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When to Hire a Business Coach?

Updated: Jan 2

Josh Emerick Creative Business Coach

Me in my dope TransAm that I certainly own from being a badass in business and not a rental for a music video project...

Alright, my goal here isn't to persuade you but to guide you with some questions to ask yourself. Coaching, in my opinion, can be highly beneficial, but not everyone is ready. Additionally, just getting a coach will only solve some of your problems. You need a coach who can help you with your unique challenges, one you can trust and get vulnerable with and, most importantly, build a relationship with. Treat it like dating. Chemistry is king, but building the relationship you desire takes work.

The coaching industry is exploding. Seems like a good thing, but so much of it feels desperate. I'm not stating that these mentors are wrong or their programs don't work, but coming back to my point above, you should build a relationship with your potential coach and learn as much as possible before taking the plunge. One program promises this, and another promises that and it's all conveniently the thing we need. We all have our struggles. The truth is there is no promise. I can't promise anything, and neither can any coach. Why? Because coaching only works if both parties show up, are open with each other and do the work together.  

So why get a Business coach? 

I'll share a bit about my journey. In 2023, I formally joined a mastermind group, and I loved it, but my coaching didn't start here. Coaching begins with the right mindset, and I did a ton of self-mentoring before fully committing to a coaching program.

If there's one thing you take from this blog, it's the value of building a learning habit. This will be the foundation you set before paid coaching. Personal coaching or masterminds are fueling the fire, but you want to have a foundation to maximize what you get from a coach.

"Josh gives a lot of psychological safety when having conversations. This approach created confidence for me. This business can be hard to get into, even with formal education. Josh speaks from his experiences, pain points, and successes, which gave me the confidence to move forward with my dream. I'm excited about getting new leads and confidently providing proposals to clients. But, more importantly, building lasting relationships with clients. I enjoy that each session is recorded and available for replay. It may seem small, but when life continues to happen, it's great to see what is covered in my downtime."
Leonard Thomas | Owner/Operator of Motivated Media Productions

Who am I?

There's a ton about me all over this website, but to give you context in case this is your first introduction to me, I'm Josh Emerick, a Video Producer, DP, blah blah blah. All things video, I guess. I'd argue I'm more of a creative thinker and leader, but we hold onto titles a lot for some reason. I run a few video businesses. JECP is the music video brand, Myelin is commercial, PRSRVE is weddings, I still freelance, and Theal is the creative assets and coaching brand.

I was feeling super stuck in my video business in 2018. I was at a seriously low point (like rock bottom broke, burnt out, and stressed). I felt beat, wanted to throw in the towel, and was depleted of all motivation. A slew of things had been happening to hit this point of realization. I started my business all excited and driven in 2011. In year one, we quickly shifted from doing everything to primarily focusing on bands and music videos.

Specializing in music videos is challenging, but it gave us many superpowers. Ohio is a very commercial video business focus, and while our worthy rivals often had 10-30 person crews, our projects often felt overstaffed at 5 people (in relation to our budgets). This challenge alone forced us to get innovative, efficient, and focused to raise the bar and compete. We wanted to help artists and be artists. It was fun in the beginning, but over time, resentment built.

Our budgets rose slower than we liked, but we pressed hard to improve our process. I believed a lie. 

"Josh is nothing short of absolutely genuine. That's huge for something like this, as I feel like many coaches are just focusing on the money. He genuinely wants to help everyone. I felt out of place at the beginning, but over time have gotten more confident in expressing my obstacles and problems within my business. There has been nothing but positivity within this program, and I am very grateful for that! Whenever I can share something that helps another student, it feels good as I am not a mentor myself! I struggled with knowing my worth and having imposter syndrome. It's a little daunting to ask for help, but Josh has given me tools to use both within my business and life. I'm becoming more confident in myself and getting the value across to my clients easier."
KENRICK MILLS | Photographer/Videographer of Earthwalker Media

"If our work got better, we could start charging more."

I'm pretty sure I'm the first person to have this thought... This thinking makes sense, but the truth is that sales are about learning more, offering better solutions, and communicating your value. Gear and videos aren't value, really (they're solutions), and only support sales a little.

So, in 2018, I wanted to give up. Our budgets rarely broke $5k, and when they did, we would overspend and lose money. I did give up on running my business for about 8 months. I took a simple freelance job that paid exceptionally well, doing basically nothing on set daily. A dream job. I was making killer money, yet somehow even unhappier.

How could that be? I wasn't living up to my potential. I also couldn't understand how a job could be so wasteful of resources and still operate. If they could do this and pay me, then I realized I had some work to do. I needed to grow. I started asking myself some better questions early on, so my journey of self-discovery began.

In those 8 months, I didn't sit idol. I now see it as the cocoon phase and rebirth of our business. I started devouring podcasts from other business owners and stories to learn (Shout out to Short Story Long Podcast - You saved me). I got clear on our why and purpose that we subtly had been losing and realized that money was only part of the issue. 

To make a long story short, this was a period when I realized I am a learner, and that gift helps me and helps my clients, so I developed a 3-6hr a week goal to listen to podcasts and read books. As time progressed, I started taking online courses from some of these platforms, and eventually, in 2023, I found my coach (Extra shout out to Ryan Koral - You're a gift to me and many others in the creative community). Those 5 years have been nonstop growth, and I am grateful for it all.

"My biggest challenge was a problem I didn't even know I had. Josh helped me discover my strong suits as a filmmaker and how to present them to my clients. Josh coaches one-on-one and asks the best questions. We dug further and got into how that benefits the client and what I can offer them to maximize their potential, which is essential. It's a whole new world of potential as I move into the corporate filmmaking world with new confidence in my abilities and the direction I can offer to clients. Josh REALLY cares. And it's honestly FUN! I've had mentorships in the past that are total snooze fests. He always seems to be queued up with the next question, ready to dig deeper and help uncover the root of your problem".
Vince Lundi | Owner of Midwest Motion, Image in Motion & Vince Lundi Films

Before considering a coach, I ask you this: 

Are you a learner? 

Do you believe yourself to be malleable and adaptable or set with the skillset and capabilities you possess? You must embrace a growth mindset for coaching to work, paid or free. I encourage anyone to open their minds and ask more impactful questions. They will almost always make us question ourselves.

The pitfalls of inspiration. 

Early on in my self-mentorship, I realized I had a problem. I was an inspiration junkie. I was devouring 10-20 hours of podcasts every week and feeling inspired, and then all of a sudden, I felt like shit. Why? How? It was too much of a good thing. I needed to make some tweaks to my new activity.

Here's the thing. All ideas and no action is passive learning. Active learning is implementing the ideas. Take action or fall victim. This is another reason I advise with self-mentorship before hiring a coach and getting yourself results. You get even better results with a coach and something more critical most coaches aren't telling you. I was free range on my listening, and I adjusted it to 3 hours, brought a journal along, and buffered it in 15 minutes to take notes after listening to review what I learned and make notes for actions I could take. The info started to stick; I was getting a lot done and seeing actual results in no time.

Action is everything.

I require action in my program. Early on, I loved having a great conversation and helping other creatives, but I wasn't helping them. Turns out I was inspiring, but they weren't taking action. I got frustrated when I realized students would return with a question 3 months later that we already dove deep into. I couldn't understand. Turns out I wasn't being blunt enough. I needed to make an action plan. 

I want to go a layer deeper. 

The problem with inaction is that you can't take someone to the next layer. Like a video game, there are levels in your evolution, and you can't "Easy Button" it to level 52 when you're on level 7. You also don't want this, I promise. Skills stack and the XP you gain in previous levels set you up for easy gameplay at those higher levels, so do the work. It's your practice. It's the building blocks. In short, TAKE ACTION.

"These calls are life-changing. Before starting the coaching program, I struggled immensely in almost every aspect of the business, although at the time, I thought it was purely leads and finance. I quickly learned that was not the case. It's hard as a struggling business owner to invest in something with no guaranteed return; however, the knowledge, guidance, and care you receive is invaluable, and the return I've seen from implementing said knowledge, reorganizing my business, and following through on our action plan is incredible. Josh removed my hesitations and instilled confidence in me right from the jump. We broke down why I do what I do and how wins and losses make me feel, and we found various holes in my business that needed immediate attention and some smaller ones we could focus on long term. Josh guides you as an equal. He is passionate about what he does and uplifts other artists to be better than before each meeting". 
Jacob Myers | Music Video, Commercial & Wedding Filmmaker

So now you're motivated, have a growth mindset, and are an action-taker. What next?

What problems do you have? This is where self-mentorship falls short. It takes a lot of work to ask yourself these questions. It's not impossible, and over the years, I've realized why we have grown as fast as we have vs some of the people I have helped.

In the early years of my business, it might as well have been a partnership, not on paper, but in spirit. I had a Ross. Ross Theisen and I met early on, sharing a passion for bands, but more importantly, we aligned in the way we thought business should be done, had matching values, and cared deeply about operating with ethics. Get yourself a Ross. I found mine at Wendy's...

Ross has been by my side for over a decade, and while things have shifted and evolved, I still have his input. We worked through problems and solutions constantly and still do to this day, so I've always had my partner to help coach me, and I coach him. Our brands' growth, focus, and clarity have been invaluable. We get to ask these hard questions.

This is what a coach can do for you best. How does it work, though? That's a good question, and it's not one size fits all. The relationship and trust piece is really high, as is a learner's mindset and taking action. Still, my style is rooted in listening, inquiring, sharing experiences, and helping you find self-discovery. That's at the core of it. I do have prompts I follow session to session, but each student uses the format differently and gets results. I keep it simple so the conversation can stay more fluid.

Coaching is beneficial, but if you asked me 3 years ago, I might have answered a little less confidently. I didn't believe I could coach at first, and when I started formally coaching, I felt I wasn't qualified (Imposter Syndrome much?). I still doubt myself, but with time, experience, and giving results, I love coaching. Helping other creatives comes more naturally than I realized, and providing these solutions brings me more joy than I thought possible. 

"I struggled with common hurdles many creatives face. I didn't see myself as a business owner, lacked client-handling skills, and focused solely on monetary goals. I questioned the value of seeking help when the internet seemed like a self-education option. Josh listened attentively, never feeling pushy. This trust allowed me to transform. He helped me think like a business owner, work efficiently, develop soft skills like empathy and patience, and confidently handle client discovery calls. I now have a structured creative pipeline and improved every aspect of my business, from acquisition to final delivery. Josh's guidance has been invaluable. His experience-based knowledge, patience, and genuine care set him apart. What stands out most is his ability to truly listen. I now know how to work on my business, enhancing my observation skills and overall success in business and relationships."
Nick Lampers | Commercial Photographer & 3D Artist

a bit about my evolution as a coach.

When I think about building each of my businesses, I see they have all followed the same trajectory. They start with drive but a lot of figuring things out. As we're figuring things out, we're asking for feedback, experimenting, and gathering even more feedback. That's how coaching has gone.

In 2020, The Ambitious Filmmaker group approached me to help launch a coaching program. I was nervous, but Mark Pasternack gave me plenty of support and encouragement. We built out and adapted the program with a handful of coaches. We did this for a year and a half and ultimately broke things off.

In each class, I brought in a handful of students and helped get them results. These were mastermind-style group coaching with 8-16 students per class and 4 coaches. Going in, I felt like such an imposter. My business was so different in focus, but I realized I was good at this, and students felt safe with me. My businesses also grew a ton as I held myself to a new standard (crazy secondhand effect surrounding myself with different thinkers). It's one of the most impactful periods of growth and clarity post-2018 mindset. 

So, after the program ended, previous students asked me to do personal coaching. Seriously, honest moment. I was terrified of this idea. 

The group coaching style was incredible because I knew my shortcomings and didn't want to disappoint. I felt comfortable here. I know growth is on the other side of change. So, I created my own mastermind and changed the approach. Rather than following a teaching program, I took an Ask Me Anything (AMA Mastermind) approach where I would bring a simple lesson or thought to engage the group and then have conversations about hurdles in business. 

This group was small, with 6-10 people per session initially and eventually down to a core of 5 people. The early sessions were way too long, not very focused, and got few results, I would say, but with the feedback, we shortened the sessions and structured the content, and they were great in the end, but my energy was draining, and people weren't showing up consistently. 

I cut the program in late 2022 because 4 people wanted personal coaching and I had been testing the the waters with one student already. I was so scared of one-on-one coaching. I went in skeptical and honest with the one student. We figured it out together, and I quickly realized I loved the format and results.

In 2023, I only focused on personal coaching and getting good. I took 7 students throughout the year, and it's been my favorite coaching dynamic. At the end of 2023, I realized a few things. 

"I shoot music videos and some commercial work but struggled with pricing, client management and interactions, and a mix of mindsets. In the past, I have worried advice wouldn't help or be more motivational-based vs. actionable skill sets. Josh helped me understand how to charge my worth and the confidence boost needed to charge 4k+ for music videos. I appreciate the time given to problem-solving current situations and the organic calmness of communication. Josh makes goals feel achievable with real advice."
Josh West | Music Video & Commercial Director of JBAW Productions

What's coaching to me?

Coaching won't take priority over running my video businesses anytime soon, but 10 years from now, I see this as the core of my work and passion. Right now, coaching is my passion project. Making others better feels like my life purpose in the creative space. 

I'm on fire, in love, and excited about diving deeper and helping more. In building my businesses and developing my coaching style over the past 3 years, I have realized many different things. I'm great at quite a few things. I've helped my students with more brand clarity, setting up better websites, recognizing the impact a sound system can have, better habits and time management, and realizing the difference between being a creative vs. business owner, and all the little things around charging more. It feels ultra-meaningful and exciting, but most importantly, I've made fantastic professional friends helping me evolve into the best version of myself.

For 2024, I'm bringing the AMA Mastermind back with all the best parts, still rooted in conversation but with way more action-focused (similar to personal coaching). This excites me because I love connecting creatives, seeing them grow, and teaching them to give back and receive. The mastermind is about legacy and far-reaching impact. Personal coaching is still excellent, and I will continue with at most 10 students at a time. I'm a quality-over-quantity guy.

I'm really excited about what's in the future. I'm also grateful and honored to help many people over the last 3 years. It's been a joy and helped me grow more than people realize.

Josh Emerick Creative Business Coach

Are you ready for a coach? Maybe you need to develop a learning habit for self-mentorship. If you are interested in coaching, I would encourage you to review the AMA Mastermind and REFOCUS, but each starts with a free session to see if we're a good fit. 


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