You became a coach for a reason. You want to make difference. You want to create positive impact for your clients that will change their lives and, ultimately, the world for the better. So, there are 2 things you need to achieve that level of impact. First, you need to be GREAT coach … and second, you need to build a revenue-generating coaching business that will consistently expand the breadth and depth of your impact. Your coach training put you on the path to accomplishing the first goal, but, I know from my own experience, it also created self-limiting beliefs keeping you from achieving the second. Use these 10 fundamentals to create a solid foundation for your sustainable, revenue-generating coaching business.
1. This Is A Coaching Business, Not A Coaching Practice
How many times have you heard coaches refer to their coaching practice? How many times have you? Please stop. It is detrimental to you in several ways. Likely, this terminology was used to relate coaching to what the public already knew (therapy) to gain market traction. This piggy-back marketing approach worked to legitimize coaching. And it has absolutely nothing to do with you. You are not a therapist. This is not practice. The very word, practice, connotes a lack of consequence in your subconscious mind. When you think of coaching as a business, you will run it like a business. ALL IN. Change your language, shift your mindset own your coaching as a business.
2. Your Brand Is More Powerful Than A Niche
You have to have a niche, right? Yes … and no. Your niche is your area of focus for coaching. The pond you want to swim in. And there’s a lot of other coaches swimming in that pond. You can swim in that pond all day long, but will it get you clients? No, it won’t. So, how do you stand out? What makes you different? And what makes you relevant to potential clients in that pond? Your brand. When you know what your brand is, you don’t need to swim in any other pond but your own. Your pond is created from your experiences, expertise and values. Your brand is the bridge that connects you to your niche. It communicates your unique point of view within that niche to differentiate you and create resonance and relevance with your ideal clients. And because your brand is created from you, it automatically positions you as the expert. This is why “done-for-you” programs for new coaches don’t work. Create your authentic brand message and your niche will become evident.
3. Market Your Brand, Don't Sell Coaching
Most coaches struggle with how to talk about or describe coaching. You can’t. It is completely unique and experiential. To get around this, new coaches are told to offer sample sessions. Sample sessions are a great way to practice, but they are terrible for supporting a business and don’t have any place in your business model. So, let me take this off your plate. You are not selling coaching. Potential clients will come to you because your brand message is relevant to them. They want help moving from A to B and coaching is the vehicle to get them there. They don’t need to understand it, in the same way you don’t need to understand exactly how an engine works to drive your car. Market your brand, sell to the problem, but coach the whole person.
4. Don't Give Coaching Away For Free
Clients value what YOU value. If you offer free or low-cost sessions, people will not value them. Why should they? They know nothing about coaching. You are the expert. So, if you’ve assigned a low cost to it, it must not be worth much. And low cost becomes low investment and low engagement on the part of your clients, none of which serves your business. Sounds like coaching practice, right? And it signals your lack of confidence. So, fully lean into your brand message. Know that you are the expert because you have first-hand experience with your clients’ pain or desire. That is what is valuable, not coaching as a methodology. And based on your expertise, what vehicle are you offering to get clients from A to B? A Maserati or a Ford Pinto? Which one do you think they would choose? Which one do you want? Clients can choose any coach. They choose you because of your expertise. Own your expertise. Be the Maserati.
5. Respect Your Client In Your Pricing
Your clients have deep emotional investment in their pain or desire. It's a mountain to them. Similarly, a deep investment of their time, money and energy is required for them to change or achieve it. A dollar doesn't move mountains. So why are you saying it will? Your clients know better. To fully respect your clients, your pricing has to mirror the depth of their emotion. Offering free or low-cost sessions doesn’t do that. And getting them into your 3-month program is putting a time limit on their process. Why not let your client decide? The magnitude of your clients’ pain/desire + your relevant expertise = your pricing/your value. Anything less minimizes them and you. Respect the depth of your client’s pain or desire.
6. Redefine Your Relationship With Money
For some strange reason, a lot of coaches believe that money diminishes their purpose and the change they want to bring to the world. They believe that money somehow conflicts with their integrity. So, they don’t ask for it. And your practice doesn’t require money, but your business does. What is money to you? What is your relationship with it? Do the work to clear that up before you bring your money stories into your business. Money is the life blood of your business. And it is the energy that fuels your impact. Money is the tool you use to amplify your message around the world.
7. Stay In Your Financial Lane
In your coaching business, managing your finances is just as important as managing your marketing. As coaches we need to be detached from outcome, but as business owners we need to create financial benchmarks that tell us where we are in the business and inform our decisions over time. Be clear. How much money do you want to make in a year? Month to month? You need to track to both since coaching revenue fluctuates more than in product-based businesses. Make sure your financial goals cover your expenses AND your salary. Yes, ideally, you will be an employee of your own S-Corporation (not an LLC). Now, what does your pricing have to be to meet or exceed those numbers? How many clients do you need consistently, month over month, to achieve those goals? What are you offering that gives you short and long-term revenue and the ability to forecast? Define your ideal financial landscape. Make decisions that keep you in your financial lane.
8. Give Clients Options That Serve Them AND The Business
The number one thing that differentiates coaches who are making money from those that don’t is multiple revenue streams. As the expert in your space, your message is the same. Yet, it can benefit people in a world of different ways. 1:1 coaching (monthly and yearly). Group programs. Digital products. Online courses. Books. Videos. Podcasts. All of these are different channels for your message AND different ways for clients to access it at different price points. New coaches typically build their brand recognition and client base from 1:1 coaching. Once your brand is established, you will add more accessible, lower cost programs and products as the foundation of your business with 1:1 coaching becoming your VIP offering. Don’t let your time become the rate-limiting factor for your business. Let your brand message drive your strategy.
9. Know What You Want And Say No To Everything Else
Be clear about what’s important to you, who you want to work with and why. Your purpose has to be so personally meaningful to you, it is a mission. And that mission doesn’t allow for any detours or distractions. If you align yourself and your business to that mission, you will weather the ups and downs as learning, rather than failure, along the way. A key component of every successful brand is clarity of purpose. You are not for everyone. Not everyone is for you. Yet, the people who are for you will be ALL IN. Being willing to say NO to anyone or anything that doesn’t clearly align with your mission. It gives you the freedom to fully focus your energy for the greatest impact and not dilute it (and your value) by trying to serve everyone with everything. Saying NO makes your YES more powerful.
10. Be A Great Coach + A Great Business Owner
You’ve invested so much time, energy and money in becoming certified as a coach, it’s easy to think you’ve crossed the finish line. You haven’t. Your certification has given you a methodology, but not a business. It’s given you a valuable skill, but it’s just that … another tool in your toolbox. So, master it. Use it with all of your other tools … your experiences, expertise and values … to create the foundation of a brand and business that is powerful and unique to you. From your clients’ perspective, they are dancing with you as the expert. Their pain/desire is the dance floor and the coaching is the dance itself. If you are a great dancer, your clients will derive great value from coaching. They will become long-term clients and refer you to others. There’s another dance going on though and this one never ends. This is the one between you as a business owner and you as a coach. Those two roles are continually dancing together in every moment. Being GREAT at both is what it takes to create and maintain a sustainable, revenue-generating coaching business. The only thing that can stop you is you.