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 we spring into the next logical piece of strategy for your coaching business after you’ve landed your target audience and 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: 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?

Ep 51 – 2019 Listeners Choice #1 – Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

I’m starting out here with an announcement … I’m proud to say that Prosperous Coach Podcast is 1 year old and going strong with over 18,000 downloads thanks to you.

I’m grateful for the continuous stream of enthusiasm I hear from you and how generously you’ve shared my episodes with other coaches.

Keep that up because coaches need this kind of community support.

We’re in this together. Whatever generosity you have towards other coaches comes back to you many fold.

Very soon I have a new series for you. I’ll be digging into pricing, packaging and all the mindset issues that I know coaches have about asking for fees that pay you well. I had them and I see the same limiting beliefs in my clients.

The good news is you can leap over those issues with a bit of coaching. I’ve seen lots of coaches go from stuck and limited to suddenly understanding why it’s so important to charge more than you think you’re worth in order to realize your worth and help clients transform significantly.

More about that and all the MONEY topics very soon.

To celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Prosperous Coach Podcast, I wanted to share the top episodes so far. Listeners’s Choice.

I’m not surprised that this is the clear #1 episode. And it’s so important for all coaches to hear. It’s called Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

Listen closely. You’re about to have your eyes opened. And it’s in a good way that will help you succeed as a coach.

Click here to find the rest of the Show Notes for Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

And tune in to another Listeners’ Choice episode for 2019.

Ep 46 – 6 Steps to Ace Your Coaching Website ‘About’ Page

This episode is the 7th in the series called Client Winning Coaching Websites

In past episodes, I’ve covered

It’s worth listening to the whole series because we’ve been building up a clear picture of exactly what a client-winning coaching website looks and sounds like copy-wise.

If you know your target audience well and have drilled down your niche, you can follow the series to create or improve your website so it attracts and pre-sells clients to work with you.

If you know right now that your coaching website is not going to help you build the business you want full of ideal clients who pay you well, let’s have a Strategy Session.

I’ll review your site and share my recommendations based on two decades of expertise about client-winning websites.

If you’re stuck, reach out. One call can lift you out of confusion on any topic so you can surge forward.

Writing Copy Is An Art 

And there is some science to it as well.

I help my clients write all of their copy in my VIP program Coaching Business Breakthrough. And by the time we’ve finished their business foundation, they know how to write great copy on their own. It took me far longer to learn.

When I started as a coach I had a lot of ideas about what made for good writing. Most of them came from school. And then, over the years, I had to slowly unlearn the stodgy rules in order to learn to write compelling copy. The kind of copy that inspires reading and taking action.

Your ABOUT page is a critical part of your website. And the truth is, all web copy is important because in relatively few words you have to strategically plan for one effect … to inspire action. Copy does that through relevance and building trust.

Not So Much About You

There’s a temptation to talk a lot about yourself and coaching on this page but that won’t help you attract and enroll clients.

When an ideal prospect lands on your website, you want them to feel totally at home and as if you are speaking directly to them. This is true for every page, even the ABOUT page.

It’s actually less about you and more about them.

People will go to the ABOUT page of your site when your other pages have made them curious.

They want to know — can this person help me overcome my biggest challenges on the way to reaching my biggest goal?

How you’ll answer that question might surprise you …

Illustrate how well you understand them.

They don’t want to read a CV. In fact, credentials are the last thing they care about. And that’s why those go last.

Jump In and Write It

So what do you write on your ABOUT page? 

Your story as it led to serving your audience. But tell it in a relatively ego-less way.

I’m about to walk you through step by step how to write this copy. To make this easier for you to visualize, check out the website of a recent client of mine. You can read her About copy and see how it fits this approach.

Go to Cultivating Resilient Teens, click on the tab in the navigation bar Meet Shawna.

Shawna, thank you for letting me share your fabulous website with other coaches.

1. Write 1 or 2 short evocative sentences that speak to the very heart of why your web visitors are on your site now. Your goal is to help them to feel immediately understood by you.2. Write a short paragraph of 2 – 3 sentences to further connect and relate to your audience. Bring in a few of the top emotional challenges plus desired outcomes related to your niche.If you’ve done market research, you’ll be able to mine that information for highly relevant words and phrases that will build a sense of trust.

3. Then, write 2 – 3 short paragraphs infused with a bit of vulnerability that show why you understand them. Either you’ve been where they are now or you have a unique perspective on it. Pull in a detail or two about your background or skills that makes you a great resource for them without being salesy or mentioning your program.

4. Segue into a short paragraph or two that explains why you created your company (name your brand) and how you help people like them (insert your Core Message/Unique Benefit Statement).

5. End with a final and more personal paragraph about what you do when you’re not serving this audience. Make it light and relatable. Add in something funny or touching.

6. Lastly, put your training, education and any relevant credentials or work history into box titled Background & Education. Eliminate any references that are too old or not on target with why this audience is on your site.

To see another equally excellent client-winning website and a slightly different approach to writing copy for the About page go to Your Business Unchained and click on Meet Audra.

Audra is another past client who generously gave me permission to share her website with you. Thank you, Audra!

Either approach is effective and one of these will work well for your About page. By the way, some people use the words Meet instead of About in their navigation bar for this page. It’s up to you.

In the Next Episode: 5 Rules to Write Better Copy for Your Coaching Business

And I’ll have a highly valuable GIVEAWAY for you with all the copywriting rules and tips I’ve curated over 2 decades. Don’t miss it!

Ep 44 – Craft a Compelling Benefit Statement for Your Coaching Business

This episode is part of the Client Winning Coaching Website series.  

In the last episode I described 3 approaches to choosing your brand or company name and domain.

Today we’re diving into how to create your benefit statement so that it’s attention-getting. It’s the second thing your web visitors should see on your website to help them feel at home and interested in what else you have to say there.

 You’ve no doubt heard the concept of a Benefit Statement. It’s a single well-crafted sentence that describes specifically how people in your target audience will benefit from working with you.

I like to call it a Core Message because it identifies your coaching niche and all of your other messaging and offers will stem from the concept. But for the purpose of this episode, I’ll stick with Benefit Statement.

If you’ve ever done any live networking, you’ve probably experienced that dreaded moment when it comes around the table to you and you’re supposed to say what you do.

I remember times like that where I literally snapped to attention when someone introduced themselves with style. That’s the power of a well-crafted Benefit Statement.

But I’ve also heard and read a lot of there statements that lack inspiration and won’t help the coach attract clients.

Obviously, you want yours to be highly relevant and compelling to your target audience. 

 So in today’s episode I’ll explain 4 main things:

  1. What makes a Benefit Statement COMPELLING as well as how to avoid that “MEH” response.
  2. What a well-crafted Benefit Statement will do for you and your target audience  plus why it will help you get engagement and enroll clients from your website.
  3.  A bunch of Benefit Statements that are beautifully word-smithed for impact as well as some that are duds so you can see the difference.
  4.  The pre-work and basic formula for crafting your own Benefit Statement.

 So first, what does a Benefit Statement do for you and your prospects?

 Your Benefit Statement is an attention-getter. It’s the centerpiece of your marketing. When you share an effective Benefit Statement, people will understand exactly who you serve and why those people would want to hire you.

You want colleagues and friends who hear it to say:
     “Oh, I know someone who could really use your help!”

You’ll use your statement a lot over the course of your business, including as:

·      The first marketing message in the header of your website.

·      The first sentence that you say to introduce yourself to prospects.

·      The beginning of your “elevator” speech when you share what you do in a networking meeting.

·      One of the first sentences within your “bio” for a presentation or your by-line in any kind of guest article or promotional material.

·      It’s also what you’d say if someone asks what you do for a living.

What Will Your Core Message Do for You?

·      Make it easy for you to articulate how you benefit your target audience.

·      “Weed out” non-ideal prospects. 

·      Spark interest with ideal prospects in seconds.

·      Evoke the response “That’s me!” or “I want help with that!”

·      Invite them to take a step with you.

·      Open potential for an enrolling conversation.

What Will Your Core Message Do for Your Coaching Audience?

·      They feel that you understand them and what they urgently want.

·      They recognize you as a potential go-to resource for them.

·      They begin to know, like and trust you (or move on).

Wouldn’t it be grand to stop having those awkward moments of trying to explain feebly what coaching is and why someone wants it.

In fact, and this is important … the word coaching doesn’t show up at all in a powerful Benefit Statement.

So before I go further let me share some actual Benefit Statements used by successful coaches.

As you listen to these, notice how each begins by specifically naming a target audience, then artfully goes on to name a challenge that target audience has which implies an outcome they want.

I help mompreneurs make more money doing work they love while taking care of priority #1: FAMILY.

I help parents empower their teenage daughters to build confidence, integrity and resilience for all of life’s adventures.

I help authors get their books out of their head and into bookstores.

I help restaurant owners and managers keep the staff and patrons who keep them in business.

I help divorced women move forward with vitality and a positive sense of self.

I help financial planners confidently build a lifetime of value with multi-generational clients.

So, do you see why those would snap the specific audiences mentioned to attention and pique interest?

What Makes for a Top Notch Benefit Statement?

Those were all top notch Benefit Statements. Why?

1.     Its one single sentence streamlined to 10 – 25 words max.

2.     It has the fewest possible prepositional phrases.

3.     The target audience is defined in the first phrase. I help _____

4.     The rest of the sentence names 1 to 2 SPECIFIC challenges and/or desired outcomes for your target audience.

5.     It flows mellifluously off the tongue. In other words it’s easy to say and read.

6.     It’s emotionally evocative.

That last one is critical if you want your statement to inspire action.

The words and concepts are highly relevant to the target audience and the syntax of the sentence is crafted mindfully.

That’s again why it’s really helpful to do market research in the form of info interviews to draw out from individuals in your target audience what specifically they say — how they language pain points and desired outcomes.

If you take nothing else away from today, I want you to hear this: Specificity grabs attention!

That applies to all messaging, whether you’re creating a Benefit Statement, writing web copy, blogs, social posts. You name it.

It’s so tempting to go with bland, broad, vague and abstract words. But those don’t grab attention or inspire action.

I think what happens for a lot for coaches is they want to leave the door open. They want their message to cover all bases. But that’s a misstep. Because broad, vague and abstract words and concepts don’t move people to action.

Let’s look at some of the Benefit Statements I read before one at a time. First, I’m going to dumb it down by replacing specific words with more broad, vague or abstract words. Then I’ll read again the crafted statement.

Here’s an example of how vague and broad misses the mark.

I help women get through divorce and thrive in their new life and relationships.

It’s not bad, just not attention getting. Now here it is with more specificity in the words:

I help divorced women move forward with vitality and a positive sense of self.

Instead of trying to cover everything — thriving in their new life — this statement hones in on vitality and positive sense of self, something all divorced women would want. 

Here’s another Benefit Statement dumbed down with abstraction and vagaries:

I help moms find fulfillment and joy in their businesses and family.

Starting with the audience as moms is too broad. The words ‘fulfillment’ and ‘joy ‘are too abstract, especially when used in a sentence that doesn’t get to a tangible benefit.

Tangible benefits get more attention. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also have emotional benefits included. 

See what I mean with this emotionally evocative Benefit Statement:

I help mompreneurs make more money doing work they love while taking care of priority #1: FAMILY.

See how much more powerful that statement is?

We know the previous statement was talking to moms with businesses but it didn’t make it as clear as it could. And what do business owners want? To make more money doing work they love. But since she’s a mom she also wants to take good care of her family.

Listen to one more set of Benefit Statements that goes from so-so to fantastic!

I help authors write with ease and grace so they can publish their books.

Okay. Not horrible. It names the target audience and something want, but it’s lacking emotionally evocative words. So this one infuses that emotion with a sense of motion:

I help authors get their books out of their head and into bookstores.

The Basic Formula for Your Benefit Statement

It might surprise you to know that a highly effective Benefit Statement is NOT:

·      About you.

·      About your skills.

·      A laundry list of how you help your clients.

·      The same as a tagline. That’s a different device altogether.

When you write your Benefit Statement:

1.     Begin with ‘I help’ or ‘Helping’.

2.     Then describe your target audience in the fewest possible words.

3.     Lastly describe in evocative language a specific tangible outcome they know they want that implies a related challenge they’ll move beyond.

CAUTION: Testing your Benefit Statement on people who are NOT in your target audience or who are not experts in marketing won’t bring you useful feedback. Well-meaning people who don’t understand what you’re doing may try to dissuade you from targeting and using specific language.

Okay, go forth and word-smith a compelling Core Message!

In the Next Episode: Custom Coaching Website Vs. DIY Template with Guest, Nichole Betterley, Chief Web Wiz

I’ll be interviewing Nichole Betterley https://npoweredsites.com, an ace web designer, the best I’ve found for coaches. We’ll talk about the real differences between DIY websites and custom professionally designed site. We’re biased for good reason.