Ever thought about quitting your job to become a business coach? Amanda Kerin did just that, quitting a successful career as a radio producer to set up her own coaching business, helping budding entrepreneurs make their dreams come true.
So Amanda, tell us about your business
I’m an empowerment coach, which means empowering you to make yourself the leader of your own life. I run a coaching program for 12 weeks called ‘Round Two New You’, which looks at getting clarity, mastering your mindset, and also the key things you need to think about when starting up in a business.
I just remember when I started my first business it was overwhelming to say the least, I didn’t even know if I needed a Facebook page until someone told me. It makes me laugh now, but at the time you just don’t have a clue. And the best way to learn is from somebody who’s been through it before.
What were you doing before your Great Escape, and how did you make the leap?
I’d worked in radio since the age of 14. I worked my way up from promo girl at my local station to a Sony-award-winning network producer looking after seven shows a week across 38 stations. From there, there are basically two options: you can run a station or sell ad space, and I knew I didn’t want to do either. It was the best job in the world ever, but I just felt like I’d reached the end of the road.
After that, I moved into event management. Again, I really loved what I did, but like radio it had very antisocial hours, working evenings and weekends. The last project I worked on was a massive Olympics-inspired exhibition which toured the country in 2012. It was outdoors during one of the wettest summers on record, so it was gruelling to put it mildly. I came back from that tour and just hit burnout.
I think I was just going too hard for too long. I was 37, and I’d never given myself the time to relax as much as I should have done. I hadn’t put myself first at any point. I just thought, shit, I’ve been on a treadmill, and I wasn’t even aware of it – it just felt like fifteen years had gone in the blink of an eye. And that’s when I thought, right, now it’s time to reassess my life, it can’t go on like this.
I asked myself, what do I really want to have in my life? What do I really want to do in my life? And what sort of person do I want to be? Because that’s the other thing – I didn’t even recognise myself. It felt like I had a mask on half the time, and had turned into this fierce, go-getting woman, but really I had just lost the capacity to feel and be myself.
I got myself well. First of all, I took a mindfulness course for about eight weeks, and that was a real turning point, because I started to notice who I really was, to notice things around me. I really started to look at where I was spending my time and energy. I started saying no to things that weren’t serving me. I started shutting out the noise, and focusing on myself and what I wanted.
And then I just thought, I can do this for myself. It’s almost like I’d been waiting for permission from somebody, like the big power, the big voice… it’s daft really, because that doesn’t exist, it’s just you. I decided to set up as a freelance events person, running my own company, and that’s what I did.
Before long, I started to realise that I had all this freedom, but I was time-poor again. I just suddenly thought, I don’t want to live in the UK, I get asthma, the UK in the winter is really bad for my health. I thought, I’m going to go and live in a hot country in the winter months.
At the time, I was running an events series on the side for women about personal and professional development. They were a real success, so I’d already built up my own following. I’d personally benefited from life coaching and business coaching in the past, so I took a life coaching course, as I knew this would be the work that really lights me up.
It’s fulfilling and rewarding; I love seeing my clients have transformations and unleashing their full potential into the world and being able to create the life and business they want. I coach them through mindset, clarity and business and bring all my expertise, experience and skills to the mix.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out?
Keep checking in with yourself, because your business goals are just as important as your life goals. At the end of your week, ask yourself what worked and what didn’t, what lit you up and what didn’t, how can you make things simpler, what can you invest in, outsource or let go of? Basically you need to do more of the thing that lights you up, whether it’s speaking to clients, networking, or the admin side of it. Do what you do best, that’s what will bring the work in.
How did the financial side of setting up a business work?
I had a buffer of £10,000, which I knew would last me nine months. It’s about getting creative and being resourceful with your money. On the flip side though, you do need to invest in your business, I don’t think there is any way around it, whether that’s your own learning and development, a system, an accountant, or a coach. If you try and do it all yourself, you will drive yourself into the ground!
How hard was it to find customers?
Getting customers is only difficult if you say it’s difficult, that’s a mind-set thing. Clients for me mainly come from referrals, but it’s also about leveraging yourself online through social media. You need to work out where your clients hang out and tap into that.
It’s important that when you network, you don’t go into it with the attitude of, ‘who’s going to be my next customer’. It’s not really about that, it’s about building relationships. Everybody’s got a network, in or out of business, people know people and people talk, so it’s important to get yourself out there. One of my most loyal clients, whose events I ended up delivering for three years, I actually met in a hot air balloon! You never know where your next client will come from.
How does your life now compare to your previous life as a radio producer?
I’ll be totally honest, I keep having to pinch myself because I don’t actually believe it’s my life. I feel very blessed to live and work the way I do, but I have worked my arse off for it. I spend a lot of time outdoors, near the mountains and the beach, I go on walks and cycle more now, I spend time with my friends and family, I go on travel adventures, it’s just great!
I’ve reached two massive goals recently. I’ve reached mortgage-free by 40, which is incredible, and living a laptop lifestyle, so I spend half my time in the French Alps with my partner and half the time with my family in Wales, and also a fair bit of time travelling around!
If you’d asked me three years ago when I was sat on my sofa thinking I’d just committed career suicide by signing off sick with extreme fatigue, with barely any energy to even make a cup of coffee or get in the shower, I would not have believed that this would be possible. But that’s the power of investing in yourself, taking the time to get clear and reassess how you want to live your life, and visualising your goals. The happier you are in your life, the more you attract. Everything I’ve dreamt about so far has come true. Some things have taken longer than others, and some are still being worked on, but that’s the power of visualisation – thoughts become things. And that’s why mind-set is such a key ingredient for your business and your life.
What advice do you have for someone currently stuck in a rut?
Just go for it! Get clear on what you want, and ask yourself what you’re waiting for. If you want your life to be different, you can create it, so take action towards it. Don’t wait for somebody else to give you permission, don’t think that it’s not the right time, you don’t have the money, or you can’t because of X, Y, Z – they are excuses. The more you step towards it, the more things will unfold and the more you’ll achieve the business and life you want. Probably quicker than you imagine, because I didn’t imagine my life would be like this in three years. It’s just incredible, to the point where I feel like I’m in my own movie, that’s how brilliant it is and things can be for you too.
Everybody’s got dreams, so move towards them, follow your heart, that’s where the magic is going to happen! You have way more potential in you, and if you stop and imagine yourself at the end of your life, think what you would have like to have done, how you would have like to have lived; I’m pretty sure it’s not doing what you’re doing. Just start moving towards your goals, step by step. You do need patience, it may not all happen overnight, but with determination and persistence, you will get there.
Take the time out to discover who you are, start unlayering and getting clear about what you want. You don’t know how it’s going to unfold but you just have to trust that it will, listen to your instinct, make a plan and go for it.
I would probably just add to invest in coaching, but obviously I would say that because I’m a coach! But I’m also talking from experience – I invested in a life coaching course as a consumer, and I had a business coach for my events company and I have another one now, because they massively help. It’s what turned me around, and continues to move me forward.
You have to learn to say no to the stuff that doesn’t serve you. I used to go out a lot for after-work beers and ciders and I just thought, no, I’d rather be at home carving out my new future. You’ve just got to be a bit tough with your decisions. When somebody invites you to something, ask yourself, is this moving you forward towards your goals? If the answer’s no, then it’s a no.
You just have to look after yourself in every way, you are number one in your life. Without you, there is nothing else, no family, holidays, lifestyle, business, or anything else.
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All photos courtesy of Amanda.