Women reach clients around the globe

For many women, building a home-based business means figuring out the local market and competition. For others, it means spreading their wings and working all over the world from their tiny corner of the world.

Deborah Martin did just that. In the last eight years as a Certified Personal and Professional Transition Coach in Fife Lake, she has built a coaching business of over 400 clients from as close as seven miles away to as far away as Japan. At any point in time, she is coaching 17 to 24 people.

In March of 1996, Martin began her coaching practice, Portage, out of her home and on her own. Prior to that, she owned Martin Consulting and Training, where she facilitated business training. She had a contract with an organization that decided they wanted to add coaching to the training she was doing for them.

"I gladly accepted the challenge and immersed myself in the coaching community," she said. "I found that coaching came easily for me. I loved coaching enough to get my coaching credentials."

Martin is a graduate of Coach University and an International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach. She is also a founding member of Coachville, the world's largest coach training organization.

Martin gives Mother Nature credit for being her first coach. Her style is to guide clients toward their own truth using compassion and fun. One of Martin's favorite back-county activities is portaging her canoe from one lake to another. She loves the discovery process.

"The portage itself is as much fun as getting to the next lake," she said, noting that any transition must be driven by a value that reflects the core of who you are. "When you get to the who, the what and how happen naturally."

Martin does most of her coaching sessions by phone and typically starts working with clients three times a month for 30-40 minute sessions each. She then moves to a "maintenance" program of one or two sessions a month. She also offers Adventure Coaching trips and teleclasses that are five days long.

How does she make connections that are so far reaching?

"The best way to make connections is to ask your current clients for referrals," Martin said. "Many would love to refer friends and associates to you, but they just don't think about it until you ask."

In addition, Martin credits her website, www.portagecoach.com, as essential to her business.

"The decision to hire a coach can be a lengthy process," she said. "That's why I broadcast a monthly, free e-newsletter. When they make the decision to go for a big transition, I often get called because they know enough about me and my coaching style."

Camille Kocsis also points to her website as key to building her business, Northern Wellness, from the small town of Honor. Kocsis is a master success coach, speaker, facilitator and author.

With her weekly e-zine newsletter at www.northernwellness.com, Kocsis stays in touch with about 900 of her clients from Malaysia, Singapore, England, Scotland, Mexico, the States and more.

"It becomes quite a small world when you move into the global economy," she said. "What I have found is that we are all essentially alike with the same problems, concerns and questions about life and living it to the fullest. When it comes to the kind of work I do, we are all seeking the same thing… the only difference is our accent and our time zone."

After spending almost 20 years in the corporate world in management training and development, she started Northern Wellness in 1997, facilitating weekend retreats that were a combination of physical activities and workshops on self-improvement. But when she was introduced to personal development guru Bob Proctor, a master success coach in Canada, it changed her career path.

"I attended one of his seminars and it turned my life around," she said. "He was looking for facilitators to teach his material and I jumped at the chance. In six months I was contracted with him as his VP of Training and Development and found myself running his facilitator program worldwide. I developed all the materials, trained and coached close to 300 facilitators."

Then, last fall she decided it was time to move out on her own again.

"I had a lot of material inside of me that needed to get out in the form of my own programs, tapes and books," she said. "It was time to build my dream instead of someone else's."

Kocsis put together a new program called "Conceive, Believe, Achieve! 9 Steps to Achieving Your Dreams" and offered it as a certified course for independent trainers and coaches. She now has facilitators in the UK, Australia, Canada and the States teaching the program.

Her next program due out is called "Wealth for Women" and is scheduled for Oct. 21-23 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City. The three-day seminar is geared toward women and addresses self-image, paradigms and mindset about money.

What's Kocsis' advice for women looking to take their business global? "Do it! Get a good website built and get out there. Your market is huge today. If you've got a great product or service that people need, they're going to need it everywhere, not just in Traverse City."

Like Kocsis, Nancy Vogl of Traverse City has built her business by looking outside of her own corner of the world. She owns Universal Speakers Bureau (USB) and represents professional speakers and celebrities for speaking engagements all over the world.

The seeds of Vogl's business started in 1991 when she was working for Oldsmobile/Chevrolet in East Lansing. She founded a motivational library for their employees and began booking motivational speakers for the company.

"I didn't even know I was building a whole new business," she said with a laugh. "It wasn't until 1994 that I started getting serious about doing a speakers bureau, when a friend pointed out that that's essentially what I had been doing."

Taking the leap, Vogl sold tickets to her first event, a speaking engagement by Dr. Wayne Dyer at Michigan State University, before Dyer even agreed to do it.

"He was so remarkable, but he said he wouldn't come," she said. "But I was determined and kept calling him. He finally asked me why I wouldn't give up and I told him because, like he says, 'you can see it when you believe it.' I believed he would come. Five weeks before the event he said yes."

From there, USB evolved when a handful of businesses from banks to hospitals called upon Vogl to provide speakers for their events. Because she had spent years getting to know so many speakers in her former job, she had unwittingly laid the foundation for a successful bureau.

She put together a catalog of speakers and mailed out 4,000 copies to businesses all over the country. Then she got on the phone and started making contacts, attending conventions and building relationships.

USB now books big names in politics and media, as well as entertainers, sports figures and authors, as well as motivational speakers. Vogl has worked with Barbara Bush, Art Linkletter and Newt Gingrich to name a few. They have booked such speakers for businesses, like GM, Compaq, Toyota and Remax, as well as companies in Canada, Mexico, England and all 50 states.

The site, www.universalspeakers.com, offers more information on the speakers they book.

"The best part of my business is being a connector for people of tremendous influence," Vogl said. "It's so amazing to have access to the world's best; there's no excuse not to succeed." BN