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(11 Posts)
PetiteRaleuse Wed 19-Oct-11 10:02:28

I used to be a language and management trainer and while doing that trained as a coach (it's not as different as you might think). I then left my company and moved to another part of France and now work in admin. I will be going back to work from maternity leave soon and want to use my last couple of months to set up a coaching "business" as a part time job for when I go back.

Why do it this way? I can't afford to not go back to work, and don't want to risk stopping work in order to not take off as a coach.

Do you think this is feasible? My coaching would be remote - by email and phone and although I'll do life coaching if asked my target clients would mainly be writers. At the beginning I wouldn't look for more than pocket money, but once I get established I'd like to reduce my office hours and my ultimate goal would of course be to stop the daily commute.

Would anyone like to give me an idea of whether you think this is reasonable?
I guess my first step would be setting up a website - could I do this using blogger or wordpress or would it not look good enough. I have zero cash, and am armed only with time, my knowledge and experience and the desire to make this work.

Thoughts anyone? Thanks

PetiteRaleuse Thu 20-Oct-11 12:12:44

Bump. Anyone?

internationalbeeboo Thu 20-Oct-11 13:56:04

Hello there, I may not be able to give you any help as such, but I know how valuable it is to bounce ideas around...I used to live in France, have just moved back to the UK and have gone through that "what skills can I use to make a living?" feeling...
What do you mean by coaching, ie, what's your pitch and who's your public?

Abra1d Thu 20-Oct-11 13:57:38

ANd if you're coaching writers, what are your qualifications? Have you written books yourself?

PetiteRaleuse Thu 20-Oct-11 14:38:33

Abra1d The idea would not be to coach writers on how to write - there are more than enough people offering advice, courses, and services concerning that. It would be more using coaching exercises and adapting them to the issues that writers face : raising self confidence, working through writers' block, procrastination, time management IYSWIM. Exercises to stimulate creativity but in no way would I ask to see work and certainly wouldn't give professional feedback or advice on style or publishing for example. Does that make sense?

I would also be able to work on "selling yourself". In the past with business clients this was for sales people working on negotiations and presentations. With writers this would all be about confidence, objectives and knowing one's strengths and weaknesses.

My public would be English speakers - native speakers - worldwide (hence the remote coaching).

Why writers? Am I a writer? No, though I do the odd short story from time to time. It's purely because there are more and more people out there trying to write books and be published. Though they may get feedback on what they write from their tutors or other members of their writing groups, and often they pay for services such as that, there seems to ba a gap for coaching the other aspects of their lives.

I see coaches as personal cheerleaders. They don't do the work for the coachee, but they are there to help them along their way and keep them motivated when things seem hard. And when they are stuck help them find the tools to get unstuck or to go in a different direction for a while.

Does that all make sense?

Abra1d Thu 20-Oct-11 15:16:33

That's all very interesting (am author myself, BTW).

I think it might be hard to coach on, say, getting through writers block if you don't come at it from a writing point of view. SOmetimes it happens for quite specific, technical, reasons (the premise isn't clear enough, the character don't have enough at stake, or enough opposition, the story is being told from the wrong POV, or starting at the wrong place, etc), though your short story writing experience would help.

As far as the selling part is concerned, for lots of writers approaching publishers and/or agents, that comes down to being able to write a good query letter. Again, query letters are a very niche area--I worked in marketing and PR for 15 years but still had to do a lot of learning about how to write them when I started pitching to agents.

And when it comes to selling yourself as a published author, again that can be to do with knowing how to get the ever-increasingly-important blogs to review your book, how to approach booksellers, etc. With the exception of the latter, a lot of this isn't done in person. When it comes to actually talking at festivals and signings it certainly does help to have some self-confidence (or an appearance of it).

WHere I think someone like you could score would be with the bigger questions of what people are trying to achieve with their writing: to be published or to express their creativity or to finish a family history book or memoir. Or just to do something for themselves that isn't work or looking after children/family and carving out time for it.

I'm just thinking aloud here! The trouble is that a lot of published authors are in big trouble financially now. Money is really tight. On the other hand, people who are writing as a side-line and already have another job to fund them, might have the cash to buy in more services that aren't writing-specific. At the moment, the only thing I'd want to spend any more money on would be a first-rate book PR, in the hope of kick-starting my next book when it comes out! On the other hand, I might value someone kicking me into trying to find some more freelance editing work to help my cashflow.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 20-Oct-11 16:16:54

Thank you so much for that answer that's great feedback. I'll think on that and come back with more questions soon.

Abra1d Thu 20-Oct-11 17:31:13

Bonne chance!

PetiteRaleuse Thu 20-Oct-11 18:56:15

Merci!

watersign76 Thu 20-Oct-11 22:59:17

Hi

Time is sometimes more valuable than money! So, I'd definitely use the time you have to:
• sort out a website (my site is wordpress, I did 99% myself and then paid for some coding tweaks) or a few people on here mention mrsite.com. Early on it is more like an online business card,
• collect testimonials from happy customers or do a couple of freebies in order to establish testimonials/case studies,
• build up a database of potential clients,
• see what channels there are to reach your clients for when you do have some money to spend,
• think about partnerships you could broker – what about people selling “how to write a book courses” or book PR people? You could pay them a kick back for any business in return for them promoting you etc
• Think about social media and the sort of profile you can build. Twitter seems to be full of writers!
I don’t know much about writers, but in theory it sounds like there might be a market.
Good luck!
WS

PetiteRaleuse Fri 21-Oct-11 09:17:21

Thanks for your feedback watersign. Yes I will use the time I have left to set everything up to hopefully start when, ironically, I won't have much time anymore!

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