Want to start a coaching business but don’t know what you need to do to build a successful online coaching business? This post is the ultimate guide to starting an online coaching biz. Let’s get into it.
Online coaches look like they’re living the dream, right? Work from anywhere, gorgeous lattes in the coziest coffee shops, and making money in their sleep. But if you’re wondering how to start an online coaching business (or what a coaching business even is!) so you can get in on this action, I’m here to help.
I’ll never forget when I first left the law and told people I was leaving to become a “coach.” I’ll never forget that look in their eyes when they said, “of what?”
So just in case you’re new around here and wondering what an “online coach” is, let’s break it down. An online coach generally refers to someone who offers coaching services to their clients remotely.
Over the past several years, the online coaching industry has absolutely exploded. You can find a coach for almost any industry. In the Ultimate Bundle™️ alone, we have coaches who are coaching people on: mindset, life/self-care, health, fitness, money, dating, career, nutrition, business, breathwork, yoga, travel, and so much more.
Online coaches can not only work with more clients in more places, but they can also offer all different types of coaching services and products: from online courses, memberships, and group coaching to private coaching.
But where do you start if you want to create your own online coaching business? Maybe you feel like you’ve got to work with a business coach first, or get more training…
I’m here with the ultimate guide to help you learn how to start building a successful online business 😉 Let’s jump in!
How To Start An Online Coaching Business
1. The Riches are in the Niches
Maybe you’ve heard that the “riches are in the niches.” All that means is that you have to get really specific about who you’re here to help, with what, and why.
And it has to be something THEY want help with, not something you think they should want help with. For example, instead of creating a coaching business aimed at convincing party-going college kids that they should drink less, you could create a course aimed at college kids who are sober curious and want a different type of college experience. (Assuming you’ve done your research and those kinds of college kids even exist lol)
So your first step to start a coaching business is to get clear on:
- exactly who your “ideal client” or target audience is (i.e., college kids who are sober curious)
- what they need help with (i.e., having a fulfilling college life without drinking)
- what they want to be different than what they’re experiencing right now (ie., not feeling isolated, alone. Or weird for not wanting to party hard in college, how to get the most out of their college experience without drinking)
- what their dream or ideal situation would be, after your help (ie., having a community of other college kids who are like them, having fulfilling experiences without drinking).
You can learn a lot about your target audience from Facebook groups (where they hang out), social media, Instagram posts, Google searches, and actually talking to people in your target audience.
2. Get the Training You Need
If you need more training or knowledge to feel and actually be ready coaching people in your chosen field, get that now.
There’s 1 really important thing you don’t want to do here though…
Don’t get too caught up in gathering certifications and trainings and never put any of it to use.
I know people who were starting their businesses when I started mine in 2016 who are STILL taking program after program to “get ready” to launch their business.
It’s a careful balance between being appropriately qualified and trained to work with people, and actually starting to build your online business.
I recommend getting only what you actually need now and adding on more specific trainings as you go to beef up your expertise.
(Note: you don’t currently have to be licensed or certified to be a health coach, life coach, career coach, dating coach, etc. You of course should be qualified to talk about what you’re talking about, but there’s no certification requirement.)
3. Create Your Core Offer(s)
Now that you know who your target audience is and what they need help with, you can create an “offer.” Your offer is a product that actually helps solve their problems and brings them closer to the solution/dream situation you’ve figured out they want.
I recommend only created 1-2 core offers and really focusing on developing, testing, and refining those offers before you create any more.
When it comes to pricing your programs and offers, focus on quality, high end offers instead of a bunch of low-value, low-investment ($19, $49, $97 etc.) offers. Until you have a relatively large audience, it’s hard to generate the revenue you need and want for a successful online business with such low-ticket offers.
4. Your Online Business’s Website
I don’t just suggest (encourage? urge? require?) you have a website, but I want to urge you to allocate a lot of your startup energy and dollars on it, too.
You’ll find all kinds of opinions out there from business coaches about whether you do / don’t need a website, but for me: it’s a no brainer.
Your website is your home online. It’s where you’ll start building an audience, driving traffic, hosting sign-up pages, writing content etc. Your website is something you’ll need for the long term. Whereas social media is not only so algorithm dependent and volatile, but it’s not something you own or control.
I think of this way: every successful online business has a website. And they probably have a good one that actually speaks to their target audience, has calls to action to opt-in to a freebie, and has loads of valuable free content, too.
You can definitely keep it simple and add as you go, but at the very least you need a website that:
- Has pictures/video of you so people can connect with you personally
- Clearly explains who you are, what you do and who you help
- An easy way to get in touch with you
- Contains content that’s valuable, well written and helpful to your target audience.
- Has a “content upgrade” (freebie) that people can sign up to receive and get added to your email list for.
- Outlines your offer and has a clear “next step” to sign up for it.
5. Build Your Audience
This is the step most people want to skip to before they handle 1-4. It’s the one that’ll give you the quickest dopamine hit (“oooo! I got 100 new followers! I have 50 YouTube subscribers!”) but it’s not the one that will pad your pockets unless you do it right.
Instead of running yourself into the ground trying to post on every social media platform in the universe, here’s a doable game plan I recommend for building your audience (so that you can build a successful online business):
Pick Your Core Content Platform(s)
Instead of trying to half a$$ all the platforms, pick 1-2 where your target audience actually hangs out. Maybe that’s Instagram and Facebook, or YouTube and TikTok. Don’t decide based on your feelings — do the research yourself and see where they’re hanging out. (If they’re hanging out in many different places, THEN go with the platforms you like enough to show up consistently).
Create a Freebie
Create a free download like a PDF, guide, video series, live training, calendar, template, etc. that your ideal client wants and needs. Make it full of value and related to your core offers.
Once they download your freebie, they should get added to your email list. (I use ConvertKit [affiliate link] to build my email list, create freebie sign up forms, etc.)
Once they’ve downloaded your freebie and been added to your email list, they should automatically receive a nurture sequence. A nurture sequence is a series of emails someone receives to welcome them and familiarize them with your brand, personality, values, and products.
It’s where you not only set the expectations for what they can expect in your neck of the woods, but you also make them comfortable with the fact that you’re a business and not a charity situation.
If you want to build a successful online business, you’ve got to get comfortable “asking for the sale,” talking about your offers, and setting boundaries with your audience that you’re not just here to help for free.
6. Get Legally Legit
Obviously as a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur I believe more than most in the importance and value of legally protecting your business as early as you can.
Before you actually start trying to make sales or coaching people, you should have your legal foundation set.
The best way to set your legal foundation and make sure you’re actually protected (both personally, professionally and financially) is to watch my free legal workshop ‘5 Steps to Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business.’
In my free legal training, you’ll learn:
- the 3 things your website needs to be legally protected
- How having proper contracts can totally save your (vegan) bacon (and what’s wrong with the free one your well-meaning coach gave you)
- Why the fear that’s blocking your revenue is totally valid (and how getting legally legit can fix this)
- How registering the right business entity the right way protects your personal assets (side tango: just because your biz bestie is a sole prop doesn’t mean it’s right for you)
- The #1 way to keep copycats from stealing your stuff (it’s not what you think!)
Watch my free legal workshop right here:
I’d love to hear what questions you have for me in the comments below! 👇
I hope that this post was helpful to you if you’re thinking of starting an online coaching business and didn’t know where to start. Hopefully now you feel ready to start a coaching business with this as your guide.
Can’t wait to hear what questions you have for me below!