How To Start an Online Coaching Business in 2023
If you’re a freshly qualified coach or have been coaching face-to-face, and now you’re ready to turn that passion into a thriving online coaching business, you’re in the right place. You’re about to learn the steps you need to take to start a coaching business.
Online coaching has a lot of potential, but it can also be overwhelming especially if technology isn’t your best friend. With a range of specialities to choose from, digital channels, and strategies to consider, understanding what’s best for you can be hard. So how can you create an effective online coaching business that stands out from the competition?
Here are 10 simple points that teach you how to start a successful coaching business….
Identifying Your Niche and Expertise: The Foundation of an Online Coaching Business
To build a thriving online coaching business, you need to start with the basics – identifying your niche and expertise.
This is crucial for establishing yourself as an authority in your field while addressing specific client needs effectively.
Marrying passion with market demand will set the stage for success in launching an online coaching business tailored just right for both coach & clientele alike.
However, finding your niche is hard to do if it’s your first step. It takes time to figure out your niche. More on this below…
Gaining Credibility through a Coaching Certification or Past Experience
To establish yourself as a reputable online coach, you need to gain credibility through certification or by leveraging your experience that qualifies you to teach others.
Exploring Various Certification Programs
First things first: research different certification programs. Pick one that aligns with your niche and expertise, ensuring it’s from a credible institution or organization.
If you’re going for the experience, list all the things you’ve achieved + any industry recognition. Find numbers and proof wherever possible and if you don’t have testimonials – get some!
Highlighting Certifications / Experience on Website and Marketing Materials
Once certified, flaunt it. Showcase your shiny new credentials on your website, social media profiles, email signature – basically anywhere potential clients can see them.
– Create an “About Me” page on your coaching website detailing not only the certifications but also relevant experience. This will help build trust with prospective clients even more. Check out this guide for creating an engaging About Me page.
– Certifications are essential, but remember that real-world experience is just as valuable. Make sure to highlight both to showcase the full range of skills you bring to the table.
Creating Custom Coaching Packages: the heart of your coaching business
To stand out from the competition and effectively monetize your expertise, you need to craft customized coaching packages that address each client’s specific requirements.
To stand out from the rest, you must develop a bespoke coaching plan to meet each customer’s individual requirements.
So, how do we go about this?
Designing Tiered Pricing Structures
First up is creating a tiered pricing structure for your services.
Providing different service tiers to suit varying customer needs and financial constraints.
Offering Group Coaching Options Alongside One-on-One Sessions
In addition to one-on-one sessions, consider offering group coaching options as well.
Group coaching programs can be more affordable for clients while allowing you to scale your business effectively by reaching multiple people at once.
By implementing these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to creating custom coaching packages that attract and retain clients while growing your online coaching business.
Selling your first packages – Getting your first coaching clients
Coaches can find it hard to sell even the best of packages. If you have no reputation or network it can be hard to get coaching clients.
If you’re starting out without a pre-existing network, you’ll probably start by coaching coaches who are getting their certification with you. That’s perfectly fine but make sure you stay clear about your goals. Your main goal at this stage should be to find ‘your people’. It will take some time, months, maybe even a year or so, but start looking immediately.
Start by thinking of the type of problems you want to resolve and work back to the kind of people you want to work with. You’ll need to verify this with real clients (you might find you don’t enjoy working with them as much as you thought and need to change direction). So always be open and know that your goal and first obstacle is to find the people you’re gonna work with for the long term. You may want to think of some coaching niches you can explore.
As an online coach, your first step should be to take a look at your existing network (perhaps from a previous job) you already have and start inviting people to a free discovery or laser coaching session. (If you don’t have a network yet, pick a group of people you would like to work with and find out where they gather online and offline – then join them.) Some of these free calls will turn into new clients (even if sometimes you need to start with lower prices or a special offer because you don’t have a reputation yet).
Get your first handful of clients from your network – you want to only give discounts and freebies to the first 10 people who buy – then revise and fix your prices.
With your first 10 clients, you’re working for testimonials, not money.
Testimonials are worth their weight in gold. And going international without testimonials is going to be really, really hard – if not impossible. Focus on getting them first.
If you feel like you have no network to start with, offer your free services to people you are qualified with, your husband’s family and your kid’s friends’ mums, people in a Facebook group, or people following from your coach’s group program.
Where you do it doesn’t matter.
But you need to get those first clients to work with you.
You’re going to need these first 10 clients to kick-start your online coaching business.
When you start working with your first coaching clients prioritize these 3 things:
– understanding how they view what you offer and what outcomes matter to them most
– listen to the way they describe their struggles before they started working with you.
(this is key information to re-design and upgrade the way you convey your coaching packages later)
– get a testimonial from each
(even if they don’t turn out to be your ideal client, make sure they give you a testimonial about your character or approach)
This will set you up for success later by helping you get clarity on your ideal client and what they want from you vis-a-vis your offers.
And the testimonials will help you convert more leads into clients.
Building a Strong Online Presence: The Key to Coaching Business Success
To thrive in the online coaching world, you need a solid online presence that speaks volumes about your expertise and credibility.
Use a Blog to Create Your Audience
“The idea is that if you build your audience first, you’ll be able to sell them almost anything. Instead of starting up the traditional way, we think there’s a better way to do it.”
And he was right. By creating content first and building an audience around it, Pulizzi launched CMI’s revenue from $4.3 million to more than $10 million in just two years.
(Quote from Joe Pulizzi in this Forbes interview)
Sharing useful content on your blog is a highly efficient and cost-effective way to build an audience that is genuinely interested in what you’re selling before you even begin to sell it.
What are the biggest perks of a content-first approach to starting an online business? When you use this approach, you can:
Begin building your audience before you’re clear about your offer, while you’re working on getting your first 10 clients from your network, you need to build the platform that will take your business to the next step once this is done. The next step is to build your audience. One of the easiest ways for coaches is to start a blog.
Social media platforms make it really hard for you to build and reach an audience without spending on ads. And even starting a Youtube channel is hard because of the sheer volume of videos uploaded and the price of video editing and filming equipment.
This is why your next step should be to start a blog. You will start to build your authority from day one. Because every person that finds your blog can understand how you work and what your expertise is.
Look at statistics from your blog to understand what people want and give them more of it
Once you have a blog (ideally on your own hosted WordPress site) you want to make sure that you look at your statistics. It may take around 3 months to see enough data to make decisions – but hey you’ll be busy with your first 10 clients and time will fly by. It will be easy to see which of your posts are more popular and what people want to hear about. Make sure you create more of that.
You’ll also want to write about the struggles your clients have before working with you.
This is a common mistake that people make – your blog should talk about the struggles clients have before working with you, not after.
Offer your audience freebies and take their email address in return
You want to make sure that you start growing your email list from day 1.
With the information gathered from your clients about what they struggle with, create a free pdf or video/sound training. Make it available for download on your coaching website.
Ask for their name and email (at least) so that you can start sending personalized emails right away(many coaches forget that these are real people that asked you to stay in touch – you start emailing when you have 1 subscriber!)
Ask your followers directly how they think you can help them and voila! You have a coaching package with an audience ready to buy it.
Once you start building a blog following and an email list, you can start asking directly how they want you to help them. This is the best way to source ideas for content and offers that sell.
Build your brand and website
A coach’s business is only as successful as their reputation, so make sure you build authority.
Nothing says authority as much as a strong brand, a website and eventually a book. Two staples you can’t skimp on are your brand and your website.
Unlike what a lot of people will tell you, the brand is not the best place to start. I worked as a freelance web developer and later managed my own agency – we created hundreds of websites for a client list of over 200 small businesses over a period of 12+ years, and here’s what I found out.
– before you go anywhere near your brand or website get crystal clear on your offering, ideal client and core values. Once you have these pinned down you can begin.
– start by writing the sales pages for the coaching packages then write a good About Me page that describes what you’re about, what you sell and why you do it.
– Once you have the copy for your sales pages and about me page, use these to brief your web designer and get them to start building your site.
– in the meantime, find a photographer to take some great pictures. Review your copy and let it inspire your photos. Smart copy that matches the photography makes for a strong brand. Also, include your designer.
Get a designer to design your logo and brand imagery. Discuss your brand copy and core values with him and your photographer and let them work their magic. Make sure it all comes together.
Pick your favourite colour palette for the website and logo and make sure this reverberates across your photography.
Generate leads system
No business can survive without leads and coaching is no exception. If you want to create a stable business that provides you with a reliable income, you need a system to generate leads.
There are various ways available to coaches to create leads. Most will work if you work hard. However, if you want your business to be around for the long term, you need to create a lead system that will allow you to scale later.
You could pick a webinar funnel that is fed by ads. It works however if not tested organically first it is not likely to be very effective. Do you really want to test how well you know your ideal client at $5 to $10 dollars a pop?
The simplest way to start is to create high value content like blogs or videos and invite your audience to jump on a call with you. These discovery calls will help you get to know your ideal client better as you go along, so no more stabbing in the dark. You’ll finally be sure what it is they want. The core content you produce will also bring you leads in 2 other ways:
– When you put the content on your website and SEO it, you will get organic traffic from Google. This traffic converts very well, because it’s made up of people who were already looking for a solution – they are purchase-ready!
– Your core content will give a lot of core content to repurpose on social media. So you can still have a social media presence but with higher-quality content. The core content needs to be hosted on your site though, because on social media it will disappear too fast, making it a terrible time investment.
A good lead generation strategy is based on a good funnel. Learn about my 6-figure funnel here,
Crafting Engaging Website Content
First things first – create a nice-looking website with high-quality content that showcases your skills and offerings as an online coach.
Your coaching website should include easy navigation, informative blog posts, client testimonials, and most importantly – clear calls-to-action (CTAs) guiding visitors towards booking sessions or signing up for newsletters.
Leveraging Social Media Channels for Networking
Social media is now an effective way to expand your connections and draw in potential customers.
– Step #1: Identify platforms where your target audience hangs out. LinkedIn groups? Facebook communities? Twitter chats?
– Step #2: Join relevant conversations by providing valuable insights on topics related to coaching while subtly promoting yourself as an expert in the field.
Remember, the goal is to establish yourself as a go-to resource for coaching solutions and advice.
So, roll up your sleeves and start building that strong online presence today.
Your future clients are waiting.
Scaling Up Your Business Model: Tools and Strategies for Growth
To scale your online coaching business effectively, you’ll need the right tools to streamline processes and manage clients efficiently.
Let me introduce you to some game-changers:
– Mailerlite: This email marketing platform helps you create targeted campaigns, track performance, and automate essential tasks.
– Voxer: A versatile communication tool, Voxer allows real-time voice messaging alongside text-based conversations with clients or team members.
– Oncehub: Say goodbye to scheduling headaches with this user-friendly appointment booking software.
Moving on from tools, let’s talk strategy.
A subscription-based program can be a fantastic way to ensure steady income while offering flexibility for both coaches and clients alike.
Create different membership tiers that cater to varying needs – from basic access to premium content or exclusive one-on-one sessions.
This approach not only provides value but also encourages long-term commitment from your clientele base.
Setting up Efficient Feedback Loops with Clients
To grow your online coaching business, it’s crucial to establish efficient feedback loops with clients.
One powerful way to achieve this is by utilizing Mailerlite for email newsletters that convert followers into customers.
Email newsletters not only keep you connected but also provide valuable insights from your clientele base.
– Step #1: Craft engaging content addressing specific challenges faced by potential clients.
– Step #2: Offer exclusive discounts or free trials as incentives for signing up and staying engaged.
– Step #3: Regularly collect client feedback through surveys or direct communication via tools like Voxer.
Incorporating client feedback helps improve course offerings and overall user experience – a win-win situation.
Besides newsletters, use scheduling platforms like Oncehub, which simplifies the booking process while keeping both parties organized and informed about upcoming sessions.
The key takeaway?
Maintain open lines of communication with clients while continuously refining your services based on their needs and preferences – all leading towards an exceptional online coaching experience.
Marketing Your Online Coaching Services: Strategies for Success
Are you ready to dive into the world of marketing your online coaching business? Let’s start with two primary channels that can help you reach potential clients effectively.
– Blogging: Share valuable insights and establish yourself as an industry expert by writing educational, experience-based blog posts.
– Podcasting: Reach a wider audience by hosting or guesting on podcasts, discussing topics relevant to your niche and expertise.
Moving forward, consider exploring other marketing strategies like paid advertisements, Google Ads, or social media campaigns. Create incentives for potential clients by offering free trials or exclusive discounts. Create compelling offers that address specific struggles faced by your ideal client.
Creating Engaging Content and Promotions
Your content should be engaging, actionable, and educational (just like this blog post). To create successful promotions, analyze what has worked well in the past within your niche and incorporate elements from those successes into your own unique offerings.
Linking to Relevant Content
Don’t forget to include relevant links within your content, using anchor text that accurately describes the linked material. This not only adds value for your readers but also boosts your SEO, expert status and visibility as an online coach.
Managing Risks and Challenges in the Online Coaching Industry
Let’s face it, folks. As an online coach, you’re bound to encounter a few bumps on the road to success. But no worries. I’m here to provide support and assistance in tackling the typical obstacles that you may encounter on your journey as an online coach, so that you can manage them with confidence.
Addressing Common Coaching Misconceptions
Misconceptions about coaching are aplenty out there. I’ve identified five of these myths worth debunking. Educate your clients by addressing these misconceptions head-on during initial consultations or even on your website.
Maintaining Open Communication with Clients
Transparency is key when building trust with potential clients seeking guidance from professionals like yourself. I recommend maintaining open communication channels throughout the coaching process. This way, everyone stays informed about progress while discussing any foreseeable obstacles along the journey together.
Setting Clear Expectations Regarding Outcomes
It’s essential for both parties to have realistic expectations regarding what can be achieved through coaching sessions. Ensure that each client fully understands the scope of your services and any limitations that may apply.
Discussing Potential Obstacles During Client Sessions
Address potential challenges during coaching sessions to help clients prepare for them mentally and emotionally. Coach.me offers valuable insights on overcoming common obstacles in the coaching process.
By addressing misconceptions, maintaining open communication, setting clear expectations, and discussing potential obstacles with your clients, you’ll be well-equipped to manage risks and challenges in the online coaching industry.
Get ready to receive coaching bookings and payments
The next important step is to make sure that you have the tools you need all set up to receive discovery call bookings and payments online. A lot of coaches leave this too late.
As soon as you know the name and the price of what you’re selling create the Paypal or Stripe links to receive payment. You need to be ready to start selling. Do not skip this step.
If you need some help working out your workflow, you may want to take a look at the Online Coaching Business Bootcamp – its a program that helps you get your systems in place.
Set up your admin and service delivery tools
In order to actually have a business, you need to be prepared to deliver the services you offer instantly. Being prepared is very important. Do not make it up as you go along.
Start by preparing a number of documents to support you, and then improve and optimize later.
Think about the following questions, then make sure you create the assets required to support you.
How will you…
sign your contract?
keep track of progress?
share resources with your clients?
keep things as simple and affordable as possible?
Create a referral system
How will you encourage referrals?
Some viable answers might be:
A. Ask clients who get great results if they know someone who could benefit from an introduction to your services.
B. Offer a free session or a monetary reward for referrals
Create systems to ask for, and thank your referral partners. Also, make sure that people who make potential referral partners are always aware of your latest packages and offers.
Start by making a list of people you could ask for a referral from today. This can include friends, ex-colleagues, business contacts, people who are potential clients etc. Draft an email that explains what you do and who you do it for and invite them to make introductions for you.
Next make a list of people who already have your audience, but are not competitors. For example, if you’re a divorce coach you might partner up with a divorce lawyer.
Talk to these potential partners and create synergies that benefit both. Mutually beneficial referral relationships always last longer.
Also, keep a list of past clients that you can contact once every 2 months about your new offers. Use this regular opportunity to contact your clients and ask for any potential referrals.
Are you ready to take the plunge and set up your coaching business
and create systems that get you clients every week?
I can help – Let’s talk!
Book a free discovery call here
———————— About the Author:
Hi, I’m Stephanie, a Digital Marketing Coach and Business Mentor for Coaches. I’m the creator of the Profitable Content Marketing Method™ and help coaches generate more leads and clients through organic and paid marketing whilst helping them build a business that makes good money with ease. My clients get fully booked with just a handful of enjoyable marketing hours per week!
I have over 15 years of experience building businesses, growing website traffic, writing blogs, creating social media campaigns, and generating leads for my clients. As well as ranking articles, videos, and podcasts on the first page of Google. I also managed the content and web dev team in my agency for over 10+ years.
I can teach you how to create content that will convert your visitors into discovery call bookings, every time. Let’s Talk
FAQs in Relation to Online Coaching Business
Is Online Coaching a Profitable Business?
Yes, online coaching can be a profitable business. With the increasing demand for personalized guidance and expertise, many coaches are finding success in various niches. To maximize profitability, it’s essential to identify your niche, gain credibility through certification, create custom packages, build an online presence, and market effectively.
What Kind of Business for Online Coaching?
The type of business for online coaching depends on your area of expertise and target audience. Common niches include health & wellness, career development, personal growth & relationships, or specific skills like public speaking or financial planning. Researching market demand will help you determine which niche is best suited for your knowledge and passion. Read more here if this is a sticking point for you https://www.stephaniefiteni.com/coaching-online/the-highest-paying-life-coaching-niche/
How Do I Start a Coaching Business Online?
– Identify your niche and expertise
– Gain credibility through certification (unless your work experience is enough)
– Create custom coaching packages
– Build a strong online presence with engaging content
– Leverage social media channels for networking
– Use an email campaign management system (e.g., Mailerlite)
– Utilize a communication tool like Voxer
– Schedule appointments using Oncehub
– Use email newsletters as marketing tools
– Maintain open communication with clients via feedback loops
– Implement client feedback into continuous improvement efforts
How Big is the Online Coaching Market?
The global e-learning market size was valued at $250 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 21% from now until 2028. Online coaching is a significant part of this market, with increasing demand for personalized learning experiences and expertise in various niches. This growth presents ample opportunities for coaches to establish successful online businesses. source