Today we have with us Siim Sutrop, sharing his story of building a six-figure coaching business while working only 10% of the time.
About Siim Sutrop
Quite some time ago, he was struggling with making an impact as a manager. The absolute low point for him was a steering meeting, where his stakeholders made it clear to him, that he doesn’t have his numbers under control, he lacks strategic leadership and his time to market was too slow. He felt awful and inadequate after this because he had been firing on all cylinders and still not created the results the business needed.
Then, one day, while talking to an MBA graduate, he realized that he needed to rapidly level up his financial, strategy, and time management skills. And from that day forward, things started to turn around.
These days, he has created clear alignment on priorities, he is working with a seven-figure budget to drive business results, his stakeholders are on board with his vision, and he is helping a lot of people master the three pillars needed to make an impact.
Siim hones his managerial skills as the Learning & Development Architect at Nortal, which creates change in businesses using a strategic approach and data-driven technology. Nortal is present in 8 countries and employs over 1000 specialists who carry out high-impact projects across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and North America.
During the past almost 10 years, he has coached, trained, and tutored over 1500 people, facilitated 100+ workshops, webinars and moderated several conferences and panel discussions.
Below are the excerpts from the interview
- 1) Why did you become a coach? Did you get inspired by anyone?
- 2) How long ago was this “You are sitting on a Kitchen chair”?
- 3) Pride to become a coach is all you did or did you do something else as well?
- 4) So you have seen corporate culture very up and close, right?
- 5) What was the last role you did before moving into coaching?
- 6) Transitioning from your day job to coaching what was your fear, I mean during transition or before transition what were your fears?
- 7) Did any of those fears stop you or delay you at least in reaching where you are right now?
- 8) In the past, did you ever think about giving up on the coach?
- 9) So, what exactly kept you going?
- 10) Is this a good time for someone to start coaching when they have a full-time job? What do you think that what’s a Good time to switch for coaching and leaving a full-time job? When should they plunge?
- 11) Do you see any changes to the people around you?
- 12) What advice would you like to give people who are really afraid to take a plunge?
- 13) How has accelerator helped your coaching journey?
- 14) What do you do exactly as a coach?
- 15) How many clients do you coach right now? And what they have learned from you?
- 16) Do you want to pursue this full-time after 5 years or do you want to be a 10% entrepreneur for the next 5 years?
1) Why did you become a coach? Did you get inspired by anyone?
- When I finished my schooling I did different types of jobs like washing dishes, herding cattles, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do or what would light me up and It got so bad that I was becoming frustrated about having no goal or direction in my life.
- I remember that once I was working in a restaurant and there were four people at a table, they were not satisfied with the service. The food was cold, the glasses were dirty, they were just trying to find reasons to complain. I remember I went to the kitchen with the dirty dishes and I threw them into the sink, shattering them into pieces and I started to cry. Because this is the kind of 10 years of build-up not knowing where to go and being bullied by people and without having a passionate job right, so it was a really hard time for me.
- So I started searching for what lights me up and 10 years ago I entered the software development industry, then I got a chance to participate in 3 days of immersive training by World Best Q & A specialist James Marcus Bach. It was a training where I saw that if you teach people practical, entertaining, livens them up, enjoy the process and you can teach people something in a way that they lift them up on their feet, instead of sitting back in a chair in the kitchen not knowing what to do.
- And from this training, I’ve decided that I want to do something like that as well where people can lift them up on their feet, teach them something in a way that is useful, practical, livens them up and so I am searching for this opportunity and gradually shifted my understanding into coaching as coaching is the best vehicle to achieve this for myself.
2) How long ago was this “You are sitting on a Kitchen chair”?
- It was in 2010, about 11 years ago.
3) Pride to become a coach is all you did or did you do something else as well?
- So in my brief career, I’ve been working on 13 to 14 different jobs in different companies doing different types of jobs. So I am quite experienced in the job market.
4) So you have seen corporate culture very up and close, right?
- Yes, I have 9 years of experience of corporate culture.
5) What was the last role you did before moving into coaching?
- From the 9/10 years, I was constantly trying to figure out that what the vehicle is I mentioned, and it was around 6 years ago when I understood that this is coaching, so I am constantly trying to find an opportunity to do that with my friends, with my wife and with my family members who work, etc.
- Now I have a daytime job. I am holding a job at Estonia’s biggest software development and consultant company and I am working there as a learning and development architect, basically managing the learning and development function for 1000+ people all over the world. We have offices in Finland, the US, Germany, Oman, amongst others.
6) Transitioning from your day job to coaching what was your fear, I mean during transition or before transition what were your fears?
Fear was about-
- I am an imposter that who am I to coach somebody as I do not have any certifications.
- People don’t take me seriously.
- They think I don’t have enough knowledge.
- I don’t actually have what it takes.
7) Did any of those fears stop you or delay you at least in reaching where you are right now?
- Fear made me procrastinate.
- It has made me not implement what I should have implemented.
- Not take up the courage to go out and find clients.
So, definitely fear has delayed my success in becoming a coach.
8) In the past, did you ever think about giving up on the coach?
- There have been many years that I set this out and keep it in the back and thought that I shouldn’t do that. I remember a couple of years ago I went through a client online course call and I kept practicing talking to people and conversing or expanding my influence, But I got introduced to an analysis paralysis situation. Because I was given so many options to choose from as there are multiple ways to build a coaching business.
- But I remember then I decided to focus on my day time job, not pursuing or not to put myself out or there is no greater accountability system as well, So I said goodbye for a time and again procrastinated on my journey.
9) So, what exactly kept you going?
- Hunger, burning desire to make a dent in the universe, and on one hand, the hunger is fueled by all the people that have given me something along the way, my family members, my friends, my mentors, and my teachers- they all have given me over the span of my life something and I feel that I owe it to them to pass the teaching on to others. So this is the one side.
- And on the other hand, I see so much beauty in the world and also I see so much suffering in the world And I know coaching is such a powerful vehicle to end the suffering, not only impact one life but to open up the ideas to help the possibilities to step out their own truth but also to impact other persons to one person, maybe family members, friends, Again what has been kept me going for better understanding of a vision on making the world for better placement by ending suffering one conversation at a time.
10) Is this a good time for someone to start coaching when they have a full-time job? What do you think that what’s a Good time to switch for coaching and leaving a full-time job? When should they plunge?
- If you are curious, passionate, hungry, and excited in some way in a form that there is no reason to wait and there is so much reason to start doing and acting – this is the one side of the coin.
- It’s about making small calculated steps that sum up eventually to something huge. To make it a little more concrete, if you have a coaching business running and you have 4 to 6 months of profits that exceed your family’s basic expenses per month, then it’s a good time to quit a daytime job.
11) Do you see any changes to the people around you?
- I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face. Because I am so proud of myself and also so humble that I have started some time ago to read the fruits of all the years of efforts and deliver that I have put into this and there is a guy who said that ‘Progress equals happiness’. So if you make progress and start seeing your dreams become your reality, there are actual people who are willing to pay you actual money for your services, because they see that they are able to solve the problems and you are lucky that you are the role model, I mean this is a humbling experience.
- Maybe one more thing in terms of impact is that before I had actual clients I have been coaching over the years within the company. And this is always some kind of argument that maybe they just like me or maybe they are work buddies, but there is no real validation of if I am very good in coaching. And it was after I got my 1st client I really understood that people actually get results from what I had offered. And then going week to week working with your clients and then hearing about their progress and success, it’s not only one single person but their team members and family members as well, whose life is improving because I didn’t wait any longer to make this happen and can help them as it’s a such a humbling experience so fulfilling smile in my face. Of course, it’s a struggle but it’s a soulful feeling.
12) What advice would you like to give people who are really afraid to take a plunge?
- At first, you have to look in yourself, firstly you have to understand that if you have hunger and desire to be something more, something greater, if you also have a passion for serving people, and you like this it’s something like love e.g., if you have been thinking about coaching for sometimes now, maybe some months or some years and you keep coming back to the topic and find yourself reading coaching blog articles and watching some videos or following some known successful coaches, reading some books or you listening some podcasts are the indications of that is there is a hunger.
- Also if you are listening to this video and if you are looking for the conversation here between us – this means there is a desire and curiosity. So the advice is to continue following the curiosity.
13) How has accelerator helped your coaching journey?
- It gives me peace of mind, I don’t need to think anymore about where to put my focus. I have a straight path, I have a clear process to follow, I do the steps even if I spend 20 mins a day or only 1 hour on a weekend and get feedback from the accelerator team and do the next steps and I continuously progress. I am not jumping all over the place and no one is being held and I get my 1st client. And my business is off the ground.
- I so much like about the sai and the team and the philosophy of the accelerator and the phrase is ‘Underpromise and overdeliver’ – I am so much amazed at this philosophy.
- And one thing is that I am not alone in the journey. I feel the love and support and I feel the team behind me, next to me and in front of me, everywhere around me and these give me the sense of security and stability that I didn’t have before.
14) What do you do exactly as a coach?
- Managers and executives, struggling with time, managing the teams, managing the finances, struggling with establishing their own presence as a leader.
- So I teach them world-class strategies that I have assembled over the years in order to teach them how to master their time, make their team productive, and aligned on how to understand, what story the financial numbers are telling them so that they can succeed in all areas of life as leaders and the end of the day they can make the impact on the Universe.
15) How many clients do you coach right now? And what they have learned from you?
- I focus on only a handful of very well selected clients at a time who pay me a high ticket for their services and they are paying free for ongoing programs, so I only work with 3 to 4 clients at a time because for a day time job I can’t handle more and frankly speak that I don’t want to handle more. Because I love what I do in the daytime as well.
- One twist is that I am actually transitioning or changing my daytime job right now. And I am about to join in a couple of weeks time one of Europe’s top 3 fastest growing companies in order to train the managers and executives and build the learning and development function at this global 2000+ company which has offices in 42 countries around the world. And I love to do this as well.
- So the key for me is to be ultra-smart about how I expend my time and the reason why I still want to continue to build my coaching business as well because all of the things are fed to each other.
- It’s a passive income stream on one side which gives me the freedom to provide more to my family and invest more in order to make cool things happen.
16) Do you want to pursue this full-time after 5 years or do you want to be a 10% entrepreneur for the next 5 years?
- If I choose so then I will be able to transition fully into managing and running my online coaching business within this year for example.
- But I deliberately choose as I said to build this on the side so the next thing for me is as I said the secret goal is to build a six-figure coaching business as a 10% entrepreneur and this is the pipeline of a couple of years and I do hope very much that throughout this time Sai and his team and the whole accelerator team will be my companion in making this happen.
Look into yourself, know your hunger, and desire what you want to achieve. If you have a passion for serving people, and this is something that you love. Then you should look out for possibilities to turn it into reality. You can start this by reading coaching blog articles, following some successful coaches, listening to podcasts.
If you like this kind of stuff then that is an indication of the desire inside you. So the advice is to continue following the curiosity