I have officially been in business for two years! Today on the podcast, I look back on two years of growth, challenges, lessons, and success. I share the mistakes, what I learned, and give you an inside look at how I got where I am today. If you’d been struggling in your business, this one is absolutely for you! Come listen to the raw and real look at two years in my business journey.
- Stay-at-home mom who never intended to be a stay-at-home mom
- Tried ALL the things to make money from home
- Getting a coach
- Facing fears + getting brave
- Client successes
Happy New Year, mamas, and welcome to Episode 31! Today I’m going to be sharing a bit about my business story. I started my business two years ago in January, so I’m going to be looking back on two years of TBH, which is now in the new year switching to Samantha Siffring Coaching. So I have a new domain. I am rebranding, and I’m really excited to just fully step into my own personal brand, and TBH will still exist as the name of some of my programs, including the Inner Circle. It’s going to stay TBH Inner Circle because I love that.
For those who don’t know, TBH stands for To Be Honest, and if you know me you know honesty, integrity, authenticity are huge, huge, huge personal values of mine that I have brought to my business. These are things that are so important to me. I loved them so much they were a part of my business.
All right, I am ready to just dive right in. I don’t know about you, but I wanted to share the precursor to my business. As I said, I started two years ago, but before that there were some other things going on that really led to the business that I opened, so I wanted to go back and share some of those things with you as we get started.
I found myself as a stay at home mom who had never intended to be a stay at home mom. I was home with two kids, two little boys. I had a master’s degree in counseling, and was really frustrated. I was frustrated with our finances. We had enough, but I wanted to be able to contribute. I was also frustrated staying at home with two little boys all day, every day, and I had never meant to be a stay at home mom. I was not one of those people who had always dreamed of becoming a mother, or a parent. I actually had a very, what I thought was serious, conversation when I was 13 with my dad and my stepmom to tell them that I never wanted to have kids, and I was so worried that I was going to be disappointing them, which is funny because 10 years later I became a mother.
But life sometimes has a different plan for us than we have for it. There I was. I was trying to figure out, “How can I contribute to the family finances? How can I have an adult outlet? How can I have something that’s just for me, that’s not Bob the Builder or diaper changing or peanut butter sandwiches?” I tried to figure out how I could make money from home, because even with my master’s degree I really struggled to find a job outside the home that was going to pay enough to put two kids in daycare. I also didn’t really like the idea of full time work and full time daycare. I had a few friends doing that, and it seemed like a really stressful life during the week. So I knew I didn’t want that. I really wanted to work part time, and I just couldn’t find something that was going to pay enough to put the two kids in daycare, and it seemed silly to pay extra money to not be at home with the kids.
I tried a lot of different things. If any of you have ever looked for ways to make money from home, I think you can probably relate to a lot of the things that I tried. I tried surveys. I tried ChaCha. If you’ve ever heard of that online, it was like something you would text, and you would ask it questions, and then somebody on the other end would look up the answers and text you back the answers. This thing paid less than a cent per answer, or something crazy. It was just one of those things where even if you did it all day, every day, you would still not make good money, so I didn’t do that for very long.
I also tried blogging. I ended up finding this company that was kind of like a marketing tool for small businesses, and they hired moms to sell door to door to small businesses. So I would cold call and go door to door to all of the local businesses, and present them this marketing product, and I did pretty well in that. I have always been pretty great at sales, and I really nailed sales during this job, and it was something I could do part time. I had a nanny for the kids once a week. I could also take the kids some of the time. That one was a pretty good fit, but it was a start up and they lost funding, and they shut down while I was on vacation, and it was effective immediately. So that one did not last.
After that, I started a hand made shop on Etsy. I made little hair ties, and I also sewed purses and zipper pouches, and what’s so funny is that I truly hate sewing. I’m pretty good at it. The stuff I made was cute, but I hate sewing. So that business really, it didn’t last long because I disliked it so much.
Then after that I was introduced to a network marketing company. I was involved with that company for a couple years. I was a leader in the company. I reached some of the pin levels in the company, and I did pretty well with it, but always felt like something was a little off for me in it, and I know everybody has their different opinions of those kinds of businesses. I had never intended to be involved in one of those kinds of companies. My dad did Amway when I was a kid, so I grew up in that, and to me it really stood for lots of big dreams, but didn’t come to fruition, and that sounds so negative. But that was really how I looked at it, and as a kid I hated having all of the off-brand stuff that we ordered from Amway, like the potato chips and the apple sauce, and that kind of stuff, was all these other brands that none of my friends had. Like my juice boxes were the wrong brand, and it just really put a bad taste in my mouth. I was like a second grader.
In my mind I always thought, “I’m never doing one of those things!” But sometimes things come along and it was the right thing for me at that time. I’m really grateful for the experiences I had there. I learned so much. I really honed a lot of my marketing skills, my business skills there, and it really is a very easy way to start a business, now that I’ve started my coaching business from scratch and built it from scratch I really can see how much you get when you start a network marketing business. It’s basically a business in a box. You open the box. You start making money if you can get out there and do it.
I did have a good experience there, but I was at a invite only leadership training when I had this breakthrough moment, and realized that this was not what I needed to be doing, and that what I needed to be doing was what one of the speakers there was doing. He was a sales vice president in the company. He was doing a personality and then an inspirational kind of training, and just hearing him speak I thought, “First of all, I think he and I have very similar personalities, but also that’s what I want to be doing! I don’t want to be doing this. I want to be doing that.”
So I do feel like I gained so much from that experience, but maybe not what they sent me there to gain. But at that point, I was starting to think I needed to make a transition, and a couple months before that, when I was really working on building the business, I heard a therapist turned life coach on a podcast. I heard her be interviewed. I heard her talk about her business, and everything about it I just thought, “How come I didn’t start that business? Why didn’t I think of that?” Because I had always looked for the similarity between all of the different passions and experience that I had in my life, and as soon as I heard her talking I thought, “That’s it. That’s exactly what it is.” That was the through line that really tied everything together that I was passionate about in my life.
So I emailed her. She hired me very quickly, trained me. I worked for her for a few years. That was my transition out of network marketing into coaching. I decided to start my own thing two years ago, as I said. I actually had a friend who was asking me about coaching, and had asked me if that company would be willing to give a gift certificate for a silent auction she was putting together, and I told her, “Maybe next year my own coaching business will do it.”
The more I thought about that thing that I said to her, about maybe next year, the more I realized there was really nothing that I was waiting for. There was no reason to wait until next year. There was no reason not to do it right then. So I started putting the wheels in motion to launch my own business then, and I already knew that I was a really good coach, because I had coached for a few years already for the other business, and I already knew that I was pretty good at business and marketing, because I had had some experience with that in some other jobs and gigs and stuff in the past.
But I have to tell you, even being an excellent coach, even knowing so much about business and marketing, I made so many mistakes in the first year. In that first year, it took me ten months to get a paying client. I worked for free with clients who are literally and figuratively not invested in coaching and in their growth. I created a website before I did anything else. I spent weeks deciding the name of my businesses, and then I spent weeks creating my website.
I created courses and programs, really elaborate courses and programs. I created three courses and programs that no one saw. I tried Facebook Ads and Funnels before I had talked to anybody, and the problem with this is that I wasn’t super clear about who I helped and how I helped them. And since I wasn’t clear on that, I didn’t have a very clear message.
I took tons of time off in my business. I was not consistent with my efforts at all. When I would get super discouraged, I would take time off, and took almost the whole summer off in 2017 from my businesses, because I just thought, “Well, there’s nothing going on in here anyway. I’m just going to focus on other stuff.”
I ended the year with under 200 on my email list, which included my mom, my mother-in-law, my stepmom, and my sisters, not my ideal clients. I love them, but they’re not my ideal clients. I alternated between creating tons of content that nobody saw and crying about how it was never going to work. So I would come into the bedroom every other night super pumped because I created this amazing thing, and then the next night I would come into the bedroom crying, like, “This is never going to work! What am I doing? What am I doing wrong?”
I also didn’t have a coach of my own. So I wasn’t able to see my blind spots. I wasn’t able to see where my mindset was holding me back. I wasn’t able to see where I could make some tweaks in the business, because I was just in it too deep. So I think that it’s really hard for us to see our own surroundings and our own limiting thoughts, and all of that, when we’re in the midst of it.
This time last year, I knew something needed to change if my business was going to work, so I made a scary decision to work with a coach and do everything she said, and this decision was scary for a couple reasons. The first is that I had some resistance around doing everything that she said, even though I knew it was going to help grow my business. I also had a lot of resistance around making such a big investment in my business before my business was actually making money. I ended that year at a negative of at least $2,000 in my business, and it was not good. I had some other streams of income, but my business was not working.
But I still decided to invest in the coaching program, because I knew that my business was not going to work otherwise. I either needed to invest, or I needed to quit, because it wasn’t going to happen on my own.
First, with my coach, I started doing a lot of mindset work. Most of that for me was around my beliefs about myself, and my ability to make money. It had been a long time since I had made more than like $1,000 or $2,000 a month, and I really, I think, had lost the belief that I could do more. I also made a lot of decisions, first about my niche, to become much more clear about what was going on, who I helped, and all of that, and once I knew who I worked with and how I could help them, I started talking to as many people in my niche as I possibly could, and creating consistent content around those themes, and those topics that I specialized in.
I worked on my visibility, and growing an audience. I grew my network. I did tons of coffee chats with other business owners, and now I have a really solid support system in addition to my coaches of some business besties that I’m able to chat with on Voxer on a daily basis whenever I need it. I also hired more coaches. I hired four additional coaches throughout the rest of the year last year on various things. So money mindset, mindset coaching, business strategy, business coaching, and I did the work to get over my shame that I needed those things, even though I was a business and mindset coach. Like I said before, it’s so hard to see our own crap from the inside. Now I think of it as a fish in a fish bowl. The fish has no idea that they’re in a bowl full of water. But it’s so easy for us to see from the outside that they’re in a bowl of water. I see coaching in that same way. When it’s our own business, it’s really hard to see it from the outside perspective, and it’s so valuable to work with a coach. You can make so much more progress faster by working with a coach.
Over the past year, I was very brave. I had to face a lot of fears over the past year, so many fears. Someone recently asked me the biggest lesson I learned last year, and my answer is that you’re going to be afraid a lot on your way to hitting your goals and being successful. I was also consistent. This is probably one of the first times in my life that I was very consistent about something for a sustained period of time. I consistently built my business over the course of this past year. Of course, I took time off, like for vacations, but otherwise I went to work like it was my job, and that consistency really paid off for me.
I handled all the emotions that came up when people said no, when people canceled, when I put something out there for a launch and it totally flopped. I used my thought work and managing my mind to manage my emotions, and feel my feelings, and really learn to think of failure in a different way, and I still have to do that work. You know, when somebody wants to cancel, when a problem comes up, I still have to manage those emotions, but now I know that I can, and I don’t hold back out of fear of those emotions, and that’s a very significant difference for me.
I ended the year with over 200 registrants in my Design 2019 Program alone. More people signed up for Design 2019 than signed up for my entire email list the year before. I ended with over 700 on my email list. I ended the year with a successful podcast that grows in listeners every single month. Thank you so much for following me here, for checking this out. I get so much feedback from the podcast every single week between the personal messages I get on Instagram and Facebook, and the emails I get, and the reviews that I see on iTunes, I know that this podcast is onto something, and it is really reaching people. It’s really getting my message out there. It’s making an impact in the world. It’s affecting people that I don’t even know, that I’ve never met. I’m sure it’s affecting people who haven’t even reached out to me, to tell me that it’s impacting them, and I know that it’s just on an upward swing, and it’s just going to continue to grow.
I am ending the year with six one-on-one clients that I am head over heels for, and I have a list of people who are hoping to join me for one-on-one work in January. I have eight in a group program that I absolutely love that I run with a partner, and we have grand plans for our relaunch at the end of this month. You’ll be hearing about that soon. I’m ending the year with 30 women in my membership, TBH Inner Circle, and each time I reopen the doors more and more women join, so I have big, big visions of what’s going to happen in the Inner Circle in 2019.
I have amazing plans for growth in January and beyond into 2019. I’ve seen such growth for me over the past year, and I just know if that’s what’s possible in a year in 2018, I can’t wait to see what’s possible in a year in 2019. I sometimes say things, and I can’t wait to think about what I’m going to be saying a year from now. You know, I think about how much I’ve grown, and my dreams for the next year, and I just imagine me this time next year, and what I’ll be saying as I look back on 2019, and it’s very exciting.
I am making significantly more than I made ever in my life, but also in my pre-children 9 to 5, and that feels really good, to know I did that part time from home on my own terms doing something I love, impacting the lives of women that are truly exceptional, that I can be really proud of the work that I’m doing. It’s not just lucrative. It’s something that is a personal passion of mine, and something that I love, and something that is unbelievably fulfilling for me to do.
There’s nothing better, I don’t think, than my clients telling me that they got a new client, or that something else amazing happened in their business, or hearing their tally at the end of the month when they’ve calculated how much they made. I had a client this year hit $10,000 a month, and it was just amazing. I think she might have been more surprised than me. I think I’m always less surprised about my clients’ accomplishments, because I know they’re capable. But they don’t realize they’re capable, and once they’re able to believe that they are capable, that’s when they hit that growth, and that accomplishment.
My audience grows daily. I have a Facebook group, Online Business Building Mamas. I started it at the end of January, and it’s almost at a thousand, and continues to grow, and I know that’s just going to be a continual growth over the course of this next year.
I want you to know that nothing about this came easy. Nothing went viral. Nothing happened overnight. These results are the fruits of consistently showing up and being me, my real self, in all the places I am. It’s the results of doing my mindset work daily, so that I can pull my head out of my ass to do the things I know I need to do, to move my business forward and hit my goals.
With mindset work and business growth, and personal growth, there’s no destination. I didn’t master mindset work, and now I don’t have to do the work anymore. I hear that a lot from people who will tell me, “I don’t need the mindset stuff. I just need the business strategy.” And personally, I think that’s total bullshit.
I plan to keep growing, and I plan to have a mindset coach my whole life, even though I myself am a mindset coach. Remember the fish bowl. I always want to be pushing to my next level, so I can challenge and inspire you to do the same, and so we can all grow and achieve beyond what we think is possible right now.
I also want you to know, if I can do this, you can too. There is nothing about me that isn’t true for you. There’s nothing about me that’s more special, or more capable than you. I used to have all the same limiting thoughts and beliefs that you have. I used to hold myself back. I used to self-sabotage. I used to think I wasn’t good enough. I used to think that everything I had to say, everyone had already said before, or that it had already been said in a better way. I used to think no one wanted to listen to me.
This year I’ve proven all of those things wrong. I’ve proven to myself that there’s people who do want to listen to what I have to say, and if that’s true for me, that’s absolutely true for you. So I really want you to embrace this. I want you to see all the struggles. I want you to see the slow, steady, growth of my business, and I want you to know that it can be that way for you too. You don’t have to have a viral moment. You don’t have to become an overnight success. Maybe that’ll come down the road for me after I’ve been doing this a few years. Maybe something like that’ll happen, but I’m also okay plugging away over here, consistently growing, because it works, and it’ll work for you too.
So if you’ve been discouraged, if you’re at a turning point, like I was this time last year, I hope you’ll make a choice to do something different, do something scary in your business, to face your fears, and to continue doing this, to make this shift, because you absolutely can have everything you want.
All right, I hope that this is the most amazing note for you to start out 2019 on. I hope you’re feeling so inspired. I would love to hear from you personally. If you want to join me over in my Facebook group, it is Online Business Building Mamas in Facebook, and cheers to your success in 2019.