Online Coaching: How to Start a Coaching Business
Online coaching has grown in popularity over the last several years as more individuals turn to the internet for professional development and personal improvement. If you're a coach, providing your services online may help you reach more people, work with clients from all over the globe, and give them more freedom to choose when and how they want to work with you.
But how do you get started in online coaching? We've put together this comprehensive guide to help you get started as an online coach and make a name for yourself. You will learn the skills and information you need to thrive as an online coach, from identifying your niche and building an online presence to using technology to scale your business and promote your services.
This guide will provide you with the direction and tools you need to establish a lucrative online coaching business, whether you're an experienced coach trying to widen your audience or a rookie coach just getting started.
What Is Online Coaching?
Online coaching is an online service that involves a coach working directly with people over the internet to help them achieve different goals.
Unlike in-person coaching, online coaching involves video conferences, chatrooms, emails, and phone calls. It's possible to offer in-person and online sessions, but it's up to the online coach to decide.
A common example of an online coach is someone who has 1-on-1 sessions over Zoom each week to discuss healthy eating habits and help clients lose weight naturally.
In recent years, online coaching has become much more popular. Professions from personal trainers to nutritionists and piano instructors have turned their physical businesses into online businesses.
What Does an Online Coach Do?
Simply stated, an online coach provides support, counsel, and assistance to customers online. They often work together in 1:1, group, or workshop settings to assist clients in achieving their objectives. A virtual coach employs strategies including accountability, encouragement, goal-setting, check-ins, and direction.
For those looking to accomplish their personal and professional goals, there are many different sorts of online coaching available. An online coach usually concentrates on a certain market. Coaching in the areas of life, career, or health and well-being are a few examples.
You may discover many different instances since the field of online coaching is quite flexible. Bottom line: A coach instructs their customers on how to apply their knowledge to accomplish their objectives by drawing on their experience and knowledge in a particular subject.
What Are the Benefits of Online Coaching?
When you look at online coaching, there are two groups: the clients and the coaches. Let's discuss the benefits that both of these groups will see.
Benefits of Online Coaching for Coaches
Let's start with the coaches. If you're running an online coaching business, some benefits you will experience include flexibility in your schedule, increased reach for your services, and the potential to increase your income.
Achieve Cost-Savings and Scale Your Business
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of moving your coaching business online is the cost savings from eliminating the need to rent a physical meeting space for you and your clients. Online coaches can save money on start-up costs associated with running a brick-and-mortar location and ongoing costs like commuting, utilities, and physical materials.
The online coaching model is also easily scalable with the right tools. Coaches can automate many aspects of their business, from payment processing to email marketing, which allows more time to expand your client list and increase your income.
Gain Flexibility In Your Schedule
Online coaching frees you to work anywhere you want, whenever you want. Since you'll be running the business, you can set your own hours and only work as many hours as you'd like each week.
Meeting with your clients online means you could be sitting at home in your living room or traveling across the globe without being tied to a physical location. This flexibility is especially valuable for coaches with clients in different time zones, busy work schedules, or clients with mobility restrictions.
Coaches can lead most solo or group coaching with nothing but an internet connection and a smartphone camera.
Reach a Larger Audience With Your Coaching Services
Speaking of traveling across the world, online coaching can help you transcend borders and enter new markets with your services. With in-person coaching, your customer pool is limited to people in the same ZIP code as you. Through the power of the internet, you can coach clients living in other countries with no problem.
Physical coaching services are very restrictive, which is a big reason many companies struggle. Online coaching businesses have become much more lucrative, with an unlimited reach to potential customers worldwide.
Increase Your Earning Potential
There's a lot of money to be made in the online coaching space, especially if you market yourself right. Through cost-savings, access to a larger customer pool, and freedom to scale your business, you can increase your earning potential exponentially. Not to mention, since you're working for yourself, you retain all of the profit (after taxes and operational costs).
Impact More People With Your Message
Another driving factor to being an online coach is the ability to change someone's life. For example, if you're a financial coach, you can help people overcome poverty and improve their quality of life. You'll be able to see the direct impact of your actions.
If you like making a difference, you might consider online coaching.
Benefits of Online Coaching for Clients
Now, let's look at the clients. Why would someone choose online coaching for their problems? There are several benefits.
Accessibility To Personal Coaching
Online coaching allows clients to access coaches from around the world anytime. If they hear great things about an online personal trainer, it doesn't matter where the trainer is located. They can sign up for solo or group coaching from anywhere.
In addition, there is added access to the coach. The client can send an email or access online resources anytime. They can make progress and feel more supported throughout their transformation.
Convenience In Scheduling sessions
Today, everyone has incredibly busy schedules. Making time for coaching sessions becomes even harder when you have to care for a family. This is why clients prefer online sessions.
They can be very specific about their meeting time and don't have to worry about commuting to the coaches' office or dealing with traffic. Instead, they can just grab their phone and start the session from their home.
It's incredibly convenient.
Privacy And Comfortability
Online coaching might be a better option if you're offering online coaching sessions that revolve around money, personal experiences, or aspirations. People can get uncomfortable talking face-to-face about these topics — this is especially true in an office that has people waiting outside.
Instead, the client can take the call in their bedroom with the door closed. It gives them more privacy and creates a more comfortable environment. This could lead to the client being more honest and seeing better results from your coaching.
Similarly, clients accessing group coaching for fitness classes can do it at home and avoid the embarrassment they might otherwise feel.
How To Create an Online Coaching Business in Seven Steps
If you want to get started, then this section is for you. Let's highlight seven steps that will show you how to create an online coaching business. It's not as hard as you might think.
Step 1: Define Your Mission and Target Audience
Before getting too far, you must consider your mission and audience. Your mission entails picking a problem you want to face and determining how your coaching will address the problem. Offering the best online coaching can start with the best mission.
The target audience is the specific group of people who can benefit from your services. This is the group to that you'll tailor your content and coaching.
Another part of picking your target audience is learning about them. Who are they? What do they need? What do they want to achieve? How can they benefit from your coaching?
These ideas will be the heart of your business. Without finding an audience and mission, getting into a rhythm can take a lot longer.
An example of audience and mission could be this: let's say you offer online coaching that teaches single moms how to advance their careers and make more money.
Your target audience might be 34 to 50-year-old single, low-income moms who are passionate about entrepreneurship. Your mission could be that you want to teach sustainable ways to steadily grow one's income without sacrificing time with their family.
Step 2: Choose a Niche
What sets you apart from other coaches who offer similar services? This has a lot to do with your mission and target audience.
How can you pick a niche? There are a few ways:
Start with what you know. Your knowledge and expertise are unique to you. If you know a ton about boxing as a southpaw, this can play heavily into your online boxing service to offer the best online coaching program.
Research the market. Look for gaps in the market, and identify underserved sectors. There are a lot of financial coaches, but not as many financial coaches who focus on early retirement.
Look into your strengths. If you're really good at something, then you can leverage it as part of your niche. An example could be that you're great at putting together long-term goals, so you can leverage this by creating long-term health milestones for clients.
Consider the most valuable part of your coaching. Simply, what can you do that your competitors can't? This value can translate directly into your niche, and it's called a unique selling point (USP).
Your niche should be specific, but it doesn't have to be hyper-specific. Targeting a certain audience is okay, but getting too targeted means losing a lot of potential business.
Step 3: Develop Your Coaching Program
The best coaches invest a great deal of time into developing the best online coaching program. Your coaching program contains what you're teaching, how you're teaching it, and how you'll help your clients hit every goal.
For a simple example, consider an online health coach. The client might want to lose 20 pounds, so the coaching program would outline meal plans, workout plans, and weigh-in weeks until the 20 pounds are lost.
In that example, you can see some things that go into an online coaching program. It's a detailed list that outlines how your client will get from point A to point B thanks to you.
Another part of the coaching program is your pricing, payment terms, and payment options. You might charge a flat rate per session, per month, or per year. Maybe you have an hourly rate that you charge your clients, with additional costs for add-on services.
In addition, put together different durations for the services you offer. This could be a 6-month fitness boot camp, a one-year financial coaching service, or a one-time career consultation. Every successful online coaching business does things a little differently.
The final piece that you need to complete your coaching program is to figure out what resources you need. What materials, templates, guides, workbooks, and extra pieces do you need to deliver results? Will you add additional services at a premium cost?
Step 4: Create a Website
The best way to sell your online coaching services is by creating a business website.
Your website should be professional and speak directly to you, your business, and why people should choose you.
Some people add a blog to their site. Here, you can discuss niche-specific details that position you as an industry expert and help direct people to your website.
Step 5: Promote Your Coaching Business
With your program and website done, you're ready to start marketing your coaching business. During this step, it's all about promoting your coaching business. You can do this in a lot of different ways:
Word of mouth. Tell your friends, family, former coworkers, and peers about your new coaching service.
Email campaigns. Send professional emails to everyone on your mailing list or buy email leads from other companies.
Focus on your blog. Your blog can generate a lot of online traffic. Try to post at least one piece a week to stay relevant.
Social media. Social media should be your best friend. Cultivate content and speak to your followers as an industry expert. You should gain their trust and then direct them to your website so they can get further coaching from you. Make a free Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to promote your coaching business.
Google and Facebook ads. You can send directed ads to certain groups of people through Facebook and Google. You pay each time someone interacts with your ads, and it directs them to your website. Make sure your website is well-made before setting this up.
Referral programs. When you start getting clients, you can put together a referral program. If they get their friend to sign up, you can reward both people financially or with a big discount.
Ensure your voice, brand, and unique selling position are obvious in every promotion and post.
Step 6: Establish Clear Communication with Clients
Since online coaching businesses lack face-to-face content, making people feel welcome, and part of the family can be tough. You should focus on clear communication with your clients to overcome this obstacle.
You want to make this as easy as possible for them and make every client feel important.
Scheduling: You can make scheduling easier with a scheduling tool. This will help clients manage their appointment and book online. It helps you keep track of everything on your online coaching platform.
Correspondence: Try to stay up-to-date with your emails. People can get frustrated and choose another online coaching business if their inbox starts getting backed up.
Internet Speed & Video Quality: Make sure you use a high-quality camera and have a good internet package for video conferencing. People will get upset if you constantly deal with low-quality images and buffering videos.
Payment Processing: If it's too complicated for your customer to provide their payment information, you run the risk of losing the sale. Simplify your payment processing with the right payment management software.
Whenever someone reaches out to you for help or support, you should answer as quickly as possible.
Step 7: Continue Learning and Growing
Even though your business is up and running, you're not done. Every week, you can optimize your business as you learn new lessons. The best way to learn about running a coaching business is to start and learn the hard lessons along the way.
The best online coaching platforms are a product of trial and error and learning along the way.
The difference is that you should learn from every mistake. As you continue to grow, your business will become even stronger. Your email marketing campaign will become more effective, and every blog post will translate to more clients.
The unfortunate truth is that it will take some time before you're a well-oiled machine and your online coaching business takes off. Stay patient and put in the work; it will be worth it in the end.
Every month, dedicate an hour or so to take a close look at your company. Are there shortcomings? Do you keep wasting time on the same task? What are your big headaches? Think about ways to solve these issues.
Online coaching has a ton of benefits for coaches and clients. By leveraging the flexibility of running their online business, coaches can make money doing something they love and working for themselves. The added flexibility makes this career even more enticing. To start an online coaching practice, you need to do planning, research, use the best online coaching platform, and dedicate a lot of time — but it's worth it. The future version of you will thank you.
Remember our seven steps for successfully setting up a world-class online coaching business. If you need help with extra coaching tools, try a free trial of our software at Simplero.