How to START a side Business in 8 steps

An 8-week program of actionable step-by-step training, coaching and community:

Set Up Your Business: An 8-week program to set up your mindset, business structure, business protection, branding, marketing and financial foundations, including setting up your books and pricing. We’ll start with a one on one strategy call. Experts in each of these areas will join our weekly coaching call to answer your questions to speed up implementation.

Aren’t sure about your business idea? Join us on a group implementation call (and don’t forget to complete your workbbook. (Download a copy)

I’ve been where you are

You’re out there working towards somebody else’s goals, in a hierarchy that often seems like it barely knows you exist… doing work that barely seems to matter.

But I get it.

  • Choosing between living in an expensive area just so you can be closer to work, or commuting from further afield and adding hours to your workday. Hours you hoped to spend with family, or doing other things that matter to YOU more than anything else.
  • Working for people who don’t respect you – and even if they do, they can’t help you, because one change of leadership and suddenly everything’s different.
  • Getting to the top of your pay grade and realizing that you’ll never be able to earn what you’d like… that maybe you’ll have to take a second job to make ends meet or get to your goals. (I know I did, as a single mom.)
  • How many times have you invested your hope and energy in work you did well, all in pursuit of somebody else’s vision? How many times have you had your hopes torn away, finding out you can’t have that promotion you were being put forward for, or that raise?
  • Maybe you’ve been laid off, despite all the effort you put in to get ahead? Even the big companies we thought were safe are laying off employees.

What can you do to protect yourself?

So frustrating to work for someone else

Not so very long ago, employment was considered the safest option for most people – and so we traded in our freedom to gain that sense of financial security.

We put up with the politics, the lack of control over our own futures and lives, to protect our families and keep them safe. To build a life with people we love, to afford a comfortable home, to enjoy whatever lifestyle we want in our time off.

But when you work for an employer, even your best contributions may go unnoticed. 

What if you have to resign yourself to doing work that doesn’t inspire you – that doesn’t contribute anything meaningful to the world? Years of saving, doing work that doesn’t feed your soul, just so you can one day live on a small pension and watch inflation eat it away… that doesn’t seem like an aspiration worth investing in!  

You want freedom, but there is a risk of jumping into your own business without a plan.

I’m a lot like you. Maybe not in minor ways like age or location, but I know what it’s like to have a corporate career, and I’ve been through the mill with that experience.

Let’s just say I finally realized it was not a good fit for me. But I survived to tell the tale, and then I started creating my own story.

I spent 30 years getting to the point where I could do the work I really loved and design my own life. But after making it happen for myself, I realised that wasn’t enough. I wanted to help others to free themselves the same way I had.

I could now see the path clearly — much more clearly than it had ever seemed along the way!

So I decided my new mission was to share that path with start-up and growing entrepreneurs… and that’s where YOU come in.

But before we get back to your story, I figure you might want to know a little more about mine.

From corporate long-haul to entrepreneurial success

I worked in the corporate world for decades, trying to climb the corporate ladder, with only a few inspiring bosses or projects I believed in. That is, right up until company leadership made significant changes that drove away the leaders I admired, and changed my job in every meaningful way.

In a job I truly loved, harmful decisions were made that were outside my control. After working for the Toronto Stock Exchange and getting halfway through running a 5 year project to grow the TSX Broadcast and Conference Centre, I was laid off – despite my team almost tripling revenue in two and a half years. 

That experience was the last straw. I decided I would never again give so much of my heart, soul, time, and energy to a company that doesn’t really care about its employees.

My journey to owning my own business began there.

At first, I tried consulting with the companies I used to work for, thinking I could do short term projects without being affected by their culture. But I was still caught up in corporate politics, with the very same people — who still were not really in charge of their futures either! Eventually, I realized that the only way to gain the freedom I wanted was to work for myself and define my own opportunities.

That’s when I trained to certify as a coach. I chose to help people in business who were creating their own futures – work that mattered to me.

And now, after leading thousands upon thousands of coaching and training sessions for my clients, I can look back and say, “I am really making a difference.”

New and established entrepreneurs around the world will always struggle at times to define their intention, map out their strategy, and align their actions with their ideals.

If that describes your own experience, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. It’s all part of the process.

Are you Motivated and making meaningful progress?

The truth is, being motivated to do work that’s important to you is vital to leading an inspired life.

The other side of that truth is that you need more than motivation for your business to thrive.

After all the disruption and change during the pandemic, you want your business to be as solid as you can make it!

So if you’re a new business owner looking to get started, or you’ve made the leap but find the changing conditions have you stuck … you need to put the fundamental business structure in place to succeed.   

Do others succeed by muddling through? They can – but they often spend too much money getting to stability. I will never forget a new entrepreneur coming to me after spending $25,000 of her divorce package on advertising …but getting such a small number of leads (not even customers!) that she could barely count them on one hand.

That’s only one kind of mistake that you may not see coming.

The other big problem with the muddle-through approach is that it tends to take a heck of a lot longer to get anywhere, and sometimes that means people give up before they reach their goals.

Go faster with practical skills, knowledge, community, and coaching

After becoming a coach and moving to a new area, I discovered the Grow Vantage community program (the parent company of Ask For Directions Training).

The Grow Vantage program was founded by a local business owner who knew that the entrepreneurs needed help with experts (who also were entrepreneurs) and needed to have the strength of the local community behind them.

I signed right up, and I experienced the difference that I have made the foundation of Ask For Directions Training that is based on three

  • The first is practical knowledge on how to set up, sustain, and grow your business, taught by experienced entrepreneurs who are experts in their field.
  • The second is a community that provides support, encouragement, and new opportunities for partnerships and referrals.
  • The third was hands on coaching (that I could provide) along with access to self-directed learning.

How did I know this? I wanted to verify the issues that entrepreneurs faced. So I asked them! I booked 225 pro bono coaching sessions to learn about their challenges and struggles.

And I learned a lot.

They found marketing confusing or overwhelming. They weren’t sure what they had to do to keep their business safe. They relied on Google to help them find answers to their most pressing business questions… and Google was not a great teacher. They needed someone they could actually have a conversation with and talk through their options.

Fast forward to 2020, and in response to the pandemic, I took my local community group online through Zoom as I went back to the drawing board to review and expand my in-person training program to an online platform.

That was the birth of Ask For Directions Training — a 100% virtual training and coaching program that helps you build and grow an unshakeable business. 

Meet the Ask for Directions program

This program provides the ideal combination of everything you need to learn to start and grow a business, with continual guidance along the way, and a community of entrepreneurs to support you. Because when you have all the resources and support you need, you can overcome just about any obstacle on your path to success.

How it works

Inside the Ask for Directions program, there are two program phases. You’ll start with 3 self-paced learning modules on all aspects of building and setting up the foundation of your business (and if it takes longer, don’t worry, you have lifetime access)

This program will take 8 weeks so that you can ask questions along the way as you establish your business. You can then graduate to an additional 4 modules help you create sustainable growth. But you don’t have to worry about that availability for a while. 

Each week, you’ll be invited to a live group coaching session with our program instructors and coaches, giving you regular opportunities to tap into their expertise and experience and get your questions answered.

Reliable information based on expert entrepreneurial experience, combined with coaching, is powerful. Particularly when you’re confronting change or new situations, coaching helps you find a path through the unknown and make decisions that are carefully thought through.

And finally, rather than only being able to rely on yourself as a solopreneur, the ASK community of entrepreneurs stays connected and supports one another.

Plus, I’ll share some bonuses to help you navigate the more challenging aspects of setting up a business. These include bookkeeping, personality assessments, and documents ready-made so you can use them with minimal editing.

The outcome is not only to set up and grow your business, but to learn to do it the right way — so you don’t make mistakes that cost more money than you want to pay, or delay your success.  

I’ve been where you are now. And I can walk you step by step through setting up or growing your business in a solid, comfortable, low-risk way. I know how important it is to have support to strengthen your confidence, validate your thinking, and help you implement your decisions.

And our students get all the help they need to succeed.

One thing that always holds true is that setting up a business is a series of choices – from when you set it up to how much you want to work. So ask yourself, do you want a side gig or is starting your own business your full focus? Are you planning a gig for your retirement, or fed up and want to start right now?

It’s your choice, and you get to define your success on your own


The freedom and confidence to make good choices

Learning the step by step process to set up and grow your business is important to reduce risk and develop a stable platform. And being able to get expert advice when you need it, and share experiences, insights, and opportunities with other entrepreneurs, will empower your business to thrive.

The people who work with me want to make sure they’re doing things the right way from the start… or if they’ve launched their business, have lost traction, getting stuck without any help to analyze what isn’t working and figure out what to try instead. 

I won’t tell you there’s some magic way to set up a solid business in a few weeks. There isn’t.

But it’s worth every moment. And your outcomes are much more reliable when you have easy access to all the knowledge, coaching, and support you need.  

In the Ask for Directions program, you will…

  • See real-life progress by applying the lessons in each module to build out each part of your business – step by step
  • Test out your business development as you go with weekly coaching calls for expert clarification on questions and strategies…
  • Learn the essential business systems and structures you need to set up to reduce the risk in start-up and growth…
  • Gain access to reliable sources of information and expert insight on virtually every business-related topic you can imagine
  • Form relationships with other entrepreneurs so that you can learn together, gain referrals from the community, and share your ideas and success stories…

Not just winging it

“A saving grace for any new business owner wanting to learn all the components of starting a business instead of just ‘winging it.’ Patricia is brilliant, knowledgeable, resourceful and an amazing mentor. She is constantly cheering you on, connecting you to the community and wanting to see you grow and succeed.”

Becky Kurtz

Extensive knowledge in all areas of business

“Patricia is a kind and thoughtful mentor, always providing important information in all areas of business in order to promote success. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet Patricia and benefit from her extensive business knowledge.”

Elaine Chard

Life changing — my business has taken off

“Transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, I was very much in need of assistance with my new venture. I was also looking for community. I found both of these… and I had something unexpected happen… I am not exaggerating when I say that this course was life changing for me. I realized how much I had become stuck in certain patterns and how I could change them. It was incredible. After a very challenging first few years, my business has now taken off and is doing well.”

Martin Andrews

Inside your Ask for Directions curriculum

Each module and lesson gives you clear next steps on the path you’re following, as you learn, research and implement before moving on.

Set-Up Program

Module 1 – Setting Up Your Business

In this first module, you’ll establish a problem-solving entrepreneurial mindset and learn to validate your business idea and your ideal client. Plus you’ll get the facts you really need to know about business structure, registration, names, and trademarks — as well as insurance to protect your business’ future.

Module 2 – Introduction to Marketing Your Business

Now we dive into the background work that enables you to create your brand and define what you stand for. In this module you’ll develop your unique marketing message and the 7-step strategy you’re going to use to find and serve your ideal clients.

Module 3 – Setting up your business financials

Prepare to create a profitable business that supports your prosperous life! You’ll learn how to develop your start-up and operating budgets, establish your pricing, avoid late payment problems, and set up your books to guide good business decisions (not to mention, stay on the good side of the tax department). This module guides you through your business *and* personal finances, to build a bridge between your business and your life.

And to back up all of this self-directed learning, you also get…

  • Weekly coaching sessions led by your coach and instructors
  • Lifetime access to the platform and learning modules
  • Private Facebook Group for participants and alumni of the program
  • Multiple bonus resources
  • Free one-on-one strategy call to ask questions on or before May 9th

I’m prepared for future growth

“I was originally hesitant to sign up as I believed I would be fine on my own, but Patricia had already given me great advice outside of the program, and all the graduates I spoke to had great things to say. Now, over halfway through the program, I am very grateful for the information and the emotional support I have received to help me through the business process. It has given me strategies on how to improve my marketing and sales, ideas on how to develop other parts of the business, and helped prepare me for future growth.”

Julia Hayman

Made it simple to take effective action

“Even after 8 years of entrepreneurship, I am still subject to bouts of feeling lost in my business. Strategy can be elusive when new opportunities drop in… Patricia nailed it early and expertly guided the discussion in a way that everyone received several valuable ideas, contacts, and insights. I felt better about my situation and as I settled, it was a simple thing to choose a strategic direction and take effective action.”

Karen Kessler

Answers to key questions

Q: How much does this program cost?

A: To give you a sense of scale here, hiring an expert one-on-one coach will typically set you back about $500 to $1,000 per month. (Maybe more, if your coach is really good at what they do!) Taking training at a college or university may be more affordable, but is often shorter, less thorough, and less practical, too — so an 8 week college program may simply leave you wondering, “How do I USE what I’ve learned?”

And joining expert group programs for business owners can be expensive. I’ve seen other group programs charging anywhere from $17,000 to $26,000+ for membership. But don’t worry, I’m not going to demand five figures before I’ll share my methods with you!

To join the Ask for Directions Set Up program, all you need is $397 today, then two more monthly installments of $397 (totalling $448.612 including HST if you are in Canada). Or, choose to save almost $200 by making a single investment of $997 +HST (total $1,026.61), again, in Canada. Either way, you get access to everything in the program, and extended access to training beyond the initial 8 weeks.

Q: What will I actually be doing?

If you enroll early enough (before 11:59 pm on Friday, November 12), the first thing you’ll do is book and participate in a 60-minute strategy call with an expert coach. Regardless of your enrollment date, once the first learning module is released (on November 15), you’ll begin reviewing the self-study lessons and prepare a list of any questions or ideas you’d like to discuss at your first weekly coaching call (on November 16). Then you’ll follow that same pattern of self-paced learning and weekly coaching for the full 7 months of the program, giving you constant, consistent support and advice as you go.

Q: What if I don’t have time right now to take the program?

A: When you enroll, you get lifetime access to the learning modules — so you can start at any time. You don’t have to go through it at the same speed as anybody else! Take it at your own pace to be sure you’ve mastered every step.

Q: What if I can’t figure out what I want to do with my business? 

A: You’ll have all the help and support you need to make smart choices that align with your ultimate intentions. But if you decide it’s too overwhelming, there’s also a 14-day refund option.

Q: Isn’t starting a business risky?

A: Learning to run your business in a structured, organized way from Day One dramatically reduces the risk. That learning curve is shortened for people who participate in this program. To minimize risk even further, there’s always the possibility of working a job at the same time as taking the program, so you’re still getting paid while you learn to set up your business.

Q: How do I know this will work for me?

A: Because these essential principles and practices are what almost all successful entrepreneurs have in common. You’ll know how to run your business effectively, build a community to rely on, and develop your safety net for greater resilience to future challenges. (And if, after enrolling and engaging with the program, you’re not satisfied that it’s right for you… just let me know within the first 14 days to receive a full refund of your investment.)

Q: When does it start?

A: The first module will be released after May 12th 2023.

When you finally have a clear path from where you are today to where you want to be with your business… plus the advice and support to take every step on that path as it comes… everything changes.

Your business thrives and begins to grow. You have financial security by having two incomes – OR – the ability to choose when and how you quit your job

You feel confident in your knowledge and practical skills. You can see the proof of your progress, and now your enthusiasm knows no bounds because you know that every step you take moves you towards a better future.

You find greater meaning and satisfaction in a good day’s work than ever before, because you’re fulfilling your calling, serving your clients, and securing your lifestyle.

And if you encounter challenges or obstacles on your path, you have a safety net of people, processes, and principles to rely on while you figure out how you want to move forward.

If that sounds good to you, join the Ask for Directions program now to receive:

  • 8 weeks of self-paced, step-by-step learning to start and grow your business
  • 90-minute weekly coaching sessions with your coach and instructors 
  • Lifetime access to the platform and learning modules
  • Private Facebook group for participants and alumni of the program
  • Several instantly useful bonuses – including:
    • A program guide and map of all the segments to allow you to implement all the lessons for startup and track your progress.
    • A privacy policy (Canadian based) to put in place right away as ready-made privacy policy (just fill in the blanks) to make sure you are compliant
    • Group Training on a course related time management approach to help you get things done!
    • A special group session to work on and evaluate your business idea if you are not sure what you’d like to launch.
    • An end of course follow up session to look at next steps and where are you are in business.
    • Group Training on a course related time management approach to help you get things done!
    • A Sacred Money Archetypes(R) Bonus reading by a Certified Holistic Narrative Career Practitioner | Certified Trauma of Money Facilitator | Intro Human Design Reader . SMA helps you to understand how you interact with money, and better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your top archetypes. Awareness is always the first step. During this 20-minute reading, you will learn more about your top 3 archetypes. 
    • As a member of the ASK Set Up Course you’ll have access to a special reduced price for the ASK Growth Course cohort which will start in September and contains a further 14 areas of training to help you grow that business of your dreams, including sales skills, more advanced marketing techniques, use of video, advanced networking, web design, contracts and privacy policies, accounting, your personality assessment ….

Plus, enroll by 11:59 pm Friday May 12th to receive a Fast Action bonus: a 60-minute strategy call at no extra cost and a 50% off coupon for QuickBooks Online for 6 months

Sign Me Up!

Choose from 2 payment options below. Only $397+ tax (if applicable) for 3 monthly payments or save almost $200 with $997 + tax (if applicable) for 1 up front payment,

You can build the business and do the work you really want, make an impact on the world, and enjoy the lifestyle freedom that comes with financial security. And you can take the first step on that path today, by joining me in the Ask for Directions program.

P.S. I’m looking forward to welcoming you into our community, and helping you build the business you imagine in your most visionary moments!

patricia business coach