Starting a coaching business can be an easy way to break into the world of entrepreneurship. Whether you’re looking to supplement your income or quit your 9-5 altogether, coaching is a highly desirable and highly scalable way to get started.
I launched my coaching business 2 years ago shortly after I quit my job and went into marketing full time, and it gave my business’ revenue a massive boost. In my first year as a marketing coach I was able to not only surpass, but more than double the income I was earning with my previous heavy equipment repair business.
In this article, I’m going to give you all of the steps you need to take to start a coaching business of your own completely from scratch.
First, it is important to understand what a coach does, and what makes them a good one.
A coach is someone with a high level of expertise who offers to assist, empower, train, and teach their expertise to their client as a service. Generally, the goal of a coach is not to do the work for someone else, but to provide the client with what they need in order to achieve a certain goal on their own.
While there are exceptions in certain situations, a coach is not someone who would be hired to perform done-for-you services. Depending on the industry, this may become necessary in some instances, but ultimately, a client is hiring a coach because they want to learn and become proficient in the skills that the coach specializes in.
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. If you click a link and make a purchase I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.
Before starting a coaching business, let’s set some realistic expectations. Providing coaching can be a massive revenue stream, but it is in no way a means of passive income unless you plan to hire coaches to deliver the service for you.
There are a lot of moving parts that make this business model work. You will have to:
- Have a highly desirable set of skills that people will be willing to pay you to learn
- Know how to construct an irresistible offer
- Know how to market your offer and collect leads
- Know how to close sales, especially for high ticket coaching offers
- Know how to set up back end automations, like booking calendars, funnels, email marketing automations and follow up messages
- Collect payments and provide customer support
- Outsource tasks to competent individuals
- Be extremely flexible in your working schedule
This can be a lot to juggle, especially when considering that a coaching business is often an add-on to an existing business or revenue stream, like an online course.
This article will cover every step you need to take to be ready for your first client, but first I wanted to give you a rough idea of what you’ll be getting into.
Starting a coaching business requires careful planning, but following this comprehensive guide from beginning to end will set you up to be well prepared for your first client.
- Determine Your Niche
- Acquire Relevant Qualifications (if necessary)
- Write Your Business Plan
- Learn & Find Your Target Market
- Create Your Coaching Offer
- Establish Pricing
- Create Your Brand & Website
- Prepare Necessary Coaching Materials
- Set Up Back End Automations & Systems
- Develop A Sales Process
- Begin Marketing Your Offer
- Capture First Clients
This list may appear to be quite extensive, in fact, it is. But no worries because I am going to give you detailed information on how you can complete all of these steps correctly. However, it is extremely important that you complete all steps so your online coaching business will be launched successfully.
When preparing to start a successful coaching business, determining your niche will be the first and most crucial step of this process. Your niche is the specific area or category of expertise that you specialize in. It might be in career coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching, business coaching, financial coaching, etc.
Having chosen a niche will allow you to determine who your target market is, what their pain points and desires are, And most importantly, who you are NOT speaking to. If you are going to start a coaching business, then choosing your niche shouldn’t be a difficult decision, as you should already have a high level of skills and expertise in this area.
However, if you haven’t yet decided on a niche, when determining one, you should consider your interests, what you’re good at, what the market demands, and what potential sub-niches exist in your area of expertise.
Starting a coaching business requires more than just a passion for helping others; it will require having the necessary qualifications that can provide credibility and protection to you and your coaching business. Depending on your niche, you may need to obtain specific training or certification.
For instance, if you’re diving into life coaching or career coaching, a certification from a recognized coaching institution may be a requirement.
While the coaching industry isn’t strictly regulated, and many coaches work without formal qualifications, investing into a mentor or training program will boost your confidence and give you an extra layer of credibility. There are various online programs that provide a comprehensive understanding of coaching methodologies, ethics, and techniques.
It will also be a good idea to do some research into the requirements of your industry. For example, providing legal advice can only be performed by licensed professionals and if your clients will have an expectation of you being able to provide it to them, then you’ll want to have the necessary qualifications so you aren’t susceptible to any legal issues when running your business.
All successful businesses, including coaching businesses have a well-crafted business plan. It outlines your business goals, target market, unique selling proposition, pricing strategy, marketing plan, and a projection of your financials.
The business plan will be an outline of all the activities that take place in your business. It may change over time as you test new things, work with different clients, and make essential business decisions, but having one starting out is vital.
Many of the steps further down this list will provide some more detailed information on how to create this business plan correctly, but now is the time to start putting it together.
Identifying and understanding your target market is a fundamental step in building a successful online business. Your target market is the specific group of people who would benefit most from your coaching services. These could be individuals seeking personal development, career advancement, improved relationships, financial stability, or other specific outcomes based on your coaching niche.
Start by conducting comprehensive market research. Understand who your ideal clients are, their challenges, aspirations, and the obstacles that stand in their way. Are they corporate professionals looking for career coaching? Or individuals seeking life coaching for personal growth? The answers to these questions will help you tailor your coaching program to meet their specific needs.
There are various ways to gather this information. Surveys, interviews, focus groups, and social media engagement can all provide valuable insights. Also, don’t neglect to analyze your competition. Find out who they are targeting and identify any gaps that you could potentially fill.
Once you have a clear understanding of your target market, all of your business decisions, from branding to pricing and marketing, will be more focused, strategic, and ultimately, successful. Remember, the better you understand your ideal customer, the easier it is to attract and retain your coaching clients.
Developing an enticing and effective coaching offer is an essential step towards attracting your ideal clients and building a successful coaching business. Your coaching offer lays out what you’ll provide to your clients, how your services will be delivered, and the transformation your clients can expect to experience.
Start by deciding on the format of your coaching services. Will you provide one-on-one private coaching, group coaching, or a mix of both? Will your coaching sessions be conducted in-person, over the phone, or online? Determining this will largely depend on your target market’s preferences and your own coaching style.
Next, design your coaching program. This should be centered around addressing the specific pain points of your ideal client. Your coaching program might include workbooks, online courses, weekly or bi-weekly coaching calls, and email support, among other elements.
The duration of your coaching program is also important. Most coaching relationships last anywhere from three months to a year, but the length can vary based on the clients’ needs and the nature of your coaching services.
Finally, consider how you’ll package and price your coaching offer. Will you have different tiers of service, or just one standard package? Will you offer discounts for clients who commit to longer periods of coaching? Remember, your pricing should reflect the value you provide while remaining accessible to your target market.
Creating a compelling coaching offer is all about combining your expertise with your clients’ needs to foster their personal or professional growth. Ensure you’re clear about the benefits of your coaching offer, as this will be crucial when you start marketing your coaching business.
One of the most critical elements when you want to start a coaching business is determining your pricing strategy. This can be a challenging process as it involves finding a balance between earning a sustainable income and offering a price point that your target market is willing and able to pay.
To determine your pricing, start by understanding the market rates. Research what other coaches in your niche and with similar levels of experience are charging for their services. However, remember that while it’s essential to be aware of your competition, your prices should reflect your unique value and expertise.
The costs associated with running your business should also be considered. This includes any overheads, such as website maintenance, marketing expenses, and taxes, as well as the cost of your time. Your price needs to cover these costs and also provide you with a fair income.
Next, think about the pricing model you want to implement. Will you charge per session, or will clients pay a package price for a predetermined number of sessions? Offering package deals or monthly payment plans can incentivize longer-term commitments from your clients.
Lastly, take into account the transformation and value you provide to your clients. If your coaching services help someone land a high-paying job, improve their overall wellness, or achieve a significant personal goal, your price should reflect this value.
Keep in mind, pricing is not set in stone. As you gain more experience, receive testimonials, and grow your reputation, you might choose to increase your prices. Just ensure you’re always offering value that aligns with what you’re asking your clients to invest.
Establishing a clear and memorable brand is essential for your online coaching business. Your brand is essentially your business’s personality and communicates who you are, what you offer, and what sets you apart from other coaches in your niche.
Begin by defining your brand’s core values and mission. What unique approach do you bring with your coaching technique? Your answer should resonate with your target market and reflect their aspirations.
Once you’ve identified your brand values, focus on the visual elements, such as your logo, color scheme, and typography. These should be consistent across all your brand touchpoints, from your website to social media platforms and marketing materials.
A complete website is not essential when just starting out, but it can serve as a hub for your online coaching business. When launching, all you will need is a sales funnel to capture leads and provide clarity on your offer, which can then redirect to a checkout page or a booking page to meet with you.
Your website or sales funnel should clearly communicate what you offer, who you serve, and the benefits clients can expect from working with you. Make sure to include a section about your qualifications and experience, client testimonials, and valuable content that attracts potential clients.
Remember, your brand and website or sales funnel are reflections of your coaching business. They should not only attract your ideal clients but also make them feel confident about choosing you as their coach.
Equipping your online coaching business with essential materials can help you deliver an efficient, effective, and professional service. These resources will aid in delivering structured coaching sessions and enable your clients to get the most out of your services.
Start with developing a coaching agreement. This formal document should outline the terms of your services, expectations, confidentiality rules, payment policies, and any disclaimers. It’s crucial to ensure both you and your clients are on the same page from the start, creating a clear and open relationship.
Next, create a coaching toolkit tailored to your niche. This might include worksheets, assessment tools, guides, or eBooks that support your coaching sessions. For instance, a career coach might develop resume templates or interview preparation guides, while a life coach might create personal development plans or goal-setting worksheets.
If you plan on offering group coaching or online programs, you’ll need to prepare comprehensive course materials. This could be in the form of video lessons, downloadable PDFs, audio files, or even interactive quizzes. Online platforms like Skool or Kajabi can be useful for creating and hosting online courses.
Lastly, consider how you’ll track your clients’ progress. Tools for recording notes, observations, and action plans can ensure each session builds upon the last and keeps your clients moving towards their goals.
Keep in mind that these materials should be regularly reviewed and updated based on feedback and how much assistance they give you as you run your own online coaching business. By providing professional and valuable resources, you enhance the overall coaching experience.
Having efficient back-end systems and automations will take a lot of the workload out of running a successful online coaching business. These systems can handle repetitive tasks, improve client experience, and free up your time to focus on what matters most—coaching your clients.
Firstly, automate your booking process with an online scheduling tool such as Calendly or OnceHub. These platforms allow clients to see your availability and book sessions without back-and-forth emails. They can also send automatic reminders to reduce no-shows.
Next, consider setting up automated payment systems. Services like PayPal, Stripe, or Square can handle invoicing and payments, ensuring you get paid on time and providing a seamless experience for your clients.
For managing client data and tracking progress, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be invaluable. Platforms like Hubspot or Keap can store client information, session notes, and correspondence, allowing you to keep everything in one place.
Automating your email marketing can also save you time and boost engagement. Email marketing platforms like Aweber or Getresponse can help you set up automatic welcome emails, send newsletters, and even segment your audience for more personalized communication.
For delivering online courses or membership programs, a Learning Management System (LMS) like Skool or Thinkific can automate course enrollment, content delivery, and even quizzes or assessments.
Remember, while setting up these systems might take time and effort initially, they will streamline your operations in the long run. Plus, with routine tasks taken care of, you can dedicate more time to growing your coaching business and providing exceptional service to your clients.
Designing a well-defined sales process is necessary for converting prospective clients into paying clients for your coaching business. This process outlines each step a potential client takes from the moment they discover your coaching services to when they decide to hire you.
Begin with lead generation. This involves attracting potential clients, or leads, to your coaching business. Methods could include content marketing (blogs, podcasts, webinars), social media marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO). The goal is to raise awareness of your coaching services and draw in your target audience.
Once you’ve generated leads, the next stage is lead nurturing. This involves building relationships with potential clients and demonstrating the value of your coaching services. You could offer free value through an email newsletter, share success stories and testimonials, or even offer a free initial coaching session or consultation.
When I first launched my coaching business, offering a free coaching session to a few clients in exchange for a testimonial, provided me with an opportunity to convert those leads into paying customers more easily, as well as provided me with marketing material to draw in more leads.
During the consultation, aim to understand the prospective client’s needs, goals, and challenges. Discuss how your coaching services can help them overcome obstacles and reach their objectives. This is also a chance for you to assess if they’re the right fit for your coaching program.
If the prospective client shows interest, it’s time to make the sale. Clearly outline your coaching offer, including the duration, price, what’s included, and the benefits they can expect. Be prepared to handle objections and answer any questions they might have.
Follow up after the consultation, regardless of the outcome. If they chose to hire you, send a welcome email with next steps. If they didn’t, a polite email expressing your availability to assist in the future can leave the door open for potential collaboration in the future.
Remember, selling your coaching services isn’t just about making a sale—it’s about building trust and ensuring you can provide genuine value to your clients. A strategic sales process will help you achieve this, turning interested leads into satisfied, paying clients.
Effective marketing begins with a clear plan that identifies where your target audience spends time, whether on social media platforms, reading emails, or searching Google & YouTube. Utilize content marketing strategies to establish your authority, provide value, and attract potential clients through informative content and outreach.
Leveraging social media is a great way to get visibility fast, create short form videos that speak directly to your target audience and they will quickly begin to notice you. Platforms like Tiktok and Instagram have the capability to send far more traffic than you can even handle, which is a good problem to have.
Use email marketing to nurture potential clients with insightful newsletters and success stories related to your coaching services as well. Leverage any testimonials you may have, if you don’t have any, use yourself as a case study and share your personal story and successes with your audience to prove credibility.
Optimize your online content with relevant keywords to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), making your coaching business more discoverable to those who need your services. If your budget allows, consider using paid advertising to boost your visibility further.
Remember, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience, consistency, and continual refinement are the keys to success in attracting and converting your ideal coaching clients.
Securing your first coaching clients is an exciting step in your journey to a thriving coaching business. While it might seem daunting, strategic planning and determination can help you attract and retain these early clients.
Offer a free or discounted initial coaching session. This serves as a low-risk way for potential clients to experience your coaching style, understand the value you provide, and decide whether they wish to commit to a longer-term package.
Utilize social proof to build credibility. Request testimonials from clients you’ve successfully coached, even if they were free or discounted sessions, and showcase these testimonials in your marketing materials.
Don’t forget to follow up with potential clients after consultations. A personal message acknowledging their needs and explaining how you can assist them can make a significant impact.
Above all, demonstrate professionalism, integrity, and a genuine passion for helping your clients achieve their goals. Your first clients will lay the foundation for your coaching business, providing invaluable experience, testimonials, and referrals.
Successfully starting a coaching business involves a thoughtful blend of passion, skill, and strategic planning. Your coaching skills will, of course, play a central role, but they are just one part of the equation. Many coaches fail because they overlook the business side of their practice, which is equally important to your long-term success.
Firstly, determining your coaching niche is key. Your chosen niche should be one you are passionate about and skilled in, but also one with enough demand to ensure a steady flow of potential clients. You want to position your online coaching business in a profitable niche that allows you to provide value and make an impact.
Next, you must identify your target market and understand them at a personal level. Knowing their pain points, goals, and desires will affect your coaching offer and marketing strategy, helping you attract and retain your ideal clients. Offering personalized coaching packages and building relationships with your clients can set your coaching business apart in this competitive industry.
Lastly, consistently investing in personal development is vital. Continuing to expand your coaching skills, staying updated with industry trends, and always striving to provide exceptional service to your clients are essential for the sustained growth of your coaching business.
Once you’ve established your online coaching business and started accumulating clients, it’s time to think about scaling. Scaling involves expanding your business in a sustainable way, increasing revenue while efficiently managing costs and resources.
One way to scale is by offering group coaching sessions or workshops in addition to one-on-one coaching. This allows you to serve more clients simultaneously, increasing your income without significantly adding to your workload.
You could also create and sell digital products, such as e-books, online courses, or webinars. These provide a passive income stream, as they can be sold repeatedly without demanding your time for each sale.
Consider hiring a team as your client base grows. Administrative tasks, marketing efforts, or even some coaching aspects could be delegated, freeing up your time to focus on business growth and high-level coaching.
Expanding your offer to corporate clients is another scaling strategy. Companies often seek coaching services for their employees in areas like leadership, communication, and productivity.
Finally, as you scale, always prioritize delivering high-quality coaching. Maintain the value and personal touch that attracted your clients in the first place. With careful planning and strategic growth, your coaching business can flourish, reaching more clients and making a greater impact.
Consulting: If you have expertise in a particular field, you might consider starting a consulting business. Consultants provide professional advice to organizations or individuals based on their specific knowledge or experience.
Writing or Blogging: You could start a blog or write books, e-books, or articles on topics you’re passionate about. If you have coaching knowledge, writing about personal development, career growth, or similar subjects could help others while providing you with an income stream.
Affiliate Marketing: If you enjoy recommending products or services that you believe in, affiliate marketing might be an option. You can earn a commission for every sale made through your referral link.
I launched my coaching business about 5 months after I started my affiliate marketing business and 1 month after I quit my job to become a full time affiliate. I saw very fast results as an affiliate marketer and quickly became known for that.
As a result, a lot of struggling affiliate marketers came to me for guidance and advice on how to get results for their efforts, and at that time I decided my next best business idea was to start a coaching business.
At first, I launched my coaching business at a very low cost and very low volume. I charged $100 per hour for one-on-one coaching sessions aimed to help affiliate marketers earn more commissions. This was great at first and I really got the hang of it fast, but I quickly realized that I only had so many hours available before it became overwhelming and I could no longer scale.
So at this point, my next move was to offer a group coaching offer. Take on multiple clients at once and charge a higher price point. This is when I launched my 60 day program.
I took on 5 clients at a cost of $2,000 each for 2 months of access to my private community, and I worked with them 2 days per week for 2 hours at a time. This was a combination of training and coaching and was aimed towards complete beginners.
When that round ended and members were fully satisfied, I launched another round, but this time it was only accessible to affiliates in the intermediate stage of their business and I sold many more seats at a $3,000 price point. This round also concluded successfully.
I had hit a wall though, I really enjoyed the delivery of my product and seeing clients get great results, but there was one thing I really did not enjoy… The sales process.
The sales process took a lot of time. I was meeting with a lot of prospects and really didn’t enjoy this part of the process. I had people coming to me that really wanted to work with me and be a part of the community but weren’t truly qualified in my opinion.
I also knew in my mind that there was a product I was promoting as an affiliate that delivered the same information I was delivering. In fact, it was the same product that taught me everything I knew about affiliate marketing and it is the one I can attribute all of my success as an affiliate to.
That product was Legendary Marketer’s Business Blueprints, created by affiliate marketing mastermind Dave Sharpe.
I had reached out to Legendary Marketer because I knew that one-on-one coaching was an area where I could really provide a lot of value to them and it was also an area where they were in need of some more manpower. They only had 1 coach at the time and the company was growing rapidly as it still is to this day.
I secured an interview with Legendary Marketer’s CMO at the time, and at the conclusion of that interview I was invited to join Dave Sharpe’s team as a Marketing Coach to provide one-on-one assistance for their members.
This was the perfect arrangement. I could deliver my coaching, help struggling affiliates get results, and they already had all of the traffic, which meant no more sales calls.
Without a doubt, having done my own freelance coaching was a key element of being considered for the opportunity and I just recently celebrated 1 year with the company. In business, it is not only the revenue you generate, but the relationships and connections you create along the way that really move the needle.