I can earn more in two hours than I did in a day

Steve Barker found TCI after 26 years in the British RAF. Four years on, he has a thriving business and clients all over the world, and a flexible life he loves: "I'm all about, 'What's next, what can I do today?'"

Steve Barker
Steve BarkerLeadership coach

Early on a sunlit Tuesday morning, leadership coach Steve Barker is on a deck overlooking the sea near the NSW town of Malua Bay, working and enjoying a long weekend at the same time.

“I was just in the shower thinking about this, about the fact I can live my life on my own terms, doing whatever I want,” Steve says about the lifestyle coaching gives him.

“Doing things like this, being on a break and still impacting people’s lives, still coaching, still sharing on social media and giving value. It gives me the freedom to just do this sort of stuff. I sat down on Sunday to do goal setting and was looking at this view thinking, ‘This is my office for the weekend.’

“I have so much gratitude.”

"When I first arrived at TCI it was like a place where I belonged. A very bizarre feeling. It was like being accepted into a big warm family you’ve never met before. It was brilliant. I loved it."

Steve Barker
Steve BarkerLeadership coach

Four years after he joined TCI, Steve—who lives in NSW’s Wagga Wagga with his partner of eight years, Shirley Bright—has a booming business with over 50 modules of coaching and clients “from all over” including San Francisco, the UK and France.

It’s a huge switch up from his past career, which saw him spend 26 years in the British Royal Air Force as a recruit sergeant. When Steve came to Australia for a work exchange in 2012, the people and way of life “really resonated with me.”

When Steve met Shirley (a retired dental practice owner) at the Wagga racecourse during the visit, they fell in love and he emigrated, “with no idea what I was going to do.” Four corporate jobs and disenchantment later, he found TCI when Shirley pointed it out on social media.

“The thing that was holding me back was the fear of not being able to run a business. I didn’t have a clue,” says Steve, who upgraded from Level 1 to Pro Coach at his FOCS: “I had no income at the time so that level of commitment fired me up.”

Asked what sort of coach he is, Steve doesn’t hesitate: I’m a no frills coach, I don’t fluff it up or do spiritual stuff, I do evidence based and I call clients out on their shit.”

What has this journey meant for you?

If I was to sum it up in a word it would be freedom. I get to live life on my terms which I think is so empowering, so freeing. Tomorrow afternoon I’m running a training for a couple of hours, that’s going to generate enough income in two hours that a whole day’s work would have taken. Yes, it’s hard work but you get to choose and you get the success you want.

What challenged and surprised you most about TCI?

Uncertainty, I guess. When I first started I only signed up for Level 1, then I made the decision in FOCS that this was going to be my business, and signed up for Pro Coach. I thought, ‘the clock is ticking for three years’, then I went, ‘I don’t have three years, I have the rest of my life.’ Once I was able to get it in perspective and create programs of my own, then it just sort of fell into place. It’s a lifelong journey. You just have to be consistent.

In what way did it live up to or exceed expectations?

TCI very quickly fulfilled their promises. I used to be an adult instructor and trainer so I knew how to deliver trainings but nothing about business. They said, ‘We can help you start your own business and train you to be a coach and they did. Then the personal development came cos I believe if you are going to coach it you have to go on the journey yourself.

"The thing that bred the confidence in me to make the decision to join was the level of support was there. The community was there. TCI helped me register my business name and told me what an ABN was, how to get insurance. Every time I picked up the phone they were there. The support was phenomenal and it’s an ever evolving program."

Steve Barker
Steve BarkerLeadership coach
Steve Barker

How have you transformed personally?

I’ve been able to stop judging things and choose different filters. You suddenly start to realise that everything is your choice. I used to get frustrated and a coach told me that was a choice ... and said, “Why don’t you choose fascination and wonderment instead?” Next time I caught myself being frustrated I thought, ‘Why don’t I be fascinated instead?’ and it melted away. I thought, 'That’s cool, what else can I use that for?’ So now I am in one hundred per cent charge of my life and my choices.

What do you know about yourself now that you didn’t before TCI?

I know that I was lost for about ten to fifteen years of my life. I was diagnosed with cumulative traumatic stress disorder from being in the military. I call those days ‘the angry man stage’ and it was a sucky time but it made me into the person I am now. I used to hate failure but now I get really excited when I mess up. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow.

Where are you at on your coaching journey? 

My business name is I Am Enough Coaching and it’s professional personal development, so working one-on-one with individuals and I also do leadership and team training, workplace culture. Optimal clients is around ten one-on-one, and with businesses I could probably handle about fifteen.  I’ve been turning over 100K of invoice business for nearly eight months now, that’s 10-15K a month. I work 10 or 12 hour days but I love what I’m doing so it’s not really work.

The big turning point with your coaching journey?

I got offered the opportunity to write a stress management program and I was searching out ways to do it at minimal cost. I went to a yoga studio owner and said, "Could I come in and do some talks to your clients?" and she said, "Yeah, that would be $100." She said, “I’m running a business, why would I expose my clients to you if I get nothing from it? You’re going about it the wrong way.” She suggested I go away, write the program and she would rent me the space and get her clients aware of it, and it would mutually benefit both of us. That gave me a big kick up the ass: this is business, not fun. So that really kickstarted a business because I had a product I can sell, social proof via testimonials and I’ve gone on to deliver hundreds of talks.

Your most successful marketing strategy?

Definitely social but it’s been a slow burn. It’s taken me three years to build up to over 5000 followers. I’m constantly sharing, posting. I am consistent, I post at least once a day—if not four to five times—on my page, group, personal page, Instagram.

Advice for other TCI coaches?

Say yes and work out how as you go along. That would be my biggest tip to anyone in life, just say yes and work out how. It just opens up so many possibilities in life.

Three things you can’t live without?

Mobile phone. Shirley. Education.

"There’s an ad in the UK which says, 'It does what it says on the tin'. TCI is the same. if you follow the instructions, TCI tells you what to do. That's what I love about TCI. It's facts-based."

Steve Barker
Steve BarkerLeadership coach

Father of one Steve spent 26 years in the UK Royal Air Force “serving my country—now I’m serving humanity,” he says. He “doesn’t take life too seriously” and loves the ocean, with one goal being to “tame the Australian seas” and get back to windsurfing. “I just love life,” says Steve. “I’ve got too many friends and relatives who don’t have the gift of being here anymore to open their eyes every day. I’m all about ‘What’s next, what can I do today?”

Steve Barker
Steve BarkerLeadership coach