Gabrielle Collard of The Coach Space tells us about personal coaching during the Covid pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gabrielle Collard: Good, thanks. Many of my family members in the UK have received the vaccine, so things are looking up.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded The Coach Space.
Gabrielle Collard: Previous to this, I had a long career in London’s top marketing agencies and also spent years working with a wide range of small business clients on their branding and websites.
I noticed how it was becoming increasingly difficult for service-based businesses to get any traction online – because of the growing competition for organic traffic. A few years ago, I stumbled into the world of personal coaching, where lots of life coaches were investing time and money on their own websites without a whiff of organic traffic. The concept of the small business website was definitely due for a revolution; that’s why I started The Coach Space.
How does The Coach Space innovate?
Gabrielle Collard: The idea is to bring coaches’ websites together under one umbrella domain so that everyone benefits from the collective traffic. It is not a directory – I haven’t met a single coach who has gained a client from a coaching directory website. On the other hand, coaches do get clients by being a member of The Coach Space.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Gabrielle Collard: Firstly, the pandemic created more competition for web traffic as more websites came onto the field. On the other hand, as people were examining their lives and thinking about making important changes, The Coach Space gained more interest. Certainly, health & fitness coaching became a big draw. Taking everything into account, the impact has been positive.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Gabrielle Collard: As we’re in the early stages of the business, we use freelancers and only when we need them, e.g., when making upgrades to the site. So there has been no need for difficult HR decisions. I’ve always wanted to maintain as much flexibility as possible while getting this off the ground.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Gabrielle Collard: The Coach Space was already a location-free business before the pandemic. We were used to doing everything remotely, including meeting new coaches, onboarding them, and supporting them with their marketing – via video conference. It has been great to see the rest of the world catching up!
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Gabrielle Collard: We weren’t eligible. Hopefully, the government funds were directed to those who really needed them.
Your final thoughts?
Gabrielle Collard: On innovation: Don’t be afraid to experiment with an idea, learning from customers as you go. Your product or service may turn out to be very different from what you imagined, and that’s a good thing. Better to have a business that works than a fantasy one that doesn’t.