Business Mentoring Case-Study Checkpoint (Heather Holtschlag’s Results & Thoughts)

We are in the middle of our mentoring case-study at FreelanceMom with Heather and I wanted to share some of Heather’s experience so far.  Running a business and managing being a mom is a challenging task and sometimes we reach our daily, weekly, monthly goals and sometimes we don’t.  Heather offers an honest and real look into her own feelings around trying to get her PR business off the ground,  how she has come along with her prospecting goals and how coaching has helped so far.


For starters, wow…so far, this business mentoring project has been amazing.

Although we are still in its infancy stages, this project has already taught me more than I ever thought possible, and I have used more skills than I ever thought I had, particularly skills outside of my established skillset.  My husband always told me I could launch my own freelance business and be successful, and I am actually starting to really believe it.

My First Coaching Experience

I began by getting to know Lisa and what her life is like outside of mommyhood. And I know for certain that no matter your backgrounds, you can become instant friends with any mother who is trying to successfully raise children while also establishing a successful business.

I also talked to business coach Jaime Tardy.

Prior to ever getting to know or talking to Lisa or Jaime, I had very little idea what a business coach was or did, how they helped people and their purpose.

So I was nervous about meeting Jaime (especially since it was through a Skype call and we could talk face to face!).  I was worried about her impression of me, if she would think my idea of launching a freelance business was crazy or if she would think that the type of business I manage would be too outlandish to ever become a reality.

I was pleasantly surprised….

She was down to earth and could completely relate to my situation, as a mother herself, trying to manage a successful coaching business. We talked about my goals – both short term and long term – and the steps I needed to take to make that happen. We also talked about being real with the expectations I set for myself, given that I’m at home with two small children. All in all, it was a productive, “real” call that made me feel more optimistic that I could do this.

Results From Coaching Sessions So Far

With Jaime’s help, I set a few goals to get my business going in the direction in which I want it to.

How do I describe what I do?

To begin, Jaime asked that I consider changing my title from “freelance writer & PR specialist” to simply “marketing consultant.” Jaime felt that a broader, more general title such as marketing consultant would help to better encompass all of the types of work I do.  She also felt that people have a better understand the term ‘marketing’ than they do ‘public relations.’ I have since begun the title transition, particularly on email signatures and when people ask me what I do.

Prospecting, Prospecting and More Prospecting

Jaime also suggested that I talk to five prospective business clients per week. Since my targeted niche is private practice primary care physicians, who are notoriously hard to reach, I’m trying to attract them through a wide variety of methods.

For starters, I reached out to a physician I used to work with when I worked fulltime in a local hospital’s marketing department. This particular physician and I worked together a lot, and though she is a pediatric allergist, she works regularly with primary care physicians who are a big referral source. I sent her an email to let her know of my business plans and asked her what would be the best way to reach my target niche. I asked if there are regular meetings these physicians attend or if there were specific, but successful, ways that I could reach them. To my surprise, she graciously offered to reach out to some physicians for me and asked that I follow up with her in a week or two. As of this writing, I am in the midst of this waiting period and will be following up with her soon.

I also reached out to a local radio reporter who I worked with almost daily, and still talk to occasionally, mainly through Facebook. I announced my business plans and asked if she were to come across any physicians during the course of her radio segment interviews, if she could pass my name along. I did the same for a local television medical reporter, who also moonlights as a neurologist, and is married to a physician. Both are going to get back to me with some ideas on how to pursue my target audience.

In addition, I saw a job posting on a local job board for a fulltime marketing professional at an area hospital. I researched the job contact, and sent an email with my resume, asking if they would consider hiring a freelance person in the interim of finding someone full time. Although I never heard back, I feel like I got my name out there to the right contact, and should the need arise, or should they ever see my byline somewhere, they will remember receiving my resume.

Through my feed on LinkedIn, I noticed a “call for help” for local PR professionals who could help serve on a committee to promote a local charitable organization. The post was from a PR specialist at a local hospital, and even though this might not be my ideal opportunity, I see it as a way of connecting with someone who could potentially lead me to bigger and better things.

As I forge ahead, I’m learning that perhaps one of the best ways to get your name out there is through the spirit of volunteerism, especially when launching your business. Getting your name out there is so important, and who wouldn’t want the help of a volunteer? And, if you do a good job, it could lead to more work that pays!

So, while I have NOT met my goal of prospecting with five potential clients per week, I feel like the work I have done to this point has been extremely beneficial. Lisa and Jaime have provided support and encouragement, and I know that, with patience and time, things will fall into place. It is important that I realize that my kids are young only once, and my time with them is valuable. So I’m trying to be extra cautious on how much work I take on or how much time I am away from them. I start my week with a to-do list, and if I get 60 percent of it done by week’s end, I pat myself on the back.

In between my prospecting and seeking out ways to attract clients, I keep up with freelance writing for local magazines and sites like I write for one community magazine that does not pay its writers, but just published a large profile piece on me and my business. It’s not always about a paycheck!

But all in all, I have learned that it IS possible to be yourself and be a mom at the same time!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.