What would I do if I wanted to start a coaching business online from scratch?
What would I do differently?
What would I invest in, and hold out on?
There are many people teaching how to start a coaching business.
But, coming from someone who runs a multi-6-figure coaching business (and who has helped clients generate multiple six and seven figures), I have a few keynotes of advice.
Today I’m giving you all the details, including 3 things I wish I knew before starting a coaching business from scratch.
At the end of this article, if you’re still interesting in starting your online coaching business, be sure to check my program, The Path to 6 Figures.
The Path to 6 Figures covers absolutely everything you need to create, market, and fill your online coaching business.
But back to the article.
Coaching vs. Consulting
First, I want to express the difference between consulting and coaching.
When I first got started, I began consulting.
The main difference is that when you’re a consultant, you’re doing “done for you” work.
Whereas when you’re coaching you’re teaching your concepts and practices and letting the client do it.
For me, transitioning from consulting to coaching was freeing, because I was no longer responsible for the results.
It also freed me up to spend more time making my content rather than other people’s content.
However, ironically, I eventually moved even away from coaching am now sort of consulting again but through the creation of my online courses.
Check out the following video, How to Start an Online Coaching Business from Scratch.
I share my story on starting an online coaching business as well as many of the same tips in this article.
If you watched the video, you’ve now learned more about the different between coaching and consulting.
Now, let’s get into the actual details on how to start a coaching business online from scratch.
How to Start a Brand New Coaching Business Online
Find out what you want to do
The first thing I recommend before starting an online coaching business, is to spend time figuring out what it is exactly you want to do.
It would have saved me a lot of time to just try out different methods of teaching and coaching to see what I liked.
I want have quickly learned what I liked to do, as opposed to spending years trying to do what I “thought” I should doing.
I was just going about it the same way everyone else.
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
There’s no designated teaching style that you must follow.
You’re free to share information and work with your clients in any way that makes you feel the most confident.
Work with what’s best for your lifestyle and coaching business.
Determine your niche
Get very clear on what you want to teach and who you want to teach it to.
Narrow it down as specific as you can go.
The more clear you are, the easier it is to attract the clients you want to work with.
Coaching can be very intangible.
Take the example of a lifestyle coach, where your goal may be to help people live a more productive life.
You’ll want to find ways to attach the tangible with the intangible.
Try to find specific examples of how you’re going to help people with your life coaching.
Determine exactly what it is and how you’ll get them to experience the change you’ll bring them in their life.
You can use the following guide for reference.
It’s very beneficial if you haven’t yet flushed out the transformation your online coaching business will bring about.
Need to figure out what goals your online coaching business you bring about? Use these business start prompts:
Type of coach:
Tangible result #1:
Transformation example #1:
Tangible result #2:
Transformation example #2:
Tangible result #3:
Transformation example #3:
Figure out what certifications you need or want
The coaching industry in the United States is unregulated, as of this writing.
But, you should always check with your local authorities to determine if you need to be certified before starting an online coaching business.
That said, whether certification is required or not, you may want a coaching certification to raise your credibility with prospective clients.
It will depend on the type of clients you work with and what they’re expectations are.
This is why it’s important to always understand who your ideal coaching client is.
Popular certifications come from the International Coaching Federation.
There’s a lot of different places where you can get a Life Coaching certificate for as little as $99.
You want to make sure when you’re looking at the certification that it’s well-respected.
In general, your clients are probably not going to know what certification you should have before you start helping them.
They’re just gonna want to work with you because you’re you and because they feel you can help them get a transformation.
With that in mind, you just want to make sure that you’re being transparent and if you’re taking people’s money.
You want to make sure you’re 100% confident that you can help them.
Choose Your Business Revenue Model
Your business model is the way that your coaching business generates revenue.
Every coaching business is different, and there are a couple of things that you can mix and match.
As an example, my coaching business generates revenue of around 70% from on-demand courses and course-based group coaching programs.
The other 30% comes from one-on-one coaching or done-for-you-client services.
Your business model is what’s going to determine how you market your coaching business and what opportunities you take advantage of.
I knew I wanted my business model to be 70% leveraged coaching and 30% one-on-one clients.
Ways to Generate Income as a Coach
- Workshops courses
- Virtual events
- Live events like retreats, speaking engagements, or in-person workshops
- One-on-one coaching
- Group coaching
- Online courses
- Done-for-you Consulting Services
You can provide many services with a “done-for-you” busines model.
If you’re not sure what your done-for-you service might be, think about the homework or the assignments that you thought you may give to your clients.
What can you bring in-house as a done-for-you service?
Choose Your Marketing Model
When I first started my coaching business online, I chose my YouTube channel as my main organic marketing model.
I chose YouTube because it does a great job at helping me promote my content.
My content turns into an asset that grows over and over again.
It’s connected to the largest search engine, Google.
So, it makes it very easy for me to leverage a lot of free and organic traffic.
If I were staring all over from scratch to build my coaching business but wanted to do more one-on-one coaching, I’d likely go a different route.
I’d likely do live streams, speaking engagements, or in-person events.
I’ve found it’s a lot easier to book one-on-one coaching clients after a speaking engagement.
When people have an opportunity to meet me and be in my space and energy, it’s much easier for them to choose to make an investment with me.
What you need to ask yourself is how best do you want to market your coaching business and which platform is best for it.
Start with a Tester Client
You can study as much as you want and get as many certifications as you want, but at the end of the day, the best way to start coaching in your business is to do.
I recommend surveying for a tester client and build your coaching curriculum as you work with them.
Figure out what teaching style you like best, what pulls the most/best transformation, and on which platform want to run your business.
This will give you so much more confidence when you start booking quality, paying clients.
How to Get Your First Paying Clients when Starting a Coaching Business Online
One of the biggest mistakes I see new coaches make is that they never truly announce their new business.
You go on their Instagram or Webpage and it actually can be really hard to figure out what they do.
If you want clients, and you expect this to be your full-time income, you must let people in on the scoop!
Tell People You’re a Coach
One of the first things you must do is update your profile settings and information.
Some new coaches are hesitant about sharing their lives with people they don’t know, but I have to say, this is the age of the internet.
Nothing is really private.
However, if you are that concerned, I recommend starting a separate business account that is public.
You can then tailor the content to be strictly professional and only share what you’re comfortable with.
You will also need to update your bio to say “coach”, explain what you do, and who you do it for.
Your links should all point to where to find more information about the coaching business you’ve started online.
Your clients need to know if you’re a right fit from the second they land on your account.
Go out and talk to people.
Go to a few networking events if you must.
The aim is to get comfortable saying what you do.
Start with “Hey, I am a coach”, then tell them your elevator pitch and core benefit statement.
For example, I would say, “My name is LaTisha and I help coaches create and fill their coaching program.”
You have to be able to specifically tell people what you do.
If you’re not quite sure how to explain what you do yet, just play around with a couple of different things.
I remember I used to say, “I help coaches gain more clients, or “I help coaches create webinar sales funnels.”
I also used to say, “I help you take an existing skill and turn it into an online business.”
All of these were things I said before finally settling on what I now say.
You can always grow and mature as you go from starting your coaching business online to working in your thriving business.
So, it’s okay if it’s not perfect right away.
But, you’ve got to make it known that you’re a coach.
Offer Coffee Chats
You can offer 15 minute coffee chats.
If you’re an introvert and this freaks you out, trust me, 15 minutes goes way faster than you’d think.
Think of this as an opportunity for you to catch up with people.
You don’t just have to say, “Hey, I want to talk to you about what I’m doing now,” but you can open the conversation.
Catch up with what they’ve been up to.
Then as the conversation progresses you can say something like, “well, I’m doing coaching now and I’m looking for this type of client.”
It’s like you’re creating a mini sales force by telling individuals what you do and what you offer.
In most cases you’re going to get one of these three responses:
“Oh, that sounds really good. That sounds like something I need.”
“Hey, I have a friend who I know who may need that.”
“I don’t know of anybody right now, but if I think of someone, I’ll be sure to keep your name in mind.”
The point is, it’s a numbers game.
The more people you have an opportunity to chat with, the more likely you are to potentially get a client via referral.
A lot of new coaches fall into a trap when they get onto a discovery call with a potential client, with a friend, or with someone who has expressed interest.
They get on the call and only chat without ever making an offer.
They never say, “Hey, I think you’d be a great fit for this coaching program. Is it okay if I tell you a little bit more about it?” Which is the entire point!
The key is to always make an offer.
Tell them about what your coaching program.
Go into the details about what it includes, how many weeks it is, how many calls they get, what that outcome is, and what their transformation will be like.
Just doing this will increase your client list and income more than anything else.
Make Your Offer Non-negotiable
Stop offering your services for free and stop giving discounts!
After you gather enough testimonials from your free coaching services, that is IT!
You are running a business, you have bills to pay, you have expenses, and your time is valuable.
Your standard should be to always charge full prices once you start your coaching business.
Doing it in the beginning will make you far less likely to settle for anything less.
Don’t let yourself get talked down, don’t give friends and family discounts, and don’t undercharge based on your client’s budget.
It’s going to be just as hard or just as easy to book someone as a full paying client as it would be to book them as a half-price client.
You still have to ask, you still have to make your offer and they still have to say “yes”.
Why not swing the bat at full-price every single time rather than swinging the bat at half price?
Just get your money, especially if you know what your transformation is worth and you’ve already figured out how to price your coaching program.
Don’t discount your coaching services for anybody.
What if You Have No Clients or Experience?
Can you still start a coaching business online if you have no clients or experience?
That’s kind of my story.
When I first started my online business or started my experience, I was a personal finance blogger.
I was creating content, pushing it out on social media, and doing a lot of content marketing.
Then I started getting questions from other business owners on how I did it.
I got my very first client by helping him create content for his financial advisory firm.
Then from there I started teaching and creating blogs.
I started that business in October of 2015, and it now generates a full-time income for me.
Today, I have several team members inside of the business with me as well.
Even though I started from zero, it’s possible to grow to something that will become your full-time income and make a massive impact.
It wasn’t like I could just turn around and say, “Hey, I’m coaching on business marketing now!”
It took time, but there were some specific steps I took to make it work.
So let’s dive into how to start a coaching business online if you don’t have any existing clients or experience.
Always Be One Step Ahead
The first thing to keep in mind is that you’re at least one step ahead of the person that you want to help coach.
You don’t have to be super advanced to help your coaching clients.
Also, you don’t have to help everyone.
All you have to do is help one client who needs what you have to offer.
Then, repeat this process as you continue to learn and grow.
Figure out Your Unique Solution
To start determining who you’re first going to coach, you first want to figure out your unique solution.
Your unique solution is going to be different from how someone else might solve that same problem.
When I was getting my coaching business started, I was kind of testing out things here and there.
I wanted to figure out what my unique solution was, and what I was bringing to the market.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was I was good at figuring out strategy.
So, I begin helping my clients put pieces of their businesses in place and I helped them understand how to build a marketing system to get coaching clients.
This helped me determine that I was not a business coach or success coach, but a marketing consultant.
This helped me narrow down and attract my ideal audience.
When you have no clients or experience, use your unique solution to determine what you have to offer people and how you can transform them.
Use Your Unique Solution on Your Tester Client
Now that you know your solution, I want you to test out your solution with at least three free clients.
This will help you determine your coaching style.
You’ll learn how to determine who you want to work with as a client, and what you want your experience to be.
It’s also a great chance to see how your transformation holds up and how you can help coaching clients achieve it.
Also, it’s going to help you gain your confidence and received coaching client’s testimonials.
Get Client Testimonials and Use Them in Your Marketing
I want you to aim for at least three client testimonials?
Why do I like three testimonials?
This is the number that I stick with for everyone.
I want you to be able to write a webinar based on testimonials, client results, and case studies.
To do that and to use my anti webinar formula, you’ll want three testimonials.
It’s also really going to help you as you’re getting started.
You want to be able to share your coaching testimonials with a potential coaching clients.
Saying, “Hey, I worked with someone who was in your similar situation,” or “I work with someone who was exactly where you are right now.” will help build your credibility.
Get video testimonials from clients
When I suggest to clients that they get testimonials, I always suggest that they get video testimonials.
The first reason is that a video testimonial is so much more powerful than any other type.
When someone else is watching a testimonial, they can see how your past clients react.
They’ll be able to see how they were feeling.
And your prospective clients will be able to hear in their own words, what your past clients’ experiences were like.
How to structure client video testimonials
Just have a conversation with your clients, then at the end, after you two have worked together, ask them a couple of questions.
- Explain how your experience/circumstances were before we started working together.
- Share with us your results from working together!
- What do you feel like you can do now going forward?
All my client success calls follow those questions.
The idea is that I want to hear from their own words, what their experience was.
The key here is not to script this out.
Don’t prepare your testimonials in your coaching business.
Let your clients express themselves freely.
What if you can’t get video?
If you can’t get a video, the next best option is an audio testimonial.
For some of your coaching, clients are a little bit camera shy.
For example, if you’ve done any sort of body transformation, or if it’s a topic that’s kind of sensitive, then you might want to go with an audio testimonial instead.
In this case, you would just hop on Zoom call, do a quick chat and take that audio.
Be sure to always get your client’s permission.
If all else fails, simply as for a written testimonial, even if you have to write it yourself.
Just get your client to approve the testimonial before publicly sharing it.
If you’re starting a new coaching business online, make sure you take time to give it lots of thought. It can be the difference between your failure or success.
Here are the things I covered in how to start a coaching business online from scratch in 2022:
- Know the difference between coaching and consulting
- Find out what you want to do
- Determine your niche
- Figure out what certification you need or want
- Choose your business revenue model
- Choose your marketing model
- Start with a test client
- Tell people you’re a coach
- Offer coffee chats
- Make offers
- Make your offers non-negotiable
- Always be one step ahead of clients
- Figure out your unique solution
- Use your unique solution on your test clients
- Get client testimonials and use them in your marketing
If you’re interesting in learning more about how to market your coaching services, check out How to Get Coaching Clients with a 4 Step Marketing System.