So you’re thinking of starting an online coaching business, but you’re not quite sure where to even begin. Believe me, I get it—there are so many factors to consider, and while the internet is an outstanding resource for putting yourself out there, it can be intimidating to get started. If you have the drive, but don’t yet have the know-how, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’re living in a golden age of accessibility. With the prevalence of social media, it’s never been easier for us to put ourselves out there. However, having good ideas and special talents alone isn’t going to cut it. You’ll have to know how to work the machinery of the internet if you want to be successful, and learning is no easy task. If you’re thinking about starting an online coaching business, I’ve put together a guide to cover the basics and help you get started.
Starting an Online Coaching Business: Finding Your Niche
What’s the very first step in starting an online coaching business? It may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating: You’ll have to find your niche. Think of your skillset, your talents, the things that make you stand out. How can you utilize these traits to help guide others towards success? Everyone has a unique talent or trait that nobody else can provide, and tapping into yours is what’s going to help you find your niche.
When you find your niche, you’ll have to figure out how to apply it practically to your methods. Take what makes you special and make it a central feature of your coaching business. Are you a successful marketing guru? Do you specialize in money management? Do you have keen people skills that give you a sense for appealing to the right audience? These are all traits that budding entrepreneurs value, and if you utilize them as a business coach, you’ve already started with mass appeal. Whatever your special skill is, own it, and success will be within reach.
Starting an Online Coaching Business: Marketing Yourself
You’ve identified your coaching niche and you’re ready to finally put yourself out there—great! But how do you do it? The answer is an old, timeless method: Marketing. Amp yourself up and get your message heard. Start a website—if you don’t have the know-how, there are dozens of options available to help you. You can either learn to do it yourself or hire a professional to make one for you.
Create and send out press releases. Don’t have the time to write one, or not confident enough in your writing abilities? Hire a copywriter, and they’ll do it for you. If you want to skip that altogether, consider starting a YouTube Channel and creating videos to introduce yourself and advertise your services. Make use of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more to increase your reach even further. Getting your name out there is the first step to drawing in clients, and the harder you work, the more you’ll attract! As I said, we’re in an unprecedented age of accessibility, and there’s no end to the ways in which you can advertise yourself on the internet.
It should go without saying that when you make that initial foray into social media, you’ll have to do some specific research into the kind of equipment you’ll need. The bare minimum won’t cut it here—if you want your potential customers to see your online coaching business as the professional standard-setter it is, you’ll have to invest in higher quality equipment than just your phone. For podcasts, get yourself a good quality microphone, and set up a space in your home where you can get good sound quality. If you’re making videos for YouTube (and you should), your best bet is to invest in a good video camera. You don’t have to buy an outrageously expensive, movie-quality rig to get the job done, but something beyond a phone camera is worth your time, and you can find something solid for only a few hundred dollars.
Going from there, it’s also a good idea to invest in some editing software, or, at the very least, hire an editor to do the work for you. This may also be on the pricier side, but shoddy-looking work will come off as unprofessional and can be a huge turn-off for potential clients. I can’t tell you which option will be better for you—that’s for you to decide—but either way, making that investment will be worth your time in a big way.
Starting an Online Coaching Business: Build Trust
How often do you see an ad for a product or service that promises to solve all of your issues (without specifying how, of course), and the moment you visit their website, all of those “solutions” are locked behind a paywall with no guarantee as to whether or not it will actually work? There’s no quicker way to dissuade possible clients, right?
In this sense, it’s critical to build trust between you and your potential clients, even before they entrust you to help them with their businesses. How do you do that, exactly? It’s not as hard as it may sound. Your best bet is to create free content for all to experience. This can include YouTube videos, blog posts, free podcast episodes, and more. These are some of the easiest ways to get potential clients to know you better, and once they know you, they’ll trust you. That being said, don’t give everything away right at the start—it’s still an online coaching business, after all. There are some secrets that you’ll have to save for the people willing to hire you—THAT’S what will make the difference for them once they take that first step to trust you.
Another key aspect to keep in mind here is that your clients are coming to you because they need help solving a problem—or multiple problems. For many people, their first instinct is to start trying to sell to them immediately, without actually proving to them that they’re capable of fixing those problems. No one likes to feel like they’re trying to be sold something, and there aren’t many quicker ways to turn off a potential client than by throwing prices at them the moment they tell you about their situation.
It’s here that you can provide a sample of your services in the form of a free consultation. It’s up to you how long you’d like it to be, anywhere from 30 minutes to a full hour—being able to do this remotely is one of the many benefits of an online coaching business. During this time, work to help them solve their problems, give them the tangible solutions they’re looking for. Realistically, an hour isn’t enough time to help them with everything, but if you really try, they’ll feel it, and as a result, they’ll begin to trust you. If you WOW your clients by helping them, you’ll build trusting relationships with them in no time at all!
Starting an Online Coaching Business: Figure Out Your Pricing
Picture this for a moment: You’re practically ready to launch your online coaching business. You bought the equipment, set up a website, started building up your social media presence, and the official launch is just around the corner. Can you imagine it? Now stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself one simple question: How much are you going to charge for your services? With everything else you have to think about, it almost feels like an afterthought, doesn’t it?
Here’s where you’ll need to do some serious research. Your salary can vary greatly depending on what kind of online coaching business you’re running. According to PayScale, as of last month (February 2021), an online life coach makes an average of anywhere between $28,000 to $260,000! Of course, this largely depends on how many clients you have, and even though we’re not there yet, you likely want to shoot for that latter number. In the meantime, these are the numbers you should be paying attention to—you now know the average amount that a life coach typically makes in a year. If you’re not a life coach, what does your average salary look like? What do you want it to look like? And most importantly of all, what are your competitors charging their clients?
It’s in this way that you can determine what you can charge for your online coaching business, and potentially how you can get an edge over your competitors. Take a look at what the average coach in your field makes. Then, do some research on your own, and find other coaches in your field, ranging from new on the scene to hugely popular. What are their price points? What do they offer their clients, and for how much? Is it a good value? Once you have this information locked down, you can determine a reasonable price for your services. Better yet, you can get an idea of how to price out your competitors or offer better values to potential clients. It may seem like a daunting task, but trust me when I say it’s worth it to do this kind of math—you’ll be grateful you did it when the clients start pouring in!
Keep in mind that you can adjust your prices as you go. In fact, for online coaching businesses (and most businesses in general) this is extremely common, especially when you first launch. You can go with a low-price strategy to draw in your first customers (and your first customers will always be the hardest), or you can go for a high-price strategy right out of the gate to cover your launch costs. The latter option is typically reserved for particularly unique products or services, so this may end up being a much riskier strategy. As time goes on, you can increase or decrease your prices as you need, and this could actually present opportunities for you to offer new benefits to your clients. Having options like loyalty or rewards programs, special discounts, and more can be a huge draw for new clients and a big incentive to keep current clients.
Starting an Online Coaching Business: How to Stay Consistent
You’ve put yourself out there, drew in clients, and established trust. You’re doing great! That being said, there’s one major risk that most business coaches tend to overlook: Clients purchase their services once, get what they need, and move on. How do you prevent this from happening? The key is to stay consistent. It goes without saying that you’ll need to work hard to stay successful and keep your clients happy, but you’ll need to keep yourself in check as you do it. Don’t overpromise, and certainly don’t underdeliver. More than anything else, the trust you established with your clients early on will be strengthened not just by hard work, but by being fiercely reliable. Make your online coaching business synonymous with consistency.
When they ask for results, you have to deliver those results every single time. Ideally, you don’t want them to even think twice about asking for your services again. As you help people launch and manage their businesses, it won’t be smooth sailing the whole way. There will be problems and pitfalls of every type, and when that time comes, you’ll have to be ready to be there. If you can pull this off successfully, there’s no doubt that they’ll come back to you over and over again, and as you develop your relationship with your clients, this will translate into reliable, consistent success.
Starting an Online Coaching Business: Find a Community to Lift You Up
No matter what kind of business you’re in, one of the most important factors in having a strong sense of community. Business coaching, of course, is no exception. With that in mind, it would be hugely beneficial for you to get in touch with other business coaches. As you embark on your journey, you’ll experience many of the same highs and lows that most of them have, and because of this, they can help you! Finding different coaching communities can bolster your business by providing you with incredible access to resources, special knowledge, and a robust support network.
Where can you find a community like that? Well, the best place to start is by joining The Launch Circle. By joining this monthly membership program, you’ll be gaining access to a community of over 150 like-minded coaches who, like you, are putting in the effort to launch, build, and monetize their online coaching businesses. For a low monthly fee, you’ll be provided with access to the training, tools, strategy, community, and support you need to finally launch your online coaching business.
Starting an online coaching business is hard work, and there’s no one set way to guarantee success, but I hope this guide lays out a blueprint for your success. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Find your niche, market yourself, build trust, stay consistent, and you’ll be the business coach you’ve always dreamed of being in no time.