Wondering how to start an online coaching business? Here are the 8 steps you need to know…
1. Establish your online coaching business niche.
The first step in starting an online coaching business is to determine what you want to coach on. In other words, before you can start an online coaching business, you first need to establish your niche.
Your coaching niche involves the intersection of 3 things…
- What area do you have expertise in?
- What are you passionate about?
- What is the market interested in?
At this stage, you need to be honest about what you’re good at and what you have some experience in. Are you a great writer? A fitness expert? A financial whiz? A mom who practices amazing self care? Once you know what your strengths are, you can focus your business around them to create a niche.
We already chatted about what you’re good at – but what about what you’re passionate about? If you’re great at health and fitness, but bored to death talking about it, it’s probably not an ideal niche for you to start unless you can find a way to get excited about it.
Lastly, if you have both skill and passion, but no one is interested in what you’re selling…you’re going to have a hard time growing your online coaching business! There are 2 things to keep in mind for market. FIRST: relate your idea to a need that doesn’t go away when times change. For example, travel coaches probably had a rough go of it from 2020-2022! Ideas that relate to stable NEEDS include health, wealth or relationships.
The second market piece to keep in mind is validating your idea with conversations. Do people actually want what you’re selling? The best way to find out is to ask them through market research.
Lastly: there’s a good chance you won’t get your niche and offer totally right at first, and that’s ok. All that’s important here is that you choose a direction to go it, so you can validate later on by posting content and getting on sales calls.
More About Your Coaching Offer
There’s a lot of things to keep in mind when choosing your coaching offer. It needs to be specific, and the more specific you can be, the more sophisticated your online coaching offer will be.
For example, if you simply say you’re a “life coach”, it might be hard for new people to connect with your messaging. However, if you’re a “life coach for new moms”, then your prospects will understand much more easily how you can help them.
Once you’ve identified your niche, you can begin targeting your ideal clients and creating content and programs that cater to their needs. This can be anything from health and fitness to business and marketing. Choose a topic that you’re passionate about and have knowledge in, as this will help make the coaching process easier for both you and your clients.
2. Choose a primary platform.
Now that you’ve loosely chosen the niche for your online coaching business (you can validate this more later on), it’s time to create a website or social media platform (or both).
This is the primary hub where you’ll introduce yourself to potential clients and explain what services you offer. Ideally, you’ll eventually have a website AND utilize social media, but to start, you really only need one or the other. Once you start getting clients, be sure to include testimonials or a portfolio of your work so clients can get a sense of what they can expect from working with you.
If you choose to use social media as your main hub to start your online coaching business, choose a platform where it’s easy to have conversations with people and get organic visibility. My favorite platforms for this are a personal Facebook profile (not a business page), or Instagram.
A website has the disadvantage of taking a much longer time to gain organic visibility, but eventually, you’ll want to have a website to build credibility.
If you want to use a website as your online home base, so it’s important to make sure it’s well-designed and user-friendly. Make sure to include information about yourself and your services, as well as testimonials from previous clients. This will be the central hub for your business where clients can learn more about what you offer, read your blog posts, purchase coaching packages, and get in touch with you.
There are many different website builders out there that make it easy to create a professional website without any coding experience required.
3. Create content consistently.
The next step in getting your online coaching business off the ground is creating content consistently.
If your primary platform is on social media, this is going to be through social media posting.
If your primary platform is a website, you’ll need to depend on blogging and search engine optimization (SEO) to gain visibility over time. While SEO is a very high quality and stable traffic source, it can also take a LONG time to gain visibility. This is why I usually recommend starting with social media first.
Content is SO critical to online businesses: In order for potential clients to get a better understanding of what it’s like working with you as their coach, it’s important to share valuable content on your blog and social media platforms regularly.
This content should provide insights into the topics you coach on, motivational advice, case studies of past clients who have seen success with your methods, and anything else that will help sell them on the benefits of working with you.
4. Market your online coaching business.
Once you have a content platform and strategy in place, it’s time to start thinking about actually marketing.
This doesn’t necessarily mean selling at first. It can also include promoting free offers, trying to get prospects on sales calls, or giving away coaching sessions.
In this stage, you might consider a website or landing page if you don’t have one yet, so you can create a hub of information for people looking into what you do. Alternatively, you could skip a landing page and simply sign up for a calendar booking tool like Calendly or ScheduleOnce.
Make sure your content and messaging is targeting the people who would be interested in working with you as their coach with the niche / direction you chose in the first step, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have about what it’s like working with you.
5. Grow an audience.
Now that you’ve started posting and marketing consistently, you’ll want to think about growing an audience. Your audience will naturally grow as you keep posting, but it’s important to be intentional about it.
Additionally, one of the best ways to keep in touch with potential and current clients as you grow your audience is to build a mailing list and regularly send them valuable content via email. This way, they’ll be more likely to return to your site and potentially become a paying client.
6. Offer free consultations.
Many potential clients will want to know what it’s like working with you before they decide to invest in your services. One way to give them this opportunity is by offering free consultations or trials.
During this call or meeting, take the time to learn more about the person’s goals and find out if coaching is the right fit for them. If it is, then let them know about the different coaching packages that are available and how much they cost.
7. Create packages and pricing tiers.
Now that you’ve had some conversations and maybe even gotten some client results, it’s time to get clear on your coaching business packaging and pricing. When it comes time to start charging for your services, it’s important to create packages and pricing tiers that fit the needs of your target market. You may want to consider offering different levels of service or pricing based on the amount of support required.
Before now, you’ve probably had some loose ideas, but here are some things to keep in mind.
Basic Pricing Best Practices
Generally speaking, I wouldn’t charge less than $150 per session for any kind of coaching package.
So, if you think about meeting clients weekly, consider charging at least $500. This is a low, but decent starting place for a coaching price.
Always Incentivize Packages
I personally like to make sure that buying only ONE call is always the most expensive per hour. This is because 1) packages help stabilize your income but more importantly 2) it’s not very likely that clients will get massive results after just one call, and we always want to do what’s best for the client.
So, with the example above: if you want to charge $500 monthly to meet with a client weekly, I would charge $250 or more for a single session. This will motivate them to buy a package instead of a single session.
8. Get results, and pivot your coaching business if needed.
Lastly, as I mentioned earlier: you probably won’t get your niche and offer exactly right when you first get started, and that’s okay.
The best way to validate your ideas is to start posting, start talking to people, and to start actually working with clients. Working with clients is the BEST market research, and the best way for you to learn what you really want to do, and what really resonates with people.
Ready to get your first coaching client?