I’m super excited today to reboot our interview series, starting with the amazing Julie Parker. She’s the CEO and Founder of Beautiful You Coaching Academy and editor in chief of Inspired Coach magazine.
EKB: Thank you so much Julie for partaking in this interview series! Although I’m sure most of my readers know about you, can you tell us what compelled you to become a coach and create Beautiful You?
I have always loved working with people and helping them to live a better life, and I started my professional career as a social worker and counsellor. I chiefly worked with young people which I loved, however after nearly ten years of intense street based work I knew I was ready to work with people in another way.
And as soon as I opened myself up to that idea that’s when I found coaching – almost 17 years ago. I was immediately captured by it’s heartfelt way of helping people achieve their goals and being someone they could access to support them on their path to things such as a more meaningful career, deeper relationships and soulful businesses. I was blessed to build a very successful business working with people one on one, eventually moving into chiefly business coaching with coaches. And they quickly became my favourite clients.
When the tide of a six month waiting list became too strong for me to deal with anymore, I knew I had to create a better way of working with coaches – and those thinking of becoming one and that’s when the first ideas formed for the Beautiful You Coaching Academy. It took some time to pull it all together and begin a pilot, but there has been no turning back since then and I am madly in love with what I do now as a trainer and the amazing people it brings into my life. I saw a real gap in the market for heart based coach training, believing that as that was the way I worked, maybe others wanted to as well. I’m so glad I was right and there are now over 200 Beautiful You Coaches around the world and growing.
EKB: You write often about the priestess path on your website. How important is it for women (and everyone really) to discover the Divine Feminine within them?
It has certainly become very important to me over the past year and I feel as though it will continue to grow. As a female entrepreneur I have always been a little ‘different’ in the way I have approached my coaching and business, especially in the very early days nearly 20 years ago when coaching was still very corporate in nature. I’m not sure what my coach training school thought of me actually when I came from a place and genuine belief that coaching and business should be built on foundations of nurturing, caring, intuition and even love. All the things I was told about business that was to be kept separate – I didn’t understand. I believed, and still believe, that business is very personal and worthy of making genuine and heartfelt connections with people where your true self is allowed to shine – and you help others do the same.
This is a very feminine, inclusive, and loving way of doing business and it’s the way I’ve always done things. People first. Profit second. However, it’s not been until my recent uncovering of the Divine Feminine and my now undertaking of a Priestess Path that I have come to understand I have always been working with a Goddess, Divine and intuitive feminine spirit inside of me. I just never had the words or understanding of what it truly meant. Now I do and I think more and more women are uncovering this inside of themselves too which I love to see. As women we are infinitely powerful and Divine as our own beings. We do not need to be, lead, coach or do business like men. We need to embrace our whole selves and do business and live our lives as the strong and incredible women we are of our own making.
EKB: Many of my readers are new coaches that are struggling to find their first paying clients and make a consistent living from their coaching biz. How do you recommend new coaches find their first paying clients?
There are so many ways, but I truly cannot pass up the power of pro bono coaching. Sometimes I think people forget that coaching is a skill. And therefore the more you do it, the better you get at it. All new coaches should look for as many ways possible to deepen their listening, strengthen their intuition, ask more powerful questions and so many other things that make up a great coach. And to my mind there is no more powerful way to do that than actually coaching people.
By seeing as many pro bono clients as you can you will improve your skills, open up the chance of more people talking about you to their family and friends and gain testimonials. It’s a winning combination all round and I can certainly attest over my coaching career I have seen a lot of clients pro bono and would not change a thing about that.
EKB: How big of a part has blogging and social media played in your success as a coach and CEO?
An enormous part!
I really credit the beginning of my business to having a strong blogging voice and writing very regularly – in the early days as much as 2-3 times per week.
It was a lot of work but so worth it and I know I built up a strong expert voice as a result of that which saw many people find me via my blog and writing and also the guest interviews and posts I did elsewhere.
And social media has also played a huge role too. This will make me sound very old but social media was virtually non-existent when I first started as a coach. Facebook existed but there were no pages for business and there was certainly no such thing as Instagram or Pinterest! I am really proud of myself for being someone who was an early adopter of anything happening in the social media space because I could immediately see how they could act as a platform for me to share my work which was all about serving people, and also a way for me to meet and develop relationships with people online. And that is exactly what happened.
EKB: Do you think it’s important that a Coach has a particular niche? If so, how can they find their niche?
Yes, I absolutely do. Finding your most ideal clients and niche is important because it allows you to develop expertise in a needed area and have the ability to ‘cut through’ those who are trying to appeal to everyone. The fact is that we can’t appeal to everyone. We have to truly work out what lights us up and who we want to work with and from there, how we can best serve people in such a way that they will pay us money to do that!
It sounds simple but it isn’t, and in truth finding and growing your niche is an area of work that I can’t give a simple answer to. It’s something that we devote an entire module of work to in the Beautiful You Life Coaching Course because I have come to learn that really developing this part of a coaching business plays a huge role in it’s success or otherwise. There is lots of personal discovery, passion finding, and soul searching involved. The good news is that it is all worth it in the end when you get an approach to your coaching that is specialised, and really meets the needs of the people it is most meant to. That’s when the clients come!
EKB: I think growing an authentic personal brand is super important for all women entrepreneurs, but especially coaches. Any tips for Life & Health Coaches who aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to expressing themselves online?
While I know it sounds cliché – it really is just about embracing your authentic self and letting that shine in everything you express online. Sometimes I think we over complicate things when it comes to communication and who we are as coaches and we really don’t need to.
If you are gentle and introverted and thoughtful then that is who you are and how you should share your work to the world. If you’re zany and wild and a bit controversial – then that’s you – and you should let all of you shine online with no barriers or curtains. Doing so will not only feel great to you but it will guarantee you attract people towards you that you love and who truly resonate with you as a person and as a coach too.
So my simple tip is embrace who you really are and then let that shine through in all you do. What flows naturally and organically from you and feels right – will be!