7 Reasons Coaches Can’t Make a Living Online
This article is specifically written for my readers who call themselves life coaches or business coaches. It’s about the 7 major mistakes I see coaches making online.
For those of you who aren’t coaches, I want you to consider how you can add coaching as another income stream in your overall business model.
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 seems to hit a ceiling. They can’t hit their breakthrough. It seems like they’re on a hamster wheel constantly running in circles without ever getting ahead.
Go through each of these and really examine your practice to see if each element is holding you back. In every coach I’ve consulted with at LEAST 2 of these roadblocks were holding them back. I expect the same is true for you if you aren’t at the six figure level at least.
Road Block #1: You Are a Generalist
Too many 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.
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?
Let’s see just how specific we can become. A lot of business coaches work with any type of business. You can become even more specific than that. For example, maybe you work only with solopreneurs. Or you become more specific and you only work with real estate agents. Or perhaps your target market is real estate agents who want to become million dollar producers while generating leads from the Internet.
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? 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.
Once you’ve figured out the end result you’re going after, now you need to work backwards from that to figure out the steps required to reach that goal. You’re seeing that model throughout this course. We discuss the end result and then we start working through the required steps. The SAME model can be followed with your one-on-one coaching clients. Where are they at now? What is the end result (or goals) they’ve already stated? What steps do you need to help them work through to reach those goals?
Your goal is to figure out the required steps to reach the end goal. It might be 5 steps you take clients through. Or possibly you have a 12 step program (think about how AA and other well known “coaching” groups have systematized their program). Here’s a quick tip. Having this organized system will not only make your coaching much easier for people to understand and join, it will also be much easier for you to deliver. You’re not rethinking the strategy each time. You’re simply applying what has already proven itself to work to each new client’s circumstances and lifestyle.
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.
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.
That’s an OK income that beats many coaches, but it’s not even a liveable income in many cities of the US. To increase it means you have to work more hours (doesn’t fit the lifestyle we want), increase your rates (always a possibility but you have to decide if its right for your market), or leverage our time for additional income.
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.
As you market your practice online you’ll discover there are people out there who desperately NEED your services, but they simply can’t afford to pay your rates (even if you are this low cost). They need another solution. The quickest and easiest solution to put together is have someone interview you about how you help clients achieve such amazing results (you do produce amazing results for your clients, don’t you)? This interview can then be sold as a downloadable mp3 audio or as a CD.
Road Block #4: Not Generating Enough Leads
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. 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).
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.
Even if you want people to sign up for your freebie by email, you’re still going to have to “sell” them on this. Ten years ago you could have just put up a page that said, sign up for my free email newsletter. Not true today. If they’re going to exchange something of great value (their private email address and time), you’re going to give them something of even greater value. This means they have to be “sold” on signing up for your list by telling them what your freebie will do for them. How does it benefit them?
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.
Let me ask you this. Let’s say you visited two websites of Internet business coaches. The first one charges $50 an hour and says they can get back with you within hours. The second one charges $500 an hour and you have to register for time to speak with them. Which one do you think is better at marketing their own internet business? Which one is more successful?
If you’re on a really tight budget you might say that you couldn’t afford the more expensive guy, so you have to go with the $50 person for now. But even look at that kind of statement. You’d go with the lower cost for now until you get a little results and can afford the more expensive service. In your mind, you immediately see the more expensive service as better.
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.
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.
The second type of work you want to outsource are repetitive tasks. For example, writing regular articles to submit to article directories or customer support for your downloadable ebook. There are writers out there you can hire for a low cost per article who will write articles on your subject and submit them. You will find that your ebook customer support issues are often centered around few basic questions such as people losing their download, not being able to open it, or even forgetting what they bought. Once you’ve answered all these questions you can hire someone else to take care of the customer support.
As soon as you can afford it (your business is producing more than the minimum you need to survive), get yourself a virtual assistant. Depending on who you get to be your VA, you’ll find they can do a lot of the basic tasks (like editing your site or writing articles) to designing graphics…or even managing your affiliate program eventually.Related Entries:
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