Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with G. Scott Graham, Founder of True Azimuth Coaching, located in Boston, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
True Azimuth Coaching focuses on business coaching, executive coaching, and career coaching. Many of my clients come from the Boston, Massachusetts, metro area, but since the coaching work I do is provided exclusively on the telephone, I have worked with clients as far away as Germany.
Who seeks business coaching? Business owners are struggling with all the aspects of their business all alone, business owners who are not seeing a profit, employees looking to diversify and grow other sources of income so they don't have to continue working 9-5, and business owners who marketing “on the fly” --vulnerable to every salesman that approaches to sell advertising “stuff."
Who seeks career coaching? People are confused about their interests or with conflicting interests. People who hate going to work or feel stuck. People who know what they want but just aren't doing it. People who are overwhelmed and have little or no life balance.
Who seeks executive coaching? C-suite executives who are getting negative feedback from their team or direct reports, managers who are not meeting their goals, CEOs who feel alone at the top with no one to talk to, and leaders who need another vantage point to solve problems.
Tell us about yourself
In many ways, I have always been a coach. Since 1998 when I started work as an Outward Bound Instructor, I have challenged people to not only achieve more but to "be more." In 2006 after working in the mental health/substance abuse field, it was a natural evolution to begin coaching by tapping into my other areas of expertise (I have a Master’s Degree in business, I am a QuickBooks Pro Advisor, and I am a Personal Trainer among 32 other advanced credentials).
I am driven to help clients follow their “true azimuth,” which is different from “true north.” It means coaching clients to identify the true focus of their life — something that speaks individually to them. It means recognizing the forces that push our lives off course and adjusting to them, so you get where you want to go. It means that when you are 90 years old and you look back on your life, you have a sense of pride, accomplishment, and meaning — with no regrets.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In addition to launching my coaching practice and sustaining it over time, my biggest accomplishment has been writing books. There are many consultants, coaches, and charlatans out there who have written a couple of thousand words in either a "compilation" book where somewhere between 10 and 20 "professionals" each have a chapter in a book or a pdf "book" available on their website that you have to share your email address to access. They promote themselves as "international best-selling authors."
It all amounts to a scam, in my opinion. I wanted to write books to share my knowledge and expertise. So far, I have written 15 books. That is my biggest accomplishment since launching my business. And indeed, I have sold a lot of books. However, in no way do I consider myself to be an "international best-selling author." Maybe once I have written 30 (my goal is 100 before I die -- really). We'll see.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Keeping your business afloat day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Many "coaches" -- even those focused on business and career -- do their coaching practice as a side gig. They either lack the mental fortitude to take a risk, or they lack the business savvy to run a successful business. They certainly don't practice what they preach.
Since 2006 I have been an entrepreneur and have run and managed my own business. That says volumes for the skill set and knowledge I bring to my clients because I have used that skill set and knowledge successfully to my advantage in my own life.
(You wouldn't want to go to a fat personal trainer for coaching, would you? Or a carpenter whose own house fell apart, Or a "relationship coach" who can't even manage their own marriage, Or an SEO consultant who themselves can’t be found when you Google their name).
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First, everything you need to know is on Amazon or at your fingertips via blogs, videos, podcasts, and more. Take advantage of the information age we live in. Read, watch, listen. Dive deep -- meaning don't just read some book, blog, video, or podcast about marketing -- you might get faulty information from the author, host, or producer -- dive deep.
Second, don't go it alone. Coaching can help you evolve your business. Coaching can help you evolve your life. But choosing the right coach is critical. That is why the first book I wrote (available free on Amazon, Google Play, Nook, Apple Books, and more) is titled "Ten Things You Need to Know About Coaching Before You Get a Coach." It is a "baby book," only 40 pages or so, but it has critical information on making the best choice when choosing a coach.
Third, keep your eye on the money. Not just profit and loss. But cash flow. You must understand money, and you must keep the management of that money close. Don't delegate it to someone else, and then take it off your to-do list. You certainly can delegate accounting and other bookkeeping tasks to others. But you need to keep your fingers on the pulse. Money is the lifeblood of a business. And you don't want money going for things you are no longer using (or are not performing to your expectations), OR WORSE, you don't want somebody siphoning your money for their own personal use.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
You can google "G. Scott Graham author" to learn everything Google knows about me and see many of my books.
And if you are looking to inspire your life, check out my podcast, "Follow Your True Azimuth," or just Google "Follow Your True Azimuth" to survey the many services where you can listen (from youtube to apple to amazon -- we are everywhere inspiring people to be their best self).
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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