Mark Langford | CEO
Q: Why did you start your business?
A: I started C-Synergy Career Coaching four years ago. Until that point, I had spent over 25 years in the corporate world searching for my professional passion and purpose. I reinvented my career 5 times and worked in as many different industries--always searching for my career calling. After I started working with a coach, it became abundantly clear to me that my purpose and passion was to help other people to find theirs. Suddenly my whole career made sense. My eclectic professional career--that spanned Main Street to Wall Street--had perfectly prepared me to help others to click into place and discover and land their ideal careers and entrepreneurial ventures.
Q: What are some key factors or decisions that contributed to the success of your business?
A: Creating a system for helping people and then finding language that my target market identified with was absolutely instrumental in building my practice. Another key factor was getting multiple, outstanding testimonials from clients that I could use in all of my marketing materials. Finally, I found multiple lead generation sources and established a strong online presence that made my business very “findable” in a sea of competition.
Q: What are some challenging aspects of your business?
A: Fear of not being successful was my greatest challenge. Early on, there were months where I would not get a single client and it filled me with anxiety and made me want to run back and take a job in the corporate world. When I examined my fear more closely, I realized that I was completely responsible for creating it (and my lack of clients). I found that my fear was centered around feeling like an “imposter” and that I might not be able to actually help people as a career coach. Due to my beliefs, my thoughts came to focus on all the things I couldn’t do (instead of what I could), which resulted in a kind of paralysis and inaction. I became afraid of sending quotes out to prospects believing that I wasn’t enough. And, of course, without sending out proposals and doing consultations, I didn’t sign any new clients.
When I finally addressed the source of my illusionary fear, I came to realize that I was creating my own reality as my beliefs were the foundation of my thoughts and my thoughts caused my actions (or lack thereof) and my actions were creating my environment. My mistake was looking at my environment and justifying my beliefs (which were actually the cause of my environment and not vice versa).
Q: Do you feel you made any serious mistakes as you were starting or growing your business? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
A: My biggest mistake was not focusing all of my attention on revenue generating activities. It’s very easy to get caught up on creating web sites, a logo, business cards, brochures and the like. The fact is, those things don’t create new business. While marketing collateral supports business, it does not generate it. Being able to solve people’s problems is what causes them to pay you. You need to be able to 1) find people who have the problem(s) you solve, 2) help them to see that you can help them to solve the problem(s), and 3) deliver on that promise. Once that became my primary focus, clients started showing up in droves.
Q: What other advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
A: Figure out what YOU really want before starting anything. Ask yourself lots of questions before you even think about writing a business plan. Ask things like, why do I want my own business? What problems do I love solving? What kind of people do I want to help? How much do I want to work? How much do I want to earn? Do I want to work with a partner? How much time off do you need? What will success look like?
Create a vision statement for yourself around what you want to do, be and have. When you have your personal needs clear, you can go about designing a business that fits you and that you will truly enjoy. I believe that professional purpose is found at the intersection of: 1) What you love doing, 2) What you do well, 3) what the world needs, and 4) what you can get paid well for. If you meet those 4 criteria, you will start out on the right foot!
About C-Synergy Career
"After I started working with a coach, it became abundantly clear to me that my purpose and passion was to help other people to find theirs."—Mark Langford