Blog » How to Guides » Start A Successful Online Coaching Business: The Definitive Guide (For 2021-2022)
Start a Successful Online Coaching Business
The Definitive Guide
This is the ultimate guide to starting an online coaching business from anywhere that covers everything you need to do it successfully and make it thrive.
So if you want to:
- Get a steady stream coaching clients online
- Have clients pay you well for your coaching services
- Be your own boss while having a positive and far-reaching impact on the world
- And do all of this while having the freedom to do it from anywhere in the world
- Do what you love doing profitably and sustainably
Then you’ll love this new guide.
Let’s get started.
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Build Fundamentals to Get Started
In this Golden Age of digital marketing, launching an online coaching business looks very simple and easy but the process to make it successful can be challenging and daunting.
Throughout this, I’m going to take you on a journey of what it means to be not just a coach, but also an entrepreneur.
We start coaching because we are passionate. But the reason coaches last is they treat it as a business.
I’m going to show you the business principles along with the stories of people who made it and the horror stories of the ones who didn’t so you can have a well rounded perspective of what it takes to build a successful online coaching business in 2021.
So let’s start with the fundamentals.
What is an online coaching business?
An online coaching business is a coaching business conducted entirely over the internet. There is a minimal in-person aspect to it.
This means getting coaching clients who buy online as well as are delivered their coaching via the internet.
The Rise of Online Coaching
Gone are the days, when coaching was only about doing one on one sessions. You cannot perform in-person coaching with so many people at the same time.
In-person coaching has been steadily losing popularity because of the time and effort required for in-person coaching sessions. This has been compounded by the perceived risks due to the pandemic.
This has propelled online coaching to gain a lot of popularity and becoming the new normal.
As per ICF’s Global Coaching Study 2020, usage of audio-video platforms by coaches to coach their clients has gone up by 74% whereas in-person coaching reduced drastically by 80%.
The data shows that to reach more people, you as a coach needs to go digital.
Now of course, this trend has been magnified because of a lack of options due to strict lockdowns across the world. But it’s highly unlikely that it will go back to the way it was before.
The pandemic has fundamentally shifted the mindset of people across the world.
Mynoo is a business coach. She used to constantly fly around the world for in-person coaching with her clients. She used to travel alone leaving their family behind, spending the time and facing the exhaustion that comes with flying, switching time zones, living in hotels, commuting to the location where she would do her coaching and other logistics involved with in-person coaching.
She was constantly exhausted, had no time for herself, and couldn’t prioritise her health and well-being. Her health was suffering.
And then the shift happened.
She now coaches via the internet from her home around her loved ones or from wherever else she wants. She is earning the same amount from her coaching while saving her the time, efforts and money related to travelling and logistics of in-person sessions.
That’s a game changer!
I’ve encountered so many business owners and coaches, who were forced to transition their business online. They did not think it would be possible. But once they did, and saw that it is, they’re sold!
You now can spend all the time, money and efforts spent on previously unavoidable things; on things that are actually important and valuable for you personally and your coaching business.
In an online coaching business, you can connect with clients across the globe through video and audio conferencing and other digital tools.
It is a great opportunity to coach people from different parts of the world.
By going online, your coaching business has huge growth potential, arguably beyond levels possible by staying offline.
What an online coaching business is not?
It is easy to start an online coaching business, but a lot of coaches still struggle in achieving success.
This is because they do not know what an online coaching business is not.
Running an online coaching business doesn’t mean having a complex website. It is important to have an effective website rather than a complex website. An effective website with few pages can be a great fit for you to go digital.
Anila Bashllari had a complex website that did not work and she struggled to get clients online. She then changed her website to a simple but effective one.
She is now one of the biggest coaches in eastern Europe. Anila is a perfect example of how a simple and effective website has helped her go digital and be successful in her coaching business.
Having an online coaching business does not mean it is simple and requires less work. It is not about sitting at home and giving webinars.
It is more than that and requires you to build virtual relationships with your clients.
As a coach, you must understand your clients’ requirements and add value through your coaching and using tools and techniques that will support your clients to grow professionally and personally.
Benefits of an online coaching business
An online coaching business has multiple benefits over a traditional offline coaching business. Here are some of them.
According to the data, 59% of the world’s population is online. That’s 4.54 billion people!
This is an enormous number. Going online opens up a large target market opportunity for your online coaching business rather than being restricted by being offline and geographically limited.
A perfect example of this is Ann Moir-Bussy who coaches women over 50.
She was struggling to find clients offline, but going online opened her up to clients from across the globe.
And when the pandemic happened, she was perfectly poised to take advantage of it and speed up the growth of her business.
An online coaching business has a greater reach allowing you to service clients from across the globe. You can expand your business to different continents and time zones.
With an online coaching business, you can take sessions at your own time and convenience. The challenges of taking face to face sessions are also solved. These challenges can be requirements of a feasible location to conduct the coaching session, travelling to the coaching place and insecurity of meeting people in person during a pandemic.
As a coach, you can take sessions from any part of the world with less overhead costs. The best part is you can leverage the internet to make the whole world your audience.
Brian Peters coaches business owners around the world while living on a beautiful island in the Philippines! Now that’s something worth emulating.
Low Infrastructure Requirements
One of the important perks of an online coaching business is that you can start your business right away.
The capital cost is low in case of an online coaching business as you don’t need expensive and elaborate infrastructure to start. All you really need is a laptop and a good internet connection.
I am a testament to this being possible. This business started while I was stranded in Bali with nothing but an old laptop, a microphone and less than $400 to my name.
You can create a significant impact by starting an online coaching business. So go ahead and take that leap of faith.
Niche Yourself to Stand Out
Simply reaching out and getting in front of your target audience is not enough.
You need to be able to get them to resonate with your message so that you can convert them into clients.
And that’s where niching effectively counts and will make or break your coaching business.
Why Niching is Critical
One of the most common biggest mistakes I’ve seen coaches who struggle to get their coaching business off the ground is that they do not niche themselves.
Many coaches have a vague or abstract idea of a niche. They try to target a huge demographic in the quest of getting more clients.
Many coaches believe that their coaching can help everybody and they do not need to limit themselves to a part of everyone they can coach.
And that might be true. But there’s something very important you need to know.
Not niching dilutes your message
There is a lot of noise out there. You need to niche yourself to be able to strongly relate to your audience.
Niching will also result in you having less direct competition.
Here’s an example to drive home the answer to the question “why”.
Let’s say you have a strong fear of flying and you decide to get a coach to overcome this fear.
You find 2 options,
A) A mindset coach who coaches their clients on mindset
B) A phobia coach who helps people get over their irrational fears
Which of the 2 coaches above are you more likely to choose?
I’m betting it’s the phobia coach.
Here’s another example
You want to overcome a habit of smoking. You’ve been trying to do it for years and you have to choose between these 2 coaches:
- An NLP coach
- An NLP coach who specializes in helping people quit smoking
Again, I’m sure it’s the coach who specializes in solving your problem.
The same is the case with anyone looking for your services.
Niching effectively is the best way to stand out, relate powerfully, and get chosen by clients
How to identify a powerful niche?
A powerful niche includes two things:
Who – This is your target demographic or your market. It’s of utmost importance to figure out who you want to target. You have to understand the market and find your target group.
What – This is the solution you offer. Once you finalize your target group, you need to find out what you can do for them. What service or product will you offer to your target group.
Let’s take an example.
Suppose that you are a career coach. As a coach, you plan to target students in the age group of 20-25.
As a career coach, you need to find out what these students want.
Few of them may want to find internships, others may want to get full-time jobs.
Now, you decide to offer your coaching services to those who want to get full-time jobs.
WHO = Students between the age of 20-25
WHAT = Get full-time jobs
Now combine the WHO and the WHAT components and your coaching niche is ready!
Your Coaching Niche = Who + What i.e. Coaching for students between the age of 20-25 who want to get full-time jobs.
The graphic below is another example.
But, now you might be wondering how to decide the WHO and the WHAT components?
And that’s where the next step will help you.
Finding your niche
Coaching is about understanding the client’s problem and finding the right solutions to achieve their goals.
But before that, it’s about niching. Niching is about choosing the right target audience and the right problem to solve for them.
And that’s where ‘The Niche Diamond’ will help you to define your niche.
The Niche Diamond asks the 4 critical questions required to define a powerful niche.
Are you passionate about your niche?
The first thing you should ask yourself is – are you passionate about serving your clients?
In coaching, as with any other business, you will have your share of ups and downs. Your passion will be the building blocks to success as it will not let you give up, persevere and keep you motivated in hard times.
You need to be passionate about who you are serving, or else you will not know your clients well enough. When you are passionate about something, you go deep into it.
Only when you go deep into something, will you be able to get to the root of the problems and find solutions to them on a fundamental level.
Passion creates deep empathy for the clients and helps you know important things about them. Your passion will drive you to know about your clients’ needs, dreams, fears which are causing hindrance in achieving their goals. This will help you find out better coaching solutions for your clients.
Is your niche abundant and easy to reach?
As a coach, it is crucial to find a niche that can give you abundant clients and those clients congregate in a place which you are able to get access to easily.
This is where going online really shines through.
As I mentioned earlier, a large percentage of people are online. Different platforms boast of millions and even billions of users.
They form communities and follow people who align with their interests, desires, goals and pains.
That’s perfect for you to tap into as a coach and I’ll cover the most effective ways to do that in a bit.
At the same time, you must be careful about choosing a niche that has very few people or is not easily accessible.
You cannot get in front of 100% of the people in your niche. And even the ones you get in front of, not all of them will be apt for you to get as clients. This means, your already small numbers are further diminished.
That will become a big obstacle for you to sustainably continue running your coaching business.
It was the same for Kaley. She initially picked the niche of helping people overcome grief due to the passing away of their partner.
It was a decent niche but the problem was that she needed to get in front of people who had just lost their loved ones at the right time and that was really hard to achieve.
So, these people were not in a place where they would be easy to reach.
She realised that and she decided to change her niche. The new niche she chose was helping people diagnosed with auto-immune disease with symptom management and become pain-free.
That has resulted in her getting a huge flux of high-ticket clients because her potential clients come together in various communities online and that opened up a lot of doors to be able to reach her clients.
Choose your battles wisely.
Can they pay you?
It is very critical as a coach to figure out whether your clients have the financial capability to pay you or not.
For example, let’s say your niche is to help people get people back on their feet after filing for bankruptcy.
Your clients are already in a financially distressed state where they are struggling to make ends meet.
Do you think they will be able to pay you though you might deliver immense value to them?
Know your worth as a coach and the value you provide to your clients. It’s great to help people, but the only way to do it consistently and with great effect is if you are doing sustainably and being paid well to do it.
So, always select a niche where clients can pay you for your coaching services.
Are you solving a problem worth paying for?
Before you finalize your niche, have an informed answer on whether your clients will want to pay you for solving the problem you are addressing for them.
How much someone pays for a problem depends on how painful the problem is for them.
For example, which of these do you think is a more painful problem?
- Helping a business owner who is unorganized to organize their desk
- Helping a business owner who is struggling to get leads double their revenue by coaching them on how to get more leads
Which problem do you think your client would pay you high-ticket to solve?
Make sure clients’ problems are painful enough for them that they are compelled to pay you a high ticket for helping them to solve it.
If not then you need to rework your niche as you will not be able to charge your worth for it.
Follow all the steps of the niche diamond carefully. Do not do it hastily.
This is one of the foundations of your coaching business and will be critical to take your coaching business to the levels you dream to take it to.
Packaging for Success
Now that you have identified your niche, you need to price it right.
Pricing yourself right can mean the difference between constantly struggling to get and retain clients versus getting clients who are excited to work with you, pay you well for it and stay on with you for the long term.
So let’s get into how to do that.
Packaging Your Coaching
Packaging your coaching is basically how you price your coaching.
This is what many coaches do:
“Get 5 sessions for $X”
“Buy 6 sessions and get 2 free”
This is not packaging but giving discounts.
Another common example is “$X per hour”
Charging by the hour is a common mistake coaches make.
If you analyse the most successful coaches out there, none of them charges by the hour.
Psychologically speaking, when you charge by the hour, your clients compare it to what they can get for the cost of that coaching session.
For example, if you are charging $100 for a session, your client is associating it with what they can buy for $100. A nice meal for their family or 5 months of Netflix etc.
And they are going to do that with every hour they spend with you, making it harder and harder to stay on with you.
Powerful results need time. And if you are not going to get enough time, you are not going to be able to deliver enough value.
This is going to make it tougher and tougher to retain clients.
A coaching package defined by a dedicated OUTCOME.
For example: Suppose you work with chiropractors. Your chiropractor coaching package would be a weekend boot camp where you coach them to increase profit by 20%, massively increase client retention, and decrease staff turnover.
Remember, your clients don’t pay you for your process, or for the time you spend with them, but for the dedicated outcome, they expect to achieve.
A perfect example of this is Brian Peters. Brian helps financial advisors get more clients by leveraging referrals.
Previously, he used to charge his clients on a per session basis. It used to work and he used to get some clients. But many of them would drop out in just a couple sessions. It was a constant struggle to retain clients for the long term and for them to stay on until they got results as powerful results took a bit of time.
Then he shifted from charging per session to creating outcome based packages. Fast forward to today and Brian is completely booked out!
He’s actually at the stage where he needs to find a way to scale up his coaching so that he has to spend less time per client which will allow him to serve more clients.
So, it is important that your coaching package hones in on the dedicated outcome your clients can expect to achieve.
You will be able to command exponentially higher prices when you link the PAIN of your clients to the outcomes of your program.
Types of coaching packages
Now that you know how to (and how not to) package your coaching, do you think one package can suit everyone?
It’s unlikely, as not everyone can afford to pay for your premium coaching program.
This is why you need to have different packages to target different sections of your audience as per their comfort and affordability.
The most effective way to go about this is to have 3 types of coaching packages.
Package 1: Taster Package
A taster package is lower priced and gives your clients a taste of what you have to offer. It basically offers A + B to your clients.
Package 2: Mid-Range Package
A mid-range package is double the value of your taster package, that is you offer A+B+C+D to your clients and is also often double the price too.
Package 3: Premium Package
A premium package offers the best i.e. A+B+C…….Z to your clients.
Comparing the taster and mid-range packages to the premium, the premium package gives exponentially more value and better results for your clients.
Similarly, while packaging for your coaching services what you need to understand is that your focus should be on the premium package.
The idea behind listing 3 types of coaching package is that the taster and mid-range package just provides the illusion of choice.
A few people may choose the taster and the mid-range packages but if you create a premium coaching package i.e. A+B+C…….Z versus A+B then most will choose the premium package because it adds more value.
Clients will be willing to pay a premium price for a premium package as it will give them the maximum benefit.
Price It Right for Maximum Profit
The right pricing allows you to attract the right kind of clients.
Attracting the right clients will give you an enormous boost in building your online coaching business. For this, you need to understand the science of pricing and the types of clients.
Remember I said before, you need to treat your coaching as a business. Only then will you be able to last.
It’s important you put your entrepreneurial hat on while you go through this next part.
So let’s get started.
Importance of Choosing the Right Kind of Clients
As per ICF’s Global Coaching Study 2020 the average annual income from coaching is $47,100.
This is just the average and even moderately successful coaches make much more than that.
But how do you break into the upper echelons of coaches – the top 5%?
For this, understanding the different types and targeting the right kind of clients is important.
With that, here’s how to identify the right target client and price your packages accordingly.
What are high-ticket clients and low-ticket clients?
Let us start by defining who are high-ticket and low-ticket clients.
A high ticket client is typically a client who is paying $1000 or more for your coaching program.
A low-ticket client is the one paying less than $1000 for your coaching program.
Should you go for high-ticket clients or low-ticket clients?
Knowing the differences between high-ticket and low-ticket clients will help you make the right choice about which type of clients are more beneficial for you and which ones you should target.
Put on your business owner hat while you read this next part.
I am giving you an example with actual numbers for Abby, one of the coaches I have worked with.
Abby’s goal was to make $100,000 from her coaching.
She had already found her niche and created a package but was struggling to move towards her dream.
She was getting clients but she was puzzled as to why her income was hardly anything.
So I sat with her and did an analysis of what she was doing.
She had 2 options, go low ticket and charge $200 per client – which she was currently doing. Or go high-ticket and charge $8000 per client.
Here’s how the numbers looked like for her.
Target Revenue: $100,000
|Low Ticket||High Ticket|
|Price per Client||$200||$8000|
|No. of clients required to achieve the target revenue||500 Clients||13 Clients|
So, if Abby was charging $200 per client, she would need 500 clients while if she charged $8000 per client she would need 13 clients.
She said, “Well, 13 clients is great. 500 clients is hard, but not impossible.”
But something which Abby had not considered here is the actual cost of acquiring the clients and the cost of delivering what she had promised them.
The above was just the revenue. It’s not profit. Profit is what actually matters and equates to money in the bank.
The amount of money you make is the profit which is the revenue minus your costs
After a few tests, Abby found out what her cost was for acquiring a client and the cost of delivering her services.
And taking those into account, this is what our calculations looked like:
Target Profit: $100,000
|Low Ticket||High Ticket|
|Price per Client||$200||$8000|
|Total cost per client (Cost for Acquiring + Cost of Delivery)||$100||$1000|
|Profit per client||$100||$7000|
|No. of clients required to achieve the target profit||1000 Clients||15 Clients|
The results were shocking for Abby!
As per these new calculations, she would need 15 high ticket clients – just 2 more than her earlier estimate.
But there was a start difference in the results if she went low-ticket.
She would need to close 1000 low ticket clients for making a $100,000 profit yearly!
As you can see, a high-ticket client gives a much better profit margin than multiple low ticket clients.
By experience I can tell you that it’s way easier to find 15 people who are ready to pay $8000 each than 1000 people who will pay $200 each.
It is also immensely easier in terms of logistics to serve, support and ensure the happiness of 15 clients rather than 1000 clients.
So from an income point of view, low ticket clients do not make sense.
- Results and Testimonials
If you want to have a successful coaching business then you need to understand the way both of these clients behave. The mindset of your clients plays a critical role in making your coaching business profitable.
As a coach, you really have to look into the psychology of someone who has invested a huge amount in your coaching program versus someone who has invested not much.
There is a fundamental difference between the psychology of high-ticket and low-ticket clients.
Have you ever chosen something because it was the most expensive? Reflect on your own experience in life. I know I have.
Most people have the psychology and the perception that if something is expensive then it must be good. And they value it much more.
If you look at high ticket coaching clients, they have the habit of taking responsibility as their coaching investment is huge.
They put in the work that is required from their side. That, combined with your coaching will lead them to powerful results.
We’ve seen this in our clients’ cases too. When they have shifted to the high-ticket model, they have transformed the results of their clients.
Their coaching remained the same. But their clients took it way more seriously.
High-ticket clients are also excited about their results which means they appreciate their achievements more rather than complain. They share about their achievements much more vocally and openly compared to low ticket clients.
This results in enabling you getting raving testimonials from them.
This is rarely the case for low ticket clients.
- Upsell Potential
Upselling basically means selling a premium program to the same audience. The advantage with upselling is that it doesn’t include acquisition cost as you sell the program to your old clients.
Low ticket clients have low investment capacity and so they don’t tend to buy another program so easily.
In the case of high-ticket clients, they have the potential to invest in new programs that can give them results. That, combined with the trust you create with high ticket clients as they are more likely to get results is a golden opportunity for your coaching business.
Research shows that it costs 5 times as much to attract a new client compared to retaining an existing one.
Also, existing clients are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more compared to new clients.
Vijaya saw this first hand. She offers multiple programs and has had immense success with a single client purchasing multiple high-ticket programs.
I have seen the same with my clients. Once someone purchases one of my programs, I see over 60% of them going on to purchase another of my offerings.
Low-ticket clients generally try to shop around for getting the cheapest price or the best bargain. So even when they sign up with you, they will constantly be on the lookout for a better deal. The only way to close them and keep them with you is to compete with price with other competitors out there.
As soon as you start competing on price, it’s a race to the bottom. You’re going to be working increasingly hard for ever decreasing margins, which in effect means earning way less.
Serving hundreds of clients but not being able to sustain it as you can’t recoup your costs is a massive disservice to your potential as a coach.
On the flip side, As I mentioned above, high-ticket clients take ownership for their own results. They have invested in you due to the belief in themselves and they put in the required efforts to make it work.
When people get results, they are more likely to stick with you and pay you on an ongoing basis.
Even while buying for the first time, high-ticket clients are less likely to be fazed by your pricing and won’t try to get the cheapest bargains or ask for discounts.
This allows you to maintain your pricing, or even have the potential to increase it as you don’t have to worry about the competition.
Hugh Todd went through this exact same journey. He strongly believed that going low-ticket was the way to go as he would get a lot more clients. He did that for over a year. It was a tough year for him.
He then decided to give high-ticket a chance. The result? He now has a lot of high-ticket clients who love him and who he loves serving. And he hasn’t looked back since!
With everything I have said above, you see there are immense advantages to pricing your program for and catering to high-ticket clients.
Coaching Models for Exceptional Growth
Coaching models play an integral part in the growth of coaching programs.
After getting information on the pricing strategy, you must also understand the different types of coaching models and choose one or a combination of coaching models.
One-on-one coaching, also called individual coaching or personal coaching is one of the most commonly used forms of coaching. These kind of coaching sessions are where you focus on and work with your client on an individual basis.
Clients love this kind of coaching as it enables them to get focused, individual attention. The entire session is catered to creating personalised solutions to their problems.
Group coaching is coaching a closed group. The clients enroll together and are taken through the program together. The coach coaches one or multiple members of the group at a time. It adds the dimension of learning from peers who share similar goals and challenges. As with any other type of coaching, this can be carried out in person, or remotely via audio and video conferencing tools.
The groups can be of varying sizes based on your program and what you are comfortable with. By taking on groups, you maximise the effectiveness of your time by spending it with many clients at once instead of just 1 client at a time.
After experiencing one-on-one coaching, you can take your coaching business to the next level by building a group coaching program.
You can create a group curriculum around what you do with each of your clients. This will help you leverage your time and help more clients without having to proportionally increase the time you spend coaching.
The next step beyond group coaching is to turn it into a structured curriculum and create a membership site.
A membership site is a website where members are given access to training material, research, tools, and a community for a periodical fee. Only paid members can access the website as it is protected by a login.
After interviewing and analyzing hundreds of coaches, I see a common pattern.
About 80% of the work a coach does with a client is the same as other clients. Less than 20% is actually unique to the client’s situation
This opens up the opportunity for massively leveraging your time and efforts by creating a membership site.
You create a membership site for 80% of your coaching which is common for all your clients. For the remaining 20%, you can have weekly or fortnightly question and answer sessions.
Over and above this, you can also give options to your clients to book in private sessions with you at a premium to learn from highly personalised coaching.
I do exactly this with my clients and the results are spectacular!
We see this in our own clients over the last ten years.
The framework for building a successful coaching business is straightforward.
You find a niche, you create an offer, you get traffic from the right places, you sell your coaching.
80% of the coaches who start off, don’t understand these fundamentals.
So, in our program, our membership site covers this 80% which are the fundamentals and common for all coaches.
The remaining 20% is as per the individual situation which is unique for them.
My clients love this combination of being able to do things at their own pace but at the same time get the personal attention they need from their team and via regular Q and A sessions.
We get stellar satisfaction and happiness scores in ALL our client surveys.
The membership site model is one step above the group coaching model and can further leverage your time and efforts, which can cause exponential results in your coaching business.
Which model is better and more beneficial?
One-on-one coaching has its own set of limitations.
The greatest challenge you can face in one-on-one coaching is the demand of your limited time and bandwidth.
The only way for you to earn more, is to increase your price. As price increases, the demand decreases. As you increase your pricing, there are chances of you losing clients.
Though this is not as pronounced for high-ticket clients, it still does happen. You are going to have fewer people having the ability to buy your coaching package at $20,000 compared to $8000.
As you grow, one on one coaching ends up becoming a highly paid job which means you are not able to give time to yourself.
Clients are fully dependent on you for training and this can be too time-consuming and limiting for you.
You have to limit your clients as you cannot take more than 8 coaching calls a day and this in turn puts a limit on your income.
Given a choice, no one wants to limit earnings.
As per my experience and research, the group coaching model works better in terms of time, effort, and cost.
In the case of one-on-one coaching you cater to only 1 client at a time whereas in the case of group coaching you can cater to more clients with the same time and cost.
For example, if you offer 4 monthly sessions of 1 hour each in case of one-on-one coaching, that’s 4 hours per month per client.
Now, in the case of group coaching, even if you offer 10 hours in a month to 10 clients in a group, then you are investing just 10 hours total for effectively serving 10 clients. That’s just 1 hour per person that you are actually spending.
With the example above, it’s clear that group coaching is more time and cost-effective in terms of the number of clients.
And as mentioned earlier, you can take this even further by leveraging the power of membership sites. That way, you can deliver even greater value to your clients while spending even lower time per client.
The Best Way to Go about This
My advice is, first start off with one-on-one coaching and prove your niche.
Get a few clients for your coaching venture and deliver your coaching services to your clients to prove your niche.
Then evaluate and see what are the parts which are repetitive among your clients. After that create a group coaching plan based on your evaluation.
Once your group coaching plan is ready, batch your clients in groups and take coaching sessions regularly.
Beyond group, coaching is the membership site where you share 80% of common content with your clients. Membership sites make your tasks simple as clients can independently access the content any time, from any location, and at their own pace and convenience. It requires less time and effort compared to a group coaching model and can also cater to a larger group without direct involvement.
Market Effectively to Get Leads
You have nailed your niche, created your coaching packages, and priced it right for high-ticket clients.
The next critical step is getting in front of the right people effectively.
Getting a steady stream of leads which can convert into paying clients is one of the biggest things a majority of coaches struggle with.
So let’s see how to do that.
What is Traffic?
Traffic is basically when relevant people see your content.
Anyone who is in your target niche and who sees what you have put out in the world is a potential client who can be converted to a high-paying client.
12 types of traffics for marketing
The book “Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers” outlines the 19 main channels which drive traffic.
I’ve gone one step further and merged some of them to be more concise and relevant for coaches to come to the 12 types of traffic as listed below:
- PR: This is basically getting your name out in the press or getting media coverage.
- Blogging, SEO, and Content Marketing: This is creating original content and publishing it on your own blog, on other blogs as guest posts, your YouTube channel, LinkedIn, etc.
- Online ADs: This is posting ADs online. That could be on search engines like Google and Bing, on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, or display ads on other websites.
- Joint Ventures and Email Marketing: This is partnering with someone who has a mailing list or a traffic asset that is relevant to your niche.
- Educational Platforms: This is traffic from platforms like Udemy and Coursera.
- Speaking Gigs: This is getting on a stage and speaking to a relevant audience.
- Community Building: This is building groups on Facebook, Linked In, etc., and getting traffic from there.
- Referrals and Your Network: These are people who you already know or people your existing clients know.
- Offline ADs: This is traditional media such as billboards and hoardings, print media like newspapers, magazines, and flyers, television advertisements, and radio ads.
- Trade Shows and Offline Events: These are events that have members of a particular industry display, demonstrate, and discuss their products and services.
- Viral Marketing and Unconventional PR: This includes conducting unique and unusual publicity stunts and creating content that goes “viral”.
- Engineering as Marketing: This means creating tools and resources which people find useful and will use.
The traffic that doesn’t work for coaches
PR is good for building goodwill and branding. But the traffic generated from it is generally not relevant and will rarely help you in getting paid clients.
Offline ads really don’t work well for coaches as they are useful for mass and non-niche businesses. They are quite expensive too.
These are relevant for businesses that provide products or services related to the theme of the trade show. This traffic source is typically not relevant for coaches.
Traffic That Can Work But Not Recommended
Blogging and SEO
Blogging can generate good traffic for you but it takes a lot of time and effort to build a good blog.
You also need to understand how SEO works.
You can’t expect to just write what you feel like writing and expect your blog to do well and generate traffic.
Yes content does matter, but so do a lot of other things to rank your blog well on Google.
It needs to be technically well done, fast, mobile friendly, target the right keywords, have the right kind of promotion and outreach and well optimized. All this may need expert guidance which can be an expensive affair.
A blog can take 4 to 6 months (even for SEO firms) to show good results and this can be even more if you are starting now and planning to do everything on your own.
The success of online ads depends on your coaching niche. Online ads can be very expensive if your niche is competitive as you have to compete with people and your audience is going to be saturated.
Though online ADs seem easy to execute, remember that they can be a black hole of money if not monitored properly.
I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on online ADs myself and I can tell you that it’s not easy.
It can take you 3 to 9 months or even more and a large budget to start seeing good results, and that too with the help of an experienced marketer.
Speaking gigs can be a source of relevant traffic if you speak in the right places with the right audience. But speaking gigs require you to travel and show up in person which can be time-consuming.
The process of landing a speaking gig is also a long and arduous one.
Educational platforms are a great place to build clients but the services are priced very low. This means they will generate only low ticket traffic. They also don’t provide flexibility for different types of packages and because of that, you cannot offer premium packages to your clients.
Unconventional PR and Viral Marketing
It is really very difficult to make content go viral but even if you are successful in doing so then only a very small part of this traffic will be relevant to your niche.
So, I would not recommend viral marketing as it will require a lot of effort and money which will not give you relevant and useful traffic.
Community building can be a good way of building traffic but it takes a lot of time and effort to build a community and manage it.
Another important point in the case of community building is you need to build a community on someone else’s platform which can be risky at times as the platform can change its rules anytime. In this situation, your entire effort can go to waste with just an overnight change in rules.
Which traffic is best for coaches?
As per my experience, the following two types of traffic works best for coaches and would recommend you to try both of them.
Referrals and Your Network
Referrals and network marketing are the quickest and cheapest way to start getting clients.
Your network can be the ideal clients to start with as they already have trust and credibility for you.
You can also approach your existing, as well as ex-clients for referrals as word of mouth referrals. Referrals and people you know have a very high rate of converting into clients.
Also, don’t forget to ask for testimonials from your clients as these testimonials can build goodwill for your coaching brand and increase your customer base.
One of the biggest shortcomings of this is that it is limited to your network which will get exhausted after a point.
If you’re not familiar with JV’s, imagine having an influencer, someone like Brian Tracy, or Les Brown, endorse your work to their mailing list. Imagine having Brian’s million+ email list knowing about your work through a message Brian sent to them.
That is a Joint Venture, someone who has your target audience promoting your work.
So, when they refer you as a good coach that means they are putting their trust in you and that is an important factor in getting a paid client.
I find JVs as one of the best sources of traffic to get clients.
For the first few years of my business I relied solely on JVs and it was the best choice I could have made.
In fact, one of my clients, Nadine recently closed a JV who has a group of over 120,000 members!
Another client Vijaya has a pipeline of JVs and on average has 10 JVs promoting for her every month.
For my student Kaley, I’ll just let the following image speak for itself.
I coach all the coaches in my flagship program to use JVs as the primary way to get a steady stream of paying clients and they consistently get stellar results.
Converting Traffic To Sales
As a coach, your key goal is to grow your coaching business by consistently getting more clients from the traffic you are generating.
How can you do that?
This is achieved by using a funnel. This is what actually matters and doing this well will enable you to create a thriving coaching business.
What is a funnel?
A funnel is basically the steps you take people through to get them to a point where they are ready to sign up with you.
A funnel majorly has 3 outcomes. Building trust, credibility, and need.
Trust means that someone believes that you have something important to offer them which can bring a valuable difference in their personal or professional growth.
It also gives them the faith that you will actually deliver on what you are promising them and not run away with their money or scam them.
Trust is the first step to build relationships with your clients.
Credibility means getting someone to understand that you are an expert in what you do.
It gives authenticity to your coaching and helps leads understand that they can depend and rely on you to achieve the outcome they want.
Need means getting your leads to understand that the problem you are solving for them is a critical problem they need to solve and that they are much better off with you helping them than trying to solve the problem on their own.
The Structure of a Funnel
A funnel is divided into 4 primary sections.
As covered earlier, traffic means getting in front of the relevant people and them seeing your content.
Call to action & Conversion
Call to actions are basically elements that make it clear to your target audience what action to take and how to take it.
For example when you ask your prospective clients to book a call then that is call to action.
It encourages your target audience to take a step towards conversion.
Conversion happens when your lead acts on the call to action and gives you their contact details so you can further engage and interact with them.
This is the third part of the funnel where through engaging with the lead, you get them to pay you for your coaching package or service.
Encouraging customer to return
The final part of the funnel is where you encourage customers to come back to the website and buy more products and services or continue engaging with you.
This is how a simple marketing funnel looks like.
Marketing funnels differ as per businesses and choosing the right funnel which is effective for your business can be the difference between frustration or massive success for your coaching business.
So what should the funnel for your coaching venture look like?
The Perfect High-Ticket Coaching Funnel
I have tested multiple funnels in my career and after a lot of research and experience I have formulated the perfect high-ticket funnel that can convert your leads into high paying clients.
I’ve tested multiple traffic sources like ADs, Content Marketing, SEO, Youtube etc. – almost all the sources I have described earlier, tried multiple ways of conversion like courses, ebooks, webinars, quizzes, etc.
Over the years we’ve been constantly testing what works and what doesn’t. I have spent $50,000 on testing different types of funnels in the last 2 months alone.
We’ve had failed tests where we have spent thousands of dollars and not made anything on it. And we’ve had stellar successes where we’ve earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from spending a fraction of it.
I’ve even written a book based on my learnings – “The 12 Steps To Get A Consistent Stream OF High Paying Clients”
What I’ve found is that there is one funnel which far outperforms any of the other funnels.
I’ve tried it with hundreds of coaches in varied niches and it’s worked and proven itself time and again to generate leads on demand.
This perfect high-ticket coaching funnel is ideal for you to run and grow your coaching business.
Joint venture referral traffic
As you are starting, you need to have a traffic source which has an inbuilt trust factor in it, does not take too long and does not cost a lot to create.
This is where joint venture traffic shines through more than any other traffic source.
The great thing about JVs is that they have been building and nurturing their audience over time. This means the people on their list already trust them and find them credible.
Another valuable thing about JVs is that you can often negotiate deals where you pay nothing upfront and pay based on the clients you get from the JV promotion.
This means your risk is effectively zero.
And you just need to learn how to close JVs. Once they promote you, you will have a flow of relevant leads trickling through your funnel. It doesn’t take months like many other traffic sources.
Next is conversion, where you use online webinars for generating high ticket leads from the traffic you have generated via JVs.
When someone goes for a webinar, they have to sign up, put it in their calendar, show up at the right time, and sit through the entire webinar.
So compared to a video, ebook or a quiz, you are getting a very strong intention. And the people who show up for the webinar, typically pay attention and a good percentage of them stay till the end.
So when you pitch the call at the end, the people who have watched your webinar till the end are very likely to book the call and convert into paying clients.
My webinar has been the most effective conversion asset for me and has generated millions of dollars for us over the years.
A pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) is basically a list of questions that helps you to understand the lead better.
It helps you determine if the lead is a good fit for your coaching, if they have the problem you can solve and also if they have the capability and intention to pay you a high-ticket price.
This ensures that you are getting onto calls with the right kind of leads and not wasting your time with freebie seekers or leads you cannot help.
You can see our pre-qualification questionnaire here.
The 2 Call Process
Over the years, we’ve tested 1 call closes, 2 call closes and even more than 2 call closes.
We’ve found the 2 call process to be the most effective one.
The problem with 1 call closing is that people are not ready to invest in your coaching. They might not be a good fit.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to have 2 calls to close someone as a client, it actually saves your time as you don’t end up spending a lot of time talking to people who you have identified to not be a good fit.
I’ve done this for over 20,000 leads and it’s worked so well that I still do it and recommend it to all my clients.
Previously when we were doing what most other people were doing and advising to do, which is close people on a single call, we found out that out of every 5 people, 3 to 4 of them were not qualified.
But we would spend 90 mins for each of them.
But by implementing the Triage call methodology, we would still get the same amount of people signing up in the end but we would spend a LOT less time talking to the unqualified leads.
The same outcome with a lot less time spent.
First call: Build need for your coaching services
Most people when they look to buy high-quality coaching services, want to talk with somebody. So here is where the first call comes into place.
In this first call, you connect with your client, understand their problems, establish that they are indeed a good fit and build the need for your coaching services.
Second call: Closing the deal
After establishing they are a good fit and building the need in the first call, the second call is where you establish relevance and pitch your coaching package the right way to your prospect.
This is the call where you close the deal and turn the prospect into a paying client.
After the sale is done you deliver them with what you have promised and ensure they are happy and are achieving the outcomes and results you have promised them.
Remember to under-promise and over-deliver
Doing this well will ensure your clients are delighted in working with you. Which primes them up for the next stage.
Referral and renewal
This last stage helps you accelerate the growth of your coaching business.
After you deliver exceptional value to your clients and help them to achieve their goals and desired outcomes and then you can ask them for testimonials and referrals.
It’s very likely that your client knows someone who needs help with the same problems you have helped them overcome. Your clients can also share about you and refer you to their network. Leverage that.
Referrals are one of the cheapest and most effective ways of getting new clients.
If you have a model where you can engage with them on an ongoing basis then you should definitely focus on that. By having clients renew, you are saving on all your marketing costs which will end up being significant.
Clients who stick with you also have a higher spending tendency and are a valuable source of insightful feedback for you.
Do not neglect the power of client retention.
According to studies, increasing the customer retention by just 5% increases profits by 25-95%!
This way you can maximize your earning potential from each of your clients.
Here’s a video on how to create coaching programs that ROCK which your clients love.
My clients Brian and Kaley have done this and it has propelled their business to another level! Their calendar is full and they simply cannot keep up with the demand for their coaching services.
And there you have it, the perfect high-ticket coaching funnel.
Your Effective Website
You are on the journey of creating an online .
The word “online” implies that you need a web presence and your website is just that.
It’s impossible to run an online business without a website.
So let’s get into what is important (and not important) for your coaching business website.
The importance of a website
A website is the business card of the internet age.
How many times have you used the phrase “Google it”?
Searching for things online has become such a common thing that “Google” was added to the official Oxford dictionary back in 2006!
And the case is no different for your business.
Having a website legitimizes your business. Your website will be the center of your company’s online presence. According to a survey, 81% of people research about things online before making a purchase. And that number is ever increasing. And even then, almost 45% of small businesses don’t have a website!
If you don’t have a website, you are instantly losing out on credibillity and opportunities for your coaching business.
On the flip side, having a website, immediately give you a leg up on almost half of your competition.
Now that the importance of your website is established, let’s look at some other important aspects of it.
The Perfect Website
“Perfectionism is a lost cause. Focus your energy on being the best you can be.”
– Domonique Bertolucci
I have seen a lot of coaches getting stuck on trying to get everything on their website perfect.
The perfect design, the perfect colours, the perfect logo, text, marketing video, etc.
You don’t need a perfect website, you need an effective one
As a coach, don’t get obsessed with making your website perfect and comprehensive and end up making a website with too much information.
It is more important to make an effective website rather than a complex and slick one to convert traffic into high paying clients.
If you are not experienced in building websites then you can hire an expert who can help you with the proper website.
My advice would be to never hire any random web developer to build your website instead hire an expert who knows how a coaching website should be. This will save you time and effort so you can concentrate on actually running and growing your coaching business.
A high converting website is more important than a beautiful one
So now that you know the importance of not getting stuck in the cycle of perfection for your website, what are the important parts you need to pay attention to?
The Critical Elements of your website
Here are the most important aspects of a life coach website.
A good website should represent your core business clearly to your clients and also show how your business can benefit them.
Research shows that on average, 55% of all pageviews get less than 15 seconds of attention
This means that you have less than 15 seconds to convey the core benefit the person visiting your website will get and keep them hooked to stay on longer.
Create content that is appealing to the audience and is sectioned by clear headers. Review your content and make sure that it doesn’t contain ambiguous language or filler words.
Now even after you have done the first step, there is a second thing to keep in mind.
Research shows that on average, people read only about 20% of the text that is on a page. This percentage increases as the number of texts decreases
This means, you need to ensure you don’t add a lot of text on your website. You cannot have walls of text on your website. Most people are not going to read it and it’s going to be a terrible user experience for them.
Keep it short, succinct and relevant to the user so you convey what they need to know even if they skim through the page.
Keep it short and simple so that your audience has to spend fewer efforts to relate with it. Avoid using vague words which don’t really mean anything or add value like groundbreaking, cutting-edge etc.
Kaley Zeitouni’s website is a perfect example of clear copy and catchy header design which communicates the core benefit to the user immediately..
Also, avoid third party advertisements. These distract your users from what’s important – YOU!
Call to Action
The call to action, also known as a CTA is a prompt that tells the person looking at your content what is the next action they should take.
According to research, 90% of the people who read your headline will read your call to action
People visiting websites are generally impatient and have short attention spans. Once they land on your website and find your message is relevant for them, you want to capitalize on that and give them a clear answer to what to do next.
It’s important that your call to action is clear, eye catching and they know what to expect once they click on it.
Lissa Pohl’s website is a great example of a clear call to action. Previously, when people landed on her website, they were not sure about what to do next.
She did a revamp of her website and look at it now. There’s no question about what is your next step to take in just one glance.
Your Core Offerings
The core offerings section clearly explains what you have to offer in a clear, measurable and tangible manner.
Your offerings should directly address the pain points of your clients.
This gives the person going through your website an understanding of what they stand to gain from engaging with you in a clear and succinct way. How Desi Tahiraj does it on her website is a great example of this.
When people connect with a business, especially for a business like coaching, they want to know who is the person behind it.
It shouldn’t be too long but effectively communicate your journey so that people who read it can connect with your story.
Additionally, ensure that you add your picture where your face is clearly visible. Clients will connect better when they see the face behind the business and this human connection helps you build trust with your clients.
You can see how Jacqui Carrel has done a stellar job of her bio on her website.
Testimonials are important because nothing creates credibility and trust more than the words of your peers.
It is the ultimate social proof. I can tell you from personal experience that the moment I started getting good quality testimonials it was infinitely easier for me to get clients.
There are 4 kinds of testimonials that you would preferably want for your website:
- A celebrity testimonial
- Testimonial by a ordinary man
- Testimonial by a ordinary woman
- Testimonial but someone who is an “against all odds” success story
Each of these testimonials has its own advantages and a combination of these is a great aim to have.
Good testimonials are very specific and very clearly convey how you helped them achieve their goals.
You can even go one step beyond and get video testimonials.
According to a study, 2 out of 3 people say they’d be more likely to make a purchase after watching a testimonial video demonstrating how a business, product, or service had helped another person like them
Chris Howards’s video testimonial is a perfect example of a powerful video testimonial.
Following the advent of GDPR (which stands for General Data Protection Regulation) and other laws related to privacy, it has become essential for any website owner to stay on the right side of the law.
Not doing so can result in heavy fines and penalties.
It’s reported that since its enforcement in 2018, European authorities have imposed EUR 114 million ($126 million) in fines in the first 2.5 years
And it is predicted that the frequency and amount of fines is going to keep increasing.
Most countries already have strict rules in their information security and cyber law, which include guidelines around privacy. And those that currently don’t are gearing towards it.
Legally speaking, the following are the important:
- Cookie Consent
- Terms and Conditions
- Refund Policy
- Copyright Notice
You must ensure these are appropriately implemented and up to date.
Note: The opinions expressed here should not be taken as legal advice. The laws and policies for different places and companies are unique and often complex. Ensure you get qualified legal counsel to address all the above points for your jurisdiction.
Until now, I have spoken only about the content necessary for your coaching website. But what is important in terms of the technical aspects?
According to studies, 40% of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Beyond that, you lose 7% of users for every second your website takes to load.
Google has been using the speed at which a website loads as a ranking factor to determine where your website shows up in google search results since 2010.
So you need to ensure your website is blazing fast.
HTTPs is that small lock sign you see on the left of your website address.
This basically is the technology which ensures no hackers or any third party can spy on your users’ interaction with your website.
In today’s age, it’s become a necessity to have this set up properly. It’s better for users, and better for you to show up on Google and get discovered.
On the contrary, if you don’t have it set up or set up correctly, visitors actually end up seeing a very scary warning which will make them want to leave your website immediately.
Having a mobile optimized website basically means that your website looks and functions well when people visit it from a mobile phone and provide an optimal user experience on small screens.
Desktop computers are no longer the primary way people use the internet.
More than 50% of the internet traffic comes from mobile phones and this trend is here to stay
Between 2013 and 2019, time spent on media on a desktop has declined slightly. In the same period, time spent on media on a mobile device has sharply increased.
Even Google has moved to mobile-first indexing – which essentially means that its algorithms primarily use the mobile version of your website to rank it for search results.
If your website is not mobile optimized, you are immediately alienating over half of the people who are discovering you.
Smooth User Flow
You would have noticed a trend in everything I have said about your website.
Everything is done keeping the user in mind. We want the user to have the best experience possible while going through your website.
They should feel like they are in an effortless flow while they navigate through your website and can easily find what they need to and do the actions they intend to.
Their flow should not be broken by any interruptions like broken pages and links, landing in unexpected parts of your website or getting distracted.
Ensure that is actually the case.
Keep the user in mind, ensure smooth and streamlined flow and keep it simple
In case you are planning to build your website on your own, you can check out any of the websites mentioned in the examples above for inspiration and model your own based on them.
You can also give your website project to an industry expert who knows how to build a coaching website that can convert your website traffic into high-paying clients.
Online Coaching Business Sins
I have seen so many coaches commit avoidable mistakes causing them to waste a lot of time, money, and effort, eventually causing frustration and them giving up.
The online coaching business sins are basically repetitive mistakes that coaches commonly make in their journey of setting up their business.
After analysing all the coaches whom I have coached over the past decade, I have compiled the 4 most common traps that coaches fall into.
Trying to be all over social media
I have seen a lot of coaches market their business on every social media platform they can get on.
In the pursuit of being seen everywhere, you will spread yourself too thin and end up being ineffective everywhere.
This is the focus and effort you could be channeling elsewhere and in more effective ways in growing your coaching business.
As I mentioned earlier, social media is not a very effective means of generating clients for primarily 4 reasons.
- You are bound to a particular platform’s policies and if they shut you down, you are left helpless. (Like what happened to health groups)
- Most social media platforms have throttled organic reach so as to monetize. This means, even if you have a page with a lot of followers, they will not be able to see your content unless you are ready to pay for it. Between 2012 and 2016, organic reach on Facebook has decreased from 16% to 2%.
That means if you have 1000 people following you, only 20 of them are actually seeing your content unless you pay for it to get promoted.
And other social platforms have followed suit.
- As organic reach is dead on social media, the only choice you are left with is running ADs.
I’ve spent over $200,000 in the last year on ADs and I can tell you, it’s not easy making it work.
It can take you 3 to 9 months or even more, a large budget and the help of an experienced marketer. And even after that, there is no guarantee of good results.
- The social media space is a very noisy one. Facebook has over 9 million active advertisers. So you have a lot of competition.
At the same time, the engagement rate on Facebook is a measly 0.09%. That means, just 9 out of 10,000 followers actually engage with a post!
That being said, it’s not impossible to do it. We have all heard of social media success stories.
But the success stories are few and far in between.
For every successful coach who you have heard about making it work, there are hundreds who were not able to. You do not hear about them anywhere.
My client Hugh Todd tried to make social media work for more than a year with no results whatsoever to show for it. Finally he abandoned it and moved to using JVs to market himself which has given him way better results with much effort and a much shorter span of time.
Even though I do strongly advise against it, if you do decide to venture into trying to get clients over social media, use industry research to help you make your decision and choose just 1 platform which is appropriate for your niche and where you feel you are most likely to succeed and focus on it.
Focusing on too many things online
A lot of coaches spend plenty of time in search of training or certification programs before starting their business.
In this process, they deviate from the goal of starting their business and it leaves them with unfulfilled dreams.
The Internet is full of information and not all of it is correct. You may end up spending more time and money on courses or programs that are not useful.
A lot of self proclaimed gurus teach people methods which are not proven in the real world and simply do not work.
Focus and perseverance are critical aspects for business success.
According to research, focusing on more than 1 thing at a time causes a productivity loss of 40%
Imagine that compounded over time.
As an experienced coach, I would suggest you take guidance from an industry expert or enrol in a program as that can give you direction and guidance to start your online coaching business soon.
A program dedicated and specialized in helping coaches establish their coaching business can help you get the right advice from the right source and that can save you a TON of time and money in the long run.
I have covered this earlier, but it’s such an important and common mistake that I feel compelled to touch upon it again.
Have you finalised your niche by now? If not, go back to the chapter on niching and get it done.
I cannot stress on it enough, you must niche!
A strong niche will attract the right clients for you and can grow your business in the right direction.
Niching will give you opportunities to work with high-ticket clients and will help you grow your coaching business easier.
Niching will give visibility to your online coaching business and help you scale across borders.
Marketing the technique or framework
Sometimes I’ve seen coaches focus on marketing their technique or framework.
Remember to market the outcome you help people achieve and not the technique you use.
For example, if you could market yourself as an NLP coach OR as an NLP coach who helps overcome addictions.
Which out of the 2 will your prospective clients relate more strongly with?
As just an NLP coach you will get lost in the crowd, but as soon as you pair it up with the outcome, you stand out.
The income that you make from your coaching activities are not exempt from tax.
Ensure that you are declaring it and paying taxes as required and on time, so as not to end up on the wrong side of the tax authorities and get implicated with tax evasion or tax fraud.
Safeguard Yourself Against Liabilities
There are many business structures like Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, LLCs, etc. which you can choose from for your coaching business.
Choose an appropriate structure for your business. For example LLC stands for a Limited Liability Corporation which ensures that you are not personally liable for your coaching business’ debts or liabilities and thus safeguard yourself, your family and your assets.
Also ensure you have the appropriate contracts in place and get the appropriate paperwork signed from your clients, partners, vendors and employees.
Getting into legal trouble is the last thing you want as it can effectively mean the death of your coaching business. So make sure you always stay on the right path. It’s a lesson best not learnt the hard way.
As the laws and policies for different places and companies are unique and often complex, ensure you get qualified legal counsel to address all the above points.
Keep coming back to this list of sins every month. Be intentional about it and ensure you are not unconsciously falling into these common traps.
Effective Digital Tools
Over a decade of running an online coaching business and helping other coaches set up their own, I have experimented with many different digital tools.
Out of all the tools I have used over the years, there are a few I have found to be the most powerful and essential ones for running an online coaching business.
What are these tools and why are they important?
In today’s digital era coaches can build a competitive and successful online coaching business if they have the right digital tools to do so.
Online or digital tools are basically websites, programs, software, online platforms, and resources that can make running and growing your business and tackling your tasks smooth and easy.
As per a recent study by the International Coaching Federation, around 71% of coach practitioners agreed that they will have to invest more in technology in the future
So you know that you don’t want to get left behind there.
So which are the tools essential for your online coaching business?
The Essential Tools
Zoom is a cloud-based communication platform that provides video and audio conferencing. It’s one of the industry leaders in this space.
It is good for coaches as you can pre-schedule your zoom calls, you can use a free or paid version of Zoom depending on your requirements.
You can coach hundreds of people through Zoom. The best part is you get amazing audio and video services.
You can also record the coaching sessions for your clients and give those to them for referring to them in the future.
Zoom provides a host of features for free and if you need more advanced features, you can go for the paid plan too.
It is also quite user friendly and you don’t need technical expertise to get the hang of it.
Calendly is an online appointment scheduling software. You can also schedule meetings and events. The best part is you can send your appointment availability with a Calendly link to your clients even if they don’t use Calendly and support all major calendars like Google and iCal.
It takes away the hassle of back and forth communication to find a suitable time slot that works for you as well as your client.
It has the best set of features in the free version compared to any of its competitors. Pricing for its paid plans is also very competitive.
So, if the free version is not enough then you can look into the paid subscription.
Calendly can be easily embedded into your website and can be integrated with your calendar. This will make your appointment booking process seamless on your website and help you better manage your bookings and availability.
Mailchimp is an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
It provides a powerful platform to manage relationships with your existing, past and potential future customers.
Your email list is what will reside inside Mailchimp and it will help you to communicate with, track, target, nurture and manage your leads better.
Mailchimp too has a free version with a host of features with affordable paid plans in case you need more features.
JotForm is a powerful online application that allows anyone to quickly create custom online forms.
It has an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface which makes it easy to use and doesn’t require any coding knowledge.
I use JotForm extensively and for all kinds of contracts, I need to get signed by clients, vendors, contractors and employees.
JotForm has multiple subscription options, including a free plan. Free users have access to all of the same features as paid users, but with lower limits on form counts, form submissions, form views, upload space and submission storage.
Google Analytics helps you to understand customer behaviours of how they are interacting with your website.
It is used by over half of all websites.
Analyzing the data in it can tell you about marketing avenues that are working best for you.
It will also help you find the places where your users are dropping off and not converting. You can address these issues in your funnel and optimise those.
Google Analytics helps you make data-backed decisions about where to concentrate and what to optimize to grow your business.
Zapier is a handy online automation tool where you can connect all your favorite apps such as Mailchimp, Slack, Gmail, and more in one place.
It helps you automate repetitive tasks.
You can connect two or more apps on your own without any knowledge of coding or without relying on developers for integration.
Zapier is an irreplaceable tool when you want to grow and automate parts of your business.
EverWebinar is an automated platform for webinars.
Webinars are an integral part of the perfect high-ticket coaching funnel I described earlier.
Everwebinar makes You can install EverWebinar software, upload and host your webinars hassle-free.
You can create pre-recorded webinars for your clients that can be completely automated.
WordPress is the most popular free content management system. It powers 40% of all the websites online.
It is great to create a website or to build blogs with.
It also offers hundreds of mobile-friendly designs and themes which can be customized as per your preference.
It is a very flexible and versatile system with a very large community of developers and a robust ecosystem of plugins that can provide you with (almost) any functionality you can think of.
I have tried and tested all the above tools for my website as well as for my clients and the results are amazing. If you are looking for someone to guide you through all the coaching business set up then check the program which can give you impressive results.
It’s been a privilege to be part of so many coaches who are just like you but succeeded in building their online coaching business.
Let me share with you a couple of real-life examples of coaches who are just like you successfully started and are running their coaching businesses online.
Case Study 1
Vijaya Nair is an acclaimed Harvard and Columbia University-trained medical researcher, physician, & author, with a passion to integrate Eastern approaches with Wessstern scientific and medical training.
She has built up her coaching business using Joint Ventures (JV’s). Vijaya used JV’s to increase her client base to the point where she’s literally rejecting people that come to her because she doesn’t have the capacity anymore.
In her own words, she will tell you how she built up her business using JVs.
Case Study 2
Brian Peters is multi-faceted. He was one of UK’s top financial advisors, the number 1 earning financial advisor in Asia, an author, a coach, a former “Mr. Universe”, and our client.
Brian works with salespeople and their families, to overcome their struggles in getting their next clients. When we met him, he was toying with the idea of being a coach for other financial advisors.
Hear him talk about his journey here.
You have done a great job by finishing this guide and now you have all the information you need to kickstart your online coaching business.
Take all the steps mentioned in this guide and implement them to start your online coaching business.
The distance between your dreams and reality is called action
Taking action and staying in momentum is the key.
What is the niche you have decided for yourself?
What is the painful problem you are solving?
What part of this guide was most valuable to you?
Do you have any unanswered questions that are bothering you or think I have missed something?
Let me know in the comments below and I’ll give you access to a free program of mine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is online coaching?
Online coaching leverages the internet as a potent tool for mentoring sessions between the coach and client. It makes it possible for the coach to guide a client remotely.
How do I start online coaching?
Start by creating your website followed by marketing your coaching skills through promotional activities and writing guest blogs on other sites to attract attention.
How do I become an online business coach?
After defining your niche and setting up a website, write blogs and post testimonials from previous clients to build credibility. This will help to pool in clients and you can take off your online business coaching from there by holding interactive sessions online and leveraging apps like zoom and gmeet to conduct these sessions.
How much do online business coaches charge?
A good business coach can be expensive—between $1,000 and $4,000 a month, typically.
PDF version contains all of the content and resources found in the above guide.
26 thoughts on “Start A Successful Online Coaching Business: The Definitive Guide”
Thanks Sai! This is useful, interesting and so helpful. Thanks for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and expertise
Thank you for a great article and so many tips – will definitely try to implement as many as I can.
Hi I am really inspired by the article and case studies.How can I approach you and your team Sai to be able to start and grow my online coaching business. Thanks