A Life Coach Case Study in Marketing (it’s all about the hustle)

I’m currently working with coach Christine Errico, who has a very unique coaching niche.

Christine was born with a visible birth difference, a cleft lip as well as a cleft palate.

Tough eh?

I doubt you know the half of it.

She has gone through numerous surgical procedures and been subject to ridicule, humiliation and abuse from ignorant people all her life….including people very close to her.

As a teenager and into her twenties and then her thirties she become withdrawn, depressed and any form of self-love was an alien concept.

She never felt like she fitted in and self-loathing was an ever-present state of mind.

This fate is imposed on millions of people from birth.

People who either intentionally, or unintentionally, are deemed by society as being somehow less than worthy because of a quirk of genetics.

Christine dragged herself out of that living hell through a combination of therapy, the help of the cleft community and an organization called Smile Train.

It took her over 40 years to get to that point of self-love and even now she recognises there’s still work to do.

Because of her terrible experiences, Christine badly wants to help the people who are going through what she went through.

Note: You can also check out another coaching case study called A Coach’s Journey (from PTSD Survivor to Fully-Booked in 8 steps)

holding her back

What is Holding Her Back (a Life Coach Case Study)?

But one thing is/was holding her back.

Her inability to hustle.

Or probably more accurately, her lack of desire to hustle.

Like many, she sees it as being slimy, unethical and most definitely, not for her.

I get this, I really get it!

For over a decade as a life coach, I sat there waiting for people to come to me.

I was brilliant at selling other people’s products or services, but I was reluctant to sell myself.

Plus, ya know, I knew I was a great coach, so why wouldn’t they be rushing to hire me?

Sadly, sales doesn’t work like that.

I once had an email from a guy who had been on my newsletter list for more than 3-years who wanted to know if I offered coaching.

Yes indeed, I was so hands-off there were people reading my self development newsletter who didn’t know they could hire me to coach them.

The irony/stupidity is that I’d come into coaching after a very successful 20-year sales career where hustling is the name of the game.

definition of hustling

What is the Definition of Hustling?

You can see hustling as conning people, as was the meaning associated with the word in the early 19th century.

Or, if you’re of a certain age like I am (euphemism for ‘old’), you can conjure up images of Paul Newman shooting pool in the brilliant movie, The Hustler.

You can even equate it to sleazy online marketers looking to part you from your hard-earned cash in any way they can.

Alternatively, you can do a simple reframe and choose to see it in a more empowering light.

A light that allows you to help people.

Governments around the world hustled to get people vaccinated for covid.

Nato is hustling Putin to stay out of Ukraine at the moment.

And I hustled my 12-week-old puppy out of the house as she started to crouch to take a pee in the kitchen this morning.

Hustling can most definitely be a good thing when it gets people (or puppies) to take important and beneficial action.

Christine has written an excellent ebook about her experiences growing up.

I wanted her to contact people in a Facebook support group that she is a member of populated by other people like her, to offer them a free copy.

The organisers of the group would be okay with it, so I wasn’t asking her to do anything against group rules.

Nor was I asking her to require people to sign up for a consult or webinar to get the book.

But she still saw it as a bit underhand, or disingenuous, because there was a secondary intent of selling her services.

The Fully Booked Coach Facebook Group that I run has over 6,600 members.

Whereas I’m happy to help coaches like you for free, I wouldn’t do it only for that reason.

It also needs to bring me clients.

The same goes for my newsletter that costs me about $1,000 per month if you include my time to maintain.

You’re very welcome to sign up or join the group for free, but if nobody ever hires me I can’t afford to keep either going for very long.

win win life coach

You Need To Create Win/Wins

Fortunately, coaches do hire me, so I’ve created a classic win/win.

I win by getting paying clients from my newsletter and Facebook group.

And as a subscriber and/or group member you win too by getting free advice from somebody who has a combined 38 years of sales, marketing and coaching experience.

I asked Christine how valuable her book would have been to her younger self


I then asked her how valuable would a coach of her experience have been to her to help guide her through all her shit when she had no clue which way to turn?

Rather unsurprisingly, I got the same answer, only more so.

So I then followed up by asking ‘How fair is it to NOT try and help these people by making them aware that the help they need and deserve is available?’

That reframe did the trick and the book will be going out. Hurrah!

There are many ways to hustle, and many are unethical, self-serving and disrespectful.

But yours don’t need to be because intent matters, so reframe things

If your intent is to serve others and create win/win situations then you not only can hustle but you must hustle.

Sitting on your ass waiting for clients to come to you because you’re a great coach will not help you build a great coaching practice.

Please leave a comment

Tell me what your view of hustling is now in the comments.

Do you agree with my take or still think it’s icky?

4 thoughts on “A Life Coach Case Study in Marketing (it’s all about the hustle)”

  1. You broke it down for her so beautifully Tim. I especially like the hustling your pup out the door scenario. Reflecting back her value to herself and to others undoubtedly is a win/win. Enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

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