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  • Writer's pictureJay Manning

The Recipe for Business Success

Let's talk cupcakes for a minute

There are two things I love - like a LOT.

New York... and a decadent, sweet-smelling cupcake.🧁

Both make me incredibly happy. One of the most delightful moments in my life was finding the world's sweetest ATM in Manhattan! Can you imagine? The ability to obey the crave 24/7 in the city that never sleeps!? Yup, the now-famous Cupcake ATMs are sprinkled all around the USA. It has to be one of the most genius marketing ideas ever - BUT it's not the Cupcake ATMs that has made Sprinkles bakeries such a raving success!

Nope. It's their hand-crafted, freshly-baked, deliciously sophisticated cupcakes that have made them as successful as they are.

Ah-ha! They probably have a secret ingredient then, right? Yes! That must be it!

The Ingredient to Success?

If you were to ask the wildly successful food writer, chef, and cooking show host, Nigella Lawson, what the 'one' ingredient is that makes her cupcake recipe such a standout success, she might suggest an ingredient that contributes to making her cupcakes especially soft and spongy. She might tell you about a specific ingredient that creates an unexpected twist to a classic flavour. Or perhaps she'll tell you it was the fact that she only uses organic, farm-fresh extra-large eggs in her recipe.

Is egg a key ingredient in a great cupcake recipe? I think it is.

So let's imagine for a moment you're a novice in the kitchen, and all I give you is two dozen free-range, farm-fresh extra-large eggs, and I tell you to produce a decadent and delicious cupcake, good enough to sell. Would you be able to?

Of course not. Not even Nigella could do that!

Because while the egg is surely a key ingredient in a cupcake recipe, no matter how great the quality or quantity of eggs you have, it's simply not enough on its own to produce a cupcake successfully.

The difference between a novice in the kitchen and Nigella is that Nigella would know exactly what additional ingredients she needed.

Now, of course, I'm pretty sure that you've come to realise there are many 'ingredients' that go into creating a successful online coaching business. A simple "how to start an online coaching business" Google search will tell you that.

So then why are so many life coaches struggling to make it work?

They're struggling because a list of ingredients isn't a recipe.

It's just a list of ingredients.

When we select a cupcake recipe, we choose it according to:

  1. Our level of expertise in the kitchen (trust me, you don't want to be selecting a Heston Blumenthal level recipe if you're still a newbie).

  2. Our personal flavour preferences like chocolate, red-velvet or salted caramel.

  3. Or, if we're going to be selling them, we select a recipe our clients would be willing to pay for.

  4. Dietary requirements – taking into account food allergies, for example.

While the key ingredients for each cupcake recipe might be pretty similar, there will most certainly be a couple of 'special' ingredients unique to the specific recipe selected.

But more than just that, it'll be the quality of, and the quantities you use of each ingredient. And ultimately, the order of the steps taken and techniques used to execute that will produce either a decadent, mouthwatering masterpiece or a sad, too hard, too dry, or lopsided wannabe cupcake.

You see, success isn't created by any one action or any one ingredient.

Success is the sum of all the planning, all the ingredients, and all the steps taken in the right order.

That's why it's referred to as 'The recipe' for success.

A recipe tells you how much of each ingredient you need and how to apply each ingredient in a logical, easy to follow, step-by-step process.

Being a complete novice in the kitchen, you might find that having just the recipe isn't enough to get you through and that you need an experienced teacher to show you how to use each ingredient and skillfully guide you through each step.

I've had many life coaching clients that lost an extraordinary amount of time scouring the length and breadth of the internet in search of the "one big secret" to online business success. They're left feeling confused by the often differing and contradictory bits of information they find and overwhelmed trying to piece it all together.

Sometimes, by the time a new client comes to me, she's bought into a course or program (sometimes as many as five), in the hopes of finding that silver bullet or magic pill - to making her online business work, only to discover that she's been sold just one more ingredient. Even when applied liberally, that ingredient does not yield the results she'd desperately hoped for because what she's using is not being added into the mix at the right time or in the right measure. So she's left feeling frustrated and discouraged by the lack of progress she's making in her business, and on top of it, she's suffering burnout from trying to implement it all.

Let me give you some real-biz examples to better illustrate.

My client Jennifer, a holistic health coach, purchased a $1500 marketing course. She felt she'd been "bamboozled" out of her money "for a course that didn't work". By the time we started working together, Jen had been spending 4-6 hours a day on social media, for months on end 'marketing' herself, and yet nobody was hiring her. It took me less than a couple of minutes into our first session to realize that her offer was the problem and not her marketing. We spent time creating her irresistible offer, and she closed her first five clients in less than three weeks.

Similarly, Bren, a branding coach, crafted a truly spectacular offer and even hired an unbelievably talented copywriter to create an exceptionally well-worded sales page. But she only signed up three clients in her first year of business. Sure that her marketing efforts weren't up to standard, Bren outsourced her marketing to an expert, and in the second year of business, she doubled that to 6 clients. Not nearly enough to allow her to quit her 9-5 J.O.B., which she desperately wanted to do. After a short audit of her business, the problem revealed itself. Her issue was a lack of lead generation conversion. We rolled up our sleeves and went all in to fix that problem, and Bren handed in her notice four months later.

More often than not, struggling life coaches believe that intensifying their marketing efforts is what they need to focus on when in fact, it's the 'cupcake' that's the problem.

I recently got onto a discovery call with Sue, a legal coach and single mother of 2 who had spent $4000 on life coach training and certification. She then spent a whopping $7000 over two years 'building her brand' but had not signed a single paying client in all that time – that's just crazy, and it breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart because purpose-driven, passionate life coaches have important work to do in the world. They set out with the intention of creating an impact in the world. With dreams of the transformations, they'll help create in the lives of the people who need them most. And huge hopes for the thriving business they'll create in the process.

Yet when it comes to turning all that purpose and passion into a sustainable, profitable business, they spend months, sometimes years, struggling to find ways to make it work.

Another reason I see life coaches struggle is because they think they have to go at it alone, and nothing could be further from the truth.

If you're completely new to business, then reach out. If necessary, invest in an experienced business mentor or business coach to help you navigate the business-making kitchen and help you intentionally design a business that suits your particular business goals.

For a heart-centered entrepreneur, trying to fit into a cookie-cutter version of business success can prove utterly soul-destroying and energy draining, and it's often the reason for giving up. It leaves them doubting themselves and believing that they're just not cut out for business. And that's simply not true. Your business can and should be whatever you need it to be. It should work for you and not the other way around – or else why would you do it? đŸ€·đŸŒâ€â™€ïž

Creating a business that takes your needs, lifestyle, personality, and strengths into account is super important if you want to create a business that you love and that energizes and excites you. A business that is as unique and brilliant as you are and is utterly irresistible to your ideal client. A business that is sustainable and can grow with you. A business that is both purpose-full and profit-able allows you to do more of what you set out to do when you started this business.


If you're feeling frustrated and overwhelmed but still wholeheartedly committed to creating your business recipe because you know you have important work to do in the world then grab a cup of coffee, Zoom on over and let's talk cupcakes!

Your business will ❀ you for it!

Jay xo

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Hi! I'm Jay

Bona Fide Business Nerd

My job is to help new and startup life coaches just like you to not only make an impact in the world, but make money doing it! 

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