Sheri Guyse, life coach and founder at Big Bravely, talks with us about how moving away from a “ramshackle collection” of payment providers and consolidating all of her payment needs with MoonClerk helped improve her business.
Can you tell us a little about Big Bravely?
I coach people one-on-one, teach workshops and organize group programs centered around helping people become who they have always wanted to be and do what they actually want to be doing.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Most days I am answering emails from clients, having one-on-one sessions with clients and potential clients and putting what attention I can on the story of what I do. That looks like creating online content or planning future projects for fans of Big Bravely. I’m also, more days than not, checking on other coaching colleagues to see how their own businesses are growing and going. I like to lend support wherever I can because when I was getting my own start I learned a ton of lessons.
How did Big Bravely get started?
A little over a year ago I left my 10 year career in communications to launch Big Bravely. Essentially, I followed a calling I’d had for a few years and after graduating the program where I got my certification. I couldn’t wait to get started helping people get out of their own damn way (being ‘stuck’ – a common trait I see in a lot of the people I attract).
And how did you get into coaching?
I can find various place where this “started” in the past 15 years but when I finally saw a pattern emerge was 3 years ago during a session with my own creativity coach. She asked if I could do whatever I wanted for a living I answered, “I want to have deep conversations with people in coffee shops and travel to music festivals.” I think lots of us coaches can see the other coaches, sometime before they can see it themselves. She saw that in me and planted not just a seed, but a fairly matured sapling. Within a year I was enrolled in Interchange Counseling Institute and traveling from Oklahoma City to San Francisco once a month for classes – no small feat for a single mom of limited means. But I figured it out.
What have been some key factors in your business’ growth?
One of the key factors in my growth haas been that I’ve gotten lots and lots of support. By late 2015 things were looking pretty bleak for my business. I realized that despite being an excellent coach and counselor, I was a pretty wishy-washy sales person. Getting real training and support in sales that also aligned with my integrity as a heart-based business owner completely transformed my practice. I also stopped selling my time by the hour, found other coaches in my type of work to bounce ideas off of or to teach the lessons I was learning, and hired a kick-ass therapist where I could process the whirlwind I’ve put myself through as an entrepreneur.
What do you use MoonClerk for?
I use Stripe plus MoonClerk to collect down-payments and automatic monthly investments from clients. It’s so damn easy to use for me and/or any new client who is enrolling.
Before MoonClerk, did you use another payment system?
Yep. I used a ramshackle collection of PayPal, checks, cash and Square. These previous systems (and I use ‘systems’ loosely) were clunky for me to get the actual money into my necessary accounts. I was using a version of PayPal that required me to log into the account and initiate a bank transfer through a series of steps. With Square things were a little better for one-time payments, but it still took took long the funds to land in my account.
How did these problems affect your business?
They weren’t catastrophic problems, just terribly inefficient. I’m mostly a solo practitioner wearing a lot of hats. Any place I can free up my time means there’s more time to give to my clients or give to my family.
What made you decide to use MoonClerk?
A coaching friend swore by MoonClerk and recommended it. From the first transaction I was delighted and totally sold.
What was your experience when switching and getting started with MoonClerk?
It was super easy to get started with MoonClerk. Most of my other client agreements were expiring soon so when people enrolled or renewed I just dropped them into a MoonClerk form. It was so ridiculously easy and professional.
What do you like about MoonClerk?
Simplicity and flexibility are two words that come to mind when I think about MoonClerk. It’s all pretty straightforward, the user interface is nice to look at and intuitive to use, and there are enough options included that when I need to create payment forms, it’s super easy. And I’m not even fully using all the options available to me! Also, any time I’ve had support issues (all due to me learning the software) the response from the support team has be super quick and wildly friendly.
How has MoonClerk improved or helped your business?
My business operations staff is comprised of myself and a bookkeeper I have on retainer. Because of the nature of my work, I keep a tight lid on client confidentiality and have to share payment information with my bookeeeper in a way that allows her to get to the information she needs but without me disclosing client identities. In MoonClerk (with help from Zapier) I can export protected information to a Google Doc that she can consult at a glance.
Any advice for others who are in similar industries?
This has not much at all to do with MoonClerk, but yes – I’ve got advice for other coaches. Spend money on support for yourself – get a business coach that feels good and has killer testimonials; subscribe to tools that streamline your business-end-of -hings (eg. MoonClerk, 17hats, or another CRM, Acuity or another online scheduler, etc.) and learn about the laws of attraction. If you are spending a lot of time on your admin (or spending great swaths of time being intimidated by it) you are keeping your core genius from the people who desperately need your help.