If you’re dreaming of starting your own coaching business, you’ve likely come across lots of wit and wisdom on the subject. In fact, you may be drowning in ideas, strategies, methods, and possibilities.
Starting a business is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also extremely daunting – especially at the outset. Two things make the difference between sinking and swimming when you’re starting a new coaching business: keeping things simple, and your ability to prioritize.
The Importance Of Prioritizing
Get your priorities straight, and you’re well on your way to avoiding unnecessary complexity.
When starting your own business, the endless possibilities are a large part of the appeal. However, they also have the potential to lead to a never-ending to-do list. If you don’t prioritize and simply try to do everything, you will become overwhelmed and suffer burnout.
There are a multitude of approaches to business. Before you know it, you can be swept away by every passing marketing trend, every possible product or service you could offer, new contacts, new prospects, and the creative pull of all the content you could create.
The truth is, you could work every waking hour from now until the end of time, and you’d never get to everything you could do in your business. You’d never even make it through all the things you want to do. If you try, you’re dooming yourself to fail right out of the gate.
Success depends on your ability to prioritize. Fortunately, there some easy steps you can take to quickly identify your top priorities, and ensure you’re flying right from the start!
Priority #1: Master Your Mindset
Getting a business off the ground takes risk, vision, and quite a bit of effort.
But the most important things?
Mastering your mindset.
If you can uplevel your mindset, the rest will fall into place naturally. But there is a little more to this than just positive thinking. That’s helpful, sure, but it only gets you so far, and it’s not always the most practical thing to do.
It’s important to remain grounded and realistic, but at the same time to put yourself in a success mindset.
You must be confident. You have a gift to share with the world, as well as your own unique message. But if you don’t believe in the value you’re offering the world, why would anyone else?
Try to view the world as if your business is already successful. Creating a business that will make your heart sing is all about experimentation. You take action and then you get feedback. If you like the feedback, then you continue with the action. If you don’t like the feedback, then tweak your actions and continue. You haven’t done anything wrong if you don’t like the feedback! Adjust and move forward.
Creating a success mindset allows you to view everything in this way.
It’s a lot easier to face the challenges that will inevitably crop up if you can put yourself in a success mindset and avoid a defeatist or pessimistic outlook.
Money is another important facet of your mindset. Many of us face blocks when it comes to earning good money (or any money), and in coaching in particular, it can be difficult to place proper value and our time and expertise.
Many new coaches allow their limiting beliefs to stop them from creating the business they really want. They have too many hangups around money – it prevents them from charging prices that are aligned with their value and goals, they feel uncomfortable selling, and they push away abundance and opportunities. If you don’t take the time to upgrade your mindset around money, you’ll never reach the level of financial success that is available to you.
Priority #2: Identify Your Ideal Client
If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.
Marketing yourself as a general coach for all areas can be very difficult. You’re already selling a product that’s inherently intangible: your personal brand of experience and wisdom; the promise of a positive future outcome. Without making it clear who you can help, and how you can help them, your ideal clients – those that are yearning for your unique message and work, will never be able to find and identify you.
To succeed, you need a clear understanding of your ideal client and her pain points. If you can’t do this, they’ll never trust that you can help them.
Coaching can be useful in virtually any context, from careers to health, businesses to relationships, not to mention the big questions surrounding your life’s purpose. But when a client approaches a coach, it’s because she wants someone with particular expertise in helping people regarding a specific area she’s struggling with.
Some of the questions worth considering are as follows:
- Exactly what form of coaching will you offer?
- What area of life or work will it address?
- If it’s business, what industry?
- Who do you most like to work with?
- What are you exceptionally good at helping people achieve?
Once you’ve settled on a particular niche, identify the core problem that haunts prospective clients in that area.
There may be two or three key issues, but try to drill down as much as possible. The more specific you get, the better that picture you paint will be, and the more efficiently you will become at showing people you can solve their problems, and then delivering on that promise.
- It might feel like you’re limiting yourself, but remember, you can always expand into other areas once you have an established client base and a solid reputation. Starting small and specific will ensure your growth is strong, consistent and considerably easier than it would be with a ‘spray and pray’ approach targeting all areas of coaching.
Priority #3: Brand Identity
Crafting a strong brand identity is utterly essential. Your brand is going to be the way that you connect with your ideal clients. It allows them to recognize you as the best person to help solve their particular problem.
It’s SO easy to get bogged down in this and start obsessing over the name you’re going to use, as well as the colors, fonts, and images on your website, and designing things like business cards and office stationery.
That part is all so fun and exciting!
But branding is more than a collection of colors and fonts. It’s about the feel and core message of your business as much as it is about the appearance.
What feelings do you want your brand to evoke in people, what are you going to stand for, how are you going to establish your authenticity and expertise, and how do you intend to inject yourself into your branding?
Coaching is a very personal business in many respects. Your clients are not only paying for your knowledge and wisdom; they are effectively investing in a relationship with you.
As such, your brand should not only have a strong identity, it should strongly reflect who you are as a person, and the type of coaching you will offer.
Being the ‘face’ of your business can be uncomfortable for a lot of people, but it’s a particularly useful strategy for a coach to adopt as it lends instant credibility, authenticity, and strength to your brand. As top money mindset coach Denise Duffield Thomas says, “Your face is your fortune.”
Using your name as your business name is an excellent start. Using your headshots as your core branding images is another great way to keep yourself front and center in your business. It enables prospective clients to easily connect with you while giving you immense freedom regarding releasing new products and services because your offerings aren’t tied to graphics or complicated designs.
Your name, a nickname, or a word play based on your name. Your face. Keep your URL as simple as possible. If you can’t obtain your exact name, consider simply adding ‘coaching’ (just like I did).
Priority #4: Establishing Your Infrastructure
There are certain key structural and administrative decisions you need to make at the outset, such as whether you will work as a sole proprietor, a limited company, or choose a different business model. You will also have to decide if you’re going to work from home, or set up shop in an office.
Beyond these important decisions concerning general structure, it’s essential you nail down a reliable infrastructure in your business. This begins with ensuring you have a great phone and headset (preferably noise-canceling) to use for coaching calls. But it goes much deeper than that.
The infrastructure you put in place doesn’t need to be complex, not initially, but you need to a have a reliable system for attracting, onboarding, and then interacting with clients.
Before you invest in a lot of expensive equipment and fancy software, take a step back and remember that you are prioritizing. What can you literally not work without? Sort that out, and build from there. Where and how you are working will dictate certain elements of this, such as whether you need a laptop or tablet or can operate from a PC.
This is one area where it’s incredibly easy to get distracted by all the options, so here are a few key things you should consider:
Ensure you have a reliable phone system in place. I strongly advise you look into Skype or another form of online call system such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. They’re free to use and give you the option of video chats while avoiding the high cost of phone calls (especially if you work internationally).
It’s work setting up a virtual meeting system that allows you to speak to one or more people on a single call. Google Hangouts, Zoom, and GoToMeeting are all perfect for this.
Ensure your schedule is rock solid. Whether you’re using a paper calendar or an online calendar, you need a system for booking in calls and client sessions. A simple app like Calendly will enable you to quickly and easily schedule calls and sessions with clients, regardless of your respective time zones.
What will your online platform be? A website? Blog? Social media? Again, it’s easy to get carried away here (especially on social media!). Start with a very simple website – you can worry about creating a fancy one later. If you’re going to get on social media, consider which platform your clients are most likely to be on. Focus on just that one for now. You can always add more later!
It’s a good idea to create an email list from the start and add any prospective clients to it. If you have a website, ensure it allows people to sign up for email notifications. It’s essential you capture any prospects’ details so you can market to them.
Email Marketing Service
There are a number of organization tools available to help you with this, but it’s best to keep it simple. Most email marketing services like MailChimp and AWeber come with a free option when you’re first starting out. A simple list that snags names and emails is all you need at the start. Later you might add a CRM (client relationship manager), but you need clients first.
Keep It Simple
There are a lot of handy apps that can help minimize the various admin tasks that come with a business, including accounting and bookkeeping software, task managers and numerous other things. These can be very helpful. There are also more complicated platforms that offer sales funnels, membership areas, and the ability to deliver online webinars and e-courses.
These often come with hefty price tags and can be very distracting.
If you’re not careful, you will swiftly get bogged down by all the possible gadgets and gizmos people are selling. They will promise you massive profit increases, and the ability to rapidly grow a ridiculously successful business. But when you’re just starting out, you’re not ready for most of this stuff. You may never need it. Focus on the essentials outlined above. If something falls outside those parameters, it’s not a priority (for now at least!).
Priority #5: Money Making Activities
One thing you will realize extremely quickly is that, when you’re trading time for money, the number of tasks involved in running your business are endless.
Even with copious amounts of coffee and working 24 hours day, you can’t do everything alone. Not if you want to retain your sanity and make your business profitable.
If you’re spending all your time on administrative tasks, you’re not working with clients, and you’re not bringing the money in.
Initially, you may not have the resources to outsource anything. You may have to start out doing everything yourself. The important thing is to plan to change that as soon as possible. Keep in mind that it won’t all rest on you forever.
It’s helpful to know there is an end in sight when you’re buried under a mountain of seemingly endless work.
Remember that, just as you’re excellent at what you do, other people have different zones of genius. Hiring an accountant to handle your taxes will not only save you time (freeing you up to earn) it could potentially save you a lot of money. A bookkeeper has the potential for similar financial gains. Other areas you may look to getting help in straight away include:
- Website setup - which can be laborious and frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Copywriting - in particular, your blog, website pages, and other content used for marketing.
- Social media management - it’s easy to lose hours a day to social media and get very little ROI if you don’t understand effective strategies.
- Email marketing - if you’re planning on having a newsletter, that’s easily delegated.
- Coaching - even coaches need coaching. Depending on your niche, you may not know much about business yourself, in which case a marketing coach might be very beneficial.
There are two questions you should always be asking when it comes to deciding what to delegate:
- Am I capable of doing a professional job of this?
- How much is it going to cost me to outsource this, compared to the amount of money I could earn in the time I’d spend doing it myself?
The first question requires you to consider if your abilities to complete a certain task are good enough for your business and customers. If you’re not capable of completing a task to the standard required, and that task is a priority, then outsourcing the job becomes a priority.
If it’s not a priority, you shouldn’t be doing it at all.
If it is a priority, but you are capable of doing it yourself to a high standard, the next question invites you to consider the financial trade off. How much would it cost you to pay someone to do it? How many hours would it take you to do it yourself? How much could you otherwise earn in that time?
If the amount of money you could make while someone else is doing this task exceeds the amount you will pay them to do it, you should outsource it even if you’re able to do it yourself.