Michelle has been a customer since 2009 and she’s a Batchbook Champion. I first “met” Michelle when she was a finalist in our Small Business Superhero contest. I love that she helps creative women follow their dreams to find their ideal careers (and I’m a huge fan of her ukulele stylings!). Any interaction with Michelle is always a joy and I’m happy to introduce her and her company!
1. What do you (does your business) do?
I’m Michelle Ward, CPC, PCC and – most importantly! – the When I Grow Up Coach. I help creative women get out of their soul-sucking, energy-draining jobs and into work that feels like play and I won’t rest until all creative types can see the possibility in making a grown-up living doing what they love. A Professional Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation, a musical theater actress with my BFA from NYU/Tisch, and a Corporate America escapee, I’ve served as an expert source and contributor for Newsweek, Forbes, Psychology Today, Yahoo! and AOL Jobs as well as speaking at SXSW, The World Domination Summit and Etsy Success Symposium. My first book, The Declaration of You (co-written with the artist Jessica Swift & encouraging everyone to clarify their purpose and own their uniquity) will be published by North Light Craft Books next month!
2. How do you build long term relationships?
Ooh, I never thought about this before! I actually became a coach because I feel that I’m a relationship-builder above all, and that’s what motivates me. I absolutely do this by being really present & active in my social media homes (namely Twitter & Facebook & my blog, but LinkedIn & Google+ to a lesser extent), working with most of my clients for a 4-month period and then putting them in a private Facebook group with each other, promoting and referring out to “my tribe” (whether that be clients, peers or others who I feel do great work and put lots of good into the world), and sending Happy Coachingiversary cards to my favorite clients! Of course, I absolutely get a heads-up on social media stuff from Batchbook’s “Search social network” button, use my private Batchbook email for every business email I write to keep my client’s files up to date (not to mention store my paperwork, deal information, etc in there), and use the Communications button to mark when a card has been sent.
3. What is the best business advice you have ever heard? (or would give?)
I have a few! Is that allowed?
- If you market to everyone, you market to nobody. Be a gatekeeper.
- You’re your own best business advisor. Never make a decision based on a “should” (which is the S word in my book!).
- Owning your uniquity will land you your dream clients again and again. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
- Those dreams that you see for yourself but aren’t quite sure they can come true? Start believing they can. That’s what you’re working towards.
4. Where do you get your inspiration from?
All over. I’m a fanatical blog reader, so my Feedly is always full of wonderful reads. Pinterest, Instagram, certain types of music, Kid President, the ocean…it’s everywhere! I’ve created a Pinterest board that serves as my go-to Motavation Station.
5. Why did you start this particular business ?
I feel that I honestly can say that I couldn’t not start this business. It’s the culmination of everything I’ve been through in my life: my start as a musical theater performer, my transition into sales & account management & other super sucky cubicle jobs…I get it because I’ve done it. At risk of sounding like a hippy-dippy (which I’ve totally turned into since I started this biz), I’ve been training my whole life to be a coach. My communication skills, my enthusiasm and sense of humor, my desire to help people find their passion, and my people-loving-personality makes this the role that I was born to play, and my certification and over 900 hours of coaching time allows me to take center stage!
Michelle has what it takes to be a small business superhero, and you do too! Join this year’s 6th Annual Small Business Superhero contest for a chance to win one of 3 amazing prize packages for your small business (plus, get a couple of sweet prizes just for entering)!
We’ve teamed up with other great companies to put together the prizes, including 99Designs, BoostSuite, Cazoomi, Edocr, Direct Mail Manager, Emma, Formstack, FreshBooks, Google Gooru, Grasshopper, Janrain, Moo, Olark, RightSignature, Screensteps, Shoeboxed and Silver Lining Ltd.
Check out the contest page to see what you could win!