Former Black Watch Captain finds his place in Civvy street

Matthew Atkin spent the first three and a half years of his working life serving in The Black Watch.

From his time as a 2nd Lieutenant at Sandhurst until he left the Army with the rank of Captain, The Black Watch operated as mechanised infantry in the British Army of the Rhine interspersed with a six-month tour in Belfast.

Finding ActionCOACH
“I began looking for a new business opportunity, that’s when I got a call from ActionCOACH. I learned about their tried and tested system and support structure and I thought my experience would work well with the franchise. So, in June 2009, I went to ActionCOACH training in Las Vegas for an initial 10 days. It was extremely challenging, intensive and I came away with my head boiling. You are given a huge amount of information and you need to convert that into the practical reality of being a good business coach.
“In August 2009, I launched my ActionCOACH business in Yorkshire. I was slow in getting to grips with sales and marketing. Whilst I had negotiation experience, I did not have marketing experience. The support from our franchisor in this area has improved exponentially in the last three years. Few military people have sales and marketing experience, but at ActionCOACH the education is provided and all you need is the will and application to succeed.”

A rewarding business
“Initially, I worked from home but later took on office space on a flexible basis near my clients. The business has grown year-on-year consistently for seven consecutive years. Part of the attraction of ActionCOACH was that it’s a cash generative business. I valued that most highly at that stage of my career and it remains true today.
“I have a variety of client needs that vary from meeting for one hour a month to being in their business for a full day a month plus weekly contact in between. I have 10 clients (an average client invests £1,500 per month), which generates an income that matches anything I’ve ever had before. The Army can be 24/7 and the beauty about ActionCOACH is you can make it what you want – some coaches work a full five-day week and others choose less.
“I’m gravitating towards a four-day working week, spending more time managing my own future. People bust a gut to make money and then spend very little time managing it afterwards. They abandon it to others and hope it works in stocks, property or a pension. We’re in a position as Action Coaches to learn about how to manage our assets and money more wisely. One of the options is that you can still buy another business and grow it whilst being an Action Coach.
“The rewards aren’t just in the form of income for me. I enjoy helping business owners transform. I’ve been working with a veterinary clinic for five years. It has grown by 75% in gross turnover terms and now employs 35 people. To grow the business, you’ve got to take market share in a crowded marketplace and while supermarkets get excited by a 1.5% increase in market share, you can see why we are so pleased with the growth of this business! Profits are up by 380% and the value of business is up by 500%. Profitability is important as it gives you the cash to invest in great people and systems but it also allows the business owner to draw money from the business to enjoy life. The owner used to be a vet who happened to run a business, now she is a businesswoman who happens to run a veterinary clinic. She’s currently using some of the profit to upgrade the clinic to hospital status, but the real value comes with having a business that she can sell at the time she decides to retire or take on a new challenge.
“ActionCOACH is a great business to be in once you are established. You need to be willing to invest time in training and lifelong learning but you buy the systems and support that you need to succeed.”

Here Louise shares how much difference ActionCOACH has made to her business and her family: “Prior to working with Matthew it was a very busy and successful practice but, at that stage, I was working very much in the clinical forefront of the daily work. I was in the consulting and operating room and running the business was a secondary focus for me.
“It was very difficult to separate work life from family life because I found myself arriving home late in the evenings and then dedicating my time to office-based work, rather than spending time with my husband and children.
“I was running the practice with no knowledge of how to do it and I just needed some guidance on how to be a business owner.
“As soon as I began work with my Action Coach, I started to see results very quickly. We looked at implementing structure into the way we worked and creating protocols so that everyone knew what they were doing and what role they played. Moving on from that, we started to see changes of a financial nature with regards to the growth of the business.
“As a result of working with Matthew, we have recognised a 10% increase year on year with a forecast of £1.65 million this year. We have also seen a 600% increase in the profitability of the business and this speaks volumes – it recognises the improvements we have made in streamlining the business.
“It’s fantastic to recognise that the business is now worth four times more than it was before ActionCOACH was introduced to us. And that has come about from the sustained growth and the continuous increase in profit.
“It has altered my identity completely, I am now very comfortable in saying that I am a business woman and I just happened to be a vet. I have managed to take holidays in the last couple of years when I have left the country for two to three weeks at a time and not contacted the business at all. I have confidence in knowing that the work will carry on exactly as it would, had I been there – the team know what they are doing and the protocols are in place.”

If you’d like to be your own boss with our support and you:

A) get a buzz from
helping others succeed
B) love learning and developing yourself
C) have enjoyed success
in your career or sport…

Then find out more by watching the 6-minute overview video at