Betty came to me because she was tired and overwhelmed. In talking with her I discovered that she had only one client, but that client was a company, and she supported ten people.
Intrigued, I asked her to share more about how that worked.
"The owner of the company is a coach. She has nine other coaches that she sends clients to—all clients are coached using her coaching method. So I support all ten of them with their individual practices. The client got me to create a retainer for them of 40 hours/month, but they all share the hours. She pays me, and I think they pay her a share of the fee each month,” Betty said.
"How many of them did you interview with?” I asked. “Just the owner,” she answered.
“And how many of the coaches are your ideal clients?” Betty thought for a minute, then said, “Three.”
Wow. I didn’t need to hear more to understand her fatigue and overwhelm!
I pointed out to her that the core of the issue was that she had one “client,” but was having to manage ten people, ten businesses, ten relationships, ten… of everything. Additionally, seven of them were people she probably shouldn’t even be working with; that she wouldn't have chosen to work with. Finally, she was having to expend a great deal of energy working with folks, each of whom, on average, worked with her a measly four hours/month.
Betty looked stunned. “I never thought of it that way. I was just so excited to get the clients, it never occurred to me that doing it this way might be more difficult and tiring.”
This is why it's smart to say no to group deals. They are too time and energy consuming, you often have to work with folks you wouldn’t have chosen for yourself, and the money—regardless of how nice it looks—is never worth the hassle.
Instead, use your moxie to protect yourself and your practice. Tell the group leader that you’re happy to consider supporting her group members, but you really must interview with each, and if appropriate, form a relationship with each, have a contract agreement with each, and that each must meet your minimum number of hours (I recommend no fewer than ten/month). If she’s not interested, take a pass. You’ll never miss them, I promise.