Successful Coaching Biz

How To Start a Successful Coaching Business

Coaching has become a growing industry for those who desire to call their own shots while helping others with their talent, passion and expertise.

There is no lack of example of coaches who work 30 – 40 hours (or less) a week, and generate a cushy 6-figure income.

It’s not pie in the sky either. Here is the math for a coach who only works with private clients and have a few information products to sell – without having to worry about creating group programs or doing big fancy product launches:

One new platinum client per month: $5,000
Two VIP day clients per month: 2x$1,500 = $3,000
Sales of information products: 10x$50 = $500
Total: $8,500 per month (aka, a 6-figure income!)

(note: the numbers used as example here is pretty moderate, and definitely attainable for coaches with some experience.)

But.. Coaching Schools Don’t Get You There…

Going to coaching school and acquiring coaching skills is only half the story if you want to not only become a good coach, but also build a thriving coaching business that can bring in a full-time income to support you and your family.

Unfortunately, most coaching schools don’t teach their students how to build or run a business. I have worked with many clients who are great coaches but lack the mindset, know-how and support to monetize their expertise and talent.

Many coaches starting out are confused because they don’t know where to start. They try to do some research online and ended up overwhelmed by all sorts of information.

The information overload not only send some into analysis paralysis, it may also be pointing people down the wrong path.

For example, many programs and trainings out there talk about “leveraged” and “passive income.” The hard truth is, they sound good on paper but unless you have a clear message and a loyal following (which you get by having a clear message, know where to find your people, and spend the time to build relationship), selling five slots in a $200 program to friends and family is not going to do a whole lot in the long run.

If you are starting out in your coaching business, don’t worry about everything everyone says you “have to” do. Your focus should be on your fastest path to clients (aka, where the money is!)

In most cases, the fastest path to clients is having conversation with individuals and selling your private coaching program. It is not building your website, or trying to get a thousand followers on social media.


Here Is How To Do To Get Clients Fast:

1. Who Are You?

Coaching is very much a personality-driven business. It is about you as a coach, and your practice has to reflect your value, vision, passion and superpowers.

You have to dig deep to find YOUR message – not some me-too wishy-washy regurgitated tagline but something you can stand by and want to be known for.

Letting your personality come through coherently in everything you do is critical in building trust that will eventually cultivate a loyal following and clientele.

Coaching is a very personal experience, and your clients need to know you as a person – that they resonate with your value and trust you as a person, before they are willing to invest in your products and programs.

After you have clarity on what you stand for and what your gifts and talents are, you have to make sure you express them in all your communications – i.e., your marketing.

Marketing at its most authentic form is a way for our individual value, vision, passion and expression to come through in all of our communications – fully and unapologetically.

The most effective form of marketing for personality-driven business is honest and transparent. This is how to acquire the right mindset to do it, and how not to get sucked into “cookie-cutter” marketing.


2. Who Are They?

After getting clear about your value, vision, passion and superpowers, then you need to find out who you want to work with that will really light you up.

What are their problems, and how is your expertise relevant to them? Why are you uniquely positioned to help them achieve what they want?

Defining your niche will help put you in front of the right potential clients with the right message that resonates with them and make them feel connected with you.

Many coaches starting out are stumped by the question “where do I find clients?” They are stumped because they don’t have a well-defined niche, so they put out watered-down, generalized messages that apply to everyone but appeal to no one.

There is also quite a bit of resistance when it comes to “niching.” Many coaches “just want to help everybody” and they may also fear that they are excluding “potential clients” they can work with.

Truth is, you can help more people by getting more clients. And how can you get more clients? By having a focused message that appeals to a specific group of people who considers you as a specialist and willing to pay you top dollars.

Plus, who says you cannot work with people outside your niche? If this misconception is holding you back, just consider “niching” as a marketing exercise and not something that defines “who you are.”

Defining your niche means really get to know your ideal clients inside-out. It is way more than just listing out a bunch of demographic data (age, gender, location etc.) and calling it a day. Understanding the psychographic will take you much farther.

You have to know what their emotional triggers are, and how you can get through to them (i.e. get the attention.) What do they want, and why? What are they afraid of, and what is holding them back? What can you say that will make their jaws drop and think you really understand them?


3. Your Confidence

To sell your program, you need to be able to confidently tell your potential clients “what you do and how you do it” in a way that effectively communicates the value you deliver while positioning you as an expert.

If you fumble and babble when you tell your potential clients how you deliver results for them, would you expect them to have confidence in you to work with you?

The process of designing a signature system is very powerful for most of my clients. Having a signature system also directly informs your high-end private program/package, giving you an offer you can sell right away.


4. “Get Paid” Opportunities

Having a high-end program you can sell to individual clients is the first step to getting paid. As you grow you following, soon you will realize that not everyone wants to engage you at that level and price point right off the bet.

Some may want to “try you out” at a lower investment level, or their financial means just won’t allow them to work with you one-on-one.

Having a suite of offering that stems from your signature system allows your clients to engage your work at various price points, in formats that tap into your passion and genius. This can maximize the number of clients you get by offering a variety of products and services.

You don’t need to create two dozen things to offer – that would just confuse your clients (and the confused mind says no!) and you don’t need to do huge launches right off the bet.

Plan out a few solid, coherent products and programs based on your signature system – starting from the 1:1 packages (e.g. a platinum program and a VIP day) that you can sell right away – and knock them out one at a time as your business evolves.


5. Sell Something!!

Last but definitely not least, you have to sell your program to make money and call your venture a business. That means you have to master your sales conversation with potential clients.

After all, you can do all the marketing and get all the leads, but if you are not closing the deal you are not making money.

To master your sales conversation, knowing what to say or following a “script” is only one piece of the puzzle.

If you force yourself into a “process” that is not in alignment with your personality and value, the conversation will not help you establish genuine connection that builds trust and gets you clients.

The money mindset behind this sales conversation is a very important component – even more so than having a “script” that tells you want to say. It gives you the confidence, the boundary, the guiding principles and the right energetic approach navigate your sales conversation with ease.


Your turn – what steps are you to take today to get clarity and your coaching business started? If you already have a coaching business, what “holes” can you plug so you can be more effective in getting clients?

Ling Wong

Ling is an Intuitive Brainiac. Through her unique blend of Business + Marketing coaching with a Mindset + Psychic Twist, she helps the multi-talented and multi-passionate maverick solo-entrepreneurs distill ALL their big ideas into ONE cohesive Message, nail the WORDS that sell and design a Plan to cut the busywork and do what matters, through her intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 10 years of experience in the online marketing industry. Ling has the superpowers to help her clients optimize the space between individuality + originality vs. “tried-and-true” marketing so they can express their WHY unapologetically and profitably without reinventing the wheel. Find Ling and grab her free “How to Find YOUR Winning Formula” Training Series here.

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24 thoughts on “How To Start a Successful Coaching Business

  1. I’ve been down the coaching road before. I have paid for training on how to be a more effective coach, and you’re right Ling, there wasn’t any business training included. It’s the little business skills that really help out along the way, and those have to be learned through experience in my opinion. To start a successful coaching business will take extra time and energy, but it will be totally worth it. Thanks for the post Ling!

  2. Coaching is very much a thing I would love to learn and learning myself, I feel I’m on the right track. Just feel more comfortable to de coached right now. Love the tools and resources here. Thank you

  3. Great article Ling I never went to “coaching school” but I did business coaching for a while. I am a CPA orignally and have had several businesses and I partnered up initially with someone who had a great program. It worked well and it was very lucrative.My experience with coaches is you are spot on when you say they are not taught about running a business.

    • Glad it resonates, Sue! And thanks for sharing your experience. We need more successful coaches to step up and say they never went to “coaching school” – good coaching (and a profitable coaching business for sure) does not come from a piece of certificate alone!

  4. Awesome post! I’ve thought many times that I need to take my social work skills and move them over and create coaching products. Just need to get over the fear and do it! Thanks for the guidance!!!

  5. Ling, I found so much value in this post because it is on point with the challenges I’m facing. I’m past the age of trying to go back to “school” in the standard sense. Your article gave me exactly the info I needed right now. Thank you!

  6. I have been in a course that says all these same things. Confirmation!! Great article! In the process of Defining much of this for my business now.

    Vickie Washburn

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