There are 31 million men in the UK and, for many of them, juggling the challenges of career, relationships, and personal goals, can be incredibly tough. This week’s Featured Freelance, Chris Orrick, works with men who are struggling with some aspect of their life and wish to overcome these struggles.
Mancoaching is a young business, based in Newcastle, and this is Chris’s story…
How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?
I’ve been coaching men since May 2016, however I’ve always had the mindset of a freelancer – even when I’ve been employed, I’ve always had a side hustle.
What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance?
As coaching is still an unregulated industry, anyone can call themselves a ‘Coach’. However, supporting people is something I’m passionate about and as a result, undertook coaching qualifications (which were quite expensive – but ultimately a very worthwhile investment). This required the financial and emotional support from my wife. Other than that, I’m a pretty stand alone bloke that can deal with a lot of things alone or with the support from my wife.
Whenever I have an idea around starting a business (and that has been a lot, over the years) I always tell as many people as will listen. I’m looking for genuine reasons why I shouldn’t spend time developing an enterprise – with ManCoaching, everyone was really supportive.
Did you use any professional support resources in starting your freelance business?
I make use of professional coaching supervision from a vastly experienced coach. He supports the growth of my practice in three ways – he helps me look at my actual coaching practice, my personal continued learning & development and lastly the development of my business. Other than that, I haven’t used any professional support resources such as accountants etc.
How would you describe your clients or customers?
I have a very clear idea of who my clients are – they are men who are resourceful enough to change an aspect in their life which is affecting them or holding them back. So typically these are guys 18 – 70 who are experiencing some issue in their life – this could be positive and negatively. A few examples of each would be I coached a guy through depression as a result of infidelity through to supporting a guy to increase his earning potential from £35k pa to £150K pa. Hugely different areas – but ultimately they were both struggling to make the change they needed.
Why do your clients/customers select you over your competitors?
So, firstly, when you put yourself out there as a ‘ManCoach’ that makes a bold statement to guys about the kind of thing I do. Usually, but not exclusively, men feel more comfortable talking around emotional issues with other men. I should add that women are usually, but not exclusively, more inclined to opt for a female coach – it’s all around just ‘getting them’ or creating rapport!
Additionally, 2 guys I have worked with selected me because I’m ‘really manly’ ha ha whatever that means – but they had talked to other male coaches but found what I do, how I coach and the results the guys get from working with me really resonated with them.
Is being a freelancer what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than you had first anticipated?
As I have had many years’ experience of being a freelancer, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I’ve freelanced for 5 years as a learning & development specialist, so fully understand the ropes in that respect.
What app or website could you not run your business without, and why?
DropBox – this is invaluable to me. I have it installed on every device I have. As someone who uses twitter every day to drive engagement, it is so important to me to have all of my quotes, documents or tools I have developed available to me – at anytime!
As just said – twitter is another app I use constantly. Social media is a great tool for me to use to increase the ‘educational’ aspect of what I do to the guys across the UK and globally.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a freelance business, specifically in your field?
Like I said earlier – coaching currently is not a regulated industry (which is shocking in my opinion). My advice would be to approach coaching as a professional, regulated industry. Undertake the necessary qualifications, to level 5 at a minimum and commit to professional development every day.
My other piece of advice is this – know and understand the learning cycle. If you’re new to coaching, you’re going to find it uncomfortable – that is because you’re aware of your limitations and you’re hanging on a coaching model or framework. Experience coaching for what it is and you will naturally move through the cycle to a place of unconscious competence.
Get out and network! You’re in a people business – so be confident about what you do and get out there and be genuinely interested in people.
What are the most notable things you have learnt since starting your business; either about running a business or about yourself?
Gosh – I’ve learnt so much this time. Increased emotional IQ, always pushing myself out of the comfort zone is actually comfortable!! I have had massive shifts in the thought patterns I use (through the coaching qualification), super focussed mindset – Ed, I could go on here all day, but you get the drift. Everybody should make it their mission to find out more about themselves, what makes them tick, how they respond to certain situations, how to make goals.
What is it about being a freelancer that you most enjoy?
I enjoy the fact that I get to meet and work with some of the most wonderful people out there in the UK and feel privileged that they have placed their trust in me to help support them through sometimes a difficult period in their life.
What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?
Sometimes the hours can get a bit long! Especially if I’ve had a full day of coaching – I’m utterly wiped out, physically and emotionally.
What is your ultimate professional goal as a freelancer?
Ohhhh Ed, you’re asking me to let out all of my secrets. Now, I have a little bit of a fear when typing this as not many people know this, I’ve been keeping this close to my chest (they do now however ha).
My professional goal for ManCoaching is to develop it into a franchise within 5 years. I’m super confident in my brand, I’m super confident in the results my clients achieve for themselves and I’m confident that other male coaches who operate in a similar area as me currently will want to buy into the brand and receive all the support I can offer them (once it’s a bit more developed).
Gosh – I hope that didn’t come across as taking over the world? But you have to have BIG goals people!
What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?
The 6 winning lottery numbers! At my age, money isn’t the primary driver – but if I had that amount of money behind me, I’d still do what I do because it changes so many people’s lives positively – and I’d get bored after about 2 weeks of lying in the sun!
To get in contact with Chris, you can find him at the following places:
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