This is an excerpt from my Kindle eBook, “Life Coaching: Your Million Dollar Blueprint” available on Amazon for just $2.99. The full chapter in the book goes into much more detail as this is a cut down version for the blog.
The majority of coaches I meet are awesome people…with great background stories, enthusiasm, and skills. They love working with and helping their clients. Their coaching produces real results for their client. Yet their income hits a ceiling. It seems like they’re on a hamster wheel constantly running in circles without ever getting ahead.
Here are the 7 major roadblocks holding you back from success in a coaching business…
Road Block #1: You Are a Generalist
Too many “life coaches” try to be a jack of all trades. If you were to ask them what they could help you with, they would answer anything and everything. Ask them who their customer is. Their response…everyone. Here’s a key principle online. You can’t reach “everyone.” That’s too expensive. While sometimes large corporations will run “brand” advertising where they’re trying to get their name out there, you can’t afford to make this mistake.
It’s much easier to choose an easy to target group of people you can help achieve specific results. For example, do you help female executives improve their love life? Or maybe you’re a Christian life coach targeting those who want to improve their spiritual life? Or perhaps you’re a business coach that only works with dentists?
Your customers aren’t sitting at home thinking, “I sure need a coach.” They’re thinking about specific results they want to achieve. They want a better job. Their business needs to earn more money. They want to lose weight. They want a better family life. They want to figure out their perfect career.
Road Block #2: You’ve Never Defined Your System
What exactly do you have people accomplish? This fits in with the discussion above because your results relate directly to the group you’re marketing to. What is it you do for them? Results like, “You feel better” or “increase your happiness” are a tough sale because you don’t actually “see” them accomplished. You can’t measure these results. Therefore it’s tough to justify the fees you charge.
Let’s take another example. I help solopreneurs increase their profits on the Internet. I have 3 specific markets I’ve chosen for this. Number 1 is I work with those who run a publishing business (ebooks, DVDs, home study courses, etc.). I also work with coaches who want to generate leads and clients from the Internet. Finally I also work with Christian entrepreneurs. Those are 3 separate markets but they all fit me and my skills because I’ve run a publishing business online since 1996, I’ve been coaching since 1999, and I’m also an ordained Christian minister. So all 3 groups fit my background and skill sets.
What do I do for each group? For all of them I produce very similar results…I increase their leads and profits online. My business slogan is Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Life!
Road Block #3: Limited to Hour Based Income Only
Here’s a biggie. When I say coaching to many people, they immediately think one-on-one coaching in person or over the phone. Sessions must be held every week or at least 3 times a month. That’s what coaching is to them. Anything else must be something other than coaching. Wake up! The first coaching program I ever ran was a group based program with 20 clients over the phone. We met once a month over the phone in a group teleconference call.
The beauty of this type of coaching with my audience is they don’t just get my feedback about their websites and online businesses. They also get feedback from the other participants. And it’s really shocking what some of the other members can notice and help them with. With just a little instruction, you’ll find the “mastermind” principle comes into play providing them with much GREATER value than simply a one-on-one session.
Let’s look at this from the view of your income. Let’s say that you currently only follow the one-on-one coaching model. You also don’t want to work more than 30 hours total in a week. Since you have to take care of your business along with doing marketing, this means you’d not be billing for more than 15 to 20 hours at most (15 hours is more likely with all the other aspects of running your business). If you earned $100 an hour, that means your income would be $1,500 per week GROSS if all your time was booked. Remember any advertising, website hosting, and outsourcing would have to come out of this money. Let’s take out at least 4 weeks of vacation a year. Your maximum gross income would be $72,000. Let’s be very conservative in our expenses and say you only spent 25% of your income on marketing and other expenses. This leaves you with $54,000 before taxes.
Instead of only working one-on-one with clients, what if you put together a 10 person coaching group. You could actually drop your rates (we’ll use the example of $50 an hour now). With each person paying $50 per hour, and 10 on the call, you’re earning $500 per hour. Your group meets twice per month so this group is worth $1,000 a month while only taking 2 hours of your time. Set up a couple of these groups and now you’ve greatly increased your monthly income while still having more than enough time for all your individual clients.
Road Block #4: Not Generating Enough Leads
I hope you got the idea from the discussion above that you need to generate a lot of leads for your coaching practice. Not every lead will say, “Yes.” In fact, on the internet you’re doing well if you can “sell” 1% to 10% of your leads into some type of offer. In person of course you can generate better numbers than this, but most of the coaches I’ve worked with want to create a “lifestyle” business where the majority of their leads are eventually being produced automatically for them online.
In addition you often find you have to “warm” people up to buying from you online. For example, let’s say the initial fee for working with you is $495 (we’ll discuss fees and coaching programs in another section of the book). You’ll find very few people will show up at your website and click an order button for that service unless you provide them a lot more information first (such as a free initial call OR a teleconference call). And if you simply put your phone number there telling people to call you, only a small percentage of visitors would even do that (like 1% to 5% depending on how “warmed” up they were to what you’re offering).
What to do? What I’ve proven to work is some type of online freebie you give them immediately if they sign up for your email list such a free report, mp3 audio interview, or a video.
Put it behind a “squeeze page.” This is a simple web page where you’re asking people to subscribe to receive your freebie.
Instead of selling you, I ask you for a very small commitment like giving me your email address. Where only 1% may respond to an offer to buy a product when they land on my site, 10% to 40% often respond to this type of page by asking for more information from me.
Road Block #5: Limited Selling Skills
For some coaches I just said a dirty word, “selling.” The word carries a bad connotation. They might have even been told by previous instructors they don’t have to do any selling. You have to break this mindset. Selling isn’t bad. No money exchanges hands until something is sold. If I go to the grocery store, they have sold me my groceries. If there wasn’t someone selling groceries in my area, I’d be in a horrible situation!
What you’re really reacting poorly to are the tricks and deceit some salespeople have used. They might have lied to you about the product. Or they used “hard sale” approaches that made you feel totally uncomfortable. It’s the “pressure” you’re reacting to instead of the selling itself. You don’t have to become that kind of “salesperson” but you will have to learn how to authentically sell your services to your audience.
No one knows what you can do for them until you tell them. No one can sign up as a client with you until you clearly present the value you offer, show them why they can trust you to do what you promised, and explain why it’s in the best interest to take action now. All of this can be done in an honest and authentic manner without resorting to any hype or tricks.
Road Block #6: Not Recognizing your True Value.
What is the true value of what you offer? Without fail almost every business owner and coach offers their services at too LOW of a price starting out. I know. I understand. You want to get clients and you feel that a low price is the way to bring in clients, but here is what most people are missing. If you charge Dollar Store prices, you only end up with Dollar Store clients.
And here’s what I’ve found in my own business. When I’ve sold my products and services at the lowest prices, the clients I end up with are the most demanding. They expect the absolute best service. They complain because I only work specific days (Monday through Thursday). They send me sob stories about why they need a refund on the $10 item so they can make their rent. The worst part: you start feeling down about your whole business because you’re not getting paid what you’re worth.
Yet when I’ve sold my products and services at premium prices I’ve found clients weren’t nearly as demanding. They didn’t demand better service (such as my off days). They didn’t complain as much. And you find it much easier to actually provide them with the absolute best products and services because they’ve paid for the value of them.
If you’re worth more, charge more! I can just hear the complaints from a few readers, “But if I charge more, some of my potential clients may not be able to afford my services.” That’s right. They may not be able to afford your one-on-one services, but that is only ONE way of offering coaching. They can afford your group program or they can afford the ebook your offer. By the end of this next year you will have something in every price range for all of your potential clients.
Road Block #7: Doing It All Yourself
Obviously being a coach is a perfect solopreneur profession. You don’t have to hire any staff to start this business. You can start with a minimum amount of investment as well. But it’s a major mistake to believe you have to do it all yourself. While I don’t have any employees in my business, I outsource quite a bit of work.
There are two types of work you outsource in a business (and coaching is a business). The first type of outsourced work is specialized work. For example, you might not know how to design a website. You could of course buy software and spend the next month learning this, or you could outsource your website design to a professional. The same goes for accounting. You can hire an accountant or you can spend all the time required to learn this.
When you actually count up how much it costs you to learn that subject you’ll find you’re much better off hiring someone else to do the job. Even if you’re pricing your services at only $50 an hour, if it takes you 40 hours to learn how to put up a basic squeeze page, you’ve just invested $2,000. You could have probably had it done for $300 or less.
Get the full eBook on Kindle which even includes how to generate leads, how to price your services, and even a 30 point scoring system that takes into account online traffic, competition, and more to help you choose the right specialty for you to earn the most profits. Currently the ebook is not available in other formats, although it may be in the future.