Daring Dame: Corrina Gordon Barnes
Just to give you the heads up, there are a gazillion reasons to love Corrina Gordon Barnes. The main reason?
Corinna is the creatrix o' the ah-freakin'-mazing Passion to Profit programme, she's my absolute go-to girl for all things business-y and thanks to her, I now have actual money in my bank account. Now I thought a business course would mean I'd have to wear 80's style power suits with shoulder pads and talk loudly into an oversized mobile phone about stocks and shares, thankfully Corrina doesn't have a strict 80's dress code, which is good because, while I LOVE Joan Collins, I cannot rock her look, and stocks and shares are DEFFO not top of our business building calls, instead, with a gentle fierceness, Corrina kicks yo' ass, encourages and inspires you to become your most awesome self in business by giving you the tools and support you need to make it happen. I LOVE this woman. I love her passion and belief and I love her big, beautiful heart-led way o' working. Corrina Gordon Barnes, brains, beauty and a whole lot' badass. Come meet her.
Describe Corrina Gordon-Barnes in a tweet Self-employment coach, making the journey easier for those who follow their passion. All about clarity, simplicity, doing things differently.
What is it you do, Corrina? You know people who have good stuff to share with the world? Who can make people's lives easier and more enjoyable? I help them get clarity about what they do and who they do it for, so that marketing becomes easy and fun and they get clients. They also start making good money doing what they love to do - and they don't have to do other jobs that they hate. It makes for a much better world for all of us. My clients tend to be coaches, healers, raw food teachers, massage therapists, doulas, speech therapists, osteopaths, yoga and Pilates teachers - those kind of professions. I help through one-to-one coaching, a group programme and now... a book!
Yes, you've written a book - Turn your Passion to Profit - how did you come up with the idea and what made you want to turn it into a book? Well, when I developed the structured group programme to teach marketing and business know-how, it was very much step-by-step. After I'd taught each step, I looked back at my content notes and realised they could become a chapter of a book so that even more people could benefit. I was also gathering brilliant examples to illustrate and bring to life each of the principles I taught, from the people who took the programme and shared their insights and experiences. So it became a very rich, textured book with lots of real-life examples of how people were implementing these steps.
How was the book writing process for you? Any challenges? How did you overcome them? The discipline that worked for me was writing for an hour each morning, after meditating but before anything else. I put some beautiful instrumental music on in the background, got myself a cup of herbal tea and wrote (and later edited). This daily practice overcame the challenge of procrastination. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to publish this book independently so without external deadlines, I needed to create that kind of structure for myself. I also created a writing schedule so I knew which chapter I was on track to be focusing on and when I needed to get that done if I wanted to meet my self-set deadlines. I put that up in our bedroom so my partner could nag me, and also sent it to my mentor who kept tabs on where I was. That helped tremendously, to feel accountable to people who cared about me seeing this through.
I developed RSI (repetitive strain injury) a few months into writing and had to stop all together for several months. It was frustrating to have the project on the back burner because I'd been enjoying the writing process so much, but thank goodness my arms came back into co-operation and I felt even more appreciative of my body for allowing me to do this.
In the final few months before publication, I encountered a whole raft of fears: what if everyone hates it? what if it doesn't sell? what if people disagree with everything I write and tell me I'm wrong? I imagine most if not all non-fiction writers encounter this, because we're immortalising our principles and approach. I very nearly pulled the plug as a result of all that fear, but I gave myself a good talking to and remembered that it had felt like this book came through me. That I'd been given these ideas and given the gift of writing because others wanted and needed to read this kind of approach to business. So I let go of my perfectionism and overcame my fears by focusing on the end-readers.
How did you turn your passion to profit? Through persistence! I realised I wasn't born knowing how to do business and marketing so I committed to learning from brilliant people. I subscribed to lots of business blogs, took courses, had one-to-one mentoring and learnt the key principles that allowed me to fall in love with marketing. I discovered how to position myself as providing a service that people recognised they needed. I learnt how to write marketing copy that's all about connecting with my niche (or 'my Tribe' as I call them.) I kept listening to my clients and others in my community about what was missing in the business guidance they'd received to date, and I then tailored my services so they are filling that gap.
How long did it take you? I've been self-employed since 2004 - first as a home-tutor and freelance drama teacher, then as a coach to teenagers, then as a coach to adults finding their passion, then moving into teaching and coaching around marketing and being successfully self-employed. It took me a few years to gain momentum and earn enough to leave all other work that wasn't fully me living my purpose.
What have been some of the challenges for you? I found it weird and lonely to be by myself so much. I've now got used to it and enjoy my own company but I came from the world of teaching and summer camps where you're always in community and surrounded by people. It used to be pretty overwhelming to look out across my week and see whole days stretching out and think, "What on earth should I be doing?" A lot of business I made up as I went along so there was no sense of following a structure or steps - which is why I love offering that to my clients and readers.
Another big challenge was around feeling it was okay to make good money doing what comes so naturally and enjoyably to me. We have so many messages in society about work being a chore and a lot of people see money as what we get as compensation for selling our soul. I was also a bit of a hippie and had a strong belief that "money can't buy you happiness" and it was a real journey to see that you can be happy AND have money! It wasn't either/or. Again, that's an aspect I love to help clients with now. What have been some of the highlights? The feedback I receive from my clients and readers gives me the biggest buzz. Hearing that something makes sense, or is easier, is my favourite thing to hear. I get so many emails from people that go something like this: "Because I now know how to market and get clients, I've been able to quit my boring 9 to 5". I loved hearing from a client recently that her son has noticed the difference in her: because she's doing what she loves and so she's a positive role model for him, that you can follow your passion.
What are your five top tips for turning your passion into profit? 1. Stop trying to find clients. Instead, recognise they're already looking for you and position yourself to be found. 2. Self-employment doesn't mean by-yourself-employment. Find like-minded allies so you feel supported and encouraged. 3. Focus on what's working. When you're getting your business off the ground, you might think, "Why isn't my hard work paying off yet?" Decide to spot the little things - the one person who did reply to your email, rather than the hundred who didn't. Shifting your focus is really important. 4. Believe that good money should make good money doing good work. That's the way our world has to move, and you're part of that movement. 5. Have fun! Laugh, take yourself lightly, enjoy the journey. It can be challenging but it's so worth it - so choose to enjoy the ride.