In 2012, Terri Christine Billington quit a corporate coaching company to try and start her own business. Here's the 3 big steps she took to establish her brand as a nationally renowned Australian business expert:
1) DON’T JUMP THE BOAT TOO SOON
Seven years ago, Terri Billington held the position of No.1 global female coach for ActionCOACH, which at the time was a world leading business coaching firm. Despite her popularity among clients and $40,000 per month income, Terri was unhappy with not being able to communicate who she was authentically and having to follow the company’s franchised, ‘coaching by numbers’ approach:
“I felt like it was ‘ActionCOACH Terri Billington’ rather than ‘Coach Terri Billington’. I knew I had more to offer my clients, but I was being limited by the business model I was in.”
Seeking new mentors, Terri met Roger James Hamilton, a futurist and social entrepreneur. But Terri didn’t like the advice she received from her newfound mentor:
“Roger James Hamilton saw that I was rushing to leave ActionCOACH and I remember him telling me: ‘Don’t jump off that ship until you’ve got another ship to jump on to’. And, of course, I didn’t listen and decided to jump in with the sharks!”
The next two years saw Terri struggling with legal and financial battles that came as a result of non-compete clauses with ActionCOACH and a lack of clients of her own.
“I went from earning $40,000 per month to $2,000 per month. I stopped measuring the money, and I stopped looking at the numbers and projecting ahead. Everything that I was successful in teaching my clients, I stopped doing myself.”
Knowing the challenges Terri was facing at the time, Roger says “So many talented people end up missing their true potential not because of their skills but because of their mindset. I knew how talented Terri was as a coach, and if I could help her get in the right environment, she could quickly turn her situation around - while also being of great value to other coaches and entrepreneurs”.
Roger invited Terri to facilitate iLab - his business accelerator programme for entrepreneurs at Vision Villas in Bali.
Terri’s response at the time: “I thought, if I am going to leverage off a brand now, it’s going to be Roger’s. When I leveraged again, I really started to have success. Before that, I was swimming against the tide. But when I turned around and went with the flow, that’s when I realised that being an entrepreneur is all about partnerships.”
2) TAP INTO THE FLOW OF OTHERS
Roger remembers Terri joining iLab: “Terri went from being in a franchise situation, where she was having to be the same as everyone else and had no identity, to a place where she was now accessing the flow of everybody that’s part of the Entrepreneurs Institute community, and where she was rewarded for having her own identity.”
Terri used her time facilitating iLab to simultaneously define and grow her own brand:
“As a facilitator for iLab, seeing so many different entrepreneurs go through their process, I got to look at my own too. I began defining what my brand was and came up with www.tcb.rocks - my website.”
Meeting dozens of entrepreneurs every month at iLab helped Terri build up her own client base as well as discover her niche.
Roger remembers: “Terri asked herself, ‘What do I really love, what makes me stand out?’ It was coaching, but more so about helping other coaches. Through iLab she became known as ‘the Coach's Coach’, which as an identity is stronger and bigger than anything she partners up with.”
Having facilitated more than 17 iLab programmes herself, Terri has now moved on to training its facilitators and other trainers in the Entrepreneurs Institute community, consolidating her position as the no.1 Coach's Coach.
3) CREATE A STRONG MEDIA STRATEGY
With a strong identity, it wasn’t long before Terri started getting media attention:
“Roger told me: ‘Become an expert in your field in Australia’. The most leveraged way for me to get out there was to work with a top journalist to get me into the media as much as possible. We were observing what was happening in the world and commenting on that. We weren’t going to talk about business coaching - the media isn’t interested in that. We’d look, for instance, at kids finishing their exams, and the journalist would interview me on what they should do next in life.”
“Then she’d put that out to the media and they’d start contacting me immediately. TV shows, the radio, everyone wanted me to comment and, before too long, we didn’t even have to write the releases - people were simply coming to me.”
Terri was able to attract the media attention partly because of the credibility she had earned through partnering up with iLab and Entrepreneurs Institute:
“Stepping into the role as Global Lead Facilitator at iLab allowed me to build my brand as No. 1 Coaches’ Coach and then further move on to training other facilitators. Working at this level has allowed me to get a lot of media attention as an expert in the business world, which in turn has massively boosted my personal brand.”
In the last 24 months, Terri has been featured in The Australian, The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph for Sydney, The Herald Sun and many other media channels
If you are in a full-time job, what steps could you take today to create a strong foundation for your future business? What companies or individuals are aligned with your vision and values that you could be supporting?
"The key to your success isn’t how committed you are to your success, but how much you are surrounding yourself with others committed to you are success."
What’s next for Terri? She is continuing to grow both her brands and partnerships. She is now launching TCB Masterclass events along with Coach Dynamics Mastermind - her new online program specifically tailored for coaches, facilitators and trainers.
Seeing speedy growth of her TCB brand, Terri remains faithful to her belief that true entrepreneurship is based on partnerships and helping others succeed: “To be able to contribute back, that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about in my world. It’s not only about how we live the life of our dreams, it’s about how we help other people live the lives of their dreams as well.”
If you want to follow a path similar to Terri's, have a look at the Entrepreneur Mentor Certification we launched this week, where we're all going on a 12 week journey together to grow the Entrepreneur Movement: http://entrepreneurmovement.geniusu.com/enrol