Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brad Cooper, CEO of Catalyst Coaching Institute, located in Fort Collins, CO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Do you have a passion for helping others and a love for health & well-being but don't want to be stuck selling supplements or part of a pyramid scheme? Catalyst Coaching Institute is one of the nation's top NBHWC-approved health & wellness coach certifications. No specific prerequisites (although we're also a top choice for physical therapists, counselors, nurses, physicians, and others pursuing certification). If you're looking for a credible career path in health and wellness, you've found the catalyst!!

Tell us about yourself

We started the business in 2007 to help individuals create lasting, meaningful change, both in their organizations (we also provide coaching to employers nationwide) and in their careers. Suzanna and I have been married for 30 years and bring together complementary backgrounds (including seven college degrees, the 2 of us) when it comes to business development. Just as importantly, we have an AMAZING team of coaches who provide guidance, mentoring, and so much more, many of whom have been with us for 15+ years!!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We've been able to survive as a company for 16 years :-). Seriously though - Suzanna and I would both point to the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world, helping individuals from all walks of life make positive changes, which then has a multiplier effect on those around them.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It's a constant roller-coaster ride, with your "best" day often coming on the heels of your "worst" day, over and over and over. You're so close to every element of good and discouraging occurrences each day that it can be difficult not to let it affect your life outside of work. And in our case, since we're also married, it can take its toll if you're not careful on the journey.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Here are 3 to get you started:

  1. Limit (or better yet, avoid) debt if possible. This isn't possible for capital-intensive organizations, but the lower your debt, the more "staying" power you have as an organization. We've had some rough years along the way, and if we'd been functioning under the weight of debt or high overhead, we likely would not have survived.
  2. Choose your partner(s) carefully... VERY carefully. Suzanna and I have been fortunate in so many ways. People ask us all the time how it's possible to be married and work together. That's a subject for another day, but the upside of it is our vision for our lives and budgets, and the way in which the company is run is clear. That's not always true when partners come together with different perspectives on everything from work schedules to outside investors and more.
  3. Develop a life outside of your business. In addition to our close family, I've always enjoyed endurance sports (11 Ironmans, including 4x at World Championship in Hawaii along with Race Across America bike race and 50+ marathons and running events). That provided me with an outlet when perhaps I wasn't feeling effective in the business, in addition to developing valuable friendships outside of work.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Read voraciously and journal consistently. We have a library of 1000+ books in our home. Within each one of them is a treasure trove of wisdom, ideas, and future opportunities to explore. The books provide the "potential" insights, while the journaling turns those into practical reality for our lives.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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