5 Tips for scaling your business successfully from a growth expert

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In this installment, we’re diving into branding tips to spotlight Katrina Cobb, growth expert with our partner NOMAWO. NOMAWO offers training tracks around business growth and branding. Wethos users receive 10% savings on cohort programs. Sign in or sign up to redeem! 

Meet growth expert, Katrina Cobb!

Katrina Cobb is a speaker, coach, and business consultant supporting entrepreneurs to scale through systems and strategy. She believes entrepreneurship is the vehicle to create more freedom in your life, and she helps business owners achieve this by identifying blindspots in strategy and leveraging systems to scale.

At NOMAWO, she leads the SCALE Fellowship, a business accelerator program for creative independents and consultants. As a mentor, she’s committed to helping freelancers work smarter not harder, and create predictability in their business so they can focus more on what they love. Apply to be part of the next fellowship cohort and access your 10% discount on the program by signing into or signing up for Wethos!

How did you get into business coaching for independent consultants and freelancers?

I got into business coaching after hiring my own coaches to help me grow my brick and mortar service business, and then when I decided to sell that to travel adn become a nomad, I had so many great conversations with other travelers and professionals building their businesses online that it was a very organic and obvious transition. I believe business fundamentals are universal, but when you’re really gifted in a particular service, almost no one teaches you the nuts and bolts of growing a healthy and sustainable business. So I saw a huge need to help people be successful doing what they love and are great at.

At Wethos, we often talk about “knowing when to fire yourself.” When it comes to delegating, what’s your top advice for independents trying to figure this out?

Such a great quote! My top advice for when to outsource and stop trying to do it all yourself is when you hit one (or all!) of these triggers:

  1. Your business is profitable and you have margin to afford to outsource or delegate some things
  2. When you fall out of love with an aspect of your service or want to elevate the way you serve and bring in someone to handle the more basic or less fun tasks for you
  3. When you’re wasting more time and energy trying to continue handling something that is NOT in your zone of genius (like bookkeeping,etc) and it’s worth the investment to you to get that time back to put towards higher value things. 

It can vary for every business but you almost always know- you’re either burn out with certain tasks, wasting too much time on menial things, or are simple ready to get some time back either to rebalance your life or create the added capacity to scale the business further.

What’s a top pitfall that growing independents should be sure to keep in mind, specifically around client management?

The biggest misstep I see independents take when they are growing is not setting effective expectations and boundaries with their clients, especially around communication. So many headaches, on both sides, can be avoided if you set a clear means, frequency, and turnaround time for communication when you onboard a client. This way there’s no hurt feeling if you reply the next business day, you’re not being bombarded with notifications after hours, you can set an appropriate turnaround window so you don’t pressure yourself into overworking and over-delivering to please a new client, etc. 

As a NOMAWO expert, what piece of advice do you find yourself always sharing with each cohort?

One topic thread that has proven more valuable with each group of independents we talk to is the power of your mindset and how you think about yourself and your business. I find often that the advice is NOT to think of yourself as a freelancer, even if you have no ambitions to grow a team or ever scale beyond a solo provider. Because there currently exist mental connotations, for you and for clients, around the word freelancer — that it’s less valuable, say, than a ‘consultant’ or ‘strategist’ or a word that more accurately describes what you deliver. 

Our words shape our thinking, which shapes the way you market yourself, the way you price yourself, and the way you are perceived by potential clients. Your mindset around your professional identity really sets the tone and foundation for all the actions you’ll take in business so it’s great to shift this early on to better align to your goals.

Given your expertise with systems, what’s something you always stress when teaching about streamlining business systems for more successful growth?

I think ‘business systems’ can be a sort of nebulous, intimidating concept when you’re an independent. So the key is to think about how to make your own life easier. Sometime this is about saving you time on repetitive tasks by creating templates or delegating. When you’re really good at a specific service, you tend to get into a flow state and just do without thinking about the steps you’re taking, so one key is slowing down and documenting the what and why of each step. It’s automatic to you… so it can be hard to think about what your subconscious reasoning was as you went along. 

Another trick to document a system as you go instead of trying to create from scratch is simply to turn on a screen recording and dictate/talk your way through the process as you go. This can be transcribed, edited and turned into an SOP which then enables you to leverage support to execute some steps, or templatize your process to make it faster to deliver and increase your capacity.

My biggest tip is always step back and look at what you’re doing, notice what is repetitive or where the opportunities are.

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