Who would have thought that traveling 25,000 miles in a motorhome would be part of an executive coach’s journey to building a business she is passionate about?
In this article, we look at the evolution of Angie Stegall’s businesses from her early days straight out of college up to today. We learn about how she managed the challenges along the way with systems, tools, and people. Don’t forget to check out her Read-Listen List and Productivity Stack Quick Reference at the end.
Table of Contents
- Scaling & Success
- Other Recommended Tools
- Wrap Up
- Stegall’s Read-Listen List
- Stegall’s Productivity Stack Quick Reference
- More About Stegall
Challenge 1: Starting a business straight out of college
Angie Stegall began her entrepreneurship journey while still in college. She did part-time grant writing and pet sitting to help with expenses as she finished her degree. Stegall knew she didn’t want to make a career of grant writing. But she also didn’t really know what she wanted to do with her life.
Solution: One of her professors nudged her in the right direction. “You’re really smart. You pick things up really fast. Have you ever considered starting your own business? I think you would be great as an administrative assistant.”
Stegall followed her professor’s advice and started her business as a mobile administrative assistant. This was back in 2003 before access to high-speed internet made remote work or virtual assistants a viable option. As a mobile administrative assistant, she spent a lot of time on the road going to different client sites. She would finish tasks in their offices or sometimes finish them at home.
When she started to get burnt out with the administrative work, she identified another need of her clients and changed her business to professionally organizing offices. She would spend one day or up to three months getting her clients’ physical spaces in order.
Another six years or so later, she saw another opportunity with her clients. They needed help setting up repeatable systems and getting their processes more efficient. Once again, her service evolved — from organizing physical offices to consulting on business processes and systems.
People: Stegall, her college professor
Systems: Trying out different offers, identifying and responding to market needs
Tools: Her car, computer, Calendar or Planner
Challenge 2: Distribution: Getting clients in the pre-digital marketing era
Stegall built her mobile administrative assistance, professional organizing, and to a certain extent, her consulting businesses in the early 2000s and 2010s. This was before the widespread use of social media for networking and marketing. And she worked mostly as a solopreneur, only occasionally subcontracting work. How did she manage the marketing side and get new clients for these businesses?
Solution: She describes her early business days as “I was either working with clients directly or I was networking at all the different networking groups in town. That’s how I got clients, through word of mouth.”
Even as her services evolved, her target market remained somewhat unchanged. She served small businesses and solopreneurs who needed support in administrative, organization, or system-related matters, and so she could rely on referrals.
She also wrote a book in 2013, Focus on Five – How to Organize Your Five Essential Business Systems, which served as a way to introduce her services.
Systems: Networking, getting referrals, writing a book as a lead magnet
Tools: Her car, her book Focus on Five – How to Organize Your Five Essential Business Systems, Calendar or Planner
Challenge 3: Burning out and realizing the need to pivot her business
By 2016, there was so much opportunity for her consulting business as more and more clients realized the importance of systems and processes. Businesses were focused on increasing efficiency and learning productivity hacks and the latest tools and technology. But Stegall herself wasn’t particularly inspired by this trend.
“I felt myself walking backward away from taking that dive into the new tools and the new technology and all the productivity hacks and all this. I was like, ‘No, thank you.’” She tried to power through that growing sense of dread and continued to provide a service on something that drained her energy. By 2017, she was burned out.
Coincidentally, her husband, who also ran his own business, found himself in the same boat. She recalls, “I pretty much think we had one day where both of us looked at each other and said, ‘We don’t have to do this anymore.’”
Solution: She and her husband shut down their businesses, sold most of what they owned, and traveled in a motorhome across the US for two years to recover from burnout and reorient themselves.
They didn’t really plan on how long this break was going to be or what their end goal was. They traveled and did some subcontracting (and even campground hosting) along the way. During this time away Stegall and her husband thought about what they really wanted to do. Her husband wanted to pursue his passion for photography. Meanwhile, she also got clarity on her next move.
Stegall recalls, “I was very clear that coaching was the thing that was calling me. Everybody had been calling me their business coach for years, probably since 2012 anyway. What if I just stepped into that? People’s minds are much more interesting to me than diving into all of the tools and technology.”
People: Stegall and her husband
Systems: Semi-planned sabbatical to recharge and strategize
Challenge 4: Illness in the family
In the Christmas of 2019, while Stegall and her husband were visiting family, her mother-in-law suffered a stroke. Knowing that her mother-in-law needed a companion at home, Stegall and her husband had to think about their next move. They hadn’t decided on changing their nomadic lifestyle at that point and were just in the planning stages of setting up new businesses aligned with their passions.
Solution: Stegall walked us through their thought process: “My husband and I really value freedom and travel, but we value family even more. We’ve said forever that if a parent needed us, we would be there for them.”
Among the family members, they had the flexibility to relocate and care for her mother-in-law. So the couple ended their 25,000-mile journey in the motorhome. They decided to stay with her mother-in-law and set up new businesses they are passionate about there in their new home.
People: Stegall and her husband
Systems: Adjusting business around most important life circumstances, decision-making according to the couple’s shared values of ‘family, freedom, and travel’
Tools: Mother-in-law’s home
Challenge 5: Reintroducing herself as an Executive Life Coach
Luckily, Stegall and her husband had lived in that area previously, so they knew the community. She also maintained her business contacts and networks from her past roles. But relaunching her business with a change in her core service presented its challenges.
Her network knew her as a business consulting and professional organizing expert. How did she manage to rebrand and reintroduce herself as a coach this time around?
Solution: She tells us, “I had to come clean with everybody and say, ‘Hey, I’m back! This is what I’m doing now, I’m coaching.’” She was able to reinvigorate her old network and that helped a lot.
She still got requests for her help with professional organizing and consulting because that’s how they remembered her. She took those as opportunities to “re-educate, redirect and refer.” She built a network of professional organizers and strategists she could refer to so she could focus on coaching.
This transition wasn’t easy, and she admits that the temptation to go back to consulting and organizing was pretty strong. In fact, she kept one client on a hybrid coaching and consulting service because she really liked them. But ultimately, she had to cut clean from her previous business.
“My internal compass is pretty loud. And when I decide I’m not doing something anymore, I physically can’t do it anymore.” She would get headaches or nausea even just thinking about doing her old consulting services!
Today, she focuses on her one-on-one coaching services for overwhelmed entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals. She offers single sessions, or 100-day packages where they can work on one issue that the client is struggling with. They then have the option to roll this into a six-month or one-year coaching commitment.
People: Stegall, her network
Systems: Setting up a referral network for prospects who are more appropriately served by business consultants and strategists, listening to her inner compass and her body!
Challenge 6: Distribution: Marketing life coaching vs. business consulting
While Stegall managed to hold firm on her decision to focus on coaching, she struggled with actively marketing and selling her new service.
In her previous businesses of administrative assistance, professional organizing, and business consulting, it was pretty clear what a client was paying for. She was offering technical skills as a service, with tangible outcomes.
But when she started to try and sell life coaching, she was very uncomfortable and unsure about how to do it. “That was this really weird experience that I really had trouble with.” She needed guidance on what ethical selling for a life coach looked like.
Solution: She looked for solutions from experts in the field. She ended up following Rich Litvin, co-author of The Prosperous Coach, who had a very clear system for selling the experience of coaching.
The Prosperous Coach approach recommends connecting with prospects and having a meaningful conversation that allows them to experience what a coaching session is like. It is only after this that the coach can then make the proposal to continue with a coaching relationship.
She tells us, “I took a deep dive in with him [Litvin] and his programs. And that is really where I learned how to sell and the language around it and the experience of it.”
People: Stegall, Rich Litvin
Systems: Finding a coaching program to address your specific challenge
Scaling & Success
Challenge 7: Delegation: Minimizing energy-draining activities
When asked at what point she decided to bring someone in to help her in the business, Stegall ties it back to her realization in 2017. “Part of the lessons I learned when I was doing business systems and processes is how much energy it takes me to use tools and technology. And so when I got settled and when I had income rolling in in a much more reliable fashion, the first thing I did was say, ‘I need a VA to handle all the tools and technology on the back end that I hate.’”
Solution: Stegall searched for a suitable VA candidate on LinkedIn, interviewed her and they’ve been working together for the last three years. Her VA handles all the tech and backend tasks like linking Zoom to Calendly, sending recorded sessions to clients, sending out her newsletter, and posting her blogs on her website and social media.
Her VA also introduced her to Trello and helped her set up a Goals Board, Content Board, and Prospecting Board so they each can keep track of what needs to go out, and who needs a following up.
People: Stegall, VA
Systems: Cold outreach on LinkedIn, delegating energy-draining activities
Challenge 8: Distribution: Lead generation via social media
Quite the opposite of her marketing and lead generation methods in her earlier businesses, Stegall is now focused on growing her presence online. What strategy is she using to get a good flow of leads and prospects?
Solution: She uses her love of writing to grow her visibility online. She regularly posts on her website, Facebook and LinkedIn. She also has email newsletters that go out three times a week.
Her VA helps her get it all done on the tech side, from the preparation, scheduling, and posting, or distributing through their email marketing platform. Sometimes, she also boosts posts to bring in new audiences and referrals.
People: Stegall, VA
Systems: Regular posting on social media and sending out a newsletter, repurposing content between LinkedIn and Facebook, using ads on social media to reach new audiences
Other Recommended Tools
Stegall mentioned a few other tools that keep her business running smoothly:
- QuickBooks for invoicing and keeping track of taxes
- PayPal for recurring payments. She likes that you can set a maximum quantity for a given service so she doesn’t oversell which is very useful for the semi-annual, nature-based retreats that she offers
- Dropbox allows her to access files wherever she finds herself working
Stegall shared with us the importance of listening to oneself, recognizing where your interests and strengths lie, and being firm in pursuing a business that aligns with these. There are some things you can do and maybe you are even good at, but doesn’t always mean you should be building a career or business around them!
Her story also shows us how personal values can play a pivotal role even in business decisions, such as when they decided to relocate to be with family as she launched her coaching practice. Her commitment to the idea of ethical selling and finding out what that looks like for her business was critical in helping her gain the confidence to reach out to the people who need her services.
Stegall has found her niche after a few stops and detours in her entrepreneurial journey. Her experience and perspective on pursuing her own path is a valuable guide to her clients who are trying to find out what’s next for them and what direction they want to be headed.
Stegall’s Read-Listen List
- The Prosperous Coach by Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler where Stegall learned the language around coaching and selling the experience of coaching
- Joyful Marketing podcast by Simone Seol talks about marketing ethically, truthfully, and authentically
- Share Your Heart Show Your Work system by Allison Crow teaches how to show up on social media as oneself
Stegall’s Productivity Stack Quick Reference
- Calendar or Planner
- Focus on Five – How to Organize Your Five Essential Business Systems
- Google Calendar
Scaling & Success Stack
More About Stegall
Angie Stegall is an Executive LIFE Coach + Wayfinder who works with successful, professional women (and a few men) who are feeling bored, frustrated, or anxious about their outwardly successful-looking careers, businesses or lives. Her clients know *something* needs to change but are often unsure where to even start. Angie’s work guides them to achieve radical inner clarity, greater professional fulfillment, and deeper personal satisfaction.
Angie is a five-time published author, Martha Beck Certified Wayfinder Life Coach, Certified Forest Therapy Guide through the Associate of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides (ANFT), and is a Certified Sparketype ™ Advisor.
Link to Angie’s most recent book, “Notes from Nature: Tune into Your Inner Voice by Letting Nature Take the Lead“
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