Coaching is one of the most prominent business ideas in 2021. Be it online or offline—coaching holds tremendous power to help people achieve their goals and earn money while teaching them what you love. It doesn’t require a lot of investment, and thanks to the new trend of online coaching, it’s not location dependent and you can even work from wherever you want.
With the pandemic, the offline coaching business slowed down, but online coaching became more significant. If you’re a coach or want to build your business around a profitable idea, then this guide is for you. Ideally, you can start an offline coaching business and maintain online coaching on the side for additional income, or you can solely focus on online or offline models.
The online coaching business has been a magnet in the past year for people who want to monetize their knowledge and help people achieve more of what they want. It’s a wonderful way to solve problems and position yourself as an expert.
Being a $15 billion industry, online coaching will only rise in the next few years, primarily because of digitalization and the rise of e-learning. If you want to achieve financial independence and open a full-fledged business through a digital product that teaches people what you know best, this article is for you.
Today, opening an online coaching business seems simple, but it’s not easy. However, once you figure it out, you can scale it up to six-figure or even six-figures—and we’ll show you how.
This article will dive deep into building a six-figure coaching business in 2021 and what you need to know to begin and scale up as an entrepreneur. From setting up systems for appointment scheduling to crafting compelling marketing strategies to attract leads, we’ll talk about everything. Let’s get started!
Step-by-step guide to building a six-figure coaching business
You can pick up any coaching structure depending on how you want to build your business and what kind of services you want to offer. Now, let’s cut to the main point—how can you build a six-figure coaching business from scratch.
This is the only guide you’ll ever need with actionable tips, structures, tools, and resources. Let’s begin!
Choose your coaching models
Online coaching heavily relies on the internet as everything is done virtually. You do the coaching on a pre-decided schedule, and that’s one of the primary reasons why you can start an online coaching business from anywhere around the world—you can even work while traveling.
Let’s look at three popular structures followed by online coaches that you can take inspiration from, and take up:
1. One-on-one coaching
These are premium coaching programs where the coach works with the client on a one-to-one basis. It includes understanding the client’s problems and coming up with tailor-made strategies to bring them closer to their goals. Apart from strategy, the coach also assists in every step of the execution phase with live sessions, chat support, worksheets, etc.
It’s a time-consuming coaching structure but a premium one since they only take a few clients to maintain both time and quality.
2. Group coaching
A group coaching program enrolls multiple clients who go through the coaching together. It’s mostly a hybrid of pre-recorded and live sessions with an additional focus on coaching sessions to help in execution and peer-to-peer support and accountability.
These programs have only a few people in the group, where individual attention is given but is not the focus. Instead, asking questions in the group and seeking solutions for it together is encouraged.
3. Membership site
With the membership model, you can focus on quantity as you can have multiple people enroll on the membership site, which is more like a community of people with shared interests and concerns.
These sites run on a subscription-based model where they are charged an affordable fee every month to access freemium content, coach access, webinars, etc. It’s a one-to-many concept and perfect for coaches who want to earn more money, get more people in their funnel, and work for fewer hours.
Chris Ducker’s primary source of income is a membership site for corporate employees to turn into business people and be their own boss.
Identify a profitable and problem-solving coaching idea
Before you move head-on with your coaching program, it’s essential to identify what problem you’re going to solve. People take up coaching because they struggle with a particular problem and look for someone credible to help them achieve their goals and guide them on the right path.
You can also seek training as a coach before setting up your business to brush up your skills. Evercoach is a prominent platform to learn from the leading coaches globally, get a proper direction for your business, and ensure you offer the best services to your clients.
To begin a business, you need to be very clear on your coaching idea and what problem you will solve while making sure it’s a profitable one. Here are some ways to help you identify this:
- Understand your passion and interests
- Recount your experiences to assess your strengths
- Identify a significant problem that needs a solution
Using these three methods, write down potential coaching business ideas. Here are some suggestions:
- Life, and happiness
- Health and wellness
- Business, and leadership
- Jobs, and careers
- Money mindset
Next, do some research, identify if your ideas are profitable, and have a genuine demand.
If it’s a very common problem, it’s more likely to attract people and become a profitable business idea for you.
After doing this research and finalizing your coaching idea—get a mentor.
This will help you solidify your plan, provide direction, get real-time feedback on your business, and make it fail-proof.
Ideally, this mentor should be someone who’s been successful at running a coaching program for themselves or has helped others do it. And there you go—you’re ready to jump to the execution phase!
Create a system for your business
Before you move forward with acquiring clients, you need to set up an effective system for your business that can save time and help organize the process in a better way.
If you want to scale up and widen your scope of business, systems are a “need” more than a “choice.” An ideal coaching business workflow would include systems, tools, and resources—and coaching is no exception.
Let’s look at what all systems you should build:
Educating prospects about your services, and convert them
You can’t explain your coaching program to each prospect separately or take up individual questions and doubts. There needs to be a single place to see a detailed structure of the program, what they will learn, and why they should enroll.
For this, a sales landing page is important, which you can build using Leadpages.
It’ll do the job of educating, convincing, and persuading the prospect to sign up for your coaching program while building authority and displaying professionalism.
Payments and invoices
Once your client is convinced, the next step would be making a payment for the program. Ideally, your landing page will direct them to the payment platform automatically, where you can use Stripe as an integration. It’s a great tool that allows international payments and offers a seamless procedure.
When you start taking payments, you also need to take care of accounting and invoicing, which is important for every business. Here, you can use FreshBooks or Quickbooks, some of the best accounting software, to automate payment processes and keep track of your accounts in one place.
Be it online or offline coaching—you need to allow your clients to make appointments with you in a hassle-free manner. For this, you can use Appointlet as your scheduling software for easy booking, follow-ups, and reminders.
Client coaching calls
Coaching calls are the crux of an online coaching business, so pick a high-quality web conferencing software like Zoom to conduct these calls.
By integrating Zoom with Appointlet, you can set up an easy workflow that automatically sends reminders and links to join the meeting, so you don’t spend time doing these repetitive tasks manually.
Managing business, and clients
You cannot just take up clients and start working with them. As a business, you must establish proper workflows with a dashboard that has all the information about your clients, their membership, and other details. Here, using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software would be the best option.
Its smooth interface will allow you to manage everything in one place and avoid frequent back and forth.
Marketing and lead generation
If you want to generate leads consistently and attract the right people to your coaching program, you need to market your services. Because of multiple platforms and marketing strategies, it’s impossible to do it all while managing your business.
However, you can automate your marketing to control everything from one place, set up campaigns, and track analytics. This will save your time and also ensure your efforts yield the desired result.
Client feedback, and testimonials
After completing your coaching with a client, it’s important to get feedback for improving your services and systems along with a testimonial to use as social proof on your website.
You can use Typeform to take their feedback through a list of your preferred questions.
There are many other tools and systems you can set up for productivity, file sharing, and project management. However, you can do this on a strict “need-to-have” basis, so you keep the expenses on the lower side in the beginning. As you move forward and grow your business, you can invest in better and more tools.
Since online coaching purely depends on virtual communication, these tools are important to provide an excellent experience to your students, so don’t hold back on this.
Define your target audience and ICP
Now that you have a profitable coaching business idea along with a system to organize your work properly, it’s time to define your target audience and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)—a description of a customer who would be the best fit for your product or service and would cost the least to acquire.
If you don’t know who you’re targeting or who this program is for, you could end up targeting the wrong audience who’s either not interested in your course or doesn’t have the budget to pay for it.
Being clear on your ideal coaching student will help you draft the right program and marketing strategies that address their problems. To get clarity in this area, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- What problem are you solving?
- What age group is this program fit for?
- What kind of spending power should the clients have?
- Which industry or sector does this program appeal to?
- What are their general interests in life?
Based on these questions, you can create a buyer persona for your client—a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client. Here’s an example:
Now, this is the person who would be an ideal fit for your coaching program. This research will help you stay consistent with your branding and marketing efforts, along with your messaging. It will ensure you’re creating content or targeting strategies to acquire your ideal clients only.
Create a solid marketing strategy
Once you have your program and target audience figured out—it’s time to start marketing your coaching services to bring in leads and eventually convert them into clients.
Here are some effective marketing strategies you can use to attract high-quality leads for your coaching program
1. Website and blog
Having an online presence is a “need” rather than a “choice” if you want to make your online business successful—and a website is one of the most crucial aspects of it. It immediately gives you an edge over your competitors and makes your business more authentic. Here’s an example of a website by a life coach.
Anyone reaching out to you for your services through social media paid ads or referrals will convert faster with a website.
Here are some best practices to create a compelling website:
- Choose the right platform for your website based on your requirements.
- Creating a separate landing page for your course where you can run ads.
- Your website should tell the visitors what you do, how you do it, and how you can help them.
- Make the website less about you and more about your target audience.
- Highlight social proof, case studies, and the benefits of enrolling in your coaching program.
- Create an appointment booking form on your homepage where people can directly hop on a call with you.
- Start a blog around your niche to establish credibility and build trust.
Don’t spend a lot of time creating your website; otherwise, you may get held up because a website has so many elements. Instead, create a minimalistic yet impactful website that’s persuasive and can convince the visitor you’re the right person to coach them.
2. Social media marketing
Today, everyone is on social media, so you need to be there too. But does that mean you need to stay active on every platform? Not really; you need to find the platforms where your audience is most active.
Here’s a glimpse of an Instagram profile of a marketing coach.
If you have more of a business and professional audience, then prospecting on LinkedIn and Twitter might be best for you.
If you have more individuals and students as your audience, then a solid strategy on Instagram, Snapchat, and Quora would be a good route.
Do some research and find out where your audience hangs out. Create a social media strategy, and start building your presence while keeping these things in mind:
- Create valuable and problem-solving content than promotional content.
- Build a genuine connection with your audience.
- Show your face to build trust and connect with them on a one-to-one basis.
- Engage with your audience, and let them know you’re open to discussions.
- Build authority in the niche by interacting with other people in your community.
- Create a social media calendar to save time, and maintain consistency.
3. Sales funnel and automation
A sales funnel is the journey your prospect goes through from being a visitor to a paying customer. It’s the best way to capture people interested in your services and nurture them until they’re ready to swipe the card.
Here are the phases of a coaching sales funnel
- Awareness stage: Create valuable and free content on social media and your blog to display expertise. This should be educational content around the main problem your coaching solves. You can create text content, or videos using BigVu that allows you to record videos while reading text using the teleprompter.
- Interest stage: Develop a lead magnet to capture emails of people who are interested in your services. This will help build an email list of people who can turn into clients.
- Consideration stage: Nurture them with email marketing and a free discovery call through online scheduling to help them understand more about your services. You can even use videos to connect with your audience on a one-to-one basis and establish strong relationships.
- Decision stage: Help them out with payment and an excellent onboarding process to welcome them as a client.
Throughout the sales process, automating repetitive tasks can save you a lot of time. This funnel has the power to convert interested people into customers through a qualified and easy-going process.
One of the best ways to be recognized as a thought-leader in the industry and build trust through content is to start a podcast. You can do this as an individual podcast, get guests on board to interact with them, and tap into their audience.
Apart from interacting and building relationships with guests and the audience—podcasting can help create a wider digital footprint, which means more people in your sales funnel who can eventually turn into customers.
Here are some best practices for using a podcast to promote your coaching business:
- Choose the right podcasting platform.
- Be clear on your niche, and talk about the problems that you solve in your coaching program.
- Give tips, and invite experts to exchange audiences, and provide more valuable content.
- Talk about your coaching program in between to give your listeners a nudge to check it out.
If you provide valuable content on your podcast, people will start recognizing you as an expert, ultimately enrolling in your coaching program. So, make sure your podcast is available on all major podcasting platforms, you’re regularly promoting it, and you have linked it to the coaching sales landing page.
5. Scale your business to six-figures
With your marketing strategies in place, you’re ready to attract high-quality leads and convert them into customers. Working on that regularly while troubleshooting what’s not working out will help you take the right path towards getting more clients.
But, let’s say you’re getting clients regularly and are happy with how it’s going—what next?
Scaling it to six figures should be your next goal. With a few changes in your business, new strategies, some additional features in your coaching program—you can scale up and make your business more profitable.
Let’s see how you can do that.
6. Become a top expert in the niche
Being an expert in the niche means being very clear and focused on the problem you’re solving and the target audience you’re serving. More so, it means having extensive knowledge about the particular topic to help your clients with strategies and provide actionable assistance that gets results.
So, the number 1 way to make it big as a coach and hit multiple six, and seven-figure months is to dig deep into your niche and learn everything there is to know. This will help you solve your client’s problems effectively and make you more credible.
If you want to work with a coach, would you consider someone who has just started out in the niche or has a huge knowledge bank with a track record of getting excellent results for their clients?
It would definitely be the latter because people pay huge sums of money for experts who have theoretical and practical knowledge. So, learn some more to become a notable personality in your coaching niche.
Elizabeth Rider built a 7-figure coaching business as a health and wellness coach—she’s a great example of what it means to be an expert.
7. Market yourself as a premium coach
Being a premium coach means charging premium rates from your clients. Once you establish a solid digital presence, you can start positioning yourself as a premium coach.
Tony Robbins is a great example of a premium coach. He offers a range of packages to his clients, and his experience in the field is clearly demonstrated by the results his clients have achieved.
Here are a few tips:
- Make improvements in the program to make it result and action-oriented.
- Put in extra efforts to ensure your client reaches their goal.
- Share video testimonials, case studies, and client wins on social media and your website.
- Start packaging more things in your program to make it more valuable.
- Position it as a premium offer by being very strategic about your brand outlook.
- Use psychological persuasion methods on your social media to display a premium front.
- Target the right kind of clients who have the budget to afford a premium coach.
- Price your packages as premium, and high-ticket, so only ideal clients work with you.
Being a premium coach, you can offer as high as $5000 services to your clients.
But before you take these measures, ensure you have the knowledge it requires to be a premium coach because you don’t want to overpromise and under-deliver. However, with these strategies, you can scale up to six figures with ease.
8. Offer complementary digital products
Along with your regular coaching sessions, offer some digital products to your clients on a complimentary basis. These could be additional eBooks, online courses, masterclasses, membership access, etc.
This will build more trust in your program and also offer more value to your client at no additional cost. Moreover, it will make your coaching look even more valuable because incentives are being provided when everyone else has to pay for it. So, there’s an exclusivity factor too.
Here’s what you can offer:
- Online courses: Make sure to use the right platform for your online course that offers multiple features and makes it easier for you to automate the process and save time.
Ebooks: These can be 40-50 page eBooks on a topic around your coaching niche. It should be valuable and actionable, offering more insight into the problem you solve in the program. Here’s an example of an Ebook by Tony Robbins, a premium business coach.
Membership sites: While we talked about this as a coaching method, membership sites can also be used as an additional source of income and digital product that provides premium content at an affordable monthly subscription.
You can offer many other digital products based on your audience’s needs and alignment with your coaching niche. However, be mindful of the taxes for digital products before you proceed with developing one for your coaching program.
- Master your sales process
If you want to close sales on auto-pilot and get more people in your coaching program, you need to ace your sales process and leverage the newest technology like chatbots to assist you in the process. From the first touchpoint to the day they make the payment—make the journey very smooth by nurturing them with helpful information.
With lead generation workflows, you can get plenty of people to book a discovery call with you. But, closing sales is an art and needs to be mastered. While you’re becoming an expert in your niche and improving your coaching program to make it more premium—work on your sales process and make it self-sufficient with automated workflows and efficient systems.
Here’s an example of an effective sales process.
This can significantly power up your sales and help generate more revenue.
Becoming a 6-figure coach is not simple.
Everyone has a certain skill set, but you need to identify, improve, and monetize it to create an impact, both for yourself and other people.
The online coaching industry is booming right now because of the excessive demand for e-learning and mentoring—and there’s no better time to make money by teaching people about what you love. By following this roadmap, you can start and scale your coaching business.
Consistency is vital for every business, and online coaching, it’s a pillar for success because of the virtual factor. However, now you have all the tools and resources in front of you—all you have to do is begin!
About the guest author Eduard Klein
Eduard Klein is an International Digital Growth Marketer, Blogger, and Entrepreneur with a global mindset. He guides people through the process of starting and growing a digital business, and to ride the wave of digital technology and marketing without getting swept away.
Blog image credit: August de Richelieu