Anne Clarke Connected Thinking
I love working in my niche to help riding schools and equestrian businesses grow and diversify. It is my passion to help these businesses remain current when consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated.
It’s important to me to support the places where people can discover the many benefits of horses. Having seen many go out of business.
But getting to the point where I am right now has been a life changing and a challenging journey.
As a business coach you need to lead by example, with a positive outlook. You need to be clear in your message and deliver it with confidence. This has never come naturally to me, it’s something I’ve always struggled with. I think compounded by my dyslexia. But I now know that my abilities have always been there, the difference now is I believe in them! This kind of reality breakthrough only comes by working on yourself perhaps with the help of a coach. Unjumbling all that noise we all have going on in our heads.
I was first exposed to coaching through my old boss, whilst working at British Equestrian Federation. After being micro-managed in previous roles, this was a breath of fresh air! From then on I was keen to see how I could develop the skills to help people unlock their own potential just like her.
Drawing all the threads of my past together from my various roles in the equestrian industry, I can now confidently say that my life feels on purpose. But it took quite a bit of trial and error to find and refine my niche. But as a result, I am now aware of my strengths and play to them and find ways to overcome the rest. So here is what my typical week is like.
A Typical Week in My Life
When I get up in the morning, first of all, I am a mummy! So I help my daughter to get to school. We have a lift share operating with other local parents, and the mornings are so much easier now she is growing up. This means I get more time for myself now to get into a productive zone. I try to prioritise time to get clear on what I want to achieve for the day.
I have found batching my work into types which requires similar brain cells. This really helps your productivity as you are not jumping from one thing to another. So it would look a bit like this:
This is when I do all my coaching calls either clients who are signed up to my group programme or my 1 to 1 clients. I also review any of their homework and give them feedback.
I dedicate to business development calls. This would include following up leads. But also calls with my associates – key people whom we all refer work between each other.
Wednesday’s and Thursday’s
I tend to make myself available to clients for meetings or training. They are better days for travel, avoiding the dreaded M25 on Monday’s and Friday’s is a must! I might be working with a board of an equestrian charity on their strategy. Coaching a team at a riding school helping them to improve their internal communications. Or meeting stakeholders of a client to engage them in a growth strategy.
Wednesday’s are also all about money! This is a chance for me to catch up on my accounts, making payments and chasing outstanding invoices. I would also review any of my services and agreements I have with suppliers. If I don’t have any client meetings I will treat myself on this day to something, or finish earlier. This helps me to enjoy this area much more and I look forward to doing it.
Thursday if I am not at client meetings. You will find me batch writing copy, to store for the future. I may write blogs, emails, newsletters or press releases for myself or my clients and sections of business plans. I will write as much as I can when in this zone, but I am a slow writer! But this strategy allows me to have new content to pull out when I have a busy week of clients and I am away from my office.
At the end of the week, you can find me hanging out on social media and doing techy stuff. Here I will plan my social media activity (and my clients) for the week and also any scheduled emails.
There are a few other things I try and do every week…
I practice Kundalini yoga with a lovely group of ladies and afterward we are all treated to a gong bath. If you have never had one I would search out someone in your local area. It’s great for giving you a system reset.
This year has been the first time I have not had a horse in my life for 24 years. Instead of owning our own, I now take my daughter to a local riding school (also great market research). I have found this has really developed her confidence riding different ponies each week. The more I have worked on my own self-development has meant I no longer have a desire to compete myself. Instead, I’ve been exploring the soulful connection with horses through some wonderful courses. The best one was with my daughter. It looked at the mother and daughter relationship, which I found truly eye opening!
I think it is important to give back. The ladies in our yoga group fundraise every full moon for Rockinghorse a local charity supporting sick children in Sussex. I also make sure to support my favourite horse charity Redwings when I can.
More recently I’ve become a mentor for The Girls Network. I suffered huge anxiety issues as a teenager and young adult, and the pressure is only increasing for young people. It’s exciting to be able to support someone like me at the start of her journey.
Here is a list of my go to tools and apps I use each week to run my life and business:
Google Drive/Mail – This means I always have access to all my files on the go.
Droptask – This is one of the most fun ways of managing your projects, ideas and helps you to get things done. If you are visual thinker I think you will love this.
Xero – Managing my accounts online and scanning my receipts via the phone app. Once it is set up it’s so easy and dare I say fun!
Hemmingway editor – I write all my copy in here, it’s a great way to check the readability of blogs and funding applications. It also helps support my dyslexia making the whole process of writing easier for me!
Google Hangouts – This is where I record all my coaching sessions and training videos.
Pinterest – I love this for my own goal setting, but also for sharing private boards when I am goal setting with my coaching clients.
My goal for the future is to raise my visibility and produce more content and training for my clients. I would also like to get a sit up and beg bike and get out and do some more exercise!
I will be talking for the 3rd year at Rural Entrepreneur Live at the NEC, 8th and 9th November. This is a great event for anyone with a land based business who is looking to diversify.
Tickets are free so do check it out if this sounds like it could inspire your business:
Anne Clarke has worked in the equestrian sector for 15 years spanning PR & marketing, sponsorship, event management and bid writing. She has worked for the British Equestrian Federation, running the Hoof Network, a 2012 Legacy project to support businesses operating in the sector.
Her passion for protecting equestrianism at grassroots, led her to set up Connected Thinking. Her aim is to support owners and operators of equestrian businesses, who impact the future growth of the sport, get unstuck navigating the industry and unlock its true potential. She helps her clients by saving them time and energy, utilising her wide network and expertise to get them quick and effective results.