Coaching by Helen
GoCardless allows Coaching by Helen to offer flexible, automated payment plans, helping founder Helen Jane Campbell expand the reach of her business coaching services.
More ways to pay, means more clients
Helen Jane Campbell’s coaching business, Coaching by Helen, helps writers, artists, actors, TV presenters, and people running PR and creative agencies to achieve their career and mindset goals.
It’s an endeavour born from her own experiences working as an independent PR consultant in 2009.
“Our phones weren't as capable as they are now and a lot of today’s apps didn't exist,” explained Helen. “I felt quite disconnected.”
Helen suspected she wasn’t alone and set up a Facebook group for freelance PRs. Its membership swelled to around 3,500 people over the course of ten years. “I became an agony aunt for freelancers and small business founders in my spare time,” she said. “But when I worked with a charity that coached young people about their careers, I realised it could become a job, so I got a diploma as a coach and began making it a full-time career in 2016.”
Flexible payments increase access to coaching
At first, Helen requested that clients pay upfront because she had too many unhappy late-payment memories from life as an independent PR consultant, with some clients paying as late as four months after receiving an invoice. “Late payments were the bane of my life,” she said. “It just runs you into the ground – I knew that couldn't continue.”
But when COVID threw a financial curveball at many self-employed people, upfront payment became a barrier that prevented some from accessing Helen’s coaching at a time when they most needed it. This went against her values.
“Community, collaboration, partnership – these are really important values to me in my business,” she said. “Instead of going back to invoicing and chasing payments, I wanted to create Direct Debit payment plans so that I could secure the client’s commitment while allowing them to spread the cost.”
Flexible payments: a beautiful thing
Helen now collects most of her payments through GoCardless following a recommendation from her accountant.
GoCardless allows Helen to set up flexible payment plans so clients can spread the cost of one-to-one coaching over a period that suits them. Payment plans have now become the most popular payment option among her clients.
Helen was put off by the aggressive fee structures of many providers when shopping around for a recurring payments solution.
“Some providers take a huge chunk in fees from each payment before it even reaches you,” she said. “The amount GoCardless takes is much more reasonable and it feels like a positive transaction between me and them. They help me to do what I need to do, and the costs feel fair.”
The money saved allows Helen to stay true to her values.
“The fair fees have helped me to be more inclusive with plans such as pay-what-you-can, because my own overheads are cheaper,” she said. “I can include more clients who otherwise might not have been able to afford it.”
In the driving seat
When asked to describe GoCardless in three words, Helen simply said: “Makes life easier.”
A major reason for that is the fact that automated, recurring payments mean no more stress for Helen over unpaid invoices. Her cash flow is also now ultra-predictable.
“A lot of founders, freelancers and small business owners don't know when an invoice is going to be paid, or they can't predict when the lean times or busy times will be,” she said. “I have loads of things I could improve, but I don't experience a rollercoaster in payments because with GoCardless I know exactly when money is coming in.”
With payments one less thing to worry about, Helen is focussed on using the extra headspace and payments flexibility to grow the reach of her coaching programmes.
“I have a writers’ programme and a journaling programme that I want to expand to include more delegates in 2024, and that growth is going to be a lot easier knowing that I have a solid payment system in place,” she said. “By allowing me to focus on what I'm great at without worrying about chasing payments, GoCardless puts me in the driving seat of my business.”