#6: How to Build a Freedom Business with Online Coach Alex McCarthy
Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.
Today we are talking with Alex McCarthy about how her decision to quit her job and travel inspired her to start a business of her own, and how her coaching helps others grow their own sustainable businesses.
Learn more about Alex and her coaching business: https://www.alexmccarthycoaching.co/
Bryan McAnulty: Welcome to the creator's adventure, where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. My name is Bryan McAnulty. I'm the founder of Heights platform. And today I'm talking with Alex McCarthy about how her decision to quit her job and travel led to her growing her own business and how her coaching now helps others grow sustainable businesses of their own.
Hey everyone. We're here today with Alex McCarthy and she is a business coach and NLP practitioner helping purpose led coaches, consultants, service providers to create and build a sustainable profitable and freedom driven business online, Alex, welcome to the show.
Alex McCarthy: Thank you so much for having
Bryan McAnulty: So my first question for you today is why did you decide to become a business coach?
Alex McCarthy: Good question. I'm I think gonna have to take this one right back to. Leaving university and getting my first job, the first proper job office job. And I immediately, within 12 months realized that I just didn't fit that world of the it, the confined. Space of an office for me, I craved creativity. I felt really trapped and I just knew that there was something else and something more that I was meant to be doing with my life, with my vocation purpose.
I, I suppose I'm fortunate. I discovered this and had these thought processes quite early on. So I was probably about 22, 23, and I did the, the cliche of handed my notice in without really much of a plan. And I decided to go and travel. I was like, I don't know exactly what I'm meant to do or what I want to do, but I know that I need to leave a situation where I'm unhappy.
So off I went and I, I traveled around Southeast Asia. I lived and worked in Australia for a couple of years, and it was in my final year of being in Australia that I worked for a couple of tech entrepreneurs. And it was my first experience of, of being around people who were doing their own thing on their own terms.
Had their own schedule. They worked when they wanted to work and they were so motivated and driven and I just thrived being around that energy. And it got me thinking, is there anything that I could possibly do for myself when I ended up going back to the UK? So it was that moment of epiphany. If you like, where everything changed for.
And immediately I realized how much that I could learn and how much I didn't know about everything about the world. And I started with right, if I, what, what am I good at now in my role, in my corporate role and working for the tech entrepreneurs, I was in marketing, I was a marketing manager, so I was very good at social media email marketing, branding design.
There were so many skills that I didn't realize. Were very marketable for me to create my own business from. So when I ended up going back to the UK, it was, I say it was as simple as it wasn't that simple. I just had to get started. I didn't have a concrete business plan in place. I just started picking up the phone and speaking to local businesses and asking them.
If I could help them to run their social media, if I could be their remote marketing manager. And I got a lot of nos, but I got some yeses and that's where the business that stands today. Four years later, that's where it originated. It was helping other businesses with their marketing. And I suppose what I've got today is a much more evolved version of that.
I'm more evolved as a person. I, again, I've turned my coaching qualifications. I've stood at NLP. And I'm fascinated with the mindset side of business, just as much as I am about the strategy and how people can find us. And we can find our customers and our clients. So essentially everything's really snowballed and taken off over the past four years.
It's been an absolute roller coaster that I have loved every moment of the ups and the downs. But really, I suppose, That's really the backstory that got me to creating the coaching business. But the reason that I'm, I am a coach is because I love to help people and not just that, but I love to develop people.
I love when someone comes to me and they have an idea and they're totally doubting themselves. They've got loads of limiting beliefs about who they should be and what they should do. And I recognize potential and love being able to help people step into that. So I feel like I'm a catalyst. Personal growth and business growth for others.
And I, I love it. I absolutely love it. So that's the short version I tried to condense it. yeah.
Bryan McAnulty: Well, that's great. Yeah, I think I don't wanna go off topic, but I really think that traveling is such a powerful way to learn. And not only things about yourself, but just about the whole world. And I spent a lot of my twenties traveling.
I feel like that really helped shape, like what we created today. We started as a, a web design company and I traveled all over the place I've been to about 30 countries or so, and then eventually turned into now what we are, this online course software. But I feel like I've gotten so much education from that traveling more than anything else.
Alex McCarthy: It's your biggest teacher, because I think you, you have a certain map of the world in, through your mind before you travel and then you travel and this map completely broadens and you discover things, not just about yourself, but it's very humbling, I think as well. And. You, you have to learn certain skills that you would never have to learn.
If you didn't venture out of your comfort zone, you know, out of your hometown where everything's safe and you know, everyone. And I think, yeah, I don't think I will ever, I will never stop traveling, but I do think back fondly to that first adventure with the backpack and having a one way ticket and not really having a proper plan, but it was, yeah, it was, it was where.
I think sometimes coming away from everything that, you know, gives you the space to realize what you actually want. Rather than exactly. Yeah. Just feeling rushed into the routine of of, of stability and comfort. When you take yourself out of that, I think you can have some amazing realizations about who you are and what you want.
So, yeah, it's great.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, I would definitely encourage people to travel. If, if you're someone who, if you're you just got outta school, you're, you're just thinking about entering a workforce, starting a business, and you're thinking, well, should I try to travel for a little bit? Is that a good idea or bad idea?
I think it's a good idea in almost all cases. It's a good idea.
Alex McCarthy: I agree. Definitely. If you're not sure. It's a great idea to go. You're not going to regret that decision is all I'll say I'll, I'll take, I'll take I'll. I'll make a bold statement. I, I think that it can sometimes give you the answers that you are really struggling to find doing what you're doing maybe now at the moment.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. Great. All right. Well, yeah, I didn't know that you'd you'd traveled before this interview, so it's nice to get to know different people from these interviews. So my next question for you is you offer this 12 month mastermind to support new business owners and getting started reaching their revenue goals.
And I know that many creators starting out as coaches themselves often wonder about what is the difference between an online. A mastermind, a challenge, et cetera. So how exactly do you structure this 12 month mastermind? Are you offering like one-on-one sessions? Are there group calls? Is there stuff that's pre-recorded I guess what I'm asking is not only to explain what it is that you're offering, but how you structure that, why you structure, structure that so that other creators listening to this, if they wanna become a business coach, they can kind of get a feeling for.
How you're doing what you're doing and why.
Alex McCarthy: Awesome. Yeah. So it's funny. Cause I was finding myself nodding along when you were saying that a lot, I've done the online courses. I've done mastermind. I've done one to one coaching I've in the past four years have, and still am continuously investing in ways to improve my knowledge, to improve my skillset, to always stay accountable.
And it's in my experience of being in these different. Courses and training environments that I decided that I wanted to create this mastermind. And the way that it's structured is that you get the kind for me, the best of both worlds, all worlds, all forms of training, because you get one-to-one coaching from me.
Cause I think the one-to-one is important to have that. That high touch and more intimate coaching environment. I've also bought in another co-coach as well, who is an operations specialist and helps to create some diversity. And he's male I've loved. I've created something that isn't just female focused.
This is for, you know, this is men and women, and I want it to. Really inclusive and that it, it is for, for everybody who is ready to take that step to create is a 50 K mastermind. So the reason I've called it 50 K mastermind is because it is anything from zero to that first 50,000 pounds of revenue.
Okay. This is I do work with product based businesses, but if I'm honest, I've really designed this to serve and. My, the majority of my client base, which are coaches, consultants, and service providers, as I'm sharing with you my own journey that I've taken as well. And as a service based business coaching business, that has been very successful over the past years from starting up right up until now and within the mastermind, what I want to.
More than anything is a family. I think that sometimes, and I've, I'm guilty of this. I've purchased online courses. Haven't done them or done them, but felt like I didn't really feel involved. I didn't feel there was a personal touch. I didn't feel that I was being guided and supported. And I think that's really important because when you are at that first stage of business growth, up to 50 K.
You're you, you need that support in place. That's when we're gonna have the wobbles. That's when we're gonna have the moments of this is really hard. Is it gonna work? Yeah, I think that self doubt's almost at its highest in that point. And I want my clients to know. They've got 12 months with me, you know, give yourself 12 months.
Don't give yourself four weeks on an online course. Give yourself 12 months of my invested support into you. And also you're gonna have your fellow mastermind as you've got group support and accountability. So that's the second element we've got in this mastermind is you are part of a. So once a month alongside your two, one to one calls, you also have a group session where we're all on together.
We share, we support, we like we make our statements about what we're wanting to achieve before we have our next checking call together. And it's just great, great accountability. For me, I am currently part of another high level mastermind at the moment. And I've just taken so much inspiration from the things I've loved about being part of that.
Which is why I've also included in person events. So we've got a summer meetup and a Christmas meetup because. What is there anything better there? Isn't for me, I'm very like, I love, I love meeting people in person, so I can't wait to get everyone together. All, you know, 20, 30 of us around a table.
Obviously permitting certain situations in the world. I really hope it can happen, but just to be able to be in physical presence of people that have trusted me and, and chosen to have me support them and guide them. Through an incredible stage of their business journey. So it's yeah, that's, that's the mastermind in a nutshell, and I'm so excited to see how everything unfolds this year.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, that's great. So I think really what it is, why you created this, the way you did is because you want to, you thought about how can you provide that specific result that you wanna provide to everyone? What would you wanna have if you were in their shoes and you were starting a business from scratch?
And that's how you figured out the product, rather than I think some people who maybe I'm trying to think of someone just starting right now and they're thinking, do I make a course? Do I make a mastermind? Do I do one on one coaching? Yeah. They might be thinking well, okay, well then how much should I charge for it?
So then if I charge this much, then maybe I should make it a course. Or, and they're, they're thinking backwards instead of thinking, well, what would I really provide the person. And once you figure that out for your audience, then the rest kind of unfolds. So for your, your specific case, the mastermind makes so much sense because as you said, people experience so much doubt over that first year in business.
When they're trying to get up to that 50 K in revenue and your mastermind is gonna be able to provide the support system to be there with them that whole time. And for that, it makes sense to be a year long instead of a four week course or something like.
Alex McCarthy: Business takes time. Business growth takes time.
It's so much more than a quick fix. A quick promise. Six figures in six months have a 10 K month. And I'm about sustainable business growth. We, we should, we should, should I don't really like the word should in business, but I would hope that if you want to create, grow, build your business, your dream business.
You kind of have to be looking and, and knowing that this is a long term, it's a journey, it's a journey. And there isn't really an end destination. You might think that there is, but believe me, it, it very much is the, the, the goal posts are constantly moving. So what I'd say is to focus on sustainable business growth and putting yourself in an environment where that is achievable.
Rather than hurried pressurized races to get to say certain income levels, that isn't the thing that's gonna bring you happiness and fulfillment. It will be as cheesy as it sounds. I think it's who you become in the process because you, you really do become a different version of yourself through the process of building your business.
You know, confidence, resilience, motivation, willpower, you know, all the things that we read about these success habits. They can only really be forged and developed through allowing yourself the time to try different things, get it wrong. You're gonna get it wrong. You will get it wrong a few times. And that's fine.
We want you to do that because then you learn and you adapt. But it's yeah, I think that people throw in the towel too early and it's such a shame because there's so much talent and so, so much talent I see in people and. They're, it's almost like they're looking just like two steps ahead of the path, rather than looking up and over, like at the end of the track over there.
Does that make
Bryan McAnulty: sense? Yeah, definitely. I mean, sometimes as a creator, as a new BU business owner, you have to just see that someone else has done what you've done to know that it's possible to know that oh, someone did finish the race down. There. It is. It is possible to get down there and Yeah. Just being able to see that can give you a lot of power and, and definitely, I agree.
I like the sustainability approach because even if some people fall victim of not getting lucky, but having some kind of small success a little bit earlier on. And the people who achieve that, they're lucky because then they have this motivation to keep going, but others, they might be so close to that and they don't realize, and they give up.
But if they just got that one sale a little bit earlier, that would've been all they needed to keep going. Even though maybe the money money-wise, it wouldn't necessarily sustain them. But the motivation to show them that, oh, somebody does value my work, my product, and that can help them really continue.
Alex McCarthy: I couldn't agree more. It's it's crazy how you can, I, I see people go through such hardship of this. Isn't working. No, one's buying. No one's interested. I'm no good at this and they're, they're so close. Like you said, that that one sale away from having a completely different story. So it's, I think there, there is a stage of early stage of business where you almost have to be committed to show up even when no one's buying and no one's watching and no one's noticing you because that is something again, that, that takes time and con consistent small efforts actions.
It's. It is. And I always emphasize the word journey because you have a journey takes time. A journey's not a sprint business. Isn't a sprint because if we did sprint, we would run out of steam pretty quick. Wouldn't we, we wouldn't be able to, to sprint a marathon distance. That's why marathon's a marathon.
It's, it's steady, it's incremental. And it's not saying like I see some businesses have like astronomical quick, rapid growth and Whil. From an outside perspective, you'd say amazing, great, like how, how amazing that they managed to achieve that in that space of time. But I actually see that behind the scenes is businesses sometimes grow at a rate that they can't sustain and can't manage and handle and, and be able to.
Strategically like work with that growth and nowhere to go from there. And it just becomes a bit of a hot mess really. And then they, they, they struggle. And, and, and, and kind of drop off the other side there. So I think you're right. Sustainability is a, is a key word I feel.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. And sometimes also you're seeing this rapid success of a business online, but really.
You don't know what led up to that. So there, it might start to get turned into this rapid success, but how many years happened before that? And like we, we were happy with, I, I guess I was happy with how I was doing as a, as a founder in my business, but we didn't really start experiencing this more rapid success until just recently.
And I've been in business since 2009. So it, it takes a while. And Once people see that something's popular online. They, they assume like, oh wow. He, he launched this a month ago. She launched this a month ago and now it's all happening Uhhuh, but it could be one of two things, either one, maybe can they really sustain that growth?
Can, are they actually gonna be able to maintain that and keep that sustainable or two what actually led up to that moment?
Alex McCarthy: Yeah, the, the theory, the false theory of like the overnight success. I think, and we see someone explode onto the online scene. You're right. I think it's a very good reminder to, to any of you who, who might be looking at a social media profile, an Instagram profile or a Facebook page or a TikTok account, or, or wherever your, your following or somebody who's inspiring or motivating you at the moment is to know and understand that.
Social media, you are presented with what someone wants you to see. We don't ever see the whole picture. We see the shop window. So be inspired and definitely take motivation, but know that there's always a, there's always a backstory that led to that point.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. All right. So my next question.
You kind of answered this a little bit already, but most of your clients are new business owners. Would you say there's like a prevailing niche inside that, of like business owners from trying to accomplish a specific thing, also trying to be coaches or it sounds like maybe service businesses as well.
Alex McCarthy: Predominantly I'm working with 90% service based business owners. Yeah. and the majority of those service based business owners are coaches and that's been something that's, it's been a natural progression. I think through how I show up on social media, I seem to attract coaches and I think coaches, I work with refer other coaches and then it just, it it's become a network of coaches and consultants, which if I'm honest, I love, I would never say.
I will only work with this particular type of client. I mean, it in the world of marketing, you know, and having an ideal client. That's great. I definitely have that, but I like diversity in coaching. That's what makes it interesting to me working with all sorts of different people. I learn different things from my clients and I learned more.
About business. When I allow myself to get stuck into and deep dive into different types of businesses, it it's, it's developing my skillset. So yes, mainly coaches and I love that they're people who help other people. I like to help people help other people, but I know that isn't okay. Only represented in, in that space.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. Sure. So you also mentioned how important it is to you about this building this community and almost this family of your customers together. So we saw you have a private Facebook group, for example, can you go into a little bit more detail about the value, I guess you see in like creating this kind of community for your clients?
Alex McCarthy: Mm. Yeah, sure. So the, the online entrepreneur hub Facebook group was created initially as a bit of a test. So it was it was about two years ago. I created it because I thought let's see if I can create a community that is engaged. And I can build this alongside my Instagram, alongside my email list and other places that I was showing up online.
And what I found is with the Facebook group, if you are willing to be consistent and to you, you get in what you, you get out what you put in when it comes to Facebook group. So I'm there every week. I'm talking, I'm connecting with the people, the members in there. And the great thing is, is I've got to know people really well in.
It's become I'm, I'm very familiar to them. And what it means is the result of me keeping that as a really warm, friendly community in that Facebook group is when I come to launch things like the mastermind, a lot of people are signing up to the mastermind out of the Facebook group, purely because I I've I've, I've been that consistent in my visibility within that group.
It's worked really nicely as a warm pool of pretty qualified leads
Bryan McAnulty: for MyBusiness. Yeah. They've become like your, your true fans. Really?
Alex McCarthy: Yeah. That, that is aside from Instagram. Like that is the place you can access me the most for free. So it's a free group at the moment I say at the moment, because yeah, considering maybe converting to a paid membership at some point, but I actually really like having it for free.
It feels good for me. And I like the fact that if someone isn't in a position to invest. That I can say, well, Hey, come and join the online entrepreneur hub and do some of the trainings that are in there and come and hang out with me on a Friday. And we do like a coffee and Q and a, and you can still start your journey with me, but you don't have to kind of leap straight into the, the bigger programs just yet you people are at different levels.
I think the Facebook, group's a nice place for people to start.
Bryan McAnulty: Sure. Yeah. I think that's a great way to really position it as well, because I think this is something that, that anyone watching this should really take note of because a lot of times people think, okay, I've got my, my premium product and I wanna sell that to everyone.
And then people make the same realization that you have where, well, I have some people they're not quite ready to make that jump into my program, cuz it is maybe a little bit expensive or there's a time commitment, whatever it is. But then their solution, the first thing that some people go to is, okay, well, how can I give them like a partial access or a trial access to that premium program?
And really, I think that's not the best solution for most creators one, because you're in a way devaluing that premium program. But also then it's not doing what it's designed to do because you're not supposed to let them kind of in there it's you wanna really help them and, and fully serve them through that program.
So what you've created is a way. People can start to get some kind of experience, start to get to know you, it builds trust with, with them and you, and they can do that for free, but it's something different than your actual premium
Alex McCarthy: program. That's it? Exactly. I'm really big on community. And I think it feels really good to, if nothing else know that you are being of service in some.
To your people, your community, it feels really good. And it means that the, the selling part, which I think a lot of people have blocks around sales selling being too promo, too spam too. Can't talk about my thing too much if you serve, if you serve first and that's where you're coming from, which is how I always feel.
And like I'm, I provide value every day. And I, I love doing that. The selling feels so natural after that. It's, it's almost the obvious, the obvious, logical next step for someone to take from where they are at that, at that entry level, into your product suite, if you like.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. I think that's a really good point because some people get really nervous about the whole concept of selling something, but.
If you think about it as just talking to your prospect and just answering their questions, too many people actually would consider to ignore certain things and think, well, my response should just be to send them the link to buy something. But, and that's what you feel nervous about, but if you answer their questions and just communicate with them, the conversation turns into them getting some value from you, getting some trust from you and then saying, well, how can I get more from you?
Can I, can I buy something from you? And then you can, is natural for you to say, well, here's the link we would love to have you join our program, join our
Alex McCarthy: mastermind. That's it. Exactly, exactly. It's that the ultimate for me is for. A client to think a potential client to think if I'm getting this for free, I can only imagine what the paid stuff's like.
If you are already creating almost mini transformations with your free content that puts you in really good stead. For that client to, to move towards you and be like, I need, I need more. I want more like, tell me what the next thing is. Tell me, tell me about your mastermind. Like I, I need to be in there cause I, I need to get, I need to get the next thing, like the next level of Alex or Bryan or whoever it is.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, that's great. All right. So aside from your mastermind, do you sell any other kind of learning product offerings right now or is that mastermind really the key focus.
Alex McCarthy: Yeah. The key focus for me is the mastermind. This year. I have a high level, one to one, which is for people who are scaling like six figures.
Plus I then offer like one off intensive, deep dive sessions. But really I've, I've condensed everything right down. My learnings over recent years of many bespoke. Packages for everyone who come towards me is, is knowing I, I, I know what I'm good at now. And I, and I know I know how I can serve best.
And hence why, you know, this mastermind is, is it's, it's a, it's a part of me really infused into a fun, interactive, accountable way of learning and growing your business. And yes, I've also, I've got a podcast coming later this year, so I've had to put a few things in the freezer for next year, but. Yes, mastermind and, and, and, and podcast is at the forefront of my what's going on in my world this year.
Bryan McAnulty: Great. So when new clients are coming to you, what would you say is the most common issue or thing that they need help with? Hmm,
Alex McCarthy: I like this question because I feel like I wanna answer it with one thing, but a lot of clients come to me thinking that something is. The problem, whether that is it's my Instagram strategy, I'm doing all this stuff and I, I'm not seeing any results or there actually another example, I find a lot of the problem is going that people aren't going right back to the beginning and being like, do I know what I'm actually, what problem that I'm solving here?
Like, what's the problem I'm solving and what am I using to solve that problem for. If you can't answer those two questions, it doesn't matter if you are a life coach or a business coach or a purpose coach or a health coach, whatever kind of coach you are. You've gotta know who is it you're serving, what is it that you're helping them with?
And then the added an extra in there, and what's what, what's the course. What's the program. What's the signature offer. And I. Almost every client session that I have, we have to go back and revisit that because if you are not sure of that, it's not clear in your mind and you're not connected to it and confident and enthusiastic and okay.
I suppose maybe I'm asking too much for passion straight away, but you've gotta really be buzzing about this thing. Otherwise you're gonna find it really hard to have that momentum to go forwards from that.
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. I think that's important. One of the things that we repeat over and over to course creators is that you have to figure out what is the result that your course is gonna provide your client.
And until you know that it's gonna be really hard to get sales and not, not even know that, but maybe you know it, but you have to communicate it. And some people, they do know it. If you ask them, they can say it. But if you look at then their landing page, their marketing, their Instagram, They haven't actually communicated it as clearly as they should be.
Alex McCarthy: That's that's the really interesting thing for me is it's sometimes all it takes is, is that tweak of messaging, just to get really clear on what that result is and all of a sudden your audience understand and they get it and they then can move towards you. Otherwise I think it can be quite confusing.
Sometimes we can, we can follow and be drawn towards someone, but not fully understand. If we're there either your client and what, what, what the result is that we're meant to be moving towards. So I think you, you are a hundred percent, right. Is go back to asking yourself that question of what what's the result, what's the result, the transformation, the, the thing, the number one thing that I want to be known for that people are gonna come towards me to get what is that thing.
And if you're struggling with that, I think that's where, that's where you've gotta start. So it's to have it, have a think about it. And if you're not clear on it, dig deeper, get the pen, paper, brainstorm, talk to other people who do what it is that you'd like to do. Like you've, you've got so much support and guidance out there.
So don't let it, don't let it stop you and, and make you what's the word kind of stagnate it's every business owner has to go through this level at this, this chapter in their journey. So just know. You will, you will figure it out. It's you've already got the answer. I believe it'll be in there.
It's just uncovering it.
Bryan McAnulty: Definitely. So, one thing we like to do on this show is to have our guests ask a question to our audience. So what is something that you would like to know from our audience?
Alex McCarthy: Okay. So it's very coachy of me, but I'm going to have to ask the question, because I want you to really think about this question that I'm gonna ask you.
And it is what is one thing. One step, whether it be a huge step or a really, really small step that you can take today, that's gonna move you just a one step closer toward. Your business goal or one step further on your business journey.
Bryan McAnulty: So, Alex, that was really great. That's all the questions I have for today, but thank you again for coming on this show.
And the last thing I wanna do is ask where can people find you online?
Alex McCarthy: So you can find me hanging out. Mostly over on Instagram. So you can follow me at Alex McCarthy coaching on Instagram or in my free Facebook group, as we've discussed today, which is the online entrepreneur hub. And I would absolutely love to see you and connect with you over there.
All right. Great. Thanks Alex. Thank you so much for having me.
Bryan McAnulty: If you enjoyed this interview and want the chance to ask questions to our guests live tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the Heights platform, Facebook page, to learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out thecreatorsadventure.com until then keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.