How to start a coaching business using your coaching qualification or experience?
Starting a business requires learning many new skills, techniques and strategies as well as building processes and systems that work for bringing new clients and a consistent income to your business.
Many coaches have the dream to use their coaching qualification or experience to build a business that helps many other people and gives them the freedom to work their own hours.
However, knowing how to create create a modern sustainable coaching business using online platforms is something many coaches find they have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately, many struggle and ultimately never achieve their coaching dreams.
Embracing and understanding the tech required is one of the biggest challenges coaches face.
Digital marketing strategy to start a coaching business.
Every business needs a strategy to grow and succeed.
Learning the basics of marketing is essential in order to get your coaching business launched.
Whilst marketing may seem daunting, the basics are quite easy to understand.
So, what, in a brief nutshell, do you need to know about digital marketing for your coaching business?
- Client needs – understanding your client needs allows you to provide the services to meet those needs. Creating services that no one needs will not provide a sustainable business.
- Niche – your messages need to be aimed at a very specific person and how you can help them to grab their attention when they see your content. Generic content does not make an impact and is overlooked.
- Communication – to turn strangers into clients, you’re going to need to have many points of contact to build up trust and a relationship. Opening up a communications channel you are in control of is one of the main aims of a digital marketing strategy.
- Multiple price points – having alternative services at varying price points gives clients options depending on their financial status and enables them to try your services before investing in higher prices services, like high ticket coaching.
- Customer journey – understanding your client and how they decide what to buy or who to work with. You’ll learn to structure content, what platforms to best utilise and what services you need to meet the client journey.
- Data – knowing what is working in your business and what isn’t will be known by tracking data such as conversion rates, click through rates, opt-ins and sales.
By having a digital marketing strategy for your coaching business, you are planning for success and preparing yourself to run a coaching business that will continuously build leads for new clients, nurture them on their journey and provide the services they need.
How to start a coaching business online.
The first thing I want to emphasise here is embracing modern technology to create a foundation for growth of your coaching business.
The online tools available to individuals and small businesses enable you to set up systems and processes that mimic what major businesses have done for years.
So, it’s important to understand what those systems are, how they are structured and how to start a coaching business utilising them.
Let’s explore the major platforms to utilise:
Many people underestimate the importance of their website for their coaching business.
Those who do decide to build their website, whether its a DIY website or outsourced, often have no idea about what their website is for and what role it plays in their coaching business and that’s mainly due to not having a marketing strategy.
Your coaching website will be the heart and hub of your online business. Meeting most of the needs of your marketing strategy.
Think of it like a traditional office where a majority of the actual work happens. Or a high street store where customers would come to buy a product. Whilst you now no longer need an expensive bricks and mortar office or shop to run a business, you need the online equivalent, which is your website.
The great thing is, whilst a traditional office would cost thousands of pounds per year to rent, your website can be built extremely cost effectively costing very little per year.
It’s also the only real online “property” that you would own, giving you the freedom to control your business how you decide.
But what do you need your coaching website to do?
Your website needs to be:
- An information hub – where clients can find out information about you, your business, your services and most importantly, your privacy policies.
- Landing pages – key pages that are specific to converting visitors to clients by signing up for one of your services
- Opt In pages – a page where new visitors and potential clients can opt in to receive further communications from you so you can build trust and a relationship.
- Payment pages – when you have a service to offer, you want to make it easy and convenient for clients to pay.
- Booking pages – enable your client to easily book a time to have a coaching call with you.
- Blog pages – using your website to hold content about your coaching services allows people to find you for a long time through search engines like Google.
If you consider some of the manual tasks you would need to do to manage your coaching business, you could see how much time you would need to just manage your business each and every week. Collecting email addresses, sending banking details and chasing up payments, back and forth emailing to find suitable times to have a call, etc.
Trying to manually manage all this would seriously limit the amount of clients you could work with.
However, having theses systems in place on your website is like having a team of staff taking care of these tasks for you, enabling you to do more coaching to more clients.
A first coaching website doesn’t need to be all singing and all dancing. You do not fully know what works and what doesn’t so what you need to begin with is a simple yet professional website that gives you the basics as well as giving you a solid foundation for growth.
90% of all new coaching websites will be very similar which is why its easy for a new coach to save thousands of pounds by creating their own website from a template.
To find out more about recommended website platforms to build your own coaching website, see the tools section.
Find out how you can easily design your own coaching website for free with my DIY website course.
Opening up a communications channel that you are in control of is important to build relationships with your audience.
Email has been the number one communications method for many years now. It’s easy to set up and manage so you can keep communicating with new clients who opt in to receive more information about you and your coaching services.
The reason email is still known as “the king of marketing” is that nearly everyone has an email address and once they’ve opted in, no matter what the source of their initial interaction with you (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Search Engine, Advertisement, etc) you’re able to communicate with them.
Plus, with email automation, you’re able to instantly trigger a pre-thought out welcome email followed by an email sequence to gently introduce yourself and your services to your new clients.
Email automation can take care of so much of your administration tasks too, such as sending out payment receipts, confirmation emails, delivering free services and even delivering coaching courses automatically.
Email marketing platforms are also very cost effective with many offering a free plan and only needing to upgrade as your client base grows.
To find out more about recommended email marketing platforms, see the tools section.
Creating coaching courses are a great way to offer multiple services at varying price points, from low priced evergreen courses to high priced specialist or group coaching courses.
Having courses at varying price points bridges the gap between free services and 1:1 coaching and will enable you to raise your 1:1 coaching prices.
Whilst running courses might seem a time consuming task in person, running them online is not.
Once you’ve created the course content, you’ll be able to utilise online course platforms to deliver the content for you, in most cases, without you having to do a thing.
Online course platforms offer the ability for clients to enrol, pay, login and study the courses at their leisure, so even if you’re taking a break from work, your courses are still able to be delivered. Which also means continuous passive income for your coaching business and the ability to help many clients at any one time.
Theoretically, there is no limit as to how many clients sign up for an online course you offer. You could have hundreds or thousands signing up.
Having an online course as a service is a great way to build a stronger and more successful coaching business and if you research many successful online coaches, you’ll likely find some sort of online course.
These passive income online courses are what enables many coaches to reach those infamous five and six figure monthly incomes as well as giving them the free time to do more of what they want to do.
To find out more about recommended email marketing platforms, see the tools section.
One of the most frustrating and time consuming tasks for a coach is trying to arrange a suitable time for clients and potential clients to book a call with them.
It often ends up as a series of back and forth emails or messages to each other to find that suitable time. If you’re offering free calls with clients then you could find yourself trying to manage many bookings, with many of them never leading to a call.
It’s also frustrating for the client too. If they are trying to find that time you’re available within their schedule and it goes on and on, they can end up either giving up or booking in with another coach instead.
If you can make this process easier for them, they’re more likely to get booked.
Online booking systems provide that convenience for both you and your client enabling them to see your free time online without having to ask you. There’s very little you need to do.
What’s more, when they book, integration with online video call platforms help to get all the call details booked in at once, so there’s no need to send details for the meeting manually either.
These systems also have automation built in, much like email marketing platforms. They can send out reminders to the client before the call so there’s less chance of forgetting and more chance of them turning up for the call.
Again, like many other platforms, these booking systems are cost effective, some offering a basic free service so you only need to upgrade as and when your business grows.
To find out more about recommended booking platforms, see the tools section.
Get a booking system setup for your business with my Free Calendly course.
What about social media to start a coaching business?
Social media is huge and it’s where many new coaches turn to for finding clients.
You may also get a lot of advice telling you that you only need social media to run your coaching business, but that’s very risky.
The benefits of using social media when starting a coaching business are:
- It’s free
- Millions of potential customers are likely using it too
- There are multiple ways to use social media, EG, profiles, pages, groups
- You can run paid advertising to reach your target audiences more
Some of the issues with social media:
- You are not in control and could have your account shut down, meaning your business can be lost in an instant
- Only about 5% of page posts are seen without paying for boosting the post (Facebook, others are similar)
- Content created posted is short term and won’t provide you with much business in the future
- Clients may not be on the platform you use so you may have to manage multiple platforms
Also, social media platforms don’t give you any freedom of design or how you want your viewers to see your content unlike your website.
Your competitors will also be on social media and their posts, pages or groups will be shown to the viewer too so you’ll have high competition.
Social media platforms are not best utilised for running your coaching business. However, they can provide a vital role in the strategy to get clients.
The basic idea of using social media is to get clients over to a landing page in your website where they’ll opt in for something to give you a better communication channel such as email.
Which social media platform to use is simple… wherever your ideal client is. For example, if you’re a business coach looking for executive professionals, you’re probably more likely to find them on LinkedIn that TikTok. So, make sure you do your research on your ideal client and understand where they’re likely to “hang out” online.
The step-by-step basics of starting an online coaching business
OK, so where do you begin to start a coaching business?
- Social Media – you’re likely on it already so start talking about your services there whilst you work on the rest.
- Ideal Client – understand who your ideal client would be, consider age, sex, location, family status, career, income, hobbies, goals, problems they have, how they research solutions, where they hang out online. Get as much detail as you can and use this to write better content and consider services.
- Website – Create a basic website from a template that gives you the core basics (information, opt-in pages, services pages, payment pages, booking pages, etc) and allows you to gather the data you need.
- Google Analytics – You need something that captures the data so you can review it. Google Analytics is the standard and measures where your website traffic is coming from, how long people stay, what they do next and what your conversion rates are.
- Email Automation – Get your email marketing platform setup and prepare your welcome emails and sequence emails.
- Lead Magnet – Your free offering to get email opt ins. Provide a simple free service (ebook, report, quiz) that you can email out to clients after opt in. This is intended to give an “ah-ha” moment to the client and opens that communications channel. Use email automation to deliver the lead magnet and a follow up sequence.
- Booking System – Implement an online booking system so you can offer a free 1:1 call with potential clients and easily allow them to book in with you.
- Payment Platforms – Setup online payment gateways so clients can pay you easily as well as offering subscription payment.
- Online Course – Identify a common issue in your clients that you can address through an online coaching course and develop an additional service.
- Group Coaching – Consider offering group coaching as a intermediate service between your online course and 1:1 coaching. This can be a mixture of pre-recorded content for your clients to study at set intervals and supported with online group coaching session either through Zoom or a Facebook Group, for example. Utilise email automation to drip-feed course content to the clients after the course start date.
- Monitor Data – Check your data and growth. What is working, what isn’t? Try new things to improve and see what resonates with your clients. Once you find things that work, you can then scale and do more of that. You can use the same principles to build a second or third lead magnet to get more clients. You can identify more common issues which you could create courses for.
When you first start an online coaching business, there’s no need to get everything you think you need ready. What you think you need and what is really desired may be vastly different and you could spend far too much time trying to launch the perfect business only to find it doesn’t play out as you hoped.
Take it one simple step at a time and measure the results along the way. Only when you find what works will you know how to take the next step to grow.
We live in an age where the individual can build systems to match the mighty.
You have access to platforms that can reach clients from all around the world.
You have access to powerful advertising platforms that can put your services in front of the right people without the need for huge corporation advertising budgets.
It’s opened up the world to many coaches who want to launch the business of their dreams where they can make a positive impact on the world while having that ideal lifestyle and being their own boss.
But, many coaches admit to fearing tech and shying away from it.
Instead, they stick to social media, spending hours trying to write content, forcing themselves to “go live” every single day only to find inconsistent clients.
Tech does not have to be difficult, but I understand why it seems that way.
With so many platforms available and so many guru’s telling you what to do, who do you listen to?
My aim is to help coaches understand what’s right for them but also to understand why it’s right for them.
I also want coaches to work out their own perfect path to their business.
Someone may tell you that going live on Facebook every single day is essential, because that’s what worked to grow their business. Doesn’t mean it’s right for you. There’s many successful businesses running without any Facebook live videos.
And there’s many other ways you can drive traffic to your website too, such as search engine optimisation and advertising so you don’t have to spend half your working day on social media every day.
Tech also doesn’t have to be an expensive investment either. In fact, a lot of platforms offer a free or budget startup option and you only need to upgrade as your business grows.
As for doing it yourself? I absolutely believe you can get started with the right tech by doing it yourself. This will save you thousands in fees to people like me! You can hire tech support later on when you have grown your business to such a level where you can comfortably outsource the management of it.
Why don’t I push my services to coaches for them to outsource it all?
For the last couple of years I’ve focussed on supporting coaches with their tech and built multiple website for coaches. 90% of all those websites were very similar and the design and it’s needs.
I realised that this is a common issue and I decided I want to tackle that through online courses that teaches new coaches to do it themselves. Just like I recommended to you in the “online course” section above.
That way, I can offer that service for much less than my done-for-you service and these courses can help many more coaches than I ever could just by doing 1:1 services.
Once a coach has established themselves online and has some data available, that’s where I’m best helping them with outsourced services.
So, if I can help you launch cost effectively, I hope to someday work alongside you to take you to the next level!