“When you find yourself repeating yourself, record yourself, and replace yourself.” -Tyler J. McCall
Look for ways you can replace yourself.
One of the easiest places to start is during your on-boarding process for new clients. The on-boarding portion of your business should be automated as much as possible, or at least, turned into a repeatable system for you to follow.
Create an SOP (standard operating procedure) for on-boarding new clients. Even if you don’t have a team, this will be a great practice for you to see what kind of systemized procedure you have for on-boarding clients. Even identifying that you don’t have a system for this will be the first step in creating one.
You should know exactly what happens, where, and how during a client on-boarding process. Again, even if you don’t have a team, the goal of creating an SOP would be that you could hand that SOP off to someone else and they’d be able to do it for you. By writing out your on-boarding SOP for yourself (or a team member) you’ll be able to identify gaps and assess where you can button-up the process to make it more seamless for both you and the client.
Does the on-boarding SOP feel clunky as you type it out? This is great data! See what you can streamline.
During the client on-boarding process, look for the things you will repeat to each new client and replace yourself by either recording on-boarding videos and/or creating on-boarding resources like PDFs.
Other ways to replace yourself
Keep a running bank of questions your clients ask you often.
→ do your clients always ask about foam rolling? Create an evergreen resource to send them to. Instead of having to explain time and time again, you get to say: “Hey Judy, great question! This is answered inside the document section of TrueCoach*. Look for the ”foam rolling” PDF.”
*don’t have TrueCoach? No problem. Consider ways you can create evergreen resources for your clients that can replace your real-time work.
→ turn it into a blog post, Youtube Video, or podcast episode! Send clients there when asking a question that’s been answered by you before. Yes, you can also turn it into a social media post 😉
→ If you don’t have specific corrals to send your clients to, you can expect at least one of the following problems to happen:
1. You spend time during session, before session, or after session trying to fill in education gaps for your clients or facilitating extra coaching…for free
2. Your clients feel lost, confused, under-supported unless you’re making time for their extra (yet valid) needs/questions, etc.
3. You will become frustrated
4. Your clients will become frustrated
Each touch-point that you have with your clients needs to have specific corrals so that you can say: “great question, Nancy, we’ll answer that at your next session” or “we’ll be sure to cover that on the group call!” or “I’ll be sure to touch on that during the next client-only FB live.”
This turns into a boundary conversation.
→ You teach people how to treat you
→ Re-teaching people how to treat you is HARD, but totally possible. Send out an email to ALL of your clients that states the new business policies.
An example of this might sound like:
“Hello everyone! As of September 1, 2021, I will no longer be able to stay late after sessions to answer questions. In order to make sure that all of your questions are answered, I will be hosting a live inside our client-only Facebook Group. If you have questions for me to answer, you can send me an email before the last Friday of each month and I will address them on the live. All questions will remain anonymous.”
The boundary (commitment to YOURSELF) becomes:
“I will not stay late after sessions to answer questions. I will remind my clients of the FB live and encourage them to email me with their questions. I will NOT reply to their email with any answers or coaching, but I will reply and say “hey Jane, thanks for your question! I’ll be sure to address this on [call date.]”
You may be sitting there reading this right now thinking:
“that would never work for me.”
To which my response is:
Owning a business requires ingenuity and innovation! Use this example as a jumping off point and innovate from there.
If these are repetitive questions from several clients, consider adding it to your evergreen resource (mentioned above) & then coaching through it as needed during a specific and scheduled time that your clients are aware of.
If you’re feeling like there are multiple learning gaps happening for your clients, this turns into a teaching conversation and in this exact moment, I have made a note to touch on that big, hairy topic at another time in the future 😉
Some off the cuff ideas for you:
-an online course component for your clients. YES, even if you’re “just a trainer” (you’re not), building out a course for your clients as an extra resource can help you get your time/energy back while supporting your clients even more. You can look into Thinkific, which is what I use. You can get a free month of Thinkific by going here.
-a client-only virtual community. Yes, even if you work in-person with your clients. Map out your boundaries ahead of time and stick to them.
-a virtual touch-point (yes, even if you work in-person with your clients) like TrueCoach or something similar. You can get $50 off of TrueCoach by going here. (Full transparency, I will also get $50 off if you use this code. I do not receive anything if you use my Thinkific code, though!)
-incorporating a curriculum for your clients to follow as part of a group-study.
-having “focus months” where you + your clients intentionally gather to learn, discuss, and practice new things. You can incorporate these for movement-based things and program your workouts accordingly (example: squat month), or non-movement based things like “body image month.” You can then prepare the materials ahead of time and set up the “corral” by which this will take place. This can be a great addition for you if you find that your clients are using a lot of their training/session time to discuss other things that don’t pertain to the work at hand.
By having corrals, you’re able to plan for your time more effectively and reclaim more of your time back by not wondering if your last client of the day will want to stay an extra 30 min to chat about some random ache or pain that keeps you at work longer than you want to be on a regular basis.
In summary, look for ways to replace yourself. Create a body of work for your clients that acts as your “replacement” but also buys you your time back while continuing to be effective & impactful for your clients.