payoff is often longer term and a lot larger.
That said, money can’t be the only motivator for getting involved with bigger businesses. A wise man once said, “Mo money, mo problems” and while I don’t like to affirm negative belief systems like that, you will notice that clients have very high expectations of external consultants and there are often more complicated and uncomfortable dynamics in larger workplaces. It becomes even more vital for external coaches and consultants to maintain impeccable boundaries, communicate ever so clearly, and prevent scope creep no matter what.
You want to grow as a person.
You may find that your weaknesses will come to the fore more quickly when you work with larger companies than when you work with solo business owners because everything is amplified. Have a tendency to over promise? That will bite you. Not great at communication or follow through? That’s definitely going to show up as a fault line. Do you feel uncertain when you need to have a tough conversation with a powerful client? That client will take advantage. In service delivery with larger companies you will have to show up differently. And that’s a good thing.
Because you have nothing to lose (e.g. you’re not an employee afraid of losing your job), you have an amazing opportunity to be a leader in a way that it’s sometimes dangerous to do when you are dependent on a business for your paycheck. As an external consultant you get to drop the truth bombs and get away with it, possibly fundamentally changing the way a company operates as a result. This is a huge responsibility and also a reason to go after this sort of work.
You want your work to have more impact.
Some of you just know you’re here for more. You’re here to work on a larger scale and with more people and with bolder faced names and with grander results. That’s impact. One of the best ways to do this is to do corporate coaching and consulting. It’s like having a megaphone for your ideas, your way of doing things. Instead of working one by one, you get to influence 10, 20, 100, 1000 people in one go. I talk about my dream of equipping an army of sneak attack change managers to shake up the way business gets done. That we can and should do it differently. You are the front lines of that change management army. Your work, whether you’re a social media expert or a culture consultant or a leadership coach, is transformational at some level. And the corporate world needs to be transformed. There are far too many stories of betrayal, too many breaches of human decency, too many people who haven’t had a fair shot for us to keep our powerful tools to ourselves and a handful of clients a year. You’re here for more impact, and deep down you know it.
And finally, sometimes it’s just really nice to get out of the circle jerk that is the solo entrepreneur world, amiright?
No shade to the infopreneur/solopreneur market but after a while don’t you get sick of hearing the same old names, the same old programs, the same old complaints year after year? Don’t you get sick of the scarcity marketing tactics and people telling you that there’s something wrong with you if you aren’t doing podcasts or webinars or social media or making a million dollars in your sleep?!
I know I get bored with all those silly shenanigans. In the corporate space, the names of “famous" info marketers mean squat. They are not famous. Their secret tactics for increasing business don’t hold water. They don’t matter.
So it can be nice to make your own circle of influence with your own work with companies who really do need the services you have to offer- no internet hype needed. It’s a fresh space to be in where you define how people see you- not your follower count and not your marketing. What matters is how you solve problems. It’s much more of a meritocracy and feels good because of that.
If you’ve had an inkling that you want to change up how you work and with whom, I’m happy to share with you that the next INCANDESCENT event is open for enrollment.
The format has changed- we’re going to do 3 very full days virtually in September and November- but the amazing content is the same. If you’d like to learn more about landing corporate clients click the button below.