#1 All Things Signature Business

In this introductory episode, Sarah Leather shares her journey from when she was a nurse at 17 to being a 50’something business owner who helps other women to stop doing ‘all the things’ and create a profitable coaching style business doing the one thing they adore.

Her Signature Business Podcast Episode 1

Hello and Welcome.

This is ‘Her Signature Business’ podcast, and I’m Sarah Leather from TheSarahLeather.com and founder of The Signature Academy. Allow me to introduce myself here and tell you a bit about what you can expect from this podcast.

I am obsessed with helping female business owners with a coaching style business to leverage their time and effort so they can increase their impact and income. I am The Signature Business  Coach, but I wasn’t always that…….

At a very young age, the tender age of 17- I was a Nurse. It was my escape route out of home. It was where I could be independent, and most importantly be paid to have a lot of fun doing something that I kind of enjoyed- well I did for a few years anyway.

It enabled me to help people, be independent and have the opportunity to do a lot of travelling. We were paid for our holidays and I went all over the world. It was kind of wonderful for a few years.

But it was often frustrating as well. I hated being told when I had to work. I hated being told what I had to wear, especially those horrible, boring brown shoes we had to wear, and what kind of tiny earrings I could have in my ears, and not the big hoops I wanted to wear then. It was the ’80s and the time of the Farrah Fawcett hair so you can imagine. But we were very restricted, we had to wear these stupid hats on our head that would get caught on the bed frames and our hair always had to be up.  Self expression, individuality and being yourself- it wasn’t on the agenda and I found that incredibly challenging.In the early 1990’s, I decided to go back to college for 4 years to study naturopathy, because I really wanted to and was drawn to it.  I liked and enjoyed the health side of nursing, but I didn’t like the medical side. I just found it was very narrow a lot of times. I felt like it needed to be a lot more holistic, a lot broader.

Through my studies, I specialised in homeopathy and nutrition and then I went on to lecture in those subjects and set up two successful practices, one in Ireland where I trained and am from originally and the 2nd here in Ireland when we moved here.

At the time, I thought I was just lucky that I could set up an incredibly successful practice shortly after landing in a new country. I was fully booked and had waiting lists. Now bear in mind, this was before the internet. I’m talking about a full practice without a Facebook page, without a website, without any sort of social media – those things didn’t exist then.

What I did have though, was the gift of attracting clients……

I specialised quite early. It was an idea I had very early on, that just came to me that it was going to be important to be known for something.

In the college where I lectured, the students had given me a nickname- it was ‘The Baby Making Lady’ of all things! I thought it was because I was always having babies! Myself and my husband had 4 children quite close together, who are all young adults now… But no, that wasn’t the reason that nickname had been bestowed on me. It was because they didn’t know where to refer clients who were having fertility or hormone problems- so they decided to send them to me as I was getting great results with my clients in that area.

I did a postgraduate programme, read all the books and did all the courses. I was the expert in that area and regularly featured in the newspapers, on national radio and television as a result. That’s how I claimed my Signature Business even though I hadn’t realised it at the time. 

Once the internet took off, I got a website developed and that increased business further because people were finding me easily. It felt like luck or magic but what I didn’t realise at the time was that I actually had a Signature Business way back then. I was really well known for one thing, and that really helped to attract lots of people to my services. I also learnt how to be visible online, and that visibility really mattered, even if it quite often freaked me out.

Seeing myself on a three page spread in a newspaper, or trying to watch myself on a replay of a television program- I found it incredibly challenging. But I knew then, even all those years ago, that I was then able to reach a lot more people, and help a lot more people by doing hard and scary things when it came to visibility.

I did the hard things even though I was scared because the alternative was to ignore the voice message and emails from journalists and to play really small. I knew if I played small, I’d stay small and that lots of people aren’t going to get to read or see what they need to, and maybe that’s going to hinder their progress in some way. I knew I could potentially help them and it would be wrong of me not to let them know.

What I’m saying is that quite early on in business, I had to learnt how to get out of my own way. I had to learn to get on and do my work, despite how I felt and despite my fear. This wasn’t just so I could have a successful business, although that’s the result of it, but so I could reach and help more people.

It meant that I was often booked out for 6-12 months in advance. So I had to learn how to leverage- a concept that was completely new to me. I learnt how to create an eBook so I could put my knowledge into that and help more people, I created e-courses and a membership site so hundreds and thousands of people could access my work.

I started working online very early on as well, consulting via Skype when I didn’t know anyone else in the country who was doing that. It meant I could treat women who were thousands of miles away or on the other side of the world. I had clients in Brazil, New Zealand, Germany, America, Canada, Eastern Europe and my own country Australia. It was so incredible to be able to reach all of these woman around the world who were having problems and wanted help.

Around 2008, I was starting to get that feeling that I needed a bit of a shift in my business. I had come across coaching quite a lot, and I felt it was very aligned to the personal growth work that I’d always enjoyed so I enrolled in a life and business coaching program. My main motivation for doing it at the time was because I felt like my work was very advice-driven. I think being a nurse way back then, we tend to be a little bit bossy, love telling people what to do. But I really felt like there was probably a better way to do the work that I was doing, particularly since I had taken it online and was creating different kinds of offerings. What happened was that I just fell truly, madly, deeply in love with coaching. I became a bit obsessed with it to be honest.

I worked with a lot of professional women then, as I do now. They were lawyers, accountants, pharmacists, all sorts of different professions. When I had clients in front of me and I was taking their case history, I’d always ask them about their work, because I needed to know how their work may be impacting them physically or emotionally. Sometimes they might say something like, “I really hate my job.”, and they would wish that they could do something to change it. I would get kind of excited, and say, “Well you don’t have to do this forever. What would you really love to be doing?”

I remember one woman I worked with, she had been an accountant for many years in a large firm and she worked 14- 16 hour days.  She said to me, “I’d love to be a nutritionist, I think it’s the most amazing job.” And I said to her, “Please, please, please follow your dreams. No matter what happens with your fertility and your health and everything, please, please, please follow your dreams.”

I got an email from that woman a few years ago saying that, “You probably don’t remember me, but I came to see you 10 years ago, and you mentioned one thing to me, and I did it. I went and studied, and I’ve set up my practice and I’m working for myself. I’m getting clients and I’m so happy. And I just want to say thank you.”

I get this quite regularly, either a text or an email with similar stories of women I worked with 10, 15 years ago who are living the life of their dreams, with the business of their dreams and every now and then, I pop into their head and they get in touch to say thanks. It’s such an incredible feeling.

After years working with women with fertility issues, I just had this real pull towards helping them in other areas too. If they told me they were being made redundant or that they really were getting burnt out in their work, I just felt compelled to help them. They’d very often have to guide me be back, saying, “Weren’t we meant to speaking about my menstrual cycle?” I’d say, “Oh, okay.” But I knew I was being pulled in that direction.

I think the universe gives us clues all the time, and very often we are being led along the path. It’s so important I think to follow that path the we’re being led along, to follow those internal nudges and the whisperings of our intuition.

It’s been my privilege to help so many other women on their path, helping them achieve their dreams of running a really successful business. Helping them to leverage, create their Signature Business – that one thing that they are really known for so that they can move to a much higher level.  You see, when you have a Signature Business, there’s more ease with the marketing, there’s more ease with sales, there’s more ease with everything. It means you can make a much bigger impact and have a much bigger income as well.

It was then that I started taking on coaching clients, at first more life coaching clients, and then very quickly pivoted into business coaching, because that’s really where I was being pulled. I’d love to say that from that shift onwards, I lived happily ever after, but it wasn’t always that easy. There were some big hurdles along the way, some big bumps on that path. I’m really grateful for those hurdles and bumps now, but at the time, they were pretty tough.

It was during those really difficult times that I truly learned the value of having a good business coach to walk the journey with. I’ve nearly always had my own business coach and it really does make a massive difference.  This is someone to help you with business strategy and also with the mindset stuff, because it’s the mindset stuff, our own thoughts that get in our way more than anything else.

The road bumps and hurdles I faced along the way, I now call these my Signature Stories and we all have our own Signature Stories. They’re incredibly important parts of our journey because they really do shape our path, build our resilience and help us to help the people that we’re here to help.

I’m now delighted to have a business that helps women on a similar journey to really make an impact and make good profits so they can have the lifestyle that they often went into business for in the first place. I help them to identify and create their one thing, their Signature Business, and turn it into multiple income streams one step at a time.

Why one thing? Why a signature business? Why one step?

Well, because many of the women that I work with are multi-passionate and multi-skilled, and they want to do all the things all of the time, often leading to none of the things and wasting time.

We have a tendency to get overwhelmed by too many things, all of the things. I would hear clients say

 ‘I want to write a book, I want to start a podcast, I want to do a retreat, I want to do an online program, I’ve got to have an eBook and of course an e-course. I want a membership site. I want to create a passive income product. I want higher paying VIP clients, and I’d like to be doing VIP days, and I want to be interviewed in  summits. I want all the things’

My response is ‘Yeah, you can have all the things, but one thing at a time’.

Less is often more. Keeping things really simple does make for a much more efficient, profitable business that allows you to actually have some time off and enjoy the money that you’re making. How do I know this? Because I’m exactly the same. I wanted all the things and tried to do all the things all the time and it almost broke me and my business. Lesson learnt.  Now I have what I call a stupidly simple business model with very simple funnels.

I have very simple ways of people moving from free content to paying me for support and coaching, so they can really leverage their time and their business. Having these simple systems means that my dream clients can find me and I can help them to create their Signature Business, so it all works really, really well.

I’ll be bringing you along this journey with lots of episodes on all things Signature Business. I’ll be talking about easefully marketing your one thing, signature selling so you can sell with love and ease and not feel pushy and icky about it. I’ll be sharing strategies and tips of how to get more VIP clients- higher-paying clients. We’ll talk about money mindset, asking for the sale, getting paid and your ability to receive money.

That’s a big block for a lot of women, is they might be able to go and sell, but then the money never lands in their account because something happens. They might say, “All the people I spoke to said yes and were excited to work with me, they said they’d transfer the payment the following day but then their car broke down so they can’t afford it anymore. These things do happen, but also it can be a problem with really believing you deserve to receive money for what you’re doing.

Signature pricing, really knowing how to price your stuff. And the big one, mindset. Mindset is huge. It’s all about dealing with all the fears. The fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of visibility, of being seen, of what people might think and what people might say about you. It really is such an important part.

I would say my work is 50% strategy and 50% mindset.

Sometimes with my 1:1 clients we focus 90% mindset which seems a lot but it’s needed. Imagine this, you know what you need to do, you have the strategy in place, you’ve done the foundation work and now it’s about stepping up into your power and making it happen but you’re hesitating…..This is the mindset piece – when you won’t do what you need to do to get the results that you want to get.I’ve got loads of amazing tools that I’ll be sharing with you, like my Six Minute Signature Solution which helps you to map out your signature offer in six minutes.

I also have the Five Minute Mindset Reset. It’s a practice that I use every single morning to set myself up for the day, and to see what’s going in my head that could stop me from doing and being what I desire for that day. It even helped me to make a decision on the name of this podcast and my Signature Business.

I can’t wait to share all of this with you. But just a warning, this podcast will be perfectly imperfect. It’s going to be mostly unscripted, mostly unedited, and may sometimes contain a rude word or two. It’s me sharing my brain with you, all of my thoughts and my… I really want it to be somewhere that I’m being really brutally honest about what it takes to have a successful business and to stay in business.

When you look at the statistics for entrepreneurship and businesses, they’re not great. One of the reasons that I’m doing this is because I’m obsessed with helping women to be more successful business owners, and to be entrepreneurs, to have ideas, and to really monetise those ideas, not just so they can share more with the world, but I really believe that women have had a crap deal for centuries, particularly in the workplace. They still on average, in most western countries, get paid 17% less than men. Now it’s not the men’s fault either. I’m not interested in that. What I am interested is in women taking a stand for themselves, really standing in their own personal powerful leadership so they can run the business that they desire and they can get paid really well.

Women are beginning to outnumber men in the business world, and women can really make such a massive difference. Women contribute so much more when they are more abundant, and the last thing the world needs is another broke, burnt out woman. The more abundant powerful women we have, the more people are going to be helped, and the better the world will be.

Dalai Lama said many, many years ago that the world would be saved by the western woman. He doesn’t mean the western woman who is hiding from herself and afraid to put herself out there in the world. He’s talking about the woman who has fully stepped in to her power and authority. We’ve never been in such an incredible situation with the internet, with the access to everything that we have, with the access to abundance. We can have the most incredible businesses and the most incredible lives, make the most massive impact, and it’s at our fingertips. I really want to help women along their journey with that.

Many of the women that I work with are nearly paralysed by fear that maybe their work isn’t good enough, they don’t feel ready to be seen, or maybe they’re being crippled by comparisonitis, looking at what all the bright, shiny people are doing out there. Really the only result of comparison is that you don’t get to help the people that you’re here to help. When I see women like that, I just really help them to lovingly get out of their own way and get on and do their work in the world.

I feel like I’m here to give you that loving shove out of your own way, to help you to be the leader that you already are so you can progress with your Signature Business and really flourish, and make a difference in the world.

In the next episode, I’ll be talking to you about Business Models. We’ll be discussing how to choose a business model that really sells you and sells your clients and will help you to leverage your business moving forward so that you can have more time to do what you really love and that you can really make an impact on the world.

I want to say a massive thank you for being here, and feel free to come and visit me on Facebook. My page is ‘Her Signature Business with Sarah Leather’ or come and visit my website, thesarahleather.com. You could pick yourself up one of my many free offers or book yourself a free business clarity call with me via my website- you can’t miss it!

I would love to chat to you about creating your Signature Business and your signature offer so that you can really connect your impact and connect your income over the next few years.

Lots of love, and bye for now.