I was working on my latest webinar geared just towards helping you guys in Start Up mode, and I was reminded of an experience I had with a previous business coach.  It was tough at the time, really quite devastating, and it had long term consequences as well… but it’s possibly not what you think.  Here’s what happened.

With my first real business I was a member of a “business club” type coaching arrangement, where there were group seminars and occasional one on one access to the main coach leading the club.  I was battling away with my business, not having many wins, and struggling financially.  I had reached the point where I knew there was stuff I didn’t know, but not being sure what that was in order to fix it, I invested in my own education by joining this club and attending their training.

Some of it was relevant to me, some of it not- but that’s ok, I took everything on board, implemented what I could, and stored away the other stuff for later on.

At one of these seminars, on marketing I think, I was very stressed.  Really stressed out.  I think I was down to my last $100 in the bank, and my credit card wasn’t looking great either.  My business was trundling along, but hemorrhaging cash at the same time and I didn’t know how to fix it.

So, at the end of the day I approached my coach, and asked her- emotionally, hand on heart, desperate- if she could take the time to look at my books and tell me, honestly, honestly!, if my business idea was viable.

God, it too a lot of guts for me to do that, to ask someone to potentially say “no, what your doing is all wrong, it will never work, give it up now.”  Or, to say,”not yet, but make these big changes and it could be..”

Do you know what she said?

She “sold” me into a series of 3 coaching sessions with another coach in her team (who was not good with the financial side of things, and proceeded to NLP me….).  Sessions I could not afford.

She never looked at my books.

She never offered me the advice and support and HONESTY I wanted.

She sugar coated it, kept me stringing along, paying my monthly fee, kept me as a client.

Did she help me in the long term?


Sometimes, the hardest thing to hear, is what we need the most.  Almost 2 years of struggling later I finally gave up that busienss entirely and focused my attention elsewhere.  But by then I had taken out a business loan and was in debt.

I would have much rather had some support and guidance to talk me through the numbers, to work through the figures, to work out if what I was doing was VIABLE.  If it was possible to turn it around.  If I should keep going as it was, (which I did) or make the changes needed to build something that was viable (which is what I should have done sooner…).

Now, I am grateful for that experience.  Because I learned from it, and it has shaped the way I coach and mentor today.  I don’t sugar coat it.  I don’t string people along, or invite people to join my tribe if they are not ready.

I see people doing that though- even government departments giving people a sugar coated idea of starting a business just to tick the “work or study” for welfare push.

It is just wrong.  It hurts people, breaks their hearts, financially ruins people.

My experience that day with that coach was tough- not because she told me the truth, made me look at the facts, motivated me to make changes, but because she didn’t.  And that was wrong.

Every business idea needs work.  Not every idea is a winner.  But, some just need a few tweaks to make them a winner.

Sugar coating the numbers is not going to help anyone.

Be brave.  Ask for help.  If you don’t get it, ask someone else until you find someone who will treat you with respect, dignity and the honesty that you deserve.


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Written by Anita Marchesani
I've come to small business the long way round- but enjoyed and learned from every single step. I learned about the power of Media during a BA and while working in Film&TV. I learned about the hard graft while groom for an international eventer in the UK. I learned organisation and staff management from running hundreds of weddings both here and in the UK. I learned from the mistakes of my first business that failed, to create an e-commerce success story, and now I'm here to help you have even greater success in your business. Oh, and I dance to really loud music like a crazy bastard.