How I Went From a Certified Professional Coach to Web Designer
I get asked often how I made the leap in my professional career from life coach to web designer. So today I thought I’d share my full entrepreneurial pivot story with you.
Where it really started.
When all the other little girls were signing up for Girl Scouts, I was immersing myself in my school’s technology club. And, on the weekends, you could find me in the basement building computers with my dad and tinkering with code. So I suppose that’s really when this all began…
I was definitely a closet geek all through my childhood. I was considered a cool kid and cool kids didn’t really do tech back then.
It wasn’t until adulthood that I embraced my natural talents and gifts when it came to technology and design. My entrepreneurial journey kicked off the summer of 2011. So let’s start there…
2007-2011: I was longing for more.
I had a good job working for an e-learning company who provided continuing education for fire and EMS departments across the county. I traveled regularly teaching, training, and showcasing their e-learning platform. And when I wasn’t traveling, I was working from home providing 1:1 training on how to best utilize our software to simplify their training needs within their department.
I was also in school working towards my business degree. Because… well… aren’t you supposed to go to college?
But I had this longing for more. To do something more meaningful. Something I could build myself using my God-given strengths and abilities.
2011: I finally dropped out of college.
After a late-night “what do I want to be when I grow up” Google search in 2011, I stumbled upon the coaching industry.
In the middle of my summer semester at college and after 6 years of on-again-off-again classes, I was done with the whole college thing. In fact, my Accounting 101 teacher let us go on break one evening to return in 5 minutes… and… well, I never returned. I was over it.
After discovering the coaching profession, I put all my focus on entrepreneurship. I began spending my nights and weekends building an online business while working towards my coaching certification.
2013: Became a certified coach and a new mom.
In early 2013 I received my coaching certification from the ICF-accredited Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and then had my daughter a few weeks later. At this time, I decided to pursue coaching full time and quit my 9-5.
This was always the plan: I’d stay home with our kiddos while coaching on the side. It was perfect and everything unraveled so nicely. That is until I had my second child a couple of years later…
2015: I was a frazzled, overwhelmed mama of 2.
Ironically, my coaching niche was helping mom entrepreneurs who were overwhelmed by the day-to-day demands of running a business and raising a family. I started to gain some traction in this niche and was even the go-to coach for a local morning show in our area.
But when my son was born in 2015, it began to feel like everything was falling apart.
My son was nothing like my daughter. He hardly slept, never took a bottle, and only seemed to be content with me… correction: on me. Also during this time, we moved into a new build across state lines. All this transition seemed to rattle my daughter who was 2 who proceeded to enter a major sleep regression that lasted several months.
I was exhausted.
Just the thought of emailing my waitlist of coaching clients about my upcoming return to work made my head want to explode.
In the Fall of 2015, I pressed pause on coaching.
Running a coaching business and staying home with two kiddos proved to be a lot more difficult than I originally thought.
The only possible solution I saw at the time (for the sake of my sanity and overall well-being) was to hang my hat from coaching until my kiddos were in school full time.
But after only a few months away, I realized just how much I missed having an online business. I found myself constantly reading entrepreneurship blogs and books… longing again…
That pause-button that was supposed to bring relief, was not as satisfying as I thought it would be… so I began a new Google search.
I was on the hunt for a business that was more conducive to my new lifestyle.
January 2016, I was a hopeful mama of 2 on a new venture.
During this search, I stumbled upon a post on social media asking for recommendations for a virtual assistant. I had never really heard of a virtual assistant but after reading the requirements of the position, I thought to myself, “I could totally do that.”
I applied for the position but never heard back. But that was all I needed to light the fire for this new venture.
Within a week I had launched a new website and my new business. I began offering WordPress virtual assistant services to my fellow entrepreneurs.
February 2016, I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School.
Around this same time, enrollment was open for Marie Forleo’s B-School.
I knew a lot about running an online business already but I really wanted to lay a strong foundation for this new venture. So I jumped at the chance to run through her program. I had been following Marie for years and knew B-School was the real deal. The timing was perfect.
As I started to gain clients, I began to see a trend with their websites. They were pretty on the outside but the backend and management side of things were a mess. And there was no strategy whatsoever.
Knowing these entrepreneurs were being underserved, I saw a niche market I knew I’d excel at.
In May 2016, I announced to my clients I would be transitioning into a full-service website design and development business with a special focus on simple + chic (frustration-free) WordPress websites.
In 2017 I niched down providing web design services for coaches.
I wanted to be able to serve my clients with the highest level of excellence. And in order to do this, I wanted to focus on a single industry.
Looking back at the year prior, I looked for commonalities in all of my favorite projects. And wouldn’t you know it? They were all professional coaches.
At that time I niched down to designing and developing websites for professional coaches. Based on my background as a Certified Professional Coach and my love for the profession, it was (and is!) the perfect fit.
In 2018 I expanded my services now also providing brand + logo design services.
After working with a number of professional coaches, I started to see a trend in their logo design and brand visuals. A good amount of them had brand elements and visuals that just weren’t aligned with their actual brand. They just felt off.
They’d come to me looking for high-end website design but were stuck with outdated brand elements that simply weren’t serving them.
So I polished my brand and graphic design skills and began offering them alongside website design and development services.
I quickly learned the value of bundling these services. My clients love the fact they’re a part of my overall strategic process and I am able to support them in a more holistic way. Every project felt so much more cohesive.
Today, I’ve nestled into my dream business that allows me to be there for my family.
Today I’m continuing to provide the highest level of support and care for my clients. And feel blessed to work with some of the most talented coaches in the profession. Whether they’re joining me for a one-off strategy session or a new brand + web design project, I remain rooted in service to them and their businesses.
Early on someone told me I wasn’t being consistent enough for growth. And she might have been right, there were certainly some shifts in my story. But I also wasn’t about to be someone who stayed stuck in a profession or business that didn’t suit my life.
I made the necessary pivots until I got it right (for me).
And honestly, as my life changed over the years, my business needed to evolve right alongside with it.
In the thick of it, I remember how uncomfortable many of these pivots were. The uncertainty was so scary. But today, I find myself so grateful for those uncomfortable, uncertain seasons.
Because all those pivots and twists and turns led me to this dream business. A business that grants me ample freedom to serve others with my unique gifts and strength. A business that grants me the freedom I was craving. All while doing work I absolutely love.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you.
What’s your pivot story like? Are you currently in an uncomfortable pivot or nestling down in your dream role? I’d feel so honored if you shared it with me. Just scroll down to the comments section and let it flow.
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Hi! I'm Katie. I'm a web designer + digital strategist for industry-leading service providers. Using a strategy-first approach, my passion is helping service-based businesses get an online home they’re proud to show off while strategically supporting their business goals.