There’s a lot of hype and excitement around the potential of having a successful online coaching business.
And by “successful online coaching business” I mean an online business that can impact people from all over the world, as well as generate an income that pays the bills…and then some.
For me, that hype and excitement is totally warranted.
I know that a successful online coaching business is possible because I live and breathe it every day. I’ve also seen it happen for many of my clients.
But a lot of coaches get so excited about this that they leapfrog over the first and most important step in any successful coaching practice: you must cultivate person-to-person, one-on-one relationships that convert to person-to-person, one-on-one clients.
This is one of the reasons I stress the importance of building out your business in layers.
Take a moment to imagine a bullseye. The center of the bullseye represents the core, or the foundation, of your business.
Think of it as the simplest place to get started and where you can rely most heavily on your zone of genius without needing a lot of money to invest in a marketing plan.
I would argue that, for 99.9% of coaches, that bullseye is private coaching.
Once the core of your bullseye is solid, then you can think about the next layer.
Let me show you what I mean…
Today, I lead an online coaching business that serves actors all over the world. It’s called The Thriving Artist Circle, but it wasn’t always an automated, online empire.
In the beginning, TAC was a brick and mortar, in-person, private coaching practice. Within a couple of years, my private coaching practice got so full that I was working 60 hours a week, one-on-one. I loved the work, but I was tired.
Now, you don’t have to wait until you’re burned out to move your business online, but it was my solid private practice that made my online expansion easy and obvious.
So, after working like a mad woman and only serving a tiny portion of the acting market, I realized I wanted to make a bigger impact (and spend more time with my husband…). Enter, my online business.
But building my private practice came first. Here’s why…
1. The work you do with individuals will inform your online programs.
This layer of your business will offer the meat of your research. Those intimate conversations that you have when you’re in the process with each client will reveal the biggest problems and opportunities that your target market faces. It will also help you design the signature process you take your clients through and likely inform what the next level of your business actually is. In fact, each of my signature programs for actors evolved directly out of private sessions with beloved clients.
2. You don’t need a website to coach people!
Heck, you can start coaching as soon as you finish reading this blog.
Just reach out to friends and family, share the difference you’ve made for clients or the people in your life, and invite them to refer a friend or sign up for an enrollment conversation themselves. That’s the easiest place to get started and something I recommend you do if you haven’t already.
But sooner than later, your personal network will be tapped and you will have invited everyone you know into an enrollment conversation.
That may be where online marketing comes into play. In fact, I believe it’s actually essential, but it just doesn’t come first.
Which begs the question: When is it time to move your business online?
1. When you have regular, paying clients.
Feel into how many regular clients you need before you feel like you’ve actually got regular clients. It’s different for everybody…just don’t wait ‘til you’re working 60 hours a week!
2. When you feel comfortable with enrollment conversations.
A lot of coaches try to skip this part because it’s awkward asking people to pay you face-to-face. Hiding behind a flashy webinar is easier, right?
When you’re comfortable with enrollment conversations, you know you’re confident in what you offer, what you charge, and in yourself. That confidence will fuel every layer of your business and is pivotal to your success, both in the online world and the real world.
3. When you’ve built a list.
I have a list of 25,000 people. Your list doesn’t have to be that big when you get started, but I suggest it’s at least three digits…Okay, I’m pulling the three-digit-rule out of my @$$ but I’ve done this a long time so maybe you can trust my @$$ on that one. 😉
Once all three of these milestones are met, I encourage you to take the leap online.
The online world is where you leverage your expertise and grow your business rapidly so you can make a bigger impact and, hopefully, make more mulla! Just don’t forget about that bullseye…
Is your business online? When did you find it was time to take that leap?