Cracking The Whip

2011 October 22

I’ve done the coaching thing before. I’ve written about how I tried to become a coach and just ended up feeling like a robot no one would ever love. So, when Erika Lyremark offered me a spot* in her Morning Whip business coaching program, I waffled a bit. On one hand, Erika is awesome (you guys, she used to be a STRIPPER). On the other, taking the time out to devote to rummaging around in my own head when I have 49 concrete things on my to-do list that need tackling seemed like a time suck that I could ill afford.  But awesome and free and curiosity won out, so I said yes.

It was a good choice. The Morning Whip is not for the commitment-phobic. The month-long program for (aspiring) entrepreneurs consists of three lessons/week, three corresponding teleconference discussions and lots of homework.  Participants (or Whipsters, as Erika calls them) are encouraged to share their progress by posting to a private Facebook group and participating in the thrice-weekly call-ins. Given that I work a 9 – 5, 8 – 5, 7:30 – 6, I couldn’t make the teleconferences, which is my big regret about my participation. I think it would have been even more energizing if I’d been able to interact with the rest of the class on the regular. I had to make do with listening to the lessons on my iPod at the gym.

Erika’s style is not at all touchy-feely. I would have never agreed to go along for the ride if it was. She swears (shoulds are sh*tty might be my favorite line in the whole program), she talks about getting naked for money and her audio lessons feature  sound clips of whips and stilettos. Despite being a fan of flats and many layers of clothing, I can relate. The Morning Whip is centered on tough girl empowerment – identify what you want, set concrete goals, give yourself an accountability structure (Erika refers to the Whip List, which calls for participants to list daily and monthly to-dos and expected results). Given that a lack of self-confidence has never been an issue around these parts, I appreciated that Erika emphasized practical steps to get from A to B, with a minimum of New Age hand-holding. I love me some hand-holding, but context is everything. She also provides examples from her own life and business, so you know these prescriptions are road-tested and not just lofty pronouncements.

I was a little concerned that because I only do the entrepreneur thing as a side hustle right now, I wouldn’t benefit as much as someone who is self-employed, but getting your butt kicked is getting your butt kicked, ya know? In a month in which I’ve been absolutely buried under projects, I found that having someone sternly telling me every day that I needed to keep my eye on the prize, ditch distractions and focus on monetizing my pie-in-the-sky ambitions was exactly what was called for.

And from a feminist perspective, I love the fact that Erika talks money (something we also covered when I interviewed her for Forbes a couple of months ago) with no hesitation. This is so refreshing. She assumes her (largely female) audience isn’t in business for self-actualization or for an altruistic high. Entrepreneurs want to earn cold hard cash and she makes no bones about the fact that the Morning Whip is ultimately aimed at getting participants to up their profitability vs. rolling around in a field of puppies that smell like fabric softener.

If you’re interested in checking out what Erika has to offer, she’s starting a new Morning Whip on Oct 23. If you have specific questions related to the program, drop her a line. She might be a business dominatrix, but she’s very gracious and approachable. Also, tell her that I said to ask her about her thoughts on hustling  vs. drug addiction. She’ll get the joke.

*Our agreement was that I would take the course for free in exchange for writing about my experience with the program. Erika had no idea what I was going to write and all opinions expressed are my own. No money changed hands and I don’t get a cut of the action if any of my readers end up enrolling. My credibility is as unimpeachable as my lady-like virtue.

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