Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Nicole Baker. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Nicole, appreciate you joining us today. Coming up with the idea is so exciting, but then comes the hard part – executing. Too often the media ignores the execution part and goes from idea to success, skipping over the nitty, gritty details of executing in the early days. We think that’s a disservice both to the entrepreneurs who built something amazing as well as the public who isn’t getting a realistic picture of what it takes to succeed. So, we’d really appreciate if you could open up about your execution story – how did you go from idea to execution?
I always knew on some level that I wanted to be a coach. I grew up with parents who both worked in the personal development industry and, as a result, I have been attending seminars since before I could walk.
In my early 20’s, I was in a rut. I was a few years into being a working actor in Chicago, I realized that I was still doing theatre because I felt like I “should” – not because I loved it. So I did what I was taught to do when you feel lost – go to a seminar and immerse yourself in a new environment. It was at this seminar that my whole life changed direction. The idea of opening up my own coaching business seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks. Something powerful in my gut said, “Now is the time. Go get ‘em.” I left the seminar and googled “how to start a business”.
The first year was hard. I worked three side jobs while building my coaching clientele and to say I had no idea what I was doing would be the world’s biggest understatement. I was beyond burnt out and kept wondering, “Is this ever going to happen for me?” I finally hit a breaking point where I was presented with two choices: give up or get help. I chose the latter and hired a coach. We completely restructured how I went about business (making it much more direct marketing than passive), I zeroed in on turning my podcast into a funnel for my coaching programs, I filled out my product suite so people could work with me at any financial level and in less than six months, I went full-time with my business.
If I could go back and tell my beginner business self anything, it would be this: get out of your comfort zone. Stop doing the busy work that is safe but does nothing to move the needle. Be bold and for the love of goodness, ask for help – there is immense power in mentorship.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
As I mentioned above, I was incredibly fortunate to have grown up in the personal development industry and as a result, I was a kid full of life, always wanting to be around people. But that light drastically dimmed when I became the victim of intense bullying in early childhood. I stopped laughing, I got quiet, and my desperate need to please people was born. This lasted a long time (more than 10 years) until I found a passion for musical theatre. I could be bold, silly, loud, weird there because I was playing as someone else, but after getting accepted into one of the top performing arts universities in the nation, I hit my rock bottom. My desperate need to be perfect was worse than ever and I was having panic attacks on a regular basis. That’s when I received the news from my teacher that I was going to have to leave the program unless I got my confidence and singing level back up. Desperate, I called my dad and begged him to coach me, and, boy, did he (and held nothing back). Through a year of implementing all that I had learned since I was a little kid, my life transformed, my mindset was stronger than ever and I was able to graduate cum laude. Thanks, Dad!
It was through this experience that I saw how changing your mindset can completely change your life. My perfectionism was at an all time low, I had newfound confidence, and I knew at that moment I wanted to help others feel this way too.
Several years later, after my seminar epiphany and rampant “how to build a business” googling, I began studying Neuro Linguistic Programming (how you talk to your brain and how that basically is how you live you life), goal setting science, productivity, overcoming perfectionism, and so much more. It wasn’t long into my business that I nicheed down just to working with high achieving perfectionists – helping free them from the constant “need to achieve to be worthy” outlook, freeing themselves from feeling like they need to always be in control, and helping them enjoy the life they are working so hard for! While I started in 1:1 private coaching (something I still do), I have since built out an entire community through my podcast (The Life Coach Baker Podcast), my three types of perfectionist quiz (which you can take for free on my website), my mini courses (like “Unsubscribing from Perfectionism” which you can do in under a weekend) to my full blown 6-week courses on productivity, Get Productive (my signature program helping perfectionists work smarter not harder, heal their relationship with rest, and achieve their goal faster while cutting their to-do lists in half).
It was deeply important to me from the start of my business to be able to help anyone no matter where they are financially. I have hundreds of hours of free content that I have been told on multiple occasions have, alone, changed people’s lives.
At the core of all I do is this message: You are enough. You at your authentic self is more than enough and we rarely (if ever) give that person enough credit. I love helping people achieve their goals and overcome perfectionistic hurdles, but the real magic behind what I do stems from people realizing that they can find happiness, peace, ease, success and fulfillment in the here and now… not when they’ve achieved something big.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
Direct outreach. Is it nerve racking? Yes. Was I terrified when I sent the first 50? Yes. But did my wildest fears of people telling me off happen? No, but my wildest dreams came true. I stopped relying on an algorithm to determine whether my ideal clients saw my material or not. Instead, I started reaching out to people directly and offering them a free 30-minute call where I gave them my all. They saw how much transformation happens in just those short 30 minutes and by the end they were asking how they can work with me. Give, give, give and people will see how much you care about their transformation – making it easy for them to say yes.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I used to feel like I had to go through life huffing and puffing and if I still had energy left over at the end of the day, then I “didn’t work hard enough”. This is a really common reality to a lot of high achieving perfectionists. I would try to sprint my way through things and as a result I was actually moving slower, less efficiently and I will honestly admit, I was just not a very fun person to be around.
That’s when I learned and embraced the 85% rule. I was listening to an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast (a show I recommend to anyone with a pulse), and Hugh Jackman was his guest… no big deal. But what I loved about this interview was that Jackman opened up about his own perfectionism and how he learned that giving 100% of himself was actually hurting. He went on to cite a study of track and field runner Carl Lewis. Coaches were fascinated that Lewis, who always started the race in last place, would go on to win his 100m sprints and they assumed it was because he would push it like a rocket in the last few moments of the race. But the aerial footage showed differently…. What coaches quickly realized is that Lewis ran the same pace at the 50-meter mark, 60-meter mark, and every other mark. His breathing was exactly the same. His form was exactly the same. Whereas other racers started to push to the extreme at the end — their face would scrunch up, their jaws would tighten, their fists would start to clench, their breathing would become labored – Carl Lewis stayed exactly the same, and then he would just breeze past them.
Thus the 85% rule was made known. I started embracing this rule along with the quote used by the Navy Seals, “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” When I started calmly putting one foot in front of the other, I had far greater output, I achieved my goals faster, I ended my days earlier and my overall quality of life drastically improved.
You do not need to sprint. I think there is this great fear of “falling behind” but it is all a facade. Appreciate the journey of building your business or going after your goals and remember the tortoise won the race against the haire.
- Website: https://www.lifecoachbaker.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lifecoachbaker/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@lifecoachbaker
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Heather Ann Photography