How To Start a Coaching Business in 9 Simple Steps
Why an online coaching business?
An online coaching business will give you the opportunity to improve your life and that of others whilst working in your zone of genius. As a coach, your job is to help others – any passion can be translated into a coaching career.
This is what makes an online coaching practice a great option for anyone looking for more freedom and flexibility and also more meaning in their career/life.
An online coaching business has the potential to help you find your ‘ikigai’.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept – ‘Iki’ means ‘life,’ and ‘gai’ means value or worth. Your ikigai is your life purpose a.k.a your place of bliss. It’s what brings you joy and inspires you to live a happier fuller life.
In the western career development sphere, it is said you can find your ikigai by finding an overlap in the lists that answer these 4 simple questions:
What do you love?
What are you good at?
What can you be paid for?
What can you do that the world needs? Creating an online business can also help you improve an offline coaching practice.
How is an online coaching business different from a regular coaching business?
An online coaching business opens up your opportunities wider than a local face-to-face business. You can also grow into online courses, masterminds, and digital products.
When you start offering your coaching online you will be able to service a wider variety of people. Varying largely in terms of location, culture and perspective. This will open your practice up to more clients and more potential offerings.
The main advantage of an online coaching business is being able to focus entirely on your main service – the one you enjoy most and have the most talent for. Customising and adapting that to the myriad of clients you now attract.
Going online will allow you to work with more people, change more lives and truly have an impact on the world. It will allow you to scale your business with courses and digital programs that don’t require your presence and scale without overworking yourself.
Time and Money
Coaching online will have an immediate impact on your life. When you don’t have to drive to your coaching appointments anymore you will have more time or your more money whichever you prefer. Every 1-hour session will take exactly 1 hour.
When coaching online you can also automate the admin side of booking calls and preparing resources, so the time-saving is multiplied.
You can use this time to work less or to book in more clients and make more money.
Setting up your online coaching practice will also give you a good business set-up to diversify your offers. You can create digital products like courses or physical products like books or planners and sell these online.
When you hit the online space, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the variety of products you can create and sell. Digital courses and products that deliver themselves straight off your website are the best.
More details on this later…
Now that you know why you need an online coaching business, let’s delve into how you build a resilient one…
How to start a coaching business online in 9 simple steps:
Training and free coaching: hone in on your skills
The first step to becoming an online coach is to decide what kind of coaching you will offer, based on your ‘ikigai’ and then work on developing those skills. Being at the top of your game is important in online coaching. You have to be great at what you do if you want to have a prosperous online business.
Choose a business model and create a simple business plan
Decide what you will sell. Will it be 1:1 programs, a membership site or will you create courses and live group programs. What you decide to sell will decide your business model.
It all also ties in with your business plan. If you plan to have a highly profitable business that can scale to millions of dollars a year, you may pick the groups and courses model. However if you want to work a little and make good money, you might want to pick high-ticket 1:1 coaching as your main income source.
If you’re unsure about your business model – read more in-depth information about coaching business models here
Once you know what business model you want you can proceed to build your business plan. Your coaching business plan should get clear on the following details:
– What programs/products/courses will you sell?
– How many will you sell in the next 12 months?
– How much time/resources will it require to deliver these programs/products/courses?
– What about the money, resources and time will I need to invest in marketing to achieve these goals?
Once you have answered the questions above and drawn your plan, it’s a good idea to break the year down into projects.
Get ready to receive 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 referrals system
How will you encourage referrals?
Some viable answers might be:
A. Ask clients that 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 and 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.
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,
Measure and improve: create feedback loops for improvement
Measuring your marketing and sales efforts is extremely important. Knowing how much traffic you have on your website, which are your most clicked blogs, or most-watched videos is key to understanding your next steps.
You want to make sure that you also understand how your list is contributing to your business. Measure your list growth, clicks and unsubscribes.
Install search console and follow how your articles are ranking in Google and which ones bring you the most traffic.
Take it a step further and ask people how they found you in your discovery call form so that you can focus on creating more of the content and funnels that are bringing you clients.
Scaling and adding revenue
If you’ve done the previous step well, it should be pretty easy for you to scale. And if you’ve measured so you can understand where your business is coming from, then you know your next step.
Scaling is easy once you know where your best leads are coming from. Because it’s just a matter of putting more people into that funnel. Adding new sources of traffic.
For example, if you have identified blogs on your site that are responsible for your best leads, then just add traffic from Facebook or Google Ads to those blogs and you’re scaling.
The same goes for any other content type or funnel. Know your numbers, find out where your top-quality leads are coming from and just add more sources of traffic.
Would you like to build a coaching business that is profitable now and scalable in the long term? Let’s talk. Book your Free Discovery Call Here