Most heart-centered Coaches and Online Experts struggle to have in place the 3 P’s that create a solid business foundation: Policies, Procedures and Payments.
It’s funny, I can practically hear you groan from your computer. 🙈
Yup, it’s not a “sexy” topic.
But it’s a topic that will help you get paid, and help you create clear and fair boundaries for you and your clients.
One of my biggest pet peeves in the Coaching industry is forcing clients to sign contracts that protect the Coach, but doesn’t protect the client. For example, the Coach can cancel the contract with the Client at any time for any reason, but the Client can’t cancel the contract, ever.. huh? 🤷♀️ That doesn’t seem fair, does it?
As a heart-centered Coach myself, I took a long hard look at my policies and procedures recently and I thought it’d be helpful to share my thought process with you… if you’re someone who would like to keep the HEART ♥️ in your business.
Coaches and Online Experts are in the business of PEOPLE. So why not approach your policies, procedures and payment structure with actual PEOPLE in mind, as opposed to grabbing a contract from a Google search and asking people to sign something that even you would hesitate to sign, with legal jargon that most don’t even understand?
This topic is a huge one, and today is about an overview of what you need in place…
… so that you’re not wasting your precious time tracking down late or missed payments,
… so that your clients are clear about your boundaries and expectations and how to get the most from your relationship,
… so that it’s fair from both sides, and you’re protected if things change.
Here’s what I recommend:
POLICIES: Have clear guidelines around how long your sessions are, what happens if they miss one, or show up late, how will you meet them, how can they reschedule, how much advanced notice you require when making appointment changes, who to contact if they have payment or sign-on issues, and the best ways to get in contact with you between sessions (and how much time they can expect to hear back from you) etc.
I make my policies clear through my Coaching Agreement that both parties need to sign. My policy indicates a “no quitting” policy (I won’t quit on you, and you can’t quit on yourself when things get hard) but I put a caveat in there about our relationship, and if it turns out we might not be a good fit, there’s a way out. See how that feels fair, and more person-centered than policy-centered? That’s on-brand for me, and that’s how I’ve chosen to do business.
The cool thing about business is you get to do it YOUR WAY. It’s time to start making some decisions… what is YOUR WAY?
PROCEDURES: Have a clear onboarding process so that each new client starts off with everything they need. This includes signing the agreement, setting up the payments and any Orientation packet they should fill out so you have all the info you need at your fingertips.
PAYMENTS: Set the expectation from the beginning how you will be getting paid for your service (is it pre-paid monthly, or paid after the service is delivered, or half now, half later?) I recommend setting up automated, recurring payments instead of using invoices that get emailed each month. Think of the amount of time you’ll save yourself when you remove the need to do payment outreach if the invoice doesn’t get paid!
Having these systems set in place for myself (and with the help of my Virtual Assistant!) has saved me time, headaches and frustration. Anytime I get “loosey-goosey” with my procedures for whatever reason, I end up paying for that in the end because there’s an inevitable misunderstanding, or my boundaries start to get crossed, or my time wasted with missed appointments or last-minute cancels.
Having policies and procedures in place make everything run smoothly, and the expectations get set right from the get-go so that the experience of working together is hopefully seamless and enjoyable.
So if you don’t have this structure set up yet in your business… get on it! You’ll be so glad you did, and so will the new clients coming your way!