I ended the year with taking a course called “The Permissionless Apprentice.” It’s a great course that helps someone think about a framework for starting to put yourself out there.
Here are 11 ideas from the course and lessons I learned starting a coaching business:
Think in probability, not expectations. This was my biggest takeaway.
I live in NYC and with 2020 being the year it was, 90% of my photo work was canceled or postponed by March.
Any expectations I had were thrown in a dumpster fire.
I started my coaching business not expecting a specific outcome, but to increase my probability to move forward and succeed.
Expectations and outcomes are completely outside of our control. The only thing in our control is starting, iterating, reflecting, and persisting.
Things you don’t need to begin: permission
I didn’t need anyone’s permission to help someone. I needed to trust that I was a helpful person.
Once I did, I offered my help and people gladly accepted.
Things you don’t need to begin: certification
You may think people won’t take you seriously without a certification. Truth is you can mask your lack of skill with a certification.
“No one cares what you can do, everyone cares what you can do for them.” - Jack Butcher
Things you need to begin: patience
This goes back to the first point. If you think in probabilities and not outcomes, you’ll become patient.
Said another way, intrinsic motivation keeps you going much longer than extrinsic motivation.
Things you do need to begin: practice
Before July I had not done any formal coaching sessions. By September, I hd done 70 coaching sessions.
I needed to understand my edges, I needed to understand what this was all about.
Things you do need to begin: skill
Skills that were honed during my past ten years as a photographer were repurposed through coaching.
I’m able to create a safe space for people. I’m able to empathize. I’m able to throw the lights on for someone and help them get unstuck.
Experience, proof of work, social proof are way more valuable than money.
I didn’t charge any money to clients in those first two months. What I needed more than money was evidence I could actually do this.
After 70 sessions, I knew I could do it and others did too.
Concentrating on the few outweigh catering to the many.
It’s impossible to coach 100 people at once. Not with the kind of coaching I want to do. 10 clients is the limit.
I don’t need everyone to be my client, just the select few that inspire me and I inspire them.
Arbitrage is the difference between what you can do and what someone else can’t, won’t, or doesn’t do.
My arbitrage as a coach is about showing up despite feeling like a fraud, deeply listening and empathizing with my clients. and doing work that changes them for the better.
You capture value by demonstrating your ability to do something for someone that they didn’t know was possible.
As a coach, it’s about showing someone they can do what they didn’t know or think was possible. Being able to do that for people is the value I provide for them.
Show, don’t tell.
Being in conversation with people, offering help, and giving valuable insight are way better than telling people I’m a coach and I can help them. That’s why I do free 45 minute sessions.
No amount of facts can replace the actual experience of coaching.
Build a resume of “how you think”
This goes along with the idea above. Writing a newsletter for two years, blogging everyday, and these threads are ways I can show what I’m learning. It leaves a record of my insights and the skills I am acquiring and mastering.
These are easy lessons to write in hindsight.
This course has give me a framework in how I can think about the last 6 months. I’m piecing these thoughts together in hindsight.
When I was in the middle of it, all I could do was shrug and keep moving forward.
Permissionless apprenticeship is about doing the hard work of getting really good at helping to others.
After those 70 sessions, I knew the value I provided, how I could provide it, and the proof that it was valuable.