Ep 5 – The Simplest Coaching Business Model

This episode is part of my Start Smart Series. A listener asked me to talk about the simplest and least expensive way to get a coaching business off the ground. Great question!

I love it when listeners tell me what they want to hear on the show. If you have a specific request, go to my contact page on —ProsperousCoachBlog.com — and get in touch.

 

High Profit, Low Tech and High Touch

The answer to the easiest coaching business model is ultra simple! It’s 1:1.

If you’re charging enough and enroll your clients into a longer term package, you won’t need many clients each year to make a good income. I only work with 20 – 30 clients each year.

Your marketing could be minimal if you have ready access to your chosen target audience. And because expenses are incredibly low for this business model, 1:1 is the most profitable option.

Think about it … You don’t have to have a website (although you may want to.) You won’t need a team or even a Virtual Assistant to help you with all the tasks because admin is minimal. You don’t need big coordinated marketing campaigns, a strong presence on social media or a bunch of apps with monthly fees.

Literally all you need is a phone and a private place in your home to take client calls. And maybe an inexpensive business card for networking.

You know what I’m describing, don’t you?

It’s the way every service entrepreneur did business before the internet. Don’t roll your eyes. It’s still the way a lot of service entrepreneurs operate.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t easier than all the online stuff everyone, including me, does now. But an online business model does allow you to have an international audience, and I love that.

For that analog way of business, you have to be an active networker, go where your clients are, be a good conversationalist and a non-salesy enroller.

When I started, I only offered private coaching. I found all of my clients through networking and speaking.

It was only in my second year that I added in face to face group coaching. Then started doing VIP days – that’s 3 to 8 hours of working with one person in one day.

It was only in year 6 that I shifted to online. I created a Membership Program. Honestly, a huge amount of work for poor returns. Then, I added a high ticket online Mastermind with two yearly retreats. And I sold two self-study online training programs. For one of them, I took a group of 20 – 50 through it quarterly as well with a closed Facebook group.

It was fun doing all of that stuff and I made good money. But it was soooo much work keeping it all rolling. And so much of my income was going to expenses!

That’s often overlooked when coaches choose a business model. The more complicated or technical you go, the harder you work, and sometimes the less money you keep.

There really is no passive revenue except royalties. I was lucky to have the opportunity to co-write Coach Training curriculum for a royalty and that curriculum is still being used.

Market Less, Serve Clients Longer

But you know what I like the most? Getting to know my clients well and doing deeper work. The 30 hour work week with a 4 day weekend isn’t bad either! That’s my lifestyle choice.

So in my 20th year in business, I’m back to working privately with client in a 5 month comprehensive coaching business building program. I also offer a 90-minute strategy session.

So how do you find and enroll 1:1 clients? That’s a question for another episode. But I remember hearing what I thought was an urban legend, when I was in coach training …

Sandy Vilas, the then CEO of Coach Inc, supposedly worked with 80 clients each week, all of whom he enrolled simply by calling colleagues and inviting them to become his client. (To me 80 clients each week is 8x too many.)

That takes confidence plus a large and eager network. And my guess is that Sandy was an extrovert. LOL!

Every Coach Gets to Build Their Own Marketplace

The reality in today’s distracted world is that all coaches will need to find and develop their own tribe or target market. That’s why the wisdom is to fish in the smallest, most specialized pond, that you can.

The more you narrow your audience and then offer specific solutions to that group’s biggest problems, the faster you’ll build a network of fans who don’t really need to be sold on working with you. That’s the best!

And there’s a lot of joy in building a community.

What It Takes to Succeed with Online Programs

When people hire me to help them choose their coaching niche and build a business foundation I always ask them what they want to offer. Many say they want to quickly move into online programs.

I understand the attraction. You help more people transform in less time, which is especially great if you don’t have much time to give to your business right now.

But to succeed with online programs you need several things set up first, which takes time.

You need a fairly robust list — 5,000 people minimum in your target audience and probably more like 10,000 people who already know, like and trust you.

Develop joint venture marketing relationships with other people targeting your audience but who have a significantly different offer. That will help push your enrollment numbers up. (Another reason to narrow your audience and niche.)

If you’ve been listening to my previous episodes, you might have caught the idea that there are developmental stages in a business.

Start Up is the time to walk not run. That’s why 1:1 is the best way to start out as a coach.

Nothing will teach you faster about yourself and your audience than working with clients privately. You’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll figure out your secret sauce — a talent you have that’s unique and leverageable.

And, once you’ve worked with a few dozen clients privately who are all in the same unique target audience, it’s easy to create online programs that more of them will buy.

Mentioned in this episode:

Contact me if you’d like to request a specific topic for the Prosperous Coach Podcast.

The next episode is: 4 Mistakes I Made in Coaching Business Startup (and I lived to tell the tale!)

Will Your Coaching Niche Pass the Test?

Coaches often ask me: “Is this a good coaching niche?” What they really want to know is — will focusing my energy this way repay me with a consistent flow of clients who are willing to invest? That’s the 6-figure question.

First, do you really need a coaching niche?Joint Ventures will help your business reach the masses

Ultimately, there are three reasons to niche: ease, reach and profitability. We choose a niche so we can market less, earn more and help more people transform.

If your intention is to build a solid long-term coaching business that you can rely on for a satisfying income, it’s worth it to choose a smart niche now before you invest time, money and energy on your branding and marketing.

A smart niche helps you:

  • Quickly become a coach in high demand through momentum.
  • Leverage your efforts and concentrate your message, instead of being all over the place.
  • Make a bigger impact and command higher fees.

Test the viability of your current coaching niche with these powerful questions.

4 Ways to Choose Your Coaching Niche

stand out in the crowdCoaches are more business savvy than they used to be. Now, every coach knows that when you land a smart coaching niche, all the doors of opportunity open up and prosperity flows in. It solves so many problems:

  • It’s easier to enroll clients without being salesy.
  • It clues you in about how to connect with future clients.
  • With many niches, you can charge more and clients will stay longer.
  • You can move beyond your region into international coaching.
  • All your efforts can be leveraged for a bigger impact and result.

And, if you choose wisely, you quickly become a coach in high demand. That means you earn more, coach more, and marketless. That’s the way I like to do it.

Enroll More Coaching Clients From Your Website

Is your website enrolling new coaching clients for you? ? Is it also creating a community of future clients? Does it quickly inspire people to share your site?

If not, your site might be a dud — a website that just sits there taking up cyberspace. Here’s how to make your website WORK for you:

4 Secrets of a Client Winning Website

happy with websiteAs you read through these, rate your own website on a scale of 1 -5 with 5 being the best it can be.

1. Be sure every word and image is tailor made for your target audience
The #1 mistake coaches make on their websites is they make it all about coaching. Unless your clients want to become a coach themselves, they will bounce off a site like that in seconds.

Coach – Give Yourself a Raise

A classic problem for coaches and other service entrepreneurs is that they run out of time to:

  • build automated systems that create a flow of future clients.
  • create recurring revenue streams like products and membership programs.
  • expand their potential by reflecting on their business and making continuous improvements.

The problem begins early on like this…

  1. https://prosperouscoachblog.com/coach-give-yourself-raise/Desperate for initial clients, coaches often set low fees and say ‘yes’ to many opportunities that aren’t likely bring a high enough return.
  2. When a client moves on, the income loss is keenly felt and there’s a scramble to enroll more clients “from thin air”.
  3. The limiting mindsets become habitualized for the coach, so new clients are also enrolled for low prices.
  4. Months or years later, it’s hard to breakthrough the ceiling on their income because the belief is that this is the best they can do.

Somethings gotta give.

2 Steps to Break From the Money for Time Paradigm

Enrolling Coaching Clients Requires Mindset Mastery

Recently, I posted 10 powerful questions for enrolling clients and it sparked excitement from some coaches that haven’t found sample coaching sessions effective and concerns from others about the potential for manipulating prospects with the questions. Thanks for the great discussion!

https://prosperouscoachblog.com/enroll-coaching-clients-mindsetSuccessful client enrollment is part competence with an enrollment process and part mastery of mindset. I explain in my previous post why, after more than a decade of coaching, I prefer the process of enrollment questions over giving a sample  session.

Are enrollment questions manipulative? No, not in themselves. But if the coach asking those questions is attached to the outcome of getting a client the questions could feel manipulative to the prospect. The coach’s attachment to outcome is the potentially troublesome factor.