To read more about the genesis of this list, check out this post on Make-a-Referral Week from March 9, 2009.
Everybody needs somebody sometime. Bootstrapping and autodidacticism are all fine in their way, but sometimes, you need a little help even doing stuff you “ought” to be able to do yourself. I’m a big proponent of DIY-ing it, but I’ve also paid out handsomely to coaches, therapists, meditation instructors, yoginis, bodywork specialists, personal trainers and a host of other overseers with expertise in areas I lacked but wanted to make progress in.
Coaches and consultants get you there faster. Well, the good ones, anyway. They share their expertise, hold up mirrors so you can see stuff you might miss on your own, help you make adjustments, and yes, provide accountability that can be very helpful for some of us distracted and laggardly types (ahem).
So what’s the difference between a coach and a consultant? That’s a great question! I suggest you poke around the oracle of Google and find the definition that suits you. To me, coaches are good for bigger or ongoing projects, whereas consultants work when you have a specific problem you need clarity around.
Another way to look at it is that coaches are more like marathoners; consultants have more of a sprinter mindset. None are less devoted to their craft (the good ones, anyway); some are just better for the long haul and some the short, intense infusion of information, expertise and guidance.
I fall into the latter category. I consult with people on their marketing, for example, and deliver up a prescriptive for my clients to follow when we’re done, but I don’t meet with them week-to-week to check in and see how they’re doing. (Although I do offer follow-up: I’m not a disappearing consultant!) It’s super-intense, you learn a ton about your project/brand/whatever, you get your list of things to do and then you go do them. Or you know enough about what to seek in a service provider to wisely hire a designer, a copywriter, or what have you.
What I don’t do, they do do. (Hey! I said “doodoo!”) These are all people I’ve either used personally or whose work I’ve experienced enough of to be able to recommend their services even if I haven’t used them. Most coaches will offer you a free consultation of some kind so you can ask a few questions, give it a trial run, and see if you’re a match. Shop around, but if you find someone you click with on the first try, go for it!
- Pamela Slim (escapefromcubiclenation.com) is coach who specializes in corporate-to-freelance transitions (and has written a book about it featuring a bit of advice from yours truly, if it made the cut). But like most groovy people on the communicatrix’s short list, she is much, much more. She’s a certified Martha Beck coach, “gets” social media, and has lived enough life to have a rich repository of experience from which to draw. Also? She’s HILARIOUS and nice. (You can see a tiny cameo of her in this video I made last year.)
- Dawud Miracle is a great friend and great human being who just happens to kick ass at helping people build businesses. He’s also very smart about social media and has a heart as big as all outdoors.
- Dyana Valentine coaches self-starters who need some help self-finishing. A sometime co-collaboratrix of mine, she is a kind soul and intellectual dynamo with so much energy and so many ideas, she makes me look like a slug. Seriously. If there’s some project you’ve been stalling on, she may be your gal.
- Michael Katz (Blue Penguin Development) is the KING of all things newsletter-y. He’s the person I turned to when I was starting mine, and mine has, I will humbly admit, been wildly successful. He offers many levels of service, from “turn-key” solutions for the well-heeled to DIY options (including a subscription program I’ve been too @#%(* busy to test-drive, apologies!)
- Ilise Benun (marketing-mentor.com) was my marketing coach for roughly three years. She excels at keeping the often unwieldly and frequently exhausting task of getting a marketing machine up and running from driving one mad, plus she’s worked with so many solopreneurs over the years, pretty much any crazy-ass thing you run into, she’s got experience with. Multiple experiences with. She offers one-on-one and group coaching, plus a lot of products, if you’re into that sort of thing (or you want to try out some of her techniques without fully committing first.)