The gym was sweaty and humid. The girls were working hard on beam and the bars and vault. But my attention was really drawn to the young girls on the floor. They ranged from age 8 to 14 and they were doing flips and twists—tricks I usually see on TV.
However, none of them were landing on their feet.
And yet, the coaches were yelling: “Good one! Great job! YES!”
I stood mesmerized, forgetting my own daughter on the beam, in a lower level class. The girls were sweating, hearts pounding, hair mussed, chests heaving. Again and again, they got back in line, ran, vaulted into the air to attempt the trick again. Beautiful twists and turns—sometimes aided by an extra lift by their coach.
Bam. Bam. Bam. They all fell squarely on their behinds. Push up, stand up, try again. Coaches bellowing: “Yes! Like that! Do it again!”
I couldn’t tear my eyes away. The power of coaching—encouragement, coaxing, prodding, leading— it was impacting me on a deeper level than just gymnastics.
There was a time in my business when I felt 100% alone with my questions and searching. I didn’t know how to grow, I didn’t know how to manage the day-to-day operations of the Studio, and I didn’t know where to go for help.
I literally would Google search music studio after music studio around the country, trying desperately to “peer” in the windows of their company for a hint or clue on how to run this thing.
In July of 2011, my Google search led me to a business coach who specialized in helping Music Schools. It is absolutely no accident why we’ve grown from 50 students to over 200 in only 2 years. It is 100% due to coaching I’ve received by my mentor. “You can do this! Yes! Try again! That’s the way!” And sometimes, “No. Focus. Don’t get distracted.”
Last week, I was teaching a piano lesson to a classy lady that I’ve taught for over 10 years. Recently, she took about 18 months off. When she came back, she gave me a huge hug, but I could tell she was nervous about playing piano again. She opened a book that was way beneath her level and insisted we start small. I obliged, but then I found a harder song, closer to the place where she left off. She looked anxiously at me, and then proceeded to just try the right hand. I nodded. “Now, the left hand,” I said. She did.
“Now,” I said, “Put the hands together. You can do this.” She laughed nervously and said, “You think so? Oh, Jen, you always believe in me more than I believe in myself.”
And she did it! It wasn’t perfect, but she did it!
I beamed. She beamed. It was an awesome moment.
How You Can Have a Coach in Your Life
1. Lean on lifelong friends who know where you've been, where you are, and where you’re going. Make sure they are positive influences, and not pulling you down with negativity. A true friend will “sing back to you the song that is in your heart.”
2. Sign up for lessons or a class. Push yourself to learn more, grow, and take on a challenge. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean going back to college! There are many online classes and programs available that are easy to do and won't put a strain on your family time.
3. Hire a professional business coach or life coach. Fees will vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but you will see results that will blow your mind. Start small, with a group coaching class to get your feet wet, then work up to one-on-one coaching.
Final Thoughts: What struck me the most while watching the advanced gymnastics team, was how often the girls fell. You see, it’s not about sticking every landing. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about getting out there and trying. It’s about sweat and tears and about trying over and over and over again.
My daughter LOVES gymnastics, but during a busy season of our lives, she took about 5 months off. She had been trying desperately to do a cartwheel on the beam without falling off. And you know what? When she came back, she wasn’t weaker—she was mentally stronger, a little older, and more determined. Within a few weeks of being back, she mastered that skill! When I see her do a cartwheel on the beam, I’m inspired. She may have needed a break, but she never quit. She kept trying. (That’s her, pictured above.)
As our businesses continue to grow, we run into new problems and new challenges. But one thing is for sure: with the help of a coach, we’ll never quit. We always have support. We’re moving forward and onto the next level!
And that’s my encouragement to YOU: Keep going! Keep trying! You can do this!
When I started my first company (teaching piano lessons), my mom hung up a flyer in the school break room where she taught. I got my first 2 students from that flyer. I made copies and rode around the neighborhood on my bike, tucking them between mailboxes, but that was exhausting work and I quit after about a dozen houses. (Ok, so I may have paid my brother to put out a couple dozen more.) I got 2 new students from that hot summer afternoon. After a couple years, I had the brilliant idea to try putting out a sign in my yard that said: “Piano Lessons” and I got another student to sign up.
It was slow growing and it was frustrating. I had no blueprint on how to gain new students and I felt like a tiny raindrop in a sea of advertisers.
The only training I had in advertising was from what I saw around me: TV commercials and billboards and magazine ads. I knew I couldn't afford those. But I had NO IDEA what else to do.
However, my instincts were actually correct with those flyers and yard signs, though I did not know it at the time: Relationship and Layering.
I was able to gain students from the first flyer my mom hung in her school break room because people knew and trusted her. They felt they could trust her daughter. Word of mouth was my primary source of growth for nearly 10 years because people trust their friends’ opinions.
A simple sign in my yard DID yield results because people trust their neighbors. (Our friendly front porch and beautiful flowers probably helped, too!)
The first focus of growing your business should be focused on relationships. People can sense when you truly care about them and their needs. From your first interaction, you are beginning to build your relationship with your customer. This relationship continues to grow and build with every interaction and every communication. You don’t need to ACT like you are a big business. You need to be a small business that cares. You need to have excellence in all that you do, but also be open and friendly and kind.
Layering is the result of using many different venues to get your message to your audience. You layer your results by gaining a few customers from each layer and by simple addition, you grow!
Here's how to layer with the tools you already have:
By having multiple layers of your message in various venues, you will begin to the see the results add up!
Here’s a little secret: You won’t grow your business by obsessing about your “brand.” If you spend all your time making business cards that match your website that match your letterhead, I guarantee this won't help you get new business. Focus instead on building relationships and finding as many venues to advertise in as possible. Focus on communication and showing people that you care.
Coke, Pepsi, Disney and Apple have instant brand recognition. You don’t have millions of dollars to spend on obsessing about your brand like they do. So don't try to copy them.
Instead, work on building relationships. When people like you, they trust you. When they trust you, they will buy from you. Make a list of 5 ways you will build your relationships with your customers. For more help, request a free call with us!
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!
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