How big can your online coaching business get?
Sometimes, we’re so focused on simply creating the business and making it profitable, we don’t ask that question.
We’re happy when our coaching becomes a good side hustle, or provides a decent living. And that is success! Undeniably.
But if we’re not careful, we can accidentally limit ourselves.
What’s really possible for an online coach is…huge.
By strategically growing your business, you can realistically go after that 7-figure annual revenue.
It’s all a matter of scale.
Whether you offer fitness, business, a niche skill, or any other kind of coaching, you can scale up. Here, we offer a few strategies you can use to:
- Earn more
- Reinvest strategically
- Scale your coaching business to its maximum potential
The Low-Ticket Trap
The first thing to do is actually something to stop doing: charging too little.
Entrepreneurs are notorious for underselling their products and services, and coaches are no exception.
We think — especially when we’re new — that charging less = more clients. But there are serious flaws in that equation.
First, it means you’re attracting less committed clients. The less people invest in their coaching, the less likely they are to actually stick with the program, follow instructions, and execute the tasks you give them.
…which means it’s less likely they’ll achieve the desired results.
…which means you’ll have failed clients, not examples of people whose lives you’ve transformed.
…which means your reputation suffers.
…which means…well, you get it.
Second, you attract too many clients. That forces you to divide your time and attention more, again impacting results.
Third, it’s not financially sustainable or scaleable. If your profit margins are thin, you can’t afford to do much reinvesting, and therefore you can’t scale. You’ll just keep turning that hamster wheel — making money, but not growing.
Our rule of thumb for any kind of business is to maintain at least a 2:1 ratio — for every dollar you spend on your business, you should make two. Charge clients accordingly, and don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth.
If you’re worried that potential clients might balk at your price, use our simple sales formula:
- Put a dollar value on the skills/knowledge you give clients (ex: “You can make $100k/year as a copywriter, with the right coaching.”)
- Set a price that’s significantly lower than the value (“I’ll give you the skills of a $100k copywriter for just $10k.”)
Here, the value to price ratio is 10 to 1. It’s a no-brainer! Any time you’re worried about increasing prices, just increase value.
Just as importantly, convey the value. I’ve seen too many coaches discuss their pricing without putting numbers on the value.
The truth is, the kind of customers who worry most about the price are not the kind who will help you scale. But the kind of customers whose main concern is the value will unlock your earning potential.
One of the best ways to get more revenue from each coaching client and scale your business is to offer tiers.
Think bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans. Or any scale that makes sense for you.
For example, your top tier can include high-ticket items like more personal one-on-one time with you. Your middle tier can include things like extra access to you via email or text. Basically, the more of your time and effort they get, the higher the tier.
This is helpful in a few ways.
First, it lets people test the waters a bit.
The lower-tier clients are still investing their money and likely to execute. In fact, those clients are more likely to spring for a higher tier than a fresh lead off the street, once they get a taste of what you can do for them.
Second, it creates the “price anchor” effect.
It’s a bit of a trick of psychology, but when people have options, they’re more likely to choose one than to walk away. You’ll get lots of mid-tier clients, who in their minds are getting a high quality version of your coaching, but not a super-expensive one.
Best of all, your highest tier will scream quality and value — and attract the sort of client who’s willing to part with bigger money to get the results they want. Obviousness alert: these are good clients to have.
Get In Person
One thing online coaches tend to forget: Not everything has to be online.
Part of the value of joining any coaching program is the networking opportunities. So it’s your job to intentionally create some.
Every so often, host an in-person event, such as:
- A conference
- A retreat
- A live in-person group coaching event
- Small dinners or meet-ups
Yes, this requires more time, effort, and money. But if you’re charging enough, it’s an excellent investment.
Just ask the Tony Robbins, Dale Beaumonts, and Taki Moores of the world, all of whom make massive revenue from live in-person events.
…and no, you don’t have to be one of those mega-stars to pull it off. We’re a small-ish startup, and we’ve hosted conferences and retreats! If you’re not comfortable jumping right into big live events, consider starting with a virtual live event, and go from there.
Diversify the Delivery
When a coach offers more than just coaching, they stand out.
On an Internet full of online coaches, the standouts have the best chance of charging more, scaling faster, and reaching their biggest goals.
Plus, delivering value in varied ways lets you reach more people than sticking strictly to good ol’ fashioned coaching sessions.
Offer some (or all) of the following as part of your coaching packages, or a la carte:
- Videos: Have a bank of pre-recorded videos (or even better, webinars), for people to refer to on their own schedule
- Guest sessions: Invite a specialist to join calls or in-person events. Try to find someone who’s not a competitor, but who adds value to what you’re teaching (ex: a life coach bringing on a psychologist).
- Affiliate products: where you offer an exclusive deal on a related product (ex: a fitness coach partnering with an equipment company)
- Bookable office hours: Clients can pay for additional 1:1 time with you, or with experts you’ve partnered with, or both
- “Done for You” services: think business coaches offering professional website design. Even better: my public speaking coaches Michael and Amy Port create professional “Speaker Reel” videos, which clients can submit to event organizers when looking for a speaking gig.
- Referral Programs: Turn your clients into affiliates, and reward them for bringing you new business, either in cash or in discounts off their own program
Pro Trick: The Early Re-up
A fantastic way to reduce churn, keep revenue steady, and position your coaching business to scale: re-sell to current clients more strategically.
The easiest way to do this? Don’t wait until someone’s time with you is almost up. If you sold someone a year of coaching, and it’s going well, take advantage of the momentum.
Don’t let the program “wind down” before asking them to sign up for more!
I recommend presenting a re-up offer (perhaps even a special offer that’s only available when clients re-up in advance) a good 3 months before the program ends.
This way, your existing clients will make the decision when they’re at the height of their transformation. They’ll have experienced proof of your effectiveness — but won’t feel like they’re done learning yet.
That’s when the sales iron is hot!
Another way to make the early re-up a more tempting offer is to raise prices slightly each year — which you should do anyway, regardless — and grandfather the early re-uppers at the current rates. They get a deal, you keep a client without hurting the profit & loss sheet; everyone wins!
To make early re-ups even more attractive, don’t feel like your coaching programs have to be exactly 12 months. It’s arbitrary, and it subconsciously primes clients to think of the program as “done” in a year. Instead, consider 15 or 20-month programs.
You Can Always Add Value
As you consider ways to charge more, get more clients, and otherwise fund your scaling ambitions, always keep one maxim in mind: adding value is always on the table.
Whether you use one of the suggestions under “Diversify the Delivery,” or come up with a creative way to make clients’ results better (without cutting too deeply into profits), you can find a way to be just a little better than the competition.
One more suggestion — and if it sounds like a plug subtly planted at the end of a helpful blog post, it's not...subtle, that is.
If you offer courses, there's a new tool coming that'll make it easier, more efficient, and likely more cost-effective, especially as you scale: CourseNinja (yep, we've built another game-changing software). Check it out below: