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I've been building a coaching practice now for over 10 years. 

The majority of that time I've been failing. It wasn't until I read the following books and actually fully understood them and failed several times at applying them that more success showed up.

Here's a little bit of my journey.

I started my coaching training in 2007. I left my full time job in 2009. By 2012, I burned through all my savings after paying my monthly bills and investing in my coaching and business education and trying to figure out how to earn a living, doing it my way and by myself. I finally had to take a job to earn some consistent money, while coaching on the side. 

I felt like a loser. It broke my heart. I hated my new job, and leftit after 6 months. I took another job in 2013 and hated it, too and quit after 7 months. 

The day I quit, I was sitting in my car, fuming at the mess I’d made of my life. I resolved then and there that the world was going to know who Michael Palmer was.  

That resolve led me to partner with Peter Cook and Debbie Roberts of Pure Bookkeeping. They have a narrow niche market, bookkeepers, and they have a powerful message, to help them grow their income, and the method of delivery was a step by step program that anyone could follow to grow their bookkeeping business to $500,000 + a year.

It was my first truly scalable business cluster (you can read more about what a cluster is in the book The Thought Leader Practice. Basically, a cluster is a very well-defined market segment, with a very clear message that they resonates with the people in that segment, delivered via a mode such as one-on-one coaching, group coaching, online program, etc.). At the time of this writing, I have 100 clients and an extended community of 2000 bookkeepers following my work. And that's just in Canada. We soft-launched the program in the US in Dec 2016.

Then in 2014, I co-founded a company called eCircle: The Entrepreneurs Circle, with Nicky Billou.  It was successful from the start, but really started to scale when we pivoted from helping any and all entrepreneurs to helping coaches and consultants do the same thing I had done with Pure Bookkeeping. We relaunched the program in January 2016, and as of now have 30 members and 1000 people in our extended community.

This has been the culmination of my journey from struggling “wanna be” coach to successful Thought Leader. Along the way, I have had 8 key learnings:

  1. Be in it to win it! It’s a long, hard journey. Don't underestimate how difficult it can be or how long it will take.
  2. Don't do it alone. That's the biggest mistake I made and it nearly cost be everything I had. You gotta find great peer groups and masterminds and join them, and you gotta invest in coaching and mentoring for yourself.
  3. You've got to have a narrow niche market and a narrow nichemessage that scratches a very particular itch.
  4. Value First Marketing: Be valuable without asking for anything in return.
  5. Be Known: Build a community of people that know you for being great at what you do.
  6. Leverage the 6 Principles of Influence: Reciprocity, Social Proof, Commitment and Consistency, Authority, Scarcity, Liking
  7. Get out of your own way
  8. Don't quit. You may get knocked down but don't you dare quit! Believe in your dream, believe in yourself, and believe in the people you are here to serve and go serve them. 

Here are the 3 books that were the game changers in my journey:


The Thought Leader Practice: Do Work You Love, With Who You Like, The Way You Want

If earning 7 figures as a coach or consultant is of interest, authors Matt Church, Peter Cook and Scott Stein are who you'll want to emulate. They makes 7 figures doing what they love, help thousands of people and have the time and money to do the things they love.

If you want to learn how to earn $500k–$1.5M a year, working 50–200 days a year, with just one or two support staff, this is the book for you.  Plus, read my blog post "How I went from 60K A Year As a Coach to $780,000 a Year As A Thought Leader" where I reveal how I've used this book to build $780,000 a year practice following the principles, mentorship and teachings of these authors.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

There is a common misconception that people buy for logical reasons. They don’t. They buy based on emotion. And emotions can be influenced by you in sales situations. Dr. Robert Cialdini has studied this for over 30 years, and wrote the seminal book on the subject of commercial influence called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

In it, he identifies the 6 weapons of influence that you can use to grow your coaching business. If you don’t know about them and you’re not using them, you are leaving a lot of money behind on the table. This is a must-read book! You can also read about how Nicky and I have used these weapons of influence in our coaching businesses in the blog post: 6 Weapons of Influence To Close More Great Clients At Premium Prices

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Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses

I love Joe's story about how he created his company, which forms the basis of this book. He produced valuable content while solving a specific audience's perceived problems. He then asked his audience what their biggest challenges were, and launched a business to solve the problems that he gleaned from their answers, and presto, he had instant success.

What I learned from reading this book is that you have to create valuable content that serves a specific audience and do it well and often enough so that people start to pay attention and connect with you emotionally.

It took me a long time to do it properly. When I started out in 2007 I just put content out for the sake of content. It was 98.999% fluff and bulls**t. It wasn't until 2015 that I started to figure it out, and I have been getting better and better at it every day. 

Read this book, and then read my blog post "5 Steps To Landing A Client You've Never Met With Zero Selling". One of my all time favorite memories is the day I was sitting on the dock at my cottage a beer when out of the blue, someone I had never met or spoken to before called me to buy a $10k.


That's all for now. I may update and / or expand this list as I come across more great books, or ask my partner Nicky for his Top 3 books, so keep in touch. If you want more content like this, subscribe to our list below. We have tons of great content like this that you can only get if you subscribe to our list.