If you’re reading this, it’s very likely because you’re considering building or launching your very first - or perhaps a brand new - coaching business!
If you are - then you're making a great decision. Corporations in the United States spend more than $1 billion annually on business coaching, which represents just a portion of opportunities on a global scale and across all the various niches in the coaching industry.
Coaching expands to three targeted areas: life coaching, health and wellness coaching, and business coaching.
Starting a business like this takes hard work, yet the opportunity to build a life you love, while generating predictable revenue, is tremendous.
Where do I start, you ask?
While there is plenty of revenue opportunity available to you, the future life, health or business coach, you need to know where to start - where to truly begin. That’s exactly why we are here - to help you start a coaching business that will succeed.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to:
- Discover what you want to teach and coach
- Set-up your business online
- Determine how to deliver your courses
- Explore how to scale
- And ultimately, succeed!
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Here’s how to start a coaching business online - and build a life you love.
1. Discover what you want to teach and coach.
Perhaps the most important first step to explore is discovering what you want to teach and coach.
This might seem like a simple first step, but it’s integral to your success.
As we mentioned, there are three specific areas of opportunity:
Life coaching comes in many, many different forms. Sometimes, life coaches can specialize in helping individuals find their inspiration and “meaning”, so to speak; for example, if you are in the middle of making a significant life decision - such as moving, or switching jobs, you might rely on a life coach to help talk through the decision that you need to make. Other times, life coaches can act as a friend, a confidant, that is a support throughout the intricacies of life.
Here is a link to an institution that practices life coaching.
Read More about how to start a life coaching business here.
Health and Wellness Coaching
A health and wellness coach also comes in many forms. Perhaps you are training for a half marathon and you need a health coach to compliment your journey, or maybe you are just exploring or re-exploring practices like yoga and mindfulness, or eating healthier. A health coach is someone who is there to help guide the way.
Here is a link to more details on becoming a Health and Wellness coach.
Consider a business coach someone who can help you become a better leader, or maybe someone who can help you expand your network into one that fuels your career. A business coach focuses on work, careers and taking the next leap in your life.
Here is a link to learn more about Business and Executive coaching, courtesy of Berkeley Education.
Your own niche
When finding what you will do, ask yourself: What is my niche within my industry? How will I position my business as one that is unique, different and of value to my consumers?
To do this, consider the art of brainstorming:
Below are the steps to take in order to discover what you want to teach and coach before moving into learning how to start a coaching business.
Step 1: Grab a pen and paper, and write down the words that make you passionate about your industry.
- For example, if you are a health coach, write down words that make you get up early in the morning - words that make you jump out of bed at that 5AM alarm. Is it helping people? Earning revenue? Changing lives?
Step 2: Around these words, document what you are great at.
- Perhaps you are gifted at a certain type of health - health for mindfulness, wellness for sport, and more. Write these terms around your passion words.
Step 3: Identify connections and similarities.
- Are you passionate about something in your industry, and also great at a related term? After completing Step 1 and Step 2, you should see connections and similarities with your keywords.
After completing this activity, you very likely have determined what you want to teach - and what you love!
How can I set up my company?
Setting your company up for success (and as a business, generally!) is different depending on the country you are living in.
However, whether you are in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia, it is important to set-up your company in the country you are performing business in.
To set-up your business as independent contractors in these countries, click on your country below:
The links above will provide in-depth insight into setting-up your business as a sole proprietor within this countries, including information around taxes and more.
2. Set-up your business online.
The next most important thing to do is setting up your business online.
When setting up your business online, there are three key elements you need to consider:
- Your Website
- Social Media
Your website is the number one way that your prospects will find out more information about you and take their path to purchase.
Bookible specializes in creating websites for coaches, so if you don't have a website yet then consider using our services! CLICK HERE to read more about why we are so good for coaching businesses.
If you don't use our services, then you will need to get your website designed and built somewhere else. But either way, you will need a domain name.
Choosing a domain name is a very important part of your business success, as it will determine how easily people are able to find you online and remember you. Read this great article by domain name seller GoDaddy on how to choose a domain name (and maybe purchase your domain name while you are there!)
Bookible allows you to point your own domain name at your Bookible site, so your visitors won't even know your website is built on Bookible. If you're not ready to purchase a domain name yet, set up a Bookible site anyway and you can just use the name that we provide for you (eg. http://yourcoachingbusiness.bookible.com)
Marketing tools on your website
Once you've got your domain name and website set up, it's now time to think about your website from a marketing perspective.
Within marketing, there are four key elements that a website should consider: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase and Experience Sharing. This is the path that any customer takes when purchasing from a business, and are often referred to as the marketing funnel.
The Awareness Phase
Awareness is when a business generates just that - awareness about your company or yourself.
On your website, this needs to include information about your services, with a focus on how you can help your target customer. Get into the mind of your clients.
A blog is a great way to make customers aware of your business as blog posts can be boosted on social media and may appear in search results for your topic. They're a free and easy way to get your message across to your target audience while providing them with some valuable content at the same time. Just like this blog post is doing right now!
Bookible has a built in blogging platform, but if you're using another platform to build your website on then make sure it has this essential component.
Off your website, awareness can be generated through your social media channels, guest posts on other websites, ads on Google, videos on Youtube, and anywhere else you can get your name and message out to as wide a targeted audience as possible.
The Consideration Phase
Consideration is when a website explains why a customer or client should choose you over your competitor. If you are a counsellor, for example, why should a client trust you over a counsellor nearby?
In order to nurture a potential customer through this phase, a mailing list is essential. Capture your potential customers' email addresses through an optin form with a lead magnet (more on this later) and then use an automated, targeted email series to send them regular emails that will help them better understand your services and move on to the next important phase.
Again, Bookible has a built in email marketing system, but if you're not with us then you can sign up to a third party email marketing platform like Mailchimp, Aweber or Getresponse.
The Purchase Phase
A purchase is when a website makes it easy for your customers to purchase from you!
If you're selling your coaching services, then the best way to do this is to have an online booking system. This way, clients can immediately see your availability and book in at a time that suits them, even paying you at the same time.
Bookible has a built in booking system making it a great choice for your website, but whichever platform you go with make sure it has this essential component built in.
Experience Sharing Phase
Experience sharing is the portion of a customer journey that includes sharing their feedback with others. This includes testimonials that can be placed on your website, reviews on sites like Facebook or Yelp, and more. Put links on your website to important channels, and send automated emails to clients after they've used your services asking them to post a review of you!
Again - most of this is automated on a Bookible website. It has built in links to your social media channels as well as a follow up email system that can request reviews.
Repeat Customer Phase
There is actually a fifth phase that should be taken into account here, and this is the Repeat Customer Phase.
The more times you can get each person to purchase from you, the more money you're going to make.
In order to encourage repeat customers, an email list is essential as you can continue to market different products or services to your existing client base.
The other important tool for this phase though it Social Media.
Did you know that there are 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts globally? That’s huge! These are all your potential clients and customers in the making.
Ask yourself - where are your target clients living on social media? Are they on Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat?
For example, if you are a health and wellness coach, your target audience might be in their 20s to 40s - think about the platforms and apps they have on their mobile phones. Instagram and Facebook are likely an area of opportunity for this audience.
Business coaching leads, on the other hand, might be on LinkedIn as they are seeking to expand their career opportunities or learning potential.
Regardless of the platform, consider the following social media basics:
- Identify the networks you will be on, and set-up your channels.
- Reach out to all your friends and get them to follow you on social media.
- Post content that people will LOVE - that they'll respond to and that hopefully they'll share with others. This way, even if you just start off from your network of friends, your social media presence will grow.
- Start promoting your content. Use the advertising tools of each platform to help your content reach a wider, targeted audience. There is a lot to learn on how to do this properly, so read some of our other blog posts covering social media marketing.
- Measure, measure, measure. If your goal is to increase awareness of yourself and your business, measure the number of impressions you generate month over month. Determine what works and what doesn’t - and optimize.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization
SEO is all about making your website search engine friendly and making sure it appears in as many related search engine searches as possible.
When it comes to SEO on your website, the best way to start is to identify keywords that relate to your business. These are the keywords that you want your website to appear for when people perform a search on Google, Yahoo, or Bing (or any other search engine).
If you're a health coach in New York, then you want to appear in Google when someone types in Health Coach NYC or Health Coach New York.
Of course, research must be done to actually determine which keywords people are actually searching for (and which of these keywords have the highest number of searches per month).
This will help you select a range of keywords that you want to rank for, and include these on various pages within your website.
- Make a list of important topics that are based on your business
- As above, you can use the search terms like “executive nutrition coach”, as an example
- Then, fill these topics with keywords
- These keywords will be around search terms that could be used when searching for an executive nutrition coach. For example, “how to find an executive nutrition coach” or “best nutrition coach in New York”.
- Next, visit Google's Keyword Tool. This tool is great for finding out how many people are searching for your keywords each month, and also for suggesting other related keywords that people might are searching for.
- Make a list of the MOST SEARCHED FOR keywords related to your business. Also make a list of long tail keywords. Long tail keywords might be things like "health coach lower east side". In general, it's easier to rank for long tail keywords than shorter keywords like "health coach NYC".
- Once you've done this, go to Google.com and type these keywords one by one into the search bar. Have a look at the types of websites that are showing up. If they're big, established, authority sites then it'll be hard to rank for these keywords. If they're smaller businesses (like yours will be initially) then make a note of this as these are the keywords you want to target initially.
If you want to get in depth into this process, you can use a tool like SEMRush that is designed for just this purpose. It'll show you not only the keywords themselves but how difficult it is to rank for each keyword.
Now that you've chosen a range of keywords that are both related to your business and that you think you might be able to rank on Google for, create your website around these keywords. Build a page or at least a blog post for each keyword, using it in the title as well as throughout the text on the page itself.
If you're using blog posts (and I'd highly recommend it) try to write long, interesting, educational articles (like this one) that people will find interesting, and they're much more likely to rank in Google than shorter, less interesting ones (Google is smart that way!)
Apart from "on page SEO" which is all about building your website using the right keywords, there's "off page SEO" which basically means getting other websites to link to yours.
The more HIGH QUALITY links you can get, the better rank your website will have. Notice that I say "high quality"? Don't be tempted to buy cheap links as these will just harm your website's reputation and may have a negative effect.
A great way to get links to your site is to contact any other sites that you think you might be able to get a link from - directory sites, professional bodies in your field, associations, and even other people in your industry.
Many sites offer guest bloggers the opportunity to post articles on their sites and in return will allow a link within the article to your site. This has a two-fold effect: readers of those blogs might visit your site and also you'll be gaining valuable links! Do a search in Google.cm for "guest blogger (your industry)" and see what turns up. Contact those sites and ask them if you can do a guest post for them using your knowledge and experience of the industry to provide value to their readers, and often enough they'll agree!
Marketing your business offline.
One of the number one ways of generating new business in the short term is referrals and offline business generation. This can be done in a number of ways; below are three ideas that you can use offline to promote and set-up your business for success:
Word of Mouth - Discover people you know
Post flyers in your local area
Look for like-minded individuals
Word of Mouth
Did you know that 88% of small businesses get new customers through word of mouth? It’s true! This is such a great opportunity for starting your own coaching business, that it cannot go unnoticed.
To aid in word of mouth and referrals, consider these two tactics:
- Asking your friends - do they know anyone who could benefit from your services?
- Asking your current clients - do they have friends or colleagues who could book with you? Use your scheduling tool if so! More on that later…; and, finally,
Post flyers in your local area
If you are searching for local clients before you aim to scale your business, you might consider the benefits of posting flyers in your local area to gain and gather offline lead generation. You could design flyers and place them in your local coffee shops; Starbucks, as an example, always has local boards for events and business in the area. Why not ask your baristas if you can place a flyer on their board?
Make sure you include a link to your website, and even some small tear-off strips that people can take home with them.
Look for like-minded individuals
Just because you are a life coach, for example, doesn’t mean that you need to distance yourself from other life coaches.
Instead, look for like-minded individuals in your area. Identify other coaches that you admire, or those that you could potentially collaborate with down the road. Inquire with them - are they open to doing a joint venture with you, even if it's just a link on their website?
Another great thing you can do is find people in related industries. For example, if you're a health coach, then
3. Determine how you will deliver your service.
Sitting here, you might ask yourself - how will you deliver your course? Ebooks? Video? Live sessions? Skype?
There are so many ways to deliver your service these days, and the more channels you can set up the better.
Bookible comes with a built in booking system, making it perfect for scheduling live sessions or even one-on-one Skype sessions, but did you know it also comes with an online course building platform?
By creating an online course using video, for example, you can reach a much wider audience. And the best part is - once you've built it then it no longer costs you anything so has an almost 100% profit margin!
Ebooks are another good option - and you can expand your marketing channels by selling on a platform like Amazon.com. If you can write even a reasonably successful book then it can greatly expand your marketing reach.
One on one sessions are what most coaches rely on, but how about running a workshop? Workshops can be run at a lower cost for the participant but at a higher profit for you, making it a win-win for everyone.
There are lots of great ways to deliver your service and your knowledge to people, so have a think about which ones will work best for you based on your knowledge, your market, and your technical experience.
4. Explore how to scale your business.
So, you’ve set-up your business online and you understand how you will deliver your course. You’re generating revenue and you’re now ready to scale.
How will you do just that? How will you scale your business?
There are a number of great ways to reach a wider audience:
- Advertising on social media and search engines
- Email Marketing
We have written lots of other blog posts on social media and Google marketing, so I'm not going to go into too much depth here.
However, this is essential knowledge for anyone running a business these days, so make sure you educate yourself properly!
Facebook and Google AdWords are great to start with as you can truly target your audience with these networks.
For example, you can target demographics like the following:
- Job Title
- and so much more!
To get started with these advertising networks, you can visit the Ads Manager on Facebook and AdWords on Google.com.
Are you collecting your customers and clients’ email address? If not, start now!
Every good website should have a way of collecting your visitor's email addresses. The best way to do this is through an opt-in form with a lead magnet.
An opt-in form is simply a form where people can enter their name and email address, and a lead magnet is a way to encourage people to do this. For example, you can offer them a free short course or a free video in return for giving you their email address.
This is an AMAZING WAY to build a customer database, so it's worthwhile spending a good amount of time building a lead magnet that people are going to find useful.
Remember, this will be one of their first experiences with your services, so you have to make it good. If you're offering a short course, for example, then make sure you teach them something that they truly find valuable.
Automated email marketing software, such as they kind that Bookible has built-in, will automatically deliver your lead magnet to the lead once they've signed up.
You can also create a drip campaign, which is a set of emails scheduled to be automatically delivered over a period of days or weeks, and that will slowly convince your lead to become a customer.
Most visitors to your website WILL NOT purchase from you immediately, so if you can capture their email address on the first visit then you'll be able to continue to market to them far into the future.
Nothing is better than testimonials and Word of Mouth referrals. So, why not ask your current clients to help share their experience with others? Consider offering a discounted rate for one month if one of your current client shares their feedback with their social networks, or perhaps offer them a gift card if they share your services with a friend who becomes a client.
When it comes to starting a coaching business - or perhaps discovering how to start a coaching business online - it is important to consider the following key steps:
- Discover what you want to teach and coach
- Set-up your business online
- Determine how to deliver your courses
- Explore how to scale
By following these steps and focusing on your strengths and passions, your business is sure to experience success - whether within revenue generation, lifestyle changes or passion projects. Success is dependent on how you determine what you want and what you need from your business. After all, being an online coach gives you the ability to be your own boss and create your own life.
Finding out how to start your own coaching business is the difficult part - the enjoyable piece of the puzzle comes when you can generate predictable and repeatable revenue to truly build and scale the business that you are dreaming of!
If you've found this article useful, please share it on your social media or bookmark it for future reference!
And don't forget to check out our other blog posts for more great lessons on how to market your business.
To get started with building your own website, using a reservation system or online scheduling and setting your business up for success, you might consider using a software or platform like Bookible.
Sign up for free above!