There has never been a better time to start a coaching business.
Not only does being a coach allow you to create a lifestyle on your own terms, where you get to share your message and genuinely help others, but it also allows the added freedom to virtually work from anywhere.
Whether you power up your laptop from a beach in Hawaii or the comfort of your couch, all you need is Wi-Fi, and you’re set.
But like any new venture, starting a coaching business comes with its own set of challenges.
When I started my coaching business in August 2015, I had no idea how to go about it. I had a business degree from an elite school, a coaching certification and 5+ years of marketing experience. And yet, I had no clients.
The old (and misleading) adage of “build it and they will come” didn’t work.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what leaves many coaches devastated in their first few months.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how talented you are as a business coach. If you aren’t effectively marketing your services, then you cannot create a profitable business.
Here are seven key principles to follow if you want to build a successful coaching business.
1. Select a profitable niche
The biggest mistake new business coaches make is thinking they need to work with everybody, and help with every problem. This makes it difficult for them to get known as an expert in their field, and command premium prices. Instead, work with one type of client and solve one problem for that client. Get to know your ideal clients inside and out, and create a solution to their biggest problem, so you become the go-to expert in a specific niche.
2. Validate your business idea
This is by far the most lethal mistake new business coaches make. Validating a business idea is the foundation of any successful startup. And it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. After you’ve selected your niche, connect with five to ten potential clients who are able and willing to pay for your services. Do this before you create your offers. This way, you won’t waste countless hours creating offers no one actually cares about.
3. Create an authentic brand
As a business coach and solopreneur, you are the face of your business. To truly attract your potential clients, make sure to infuse your personality, passions and interests into your brand. When you do this, the right people will be drawn to you.
For example, create copy and content that avoids industry jargon and showcases your authentic brand voice. Find a designer and photographer who can capture your essence through aesthetics. And most importantly, share your vulnerabilities and mistakes, to establish genuine connections with potential clients and humanize your brand.
4. Build awareness and credibility
Now that you’ve defined your niche and brand, it’s time to get more visible. Get in front of your potential clients and showcase your expertise. The common misconception people have is that once their business grows a little, they will start being more visible. But the reality is this — once you get visible, your business will grow. Take these practical steps to build authority in your niche:
Write and distribute quality guest posts for magazines and blogs that your potential clients read
Set-up interviews for podcasts that talk to your potential clients
Collaborate with other industry leaders to co-create content
Showcase your expertise in relevant Facebook groups
5. Grow your audience
It’s true when people say that the money is in the list. In fact, your business and income will grow as your list size increases. So make list-building a priority from day one. Here are the three steps to build your list:
Get clear on the biggest struggle of your ideal clients, and create a freebie that solves it. Make it something simple like a PDF guide, a cheat-sheet or a checklist. If your audience prefers it, create an audio or video series.
Once you have your opt-in ready, use an email service provider to automatically deliver it to subscribers.
Finally, promote your opt-in on your website, your Facebook business page, your social media bios and your email signature. Share it in relevant Facebook Groups, link back to it in your guest posts, and consider promoting it through Facebook ads.
6. Share your expertise
Once you have an audience to market to, it’s time to showcase your expertise. Focus on providing massive value to your audience in a short amount of time. Online master classes and webinars are a great way to do this. You can also host mini-courses or challenges to inspire your audience to take action. Your potential clients need to know, like and trust you before they will work with you. This is the time to build that trust.
7. Find a mentor
The journey of entrepreneurship comes with its own set of ups and downs. Asking for help may be the best decision you take in your first year of business. Hire a coach or mentor to push you outside your comfort zone and teach you tried-and-tested methods that work. Cultivate friendships with like-minded people who will support you on your journey. Hire experts to teach you specific skills. You don’t have to do it all alone.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Avni Palekar is a Business Coach and marketing expert, specializing in helping new coaches and entrepreneurs stand-out online, build a following and attract dream clients. With an elite business degree, five years of marketing experience and a coaching certification under her belt, she now helps women quit their day jobs to create a profitable online business. When she’s not coaching, you’ll find her studying iconic brands, binge-watching Netflix or planning her next vacation. Create a stand-out brand and business with Avni at avnipalekar.com.