Ep 67 – What Is Your Coaching Business Model?

This episode, called What Is Your Coaching Business Model? is the 6th in my Coaching Business Checkup series, which is all about how to strategize the most important parts of your business. If something isn’t working well in your coaching business, it might be a lack of strategy holding you back.

At the end of this whole series I’ll have a downloadable Coaching Business Checkup Assessment you can use to diagnose and treat what’s ailing in your business so you can fix it and thrive.

The show notes for today’s episode can be found at prosperouscoach.com/67

Just in case this business model idea is totally new to you, let’s define what a business model is and why you want one.

Why Have a Business Model for Your Coaching?

A business model is literally a design for the success of your business. It’s a structure you create that makes your business viable. In other words, it’s your plan for earning good money as a coach.

Essential, right?

Like many aspects of your coaching business, your business model can’t really take shape until you have targeted a viable audience and developed a smart coaching niche. Those decisions are the cornerstone … everything else you build for your coaching business comes from that.

Notice I said a moment reliably attract people to your offers. That takes strategy. It’s a far cry from what I did for so many years at the beginning, which was what I call the “I hope it works” approach to business.

Without a business model, you are leaving your success up to dumb luck.

No doubt, you experienced a lot of business models just living in the modern world but you might not have thought much about it. I’ll just name a couple to help you understand the concept

Let’s take Netflix. You get an account. Pay monthly. And for that low fee, you get access to their impressive catalog of TV series and movies to stream on demand.

That’s called the Subscription Model. It has 3 main parts:

Subscription service + Options the consumer wants + Delivered on demand

It is something you could create someday. More about that in a minute.

How about Uber? Their model is called Create the Marketplace, which operates on supply and demand

SUPPLY = people with cars who want to earn

+ DEMAND = people who want to get someplace now without driving

It’s very specific and innovative. And this is close to what a coach needs to do. You identify a BIG PROBLEM that a specific audience faces and create a hunger for your program which helps to solve that problem through coaching.

The Simplest Coaching Business Model

A while ago I aired an episode called The Simplest Coaching Business Model and it’s been a favorite with record downloads. This episode goes deeper into what’s involved.

By the way, thank you so much for going back to my earlier episodes! I can’t tell you how often I hear that people are binge listening to every episode. That’s a great way to learn a lot fast.

It’s a great sign that episode is popular. It means that coaches now are much more business savvy than I was when I started. So well done you. Keep that up!

For a coach, the simplest business model is to offer 1:1 coaching.

Here’s how I help my clients develop this business model with 2 important twists:

  1. Choose a viable audience
  2. Find out their BIG PROBLEM – the one that will prompt them to seek your services
  3. Develop a high ticket private program designed to solve that problem. That’s one twist!
  4. Create ways to continuously build awareness about you.
  5. Drive traffic to a website with an authentic non-salesy conversion process or two. That’s the 2nd twist!
  6. Invite ideal prospects to an enrollment conversation and enroll them.

What’s so great about this simple business model?

  1. It’s the easiest model to start with
  2. You quickly learn how to coach your ideal audience
  3. You can earn a 6-figure profit with relatively low labor and costs
  4. It’s a satisfying way to make a positive impact

And here are a couple of bonus things that I love about this model:

  1. You’ll only spend your private time with highly motivated prospects and clients
  2. And you’ll build a strong referral network that’s free

I’ll be talking more about how critical these two things are for your sanity in an episode soon.

There are other business model options that might help you scale up and reach more people in less time. However, consider that you could also keep your life and business simple. If you create a meaningful program with milestones that are important to your audience you can charge quite a bit for it. I covered this is Episode 66.

The Challenge of Scaling Coaching

Scalability is one of the biggest challenges in coaching businesses. To scale, people start thinking about “passive revenue”, a concept often attached to revenue streams such as:

  • online courses
  • selling books, ebooks and other products
  • membership programs

It sounds so good, doesn’t it? I’ll just create a few online courses and put it online and boom! Passive income! I’ll make money while I sleep.

Here’s the thing that I learned the hard way, there’s nothing passive about it. While the bulk of the content creation is done up front, the costs and labor to keep revenues flowing in are relatively high.

A good rule of thumb to remember is the higher number of people you want to buy what you’re selling the more marketing it takes. And it’s a style of marketing that’s highly promotional. It takes a team of people to pull it off. So not passive at all.

The Affiliate Marketing Model

Where people really excel at these scalable business models is when they are already well known in their industry. Think Tony Robbins, Brendan Burchard and Marie Forleo. They not only have a huge leads list of their own, but they also have other experts with huge leads list willing to help market the program or product for a kickback (also called an affiliate fee).

The affiliate fee is often 50% of the sale. And tracking all of that requires special programs and website.

The business model is called Affiliate Marketing and is composed of:

Email marketing with affiliates + a live or canned event + sales page + online or live course

There’s one business model being highly marketed to coaches right now, which I call the Evergreen Webinar Model. It involves:

Ads on social channels + webinars + online courses

This model is touted to be highly lucrative and I can see how it absolutely could be over the long run.

Experts selling the training to learn this business model often have testimonials like this …

“I just had my first $15,000 month!”

And that alone has us frothing at the mouth to sign up for the training.

But it’s important to realize that to earn that $15,000 in revenue in one month this individual may have invested up to or beyond:

  • $4500 on ads
  • $3000 on virtual assistants and web design
  • months of content creation
  • the cost of the training to learn this model $8 – $10,000

The way that business model becomes profitable is over time when costs per sale start to decrease. Just the continuous investment can literally kill a coaching business.

Yes, it could be an amazing business model later on. But, for a new coach who isn’t already well known and who doesn’t have a significant network of potential clients and marketing partners, it can be very difficult to pull off.

Membership Programs

Another costly option is membership programs. Back in 2006 when membership programs were trendy, I took nearly a year to create a comprehensive online course called The Coach’s Power Path. It was a vision I woke up with one day and truly thought I’d earn loads while helping hundreds of coaches.

In short, it was a colossal failure. I invested 10’s of thousands in that venture and never got close to earning it back, much less profiting.

I just didn’t realize how complicated it was — not only to create the curriculum and the entire back end of the membership site — but also to constantly market in ways that I really disliked. It was exhausting.

Later a marketing expert told me that most membership programs are loss leaders, which means it’s only a low cost offer to raise awareness and trust so you can offer people something higher priced and higher touch.

What About Group Coaching?

Group coaching is a much simpler business model than selling courses, membership programs and products. And, for many target audiences, gathering people with the same big problem or goal will greatly add to their transformation.

What you need going for you for this model to work is the 6 strategic steps I mentioned before for 1:1 coaching PLUS a developed network in your target audience. It could be your own leads list, a connection with a center of influence or a good sized following on social media.

That’s something you can build on your own without a lot of costs or any assistance!

I recommend groups for coaches who have a year’s experience or more in 1:1 coaching and that amount of time building visibility online.

So now, do you know what your intended coaching business model is? Have you strategized who you work with, what they want that they’ll invest in and how you’ll enroll enough of them to earn well? You’re on your way!

Ep 66 – How to Describe Your Coaching Program Without Selling Coaching

This episode, which is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series, is going to be short.

You’ve probably noticed that there are overlapping themes in this series episode to episode. That’s because strategy intentionally connects one thing to another.

Here are the repetitive themes:

Forgive me for the repetition but it’s not possible to talk about one strategic action or decision without mentioning what goes before it. Strategy is about connecting dots. It’s about congruence.

If you can remember these themes in all you do for your coaching business, you’ll experience a dramatic shift in your ability to attract enough clients who pay well.

Strategy – The Many Layered Cake

So I’ve been making a many-layered cake for you.

We started with the strategy of choosing a viable target audience full of seekers and then moved onto the central task of developing a smart niche — centering on a big enough problem your audience faces.

Now, if you are continuously visible out there speaking your audience’s language about their big problem and show that you have a solution without being salesy, they will pay attention.

That’s what will compel them to go to your website where hopefully you’ve got streamlined copy speaking about what’s most important to them there as well. And then you gently point them to a couple of conversion processes you have your site.

A clue … that’s NOT inviting them to a free sample session or Discovery Session.

That comes later when they are more ready for it. You don’t want to push people to next steps. Lead them instead.

You need to have everything ready for them before they arrive.

And when they arrive you want them to know they are in the right place.

That’s why your website should NOT be about the wonders of coaching.

Instead it’s about what’s keeping your specific audience up at night and what’s in the way of the big thing they want.

Okay, I’m getting off track from my goal here. You see how everything is interconnected and strategic?

This episode is not about how to create a client-winning website. It’s about something you create before the website …  your signature system.

What’s a Signature System and Why Should You Have One?

Why would I call it a system?

Because when humans perceive that there is a structure — a framework to get what they want — they relax. And trust builds.

Your Signature System is the way you describe what you do so that your audience can see clearly:

  1. That you understand them.
  2. That you have a structure they can lean into.
  3. That you know what you’re doing.

In a non-salesy way, your system is connected directly to their exact situation — what specifically has been in the way of them realizing their most urgent goal.

Do you see now why you need to know the big problem you solve before you can move to this step?

In your system you name the specific milestones that your audience has wanted to achieve but they’ve been stuck for some reason and unable to move forward.

Remember my niche and the big problem I solve for coaches? That smart & profitable coaching niche has been illusive and without that solved they can’t really move forward. It’s painful and frustrating.

Why Doesn’t Your Signature System Mention Coaching?

Because it muddies the water and distracts them from what’s meaningful to them.

Coaching isn’t what’s meaningful to them. It’s the big and small, tangible and intangible ways they’ll grow and benefit from working with you that’s important now.

When you share your system with them in a Discovery Session you want it to be so spot on that they feel like it’s exactly what they’ve been seeking and didn’t even fully know it until just this moment.

You’ve ticked all the boxes. You’ve covered all the most nagging challenges they’ve been facing.

Your Signature Program is based on this system. But that’s getting ahead of myself again.

For now, I hope you take in that you can articulate what you do in a non-coachey and non-salesy way that inspires investment through trust and context.

In the Next Episode we’ll talk about how to strategize your business model. It’s a step coaches sometimes step over.

Ep 65 – Are You Solving a Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Business?

This episode is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series.

If you’re not attracting enough paying clients to sustain your business there could be several reasons why. The episodes in this series are designed to help you isolate what needs attention.

But don’t let these errors move you to give up on your coaching business unless you’re truly done with the dream of being a successful coach and helping loads of people with your unique talents.

To Succeed You Have to Be Willing to Flail and Fail

I encourage you to be willing to make mistakes and realize they don’t define the possibility of your future success.

Jumping out there without strategy is a time honored mistake. Nearly everyone makes these mistakes if they are willing to risk success.

On the other side of this is the person who does not risk anything and misses out on the chance to learn from their mistakes. And those are the folks who may regret staying in the safety zone.

The Big Thing Holding You Back From Financial Success As A Coach

For this episode, I’m going to dig into the most common problem that holds coaches back from attracting enough clients and earning well:

There’s not enough people inspired to invest in your services.

You are no doubt talented, capable and truly effective as a coach. But that goes wasted if you can’t attract the attention of your audience and inspire them to invest.

What can you do about that?

Well, so many things! For now I’m focusing on one.

Let’s say you have chosen a target audience and they are SEEKERS — people who do invest out their own pocket to grow personally and professionally.

The next thing you do is to define your coaching niche, right?

And this is the place where you might be inclined to totally wimp out. I did when I started.

It’s partly because fresh out of coaching training there’s still this glow about the value of coaching that can blind you to effective ways to attract paying clients.

Have you romanticized the notion of coaching that you believe people know they want it?

Most people don’t think about coaching as a solutions. That’s why coaching is a hard sell.

So, at this starry-eyed moment in time instead of niching down, you niche widely or niche weakly.

Niching wide is choosing a broad coaching audience and naming an overarching abstract outcome.

I help women create a more fulfilling life.

OR

I help business owners become successful.

Another way to wimp out in your niche is to simply identify your track.

I’m a career coach.

I’m a leadership coach.

I’m a life coach.

I’ve seen many coaches list all or several coaching tracks on their websites. The lack of specialty does just the opposite of what the coach hoped — it turns potential clients away because they see a lack of commitment and focus.

And example of niching weakly is focusing on coaching topics as the specialty.

I’m a confidence coach.

I’m an empowerment coach.

I help you breakthrough limiting beliefs.

I don’t think people wake up in the middle of the night and say to themselves … you know what I need? I need a coach to help me breakthrough limiting beliefs.

Everyone has limiting beliefs. Any coach or mentor can help individuals past them. But it doesn’t inspire investment except for a few sessions at low prices.

These aren’t big enough problems to bring you a steady stream of clients who are ready to invest.

I niched widely and weakly at first! I didn’t know better. Now, I hope to save you some of my flailing and failing.

Fully Commit to Standing Out with Your Specialty

Notice I didn’t saying standing out with your coaching specialty? Let’s take the coaching piece out of the equation. That’s your toolbox — a skillset you’ll use to help your clients — not what people will buy.

If you intend to be a successful coach in the long run, commit to targeting and niching down strategically and then follow through with that in everything you do. Don’t let your website copy be dumbed down by focusing on the wonders of coaching. Focus on your specific target audience and what’s keeping them up at night.

Make it so that there is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind who you serve, the big problem you help them overcome and the big goal you help them reach.

Define Big Enough

When you’re looking for a dynamic profitable niche, you have to step out of thinking like a coach and step into thinking like your audience. (And this is the best way to create everything for your business and do all your marketing by the way.)

It takes a bit of mindfulness and practice. Here’s the question to ask yourself:

What specific problem will prompt my audience to go looking for solutions with their credit card ready?

Think about all the times you’ve invested in something that was pricey. What made you pay the big bucks for a service even though you knew you were spending a lot?

No doubt it was something that felt crucial for your future.

The Gap Between Pain and Pleasure

You’ve heard about pain points before. Some problems are annoying. Some problems are a hassle. You’re looking for the problem that is acutely painful.

It’s the gap between what your audience wants and where are they are now. That great longing for something that’s been elusive because there’s a big, fat problem in the way.

The thing is the way is usually the individual.

Big enough problems fall within just a handful of categories associated with a fundamental want:

  • money
  • career
  • power
  • love
  • healing

Here are a few coach’s niches. Notice how they fit into one of those 5 fundamental categories.

Helping HR leaders gain more impact and influence in their organization.

Helping moms with a long career gap find flexible work they enjoy.

Helping people with fibromyalgia feel better get their lives back.

Helping parents support their kids with ADHD to excel in school.

Helping wives of civil servants create space for a career of their own.

Do you see how these big problems and desired outcomes would inspire investment?

If you’ve chosen an audience and you think you’ve arrived at a big enough problem to solve, pause to ask yourself:

Would I buy high-ticket services to help me overcome this problem?

If not, dig in deeper.

And if you want help identifying your audience’s big problem and developing a smart business foundation that attracts ideal clients, you know where you can find me: https://prosperouscoachblog.com/work-with-rhonda

Ep 64 – How to Strategically Choose Your Coaching Niche

In my last episode I listed off 10 Ways To Be More Strategic In Your Coaching Business as an overview to my next 10 episodes.

In this episode I’m focusing on the FIRST way to be strategic in your coaching business. In other words, strategizing this step is what you do before you do anything else — website, offers, social media marketing.

What is this #1 way to be more strategic? Choose a viable coaching niche, of course.

This episode and the other 9 to follow are all part of my Coaching Business Checkup series. I will have a free downloadable Coaching Business Checkup for you at the end of this series, so stay tuned!

One Decision That Rules Them All

MBAs and business experts agree that if you niche your business in a strategic way from the get go you’ll dramatically increase your ability to succeed and sustain success.

And that’s truer than ever in this information age where there are more entrepreneurs and companies flooding the Internet with marketing messages every day.

You can’t attract clients if you can’t attract attention.

And attracting attention is mostly about standing out in some way. Standing out in your niche – what you do for whom is the easiest way to stand out.

If you want your message to get through to people who could become your clients, then you want to speak to a very specific group of people about what they care about most.

Strange isn’t it?

The more specific and focused your message is on a unique target audience and the big acute problem they face, the easier it is to engage people and build relationships of trust. And then enroll them.

You know, coaching niches are my super power.

I decided to strategically focus on this big problem for coaches 17 years ago because all around me I saw that coaches were utterly confused, frustrated, and in many cases, paralyzed by the niche decision. For many it’s what had them give up for good on their business.

So for coaches the agonizing question — WHAT IS MY NICHE? — is the most acute big problem they have. And it’s related to attracting enough clients who will invest. That’s the other acute problem coaches face.

And I know that once that niche piece is settled it opens up ease in all the steps that follow – messaging, offers, marketing – it all becomes a more graceful and intuitive process once you know your niche.

It was a smart strategy then for me to focus in on coaches — my target audience — and on the topic that’s most painful for them. I could pull in my background knowledge in marketing and my experience writing coach training curriculum and training new coaches. It’s a good fit.

I wanted to tell you how I came to my niche to illustrate the strategy behind it. It’s not rocket science but it was a thoughtful process. And that’s what strategy is.

Many coaches miss this crucial step of choosing a smart niche. It’s partly because of a misunderstanding of what makes for a successful coaching niche. And partly, it’s fear.

Can you relate to that?

  • Maybe you fear that you don’t know enough to specialize.
  • Or, you might fear narrowing to one group and excluding others. (Although exclusion isn’t really necessary because targeting an audience is about ease in marketing not exclusion or limitation of who you can have as a client.)
  • Or you might simply fear making a decision and committing to it.

All of these are understandable fears.

But here’s the thing that I remind myself of when I’m fearful. Fear rises up when you’re at an important threshold. It’s how you respond to fear and still move forward on your dream that builds courage and confidence. Moving forward decisively is the way out of fear.

What is a Coaching Niche?

A coaching niche is the intersection between a viable target audience + their biggest problem/desire + what you bring to the table to help them get there.

Let’s break this down.

  1. There’s a specific group of people who are seekers. (They do invest in their growth.)
  2. They have a big acute problem that is in the way of something they really want.
  3. You can help them solve it and reach their goals with your toolbox of talents & skills

And so, once you’ve chosen that niche, you conduct a bit of market research and then create messaging and offers that fit their top challenges and goals bringing your supportive skills and tools to the table.

Now, let me illustrate how choosing a niche can be strategic using examples of niches my recent clients have chosen with my help.

Here are two that are directly related to specific subject matter expertise or recent professional background that the coaches could leverage in their niche:

One coach helps parents empower their teen daughters to develop confidence, integrity and resilience. She has a Masters in Clinical Social Work plus experience working with teens professionally, and 3 teens of her own. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach helps executive assistants break through the limitations of their role and advance to the next level. She has 8 years of experience as an EA and a string of promotions that rewarded her ingenuity and excellence in her roles. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach with over 20 years experience in nursing and health care is focusing on helping nurses heal burnout and work differently.

Leveraging your recent experience or expertise is the most powerful way to niche.

But not all coaches have subject matter expertise. Instead it may be that your current life circumstances could become an ideal niche. For example:

One of my clients stumbled unexpectedly into being a father and a husband. It happens. In the thick of that he realized it’s a common and difficult experience for young men. So he’s targeting that group to help them find grounding and maturity in the upheaval. A heartful niche based on a personal context.

Another coach decided to work with women re-entering the workforce after a long gap raising children. She knows first hand the challenges that come with finding flexible, meaningful work after a big career gap. And as a bonus we realized her Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology related to employee recruitment and selection processes was a bonus point of relevance and skill related to this audience. A super helpful niche!

A client who recently turned 49 felt called to remake her life from the inside out and create an intentional journey moving toward 50. So she’s targeting women at 50 to break free and rewrite the rules of their lives. This is a personally motivated niche.

It’s rare that targeting a specific age makes for a good niche but after market research it was clear that 50 is a point in time for women that’s rife with so many physical & emotional challenges and creative yearnings. And we were able to create a transformational program for women at 50.

So you can see there are different ways to approach choosing a niche. The main thing is to think it through strategically.

Remember, don’t just sell coaching to a general audience. Instead, create a program with milestones to help a specific audience overcome specific acute challenges on the way to an ultimate goal.

That’s how you’ll become known quickly and attract a steady stream of clients who pay well.

Coaching Niches That Lack Strategy

Topical niches can be powerful if they are closely linked to a tangible outcome that a specific group has. For example, I’ve known coaches who focus on helping business owners create systems or coaches who focus expertise in something like the Enneagram to help corporate leaders master leadership in a personalized way.

But some topics bomb as a coaching niche:

  • Stress
  • Limiting Beliefs
  • Overwhelm

I’m guessing those topical niches bombed primarily because these challenges are usually chronic problems. They are challenges that people are used to living with and so they aren’t inspiring people to actively seek and invest in solutions.

All coaches can help any existing clients with things like stress, limiting beliefs and overwhelm. But in marketing messages and on websites these topics tend not to inspire enrollment except for a short engagement at a low price.

It’s missing a specific target audience and their ultimate outcome as an anchor point. But even if you did attach one of these chronic problems to a target audience and their goal, it may not feel acute enough to the audience to inspire investment.

Similarly, big overarching goals or life skills can bomb for the same reasons above:

  • Self Care
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Law of Attraction

If you search for topics like these on the Internet you’ll find millions of articles on them. Great support for free but not likely to result in paid engagements with long-term clients. And if clients are short term for low fees, it means you have to work with a lot more people. And that means more marketing and enrolling moments for less income and profit.

Strategizing a smart niche for a viable audience isn’t a needle in a haystack kind of equation. It’s more like the beginning of a jigsaw puzzle where you try to find the opening move that quickly builds momentum.

If you’re stuck and struggling with your coaching niche, let me help you over this wall.

Let’s have a Strategy Session. It will focus you in and give you direction for everything else you create in your coaching business. It will help you stand out the crowd and build your brand & reputation.

I’ll send you some exercises to start then we’ll spend 90 minutes brainstorming on the call. I’d love to work with you. Sign up!

In the Next Episode: Are You Solving A Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Niche?

Ep 62 – Coach, Are You Focusing On The Right Things?

This episode is the first of a new series called Coaching Business Checkup.

In this series I’m going to detail the top reasons why coaches struggle to earn well and explain how to shift it.

STAY TUNED til the end of this series where I’ll give you access to a free downloadable checklist so you can give your business a checkup from time to time.

I’m starting off with something that covers a lot of ground … strategy.

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere despite staying busy in your coaching business?

That doesn’t feel good. You’re left scratching your head wondering what you’re doing wrong.

Well, first let me say I get it. I’ve been there. And you’re in good company if you feel this way.

Here’s the big question … are you doing the right things every day? I’m talking about efforts that will pay you back with clients and income?

There is so much out there to distract you. The bright shiny object syndrome is alive and well in the coaching community!

You see what another coach is doing and that sends you into a flurry of activity to implement something that may not work for you. It may not work for your target audience or fit with what you’ve already created.

All the puzzle pieces on the big board of business success don’t necessarily fit together.

You get bombarded with marketing for programs that promise 6 and 7 figures if you just try this simple tactic. It’s so tempting to leap for it thinking …

“Maybe this will give me traction.”

Yeah, maybe.

Or maybe it will be just another money and time taker with little results to show.

I’m embarrassed when I look back at how much money I spent on masterminds and online training programs that didn’t ultimately help me mainly because I didn’t have the foundation I needed to plug those tactics into for good results.

And most of those programs don’t have individualized support. Which is what we all need.

I have inside knowledge about what most coaches are spending their time on day to day. It looks something like this …

  • Researching and brushing up on coaching skills.
  • Looking at other coach’s websites.
  • Downloading every freebie that crosses their attention.
  • Writing blog posts and social posts without any real strategy.

Will those tasks pay off even in the long run?

I remember something I learned a long time ago that I take for granted because it’s so ingrained in my habits now. I want you to know about this so you can take the right actions and get results.

Take High Payoff Actions in Your Coaching Business Everyday

That’s the secret. I take 1 – 3 high payoff actions in my business every single day that I’m working. And it helps me cut way back on time and money wasting.

So, what is a high payoff action?

It’s an action that brings you significantly closer to achieving specific goals with measurable results. In other words, these are the actions that will make it happen!

If you want enough clients and revenue to clear a 6-figure profit this year, then daily high payoff actions are what will get you there.

3 Types of High Payoff Actions

  1. Make Life Changing Decisions
  2. Create Smart Strategies
  3. Continuously Implement Decisions and Strategies

Let’s take these one at a time.

#1 Life Changing Decisions

I believe that decisions are actions. Because nothing leaves you stuck like not deciding. Decisiveness is a top skill of the successful.

Life changing decisions are the kind that require great intention and commitment.

You made a life changing decision when you decided to become a professional coach and build a business of your own. That decision affected your career, your lifestyle and the way you’ll afford your lifestyle.

It also affects your family, friends, community and future clients.

Choosing a viable target audience and committing your coaching business to serving that group and their biggest problem is another life changing decision and high payoff action.

It’s a foundational piece that most coaches miss or misunderstand how to niche effectively. It leaves you floundering and unable to get traction.

Things that are not life changing decisions include things like what colors or images you put on your website or how pretty your business card is.

I’m not saying those things don’t influence your success. But in the scheme of things those are fleeting decisions that have little impact.

#2 Create Smart Strategies

Most coaches I meet for the first time have not strategically thought through their niche, brand, domain, web copy, social posts, and blogs or other content.

The idea of strategy was completely foreign to me when I started my business. Even now, if my efforts are foundering it’s usually because I didn’t do a good job strategizing.

Actions without strategy are busy work. And results will be low, slow and inconsistent.

That’s why I offer a single 90 minute Strategy Session in addition to my signature program for coaches. Because getting the strategy right is critical BEFORE you start slinging messages and offers around. And it’s easiest to strategize with someone who can be objective and see the bigger picture with some expertise about the territory you’re in.

A Strategy Session is perfect for making a life changing decision like choosing your target audience and niche.

If you’re stuck around something in your coaching business, let’s tackle it together. Grab a Strategy Session with me:

#3 Implement High Payoff Actions Every Day

This is where the rubber meets the road.

The truth about high payoff actions is they make you squirm a bit. They require courage and conviction.

For example:

  • Invite past clients to hire you again.
  • Reach out to someone who said ‘no’ before to see if they’ll say ‘yes’ now.
  • Set up Discovery Sessions with potential clients.
  • Contact a center of influence – the person who knows many people in your target audience – to develop a referral partnership. Have a strategy in mind.

Notice how all of these examples are about directly connecting with potential clients? There can be other types of high payoff actions.

But it really is about tolerating the squirm and doing the risky-feeling thing that could give you the quickest and biggest pay off.

If you’re doing things all day every day that are safe and easy it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. Either you’re an expert with vast experience with a well developed strategy.
  2. Or, you’re doing busy work just hoping it will eventually pay off.

Do a 30-day challenge! Develop a smart strategy for everything – blogging, podcasting, emails, social posts, public speaking.

Then every day take 1 – 3 high payoff actions – the actions that make you squirm a bit.

Evaluate after 30 days and see if you’re not in a better rhythm with better results.

Once you have this habit in place of completing 1 – 3 high payoff actions every day, you’ll have a bigger comfort zone because you’ll have begun to master strategic action.

In the Next Episode: 10 Ways To Be More Strategic In Your Coaching Business

Ep 59 – How To Develop Your Signature Coaching Program

This episode is part of my Money Mastery series. The series has been getting great response from listeners.

About episode 58 —planning for profit in your coaching business — Roger said he had several takeaways:

  • Having a real understanding of the stages of business.
  • The idea to set an expense budget.
  • “The big one is that I realize I was relying on my part time paid employment to support my coaching business as more of a hobby. So I have a shift now into thinking of it as more of a business and your great tip of taking a salary from my coaching business to pay bills will be fantastic.”

Thanks for sharing that, Roger!

Today’s episode is about a better way to package a coaching program and earn more than by the session or group of sessions.

First, let’s talk about schools of thought. There are schools of thought about everything.

If you’re still in coach training some trainers may insist that coaching should not be programmed. In other words, you shouldn’t create an offer other than coaching sessions because it means that you take away the coach’s agenda.

If you’ve been listening to me for a while you know I believe that you can both serve a client’s agenda AND offer a specific program for a specific audience that solves their biggest problem and gets them where they want to go.

After 22 years of experience in my own coaching business and helping hundreds of coaches reach financial success in their businesses in my private VIP program, I know that selling coaching by the session only may keep you at poverty income levels.

So what is a better way that helps you earn well as a coach? I’ve been leading to this in the previous episodes so I hope you’ll listen to those too.

Create a Customized VIP Program

This is what I help all my clients create.

It helps the coach feel confident they have something of value to offer. They learn to articulate what they do in meaningful terms and without the agony of trying to convince people to buy coaching.

Of course, like all successful aspects of a coaching business, creating this program has critical steps that go before.

  1. It begins by targeting a viable audience – one that’s full of seekers – people who do invest in their professional and personal growth.
  2. Next you uncover their biggest known problems and the ultimate outcome they want to achieve. That becomes your coaching niche.
  3. Then, you put together a signature program tailor made to that audience. Your program has a clear set of milestones that you’ll help your clients achieve on the way to that ultimate desired outcome.
  4. Then, you learn how to articulate that to prospects in a way that’s benefit rich, supplying them with assurance of both tangible or concrete and intangible or emotional things they’d like to achieve with your help. That there is a structure in your program helps them to trust you and feel inspired to invest.
  5. Lastly, you need a strategy to attract clients, build trust and rapport, then gently send them through a conversion process, sometimes called a funnel, so they are motivated to have a Discovery Session with you, where you’ll enroll them.

Getting all of this done isn’t easy by yourself.

It helps to have a guide like me help you with all the steps no matter how big or small.

Examples of VIP Coaching Programs

For example, let’s say you’re a relationship coach helping people to find their soul mate. Your program might include the following milestones – takeaways you’ll help your clients achieve:

  • Identifying personal values and partnership values. What are their must haves and deal breakers in their life partnership?
  • Getting ready for a partner. What are their strengths but also habits and behaviors in need of adjustment? What are their limiting beliefs about relationships? You might even have something like a life makeover in your program.
  • Setting first date goals. Helping them set personal boundaries and show up with confidence.
  • Discovering the best places to meet people and connect.

There’s a clear arc to the program and plenty of opportunity for the client to bring the agenda to sessions. This structure is more about helping prospects feel confident to work with you.

Or, let’s say you’re a leadership coach and target HR leaders to gain greater impact in their role – something you’ve discovered from market research that’s a top goal of HR leaders. Your program’s milestones might include:

  1. Creating a vision for the impact they wish to make.
  2. Identifying what’s been in the way.
  3. Uncovering their professional strengths and learning how to leverage them.
  4. Identifying skills and behaviors that need attention and areas to stretch.
  5. Develop good habits to strengthen their resilience, mindset and competencies.
  6. Building their rapport, identifying sponsors and other relationships that would help their star rise.
  7. Helping them develop a thicker skin and become bolder in meetings.

You can see that the focus in these descriptions is not about you and your skills as the coach. It’s about the target audience and what they want. But at the same time these kinds of milestones are what all coaches can help their clients achieve.

Either of these programs could be a 4 – 6 months or longer.

Bundle Significant Value Into The Program

So far in your coaching business you might be simply trying to convince a client to hook on … to want coaching and be willing to invest in a certain number of sessions up front.

It’s painful. And it’s without context especially if you haven’t narrowed to a viable audience, done market research and discovered what your audience wants so much they’d be willing to invest in your help to get it.

Programming your coaching into a VIP program creates a context for why a person would want to invest at a high level in their future success. And, you can develop this program without even using the word “coaching”. That’s your toolbox not an outcome they know they want.

Identify What They’ll Get In Your Coaching Program

The next step for creating your program is to identify the features. What do they get when they invest in the program? Consider bundling some of these things into your program:

  • A certain number of private sessions, say 10 – 18 sessions depending on length of your program, your preferences, and what it takes to achieve the goals
  • A certain number of group sessions or access to a closed Facebook group for community support
  • Annual retreats
  • Half or full VIP day where they fly out to work with you face to face on some aspect
  • Unlimited emails to you
  • Session recaps
  • Pre-created guides, forms or assessments to ease a process.

These things still involve coaching and coaching skills. But they add excitement to a program and help justify the fees to enroll.

In the Next Episode: How to Price Your Signature Coaching Program

Ep 57 – Coach, Is It Time To Give Yourself a Raise?

This episode is the 5th in the series called Money Mastery. 

The last episode called Are You Turning Away Coaching Clients with Your Pricing explained a more strategic approach to pricing than charging by the session or a package of sessions. I highly recommend that you listen to that.

In this episode, I’ll focus in on the mindset and simple mechanics of how to give yourself a raise, no matter what approach you’re using to charge right now.

Shift Your Money Mindset

If you’re a new coach chances are you’re not thrilled with your income yet. And there may be conflicting ideas in your head about taking money for coaching.

First there’s the idea “Well, I’m a new coach so I shouldn’t charge much.”

But totally at odds with that is the desire “I want to be financially successful at this.”

And then, there’s this other idea that can come with the helping professions “Money isn’t that important to me.”

It’s like mental whiplash.

So first … compassion. I feel ya, because as a new coach I was thinking those same things. One of the coaches in my Facebook group — Prosperous Coach Club —said it so clearly:

“As someone new to the field you desire to earn a good wage but setting fees is like the taboo topic. It is uncomfortable. You feel your skill set and knowledge is worth it but fear your lack of experience being newly in the field doesn’t warrant it.”

Exactly. Thank you for that Jenny.

Most new coaches charge fees that will keep them earning below the poverty level. The strange thing is that if you applied for a job you’d never say ‘yes’ to the rates you’re paying yourself!

You deserve to earn more. Period. And deciding to own your worth is all you need to do. 

Rather than thinking that you should charge as a newbie, own your life and work experience. Charge to sustain yourself.

Be a good boss and pay yourself well. Everyone wins. You, your family, your clients – everyone!

Let’s take a more pragmatic and dispassionate look at this.

Do the Math

Think from the get go like a business owner and do the math.

What I mean by doing the math is to actually figure out what you want to earn and then play with the number of clients and fees per client you’ll need to earn that much.

Now to demonstrate this I’m going to keep things simple. In the last episode I suggested there’s a much better way to price than by the session or a package of sessions.  And I stand by that. But to make doing the math easier to understand I’m going to talk about pricing by the single session.

Let’s say you want to earn $100,000 annually and you’re charging $100 per one-hour session. 

To earn $100K, you’ll need to have 1000 paid client hours each year.

Let’s take this a step further and divide 1000 paid client hours by 50 weeks. That’s assuming you’ll take 2 weeks off each year and work the other 50. 1000 divided by 50 = 20. 

You’ll need 20 active clients paying $100 for their weekly session.

Does have 20 paying clients each week sound doable?

When I first started as a coach, I would have said ‘yes’. I had the illusion that enrolling coaching clients would be easy. Every one wants a coach, right?

But 20 years in I now know that it takes a lot of marketing and enrolling to have 20 clients. And serving 20 clients per week is a big client load! 

The largest number of 1:1 clients I’ve worked with is 15 and I found that to be far too many clients for me. I’m more comfortable with 10 one-to-one clients at time.

Consider how much work it would be to find, enroll and maintain 20 active clients every week.

Sure, you might leap to the idea of doing group coaching or having an online membership program, and you could do that eventually. 

The reality is filling those groups and building that membership program is a big endeavor fraught with challenges. It’s something that fits better later on once you have a leads list and know better what you’re doing.

As a new coach, to keep your overhead and labor low consider offering only 1:1 coaching for a while. Build up your leads list and your reputation. Later, you can try group programs.

I talk about this in my episode called The Simplest Coaching Business Model.

Now let’s give you a raise to make it easier to earn 6 figures.

Let’s say that you decide to increase your fees to $500 per session but still aim for $100,000 annually. You deserve that raise. Make your life easier.

At that rate you only need 200 paid client hours per year. Divide that by 50 weeks. 

You need only 4 one-to-one paying clients each week. 

Now, that’s more enjoyable and sustainable than 20 each week.

Decide To Raise Your Coaching Fees

But you might be thinking, well, Rhonda, how can I charge $500 for one session? Who would pay for that?

You’d be surprised. I’ve seen a lot of coaches charge much more than that.

But know this … they have put a lot of strategy behind their pricing. It starts with:

These are all the things I teach new coaches how to do.

It’s not just about throwing up a website selling life coaching or some other type of coaching and enrolling people by the session.

This doing the math exercise was simply to illustrate how to think about paid client hours and how as you price higher you make earning well a more realistic scenario.

I suggest that you do not charge by the session at all. If you haven’t heard my last episode, go back and listen to understand this. It’s at prosperouscoach.com/56

In any case, you can’t begin to earn well until you charge more.

Decide to give yourself a raise.

Two years into full time coaching, I distinctly remember feeling so frustrated with my income. I couldn’t figure out how to break through the blocks I had about it.

And then I had a mental break through. How did I do that?

One day I simply decided to raise my fees. In fact, I challenged myself to raise my fees by 25% with each new client I enrolled.

And that’s what I challenge you to do now. With each new client you enroll, increase your fees by 25% or more. You’ll be amazed how you take a leap in the way you position yourself and own your value.

My preferred method for raising fees is simply to charge higher fees for new clients. 

You can also raise fees across the board with existing clients by giving them notice. Tell them that as of a specific date your fees go up to a new amount.

Increasing Your Fees Helps Your Coaching Clients Too

Sometimes we don’t consider the effect that low fees have on our prospects and clients.

As I increased my fees, my client took bigger leaps.

They were more invested both financially and emotionally in the work so they showed up more fully, put more into their actions. And because of that, they were more ideal clients for me so I enjoyed the work more.

  • As I increased my fees my confidence grew.
  • As I increased my fees I was able to be more choosey about clients and opportunities.
  • As I increased my fees I developed better marketing, enrolling and coaching skills.
  • As I increased my fees I relaxed.

And relaxing had a profound effect on every aspect of my life, especially my ability to enroll clients. I had fewer ‘no thank you’s’.

My conclusion? If you really want to do the meaningful work possible with coaching and get paid well, charge higher fees

Now everyone has their glass ceiling. I’ve hit a new one over the years and had to work with my mindset to get through it.

There came a time for me where earning more was no longer my goal. Serving more people and living my life the way I want to are the reasons I charge the way I do.

Here is my recommendation for you:

  • Don’t be about money, be about value and sustainability.
  • But, do be a smart business owner.
  • Set revenue goals.
  • Do the math to plan how you’ll achieve those. 
  • Take smart actions.
  • Keep making incremental improvements in your mindset and habits.

In the Next Episode: Start Planning for Profit In Your Coaching Business

Ep 56 – Are You Turning Away Coaching Clients with Your Pricing?

This episode is the 3rd in my Money Mastery series.

You’ll learn a powerful shift in the approach to your coaching business that will dramatically boost your earning power.

Are You Charging Fees for Coaching Sessions?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever priced your coaching by the session or by the hour.

You’re not alone in that. It’s the typical pricing strategy for new coaches. I raised my hand too.

I used to charge by the month for a certain amount of sessions. Now, that’s slightly more strategic than charging by the hour, but as pricing strategies go, it’s on the low side of effective.

Today, the only time that I charge by the session is for my Strategy Session. You’ve heard me mention this from time to time. It’s a one-off 90-minute session where you can get my expertise to help you choose a smart target audience and coaching niche.

Those are small but crucial steps for your success. Once you have your audience and niche figured out it’s like being let out of mental prison after a long stay. Sunshine. Fresh air. Freedom.

Consider giving yourself a special Christmas present that will be a turning point for you in your coaching business. Grab a Strategy Session with me.

There are two weeks left this year to invest in a Strategy Session before the price goes up in 2020.

Jil Hunsberger wrote this beautiful testimonial for her session:

I am so thankful I invested in a Strategy Session with Rhonda. I was at a standstill trying to define a viable target market and had spent way too much time and money trying to figure it out on my own with nothing to show for it. In one amazing session with Rhonda, we were able to define a unique target market that I am truly excited about. Rhonda is very good at what she does and I am excited to continue working with her to grow my business in the coming months!

Thank you, Jil. We had a lot of fun in that session!

The Coach Practitioner Approach

So why is my Strategy Session the only time I charge by the session now?

Because when I used to ask for fees for a certain amount of coaching sessions each month it kept me from earning well as a coach.

That by-the-session pricing approach is what I call The Practitioner Approach.

If you think of yourself as a practitioner of coaching then you are selling coaching and your only strategy to earn is to try to convince people to buy coaching from you.

Sound familiar?

That Practitioner Approach is the same thing that therapists do, that body workers do.

There’s a HUGE limitation to selling your services by the session or even a package of sessions.

Because you are putting a price to your time, every prospect and client is mentally calculating the value of each session against the cost.

They keep asking themselves …

do I really need any more of these sessions?

And that’s the problem with selling coaching. More about this in a minute.

Most likely you learned to price your coaching this way from your coach training school. It makes perfect sense when you’re first learning how to coach, you need to fulfill a number of hours of coaching to pass or certify.

If you have finished your coach training … I invite you to STOP that pricing practice now.

It’s time for a wholly different pricing strategy that won’t hold you back from earning well.

And it begins with key mindset shifts:

Shift to Being a Business Owner

First, stop thinking of yourself as a coach practitioner and start thinking of yourself as a business owner. Rather than running a coaching practice, run your business.

I know the whole world of business ownership can feel intimidating. But it can also be hugely empowering.

When you take ownership of your business it will raise your confidence. It puts you in the driver seat of your results.

Stop Selling Coaching

If you’ve been listening to my podcast for a while no doubt you’ve heard me suggest something that at first sounds crazy.

When you talk about coaching and sell people into a coaching program you’re pushing a big rock up a steep hill.

People don’t know that they want coaching. And some people have a negative opinion of coaching or they immediately rule it out for themselves because they think it’s like therapy and expensive.

In their minds, coaching is a nice-to-have for wealthy people instead of something they urgently want right now.

I talk about this in my most popular ever episode called Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

Yes, you’ve been trained as a coach. Yes, coaching is highly valuable. You and I know it.

But if you’re trying to sell it you’re working very hard to earn very little.

What do I suggest instead?

  • Target a unique viable audience and find out what they want so much they’ll invest in you help to get it.
  • Then, gear your entire business around serving those clients towards that ultimate outcome.
  • Your website is no longer an online brochure about the type of coaching you do but a place your target audience feels at home with a strong conversion process to build trust and a desire to work with you.

Will you still coach your clients? Yes, because coaching is the main skill in your toolbox. But you’re no longer selling coaching – something people don’t readily buy.

And if you create a long-term private program that helps that audience reach their ultimate outcome one milestone at a time, you can charge much higher fees. And that means:

  • You need far fewer clients each year.
  • You’ll do less marketing to find and enroll them.
  • You’ll do deeper work with each client.
  • You’ll never have to try to convince people to buy coaching ever again.

Your target audience will be inspired to enroll because you’ve tailor made a program that helps them overcome specific obstacles while helping them reach their big goal.

They trust you because you’ve bothered to research what they want, what’s in the way and then put a clear pathway together to help them reach what’s been unreachable on their own.

And because they are investing in a whole program up front and it has milestones that get them where they want to go, they are not thinking about the money and calculating value. They are fully focused on the transformation.

And we all know that clients focused on their own transformation make greater leaps.

So, are you ready to make these shifts? I double dog dare you to try it. Get the word “coach” and “coaching” out of your vocabulary, off of your website. You’ll be amazed how things will change for you.

And if you need help to make these shifts in mindset and approach and get everything set up in your business to make enrolling great clients easy for you, check out my VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program.

In the Next Episode: Coach, Is It Time to Give Yourself a Raise?