11 Proven Coaching Business Models To Start An Online Coaching Business

 Sai Blackbyrn/ 2nd September 2021

Whenever I do a live webinar or any live event I get this question a lot.

The question usually revolves around how they can get started and finally test a good coaching business model so that they can scale it well.

Usually, when I start speaking to them it spans for about 20-30 mins back and forth conversation.

And during a recent chat, I thought well let’s maybe document what I know about my experience of running an online coaching business and how to find an effective coaching business model so you can make 5 figures profitably within first 3 months of your coaching business journey.

So I will be covering some generic business models along with coaching specific business models.

But here’s what you need to know:

There are no right or wrong business models.

But there are some specific business models which, if deployed well, can change the game of your business.

Let me give you all the business models that I’ve tried, so you can make a conscious decision as to what kind of coach you want to become and the kind of money you want to make.


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This is usually one of the most widely known ways to make building an online coaching business. So what you do is you bring a lot of targeted users to your web properties.

Be it your Facebook page, Twitter handle, YouTube channel or even your website.

And depending on the kind of numbers and audience you bring the advertisers will pay you.

It’s simple: You get traffic, and the advertisers pay you for it.

We’ve tried this on multiple occasions with our website and other web properties.

But then I realised the kind of money and revenue I want to bring into my company is very hard to do with advertising.

Currently, the traffic on our blog fuels our product sales and growth.

But if I had to do it through advertising I would have to spend millions to be able to match the kind of revenue that we are getting today.

For example one of my friends who is a Youtuber told me that he gets $1 for every 1000 unique views on his videos. So you can get an idea that if you had to get 6 figures or 5 figure per month, the kind of numbers you need to pull off to make things possible.

I did testing with this business here and there and made some odd $100 from it but then I decided to cut back on it since that wouldn’t work for us.


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So affiliates basically mean to promote other people’s content and sell it and making a commission of it.

For example, there are a lot of people who sell Tony Robbins’s products, coaching and live events as affiliates.

They make usually anything between 5-50% depending on their tier of commission.

Similarly, you can choose how you want to sell other people’s products and services and then make a commission of it.

You could do this by writing an article, sharing it on youtube, facebook or even with your twitter followers.

The most popular format I have seen is people writing articles about things like “ top 10 self-development courses or top 10 self-development events “ or whatever you want to write about.

So the way it works is you can simply mention the affiliate link and people will click on it. If they end up buying after your click, then you simply can get a commission on it.

I don’t do too many affiliates, but whenever I do I recommended some products and services to our tribe at Sai coaching. I thoroughly test them and vet them for delivery.

But then if you think about it, I can’t run my business on affiliates I need to have some main source of revenue.

I mean sure affiliates is fine but it’s still not a BIG number, so while I can do this to support my #1 source of revenue I can not make this as my main source of revenue.

Selling Physical Products

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Selling physical products is something that used to happen in the world of coaching in its very early days. I still remember that I used to buy copies of Zig Ziglar’s books, videos and courses in physical formats.

This was more like the pre-internet popularisation days.

Ever since the internet has become a norm and everyone just basically works off internet people have stopped doing physical products because of the costs of shipping involved and other logistical issues.

Over the years I have also found out that the customers on the internet have become really impatient and they don’t like to wait for that much, they want to get their hands on products and services as quickly as they can, so if you can provide them value right away, that’s excellent else they will look elsewhere.

But even then there have been times today when some world-class coaches are doing physical products to keep things as exclusive.

People like Tony Robbins & Russell Brunson are BIG on physical products.

It’s almost like running a small e-commerce business which takes care of fulfillment and shipping. Because of the shipping costs, production costs and logistics involved it becomes a little hard to make money with this model at scale because it causes issues.

It’s not like I am saying by other people’s experiences but I have done my own share of physical products as well, and I can safely say it that the profit margins are very low and the logistical issues are very hard on this and you’d end up spending time on managing things vs growing your coaching business.

Software/ SaaS Offering

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There is another very niche yet a good way to make money for coaches by developing a software for your target audience or building a saas offering where you can charge recurring commissions to people and that will help you in building a stable revenue stream for your business.

If you have the skills to create then it can be interesting to attempt this.

I mean this is great, but pulling off software is hard for most of the coaches because they are not developers themselves. And not only that building the software comes with a lot of overheads, marketing, distribution and other types of costs as well.

There is some coaching software that is out there which have been doing really well.

The problem in software is that it has a lot of upfront high costs & requires a lot of investment upfront, and then maybe if things go well you’d be able to make money out of it.

As an early beginner coach, it is a lot of drama to handle.

One-on-one Coaching

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This is where most of the coaches start their career. This is the easiest way to hit the money in the bank. If you’re someone who has taken any type of coaching or has taken up any coaching credentials or certifications.

This is the first type of format they teach.

So most of the people have a sort of know-how in this space. It doesn’t involve any coaching modules or any curriculum to get this format up and running.

Although if there is a roadmap of how you’ll take the client through the whole journey of self-transformation then it is better. There is no cap to the number of fees you can charge to your clients in one on one private coaching, you can package it up to make your services as a high-end coaching package.

But the real problem is that selling high-end coaching is not easy, and requires a lot of expertise in terms of setting up the right coaching packages and coaching bio and stacking up the value in the right manner.

So that it ensures that your prospective coaching clients see your services as a value proposition and are ready to pay a premium for it because they see your offerings as something that can help them in getting rid of their sticking points.

So if you don’t have clients in your pipeline and have them booked, you won’t be able to make money from it. Not only this but since it is an hourly based model, your income is directly in relation to the numbers of hours you can put into the work.

So if you’re not putting in any hours you won’t be able to make money from it.

Also if you’re looking to scale your model to group coaching, you’d be struggling there.

Group Coaching

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So if you’re someone and want to grow and build your coaching business from one on one coaching to group coaching then I’d recommend you to take your coaching to the next level, and design group coaching modules.

Group coaching allows you to accommodate people in bigger numbers like 5-20, and in some cases even more if you can figure out the way to keep a good coach to client ratio in the program.

Group coaching also allows you to expand in your revenue from one-person coaching to many.

So technically you’ll be spending the same hour that you spend on one on one coaching session but holding coaching sessions for multiple people.

And it doesn’t even work well for a lot of people.

So if you feel you’re not the extrovert kinds and don’t want to do a lot of people.

Then you can try other formats of coaching as well.

It is slightly difficult to do this model at the early stages of your career that’s why a lot of people start with doing a lot of personal one on one coaching sessions.

Corporate Coaching

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Now, this is one of my personal favourite categories but also the toughest to crack. If you aspire to become a corporate coach or an executive coach, it’s a hard nut to crack but then the results are worth it.

This is more of a relationship-based, and you need to do a lot of sales directly to the executives of the corporate teams, or to the HR departments.

A lot of people like Grant Cardone, Zig Ziglar (late), Les Brown and other great coaches have done a lot of seminars for corporates and they have been dominating the space.

A good way to market yourself in this space is by doing a lot of blogging and building a lot of relationships with corporates.

And the deals that you’d be able to strike with the corporates would be basically 6 figure deals.

So the level of effort is high but the results are great as well.

Online coaching

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I started my career as an online coach. Why?

Because I could find a plethora of coaching clients all across the globe who were ready to pay me premium prices. In the world of the global internet, you can find your coaching clients all across the globe.

All you have to do is find the right positioning and market your services.

Using tools like Skype and zoom, you can easily run coaching sessions by sitting in any part of the world.

I recommend every coach to go down this route early in their career so that they can develop core coaching expertise on how to build and sell their own coaching services.

Online Coaching Courses

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This is where the game gets really interesting. The online coaching course is one of my favourite categories, where you can literally put your skills and expertise in an online format, and monetize, is year after year by documenting everything in an audio-video format.

The online coaching course format is one of the most popular categories of courses that are running these days.

And it’s not restricted to a handful of people, it’s there with all the top coaches.

What I love about courses is that there are a certain dollar and time investment upfront after that you can reap on the results and make money from it year by year.

Over the years I have found that you can reap on results for close 2 – 4 years on a course.

I mean that’s the lifetime value of online courses.

In this category, you can do courses from as small as $7 to $2000.

You can keep the refreshing course and increase their value over a period of time.

Hybrid Model (Online Coaching + Online Coaching Courses)

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This is my favourite category, and this is where we operate our business.

This model allows you to charge from $200 to $20,000 in terms of pricing.

Now you must be thinking about what are we doing to charge these kinds of prices to our customers.

So what we do basically take ownership for results with our customers, and we basically deploy our team to get the results.

So what that looks like is that our team does the work on behalf of the customer and we help them in doing a large part of tech and other operational work.

So after toying around with this concept for quite some time, we figured out that running coaching courses and providing hands-on coaching support allows us to have the most amount of margins along with figuring out how to get the best value to the customers.

And this is exactly the model we teach to all our coaching clients who join our accelerator program.

If you also want to learn the exact same strategies and apply it to your coaching business, then you must check out the free training that I am doing this week on how you can build an online coaching business, and make $10,000 a month.

In-Person Events (Live retreats, Masterminds, Conferences & Shows)

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In-person, events are usually high priced. For in-person, there are models like Live retreats, masterminds, conferences and live shows that will allow you to build.

Personally, I like such in-depth experiences because they allow you to get the most out of it when it comes to revenue from coaching, and the clients also get the most value by buying your services.

Our in-person events cost something between $20,000-50,000 dollars where we teach and literally do things for our clients.

So our clients hold our in-person events very high in terms of value but it has taken us a lot of time to come to this place since it is very difficult to sell high-end items.

But this is also one business model where volume is less but margins are very high.

As you grow in your coaching business you should definitely hold once a year mastermind sessions to max out your business revenue while giving value to your clients at the same time.

Turn your skills into a profitable online coaching business.

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