Feb
18

Logos and the law

As you know, we continually get questions from aspiring, new and experienced life coaches.  We get questions on coaching strategy, business concepts and marketing.

Today’s question is from a new life coach.  She’s actually taking our Coach Mindset Elite Life Coach Training and is in the process of developing the brand for her own life coaching practice.  She had a great question, and I thought I’d share it with you!

RegisteredTM

Image via Wikipedia

Today I have a question about trademarks, copyrights and patents—-where does all this fit in with logos for my life coaching practice and it is necessary? And if so, which one should be the focus? Thanks! 

Here’s my response.  Now I will remind you that I’m not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to be one.  But I’ve been an coach and entrepreneur for over 10 years, and we’ve developed a number of products over that time.  So I base my response on that experience.  It would probably be smart to consult a trusted attorney if you still have questions on this, but wanted to share my thoughts with you.  I hope they help!

Great questions!  Okay, here’s the quick legal skinny on all of that.

Trademarks are for things like logos.  Copyrights are protecting things like content (book content, etc.) and patents are for protecting ideas (light bulbs, specific technology).

So when it comes to logos and your branding, we’re talking trademark.

Now, whether you should be focused on protecting your logo or your brand with full legal trade mark protection is up to you.

To have a lawyer walk you through the process will vary from between $500 and $2,000 depending on who you work with.  Again, you can decide on whether you want to make that full investment now, later or never.

BUT something you can do in the meantime is put a “TM” by your logo… right now.

You may have seen a “TM” by a lot of things and wonder what that is.  You may have also wondered how that was different from the little “R” that you see sometimes too.

Well, the “TM” stands for “trademark” and you use that until you get the full legal protection of a trademark and have the legal paperwork in hand.

Then you can switch that “TM” to “R.”

BUT… by putting a “TM” by your logo and tracking the date you started using it, that actually has some legal protection that comes with it too.  Because you can say when you started using it as a logo and that you intend to trademark it.  (Again, it’s up to you when and if you want to officially start that process.)  But by having the “TM” and the date you started to use it, you can defend your Trade Mark some day if someone says they had it first, etc.

Now, nothing is better than actually having the full legal protection that a registered trade mark affords you, BUT in lieu of a full investment in that legal step, starting to use the “TM” right from the start can really help.

TECH TIP: If you use Microsoft Word software, when you simply type ™, the software will automatically reduce the size of the “tm” and raise it.

Now, just to offer a little perspective.  Personally, we have walked through this complete trademark process with our game series (www.doyouQ.com), because we invested in this heavily and wanted to make sure it was fully protected.  But we have not invested in this with some of the other logos and brands that we have developed.  Again, the decision is yours!  But I hope this helps!!

You’re awesome,
Mitch

We hope this helps you as you start to think through branding for your own life coaching practice.

Lastly, if you’re just getting started in the process and you’re wondering whether becoming a life coach would be a good fit for you… then we invite you to check out our 5 Critical Questions mini-course.  This no-holds barred mini-course is free and it will ask you the 5 questions I wish someone had asked me before I got started in life coaching!  Plus it will help you to make the decision on whether life coaching is for you!  Click here to sign up for the free course.

Keep dreaming big and helping others to do the same,

Mitch Matthews

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Feb
08

When marketing look for the win-win

We often have new life coaches ask about marketing strategies for growing their life coaching practice.

We dive into strategies in the Coach Mindset – Elite Life Coach Training and Certification.  In fact, we call our process “A Promotional Blueprint.”life coach training

But let me offer a strategy that life coaches can use… immediately.

LOOK FOR THE WIN-WIN

Sure… Stephen Covey suggested the “Win-Win” approach in his 7 Habits for Highly Successful People.  And this rule applies to branding and marketing too!

Here’s how it might apply to you and your life coaching practice.

As you get clear on your AVATAR (your coaching practice’s ideal client), you can start to think about other organizations that might also have a similar AVATAR.

For example, for my own coaching practice… my AVATAR is someone who wants and needs to dream big again.  They are successful, fun people but they are dissatisfied.  They want to achieve more in their life.  They want to get clear on that next big dream and they need help doing that.  Plus, they need help putting a plan in place to go after that dream once it’s clarified.

That gives you a picture of some of the aspects of my own life coaching practice’s AVATAR.

Now, when I started to think about organizations in my area that have a similar AVATAR, I thought of one of our local radio stations.  They are “Positive 107.1.”  They are a family-friendly station with an uplifting message and great music for the region.  They have the 3rd highest rated morning show in the area too.

And… in many ways… their listening audience has many of the same traits as my ideal client.

WE TALKED GOALS

So… we met. We talked about their goals.  We talked about my goals.

As it turned out, through a little divine providence… the morning show team was looking for a way to bring something fresh to their weekly format.  They liked my message.  I really liked their station.  So we looked for the win-win.

They didn’t have money to pay me to come in each week.  BUT they were also willing to think “win-win.”  They did have a large listening audience.  They were also willing to give me the recordings from each show.  And not only that, but they were willing to produce CD’s of these recordings when I wanted to.

What I brought to the mix was a positive message from a new perspective.  I promised to bring new and original content each Friday.  I promised to not sell from the mic.  And… I agreed to make my schedule work (although they were also willing to be super flexible!).

WIN-WIN.

Here’s a sample of our segment:

Life Coach Mitch Matthews

Mitch rockin' it on 107.1!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

CONTINUED WIN-WIN

Last year, when I launched my book IGNITE – A little book to spark your big dreams, the station helped to promote it.  In fact, we did a number of segments around the book launch!

Plus, I’ve been able to strategize with them and help in other capacities along the way.  It’s been fun and a true success for both of us.

AN ADDITIONAL EXAMPLE OF WIN-WIN

We recently had a graduate of The Coach Mindset work with a local high-end spa in her area to create an event.

This particular life coach’s AVATAR was a successful woman who needed balance in her life.  So she worked with the spa to create a win-win.  They created a half-day event that women could come and be treated at the spa and this life coach made a presentation as well as worked with many of the women one-on-one.

It sparked a number of new coaching clients for her… and for the spa.

Where might you find the win-win?

Step 1: Think through your AVATAR (your ideal client).

Step 2: Think through other organizations that might have a similar AVATAR.

Step 3: Explore the win-win

Join in the conversation.  Share some ideas on who you might partner with to find the win-win.  We’d love to hear from you so click comments and let us know.

Keep dreaming BIG and helping others to do the same,
Mitch Matthews

Feb
02

How do I develop life coaching packages?

New Life Coach Questions:

“I’m a new life coach and I’m wondering what I should be thinking about as I put my life coaching packages together.  I feel like I’m putting a restaurant menu together.  Can you give me some tips or some direction?”

Great question.

This is a wildly important subject for a new OR an experienced life coach!

This is something we go in-depth on in our own Coach Mindset – Elite Life Coach Training and Certification.

But let me offer up a few thoughts…

One approach… think “time frame.”

For example, I ALWAYS like to kick off with my own life coaching clients with a 3-month “intensive” where I work with them once a week for 3 months.

I just find that allows me time to dream with them, time to plan with them and time to implement with them. So my initial package is the “Kick Start” (a play off of my own akickinthepants.com brand) and it’s 3 month package.

That package can range from $1970 to $3970 depending on the person, some of the extras and the situation.

Now, it’s 3 months but I only offer 10 sessions within that 3 months.  (Some coaches offer 12 sessions in a 3 month period.  Some coaches offer 8 or less.)

Then, my second package includes the “Kick Start” but it also includes 10 additional sessions they can use over a 12 month period.

So my verbiage is “3 months of intensive coaching to get you started… then a year of coaching to keep you kicking it!”

I have other things that I can add to a package depending on the person.

For example, I now have a $10,000 package that can involve a day with me (they come to me). Or a $15,000 package where I go to them for a day and a half.

Another factor to think about is your AVATAR (your ideal client).

Think about your ideal client… that person that you do your best work with.  Think about what they would want to accomplish by working with a life coach.  Think about their goals.  Think about where their goal’s “finish line” might be.  Then you can start to build coaching packages around that.

English: Athletics tracks finish line

For me, for example, I work with a lot of people who want to get clear on their big dreams, put a plan together to go after them and then start to work on their plan.

Hence the 3 months.

You may have something that is shorter.

For example, we have one graduate of our program who works on time management. So her initial coaching package is one month to give the person a “schedule overhaul.” But then her next coaching program is one year.

So the first package is lower in price and lower risk.

But most people love it because they can get started for a lower price and then “re-up” for the longer more expensive package… if they need it.

Another thing to consider when you’re putting your Life Coach packages together is “Extras.”

Think about some of the things that you could add to your packages to make them even more valuable to your ideal client.

MAPS AND MP3’s

Maybe your client would value having some tangible things from your interactions.  For example… maybe you could offer MP3 recordings of each of your calls.

Or maybe you can send them a conversation map of your interaction. (I do this and we suggest this to all of our Coach Mindset participants.)

sample conversation map

It’s easier than you might think and it can provide tremendous value to your clients!

FACE TO FACE

Some coaches offer a premium version of each of their coaching packages.  In that they offer to do the coaching face to face, as opposed to over the phone.  For that, they charge 25% more.

That can work if you are working with people locally, but this isn’t a great fit for life coaches with clients around the country and/or world.

EMAIL

A newer trend is to offer “Virtual Coaching.”  There are a lot of different ways to do this, but one way is through email.  For example, a coach offers a “Virtual Coaching” package in which they offer a weekly group email that may take the group through a process.  Then they allow their clients to email them with questions and/or follow up.  In some cases, the virtual coaching might involve one or two phone calls, but in many cases the coach never actually speaks to their clients.

This can function as a entry level package for some coaches.

So give it some thought. You can get creative with this.

The last thought is to experiment.

As you’re getting started, put some life coaching packages together and set a price.

Then when you are practicing, say, “Eventually this coaching package will sell for $2000 but as I’m practicing I’m offering it for $970.”

That helps you to practice saying how much it will eventually be worth, but it also gets you paid for practicing.  Plus, it helps you to discover what is really important to your clients!

Hope that helps!

Keep dreaming big and helping others to do the same,

Mitch Matthews

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