Catherine A. Wood is the Founder and Head Coach of Unbounded Potential, a personal coaching firm dedicated to helping heart-centered entrepreneurs and change makers who are super committed to making a big impact in the world. She helps them fall in love with themselves first so they can overcome perfectionism, take bolder actions, push past their fears, and get bigger results in the direction of their dreams. A visionary, entrepreneur and world traveler, clients have referred to her as a guardian angel for their dreams.
1) How did you get started working from home?
My initial inspiration to become a business owner starting during the four years I spent in the Dominican Republic, the first half of which was with the Peace Corps, followed by a position where I oversaw a small grants program to implement sustainable ecotourism start-up companies. Upon returning to the U.S. and working a regular nine-to-five job as a senior economist for the Federal Government, I felt stuck and discontent sitting behind computer screens and a sea of data after my fulfilling and impactful experience in the Dominican. I wanted to be the boss of my own life again, and that lead me to take the leap into my work-at-home career as an entrepreneur.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I chose professional coaching as my work-at-home career because, after serving as a business coach to empower impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic to become economically self-sustaining, I knew that I wanted a career that would give me the freedom and flexibility to help people again in a hands-on way. I also have a natural ability for being a source of support and inspiration for others, so coaching ended up being a perfect fit for me.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I started completely from scratch when I decided to become a full-time entrepreneur. I was not financially “ready” for this leap, so my basic first step was to get clarity about what I wanted to have in place first—the specific amount of cash savings I needed and the exact number of clients I wanted to have contracted. For me, this meant 6 months’ worth of non-discretionary income that I wanted to set aside in cash savings. Instead of waiting to see how long it would take to save these necessary funds, I created a cash flow tool and made a declaration stating by when I would have these supports in place and by what date I would give my notice at work. I then worked backwards from that date and put into place a structured plan that would get me to my goal in that time period. (The necessary structures that need to be put into place to start a business will vary based on what feels supportive for you.)
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
When I started out my coaching practice, I’d never coached before nor worked with a coach. I started simultaneously growing my business while working with a coach and becoming trained as a coach, which was both terrifying and exhilarating. All to say, I was starting from scratch. My first full-pay client came via a Facebook post where I shared with my community that I was starting a new business as a coach and I was looking to offer complimentary coaching sessions over the next month. I generated 25 sample sessions from that post, and as these were all people in my circle who I knew personally, I didn’t ask them to hire but instead asked each of them if they knew anyone who may be interested in a sample session. One of those referrals was my first full-pay client, and 18 months later I generated another client from an additional referral who had waited a bit longer to reach out to connect!
5) How do you market your business?
I market my business in a couple different ways. First, networking is a hugely important method of organic marketing. I am an active member of various networking groups that have provided numerous client leads for my business. Secondly, the internet and social media are crucial channels of marketing. I send out weekly newsletters to the subscription list from my website, I publish articles on my blog and as an author on the Huffington Post, and I remain active on LinkedIn, Google, and other business marketing pages such as Yelp. One key point is asking current and past clients to post reviews on your various online forums to boost your credibility and visibility. I use Facebook and Instagram as my main social media, and Instagram is a great tool for connecting organically with new leads.
6) What does your usual day look like?
One thing I love about being an entrepreneur who works at home is that each day is different! That being said, I also appreciate continuity. I speak with clients Tuesdays – Thursdays. Mondays are generally business-building days and Friday is my CEO day where I focus on business strategy and growth opportunities. On regular client days, I get up at 6 – make coffee, meditate and take a dip in our hot tub outdoors. I speak with clients most mornings from 7 – 10am, then take a break and handle my email. Oftentimes, mid-mornings I’ll schedule coffee dates with fellow entrepreneurs, people interested in coaching, or to grow my network, or I do creative writing for my business, blog, and upcoming book. I take a break for lunch mid-day and often have lunch time client and team calls in the early afternoon. In the mid-afternoon I take a break and go for a workout, either self-guided or with my trainer. In the late afternoon, I have more team calls or client calls and I complete my work-day by 6pm.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
If there is one thing I wish I had known before I started, it is this: The fear never goes away, and you just have to choose in the face of fear whenever you are up for a breakthrough in trust and belief in your dreams and abilities.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
My advice for aspiring work-at-home entrepreneurs is to decide what criteria is needed in order to give up your 9-to-5 (money saved, clients generated, products produced, etc.) and then make a firm commitment to yourself stating by when you will pursue it full-time. Don’t wait for the fear to go away because it never will. Do not be committed to needing to know all the answers before you get started because clarity comes from having already taken action, not from waiting. You’ll be able to start taking action when you give up the need to get it perfect; each failure brings you that much closer to your next success. So start before you’re ready, before you have the time or the money. By simply committing to pursue your dream and follow your passion, you will create the time and money, and you’ll be amazed at how opportunity welcomes opportunity!
Find Catherine A. Wood Online:
Website: Catherine A. Wood
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Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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