How Being Myself Saved My Business

[Editorial Catherine: It’s our first guest post! *confetti of excitement* If you’d like to submit one, PLEASE DO. For now, welcome to Marsha!]

Isn’t she delightful?

I’m Marsha, the founder of The Trifecta Tribe, a business that helps queer women of color fall in love with themselves, their lives and their purpose.

I love saying that! It feels so right and these days I’ll just say it to anyone who’s slightly interested in what I do.

It wasn’t always this way.

Flashback 2 years ago and I was Marsha, founder of Uncontainable Living. Similar mission, very different vibe. I had just become a life coach, learned how to use WordPress and hung up my virtual shingle.

And it was a mess.

I thought that I had a business, but what I really had was a website and a mailing list full of my most supportive friends. (Friends are great, but they’re not paying clients.)

My site was pretty and my blog posts were inspiring enough for folks to say, “Oh, that’s nice” but it wasn’t really me. I had spent a lot of time researching the business styles of other online life coaches before I launched my own business. Hours and hours of signing up for everyone else’s mailing lists, buying eBooks and registering for eCourses. I told myself that I was spending valuable time doing market research, but in reality, I was scared.

I didn’t know it at the time but I was terrified that if I built my business around what I truly believed in, no one would want my services. Or, more honestly, they wouldn’t want me.

For a life coach who helps others believe that they are enough, that was a pretty sad way to run a business.

And my revenue reflected my fears.

I would launch my products and not sell a thing.

I was so confused. I felt like I was following all the rules. I’d even gotten super positive reviews and endorsements from other popular coaches. I couldn’t understand what was missing.

So I had a session with Catherine and in 10 minutes she made it all clear. “Your site sounds nothing like you, it doesn’t say anything about what YOU really care about.” After getting positive reviews from folks, I was surprised to hear Catherine’s feedback, but she was right. She was able to point her figure on the missing piece. My soul knew it.

Catherine asked me who I really wanted to work with, and I told her.

In my non-coaching life I’m a sacred activist. I’m passionate about bridging the gap between the Christian community and the LGBT community. I give talks at my local church about becoming a welcoming space for transfolk and I present workshops at LGBT conferences. My identity as a first generation Haitian-American is also an essential part of my worldview.

My website/business reflected none of that. I had followed all the business advice about guest posting, how to use Facebook and who to retweet but I had created a business that didn’t reflect my true self or my passions. No one wants to buy from a passionless business owner (trust me on that).

It took me some time to get over my fears and take Catherine’s advice, but flash forward 6 months and I’ve completely overhauled my business.

New site, new name, and a new focus. Above all, it is all me. My business reflects all the values that I want to bring to the world: integrity, authenticity, social justice and compassion. It’s boldly welcoming for queer and trans people of color, a group that is often left out of the self-love movement. Most importantly, it’s the type of business that I can be passionate about. Marketing is so much easier now because I love talking about my business! My passion is contagious, and my revenue shows it.

Within a month of launching The Trifecta Tribe, I had a larger mailing list than I had in my year and a half of struggling with my old business. And the list was filled with engaged people who were excited to buy my products. People who would greet me with sighs of relief that a business like mine existed.

We’re about to have our first Trifecta Tribe Retreat in October and I can’t to meet this community that my passion-filled business has created.

Marsha Philitas is a certified life coach and the founder of The Trifecta Tribe, a business that helps queer women of color fall in love with themselves, their lives and their purpose. Registration is currently open for their first retreat that takes place Oct 18 – 20, 2013. And that is fan-freaking-tastic.