Growing a bootstrapped coaching business to $35,000

Growing a bootstrapped coaching business to $35,000

Tell us about yourself

I'm the founder of Business Enjoyment. I work as a coach, mentor, trainer, or whatever you want to call it, but the basic principle is working with business owners to help them look at their businesses differently.

Historically, we are always on the treadmill. We are always trying to make more money.

It's why you see all these messages around us about "building a six-figure business" or "how to grow a seven-figure company".

But what often gets missed is that we should be enjoying what we do and value having a business that does everything you need it to do rather than worrying too much about expanding and growing it.

How did you come up with this idea?

I'm an accountant by background. Specifically, I was an insolvency practitioner.

So, in the UK, when a company goes bust, a specialized firm takes control of that business.

The old directors get kicked out. They might stay on to offer advice or work with customers and employees to help everybody stay on board to keep the thing going and hopefully sell it as an entity. But they're not directors any longer.

So I was with KPMG, one of the larger accountancy firms, for the better part of 17 years.

My job was running these businesses, but at the same time, I was working alongside these directors who were watching everything they built collapse in front of their eyes.

You start to appreciate the emotional attachment between a person and their business. The business side is actually quite straightforward. It's the people that make it all messy and complicated.

Eventually, things got to the point where I realized I wasn't enjoying what I was doing.

And because I was leading teams and getting involved with the personal side of things, I realized I liked working with people more than businesses. So I moved into the coaching space.

I started off working with people going through insolvency and helping them deal with the emotional stress they were going through.

Ultimately, that shifted a bit, and I started working with a broader spectrum of people.

I realized that people were coming to me not to build bigger businesses but because they weren't enjoying the thing they had created.

What I was doing was helping them shift their perspective and see their businesses in a new light, and they were coming out happier as a result of it. So that's kind of where the concept of this job came from.

How did you fund the business?

It was self-funded. I remember when I first jumped ship, I was thinking purely about working with people for insolvency, and it was a new concept. It was something that didn't exist.

I remember having, kind of, a business plan. I'd track people who I thought might be key introducers. I had the pitch for why it would be useful to them as well as the companies.

I remember having these big spreadsheets and thinking, "Well, if I get one job from them and one from them, and charge this guy - I'm going to make £1000s! I'm going to have too much work!" Then not a single one of those things came through (laughs).

It's taken a few years of investing profits but now the business turnover was around £30,000 in the last year, with about £10,000 profit and a dividend. There are always more costs and room for more investment back into the business.

How did you promote the business?

One of the things I did to demonstrate what I was trying to achieve was to write a book called Hope Won't Pay the Wages. Although that was not the original plan.

I remember I was at this marketing presentation, and someone said to think about where your ideal client is, go to where they live in these groups, add value, and contribute.

I sat there thinking, yeah, that's a great idea, but there's not a group or community out there dedicated to people going bust.

Then I switched that around and thought, what if there were something like that? What would it look like?

It was a short step from there to thinking, well no, a group won't be there if they're about to go through it. But if they've been through it? That sort of support network might exist.

What if I got the stories of people who had been through it and then used that to help people going through it now?

That led me to look for people who had been through insolvency, to interview them, and get their stories.

To learn what their experience was, what their learning points were, what they would do differently, and what advice they would give. And as I started getting more and more of those, I realized there was a lot of material there.

That I could probably make a book out of it. So that allowed me to show people what I was trying to achieve. It was an introductory tool.

What's been your biggest challenge?

Stepping out into the real world made me suddenly realize how much the corporate environment had protected me from various things.

I don't just mean in terms of systems and processes, but also selling, for example, I never really had to go through that process before.

Over the years I've eventually realized that I had a fear of rejection that had stemmed from something from when I was much younger.

And that just made it really difficult to handle all the knocking on doors, phoning people up, and introducing myself.

That involved a lot of work in finding the right person to unlock this stuff, work out what the problem was, twist it, turn it, change it, and get me to a position where I can now do things that I couldn't do before.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

In business terms, I would have taken the savings I had at the time and put them into working with somebody that knew what they were doing and focusing on the marketing.

It's cliche, but working on stuff like; Who's your ideal client? What is their pain point? What's the marketing that we're going for?

Working with someone who knew what they were doing, and putting more money into that would have been the right way to do things.

How have found new customers?

I did a lot of networking early on, I was a member of 4N and BNI. And I think I built up quite a good network. I've always had the view that you should focus on giving people help first.

Not everything comes to you, and you need to put paths in place for people to find you, and follow you. But you give them help as much as you can.

I'm now much more focused on using LinkedIn as a way of connecting with people and building relationships with people, and bringing groups together, and, of course, there's word and mouth and referrals.

Is there any advice you would give to new entrepreneurs getting started?

The fundamental thing for me is the mindset. There are going to be problems, you're going to get stuff wrong, and things aren't going to work. And that's okay. In my second book, Successful Startups, I talk about having an experimental mindset.

Obviously, we want to be able to use the experience of other people who've made mistakes as much as possible, and we do that by reading books, listening to podcasts meeting people, and even paying for people's time and garnering that information.

But that's only their opinion or their experience. You've got to integrate that in yourself and see how it works for you in the real world.

There is not a single process, a single time management tip, or a single money-making scheme that will work for everybody.

What software or tech do you use?

Mostly stuff like Word, Canva, and Zoom. I wouldn't say I'm on the cutting edge of things, but I have been using some AI stuff.

I also recently got a password manager. Even though my computer saves all my passwords for me, anyway, that's not actually that safe, so that keeps everything encrypted.

Any books or podcasts that have helped you on your journey?

One of the key things behind Business Enjoyment is that it's a two-fold thing. One is removing the stresses that hold us back.

But on top of that, it's about finding a sense of purpose and what's important to us, and, though it's not a business book, a lot of my inspiration for that comes from Victor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning.

For people who don't know, he was somebody that survived the concentration camps. He observed how some people gave up, and some fought through. And he tried to work out how people find meaning in things.

In business terms, anything by Patrick Lencioni is pretty good. Dan Kennedy is always amusing - he's quite a tongue-in-cheek personality. Daniel Priestley's stuff is good too.

What are your plans for the future?

I'm putting a lot of stuff out on LinkedIn at the moment in terms of tips and suggestions. There's a freebie download on my LinkedIn profile for 50 Stress-Free hacks with some tips and tricks people might find helpful.

I'm also going to be releasing some videos that expand on that. I've also created a stress-free online course full of stuff I've learned over the years. It's small and simple, but very impactful.

Where can people find you?

Bio link: Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller | Business Enjoyment | Coach | Mentor | Consultant | Therapist
For business owners who love what they do but aren’t enjoying life as much as they should. I want you to enjoy your business so much, it makes your bits tingle !!