Hey coaches! Is your coaching business a hobby or a business? I know when I first started out as a business coach and consultant in 2010, it felt more like a hobby. I was still running my security company full time, had three teenagers at home, and was serving in a leadership role for a major networking organization. There was a steep learning curve as I made the transition from small business owner to full time business coach. Here’s my 7 tips to grow your coaching business from side hustle to legit career. Not a coach? Many of these tips are a great reality check for entrepreneurs, too.
1. Know your target market.
Who do you want to coach? There are a bazillion people out there who need help…but a select few are going to be a good match for you. Think in terms of both demographics and psychographics. What is their age, gender, industry, geographic location? But also, what is their mindset, values, and life experience? Then throw in their needs, pain points and stocks, and you have a good start.
For instance, my target market is coaches, leaders, and entrepreneurs aged thirty to fifty who have a strong emotional connection to their work. They are doers and hard workers, but also aren’t afraid to dig deep emotionally and own their shit. Most of them have adversity or a major struggle as part of their story. They are resilient and want to grow personally and professionally. They are community focused – wanting to be better, create better, serve better and inspire better around them. They hold a big vision for where they want to go…but sometimes get snagged, overwhelmed or blinded with the details – like systems, processes, and accountability, or old limiting beliefs that need healing and release.
Knowing your target market and really honing in on it is foundational to all other elements of building a solid coaching business.
2. Money, money, money!
First, are you charging for your services? Early on in my coaching career, I caught myself giving away business advice for free. I’d meet someone for a drink and in an hour I’d have solved their entire business problem. I see this happen with many coaches and consultants. Value your knowledge, experience, and talents and charge for them! Use meetings to hint at how you can help if hired, but don’t give away the farm for free.
What are your rates?
Do you have prices nailed down or are you just winging it? It’s a good idea to do some field research on what other coaches in your industry charge. Don’t just charge for the time you spend meeting with clients. Make sure you are accounting for the additional side work that comes with doing business. Know that your rates attract and repel certain clientele. Which brings me back to your target audience.
Do you have a payment system?
Do you have a program to help you track financials like profit and loss? Make it EASY for your clients to “buy” as well as automate so you save time. Even if you aren’t at the point where you can afford a bookkeeper, software like Quickbooks Online is a great option for keeping things organized, sending invoices, and processing credit cards.
Do you have a sales process?
Don’t leave business on the table. Map out your sales process from initial referral or contact to closed sale and onboarding. If it helps, script out sales conversations for different situations. Make sure you have systems in place to sort through referrals and identify when someone is not your target market at the beginning of the sales process. BTW Sales process is different than a marketing plan, however they should fit together.
3. Work ON your business.
Time spent working in your business is different than time spent working on your business, aka growing your business. I could write an entire blog post just on this topic alone! But for brevity, here’s some examples:
Working in your business:
- Administrative work
- Working with clients
- Managing your team
Working on your business:
- Attending networking events
- Prospecting for new leads
- Having strategic meetings with referral partners
- Revamping or upgrading your professional image
- Investing in education and training
- Investing in technology and equipment
- Building your team
- Writing out your goals, marketing strategies and sales process
Here’s an experiment: track how much time you spend each week working in your business, versus on your business. The results can be surprising! I recommend spending at least 10 hours each week working on your business – possibly the most important of the 7 tips to grow your coaching business.
4. Brand like a badass.
Do you have a legit brand presence? Online, this means a website, professional email, social media accounts, and listing with services like Google Business where your clients can rate you. Make sure that your website has professional, well written content and graphics that authentically represent you and is updated regularly. And PLEASE make sure it is all cohesive, with the same color codes, fonts, and graphics. Blogging is a great way to add fresh content to your site monthly. I have an excellent content writer on my team.
For print, do you have additional marketing materials on hand like business cards? Do you have a professional logo that can be applied across both print and digital media? Do you have a professional headshot and professionally written bio that can be sent out quickly for speaking engagements?
Phew! That was a lot of questions. If you need referrals for any of the above services, from web design and graphics to content writing and social media, I got you! Just ask.
5. Educate yourself.
Continuing to educate yourself as a coach is what will set you apart and keep you fresh and up to date in a rapidly changing world. It doesn’t have to be boring. Research and invest in education that interests you. Seek out people who inspire you and learn from them. Go down the rabbit hole. Fly to Colombia for a conference on female entrepreneurship! (I helped organize this conference in 2019 and it was an amazing learning experience.) Take a course! In 2020, I learned so much in Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy which prepared me to launch my own digital course – GET. SHIT. DONE in 2021.
In addition, there are many organizations where you can get certified as a coach. Certification can add to your credibility and expertise as well as connect you with a network of your peers. The International Federation of Coaching (ICF) is an excellent place to start.
6. Do one thing well.
Do the people in your network know what you do or are they confused? Do you have three other businesses? Be consistent. Be focused. Practice your elevator pitch, so if and when you’re put on the spot, you can tell whoever asked exactly who you are and what you do in a minute or less.
If you really want to grow your coaching business, make the leap and commit to it wholeheartedly. Own it. You are a badass _______ coach!
7. Have a coach!
It can be lonely at the top. Coaches need coaches. That’s where I can help! Schedule a free discovery call with me to see if we can kick some ass together! Check out my coaching and consulting services and stay tuned for my new Coaching Resource Center coming soon on my site. I hope you’ve found my 7 tips to grow your coaching business helpful.