Blogfest 52: Kate Cocker and Her Biz Her Way

Blogfest guest #52 is Kate Cocker. Kate and I hardly know one another and we met through Own It! the Podcast. We have various other things, pursuits and people in common too, so I feel like I know her. It is good to read this, Kate’s story, as my little knowledge is enhanced quite considerably now and that’s good work in a thousand words. Here’s Kate:

Author of Your Biz Your Way, Judith Morgan, asked me to write about how I do my business my way as part of her blog challenge.

So as a bit of background for you: I am hugely passionate about helping people to be more assertive and to tell their stories so that they can advance their business, career or just improve their life. I set up The Presenter Coach in 2016, after leaving a full-time job (I burnt out). Having had experience working freelance, and running a similar business with a good friend previously, I knew I wanted to go alone. My family life required me to be able to choose what I did, and when I did it – as did my mental health!

There are 2 things that help you build your business or career:

  1. Be good at what you do
  2. Tell people about it

I specialise in helping people with the second part (unless you are a radio or tv presenter in which case I help you with both parts). Most people reach a point in their business growth or career where they have to stand in front of people and speak. Whether that be pitching, speaking at conferences or just getting better at interviews.

My aim with The Presenter Coach was that I wanted people to feel like they were being heard. Even today, I want people to see or hear you speak in public (on stage, on air, on screen) and think: “I want to work with you”.

The current structure of my work looks like this:

I coach a lot of 1-2-1 clients: radio & tv presenters, & business owners looking to get better at speaking online and on stage. I run training courses in public speaking, I run networking and storytelling workshops, and I have created an online radio presenter course.

How do you run Your Biz Your Way?

Analogy time: When I go climbing I like to climb without a harness. I love the freedom, the rush, the risk, and you’ll find me up as high as my strength will take me (plus a bit more – I like a challenge).

The minute I have a harness on the terror sets in. I feel restrained and that something terrible is going to happen. I won’t feel confident climbing so high, and I also have to rely on the person below to catch me if I fall.

Running my own business is just like climbing harness-free. I’m not restricted by convention (although I like to learn from it). I experiment, I learn from my mistakes, and I answer to my clients – no one else.

I ensure that I play to my strengths and passions. I value helping people, personal growth and my family. My strengths are being organised, enthusiasm, coaching, learning, creativity and constructing content. I enjoy serving clients and constantly finding new ways to improve their experience.

What do you do differently in your work that illustrates running Your Biz Your Way? Why did you make up your mind to do it like that?

I made up my mind to ensure that my work and life were equally fulfilling. I don’t think of organising my time to show “work/life balance” I think of all of it as “life”. This means I use traditional “work skills” in family life: my kids are constantly coached! Equally, I value “life skills” in my work: if I am not feeling enjoyment or challenged from something I scrap it.

When I worked in my full-time work, I found that I never had time to “sharpen my tools”. I love learning, and I find that everything I learn pumps it’s way back into the service I provide and in turn my profit. So I now mark time in my week for learning. I read, do online courses, listen to podcasts – all in the bid that the next coaching session with my next client will be better for it.

I also have a rule: if I get asked to do something that terrifies me, I say yes.

How do you go against the grain or against the received wisdom in ways which make you happier in yourself, more productive and more abundant in your biz?

I am regularly looking for unique ways of doing things. My public speaking course is spread over 6 weekly sessions, rather than being delivered in one day. It is designed to highlight the need for rehearsal.

I used to think that to be successful I had to work every minute available, and I would sacrifice my health for it. This was a received wisdom, from watching leaders email at 11 at night, or the online business world revealing being up till the early hours of the morning. There is a time for working in this way, but over a period of time it always ends in one way: burn out. As a result, I now make time for my fitness and sleep.

There is one thing I have done though, that people seem to identify as controversial:

When I was in my 20s I read an article about motherhood in different decades. The woman that had become a mother in her 40s said that “rather than get someone else to look after your kids, get someone to do the jobs that mean you have the time to be with your kids”.

Knowing that time with my family fulfils me the most, I took heed of that article. I now employ someone who comes to my house four evenings a week to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, and set the house back to normal. We have quality family time as a result and I am more productive in my business.

I love climbing this business world without the harness. I love taking strategic steps, seeing if they work and then manoeuvring to be better. Finding my support network has been vital and finding one that works for me, revolutionary. Mostly, being the best mum I can be is at the centre of everything I do: giving love, being supportive and being a role model for them. This means making sure I am fulfilled and healthy is priority number 1. My biz my way is the way that I can achieve this.

Read Kate’s blog post in full HERE at her own website and catch up with her on social media too:

Dear Kate

Thanks so much for being the last but definitely not the least. Not that there have been any leasts in this Blogfest; every contribution has mattered and added value to the project. But someone had to come last and it was you. Well worth the wait for me to learn more about you and Your Biz Your Way. I am sorry that a combination of me moving house, the Bank Holiday and an all-day powercut meant you were delayed in being published too but we are past the post now, phew!

I admire your passion, your two things, your analogy, your values, your thoughtful approach to designing what you deliver to help your clients best, your love, your learning, the fact that you do not distinguish between life and work and your preparedness to be unique.

Who on earth would want to be like everyone else or even seek to hire someone who is? I have no idea.

Keep on doing your thing your way. The view from here is great. Love and thanks to you for bringing up the rear so stylishly!

Your Biz Your Way

If you have enjoyed reading my words here, you might also enjoy my book - Your Biz Your Way: Learning to Trust Yourself. Relax! You've Got This. Get a chunky free sample and/or buy the book here Read My Book

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