Today’s holiday trivia: Continuing our look at holiday traditions around the world, we travel east for a very different type of holiday. As a secular, communist country, North Korea has a different take on holidays than many societies. Its 71 official holidays include Sundays, for instance, and many holidays are based on birthdays of the party leaders and founders. Today North Korea celebrates its Constitution Day, for which the state provides rations explicitly for the holiday feasts.
When we surveyed you guys to see what you’d most like to see in our holiday specials, one of the things that came up again and again was opportunities for one-on-one coaching!
Since I’ve finished my coaching certification this year–which was a very eye-opening experience that I wish more people who offer business “coaching” would do–I’m even more excited than ever to work with you one-on-one to move your career forward.
I bet you’ve heard a lot of advice about how to run your travel writing career:
- Write for free for sites that pay $20 until you have enough clips to pitch bigger places. (What they don’t say: “bigger” places are completely uninterested in the clips you got from the free or low-paying sites.)
- You can never make a good living blogging for other sites; they won’t pay you more than $20 a post. If you want to really have control over your income, you have to start your own blog. (What they don’t say: that it will take at least two years for you to have a big enough audience to get paid for ads or sponsored posts.)
- Magazines don’t pay anymore, if they’re even still in business. You can never make a good living writing for print. (What they don’t say: print still, consistently, pays far better than online, and those editors need pitches more now than ever.)
The unfortunate thing is, there is always an exception to these “tried and true” pieces of advice:
- The writers who get their very first clips from O, The New York Times, or Travel + Leisure.
- Bloggers who get paid $350 a post (at least) blogging for companies with the pockets to pay them.
- Travel journalists who earn six figures from their print travel writing. (I heard from one the other day who has been making six figures travel writing for two decades.)
Because the problem with most advice out there about how to be a “successful” travel writer is that it’s based on what someone else did and their version of success (which more often than not included some lucky break they didn’t realize was luck that they’re leaving out of the story.)
And their version of success isn’t just about the goal they wanted to reach. It means a different amount of time on the road for free verses time on traveling exactly where they want when they want. Time out exploring versus working with a view of Mt. Fuji while on the road. Or earn gobs of money versus seeing their name on a cover of a major magazine in the bright lights of the newsstand at their local Barnes and Noble.
Following someone else’s idea of how to become a successful travel writer may lead you to their vision of success. But, most likely, it will lead you down a twisted path of confusion over what to do when and why, because that advice simply isn’t a fit for your skills, background, circumstances, and goals.
This is also the central issue with a lot of “coaching.”
Consulting is different from coaching in that it’s when someone is doing something for you. Like if I interviewed you about your trips, came up with the article ideas, and matched them to magazines, AND THEN wrote the pitches, the emails back and forth with the editors, and the articles for you.
You may imagine that that would be (well, first off, unethical–but putting that aside for a second) a great way to get a lot of bylines really fast!
And people definitely ask me for things like that on a pretty much daily basis.
But my very easy response is that they wouldn’t want to pay what that costs.
In my case, on the other hand, I only do idea matching consulting work on a case-by-case basis for destinations or their PR companies that I feel as strongly about helping as I do writers, and those packages begin at $5,000 per engagement.
I’ve tried a few business coaches over the years, and I remember the first time I went for something “high-level” that cost a whopping $500/month.
When I saw this person had spots in her program, I was so excited. She was the long-time editor of a *very* well-known blog in the online writing space, that I have followed since 2006, and I had seen her speak at a conference I always enjoy, Jeff Goins’ Tribe Writers Conference.
The issue with these calls was that:
- We didn’t do or discuss anything on these calls that led to me working on my business in between sessions.
- Our calls consisted either of my coach using my time to familiarize herself with my business and industry to figure out how to direct me or her walking me through an exercise from a worksheet generated by another writer/teacher that she admired.
- There was one one-hour session a month, and I could ask her one question each Friday in between, sent only on Friday, and I never had anything really useful at that specific moment to ask her about…or at least not something it seemed I’d get a useful answer about with just one short email question and no back and forth.
For a while after this, I didn’t have a business coach. The next one I worked with had a very different value proposition. His work was based on one of the most fundamental books on running a business–which he wrote, of course–and he had a clearly defined process he worked through with each member of the group or one-on-one coaching programs.
This investment seemed much more clearly defined, and included four one-hour calls in that monthly price, which worked out to around $350 per hour.
But what was that $350 per hour getting me?
It might be best to paint the picture of what he does that you will absolutely not see in our coaching:
- Our sessions all revolved around PowerPoint that the coach presents on screen and rarely deviated from to personalize the content, so it was basically like a private webinar rather than a conversation. (I would NEVER serve you re-heated information during your valuable one-on-one time.)
- I would occasionally have homework that included writing up lengthy things about how we wanted to run our business, but he would *never* review them beforehand, resulting in every session we had after a homework consisting literally, entirely, and solely of him reading what I had submitted out load to himself while I sat there and waited and him occasionally giving me comments.
- At the beginning of each session, he would ask me a few, let’s call them “catch-up” questions that would take about 20 minutes of talking about what I had done in the past week and he offering out-of-the-blue, unfounded business advice as solutions to various things I encountered that were of no use, because, as he said, “I’m not really an expert in this, but, have you tried…”
And, interestingly, the guy doing the coaching that I received deceptively was not the one who wrote the book, but a former business partner of his who specializes in management consulting who licensed the content and brand name from him!
It was an interesting engagement working with him, but in many ways, it taught me more about how to coach than what I was expecting to learn from him.
This year, I also completed my certification as a professional executive coach (because whether you feel like it or not, you are all executives of your own business!), so that I can now bring you the trifecta of what a coach should offer:
- experience doing exactly what you’re trying to do
- experience being coached
- the highest level of training in what real coaching, where you move the needle forward on exactly what you need, rather than what some consultant thinks you should
Plus, since I’ve been coaching travel writers for more than two years, I’ve also seen hundreds of other travel writers’ situations to add to my own writing experience.
Because we are committed to doing everything possible on our end to ensure you have sustainable success with your freelance writing, we generally avoid doing one-and-done coaching appointments, because you need an accountability mechanism to follow through on what you’ve discussed.
But we know that many of you are still figuring this out, and that life happens, and that you simply find yourself sometimes wondering how you got where you are at that moment and needing to hit the reset button quickly.
So, we’re taking the one-hour coaching appointments that we do as an add-on to our weekend workshops, and opening them up even to people who haven’t attended an event.
To make sure there’s a level of accountability, however, you get two!
You can split them up however you want:
- Use one now to set your goals for the year and one at the end of the year to review them.
- Or one before a conference you’d like to drum up a lot of work at and one after to figure out how to follow up with the leads you found.
- Or use one to help plan your first big trip involving pitching free stays and tours and then again afterward to make sure you get the best assignments possible out of the research you did on the ground.
The details–make sure to read before booking!–of delivery of your purchase and how our coaching calls work:
- Due to the holidays and Gabi’s travel schedule, we’re currently closed for coaching appointments until the week of Monday, January 15, so no calls purchased in this offer can be used until that time.
- You will receive an email at the beginning of January explaining how to book your calls.
- Calls must be used in 2019, but can be used at anytime during that period when call bookings are available.
- We use a pre-call questionnaire that must be completed before a call is scheduled to get clarity on what you’d like to discuss in the call so that both you can Gabi can prepare accordingly.
- We use an online scheduling system to schedule all coaching calls and to display Gabi’s availability. One month of availability (i.e. only January availability until the end of January, only February slots until the end of February, etc.) is displayed at a time. We send out an email at the beginning of each month when the calendar is open for bookings.
- You will receive an email once each month, when the calendar for the month is opened, until both of your calls are used, reminding you to book your call.
- There is no email support between coaching appointments.
- If a call is canceled or rescheduled within 24 hours of the originally scheduled time, we cannot guarantee that that call can be accommodated.
- If a specific call is canceled by the user at the last minute twice, it cannot be rescheduled, as Gabi has set aside this time for your call and you have kept others from using this time.
Our main coaching programs ($250-$600/month) only open twice a year and won’t open up again until the spring, so if you’ve been trying to see if coaching is right for you, or just need a little support to get momentum, I look forward to talking with you soon.
If that’s a fit for where you are with your budget and business, I’m really excited to work with you, but I know that’s a stretch for a lot of folks, so don’t worry, we’ve got lots more non-coaching offers at much lower prices coming in the next few days.
Don’t forget–this offer is not valid after tonight at midnight EST.
Important general notes on our 12 Days of Holiday Specials:
- These offers are exclusively available during the time specified, with any exceptions or limited quantities noted in the individual offer affected.
- These offers cannot be exchanged, combined, or used in place or partial combination with a previously purchased offer of any time. All sales are final.
- Each offer includes complete instructions for the delivery of your purchase and answers to any logistical questions about taking advantage of the offer.
- Since many of these offers take place on weekend or holiday days, the person who handles our customer service emails will not always be available or not able to sign in twice a day to catch your queries, which is why we make the offers very detailed. These are deep discounts on things that cost us money to produce, so if you would like to take advantage of an offer, you are responsible for doing so during the time frame allotted.
This offer has now ended. Thank you!
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