Business Owners Report: Sarah Novak Coaching


Your name: Sarah Novak

How many years have you been living life in the Foreign Service?

5 years

Where have you been posted?

Manila, Philippines; Lima, Peru; and Washington, DC.

Briefly describe your career path:

I worked as a Buyer at Target Headquarters for 5 years before becoming a Certified Co-active Life Coach with the Coaches Training Institute in 2007. In 2012 I added a Creative Grief Coaching Certification to meet my growing desire to do more grief work with clients. I have worked with 200+ individual clients via phone or skype over the last 7 years. A more detailed bio can be found under the “About Sarah” section of my website.

What is the name of your business?

Sarah Novak Coaching

Briefly describe your business:

I coach individuals in life transition who are struggling with adversity of some kind (death, health issue, lay-off, move or a life transition like marriage, birth, divorce or retirement).

I help my clients process their loss/grief in a way that allows them to move forward with confidence and clarity. I’m a firm believer that grief is a natural part of any life transition and that it must be acknowledged and embraced in order to move forward successfully. My strength lies in helping individuals face their grief in a way that feels safe and do-able.

Why did you start this business?

To be of service to individuals who are struggling with grief and adversity.

When did you start this business?

1 October 2007

What makes you stand out from your competitors? What makes your business unique?

I focus on coaching the non-death grieving that occurs at life’s transition moments. Most grief coaches focus solely on death-based grieving so I’ve carved out a unique niche that has tremendous need. My clients are commonly working through grief around fertility, divorce, health issues, job loss, moves or retirement (to name a few!). I firmly believe that grief can be an amazing catalyst for transformation in our lives if we’re open to the insights it has to give us.

How does your business fit into the Foreign Service lifestyle?

I am fortunate in that my business aligns beautifully with the foreign service lifestyle. All of my client calls take place via phone or skype, my marketing is done primarily online and I can ramp up or down my client load depending on how much transition we have coming up.

What has been your biggest challenge with your business so far?

Coaching is hard to market/sell because 1.) it is not well-understand and 2.) I am essentially selling myself and that felt very vulnerable at first.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

Seeing clients achieve goals they never thought possible.

What resources have been particularly helpful to you when you were starting your business?

Which resources do you use to maintain your business?

  • Timetrade for scheduling
  • Asana for project management
  • Nimble for customer relationship management (crm)
  • Go-Daddy Book-keeping for finances
  • Paypal for taking payments
  • Hootsuite for social media management
  • Workflowy for idea generation
  • WordPress for my blogging/site platform
  • Thesis for my site theme
  • Hostmonster for my web hosting

Any advice for any EFMs thinking about starting their own business?

  • Entrepreneurship is incredibly rewarding but also equally challenging. It will bring up a lot of your personal issues. Be prepared to deal with them if you want to find long-term success.
  • Don’t wait until you have everything perfect to get started (ie: a website up, matching business cards, marketing materials). Just do it NOW or you’ll find that you can always find one reason or another to put it off.
  • Entrepreneurship can be very lonely. Find a support network that you can brainstorm with and lean on when the going gets tough. (Hint: AAFSW’s EFM Business Owner Group is a great place to start!)

Are you on LinkedIn?

Of course, check out my profile here.

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