Fame. Fortune. Thousands of people waving their bank cards and bustling for an appointment. Isn’t that what happens when we’re lucky enough to bag a few celebrity clients? It’s time for me to life the lid on demands for blue M&Ms, accommodating an entourage and the reputational impact of working with ‘slebs’.
THE first time I received an enquiry from a ‘celebrity’, I almost wet my pants. Honestly. How could this be happening? I’m a pink-haired empowerment and visibility coach, living in the wild flatlands of Lincolnshire, England, and a famous person wants to work with me!
Fast forward a few years and I’ve worked with a few celebrities, both in group scenarios and in a one-to-one coaching capacity. These days, I’m a long way from that star-struck young woman wondering how on earth a ‘big name’ came to find me and then wanted to enlist my services.
Now, I’m ready to lift the lid. If you’re thinking landing a famous client will be the answer to all your business prayers and result in a booming bottom line and paparazzi camping out on your doorstep, you might just be in for a few surprises.
Celebs are people too
The first thing I want you to really take on board is that celebs are people, just like you and I. Sure, their job might mean they’re a bit more in the public eye than you or I, but they’re still living, breathing human beings. They don’t necessarily have it made. Life isn’t automatically easier for them. And… wait for it… they’re not always loaded or financially set up for life either.
Also… I have genuinely never received a demand for a tray of blue M&Ms on the coffee table for our appointment, and they never show up with an entourage. Maybe the people I’ve worked with aren’t big enough for that yet or, maybe, they’re just ordinary people who, you know, don’t want all their staff members and hangers on knowing their deepest secrets that might spill out in a 1–2–1 coaching session.
I have worked with and coached ‘celebrities’ through the toughest of times — times where the work has been drying up, where they’ve taken a massive change of direction and found themselves starting from scratch AND where they’ve struggled with their place in the public eye which, in itself, can create all kinds of insecurities and anxieties. Imagine living a life where you have to look a certain way to be in with a chance of earning a wage, or wondering whether people really want your friendship or just want to get the lowdown on the ‘celebrity lifestyle’ and to be snapped alongside you by a zoom lens. It’s not always an easy life and the grass is not automatically greener.
Once you have your head around that, I want you to realise that just as they’re ‘ordinary’ people like you and I, all those promises about client confidentiality still apply. You’re not going to suddenly ‘make it’ because one of your clients is in the spotlight. They’re not all going to want to publicise their work with you and, frankly, if that’s your biggest driver, you probably don’t deserve their work and their trust in the first place.
See, that’s why you won’t find me name-dropping. I can go as far as saying I’ve worked with well-known names in business, literature and TV. If pushed, I might even tell you that one of my coachees has appeared in Game Of Thrones, but you won’t know whether they were one of the leads, a supporting character or someone right at the back of a crowd scene operating a dragon.
You need to build your own name for yourself, without relying on your clients to do it for you.
I promise you, I won’t ever reveal the identity of my coaching clients unless they volunteer a testimonial or, as in the case of Real Housewife Of Cheshirestar Tanya Bardsley, I’m coaching and guiding them as part of a TV show and we know it’s all for public consumption at the outset. Even then, there will be plenty of discussions and work you won’t be able to see on screen.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, I haven’t worked with Charlize Theron. Yet. That was just the best pic Pixabay had to illustrate ‘celebrity culture’.
In short, you need to build your own name for yourself, without relying on your clients to do it for you.
Coach to the stars
If one of your dreams is to be known as the ‘Coach To The Stars’, ask yourself why. If it’s all a finely-veiled ruse to create your own level of fame and fortune, you just lost credibility points. If you’re in a career that’s supposedly about helping, supporting and empowering people and your driver in seeking high-profile clients is to ride on their coat tails, there might just be a double standard there, don’t you think?
Concentrate on being the best you can be, creating the most amazing, useful, engaging content.
My advice? Keep it clean. Concentrate on being the best you can be, creating the most amazing, useful, engaging content you can on your website, on social media, in magazines, in podcasts, in videos, wherever you can.
If you’re good enough, if you have something that might solve their challenges, let them come to you.
Personal brand and visibility
Work on growing your own personal brand and being as visible as you can. You want to help people, right? You can’t do that if the world doesn’t know you exist.
Make your marketing mission one of being the stand out support solution for the people who need whatever it is you offer. That way, the emphasis goes back to being the best you can be, instead of wanting to secure ‘celebrity clients’ in order to secure your spot in OK! Magazine.
Does celebrity culture help with visibility? Of course… but that doesn’t mean they need to be your clients.
Does celebrity culture help with visibility? Of course… but that doesn’t mean they need to be your coaching or therapy clients. Take a different approach. Launch a podcast, or vodcast, and invite some of them to be guests, talking around a topic that ties into your area of work. Maybe you could start a series of blog-style interviews and ask if they’d be willing to take part and answer a few questions over email. That way, you’re giving something back and supporting them with a bit of PR too. You might not get A-listers that way immediately, but if you build a big enough, clean enough reputation, who knows what might happen.
Just be sure to remember your mission… you’re not doing this for your ego, you’re doing it so the people you want to help know who you are and where to find you.
At the same time, work on building up your own level of visibility so your own reputation pushes up a few notches. Write a book. Write many books. Record videos. Write for Medium. Use social media effectively and positively. Become an influencer. Grab every media opportunity you can. Just be sure to remember your mission… you’re not doing this for your ego, you’re doing it so the people you want to help know who you are and where to find you.
In the past three years alone, I’ve written two books, been on countless podcasts, on BBC radio several times, on Sky TV, ITV, in Kindred Spirit, Huff Post, DIVA, lots of regional publications and on America Out Loud, as a show host and weekly columnist. I’ve also put the effort into networking, across the UK and overseas, and spoken on more stages than I care to count. This all takes effort — it doesn’t happen on its own AND it’s my belief that more opportunities open up when your message and mission are clean, clear, honest and consistent.
I’ve put in the legwork and it’s paying off. I have more clients than ever and I’ve even had people taking my picture in public and posting it on Facebook(which was, quite frankly, really, really weird).
Aren’t you a celebrity?
Earlier this year, I joined a gym and started working with a personal trainer. It was only quite recently that he admitted he didn’t think I’d show up for our first appointment. When I asked why, this is what he said: “Honestly, I thought it was a fake account. I never thought you’d walk into my gym. After all, I see you as a celebrity.”
Take it from me… I won’t be demanding blue M&Ms any time soon, but this just goes to show the power of a good personal brand, consistency of message and showing up. You don’t need celebrity clients — you just need to work harder at making your own brand and message stand out from the crowd AND keep enough humility and mission to be appreciated and trusted.
Until next time,